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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

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

The holiday menace

Christmas, gay news, Washington Blade

While most Washingtonians are preparing for Christmas, many real estate agents are still busy with work. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Most agents will tell you that the weeks between Thanksgiving and mid-January are some of the slowest in the real estate business, as people begin to focus less on housing and more on family and spiritual pursuits during the holiday season.

While that may be true in general, the transient nature of the D.C. metropolitan area and its continued low inventory of homes keep things humming along here more than in many parts of the country.

With interest rates creeping upward and new mortgage lending rules that could make qualifying for a loan more difficult in 2014, some buyers have stepped up their timetable.

And while many real estate agents are indeed baking cookies, scheduling family visits, planning trips to warmer climates or just sitting back and sipping eggnog, others are still hard at work.

It is with that thought that I wanted to share my recent experience with you.

’Twas the week before Christmas and here in D.C., I hadn’t found time yet to put up a tree or finish my shopping, or send out a greeting to clients by email, by text, or by tweeting. Instead of enjoying a long winter’s snooze, I had agents, attorneys and lenders to schmooze.

I sat at my desk as I tried to remember just when I last had such a busy December. I scheduled inspections and settlement dates while my Schnauzers slept soundly all snug in their crates. Their little legs moved as in dreams they gave chase to critters that ran at a frenetic pace.

I proofread a contract and then just for sport, reviewed the results of a termite report. I made a few phone calls and couldn’t resist checking off several things from my long “to do” list.

It seemed for a moment I might get a break for my beverage of choice and a Porterhouse steak when out on the street there arose such a clatter I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash with my doggies in tow like a hundred-yard dash. I parted the draperies and peered through the glass expecting to see what had caused the loud crash.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear but a red-suited man with six-pack of beer and a UPS driver all dressed up in brown whose eyebrows were narrowing into a frown. His truck, it was dented, his uniform, tattered, his packages strewn on the ground were all shattered.

The red-suited man was surveying the scene surrounded by reindeer and elves dressed in green. He bowed to the driver and said with chagrin, “What an awkward position we find ourselves in.”

Well, the driver, in no mood to be so polite, shook his fist and replied with his eyes shining bright, “Don’t try to pretend this is my fault! Enough! Now you tell me, just who’s going to pay for this stuff?”

But the red-suited gentleman seemed not to hear as he belched and he hiccupped and opened a beer. He raised up the can and he took a long draught while I watched from the window and had a good laugh.

Then much to my horror, he looked up and froze as the UPS guy punched him square in the nose. The force of the blow made him sit with a plop and he stayed on the ground ’til the dizziness stopped.

Then slowly he rose from his sitting position, assessing with care his most current condition.  “Hey, Rudolph,” he called, “I am still quite alive, but I think I should sleep in the back while you drive.”

From the rear of his transport he pulled out a sack filled with money to pay Mr. UPS back.  Then I heard him exclaim as he boarded the sleigh so he could get sober and be on his way, “This drinking and flying is really a bummer. Next year I’ll deliver my gifts in a Hummer.”

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Valerie M. Blake is with Keller Williams Capital Properties. Reach her at 202-246-8602 or Valerie@DCHomeQuest.com. Each Keller Williams Realty office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity.

18
Dec
2013

Sights, sounds and smells

Absolutely Fabulous, Ab Fab, Edina Monsoon, Patsy Stone, gay news, Washington Blade

“Ab Fab” the entire series is now available on a 10-disc set.

Books, DVDs and Blu-rays, special edition box sets all make great gifts. And as more and more media move into the electronic zone, unwrapping something tangible feels extra nice.

Here are a few ideas to get your gift-giving idea juices flowing.

 

BOOKS:

In Bed with Gore Vidal

In Bed with Gore Vidal by Tim Teeman.

“In Bed with Gore Vidal” by Tim Teeman is as juicy as the title implies, exploring in great detail, how gay the famed writer’s sex life was despite his insistence that there was “no such thing as gay.” E-book: $9.99; $19.99 trade paperback. (Photo courtesy Magnus)

 

“Extraordinary Hearts” by Nicholas Benton gathers the local newspaper publisher’s sweeping series of LGBT essays under one cover. Lethe Press/$20 (Photo courtesy the author)

 

“The Forever Marathon” by Jameson Currier is a new novel billed as a “wickedly delightful war of wits and whines between longtime” gay couple Jesse and Adam over the course of a two-day fight. E-book: $9.99; $18 trade paperback. (Photo courtesy Chelsea Station Editions)

 

MUSIC:

Matthew Morrison's 'A Classic Christmas'

Matthew Morrison’s ‘A Classic Christmas

“Love to Love You Donna” by Donna Summer is a remix collection of the late diva’s biggest hits by top DJs. The biggest shock? How current these new mixes sound despite the source material being, in most cases, decades old. (Photo credit Verve)

 

“Snow Globe” by Erasure is the gay duo’s first seasonal effort in a 25-year career. It’s as moody, electronic and subversive as one would expect. (Photo courtesy the Karpel Group)

 

Broadway’s “Carols for a Cure” Vo. 15, the annual AIDS benefit recording, is a double-disc set that carries on the series’ tradition — seasonal covers done in every style from high camp (Perez Hilton is back again this year) to shockingly poignant (the cast of “Motown’s” stunning medley). Rock-It Science Records.

