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A Black, queer woman’s story of healing told through dance

‘Rock Paper Scissors’ coming to Atlas Performing Arts Center later this year

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Sisi Reid is a local playwright, choreographer, and producer. (Photo courtesy of Sisi Reid)

We have all at some point questioned our identity. For some, particularly those at the intersection of multiple marganalized identities, the exploration of who you are or want to be can send you into a tailspin of exploration.

Local playwright, choreographer, and producer, Sisi Reid is choosing to use dance to tell a story of innate joy, love, healing and remembering while questioning and exploring her identity as a Black queer woman. 

“Dance is my freedom, my freeing,” Reid said.

Reid will debut her solo dance-theater performance titled “Rock Paper Scissors” at the Atlas Performing Arts Center as part of her local theatre residency at The REACH at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. 

The performance will be presented by Reid’s theater company, Soul Shine Theater Garden, and produced by The Welders, a D.C. theater organization and playwrights collective co-led by Reid, Cat Frost, Teshonne Nicole Powell and Jared Shamberger. 

According to The Kennedy Center’s website, the local theater residency is a curated developmental residency program for local DMV theater companies and playwrights, that seeks those who leverage their artistry to amplify stories that are often overlooked.

Reid, who has spent most of her life in dance and the creative arts, was first intrigued by the idea of identity exploration through games after watching a spoken word performance that used the popular nursery rhyme “Miss Mary Mack” to talk about bisexuality.

“I was like oh, a game to think about identity, that’s cool. I just kind of thought about it,” Reid said.

At the time, Reid was on the path to figuring out how to co-exist with all the ways in which she identified. Then Reid’s alma mater, the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), invited her to write and perform a 10-minute play for the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center’s Alumni Commissioning Project.

While brainstorming topics for her play,  Reid thought of “Miss Mary Mack” and began to ponder what game she would choose to play as a way to discover and understand herself. 

“I was still deeply conflicted about can I be Black? Woman? Bisexual?” Reid says. “I don’t even know if queer was in my world yet. I felt very conflicted.”

Reid ultimately chose “Rock Paper Scissors” as the game that best reflects her story.

“I asked myself which identity would be which element and how I would play this game if I were playing my identities against each other,” Reid said.

Reid first workshopped her “Rock Paper Scissors” play in Brazil in 2018 during a three-week exchange program with the University of Michigan’s Prison Creative Arts Program, Santa Catarina State University in Florianópolis, Brazil and The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. 

After returning to the U.S. from Brazil, Reid didn’t spend any time working on the play, which she says basically was writing itself.  

“I was doing more healing and living and existing. The story was writing itself because the play is about my healing journey. So, I was healing and I was growing and I was expanding so I got ideas directly from what I was going through,” Reid said. 

“Rock Paper Scissors” will debut from June 22-25. Tickets can be purchased at the Atlas website starting Feb.13. 

Sisi Reid (Photo by Diyanna Monet)
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Arts & Entertainment

Valentine’s gifts for the queers you love

Elevated chocolates, top-shelf liquors, and more

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Spread the love this Valentine’s Day with these festive, fun, and sometimes frisky gifts to fill all your special someone’s hearts with happiness and appreciation.

Love Script Pillows

PillowScript’s royal-hued love script pillows – in muted green, red, blue or gray – imbue your personal space with optimism, openness and a velvety softness smoother than Cupid’s bare bottom. $50, PillowScript.com

Tale as Old as Time

At once slim and sleek, the Vincero Kairos and Eros Petite mesh and leather-banded watches look stunning on a beauty or a beast. $99-$178, VinceroCollective.com

Fondue Feasts

You dip, she dips, they dip bite-size savories and sweets into BOSKA’s cheese and chocolate fondue sets equally suited for a sophisticated date night at home or as the centerpiece of a ’70s-inspired Galentine’s party. Better dust off the orgy lamp. $33-$44, USA.Boska.com

Covered in Love

Kisses and hugs and on-the-couch snugs are instantly cozier in Sunday Citizen’s XOXO throw or the Mamas Blanket x Calhoun & Co.’s pink-and-red girl-power blanket for wrapping up near-and-dear babes and broads. $170, SundayCitizen.co; $138, AustinMotelStore.com

Playboy Pleasure

You might assume that a synonymous-with-sex brand like Playboy would already have a leg (or two) up on the adult-toy industry, but its recently launched, first-foray Playboy Pleasure line couldn’t be rushed: The inaugural collection includes vibrators with heating, tapping, and thrusting functions; a spinning butt plug; multi-motor cock rings; toys with flickering tongues; solo strokers, and a first-of-its-kind flapper shaft for the G-spot. You’re gonna need a bigger tarp. $26-$200, LoversStores.com

Chinola x Vesta Chocolate

Skip the Stover’s and improve your chocolate-gifting game with limited-edition Chinola bonbon and ganache chocolates, the melt-in-your-mouth collab between Dominican-sourced Chinola Passion Fruit Liqueur and Vesta Chocolate, co-founded by Chef Roger Rodriguez. $25-$48, VestaChocolate.com

