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Piano virtuoso to join NSO for performances

Stephen Hough, piano, music, gay news, Washington Blade

Pianist Stephen Hough. (Photo by Andrew Crowley; courtesy Kennedy Center)

British pianist Stephen Hough performs with the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2700 F St., N.W.) Thursday, Jan. 14 through Jan. 18.

Hough has performed with major orchestras all over the world and has recorded 50 albums. He is also known for writing about the relationship between music, religion and being gay.

Tickets range from $10-$85. For details, visit kennedy-center.org.

09
Jan
2014

Calendar: Feb. 28-Mar. 6

Spring Awakening, calendar, gay news, Washington Blade

A scene from ‘Spring Awakening,’ on the boards through March 8 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland at College Park. (Photo courtesy CSPAC)

Gay events calendar in D.C. for the week ahead.

Friday, Feb. 28

Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (3800 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, College Park, Md.,) presents Tony-winning Broadway musical “Spring Awakening” tonight at 7:30 p.m. through March 8. The rock musical, based on the controversial 1891 play by German playwright Frank Wedekind, explores homosexuality, rape, child abuse and suicide. Tickets are $30. For more information, visit claricesmithcenter.umd.edu.

Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) hosts a Mardi Gras celebration tonight from 10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. There is a $1 suggested donation. Proceeds benefit Reign II charities including ROSMY, SMYAL and PetsDC. For details, visit greenlanterndc.com.

Women in Their 20s, a social discussion group for LBT and queer women, meets today at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) from 8-9:30 p.m. All welcome to join. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) holds a happy hour from 5-7:30 p.m. tonight with all drinks half price. Hit music begins at 11 p.m. Enjoy pool, video games and cards. Admission is $5 after 9 p.m. Must be 21 and over. For more details, visit bachelorsmill.com.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts free vodka Friday tonight from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Free rail vodka 11 p.m.-midnight. Two DJs on two floors. Cover is $10. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit cobaltdc.com.

Saturday, March 1

That Party,” a new monthly event, starts tonight. Local gay DJ Shea Van Horn will team with D.C. artists Christopher Cunetto and Pussy Noir to create “a night that mixes the surreal, seductive and dramatic” at DC9 Nightclub (1940 9th St., N.W.). Admission is $5. For 21 and older. Two-for-one entry before midnight if both wearing masks, which Van Horn says are “highly encouraged.”

DancEthos and alight dance theater give a performance tonight which includes “Rick’s Dream,” a dance interpretation of REM Sleep, at Kogod Cradle at the Mead Center for American Theater (1101 6th St., S.W.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. For details, visit dancethos.org.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts “Electric Mardi Gras” with dj Kidd Madonny tonight at 10 p.m. There will be glowing gogo boys and a dance performance by the Firm. Cover is $8 from 10-11 p.m. and $12 after 11 p.m. Drinks are $3 before 11 p.m. The drag show starts at 10:30 p.m. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit towndc.com.

D.C. Scandals, a local LGBT rugby team, hosts a “Scandalous Mardi Gras Recruitment Party” at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) tonight from 6:30-9:30 p.m. For more details, visit dcscandals.wordpress.com.

Code Redux presents “CODE All Colors,” a BDSM party, at the Crucible (16 M St., N.E.) from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Fetish dress code required. This is a membership-only event. Walk-ins will not be accepted. Online membership is available. For more information and to join, visit the-crucible.com.

Sunday, March 2

Soprano Julia Bullock makes her Kennedy Center debut at the Terrace Theater (2700 F St., N.W.) today at 2 p.m. The program is a mix of Italian and French songs. Tickets are $35. For more details, visit wpas.org.

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers for Food and Friends (219 Riggs Rd., N.E.) today from 8-10 a.m. Volunteers will chop vegetables and pack groceries. To volunteer, email jonathan@burgundycrescent.org. For more details, visit burgundycrescent.org.

The Academy of Washington presents “Miss Spring Bonnet and Mr. Derby,” a drag show, at Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) today from 3-6 p.m.  For more information, visit blackfoxlounge.com.

Perry’s (1811 Columbia Rd., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Sunday Drag Brunch” 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.

Adventuring, an LGBT outdoors group, holds an 11.4-mile hike along the Potomac Heritage Trail between the Capital Beltway and Theodore Roosevelt Island starting at 9:15 a.m. The hike takes seven hours. Bring beverages, lunch, boots and a $2 trip fee with a few dollars for carpool drivers. Meet at the Theodore Roosevelt parking lot (Lincoln Memorial Cir. N.W.) at 9:15 a.m. For more information, visit adventuring.org.

