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Stuck in an intransigent holidaze

intransigent, Kate Clinton, gay news, Washington Blade

Kate Clinton (Photo by David Rodgers)

This year I was in Provincetown, Mass., for New Year’s Eve and was able to stay on an extra week. There is nothing like being at the end of the Earth to get a little perspective on things. I would share those thoughts with you but I have succumbed to an intransigent holidaze that is worse whenever Christmas falls on Wednesday. Even my weekly pillbox can’t figure out what day it is.

And why bother? The days don’t last that long here. Despite my Solstice impatience, the sun sets at 4 p.m. Ptown should really petition the Greenwich Mean people for admission into a more easterly, Atlantic time zone. After January first, the last seasonal, business holdouts succumb to retail hibernation or southern migration. Even the delightfully, potty-mouthed barista-in-chief at Joe’s Coffee, caps the capo machines and heads for warmer weather. The Christmas lights on Pilgrim monument dim after Jan. 6.

The town’s business goes on. The nights are long. But without summer visitors or high season mania, year-rounders attend to delayed projects.  Painting pictures or baseboards. Writing novels or memoirs. The Fine Arts Work Center fairly hums with creativity in the east end of town. Residents meet up at the few rear-round restaurants, or host in-home potlucks. There are open mike nights and readings. Also a lot of drinking and a lot of new sobriety. Like Santa-come-down-the-chimney, Tom Brady and his New England Patriots visit every true believer’s home via satellite dish on Sunday. Binge TV watching soars, especially in a three-day nor’easter, if the power stays on.

For the less-than-fully employed, like me, without quotidian markers, morning New York Times at the West End deli, a late afternoon coffee at Joe’s, an evening show at the Crown and Anchor — the days take on an unsettling, off-the-grid freedom. A local poet/lobsterman once told me about his winter experiment. One January he did whatever his dog did. If Clark slept, he slept. If Clark ate, he ate. If Clark went outside, he went outside. I try not to imagine the hygienic realities, but I do admire the ability to challenge daily practices that a bit of free time affords.

So as a much-anticipated nor’easter bears down on the tiny island nation of Ptown – check out the webcam from Spiritus or MacMillan Wharf! – and with a bit of free time on my hands, I will think about changes I can make in my daily life to change the realities — poverty, hunger, homelessness, religious homophobia, transphobia, violence — for LGBT people in 2014.

When the storm ends, I’ll bundle up and walk down to the West End beach and picture the double rainbow arching over town the day of the Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Prop 8. And then remember the swarm of bloodthirsty mosquitos that attacked as we stood watching.

Kate Clinton is a humorist who has entertained LGBT audiences for 30 years. 

07
Jan
2014

Deck the halls

poinsettia, Christmas, Christmas tree, gift, home, gay news, Washington Blade

Gifts for the home make lasting, tangible treasures. (Photo by Bigstock)

Gay-owned Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams (1526 14th St. N.W.) specializes in furniture, but the store also has an array of eye-catching accent pieces for your home, including a set of mercury glass jars. The jars come in assorted styles and range in price from $75-108. For a more affordable option, consider the decorative glass balls in various styles and sizes, ranging in value from $25-120.

 

homemade gin kit, gay news, Washington Blade, Hill's Kitchen

HomeMade Gin Kit

Hill’s Kitchen (713 D St. N.E.) has the perfect gift for anyone who appreciates a fine spirit. The HomeMade Gin Kit ($50) has everything you need to make gin out of your favorite vodka. It includes instructions, spices and all necessary tools. Refills of the spices can be ordered at any time at homemadegin.com. Now through December, take advantage of the limited edition Christmas botanical blend, which includes cinnamon and other seasonal spices. The kit is the product of a small business based in Arlington. Complement the Gin Kit with a few D.C.-themed cocktail glasses ($9.95-10.95 each) from Hill’s Kitchen, and round out your order with a sphere ice mold for $11.50.

