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Beloved D.C. bartender Howard Bivins dies at 77

‘He knew everyone’s name’

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C. Howard Bivins Jr., gay news, Washington Blade

C. Howard Bivins Jr., a bartender who worked for six D.C. gay bars over a period of 35 years and became known as a congenial conversationist with many of his customers, died on April 12 at his home in Burke, Va., from complications associated with the lung illness known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to his partner of 39 years Perry Morehouse. He was 77.

Morehouse and others who knew Bivins said his regular customers at some of D.C.’s most popular gay bars often sought his advice and viewed him as an avid listener to whatever was on their minds.

“He loved to talk over the bar,” said Morehouse. “And he knew everyone’s name. He knew where everybody came from. He was very congenial,” Morehouse said. “He was always leaning over the bar talking to people. He was not the type of bartender that would make a drink and walk away.”

Morehouse said Bivins was born and raised in Richmond, Va., and was a 1963 graduate of Richmond’s Manchester High School, where he became known as a good dancer at the school’s student dances.

He worked in various positions in Richmond, including at Reynolds Metals, according to Morehouse, before moving to D.C. in the early 1980s. Morehouse noted that a number of the bars where Bivins started out as a bartender are no longer in business.

Among them were the Dupont Circle gay bar Fraternity House, where Bivins worked from 1982 to 1986. From 1986 to 2000, Bivins tended bar at the Capital Hill gay country western bar called Remington’s. And from 2000 to 2002 Bevins moved to another gay country western bar a few blocks away near the U.S. Marine barracks called Sheridan’s.

During part of the time he worked at Sheridan’s, Bivins also worked on different nights at the gay nightclub Ziegfeld’s-Secrets at its original location on the unit bock of O Street, S.E. up until 2006, when the club was displaced by construction of the Washington Nationals stadium.

Morehouse said Bivins then began bartending at the nearby gay nightclub Wet before that club was also displaced a year or two later by development related to the new baseball stadium. From there, according to Morehouse, Bivins returned to the former Fraternity House which had been renamed Omega. He tended bar there until Omega closed its doors in 2012.

“When Omega closed in 2012, he retired at the age of 68,” said Morehouse.

“Howard was always a spitfire and kept things lively and real,” said gay activist Robert York in a posting on Morehouse’s Facebook page. “Treasure the memories and know he will be missed by our community,” York wrote. “No doubt he’s keeping heaven on their toes and pouring shots for break times. Rest in power Howard.”

Morehouse said Bivins had a special place in his heart for Morehouse’s grandson Henning. “Trying to figure out how he was to be referred, he came up with the name 3-Pa, the third grandpa,” Morehouse recalls.

“He loved eating out and traveling, always surrounded by his close friends Craig, Mike, Ed, Carl, Greg, Chas, and Harry,” said Morehouse.

Bivins was predeceased by his parents. He is survived by Morehouse, his partner of 39 years, and his siblings Dorothy, David, and Beverly, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Contributions may be made in Bivins’ name to the D.C.-area hospice service Capital Caring Health at cpitalcaring.org/get-involved/donate.

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Comings & Goings

Lane named senior counsel at Brady United

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Thomas Patrick Lane

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at [email protected].

Congratulations to Thomas Patrick Lane the new Senior Litigation Counsel and Director of Affirmative Litigation with Brady United. According to its website, Brady’s mission is, “To unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.”

Jonathan Lowy, chief counsel and vice president of legal at Brady said, “The whole Brady team is thrilled to welcome Tom’s skills as a trial lawyer and his leadership as a champion for justice and a voice for inclusivity and equal rights. Tom is one of the top litigators in the country, and has been a fighter his whole life who has proven himself undaunted by any challenge, including taking on the gun industry for its role in causing gun violence in America. Tom’s expertise and insights into complex litigation involving emerging technologies, such as 3-D printed guns, “smart” technology, and online commerce, will bolster our fight for industry-wide change by holding companies accountable and forcing reforms that will make all Americans safer.”

Upon accepting the position Lane said, “From my time as a prosecutor to private practice, I have seen the effects of gun violence and the importance of defending victims and survivors and upholding common-sense laws that keep our families and communities safe. I am excited to bring that background to Brady and to continue this important work nationwide.”