 

“Glee’s” Matthew Morrison has a holiday EP called “A Classic Christmas” out this week. PBS will air a TV special of the same name on Nov. 30. He plays the Kennedy Center Nov. 29-30. (Photo courtesy the Karpel Group)

 

“Loved Me Back to Life” by Celine Dion, the diva’s first English studio album since 2007. You or someone on your list is either excited about this or not. No promo blurb could possibly change your mind at this point of Dion’s career. (Photo courtesy Columbia)

 

“Brave Enough: Live at the Variety Playhouse” by Sara Bareilles, a DVD/CD live set from the LGBT ally’s tour. It features a cover of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” (Photo courtesy the Karpel Group)

 

Kelly Clarkson is out with her first-ever holiday album, “Wrapped in Red.” It features first single “Underneath the Tree” and the title cut. (Photo courtesy the Karpel Group)

 

Madonna’s 'MDNA World Tour'

Madonna’s ‘MDNA World Tour

Madonna’s “MDNA World Tour” is now available on DVD and Blu-ray after a recall delayed the proceedings. Interscope. (Photo courtesy the Karpel Group)

 

“Britten & Pears: a Unique Musical Cooperation” celebrates the centennial of the birth of gay composer Benjamin Britten who enjoyed a personal and professional relationship with singer Peter Pears. Ten discs. $54.97. (Photo courtesy United Classics)

 

A DVD of Stevie Nicks’ documentary film “In Your Dreams,” about the making of her album of the same name, drops Dec. 3. $14.98, Reprise.

 

TV

 

“Ab Fab” the entire series is now available on a 10-disc set. $158.98. (Photo courtesy BBC Home Entertainment)

 

'Bewitched'

Bewitched

“Bewitched,” available for years in season packs, is now out in a “whole series” package. $55.99. (Photo courtesy Sony)

 

“Flo,” the “Alice” spin-off featuring sassy Polly Holliday in the title role, was doomed by endless time slot changes during its brief season-and-a-half run back in 1980. Rarely seen in syndication, it finally gets some respect with all 29 episodes available in one package. $34.99 (Photo courtesy Warner Archive Collection)

 

NOVELTIES/OTHER

 

Barbie Collector Classic Catwoman

Barbie Collector Classic Catwoman

There have been endless Catwoman interpretations over the years. The Barbie Collector Classic Catwoman pays homage to Julie Newmar’s timeless performance. Another featuring Adam West’s Batman is also available. $35.52 each. (Photo courtesy Mattel)

 

Lypsinka and illustrator Stefano Imbert have collaborated on a line of Lypsinka merchandise featuring everything from magnets, pins, mugs, T-shirts and more. Visit the shop online at zazzle.com/lypsinka. (photo pending)

 

The Smithsonian has its own line of gift items this year featuring a Castle Key paperweight ($35), wreath hanger ($40), African-American art banner bags (prices vary) and more. Pictured here is the Hirshhorn Britto Pop-Art Dog ($20). On Dec. 7-8, a series of holiday events will be held at the various Smithsonian museums featuring book signings, holiday films in IMAX theaters, crafts for kids and more. (Photo courtesy the Smithsonian)

 

Gay designer Tom Ford is out with a new fragrance. “Noir” is an “oriental, sensual fragrance that captures the twin facets of the Tom Ford man — the refined, urbane sophisticate whom everyone gets to see and the intriguingly sensuous private man they don’t.” 1.7 oz for $90; 3.4 oz. for $125. (Photo courtesy Tom Ford)

 

This season’s new women’s fragrances offer an alluring array from Gucci’s “Guilty Black” ($75), Dolce & Gabbana’s “Velvet Desert Oud” ($270) to lighter scents like Calvin Klein’s “Downtown” ($65) and Jimmy Choo’s “White Edition” ($150).  (Photos courtesy Dolce & Gabbana/Jimmy Choo)

22
Nov
2013

Last-minute madness

last-minute gifts, holiday gift guide, gay news, Washington Blade, Christmas

Incense and incense holder at Tranquil Space. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

To both de-stress and pick up a last-minute gift, stop by Tranquil Space (1632 17th Street N.W., tranquilspace.com) to look through a variety of incenses and candles that aim to promote peace and calm.  Most popular is the myInsens gift set for $18, which comes complete with 24 rose incense sticks, one stick holder and a travel box.