 

Miss Pixies, home, gay news, Washington Blade

Miss Pixie’s (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

For vintage home furnishings and accessories, look no further than Miss Pixie’s (1626 14th St. N.W.). The store has everything from chairs and tables to rotary phones, but art lovers should consider one of the many paintings, ranging anywhere from $150-700. On Dec. 5 from 6-8 p.m., Miss Pixie’s is hosting a customer appreciation event, which includes a 10 percent discount throughout the store. Miss Pixie’s also offers a delivery service for $35 within most of the D.C. metro area or $45 outside of D.C.

 

Salvage Modern is an increasingly popular source for mid-century modern and vintage furniture and accessories in the greater Baltimore/D.C. area. Check out the ever-changing inventory through online store fronts, or contact the owners for an appointment. Looking for something specific? Let them know and they will source it for you. Salvage Modern offers incredibly low prices and multiple item discounts, as well as limited curb-side delivery to the metro area. They also offer some refinishing and painting services. Mention the Blade Gift Guide and get 10 percent off select items. More info is atetsy.com/shop/salvagemodernkrrb.com/salvagemodern or facebook.com/salvageforthesoul.

 

For a simpler, more affordable gift option, visit Millennium Decorative Arts (1528 U St. N.W.). Their assorted Blenko glass paperweights come in a variety of shapes and colors and will make a lovely addition to a home office ($35 each). For someone unafraid of bold colors, consider the tri-colored laminate cubes ($110 each). They can be stacked and rearranged to fit in with the design theme of the room and make for great additional surfaces.

 

iPhone users may enjoy the iPhone Wood Stand from Appalachian Spring (1415 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.). The product is handcrafted in the U.S. and comes in a variety of designs. Rest your phone on it overnight on your bedside table when using it as an alarm clock or as a tidy spot to place your phone when charging. The wood stand is valued at $26.

 

For Virginia residents, Merrifield Garden Center is a great place to stop by when shopping for holiday supplies. With locations in Fairfax (12101 Lee Highway), Merrifield (8132 Lee Highway) and Gainesville (6895 Wellington Road), it’s a convenient resource for anything from silk and dried flower arrangements to collectible ornaments and decorations. Merrifield Garden Center also sells fresh cut and everlasting Christmas trees as well as custom wreaths and centerpieces.

 

D.C. residents can get their fill of holiday decorations at World Market (5335 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.). The store offers a range of options from nutcrackers and ornaments to themed kitchenware, like this four-piece Victorian Christmas Plates set for $24.99. Some nice gift ideas from World Market include the Painted Wood Desk Box, on sale for $19.99 or the beautiful wood and glass Chemex 8-cup Coffeemaker for $39.99.

 

Logan Home Rule (1807 14th St. N.W.) has several noteworthy gift options. Corkcicles can be frozen, inserted into bottles to chill wine and reused. At $24.99, it would be a welcome addition to any kitchen. They also carry models for beer bottles designed to let you drink as it chills your beverage. For something a little more personal, coffee drinkers will appreciate a horoscope mug ($12.99 each).

 

Piggy Cutting Board, home, gift guide, gay news, Washington Blade

Piggy Cutting Board (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

tabletop (1608 20th St. N.W.) offers several gift options great for anyone who knows their way around a kitchen. The Copenhagen carafes come in a variety of sizes, and their simple design will complement almost any serving set at a dinner party ($34-40). One of their more popular products, however, is their piggy cutting board, which is only $24. Spice up your dinner prep work by having a cute piggy to look at as you chop.

 

Anthropologie (950 F St. N.W.) has a set of Cholet hollow vases in the shape of a goose, a doe and a hare. The individual vases sell for $24-38 and make a quirky gift perfect for anyone with a casual design sense.

 

While Design Within Reach (3306 M St. N.W.) sells many high-end products, they also offer affordable, practical gifts Consider the Kaleido Trays, which sell for $16. The multi-colored trays come in a variety of sizes and abstract shapes and are perfect for organizing anything from keys and mail to jewelry.

29
Nov
2013

David Sedaris: “Six to eight black men” (a hysterical explanation of the Dutch Santa)

"Everyone knows Santa doesn't speak Spanish."