Lace Charms

Customize your kicks with splashes of sparkle when you outfit their laces with burnished beads and baubles – like Lace Charms’ Digital Pink Bundle, featuring gold stars and rosy bling-blings – fit for sneakerhead kweens and king-kings. $30-$75, LaceCharms.com

Happy Juice

You’ll get your lips kissed when you twirl a Sunkist on the stylish Verve Culture artisan citrus juicer (available in gold, rose gold, and black), your new go-to hand-operated appliance that gilds the lily of an already decadent holiday brunch in bed. $98-$150, VerveCulture.com

Power Flowers

If Miley can buy herself flowers, so can you: Treat your resilient self to Perfect Plants’ bounty of blooms – including houseplants, trees, shrubs, hedges and a wide selection of coveted Drift rose bushes – that’ll keep your space fresh long after love stales. $40+, MyPerfectPlants.com

Gas You Up

Motivational neon signs that empower you to “Rise & Grind,” “LISTEN TO YOUR HEART,” “Hu$tle,” and “BE A BAD ASS WITH A GOOD ASS” not only add pops of radiating light and liveliness to your home and office, but they just might reduce your therapy bill too. $200-$600, CustomNeon.com

Big AND Beautiful

Lizzo launched a thousand hips with her body-positive lyrics and lifestyle, and you can continue that self-satisfying trend with Le Chic Miami’s hand-painted, more-to-love basswood Venus hoop earrings, available in three everywoman skin tones. $27, LeChicMiami.store

All the Restaurants

Former New Yorker magazine editor turned self-taught artist John Donohue recognizes that most Americans’ first dates take place at restaurants (Starbucks is #1 while In-N-Out Burger clocks in at #2, according to a survey of Clover app users), which is why he’s made it his mission to commemorate the occasion with signed, limited-edition prints of your fave romantic dining destinations, including Manhattan’s 12 Chairs Café and Abilene Bar, Jaleo in D.C., and London’s Noble Rot. $95, AllTheRestaurants.com

Bye-Bye Dry January

Build a more discerning home bar in 2023 with a curated selection of luxury liquors, including Empress 1908 and Jaisalmer gins, Rampur Double Cask and Bearface Triple Oak whiskies, Tequila Ocho Plata, and L’etoile du Nord vodka. Prices vary, Drizly.com; TotalWine.com

Jaisalmer Gin Negroni

1.25 oz Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin

1 oz Camapri

.75 oz Cocchi Torino Vermouth

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until proper chill and dilution are achieved. Strain into a double rocks glass.  Add a few large pieces of clear ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

One Love

Dateless for V-Day? Toast your single status – self-imposed independence should be celebrated (just ask Shakira) – with a bottle of Beau Joie Rosé Champagne and poppable Doughp cookie dough bites, in upbeat flavors like Cinnamood, Brownie Beast, Cookie Monsta, and Red Velvet Vixen. $135, TotalWine.com; $12-$16, Doughp.com

Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBTQ lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyroxtravels.

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Sports

New York Rangers forgo Pride jerseys and stick tape for team Pride night

NYC Pride organizers responded to omission

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Out Broadway star and actor Michael James Scott prepares to sing the National Anthem at the opening of the NY Rangers Pride Night 2023. (Photo Credit: The New York Rangers/NHL)

New York LGBTQ Rangers fans were disappointed after the National Hockey League team forwent wearing the team’s special warm-up jerseys and using Pride stick tape during the team’s 7th annual Pride Night Friday.

The Rangers had promoted Friday night’s Madison Square Garden home game against Vegas Golden Knights, saying players “will be showing their support by donning pride-themed warm-up jerseys and tape in solidarity with those who continue to advocate for inclusivity.”  But ultimately the team wore their “Liberty Head” jerseys in warmups instead.

After the game, a 4-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, the Rangers released a statement: “Our organization respects the LGBTQ+ community and we are proud to bring attention to important local community organizations as part of another great Pride Night. In keeping with our organization’s core values, we support everyone’s individual right to respectfully express their beliefs.”

In an emailed statement to the Washington Blade Sunday Dan Dimant, media director for NYC Pride | Heritage of Pride, Inc. said:

“In recent years, numerous National Hockey League (NHL) franchises including the New York Rangers have introduced a series of ‘Pride Nights’ to engage the LGBTQ+ community. NYC Pride has been honored to take part in these celebrations, including as recently as last night at Madison Square Garden.

NYC Pride was not made aware in advance of our participation in last night’s ceremonial puck drop that Pride jerseys and rainbow tape would not be worn as advertised. We understand and appreciate that this has been a major disappointment to the LGBTQ+ community in New York and beyond. We are communicating these concerns with NY Rangers and NHL leadership as we continue to discuss the ways these organizations can work toward inclusion.

NYC Pride has a duty to both support our partners and hold them accountable. We are committed to continuing our relationships with the NY Rangers and the NHL and maintaining substantive dialogue with them about meaningful allyship with the LGBTQ+ community.”