Monday, March 3

The D.C. Center (2000 14th 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.

Us Helping Us  (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) holds a support group for gay black men to discuss topics that affect them today, share perspectives and have meaningful conversations. For details, visit uhupil.org.

Tuesday, March 4

Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) hosts its weekly ”FUK!T Packing Party” from 7-9 p.m. tonight. For more details, visit thedccenter.org or greenlanterndc.com.

Whitman Walker provides free and confidential HIV testing at Crew Club (1321 14th St., N.W.) today from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For details, visit whitman-walker.org.

Wednesday, March 5

MOVA Lounge (2204 14th St., N.W.) hosts “Hump Day Treat with the V D.C.” tonight from 6 p.m.-midnight. This happy hour includes music, dancing, open mic sessions spoken word, burlesque performances and more. There is no cover charge. For more information, visit movalounge.com.

The Tom Davoren Social Bridge Club meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for social bridge. No partner needed. For more information, call 301-345-1571.

Bookmen D.C., an informal men’s gay literature group, discusses “Too Much Flesh and Jabez” by Coleman Dowell at the Tenleytown Library (4450 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome. For details, visit bookmendc.blogspot.com.

Thursday, March 6

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Beat the Clock Happy Hour” tonight from 5-8 p.m. Drink specials start at $2 and increase by a dollar each hour. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Rude Boi Entertainment hosts “Tempted 2 Touch,” a ladies dance party, at the Fab Lounge (2022 Florida Ave., N.W.) tonight. 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 details, visit rudeboientertainment.wordpress.com.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts “Café SMYAL,” a fun event to get out of the cold, today from 4-5 p.m. Drink hot cocoa, play board games and make new friends. For more information, visit smyal.org.

27
Feb
2014

Laughing with Lily

Lily Tomlin, gay news, Washington Blade

Lily Tomlin’s live show updates her classic characters with modern situations. (Photo by Greg Gorman)

Lily Tomlin

Music Center at Strathmore

5301 Tuckerman Lane

Mar. 28 at 8 p.m.

Strathmore.org

Lilytomlin.com

Comedic legend Lily Tomlin plays the Strathmore Friday night. Last week she spent a delightful hour with us by phone from her Los Angeles home in — as is typical for the actress — a leisurely, rambling-in the-best-way conversation that few stars of her caliber make time for. Her comments have been slightly edited for length.

 

WASHINGTON BLADE: How has comedy changed since you began? This show revives some classic characters and bits, but do you find some elements might have been a scream in the ‘60s but fall flat today?

LILY TOMLIN: I imagine you wouldn’t find a whole lot that would still be relevant. I couldn’t say that in a totally general way but overall, I would say the humor then would have been relative to something that was going on then. We didn’t deal so much with universal truths in the sense of the human condition. We did a lot of snappy stuff that was going on at the time. When we were doing “Laugh-In,” Ronald Reagan was the governor and later he was the president so a lot of stuff we said was just Reagan and you’d be watching “Laugh-In” on some cable show or something and they wouldn’t say governor or president, they just said Ronald Reagan or Reagan, so much of what we said still applied when he was president. But in general, the values and taboos of society have changed a lot in 40 years.

 

BLADE: Is it hard, then, to take your classic characters and make them work now on stage in a way that doesn’t feel frozen in time?

TOMLIN: Well, it’s just what you choose to put in their mouths. The last job Ernestine had was working for Health Care Insurance Corporation denying health care to everyone and prior to that she had a reality webcast chat show all during the Bush administration so she could call the president and presumably she had a webcam so she could see what he was doing. She could call Cheney or anybody and talk about something that was going on at the time.

 

BLADE: You don’t think Ernestine would still be funny at the switchboard?

TOMLIN: No because we hardly even have switchboards anymore and people barely know what an operator is. But that overbearing bureaucratic dominance still serves in other places. She left the phone company because they were no longer, you know, powerful or omnipotent. She would have had to compete for business.

 

BLADE: What would Ernestine think of the revelations last year that Big Brother is listening in on everything?

TOMLIN: I’ve been trying to come up with a really great NSA sketch. The secret of it would be (slipping into Ernestine’s voice): “A gracious hello — this is the NSA, the only government agency that actually listens (snorts).”