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24
Dec
2013

Cartoon: Cheney family Christmas

Dick Cheney, gay news, Washington Blade, Liz Cheney, Mary Cheney

A Cheney family Christmas. (Washington Blade cartoon by Ranslem)

05
Dec
2013

Knapp, Becker reunite for another Christmas tour

Jennifer Knapp, Margaret Becker, music, gay news, Washington Blade

Jennifer Knapp, left, and Margaret Becker. (Photo courtesy Jammin’ Java)

Gospel singers Jennifer Knapp and Margaret Becker perform a Christmas show “Hymns of Christmas” at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. E Vienna, Va.) on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Knapp, a lesbian, and Becker met in 1998 and formed a connection that would lead to a Christmas collaboration. The show features classic Christmas carols in the form of duets. The two singers also perform a handful of their solo hits as well.

Tickets are $18. The Lobby Bar opens at 6 p.m. and remains open after the show. Doors open at 7 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit jamminjava.com.

05
Dec
2013

Santa baby

Holiday gift guide, romantic partner, gay news, Washington Blade

Flowers on 14th offers a wide array of floral options for gifts. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Editor’s note: This is part three of five of our annual gift guide. Next week: techie gifts and toys. 

Shopping for your significant other can be the hardest part of holiday shopping. Relax and enjoy the holiday season because these gifts are guaranteed to put a smile on that special someone’s face.

 

If your sweetheart has a sweet tooth chocolate is the perfect choice. Cork Market (1805 14th St., N.W.) offers Boero ($20), cherries dipped in chocolate and soaked in wine and assortment truffles ($26) with flavors such as coconut, pistachio and caramel.

truffles, Cork, chocolate, Holiday gift guide, romantic partner, gay news, Washington Blade

Assortments of truffles at Cork. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

 

Wine is a timeless romantic gift. Cork Market also provides every type of wine from dessert wines starting at $47 to the Champagne Special Club ($90), champagne chosen by the top champagne tasters in the market.

 

You can never go wrong with flowers. Flowers on 14th (1712 14th St., N.W.) offers a wide array of floral options. Get in the spirit by giving a Christmas cactus ($29) with your choice of bow to your romantic partner. Or add a personal touch with custom arrangements from $75-$300.

 

The holidays can be stressful but you can help your partner be stress free with these intimate gifts from Secret Pleasures Boutique (1510 U St., N.W.). Try massage candles ($5-$32) or hot palm massagers ($15) to give your partner an intimate and fun massage.

 

I Gorman Jewelers (1133 20th St., N.W.) is the place to go for designer jewelry as unique as your special someone. Select the David Heston sterling and leather bracelet for $1,495 or the Carl Dau 18K red, gold and titanium cufflinks for $1,550.

 

Other classy gifts include the Chris Ploof Damascus steel and 18K white gold band ($2,750) or their Margoni aquamarine ring for $895.

 

Looking for a dazzling spot for a wedding? Surprise your partner by booking the Potomac View Terrace, which is located between the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Department of State and is the only privately owned real estate on the National mall. The original building was designed by renowned architect John Russell Pope, whose work includes the National Archives, the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art. The sixth floor rooftop offers unforgettable views of the Mall and beyond. For more information, visit potomacviewterrace.com.

Holiday gift guide, romantic partner, gay news, Washington Blade

Potomac View Terrace (Photo by Amanda Saunders)

Whether you’re searching for the perfect recipe, setting a warm and inviting table, looking for something a bit out of the ordinary that is really quite extraordinary, plus the perfect card to go with them all, Now and Then (6927 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park, Md.) has an eclectic selection of fun and functional, pretty and practical gifts to fit your every need. Now and Then is proud to work with and showcase area artists including watercolorist Enid Romanek, tile maker John Hume,  potter Mary Giammatteo, photographer Jan Morales, mixed media artist Christina Giammichelle and chocolatier Bailey Kasten.

06
Dec
2013

What’s in fashion in real estate

real estate, Christmas, Christmas tree, fireplace, living room, gay news, Washington Blade

Enjoy the holiday season because the hectic spring real estate market is closer than you think. (Photo by Bigstock)

Shops are adorned with holiday trimmings, but much like the shelves at Bloomingdales, the real estate market will launch into “pre-spring” mode shortly after the first of the year.

