Kickball is one of the sports slated for inclusion in the new Freedom Sports Festival which kicks off here in July. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
Summers in the Washington area are always filled with a great mix of LGBT sporting events. This summer will once again showcase events run by the D.C. Strokes Rowing Club, the District of Columbia Aquatics Club and the D.C. Front Runners just to name a few. In August, the Chesapeake and Potomac Softball League will welcome 4,000 athletes to D.C. for the NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series.
The summer will also bring a new event â Team D.C. will host the first Freedom Sports Festival from July 18-21. Team D.C. is the information clearinghouse for the roughly 30-plus LGBT sports teams in the area.
The Festival is expected to be a regional sporting event run in the years opposite the Gay Games. After taking a year off for the Gay Games in 2014, the event will run for three years straight through 2017.
This yearâs lineup of sports will consist of kickball, golf, racquetball, ballroom dancing, beach volleyball and basketball. Each of the tournaments will be hosted within the D.C. city limits and will be run by that sportâs respective local LGBT sports team.
âWe have targeted sports with limited tournament opportunities,â says Brent Minor, founder and executive director of Team D.C. âThis will give the smaller and lesser known sports a chance to grow.â
The Festival will kick off on July 18th with the Team D.C. Champions Awards and the Team D.C. College Scholarship Reception. Each year, Team D.C. honors members of the local LGBT sports community with the MVP Award, the Trailblazer Award and the Community Support Award.
On the same night, Team D.C. will award its annual college scholarships to openly gay student athletes from the D.C. area. The college scholarships are funded by various Team D.C. fundraisers along with major contributions from the Capital Tennis Association, the D.C. Gay Flag Football League and the D.C. Frontrunners.
Last year, Team D.C. awarded six scholarships ranging from $500-$2,000. This year is shaping up to be another banner year of recipients as several applications of merit have been received with the June deadline fast approaching.
After a weekend of tournament play, the Freedom Sports Festival will wrap up on July 21 with an evening of fun at the Six Flags America Water Park in Largo, Md., from 5 p.m. until close. Everyone is welcome to join the athletes for a relaxing water-filled evening.
âWe are hoping that a lot of spectators come out to see the Festival tournaments,â Minor says. âSeeing the events in person makes the sport more real and accessible. Growing the smaller sports helps to build new leadership in our sports community. We expect to add more sports in the future such as womenâs rugby.â
Team D.C. will also host Night OUT at the Kastles on July 22 at Kastles Stadium as our World Team Tennis players take on the Philadelphia Freedoms.
Information and registration for the Freedom Sports Festival will be posted soon at teamdc.org. Nominations for the Champions Awards and applications for the College Scholarships can be found on the same website.
‘Same-Sex Legal Kit for Dummies’
By Carrie Stone and John G. Culhane
John Wiley & Sons
366 pages + CD
(Image courtesy of John Wiley & Sons)
You know your rights.
Youâve watched enough TV to know that you have the right to remain silent. You have the right to party all night. You have the right sides of the bed, the sofa and seating arrangements at the table.
But kidding aside, what are your legal rights?Â In âSame-Sex Legal Kit for Dummiesâ by Carrie Stone and John G. Culhane, youâll learn some eye-opening rights â and wrongs.
Fifty years ago, needing to know your rights as an LGBT individual wouldâve largely been a moot point: there were no rights. Today, you have rights but since they seem to change daily, you might need help understanding them.
Take, for instance, marriage.
Most states, of course, donât recognize same-sex marriage and wonât honor a marriage performed in another state. The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) further âcripplesâ gay and lesbian marriage by âroping offâ federally granted rights that straight married couples enjoy, thus complicating tax returns, government benefits, immigration and more.
Expanding the mess created by DOMA, if a state doesnât recognize your marriage or civil union, you may (or may not) still need a divorce, should you split with your ex-beloved. Other issues boggle the mind: what if youâre bisexual and you marry a same-sex partner in a right-to-marry state? Could you also legally marry an opposite-sex partner in a state that doesnât recognize your first wedding?
Once youâve untangled partnership legalities, itâs natural that youâd want to create a family. There are several ways to bring children into your household and the authors have advice on protecting the rights of all concerned. Youâll also get tips on dealing with bullying, schools and nosy neighbors.