 

BLADE: I’ve seen you use her in unscripted formats, too. I remember Ernestine being interviewed once by Joan Rivers. I have no idea if she gave you the questions ahead of time or not, but that would seem quite nerve-wracking to me — the pressure to be funny outside of the sketch format. Was it?

TOMLIN: Well, I know her attitude. It’s not like Ernestine doesn’t live somewhere in my body, she does. Certain characters are especially good for that if they’re really opinionated and fairly short sighted or self interested and don’t care about other people’s feelings. Then they probably improvise fairly well.

 

BLADE: There was an op-ed shortly after you got married in which a lesbian wrote “we came of age in a time when her one-woman shows changed how we understood ourselves as lesbians and feminists.” To what degree in the ‘70s were you aware or were you aware that your work was not just being enjoyed by lesbians but sort of exalted and claimed in a sense?

TOMLIN: Maybe claimed a little. My mother and dad are from Kentucky and even though I was born in Detroit, because I’m well known and presumably semi-liked in Kentucky, I don’t know for sure, but Kentucky sort of claims me in a way. Very often I read that I was “Kentucky’s own” or “born in Kentucky.” In fact, I put my hands in cement there in some Kentucky hall of fame or something. I told them, “But I’m not really from Kentucky,” and they said, “No one will care. They’ll be glad and they’ll hope you are from Kentucky.” So I’m sure lesbians and other feminists, if I was good and doing good stuff and strong and intelligent, I’d think they’d want to claim me in a sense that, well, you know, “She’s one of us” or whatever people might say in that kind of reference. I’m sure even Mrs. Duggar, if she had one kid that became president of the United States, she might single him out. In any other case, she might not. “These are my kids. Oh, this is Robert, my son, the president.” I don’t know how that stuff goes but even if it did, I’m grateful for it in a sense because, you know, I want to communicate with people. Very often I really want to validate people, validate humanity to some extent. We’re so invalidated in so many other ways and disregarded. Dismissed or thought of as just some lump mass of humanity that’s disposable and exploitable. Rotten to the core.

 

BLADE: How does comedy validate?

TOMLIN: Just showing what you love and human situations and human attitudes and you show the bad parts, but you show them in a way that we all possess them. We’re all really in the same spaceship together. Politicians, to me, are a separate entity because they’re in a place where they’re actually affecting our lives in profound ways and attempting to do so and not always with the absolute soul of integrity.

 

BLADE: I found (partner) Jane’s (Wagner) blog a few years ago quite funny when she wrote the blow-by-blow of trying to find the right hot dogs and sunscreen on the Fourth of July. If that was any indication of the interplay between the two of you on something as trivial as finding hot dogs, how on earth did you discuss and settle on when, how or if to get married? (Tomlin and Wagner were married on New Year’s Eve after 42 years together.)

TOMLIN: We didn’t talk about it for a long time because we lived together so long where that wasn’t even a glimmer of a hope or a possibility. … She and I would have liked to have been married and last fall, maybe October or November or something, I said, “You know, maybe we should.” We were both of the same mind … so we just decided to get married. I don’t know if you’ve been on our Facebook, but we made a little thing about it and showed where we went to the license bureau and we just wanted a nice, simple, sweet, quiet little ceremony so we went to Van Nuys, we went out of the way because we didn’t want to be usurped, our control of the situation, you know, “Oh, Jane and Lily were at the license bureau.” But there was so much there, that we made this little vignette of it and it shows us in front of the building. It’s just this old, one-story kind of flat motor vehicle kind-of place. There’s nothing grand or majestic about it, like some old courthouse from another era or anything. And then you stand in line with a bunch of other people and there were young people in tuxedos and bridal dresses. Then you go in another room and this woman who looks like Ruth Bader she has on a black cloak, and she takes them in there and marries them right on the spot. Families were there and they’re so dear. These couples getting married, and you think, “Oh God, help us, all these young kids getting married and you don’t even —,” you know, I worry about them like a mother. Do they have a place to live, any kind of a decent job, are they gonna have kids, and they don’t have any idea what it takes to raise those kids, the money it costs. So we get up to the window and we get our license and then we go outside and there was a hot dog stand with a little card and a multi-colored umbrella, so we used that as our backdrop. It’s just like four little photos. Now you’re gonna go and expect like a feature film or something, but it was just our little way to acknowledge it. We didn’t post it till after we got married, which we did on New Year’s Eve.