Trending this coming season: 1.) sellers who are looking to leverage a housing inventory crunch; 2.) savvy buyers who are prepared to shop in this market; 3.) housing supply demonstrating a slight uptick. Don’t get me wrong – demand will almost certainly still outpace supply this coming spring, but I don’t believe that we should be expecting the same ferocious bidding that occurred last year.

Through last season, homeowners were fearful that they could not recoup their investments. So, homeowners sat on or rented their homes. But when headlines finally started turning from doom and gloom to “it’s 2006 again,” sellers slowly began to gain confidence and release their inventory into the market. Eager buyers paid a premium due to the low inventory in their desired urban neighborhoods and sellers took full advantage with vicious bidding wars.

This time around, sellers should manage their expectations carefully. There still are a myriad of opportunities to capitalize on wise investments in real estate this season, but buyers in the market will punish sellers who overplay their hands on pricing and negotiations.

Wise purchasers should still be prepared to waive appraisal contingencies, present financing scenarios where most of the loose ends already are tied up, plunk down substantial earnest money deposits and to settle on the seller’s schedule. But the days of free rent-backs for sellers and the “I’ll do absolutely nothing on the inspection so don’t bother” may be out of style.

Buyers still will have to move quickly to lock down desirable properties. When homes are priced correctly and presented properly they will swiftly sashay on and off the runway. I expect prices to increase this year, albeit not by the 11 percent year-over-year that we saw from 2012 to 2013. But don’t hold out for a deal too long, these low mortgage rates will disappear when consumer confidence increases enough for the Fed to raise rates. That means the house that you had the assets to fill out in size 4 percent may not fit as well in size 6. Trends come and go, but a smart investment in Washington real estate is a classic.

Sammy Dweck with Evers & Co. Real Estate, Inc. is a licensed real estate agent specializing in townhouse, condo and co-op sales in the D.C. metro area. Reach him at Sammy@SammyDweck.com or 202-716-0400.

11
Dec
2013

Cobalt hosts Christmas pageant

Cobalt, Washington Blade, gay news, Miss Cobalt

Cobalt (Washington Blade photo by Pete Exis)

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) presents “Mr. and Miss Cobalt,” a Christmas pageant hosted by drag performer Kristina Kelly, Monday night from 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

The pageant is divided into four parts. First there is a presentation titled “It’s Christmas.” The evening gown/formal wear, on-stage question and talent portions of the contest follow after. There is a $500 cash prize and monthly bookings for the winner.

For more information, visit cobaltdc.com.

12
Dec
2013

Wearable wonderland

Pebble, smart watch, gay news, Washington Blade, Holiday Gift Guide, wearable

The Pebble (Photo courtesy of Pebble)

Phones and laptops are so 2012. This year ushered in a new era for tech and there’s no doubt that wearables are making the technophiles salivate.

If you want to put that special geek on your list ahead of the curve for 2014, it’s time to leave your device comfort zone. But with such vast differences between options, which wearable is right for you?

 

SmartWatch, Sony, smart phone, Holiday Gift Guide, gay news, Washington Blade, wearable

SmartWatch (Photo courtesy of Sony)

Sony SmartWatch

$99.97

store.sony.com

 

The Sony SmartWatch is the best value. Like most watches on this list, the wrist device uses Bluetooth to pair with the phone in your pocket (and other accessories, like Bluetooth headsets) to allow you to control basic phone operations — such as check notifications, read Twitter updates, compose text messages and even take calls — without taking your phone out of your pocket.

The downside of the Sony: it’s little more than a remote control for your Android smartphone. You can operate your phone’s music player or quickly reply to text messages, but if you want to take that call, you need to take your phone out of your pocket or have an earpiece in. Still, it has a vibrant color screen and looks classy.

 

Kreyos

$169.95

kreyos.com

 

Similar to Sony’s, but slightly more robust is the Kickstarter darling, Kreyos. While the Kreyos only has a black-and-white screen, it goes beyond touch control and supports voice commands and even gesture commands. Wave your notifications away quickly instead of tapping through menus and tell your phone to move on to the next song, rather than click. Also, while the Sony watch only supports Android phones, Kreyos supports any smartphone with Bluetooth.

