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July 4 in Rehoboth: fireworks return but Freddie’s is delayed

Nate Buccieri on the keys at Blue Moon; ‘Eyecons’ to open at Clear Space

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Freddie Lutz, gay news, Washington Blade
Freddie Lutz is working hard to open a new restaurant/bar in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. — With Memorial Day weekend a chilly washout, the Fourth of July promises to be packed with revelers ready for a post-COVID good time and there are several big developments awaiting visitors.

Freddie Lutz’s dream for many years has been to open a Freddie’s Beach Bar at the beach in view of real sand. That dream is close to fruition. But reality has intruded and he will have to wait just a little longer as he navigates the process of opening a business in what Rehoboth Beach denizens have come to know as ‘lower slower Delaware.’ 

The City of Rehoboth Beach has never been known as a business-friendly place but to be fair, the issues surrounding the pandemic and now the reopening of the state have made things even worse. In the best of times the permitting process is slightly antediluvian. Today you also have to deal with Sussex County and it can seem to take forever. There are reportedly dozens of businesses looking to open, some in Rehoboth and others on Route 1.

So while Freddie’s Beach Bar won’t make its hoped for July 4th opening, Lutz himself is staying positive and working to get the restaurant/bar open as soon as possible. He wants to make sure when it does open it will provide the same level of fun, good food, and service as both Freddie’s Beach Bar in Arlington and his Federico Ristorante Italiano.  

Lutz recently received an honor from U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) who presented him with a flag that had flown over the Capitol to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Freddie’s Beach Bar. He had been honored previously by the military for being a safe place for members of the LGBTQ community before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was rescinded. Both of Lutz’s establishments are fully integrated into the community and he was proud to have been approached by Amazon during the pandemic to help prepare and organize meals they funded for first responders. 

Lutz told the Blade, “Once Freddie’s at the beach is open I hope it will be as diverse and all-inclusive as Freddie’s in Arlington. I look forward to bringing the same magic people feel at Freddie’s in Arlington to the beach.” He added, “I am looking forward to working with all my good friends and neighboring gay bars to make Rehoboth an even more exciting beach destination for dining and entertainment.”

While we anxiously await Freddie’s opening, there are other options this weekend. Well-known New York City pianist Nate Buccieri returned to his residency gig at the Blue Moon this week and plays Sundays-Thursdays, 6-8:30 p.m. with no cover charge throughout the summer. Dinner is available during the show. 

Christopher Peterson’s “Eyecons: Thank You Tour” premieres July 4 and runs through Sept. 5 at Clear Space Theatre. The female impersonator’s show features live singing parodies of everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Tina Turner. Shows are Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 9 p.m., all tickets $25.

After last year’s COVID-driven cancellation, fireworks return to Rehoboth Beach on Saturday, July 3. Festivities kick off at the downtown bandstand around 8 p.m. with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. 

And looking ahead, the annual Sundance dance party fundraiser for CAMP Rehoboth is being replaced by the new SunFestival, Aug. 29-Sept. 5. The Blade will have more details in the coming weeks.

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Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

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Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

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 Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

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Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors

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Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding

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What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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