Prior to joining Brady, Lane was a partner in the New York office of Winston & Strawn, LLP. Before that he was a partner in Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP. He is recognized as one of the country’s top intellectual property and new media lawyers. He tried the first Internet music case and the first Digital Millennium Copyright Act safe harbor case before juries. He has also served as a senior trial attorney in the office of the New York Kings County District Attorney.

Lane represented the City of New York in litigation against major gun manufacturers in the early 2000s. LawDragon named him as one of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America.

Lane earned his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y.; and his J.D. from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans. He has created an endowed scholarship there for LGBTQ students to help law firms realize the importance of hiring diverse rosters of attorneys, and to honor the courage of his uncles Bernard Lane (an Army Ranger decorated with two Bronze Stars) and Richard Morrison (a recovered alcoholic who devoted his life to counseling others).

Both men were known for their toughness tendered by humor and both lived openly in loving relationships with same-sex partners in the 1970s. Lane is a former board member of the National LGBT Bar Association. He directs all external legal matters for the Tyler Clementi Foundation, whose mission is to end bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities.

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100th anniversary celebration of Dupont Circle fountain set for May 17

GWU student creates tribute video

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Dupont Circle Fountain, Russian news agency, gay news, Washington Blade
The iconic Dupont Circle fountain turns 100 this month. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

LGBTQ residents and longtime visitors to D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood are expected to be among the participants in the 100th anniversary celebration of the installation of the Dupont Circle fountain scheduled to be held at the circle on Monday, May 17.

Aaron DeNu, president of Dupont Festival, a nonprofit arts and cultural programming group that’s organizing the celebration, says it will take place from noon to at least sunset inside Dupont Circle.

The celebration will take place one week after the May 10 release of a YouTube video, “How Dupont Circle Evolved as a Hub for LGBTQ+ Life in the District,” produced by George Washington University student Dante Schulz. Schulz is the video editor for the G.W. student newspaper The Hatchet.

Among those appearing in the documentary video are veteran LGBTQ rights activists Deacon Maccubbin and his husband Jim Bennett, who owned and operated the Dupont Circle LGBTQ bookstore Lambda Rising beginning in the 1970s, which is credited with contributing to Dupont Circle’s reputation as the epicenter of D.C.’s LGBTQ community for many years.

Also appearing in the video is longtime D.C. gay activist and Dupont Circle area resident Craig Howell, a former president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance.

“At this point in time due to COVID restrictions we’re not going to be doing any particular formal gathering of folks,” DeNu told the Washington Blade in describing the May 17 celebration. “But we’ll have a soundtrack that’s playing throughout the day from that original ceremony – the same songs they used in the original dedication a hundred years ago,” he said.

DeNu said the event will also feature “historic imagery” related to Dupont Circle and the people who have gathered there over the years.

“So, we’re really just inviting people to come and have lunch, stop by the park after work, and just stop and reflect on 100 years of Dupont Circle fountain, take a look at the imagery and see some old friends and hopefully stop by and see the Dupont businesses that are around the area,” DeNu said.

The LGBTQ video produced by Dante Schultz can be accessed here.

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Va. GOP governor nominee opposes transgender-inclusive youth sports

Glenn Youngkin made comment to Arlington voters in March

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Glenn Youngkin (Photo via Twitter)

 

The Republican gubernatorial candidate to succeed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has said he does not support allowing transgender children to play on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

“Biological males should not be allowed to play sports in girls sports,” Glenn Youngkin said during a meeting with a group of voters in Arlington on March 25, according to the Washington Examiner. “It’s just not fair.”

The Washington Blade has reached out to Youngkin’s campaign for comment.

Youngkin, the former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, on Saturday defeated Pete Snyder, former House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield County), Peter Doran, Sergio de la Peña and Octavia Johnson in the Republican Party of Virginia’s nominating convention. Virginia Republicans nominated Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares as their candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general respectively.

The Democratic Party of Virginia will hold its primary on June 8. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is widely expected to win the vote, and run against Youngkin in the general election.

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