Watch bands for the Kreyos offered on the site are limited to the bright colored silicone, so this is no boardroom watch. Oh, and the first Kreyos won’t be delivered until January, so if you planned on gifting it, you better gift yourself some printer ink first, because the only thing you’ll be able to give on Christmas will be a printout verifying the purchase. That said, the apps available for this watch are pretty impressive and it looks like it could be a viable competitor in the smartwatch field.

 

Pebble

$150

getpebble.com

 

Pebble is the waterproof e-ink smartwatch that does as much as the Sony watch, but with more style and with a longer battery life. Another Kickstarter project, Pebble has a rich app developer community and is likely the most durable smartwatch out there.

At $50 more than the Sony watch, though, it still isn’t much more than a remote for the phone in your pocket. It’s still very functional and a good alternative to the also black-and-white display Kreyos. Pebble also connects to the iPhone as well as Android, where Sony does not.

 

Galaxy Gear, Samsung, smart phone, Holiday Gift Guide, gay news, Washington Blade, wearable

Galaxy Gear (Photo courtesy of Samsung)

Galaxy Gear

$299

samsung.com

 

The first watch on this list that’s more than just a remote, for a small group of people, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear will make an unbelievably great gift. This powerful, full color smart watch does everything the previous three watches do — allow users to check notifications and perform basic phone tasks on their Samsung Galaxy Note or S4/S3 phones — but the Gear goes beyond basic notification and remote capabilities.

Gear allows users to take calls right from the watch, so a separate earpiece is unnecessary. The Gear also syncs with apps on the phone, so when a user checks an app notification on his or her watch and then unlocks the phone, the phone automatically loads the app that corresponds with the notification. You can even find your devices and lock them from afar using your Gear.

The bad news is that the Gear is only compatible with the Galaxy Note 3 and 4 as well as the Galaxy S3 and S4. Still, for users of those devices, the Gear is the clear frontrunner.

 

Fitbit Force, smart phone, Holiday Gift Guide, gay news, Washington Blade, wearable

Fitbit Force (Photo courtesy Fitbit)

Fitbit Force

$129.95

fitbit.com

 

While the Fitbit does have a digital time display, this is no smart watch. The Fitbit is an incredible piece of fitness equipment that tracks many dimensions of your workouts, syncs with other devices — like compatible digital scales — and helps you get into the minutiae of your routine. If you’re a data-nerd like me, you want to know what the altitude and temperature were when you were rounding that particularly grueling corner, not just your speed, pulse and calories burned. Fitbit even tracks your sleep, then helps bring all of that data together to help you make better fitness decisions.

13
Dec
2013

GOP lawmakers to receive ‘gay’ Christmas present

David Lampo, Robert Kabel, A Fundamental Freedom, libertarian, Republican Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Gay libertarian author David Lampo, pictured on left with Bob Kabel, wrote ‘A Fundamental Freedom.’ (Photo courtesy of David Lampo)

The Liberty Education Forum, an organization that advocates for acceptance of gays among conservatives and people of faith, plans to deliver a Christmas present to each Republican member of Congress and all members of the Republican National Committee.

A statement released by the group says the present will be a copy of the 2012 book, “A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights,” by gay libertarian author David Lampo.

“I wrote ‘A Fundamental Freedom’ to educate conservatives on gay issues, and to make sure that support for equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans among conservatives, libertarians, and members of the GOP is more prevalent than one might think,” Lampo said in the statement.

“Embracing equality for gays and lesbians is in line with the history of the Republican Party,” he said. “I can think of no better group to share this message with than the RNC and all GOP members of Congress.”

According to Gregory Angelo, executive director of both Liberty Education Forum and Log Cabin Republicans, the books will be accompanied by a “Dear Colleague” cover letter written by gay RNC Committeeman Bob Kabel.

“As a gay member of the Reagan administration and the first openly gay Party Chairman and now Committeeman on the RNC, I felt it was important to let my fellow members of the RNC know that you can be both a strong Republican and a supporter of equal rights for gay Americans,” Kabel said.

18
Dec
2013