 

BLADE: Does it feel any different? Was there any psychological shift or anything you weren’t expecting?

TOMLIN: I haven’t perceived it. Maybe there is, kind of. The nice part about it is that it’s out in the public. Not that that many people would have known we were together anyway, but when it’s reported that you’re married, it’s so kind of official. The best part is that Jane is from Tennessee and my parents are from Kentucky so we have southern families and my family more than hers were more fundamentalist …

 

BLADE: You were raised Southern Baptist, right?

TOMLIN: Well, my dad wasn’t really. He was a drinker and a gambler and I went to the bookie joints with him and every Sunday when I was a kid, because of all the fire and brimstone that goes on in the fundamentalist church, I would sit up in the kitchen with my dad. We had an old Formica table and I was maybe 5 or 6 or 7 and I was worried about my father not going to heaven. My dad would be having a beer and some sardines and crackers like on a Sunday morning and my mother is getting ready for church and I’d be up there in the middle of the table trying to get daddy to go to church with us. Argh. Anyway, my mother and dad are both totally individual and funny … so I would go to the bookie joints with my dad on Saturdays and to church with my mom on Sundays. Let’s see, where was I going with this — the best part of the marriage thing, aside from us being together, was that we heard from a lot of relatives, not my mother’s generation really, ‘cause they’re mostly gone, they would have been a little taken aback, but the next generation, we got lots of cards and messages from relatives that you never would have gotten even 10 years ago, congratulating us. Very loving, very sweet. So I thought that was the most miraculous part of it.

 

BLADE: You were on the “Merv Griffin Show” several times early in your career. Did you have any awareness at the time that he was gay?

TOMLIN: No, I don’t think so. Well, by the time I was in my 20s, I suppose I did. There were these rumors that young men were always kind of in his sphere somewhere so yes, I heard all that kind of gossip, especially being gay, other gay people fostered that kind of gossip. They were glad to hear about something like that. So yes, it was probably fairly well considered and I’m sure I was privy to that conversation at some point.

 

BLADE: I know the story about the Time magazine offer (in 1975, they offered her the cover if she’d come out) but then years later, like maybe in the late ‘80s or ‘90s you were doing stuff like “Celluloid Closet,” “The Band Played On” and “Will & Grace.” Was there a point where you decided to start saying yes to those kinds of projects that you might not have done, say, a decade before?

TOMLIN: I never would have said no to them but I might not have called a press conference to declare my sexuality. At that time, first of all, it gets to be a little bit grandstandy for someone like me. … I called Vito Russo and told him about the Time offer and said, “I just don’t know if I can handle it, I’m a little bit insulted, I’m a little bit everything,” because it was more like they just needed a gay person. It was like with the actor Cliff Gorman who was in “Boys in the Band,” he was straight but he was very worried about his career so whenever he gave an interview, he’s always make sure you knew he wasn’t gay. So we just flipped it around, you know, and when I did end up giving an interview to Time, we made sure they understood I wasn’t straight and we put a little bit about that on the album we were working on at the time, “Modern Scream.” And of course nothing was ever said about it, written about it, anything. The album wasn’t a big hit. It wasn’t like I was some big recording artist who sold a lot, but my early albums had been fairly successful because of “Laugh-In,” Ernestine and Edith. … I didn’t want to decline it, but I didn’t want to accept it, so I decided, “I’m not going down without throwing a punch.”

 

BLADE: Now at times, some up-and-comers use it in reverse — being out as part of their marketing campaign. For people who are genuinely talented, do you think that’s harmful?

TOMLIN: It depends on what kind of work they’ve done or they’re doing. Look at Neil Patrick Harris. He’s hugely popular and sought after, but of course, we knew him as a kid. But he’s a very good singer, actor, dancer and he’s got a lot of charm. Things have turned around so profoundly but the thing that terrifies you is if some right wing evangliest kind of person gets in, or we lose the Senate or we get a Republican president, you don’t know how far they will go to repeal something. There’s such a sense of celebration now and it’s kind of taken for granted but if some crazy person gets in there and there’s that limitation and philosophy where they spiritualize everything, they just nail down on these issues and they want to repeal any kind of progressive advance. It’s pretty scary when you see what’s going on in other parts of the world.