Know where to seek help to combat discrimination. Know what to do if youâre refused housing based on your sexual orientation. Learn how to mesh finances, protect joint assets and buy a house with a partner. Find out how to ensure your rights on medical issues. And, though you hope you never need it, learn the right way to dissolve your âlegal LGBT relationship.â
And now you know why you need âSame-Sex Legal Kit for Dummies.â
Yes, itâs all complicated, but authors Stone and Culhane manage to make it just a little less so by giving readers a broad overview of the important issues, starting with marriage.
Since thatâs not the only LGBT issue in the courts, however, they also cover wills and trusts, health directives, power-of-attorney issues, immigration and many issues relating to LGBT families and children. Also helpful are a CD that includes forms and sample documents, and a section called âThe Part of Tens,â in which youâll get tips on things that are not necessarily legalities, but are useful nonetheless.
Overall, this is a handy book and a good start for those times when somethingâs amiss legally. True, itâs not a replacement for an actual lawyer, but if you think having âSame-Sex Legal Kit for Dummiesâ would be good to have around, youâll likely benefit from it.
Tia Nina has a Fringe show slated for Sunday. (Photo courtesy Fringe Festival)
The Capital Fringe Festival will continue this week and through July 28. The festival features live performances and shows by local actors whose work is promoted by Capital Fringe, a local performing arts non-profit organization.
The festival features a number of performances that address gay themes. âLa Voce to Me,â a gay recreation of âThe Little Mermaidâ by Jeremy Pace, will be performed on Sunday at 5:15 at the Goethe Institut (812 7th St., N.W.).
Also on Sunday is âPitchinâ the Tent: Tia Nina Live at Baldacchino,â showcasing the gender-bending feminist rock band Tia Nina. All of the groupâs songs are original, complemented with gritty dancing. The performance is at 3 p.m. at Fort Fringe (607 New York Ave., N.W.).
âSongs From an Unmade Bedâ is a musical theater and opera performance directed by Josh Redford that reveals a gay manâs experiences living in New York. The show is at 2:45 p.m. at Fort Fringe on Sunday (607 New York Ave., N.W.).
âThe Burlesque of Broadway,â by Lola Rose, is a burlesque show with sexy dance numbers to Broadway classics on Friday at 10 p.m. at Fort Fringe (607 New York Ave., N.W.). The show features homoerotic themes and gender-ambiguous costumes.
General admission to each performance is $17. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit capitalfringe.org.
Avan Lava members say they love energetic fans who get into their shows. (Photo courtesy the band)
By WESLEY DELLA VOLLA
Avan Lava is Brooklynâs best-kept pop secret and famous for its high energy and inclusive live shows. At its core are a trio of singer TC and producers/musicians Le Chev and Ian Pai, but if youâre lucky enough to have seen one of their shows â such as their D.C. date at Living Social earlier this month â you know the band live is a robust group of six that includes musicians, vocalists and technicians Andrew Schneider (The Wooster Group), Drew Citron and Jo Lampert. The Blade caught up with Avan Lava after a recent photo shoot to talk about their queer-friendly live show.
WASHINGTON BLADE: Avan Lava is a party band and your live show is the main focus of what you do. Why is it important to you to have your parties so inclusive?
LE CHEV: Itâs the motto of the project and how we all came together. Love will prevail. If everyone comes together, then everything will be fine. Seriously, the project being so inclusive is the most important part of it. It really shows in the music and the overall direction. The fundamental rule of the band is âif itâs good, go for it.â That carries over to everything.
BLADE: Iâve heard from fans whoâve seen you live say you have a punk rock edge to your energy. Does that rebellious nature inspire you?
IAN: We have a punk energy and that is something we all believe in. We would rather go hard and get crazy than be perfect and in total control. Being in control when youâre doing a show isnât fun, I donât think. Itâs more fun to watch people lose themselves.
LE CHEV: We are going for the maximum sexiness and reckless abandon is always the most sexy.
JO: I think thatâs why at the end of any Avan Lava show you will see at least one set of exes making out.
BLADE: What has most surprised you about your audiences?
LE CHEV: The most exciting thing for us is that people really consider it like an event and not just a show. People really prep for the evening, get their look on and really plan for this to be the night they go hard.
IAN: I love the people who show up in gym clothes. They show up like theyâre gonna work out, they are right up front and you canât get near them. They start dancing before we start playing and go hard until weâre done.
TC: It feels like out audience is in the same kind of head space, no matter who they are.