ESPN reported that the team’s annual Pride Night was celebrated throughout the game in other ways. Fans were given a pride-themed fanny pack as a giveaway. The exterior and interior lights at Madison Square Garden were illuminated in rainbow colors. The Rangers also made a charitable donation to the Ali Forney Center on Pride Night, the largest agency dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youths in the country.

ESPN noted that Andre Thomas, co-chair of NYC Pride and Heritage of Pride, participated in the ceremonial puck drop.
(Photo Credit: The New York Rangers/NHL)

The Rangers’ Pride Night was held 10 days after Ivan Provorov, the alternate captain for the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers, opted out of participating in the team’s Pride Night charity event before the game Tuesday, claiming a religious exemption based on his Russian Orthodox faith.

Provorov, 26, was the only member of the Flyers to not take part in the pre-game exercise on the ice. A video tweeted by the team’s official account shows the rest of the players wore special Pride Night-themed black jerseys with the traditional Flyers logo on the front and rainbow-colored names and numbers on the back; many of the players practiced using hockey sticks wrapped in rainbow-colored tape known as Pride tape. Both the sticks and the jerseys were auctioned off after the game with the Anaheim Ducks, to raise money for local LGBTQ charities. 

The defenseman, who was born in Russia, told reporters after their victory, “I respect everybody and respect everybody’s choices,” adding that he declined to take part in the warmup “to stay true to myself and my religion.” 

After Provorov opted out of participating in the Flyer’s Pride Night charity event the NHL put out a statement that said players can decide which team and league initiatives to support.

“Hockey is for Everyone is the umbrella initiative under which the league encourages Clubs to celebrate the diversity that exists in their respective markets, and to work to achieve more welcoming and inclusive environments for all fans,” the league said. “Clubs decide whom to celebrate, when and how — with League counsel and support. Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”

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Out & About

10 LGBTQ events this week

Howard hosts first Pride Night, GMCW performs ‘Judy’ among highlights

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Events this week include a birthday celebration for Desiree Dik, a Gay Men's Chorus production of 'Judy' and Howard University Basketball's first Pride Night. (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

Below are our picks for some of the most fun and creative things to do this week in the DMV that are of special interest to the LGBTQ community.


Howard University Basketball Pride Night

Monday, January 30
5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Burr Gymnasium
Howard University
$25
Tickets

The Bison hold their first Pride Night game on Monday as they face off against South Carolina State University.


JR.’s Showtunes

Monday, January 30
9 p.m.
JR.’s Bar
1519 17th Street, N.W.
Facebook

JR.’s holds its weekly Monday Night Showtunes event, so dust off those pipes and sing along.


Meaningful Networking for LGBTQ Professionals

Tuesday, January 31
6 p.m.
Number Nine
1435 P Street, N.W.
$0-$85
Facebook | Eventbrite

Out Professionals holds a networking event at Number Nine on Tuesday. Come by to make business and social connections with fellow LGBTQ professionals.


Sleaze: Poundhog Day

Thursday, February 2
Doors 9 p.m.
DC9 Nightclub
1940 9th Street, N.W.
$10
Facebook | Eventbrite

Whether Phil sees his shadow or not, dance the night away at the monthly LGBTQ+ party. Performances by Sirene Noir Sidora Jackson and Jane Saw with DJs THABLACKGOD, Lemz and Kennan Orr.


Kinky Bears

Friday, February 3
5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
UPROAR Lounge & Nightclub
639 Florida Avenue, N.W.
No cover
Facebook

DC Social and UPROAR present Kinky Bears happy hour featuring DJ Popperz.


Desiree’s Dirty 30!

Friday, February 3
9 p.m.
Red Bear Brewing Co.
209 M Street, N.E.
Facebook

Award winning drag queen Desiree Dik celebrates her Dirty 30 with a show on Friday at Red Bear Brewing with Baphomette, Millie Meringue, Mari Con Carne and Evry Pleasure.


District 1st Friday: Traffic Light Underwear Party

Friday, February 3
10 p.m.
Green Lantern
1335 Green Court, N.W.
$10
Facebook

Be naughty with an all-body-types-welcome underwear attire party.


‘JUDY’ Cabaret

Saturday, February 4
5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Crazy Aunt Helen’s
713 8th Street, S.E.
$45
Eventbrite

Members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington perform “JUDY” celebrating the music of Judy Garland at Crazy Aunt Helen’s with two cabaret shows on Saturday.


Avalon Saturdays: ElectroPOP

Saturday, February 4
10 p.m.
Soundcheck
1420 K Street, N.W.
$25-$30 / 18+
Facebook | Tickets

DJ Xiver and DJ AytonH spin high energy, pop hits and remixes all night long on Saturday at Soundcheck.


Oddball

Saturday, February 4
Meet & Greet 11 p.m. / Show at midnight
The Runway DC
3523 12th Street, N.E.
$25
Facebook | Eventbrite

Join special guest Koco Caine for an Oddball show hosted by Desiree Dik. Performers include Baphomette, Evry Pleasure, Javon Love and Sextia N’Eight.

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