 

Lily Tomlin, gay news, Washington Blade

Lily Tomlin won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center in 2003. She’s in the region this weekend for a show at the Strathmore. (Photo by B. Patterson)

BLADE: Yeah, like what we saw in Russia during the Olympics.

TOMLIN: Right. We did a little thing — actually I wish we could have been in D.C. when we did it, but I say I was thrown in jail but thank God, I knew Ernestine and she got us out. So we make fun of it. We made a graphic where we show Putin bare-chested on a horse and Ernestine is riding bareback behind him.

 

BLADE: So your show isn’t just Lily’s greatest hits then.

TOMLIN: No.

 

BLADE: Do you enjoy working on the material?

TOMLIN: I do. We have some pieces that we still do that work well because I love them so much and I think they’re terribly funny. So it’s kind of a mix. We’re trying to do something worthwhile but that is also fun and hopefully thoughtful, hopefully even moving in some way at some point. How old are you?

 

BLADE: 39, but you know gay men often know pop culture before their time way more than straight men.

TOMLIN: Oh my God, yes. Paul, this photographer and musician who works with me, he kills me because there’s nothing that happens on a daily basis at our house, office or anything, that he can’t relate it to a Lucy episode.

 

BLADE: That’s a great quality to have.

TOMLIN: Oh, it’s so dear. I just scream laughing.

 

BLADE: What’s your favorite?

TOMLIN: Well, when I was a kid, “slowly I turn,” because it looked like the kind of performance piece I could do. The ballet class, too.

 

BLADE: You guested on “The Carol Burnett Show” right?

TOMLIN: Oh yeah.

 

BLADE: Lots of people are on sitcoms but you and Carol and a few others are known for certain characters. Did you feel comedic camaraderie with her?

TOMLIN: Well, I’d known her a long time. One very hot moment for me, one very happy moment, I was at CBS maybe I was doing my first special or maybe I was just guesting on some show like Glen Campbell or something. When I got “Laugh-In,” Glen Campbell was the first show I guested on and Carol, of course, shot at CBS. I was in the ladies’ room and she came in and threw her arms around me and called my name. That just made me very happy that she knew who I was and was so demonstrative with me. She’s an extremely dear person anyway.

 

BLADE: Did you know Lucille Ball?

TOMLIN: I read an article with her once and they were asking her about new young comedians, mostly girls, and when they got to me, she said, “I don’t get her.” My heart broke but later I met her and she told a very funny story, and acted it out for about 20 minutes, about how she had had to get a root canal the day of the Tonys. … To hear her tell it in person was just sublime.

 

BLADE: She seemed like she could be a bit of a tough customer. Crusty, maybe.

TOMLIN: Everybody says that, yeah.

 

BLADE: Maybe she felt more liberated as she got older. More candid. Do you ever feel that way?

TOMLIN: Not really. I have a hard time realizing I’m as old as I am. I don’t feel that old. I still feel innocent in some ways.

27
Mar
2014

‘Looking’ for action?

The cast of HBO's 'Looking.' (Courtesy HBO)

The cast of HBO’s ‘Looking.’ (Courtesy HBO)

At first glance, HBO’s new dramedy “Looking” may seem like a gay man’s answer to “Girls,” but if Sunday night’s series premiere is any indication, it serves as a foil to shows like “Modern Family” and “The New Normal,” complete with dated stereotypes of gay men.

The pilot opens up with Jonathan Groff’s character, video game developer Patrick, at the receiving end of an awkward handjob courtesy of a stranger he cruised in a park in broad daylight. The idea that a tech-savvy 20-something would go cruising in the middle of the day in the age of Grindr seems unbelievable, as if it’s the image a middle-aged television producer has of young gay men. This suspicion is all but confirmed in the next scene when another main character is seen, without a trace of irony, sporting a Freddie Mercury mustache.

It becomes clear that the chief concern for the three main characters is sex. Patrick resorts to cruising and OKCupid, a far more believable approach, for his next hookup. Agustín and his boyfriend engage in a threesome with someone they just met. Dom throws himself at anyone he may be able to get into bed and, after failing, goes searching for “some blonde slut to help me regain my self-respect.”

Like its sister program “Girls,” the main characters are all deeply flawed, which makes the show captivating. Bucking the trend of modern sitcoms featuring a butch/femme, financially stable, wholesome, white gay couple adopting a baby, the three men smoke weed, are nowhere near marriage and are unapologetic in their sexual triumphs and misadventures.