JO: They have a lot of stamina, you know by the time you are ready to pop off the last confetti cannons, you know they are still wanting it and ready for it.
BLADE: So TC, how has that inclusive environment helped you become more comfortable with you who you are and influenced you as a person?
TC: In the beginning we werenât too sure what we were trying to do and I think because our audience was so inclusive it informed what we became. They made our true selves come through because it felt like it was that kind of party. For me personally I stopped thinking about what was cool and what was fun. And it turns out that being gay is really, really fun and it gets even more fun the older you get, because you care less about what people think.
BLADE: Being as open as you are with sexuality, have you experienced any throwback from that? Do you think moving forward it will hinder or not be an issue as you become more successful?
TC: For me it has not been an issue or helped so far.
IAN: I mean I think it totally held us back. We would/should have had five or six Grammys this year. I overheard someone on the committee say that we were a little too open and we should be more tidy and conservative.
JO: I think for us we donât want to be pigeonholed as a gay band. Sexuality doesnât come become before the music. Itâs about being open and happy.
Last yearâs 17th Street Festival in the heart of D.C.âs gayborhood. This yearâs event is slated for Saturday on this weekâs D.C. LGBT events calendar. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)
D.C. LGBT Events Calendar: Friday, September 13
Skyline Indie Film Festival (Winchester, Va.,) screens âTennessee Queer,â a quirky comedy about a manâs struggle to change his small town, tonight from 8:15-11 p.m. Tickets are $12.50. For more information, visit skylineindiefilmfest.org.
The Howard Theatre (620 T St., N.W.) hosts âMIXTAPE: 5 Year Anniversary Partyâ tonight at 10:30 p.m. DJs Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer play a mixture of electro, alt-pop, indie rock, house, disco and more. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit thehowardtheatre.com.
Special Agent Galactica performs with The Hummingbirds for its Happy Hour Show at Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) this evening from 6-9 p.m. No cover. For details, visit pinkhairedone.com.
Saturday, Sept. 14
Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets hosts its fourth annual 17th Street Festival (17th St., N.W.) today from noon-6 p.m. The festival includes the best of Dupont Circleâs entertainment, art, food, shopping and more. For more information, visit 17thstreetfestival.org.
Team D.C. hosts âUnited Night Outâ at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (2400 East Capitol St., S.E.) at 4 p.m. today. Enjoy the Pregame Tailgate Party hosted by the Federal Triangles Soccer Club with burgers, hot dogs and bring your own sides. After, watch the D.C. United vs. L.A. Galaxy game. Tickets are $30. For details, visit unitednightout.com.
Nellieâs Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts its new âSaturday Brunchâ at 11 a.m. Guests can enjoy one free mimosa with their meal. For more details, visit nelliessportsbar.com.
Street Corner Symphony, contemporary acapella group and runner-ups on âThe Sing-Off,â perform at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. E Vienna, Va.) tonight at 7 and 9 p.m. General admission tickets are $18 and VIP tickets are $20. For details, visit jamminjava.com.
Sunday, Sept. 15
U Street Music Hall (1115 U St., N.W.) hosts Baby Loves Disco, a family friendly dance party, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. today. Bring the kids for dancing, face painting and temporary tattoos. Cash bar with snacks and juice boxes. Tickets $15 per person or four tickets for $55. For more information, visit babylovesdisco.com.
The President Woodrow Wilson House holds its 28th annual Kalorama House and Embassy Tour from noon- 5 p.m. today. Tour the historic buildings in the Kalorama neighborhood including the Ambassador of Austriaâs residence and the Andrew Mellon Building. A pre-tour brunch is at the Mansion on O Street (2020 O St., N.W.). Tour tickets are $35 in advance and brunch and tour tickets are $75 in advance. For more information, visit woodrowwilsonhouse.org/events.
The OASIS Dance Company presents its third annual benefit gala âThe Resurrection of Fashionâ at the THEARC Theater (1901 Mississippi Ave., S.E.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. The gala benefits LGBT youth and includes a runway and award show. Cocktail reception begins at 6:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $20 and VIP tickets are $50. For more details, visit oasisdanceco.com.
Perryâs (1811 Columbia Rd., N.W.) hosts its weekly âSunday Drag Brunchâ today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $24.95 for an all-you-can-eat buffet. For more details, visit perrysadamsmorgan.com.
