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Mizeur campaign keeping busy

Heather Mizeur, Delman Coates, Montgomery County, Silver Spring, Maryland, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Del. Heather Mizeur held a slew of campaign events in seven counties last weekend in her pursuit of the governor’s office. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Del. Heather Mizeur (Montgomery County) continued her grassroots “people-powered movement to end politics as usual in Maryland” campaign last weekend. She is seeking to be the first female and the first openly gay governor of Maryland.

On Jan. 8, she appeared before a well-attended candidates’ forum sponsored by the Columbia Democratic Club. Mizeur was the only candidate running for the top spot on the ticket speaking at the forum while lieutenant governor hopefuls Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Del. Jolene Ivey (Prince George’s) represented the Anthony Brown and Douglas F. Gansler candidacies, respectively. At the forum, Mizeur separated herself from her rivals with her push to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana to help fund early childhood education.

During the weekend of Jan. 11-12, billed as a “Weekend of Action,” Mizeur continued her campaign schedule with 18 events in 7 counties. Included were “Meet and Greet” stops on Jan. 11 in Frederick, Elkridge, Annapolis, Waldorf, Clinton and Gaithersburg. In addition, phone banks were conducted in College Park, Baltimore, Silver Spring and Greenbelt.

On Jan. 12, “Meet and Greet” events took place in Rockville/Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, and ended in Baltimore in a Mount Washington Community Forum. Phone banking efforts occurred in Adelphi, Fort Washington and Silver Spring.


Open Walls Baltimore 2 launch

Baltimore, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade, open walls

(Photo public domain)

More than 15 nationally and internationally recognized artists from Baltimore and around the world have been selected to participate in an outdoor mural project called Open Walls Baltimore 2. The program aims to bring bold, colorful and provocative large-scale painted murals to private and publicly owned buildings in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District.

The goals of the project are to provide an outlet for creative expression where artists are able to paint their vision of urban legacy and revitalization in that area and to draw tourists and locals alike to a neighborhood experiencing growth and renewed vibrancy.

To launch Open Walls Baltimore 2, there will be a special VIP reception on March 24 from 6-8 p.m. at the Metro Gallery located on 1700 North Charles St., in the heart of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Various political dignitaries, community leaders and business partners will be in attendance in addition to several of the participating artists. This event is open to the public.

“We are building on the success of the original Open Walls Baltimore project that literally transformed an area of our great city and allowed important conversations to take place about integrating art and the arts into a community to provide vitality, renewed strength and pride to the people who live and work there,” said Ben Stone, executive director of Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc. “Our hope is that this project will serve as a catalyst for change, connectivity and urban vibrancy.”

For more information, visit


Trans rock band forms in Baltimore

Transexual Fetus, Baltimore, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade

Transexual Fetus promotional image. (Image courtesy of Transexual Fetus)

A new contemporary conceptual performance art band, Transexual Fetus, consisting of artists within the trans spectrum, recently formed in Baltimore. The band, which features a combination of beat poetry, funk, psychedelic new wave and punk rock and glam metal fusion music, was conceived by Devin Cherubini, also known as Devin Hellfire.

Cherubini/Hellfire is a Baltimore-based female-to-male transgender visual artist, performance artist, political activist, poet, lyricist and writer. He has performed in a variety of bands since the 1980s and was a headliner at Club Hippo for five years sharing the same stage as performance artist Wolfgang Nomi, who is a member of the local group Charm City Boys.  Nomi, who plays percussion in Transexual Fetus, combines contemporary dance movement material with mime and outrageous costume designs inspired by the likes of Klaus Nomi, his namesake.

Baltimore born and raised Roxy Storm, a veteran musician of 35 years, is another key component of the band, playing lead guitar. Roxy Storm is a black trans woman struggling with inner city violence, poverty and oppression. “A true survivor,” says Cherubini/Hellfire. “She is a very courageous and talented woman.”

Transexual Fetus reflects “the same struggle of those musicians and artists who came before us who were gender queer and non-conformative and died too young from hard living in a world that could not accept or understand them,” says Cherubini/Hellfire.

Hellfire encourages trans people with musical talent in Maryland to join in on the fun. “Transexual Fetus is always open to working together musically on this project.” If interested, contact Devin Hellfire by visiting the Facebook page TransexualFetus.