“Looking” certainly tells a different story about gay men than is normally seen on television. It’s not a narrative that will play as well in suburbia as seen in family friendly sitcoms, but with a racially diverse cast and sexually liberated characters, it helps represent an often-ignored portion of the LGBT community. Until the show develops over the next few episodes and its purpose becomes clear, it’s a series to keep on the radar. Let’s hope it develops some depth as it unfolds.

The show airs Sunday nights at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.

20
Jan
2014

Gay artist presents multi-media exhibit

Dudley Saunders, gay news, Washington Blade

Dudley Saunders (Photo by Dean Carpentier)

BloomBars (3222 11th St., N.W.) presents “In These Boxes,” a one-night performance by musician and video artist Dudley Saunders, Saturday from 8-9:30 p.m.

“In These Boxes” is a photograph collection of 12 items left behind by deceased loved ones, all taken by members of the D.C. community, set to Saunders’s own original music in a video hallucination of the missing person’s life. All photographs will also be available to view online. Saunders got the idea for what he calls a “social media cemetery” after two of his ex-lovers died leaving behind only a few objects as evidence they were alive.

Tickets are $8. For more information visit bloombars.com or intheseboxes.com.

06
Mar
2014

Getting his spin on

DJ Paulo, Cherry Fund, gay news, Washington Blade

DJ Paulo is one of several big-name DJs in town this weekend for Cherry. (Photos courtesy DJ Paulo)

Emergence

DJ Paulo

Town

2009 8th St. N.W.

Saturday

11 p.m.-4 a.m.

$20 ($70 for Cherry weekend pass)

cherryfund.org

Music lovers in D.C. are already familiar with the Cherry Fund’s annual charity dance and music event, which since its inception in 1997 has raised more than $988,000 in support of efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.

Each year, Cherry brings in top international DJs and premier parties to Washington venues and this year is no exception with top-notch spinners such as DJ Eddie Elias, DJ Joe Gauthreaux, DJ Alain Jackinsky and DJ Mike Reimer lending their talents.

“Last year’s Cherry had 125 attending the afterhours event at Tropicalia, which for 7 a.m. in Washington is pretty remarkable,” says James Decker, a board member with the Cherry Fund. “This year we expect 200-plus. We’ve already sold 120 advance passes, which is more than double last year.”

The Cherry committee also expects a huge turnout for its main event at Town, scheduled from 9 p.m.-4 a.m. on Saturday which will feature DJ Paulo mixing it up for a night being billed as “Emergence,” and featuring the Tribal Bitch and DJ Twin.

“I’ve spun for Cherry before, plus I grew up in Bethesda, so D.C. has a special place for me,” DJ Paulo, who’s gay, says. “People can expect an energetic set with lots of new productions and vocals.”

Originally from Portugal, DJ Paulo knew early on that he wanted to spin music for a living and started playing small clubs and gaining a name for himself.

“I was living in Los Angeles and noticed promoters were only bringing DJs from New York (i.e. Peter Rauhofer, Victor Calderone) and all the DJs in Los Angeles had a ‘lighter’ sound,” he says. “So I started a small residency in the middle of West Hollywood on Fridays at Rage called ‘Stereo.’ People caught on to my sound and things evolved from there.”

The weekly residency was a good way for DJ Paulo to test out his sound and from there, he earned a residency at Spin, a popular afterhours club where Avalon in Hollywood now resides.

Over the years, he’s headlined at some of the world’s largest and most prestigious parties, including Black and Blue Montreal, New York’s Saint at Large Black Party, Fire Island’s Pines Party and Dancing on the Bay, Orlando’s Gay Days and Taiwan’s Ministry of Sound.

His spins are responsible for a slew of remixes of tracks that have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Charts, including songs by Christina Aguilera, Inaya Day, Madonna, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and pretty much everyone else worth getting on a podium for.

Success didn’t come without lots of hard work and some hiccups along the way. The one thing that has always frustrated DJ Paulo was when people would hear just one single podcast and judge his sound based on just one set.

“More than anything, whether it’s a peak time event or an afterhours, I cater to the party — even a beach tea dance I can play,” he says. “I always stay true to my sound, it just varies according to the event.”

He is co-founder of Pure Music Productions and has built one of the hottest independent record labels, providing top-10 progressive tracks on Beatport and various digital download sites.

It’s a life that DJ Paulo wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Music, he says, has more power than some people will admit.