Monday, Sept. 16
The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) hosts coffee drop-in hours this morning from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT community. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.
SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.)Â hosts its free and confidential HIV testing drop-in hours from 3-5 p.m. today. For more details, visit smyal.org.
Us Helping Us (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) hosts a discussion group for black gay men tonight from 7-9 p.m. Discuss topics and share opinions on topics that matter to the community. For information, visit uhupil.org.
Menâs Circle for gay/bi/trans/questioning men holds its discussion group tonight from 7-9:30 p.m. at 914 N. St., N.W. Itâs free. For details, email email@example.com.
Tuesday, Sept. 17
Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers to pack safer sex kits at The Green Lantern (1335 Green Court N.W.) from 7-10:30 p.m. tonight. For more information visit burgundycrescent.org.
SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts its weekly Rap Group today from 5-6:30 p.m. Come talk about the stress of school, jobs, family, friends and anything else in the support group. For more details, visit smyal.org.
Wednesday, Sept. 18
Anne Arundel Community College (101 College Pkwy., Arnold, Md.) hosts its fall film series âLGBT Themes and Issuesâ today at 11 a.m.Â in the Careers Center Building Room 344. Todayâs film screening is âFagbug,â the journey of a woman who leads a nationwide gay rights campaign after being vandalized with anti-gay hate speech. The film series continues through Nov. 18. For more information, visit aacc.edu/women.
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) hosts its âOut on the Hill Leadership Summitâ today through Sept. 22. Join hundreds of the nationâs black LGBT activists, leaders, elected officials and more to participate in social action for advancement in LGBT equality. Registration begins at 8 a.m. today. For more details, visit nbjc.org.
Bookmen D.C., an informal menâs gay literature group, meets tonight at the American Foreign Service Association (2101 E St., N.W.) at 7:30 p.m. The discussion is on selections from âSeminal: The Anthology of Canadaâs Gay Male Poets.â For more information, visit bookmendc.blogspot.com.
The Tom Davoren Social Bridge Club meets tonight at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) at 7:30 p.m. for social bridge. No partner needed. For more information, call 301-345-1571.
The Latino GLBT History Project has a community celebration this evening from 6:30-8 p.m. at Mt. Pleasant Library (3160 16th Street, N.W.) as it celebrates the opening of a month-long photo exhibit on Latino/a LGBT heroes. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the community. Details at latinoglbthistory.org.
Thursday, Sept. 19
Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts its weekly âRipped-Hot Body Contestâ tonight from 9 p.m.-2 a.m.Â Win up to $200 in prizes. $2 rail drinks from 9-11 p.m. Admission is 18 and up and is free.
Rude Boi Entertainment hosts âTempted 2 Touch,â a ladies dance party, at the Fab Lounge (2022 Florida Ave., N.W.). Doors open at 10 p.m. Drink specials $5 and vodka shots $3 all night. No cover charge. Admission limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit rudeboientertainment.wordpress.com.
The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) hosts its monthly Poly Discussion Group at 7 p.m. this evening. People of all ages are invited to discuss polyamory and other consensual non-monogamous relationships. This event is for new comers, established polyamorous relationships and open to all sexual orientations. For details, visit thedccenter.org.
Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers today through Sept. 22 for the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance at the Sheraton Silver Spring Hotel (8777 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, Md.) For more information visit burgundycrescent.org or sexualfreedomsummit.org.
Sutton Foster performs songs from her debut solo album âWishâ at Music Center at Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, Md.,) Saturday night at 8 p.m.
Foster is best known for playing the title role in the musical âThoroughly Modern Millie,â playing Princess Fiona in âShrek the Musicalâ and as Reno Sweeney in âAnything Goes.â Recently she starred in the ABC Family drama âBunheads.â Her career began when she performed on âStar Searchâ at the age of 15. Foster went on to win two Tony awards for her Broadway performances.
Tickets range from $26-$78. For more details or to purchase tickets, visit Strathmore.org.
ReconcilingWorks, an organization of Lutherans for Full Participation, hosts âLove Lost in Translation: A Fresh Approach to Homosexuality and the Bibleâ at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation (212 East Capitol St., N.E.) Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
The lecture, based on the book of the same name and given by Dr. K. Renato Lings, explores biblical stories and passages that generally comment on homoerotic relationships. Lings delves into mistranslations of the texts into Greek, Latin and other languages and shows how certain translation errors are continued by translators today. Ling explains why he believes these mistranslations are the reason for the controversy in Christian churches over same-sex relationships.