All-American Genderf*ck coming to Baltimore

All-American Genderf*ck, gay news, Glass Mind Theatre, Washington Blade

(Image courtesy of Glass Mind Theatre)

The All-American Genderf*ck Cabaret by Mariah MacCarthy presented by Glass Mind Theatre makes its Baltimore premiere April 11-19. A gender-bending emcee guides the audience as limitations of sexuality are redefined throughout confines and confusion.

Playwright MacCarthy says that she wanted to write vignettes about female experience. She then had a revelation: “I couldn’t create a piece about women that had no men in it.”

Aside from the androgynous emcee, Genderf*ck revolves around eight seeming-stereotypes of gender and sex. The 20-somethings are all intertwined in each other’s lives as they navigate sex, gender identity and their relationships with each other. MacCarthy combines humor, drama, raunchy jokes and dance parties.

“I might be feminine, androgynous or a tomboy; straight, a lesbian, pansexual, or just ‘queer’; a livid, no-bullshit Feminazi robot queen, or the most people-pleasing boy-crazy girl next door you’ve ever met,” says MacCarthy. “In a way, Genderf*ck has been my way of investigating and teasing out all my contradictions, by putting those aspects into different characters and setting them loose on each other.”

The play is contemporary, but director Susan Stroupe layers in the lens of the Gilded Age in the 1900s, where cabarets began.

The All-American Genderf*ck Cabaret will run at Gallery 788, 3602 Hickory Ave. in Hampden. Tickets are $15, with discounts available for artists, students, seniors and groups. Visit for tickets and more information.


Smooth sailing on first Equality Cruise

Equality Cruise, gay news, Washington Blade

Sixty-nine passengers took part in the inaugural Equality Cruise. (Photo by Steve Charing)

A total of 69 passengers participated in Equality Maryland’s first Equality Cruise Jan. 12-19. Those participating were mostly from the Baltimore-Washington region but some came from Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee. They included a diverse group of LGBT people and allies. Carnival Cruises donated a portion of the group’s proceeds to Equality Maryland.

Travel arrangements were made by Equality Maryland’s office manager, Vanessa Bowling, who also owns Vanessa Addrienne Travel. She, along with Doug Rose, communications volunteer for Equality Maryland, served as hosts for the group.

The cruise took place aboard the aptly named Carnival Pride, which departed from Baltimore. It sailed to Port Canaveral and then on to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas before returning. Both Bowling and Rose hosted a meet-and-greet as the ship departed Baltimore. They also arranged group gatherings including pre-dinner socials and organized a “red party” in the Pride’s dance club.

Tokyo Derekston of Glen Burnie, Md., enjoyed her first cruise.  “I’m having a great time,” she said during its midpoint. “As long as people stop asking me to sing.”

Bowling indicated that she intends to send out surveys about what people would like in the way of future cruises and ports of call. The Equality Cruise’s maiden voyage went well and there is optimism that the size of the group will increase next year.


Mayor celebrates birthday at Hippo

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore, gay pride, gay news, Maryland, Washington Blade

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake celebrated her birthday at the Club Hippo on March 19 with a round of “Gay Bingo” whose proceeds support House of Ruth Maryland. Long known for being a shelter for battered women and their children, House of Ruth, founded 37 years ago, has expanded its services to include men as well as members of the LGBT community. More than 100,000 victims have been served during its history.

The mayor won one of the games receiving loud cheers from the 60 who attended. For more information about the House of Ruth, visit


Miss Freestate 2014 pageant

Araya Sparxx, Anastacia Amor, Miss Gay America, Miss Gay Maryland, Miss Freestate, drag, pageant, gay news, Washington Blade

Miss Gay Maryland America 2013 winner Araya Sparxx (left) with runner up Anastacia Amor. (Photo by Daniel McGarrity/Daniel McGarrity Photography)

As an official preliminary to Miss Gay Maryland America, S&D Entertainment will present Miss Freestate 2014: Anastacia Amor’s Fun House on Jan. 24 at the Club Hippo, 1 W. Eager St., in Baltimore. The doors open at 10 p.m. and the pageant begins at 10:30 p.m.