“Making people feel good through music is one of the best rewards of being a DJ,” he says. “Then there’s the traveling to all these amazing places. Just two weeks ago I was in Tel Aviv and got to visit Jerusalem. Meeting so many amazing people is a real treat.”

His production and style is very important to him. When someone goes to an event, he believes the sound should be distinctive so you know you’re hearing a particular DJ.

“I’m always continuing developing my sound. I try to stay current with new artists and introduce people to new music,” he says. “I see a real trend and club life looks like it’s coming back (especially in New York). I think the best is yet to come.”

04
Apr
2014

‘Kinky’ Grand ‘Candelabra’

Here is our Top 10 countdown of the entertainment world’s gayest moments of the year:

Thomas Roberts, gay news, Washington Blade

Thomas Roberts (Washington Blade file photo by Lee Whitman)

10. Gay MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts draws criticism for hosting the Miss Universe pageant in Russia in November. Roberts and Miss Universe co-owner Donald Trump claimed it was a chance to make a positive impact in the country where anti-LGBT laws are abundant. “We are good, regular, hard-working people who come from solid families,” Roberts said. “So when I heard there was a chance at this assignment, I aggressively went after it.” Many gay rights activists criticized any work in Russia with some even calling for a boycott of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

 

Steve Grand, NGLCC National Dinner, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Building Museum, gay news, Washington Blade

Steve Grand (Washington Blade file photo by Lee Whitman)

9. Gay country singer Steve Grand has a massive YouTube hit with his video “All-American Boy” in July. While many enjoyed the hot video,  some gay viewers objected to the storyline, which finds the friend ultimately rejecting Grand’s advances. Grand, who appeared at D.C.’s Town Danceboutique in November, said the video was more about “longing for someone” as opposed to “being gay.”

 

Frank Ocean, music, gay news, Washington Blade

Frank Ocean (Photo by Nabil Elderkin; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

8. Out hip-hop newcomer Frank Ocean won two Grammy Awards in February. His 2012 project “Channel Orange” won in the new category Best Urban Contemporary Album and he shared a joint award with Kanye West and Jay-Z in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “No Church in the Wild.” He was nominated in four other categories. Ocean’s acceptance in the mainstream hip-hop world — where homophobic lyrics are not uncommon — was seen as a major sign of progress.

 

Kinky Boots, Broadway, theater, gay news, Washington Blade

The cast of ‘Kinky Boots.’ (Photo courtesy of Foresight Theatrical)

7. The hit Broadway musical “Kinky Boots” was a major triumph on Tony night in June when out actor Harvey Fierstein, ally Cyndi Lauper and out actor Billy Porter all won. The show, which tells the story of a struggling British shoe factory whose owner forms an unlikely partnership with drag queen Lola to save the business, was a critical and commercial success. Lauper performed one of the songs (“Sex is in the Heel”) in Washington in November at the Warner Theatre during her “She’s So Unusual 30th Anniversary Tour.”

 

6. However, gay themes can’t in and of themselves save a show, especially on TV. It was an uneven year for TV shows with gay characters. For every success, like Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” which features a lesbian lead character serving jail time, there were also high-profile failures such as the Ryan Murphy-helmed “The New Normal,” a sitcom about a gay couple that NBC cancelled in May, and “Partners,” the CBS sitcom cancelled at the end of 2012 before its remaining seven episodes were aired in the U.S.

 

5. MSNBC suspended Alec Baldwin from his weekly talk show in November two weeks after he used an anti-gay slur against a New York photographer. A TMZ-captured video appeared to show Baldwin calling a paparazzo who tried to take a photo of his wife and infant daughter a “cocksucking fag” though the actor claimed he said “fathead” and subsequently apologized. Baldwin has been in hot water before for similar comments. He apologized to GLAAD earlier in the year for calling British reporter George Stak a “toxic little queen.”

 

Matt Damon, Liberace, Scott Thorson, Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra, HBO, gay news, Washington Blade

Michael Douglas, left, as Liberace, and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson in ‘Behind the Candelabra.’ (Photo courtesy HBO)

4. The HBO Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra” starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon is a critical and ratings success when it airs in May. It won three Emmys in September including Best Miniseries or Movie and Best Director for Steven Soderbergh who said earlier that he originally planned the film for theatrical release, but couldn’t get backing. “Nobody would make it,” the straight director told the New York Post. “We went to everybody in town. They all said it was too gay.”

