DC Brau, D.C.’s original craft brewery, reveals the design of its 6th annual Pride Pils can and announces the celebratory Pride Pils Launch event. In support of The Blade Foundation and SMYAL, DC Brau partnered with LGBTQ owned Red Bear Brewing Co. and local artist Chord Bezerra of District Co-Op to design this year’s can.
DC Brau will showcase the Pride Pils design, kicking off DC Pride with a celebration at Red Bear Brewing Company (209 M St NE) in NoMA on Thursday, June 1st, from 6pm – 8pm. Guests will enjoy DC Brau beer, featuring the newly minted 2023 Pride Pils can. The event is free but can RSVP to HERE.
The art, designed by Chord Bezerra, was created in direct response to the anti-drag bills being passed around the country. Drag king and queen culture has always been a cornerstone of the LGBTQ+ community. In the 1890s, William Dorsey Swann, the first self-described drag queen, pushed boundaries and created safe spaces for queer expression in Washington, D.C. Today, drag culture is under attack, but we stand united to ensure the rights of kings and queens to express themselves remain for generations to come. #AllHailTheQueens. In addition to the design being featured on DC Brau’s 2023 Pride Pils can, supporters can purchase ‘Hail To The Queen’ merchandise, including T-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, and more from District Co-Op. Proceeds from each purchase will benefit The Blade Foundation and SMYAL.
Since launching Pride Pils in 2017, DC Brau has donated more than $48,731 to The Blade Foundation and SMYAL, selling more than 90,336 Pride Pils cans. This year, the can labels have been generously donated by Blue Label Packaging Co. along with PakTech’s donation of packaging handles.
About DC Brau: DC Brau Brewery was founded in 2011 and is Washington D.C.’s leading craft brewery, producing a variety of high-quality beers that are distributed locally and throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. DC Brau’s commitment to quality and innovation has earned it numerous accolades, including multiple gold medals at domestic and international beer festivals. For additional information, please visit www.dcbrau.com.
About Red Bear Brewing: Red Bear Brewing Co is an LGBT owned West Coast style brew pub located in the NoMa neighborhood of Washington DC. Red Bear strives to promote diversity to the craft brewing community across the board with our inclusive taproom, company culture and delicious beer, beverage and food offerings. www.redbear.beer.
About The Washington Blade: The Washington Blade was founded in 1969 and is known as the “newspaper of record” for the LGBTQ community both locally and nationally. For more information, visit washingtonblade.com and follow on Facebook (@WashingtonBlade) & Twitter/Instagram (@WashBlade).
About District CoOp: District CoOp is a collection of artists celebrating design, diversity and the culture of D.C. We’re all about supporting and empowering local artists and creating a brand for the people by the people. All designs are available in both men’s and women’s and as a tank or crew. Follow us on Instagram (@District_CoOp) or Facebook (@DistrictCoOp).
About SMYAL: SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the Washington, DC, metropolitan region. Through youth leadership, SMYAL creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to build self-confidence, develop critical life skills, and engage their peers and community through service and advocacy. Committed to social change, SMYAL builds, sustains, and advocates for programs, policies, and services that LGBTQ youth need as they grow into adulthood. To learn more, visit SMYAL.org
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New book explores why we categorize sports according to gender
You can lead a homophobic horse to water but you can’t make it think
‘Fair Play: How Sports Shape the Gender Debates’
By Katie Barnes
c.2023, St. Martin’s Press
The jump shot happened so quickly, so perfectly.
Your favorite player was in the air in a heartbeat, basketball in hand, wrist cocked. One flick and it was all swish, three points, just like that, and your team was ahead. So are you watching men’s basketball or women’s basketball? Or, as in the new book, “Fair Play” by Katie Barnes, should it really matter?
For sports fans, this may come as a surprise: we categorize sports according to gender.
Football, baseball, wresting: male sports. Gymnastics, volleyball: women’s sports. And yet, one weekend spent cruising around television shows you that those sports are enjoyed by both men and women – but we question the sexuality of athletes who dare (gasp!) to cross invisible lines for a sport they love.
How did sports “become a flash point for a broader conversation?”
Barnes takes readers back first to 1967, when Kathrine Switzer and Bobbi Gibb both ran in the Boston Marathon. It was the first time women had audaciously done so and while both finished the race, their efforts didn’t sit well with the men who made the rules.
“Thirty-seven words” changed the country in 1972 when Title IX was signed, which guaranteed there’d be no discrimination in extracurricular events, as long as “federal financial assistance” was taken. It guaranteed availability for sports participation for millions of girls in schools and colleges. It also “enshrine[d] protections for queer and transgender youth to access school sports.”
So why the debate about competition across gender lines?
First, says Barnes, we can’t change biology, or human bodies that contain both testosterone and estrogen, or that some athletes naturally have more of one or the other – all of which factor into the debate. We shouldn’t forget that women can and do compete with men in some sports, and they sometimes win. We shouldn’t ignore the presence of transgender men in sports.
What we should do, Barnes says, is to “write a new story. One that works better.”
Here are two facts: Nobody likes change. And everybody has an opinion.
Keep those two statements in mind when you read “Fair Play.” They’ll keep you calm in this debate, as will author Katie Barnes’ lack of flame fanning.