Hosted by Josie Foster and starring Miss Freestate Anastacia Amor, other local drag performers scheduled to appear are Tatiyanna Voche, Stephanie Michaels, Eva Couture, Tuly Fabu, Inginue, Diamond (Miss Gay Maryland 2000), Ashley Bannks (Miss Gay Maryland 2002),  Michelle Michaels (North Carolina USofA-Newcomer 2013), and Araya Sparxx (Miss Gay Maryland 2013).

General Admission is $8 with reserved seating priced at $10. For more information, contact Sue Nami at 410-440-3344.


Breaking the Silence with GLSEN

Day of Silence, Silent March for Victims of Anti-LGBT Violence, gay news, Washington Blade

GLSEN is hosting a Breaking the Silence event on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Baltimore’s Washington Monument. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Day of Silence is a national day of action organized as a grassroots project by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. People around the country take a vow of silence to protest the bullying, harassment and silencing of LGBT students and their supporters. The Day of Silence has been held each year in April since 1996.

This year, GLSEN Baltimore is hosting a Breaking the Silence event on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Baltimore’s Washington Monument on the Cathedral Street side. Attendees are asked to bring posters identifying the reasons for silence and a bring-your-own picnic dinner.

The event will be held to honor the memory of GLSEN Baltimore steering committee member Kay Halle, who fought for safe and inclusive schools in Baltimore and built school partnerships with GLSEN. Participants are asked to bring a single flower in honor of Kay and/or anyone who has helped break the silence for LGBT youth

“Many students in the Baltimore area participate in the Day of Silence,” said GLSEN steering committee member Johanna Miller. “This event is an extension of their action that increases visibility around the silence LGBT youth face and allows them and their allies to come together and briefly experience their collective strength.” For more information, visit


Mizeur finding momentum in Maryland

Heather Mizeur, Delman Coates, Montgomery County, Silver Spring, Maryland, Maryland House of Delegates, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade, momentum

Del. Heather Mizeurwith running mate Delman Coates. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

There’s something very exciting taking hold in my home state of Maryland. State Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery) has tapped into the same progressive energy that propelled Bill de Blasio to the mayor’s office in New York City and Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate.

Six months ago, Heather invited me to join her on probably the hottest August afternoon of the summer. She was speaking at a house party in Baltimore City. With the oppressive heat, I was expecting to meet a dozen or so interested voters. When we arrived we were greeted by over a hundred progressive activists eager to hear Heather’s vision for our state.

For nearly two hours Heather tackled tough issues – from marijuana decriminalization, to fighting for a fracking moratorium, slashing middle class taxes and campaigning against an unnecessary juvenile detention center in Baltimore City.

Heather has the momentum and her vision is resonating with voters. In a recent survey polling likely Baltimore City voters, Heather and her running mate, Pastor Delman Coates, scored a huge upset coming in second and only three percentage points behind frontrunner Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and his running mate, County Executive Ken Ulman (32 to 29 percent).

Maryland, despite being a progressive powerhouse, has never elected a female chief executive and no state in the nation has ever elected an openly LGBT governor. With the opportunity to shatter both of those barriers, national organizations are quickly coming to the aid of the Mizeur/Coates campaign.

In the last month alone, Heather earned the support of EMILY’s List, the National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority and was recently announced as one of the top “Women to Watch in 2014” by MSNBC.

Five months is an eternity in electoral politics and if Heather continues to tap into the same progressive energy that propelled de Blasio, Warren, Baldwin and others, we are going to witness a tremendous victory for our community in June.

Kevin Walling is a candidate for Maryland House of Delegates from Montgomery County.


Burlesque on exhibit

burlesque, Burlesqueer, gay news, Washington Blade

“Workin’ the Tease” will look at burlesque’s rich history in Baltimore. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS) will present “Workin’ the Tease: The Art of Baltimore Burlesque,” an exhibition celebrating burlesque as an art form that combines slapstick humor, dance and body spectacle strip tease. From April 22 to May 7 at The Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric (140 W. Mount Royal Ave.), “Workin’ the Tease” will look at burlesque’s rich history in Baltimore through live performance and more than 70 historical and contemporary artifacts. Receptions will take place April 22, 5-9 p.m., with a performance at 7 p.m. and May 7 from 5-7 p.m.

Admission to the performances and programs are free and open to the public.  For information, visit