Cover to ‘My Brother My Sister.’ (Image courtesy of Viking)
âMy Brother My Sisterâ
By Molly Haskell
Mom always said you were two of a kind.
You and your favorite sibling: yin and yang, two halves of a whole. A lot of film was spent documenting your lives. A lot of memories are shared when you get together.
Once upon a time, you knew exactly what your sib was thinking â or did you?Â Read the new bookÂ âMy Brother My Sisterâ by Molly Haskell,Â and you might wonder.
Growing up in Richmond , Va., in the post-WWII years, Molly Haskell, her brother Chevey and their friends enjoyed the same clubs, schools, cotillions and churches. She remembers a childhood of privilege and happiness.
Her brother remembers sneaking up to Haskellâs closet to try on her clothes.
Of course, that was unknown to Haskell until years later, when Chevey came to her in New York and told her that heâd decided to act on something that had vexed him for decades: nervously, he explained that he had gender dysphoria. Heâd been on hormones for months. Years ago, heâd thought of himself as âEllen,â the woman he knew he was inside.
It was something that Haskell never saw coming.
Chevey had been married twice. His first wife knew of his feelings, as did his second wife, but the latter was struggling with acceptance. So, in fact, was Haskell, though she was also curious to know the particulars.
When did Chevey know? (At age 7). How did he decide to do this? (The urge was so strong that he could do nothing else). Why did he wait 50-some years to transition? (Many reasons, including family). He likened his gender to a âbirth defect.â It was time to make things right.
As Chevey became Ellen, Haskell mourned the loss of her brother. When Ellen informed the rest of the family of her news, Haskell kept âwaiting for the sky to fallâ but nothing happened. Yes, there were slips, gaffes, hurts and a few surprising revelations, but the world didnât end.
âLucky for me,â says Haskell, âmy newly minted sister is still the magnificent human being my brother was.â
Thereâs an awful lot of âpoor-meâ-ing in the beginning of âMy Brother My Sister;â a lot of hand-wringing from author Molly Haskell, and too much fretting about how her brotherâs transformation would affectÂ her. While some readers might imagine how theyâd feel in the same situation, itâs pretty tedious, angst-ridden reading.
Thankfully, the book gets better.
Once Haskellâs story gets around to acceptance, readers are treated to a more relaxing read, one of discovery (both on Haskellâs part, and that of her sister), devotion, and of delight. Thatâs theÂ raison dâetreÂ of this book. What youâll find from there to the end is why youâd want to read this book in the first place.
Aside from a bumpy beginning and some surgery descriptions that are TMI-overload, âMy Brother My Sisterâ is ultimately satisfying, especially for those who may be going through these same issues.
TempTation is hosting a âJockz vs. Nerdzâ dance party Friday night at the Howard Theater (620 T St., N.W.) at 11 p.m.
Guests are encouraged to dress up as the high school stereotype of their choice. Dj TWIN will be spinning his own blend of tribal, house and mainstream remixes.
Admission is $10 and limited to guests 21 and over. Tickets can be purchased online at thehowardtheatre.com. For details on the dance party, visit the event on Facebook titled âTempTation Presents: Jockz vs. Nerdz.â
New York City (Photo by Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons)
New York City Pride kicks off this weekend on Friday from 7-10 p.m. at Hudson River Parkâs Pier 26 in TriBeCa with the NYC Pride Rally. This yearâs hosts are Pandora Boxx from RuPaulâs Drag Race and Keith Price, with performances by Pam Ann and Vicci Martinez.
The NYC Pride March starts on Sunday at 11 a.m. at 36 St. and 5 Ave.Â This yearâs Grand Marshals are Edith Windsor, Harry Belafonte and Earl Fowlkes. Following the march is PrideFest, a massive LGBT public street fair with vendors and entertainers on Hudson Street between Abdingdon Square and West 14th Street PrideFest is from 11 a.m. -6 p.m.
NYC Pride has many other events during the weekend, finishing with the Dance on the Pier party on Sunday from 3-10 p.m. on Pier 26 in Hudson River Park featuring Cher and Deborah Cox. Tickets are $75 and $125 for VIP passes, and all proceeds go to NYC Pride Week events and community organizations. For more details on NYC Pride, visit nycpride.org.