 

For the art appreciator in your life, head to Gallery 2000 Art and Frame (1529 17th St. N.W.). Quick gifts to pick up include assorted prints for $7 and vintage framed prints for $45-$50.

 

Pulp, last-minute gifts, gay news, Washington Blade, holiday gift guide, Christmas

Cigar tins at Pulp. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Gay novelty gift staple Pulp (1803 14th Street N.W.), never fails to deliver one-of-a-kind gifts. Easy items to pick up include multi-purpose tins for all sorts of use from condoms to recipes. Prices depend on size and range from $6.95-$17.95.

 

Also nifty to pick up are various coffee table/activity books like “Pin the Mr. on the Man” and “Keep Calm and Crossword On.” Prices range from $10-$30.

 

Head over to Dupont Circle and stop by Tabletop D.C. (1608 20th Street N.W.).  Think Homegoods but better and in the District. At Tabletop D.C., last-minute gifts include an assortment of patterned and graphic totes for $18, wine bags for $12 or chic toiletry bags for $26.

 

Last-minute gifts, holiday gift guide, gay news, Washington Blade, Santa Claus, Christmas

Chocolate Moose offers a wide variety of novelty items and ornaments. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Between Farragut North and Dupont is another last-minute gift spot called Chocolate Moose (743 L St. N.W.). Pick up some classic gifts like an Etch-a-Sketch for $20 or an Ouija Board for $27. Other gifts include a solar-powered waving Queen Elizabeth for $18 or tons of pretty ornaments from $10-$20.

 

If your recipient is more of fine arts kind-of person, then stop by Studio Theatre (1501 14th St. N.W.) and purchase a gift certificate in any amount of your choosing for your theater goer.  You can either have it mailed directly to your special someone or pick it up at Studio Theatre’s location.

 

Or if your fine arts fan is more of a movie buff, then get him or her a subscription to IndieFlix, basically Netflix but with all independent films. For $49 they’ll receive a one-year subscription to the service with unlimited streaming access to more than 4,000 films.

 

If you’re really pressed for time, then gift cards are probably your best option.  Head over to Logan Circle and stop by Universal Gear (1529B 14th St. N.W.), which offers gift cards starting at $25. During this holiday season, gift cards are 25 percent off, so be sure to take advantage of this deal while it lasts.

 

Or swing by Logan Tavern  (1423 P St. N.W.) which also offers gift cards that are good for all five Eat Well D.C. restaurants (The Pig, The Heights, Grillfish, Commissary and Logan Tavern). You can put any amount you want on the card and for $2 have them shipped directly to your recipient.

 

Right around the corner from Logan Tavern is Vida-owned hair salon and spa, Bang (1519 15th St NW). They, too, offer gift cards, which are good for all three of its locations.

 

For D.C. suburbanites, visit gay-owned-and-operated, Bloom Fresh Flowers (625 South Washington St., Alexandria), which is stocked with only the best floral supply.  Creative arrangements range from $59.95-$229.95 and can be delivered all throughout the D.C. Metropolitan area.

 

Closer to the Maryland suburbs is Cleveland Park’s Wake Up Little Suzie (3409 Connecticut Ave. N.W.). There you’ll find eye-catching and trendy items like “pop clox” (unique clocks with pop culture sensibility) for $50. Or on the more affordable side are the adorable Muffin Tops Baking Cups for $13.95 or charming owl dishes available in several different sizes and priced between $12.50-$23.

 

panda bear, National Zoo, Last-minute gifts, holiday gift guide, Christmas, gay news, Washington Blade

The National Zoo has several gift options. (Photo courtesy of the National Zoo)

The National Zoo has several gift ideas such as a Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) membership that provides a year of benefits and includes everything from free parking to members-only access to the pandas. Several membership levels are available starting at $50. Visit fonz.org/gift for details. It’s also possible to adopt an endangered species — packages come with a plush toy of the species in a custom carrier, a certificate, photo and fact sheet. Various packages are available starting at $40. Visit fonz.org/adopt for details.

 

For the live music lover on your list, nothing triggers memories of all those great concert nights at the 9:30 Club like its cool official merch. Available on site, its staff has everything from signature cupcake ornaments ($10) to pet collars ($15) with the nationally famous club’s logo on them. Also available online at merch.930.com/merch.

 

Nashville Grizzlies, rugby, gay news, Washington Blade, holiday gift guide, last-minute gifts, Christmas

The Nashville Grizzlies. (Photo courtesy of the Nashville Grizzlies)

Yes, it’s getting a little late to order stuff online, but calendars always make great gifts and the Nashville Grizzlies RFC rugby club is raising money to attend the international gay rugby tournament next year in Sydney, Australia. Order one online for $20 at shop.grizzliesrugby.org.