 

Matthew Shepard, The Book of Matt, gay news, Washington Blade

Cover of ‘The Book of Matt’

3. “The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard” creates major controversy when it’s released in September. Gay journalist Stephen Jiminez, publishing around the 15th anniversary of Shepard’s death, claims Shepard had a sexual relationship with convicted murderer Aaron McKinney and that Shepard’s death was not a hate crime so much as a crystal meth-fueled attack based on alleged conflicts over a drug deal at a time when the two were working for rival drug suppliers. Many LGBT activists including the Shepard Foundation dismissed the book as “attempts now to rewrite the story” based on “untrustworthy sources, factual errors, rumors and innuendo.” Jiminez says he worked on the book for 13 years and interviewed more than 100 people on the record.

 

2. It was another big year for celebrities coming out. Among this year’s crop are “Prison Break” actor Wentworth Miller, “Cosby Show” vet Raven-Symone, Los Angeles Galaxy pro soccer player Robbie Rogers, Broadway vet Victor Garber, “Kyle XY” actor Matt Dallas and actress/singer Maria Bello. Perhaps most memorable — though hardly shocking — was Jodie Foster. While accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes in January, Foster she’d been out for years to her family and friends and though not ever using the word “lesbian,” acknowledged her former partner Cydney Bernard. In the political world, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) came out, making him the eighth openly LGB member of Congress.

 

Brendon Ayanbadejo, gay news, Washington Blade, Baltimore Ravens

Former Ravens player Brendon Ayanbadejo has been an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights since 2009 and served as guest editor of the Blade in August. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

1. If Hollywood seemed surprisingly squeamish about gays (see the “Candelebra” entry at No. 4), gay visibility in the sports world was unprecedented in 2013. Among the notables were basketball player Jason Collins who came out on the cover of Sports Illustrated in May; swimmer Diana Nyad, who swam from Cuba to Florida in August; British diver and Olympic Bronze medalist Tom Daley who came out in December; and Brendan Ayanbadejo who was part of the Super Bowl-XLVII-winning Baltimore Ravens in 2012 and has been a staunch advocate of same-sex marriage as a straight ally. Ayanbadejo guest edited the Aug. 30 edition of the Blade.

02
Jan
2014

Bowen McCauley Dance returns to Kennedy Center

Kennedy Center, culture, gay news, Washington Blade, Bowen

The Kennedy Center (Photo by Steve via Wikimedia Commons)

Bowen McCauley Dance presents “An Evening to Love” at Kennedy Center Terrace Theater (2700 F St., N.W.) Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Italian dancer Mimmo Miccolis , who is openly gay, joined the company this season and performs in the production.

The performance pairs classical ballet with diverse musical scores including Stravinsky and country rock legends Jason and the Scorchers. Bowen McCauley Dance is a non-profit organization based in Arlington, Va., committed to introducing dance to people of all ages.

Tickets range from $40-45. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit kennedycenter.org.

06
Feb
2014

Miss Gaye Universe this weekend at Town

Academy of Washington, gay news, Washington Blade

The Academy of Washington has been cultivating a drag presence in D.C. since 1961. (Washington Blade photo by Blake Bergen)

The Academy of Washington presents “Miss Gaye Universe D.C. Pageant,” a drag pageant, at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) Saturday at 4 p.m.

The Academy of Washington has been cultivating a drag presence in D.C. since 1961. Today it continues to hold drag pageants, balls and other drag performances.

Doors open at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for Academy members and $20 for guests. For more information, visit thewashingtonacademy.com.

13
Mar
2014

Indigo Girls revisit region this weekend

The Indigo Girls, Amy Ray, Emily Saliers, gay news, Washington Blade

The Indigo Girls are Amy Ray, front, and Emily Saliers. (Photo courtesy Vanguard Records)

Lesbian folk-rock duo Indigo Girls perform in two upcoming sold-out shows at Maryland Center for Creative Arts (801 Chase St., Annapolis, Md.) Saturday at 8 p.m. and the Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.) with Shirlette Ammons on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Indigo Girls Emily Saliers and Amy Ray began performing together in high school and went on to release 13 studio albums and collaborate with popular artists such as Brandi Carlile and Pink. The Grammy-winning duo’s latest album “Beauty Queen Star” features 13 new tracks.

For more information on the Indigo Girls, visit indigogirls.com.

17
Apr
2014