As a sports fan, an athlete, and someone who’s binary, Barnes makes things relatively even-keel in this book, which is a breath of fresh air in what’s generally ferociously contentious. There’s a good balance of science and social commentary here, and the many, many stories that Barnes shares are entertaining and informative, as well as illustrative. Readers will come away with a good understanding of where the debate lies.
But will this book make a difference?
Maybe. Much will depend on who reads and absorbs it. Barnes offers plenty to ponder but alas, you can lead a homophobic horse to water but you can’t make it think. Still, if you’ve got skin in this particular bunch of games, find “Fair Play” and jump on it.
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An exciting revival of ‘Evita’ at Shakespeare Theatre
Out actor Caesar Samayoa on portraying iconic role of President Perón
Through Oct. 15
Shakespeare Theatre Company
610 F St., N.W.
When Eva Perón died of cancer at 33 in 1952, the people’s reaction was so intense that Argentina literally ran out of cut flowers. Mourners were forced to fly in stems from neighboring countries, explains out actor Caesar Samayoa.
For Samayoa, playing President Perón to Shireen Pimental’s First Lady Eva in director Sammi Cannold’s exciting revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” at Shakespeare Theatre Company is a dream fulfilled.
As a Guatemalan-American kid, he had a foot in two worlds. Samayoa lived and went to school in suburban Emerson, N.J. But he spent evenings working at his parents’ botanica in Spanish Harlem.
During the drives back and forth in the family station wagon, he remembers listening to “Evita” on his cassette player: “It’s the first cast album I remember really hearing and understanding. I longed to be in the show.”
As an undergrad, he transferred from Bucknell University where he studied Japanese international relations to a drama major at Ithica College. His first professional gig was in 1997 playing Juliet in Joe Calarco’s off-Broadway “Shakespeare’s R&J.” Lots of Broadway work followed including “Sister Act,” “The Pee-Wee Herman Show,” and most significantly, Samayoa says, “Come From Away,” a musical telling of the true story of airline passengers stranded in Gander, Newfoundland during 9/11. He played Kevin J. (one half of a gay couple) and Ali, a Muslim chef.
He adds “Evita” has proved a powerful experience too: “We’re portraying a populist power couple that changed the trajectory of a country in a way most Americans can’t fully understand. And doing it in Washington surrounded by government and politics is extra exciting.”
WASHINGTON BLADE: How do you tap into a real-life character like Perón?
CAESAR SAMAYOA: Fortunately, Sammi [Connald] and I work similarly. With real persons and situations, I immerse myself into history, almost to a ridiculous extent.
First day in the rehearsal room, we were inundated with artifacts. Sammi has been to Argentina several times and interviewed heavily with people involved in Eva and Peron’s lives. Throughout the process we’d sit and talk about the real history that happened. We went down the rabbit hole.
Sammi’s interviews included time with Eva’s nurse who was at her bedside when she died. We watched videos of those interviews. They’ve been an integral part of our production.
BLADE: Were you surprised by anything you learned?
SAMAYOA: Usually, Eva and Perón’s relationship is portrayed as purely transactional. They wrote love letters and I had access to those. At their country home, they’d be in pajamas and walk on the beach; that part of their life was playful and informal. They were a political couple but they were deeply in love too. I latched on to that.
BLADE: And anything about the man specifically?
SAMAYOA: Perón’s charisma was brought to the forefront. In shows I’ve done, some big names have attended. Obama. Clinton. Justin Trudeau came to “Come From Away.” Within seconds, the charisma makes you give into that person. I’ve tried to use that.
BLADE: And the part?
SAMAYOA: Perón is said to be underwritten. But I love his power and the songs he sings [“The Art of the Possible,” “She is a Diamond,” etc.]. I’m fully a baritone and to find that kind of role in a modern musical is nearly impossible. And in this rock opera, I can use it to the full extent and feel great about it.
BLADE: “Evita” is a co-production with A.R.T. Has it changed since premiering in Boston?
SAMAYOA: Yes, it has. In fact, 48 hours before opening night in Washington, we made some changes and they’ve really landed. Without giving too much away, we gave it more gravity in reality of time as well as Eva’s sickness and the rapid deterioration. It’s given our second act a huge kind of engine that it didn’t have.
BLADE: You’re married to talent agent Christopher Freer and you’re very open. Was it always that way for you?
SAMAYOA: When I started acting professionally, it was a very different industry. We were encouraged to stay in the closet or it will cast only in a certain part. There was truth in that. There still is some truth in that, but I refuse to go down that road. I can’t reach what I need to reach unless I’m my most honest self. I can’t do it any other way.
HRC’s National Dinner is back
LGBTQ rights organization’s annual gala features Rhimes, Waithe, Bomer
The Human Rights Campaign will host its annual National Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
The dinner’s honorees include world-famous producers, actors and entertainers whose work spotlights the fight for civil rights and social justice, including Shonda Rhimes, Lena Waithe and Matt Bomer.
A new event, as part of the weekend, — the Equality Convention — will take place the night before the dinner on Friday, Oct. 13. The convention will showcase the power of the LGBTQ equality movement, feature influential political and cultural voices, and bring together volunteer and movement leaders from across the country to talk about the path ahead.
For more details about the weekend, visit HRC’s website.