 

American Plant (5272 River Road, Suite 550, Bethesda) has Saxon Chocolates, a collection of delectable chocolates and confections that have made Belgium synonymous with fine gourmet chocolates. The shop also has an online catalogue with a wide array of cute garden, holiday and décor-type gifts. Visit americanplant.net for details.

21
Dec
2013

Queery: Brandon Clay

Brandon Clay, gay news, Washington Blade

Brandon Clay (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Brandon Clay is somewhat insulated from the usual Black Friday insanity. As a boutique director for high-end jewelry store David Yurman at Tysons Galleria, he doesn’t have to show up for work at midnight or worry about “door buster” sales.

“We don’t have sales but there’s a lot of increased traffic and it’s very busy all weekend,” the 31-year-old Longview, Texas, native says. “We do about 30 percent of our business for the year between Thanksgiving and Christmas so it’s just so busy and I feel a responsibility to the store to be there all the time.”

And with family still in Texas, the tight schedule makes it impossible to get home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Clay plans a trip in January.

“Every person in retail feels a little ripped off with the holidays,” he says. “But in a way you get used to it at the same time too. You can’t really hold a grudge because it’s what you signed up for. We knew this is a given when we got into it.”

Clay says he didn’t “necessarily” plan a career in retail, having studied film and TV production in college. He spent four years with Louis Vuitton but says his current employer is much more employee friendly. He manages a staff of 10 and moved to the D.C. area in 2010 with the company.

Clay and his boyfriend of four-and-a-half years, John Saldana, live together in Arlington. Clay enjoys running, singing, charity events, movies, hiking and fashion in his free time.

 

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? 

I have been out since my sophomore year in college. Of course it was hardest to tell my family because I grew up in the “Bible Belt” of the South and they were/are very religious.

 

Who’s your LGBT hero?

I love Ellen because she’s a proud lesbian but it’s not all about that. Look at her show and her appeal. She’s someone who came out and is embraced by everyone because she’s just an amazing person who also happens to be gay. That’s what I try to emulate.

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? 

I have to say I love Cobalt and Nellie’s when I’m feeling festive. I will head to Number 9 if I want to have more of a low-key evening.

 

Describe your dream wedding.

The ocean and a beautiful beach, our best friends and family with a beautiful cabana draped with white fabric and covered with white flowers. At the end of the ceremony, we would release candle-lit lanterns into the sky at sunset.

 

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

For me, it’s all about health issues. If we don’t have our health, we have nothing. I’m passionate about breast cancer, Leukemia and Lymphoma and HIV-related issues.

 

What historical outcome would you change?

I wouldn’t change a thing because I’m a firm believer in things happening because they were meant to happen. Imagine if JFK or MLK had not been assassinated. Not to make light of those tragedies, but one could argue that their legacies had more impact because of their untimely deaths.

 

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

The election of President Barack Obama. I know it’s been a few years, but I couldn’t believe that we had an African-American First Family.

 

On what do you insist?

I insist on honesty, integrity and a sense of decorum. I like to surround myself with people of good character.

 

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

“Who is seeing Beyoncé for the second time this year soon? This guy!”

 

If your life were a book, what would the title be? 

“Buying Fabulous On Layaway”

 

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? 

I wouldn’t do anything except ask where the cure for cancer or HIV was because we have bigger fish to fry. I love whom I love and I’m happy with it.

 

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

I definitely believe in a God that loves us all exactly how he created us.

 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Keep up the fight because things take time. Don’t push too hard and don’t get discouraged.

 

What would you walk across hot coals for?

The chance to see my deceased grandmother again.

 

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

That gay guys are always weak and feminine. I can change the oil on my car and rotate my tires, among other things. And I carry jumper cables and a tire iron in my trunk.

 

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“Priscilla Queen of the Desert” or “To Wong Foo.” Tough choice!

 

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Saying “Hi how are you?” to someone you don’t know. I think it’s safe to say that you don’t even listen to the response and heaven forbid they actually stopped and told you how they really are. I really am a nice person I swear!

 

What trophy or prize do you most covet? 

The award from my company for the largest event of spring 2012 company wide.

 

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

That I was worth more than I would ever know.

 

Why Washington?

It’s such a fascinating place as well as an international melting pot of individuals. Living and breathing history is all around us. It makes you want to do something — to be something more.

26
Nov
2013

The Obamacare sexy-elf video that has the GOP all verklempt

Republicans are outraged that a pro-Obamacare Christmas video has sexy (gay) elves.

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23
Dec
2013