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D.C. arts briefs: Jan. 4

Ella Fitzgerald, drag, gay news, Washington Blade

Ella Fitzgerald (Washington Blade photo by Callie Marie)

Ziegfeld’s drag entertainment continues

Enjoy the first weekend of 2013 at Ziegfeld’s/Secrets (1824 Half St., SW), where Miss Ella Fitzgerald (Donnell Robinson) hosts every Saturday night at 11 p.m.

Ella has been entertaining since 1975 and began at the Rogue, the Plus One and the Other Side before taking over as hostess for Ziegfeld’s Ladies of Illusion show. She also uses her skills to raise money for HIV/AIDS organizations, Whitman-Walker Clinic and the annual Capital Pride Festival.

First drinks are $1 off every night. For more information, visit

Center launches new program for asylum seekers

The D.C. Center holds the launch party for its new program Center Global Tuesday night from 5-8 p.m. at MOVA Lounge (2204 14th St., NW).

Center Global is a program that works with LGBT asylum seekers from countries like Kenya, Uganda, Iraq, Ethiopia, Jamaica and Cameroon. Money at the happy hour goes to help LGBT asylum seekers who come Washington.

The $10 suggested donation goes to Center Global. There’s free champagne from 5-6 p.m. and half price happy hour prices. For more information, visit


D.C. Center to launch immigrant asylum program

Mova, gay news, Washington Blade, LGBT nightlife

Mova (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

The D.C. LGBT Community Center held a fundraiser Jan. 8 at MOVA to launch a new program to assist LGBT foreign nationals who apply for U.S. political asylum to escape persecution in their home countries.

The program, called Center Global, is aimed at providing temporary housing, financial assistance and referrals to service providers for LGBT foreigners in the D.C. area who are going through the complicated process of applying for and awaiting approval for political asylum, according to Center director David Mariner and Center Global coordinator Matthew Corso.

The two noted that legal groups have long provided pro bono legal representation for people going through this process, some of whom have fled their home countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Jamaica after encountering violent assaults and death threats due to their sexual orientation.

But those going through the legal process are banned from working in the U.S. until their asylum application is approved, making it difficult for them to pay for housing, food and other basic necessities, Mariner and Corso said.

“Basically, what we’re trying to do is raise the funds to help support the folks who are here going through this process,” said Corso. “We also want to raise awareness within the D.C. LGBT community of the plight of LGBT people being persecuted in other countries around the world.”