Gospel singers Jennifer Knapp and Margaret Becker perform a Christmas show â€śHymns of Christmasâ€ť 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.
Editorâ€™s note: This is part three of five of our annual gift guide. Next week: techie gifts and toys.Â
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 someoneâ€™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.
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.
Whether you’re searching for the perfect recipe, setting a warmÂ 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,Â NowÂ andÂ Then (6927 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park, Md.) has an eclectic selection of funÂ andÂ functional, prettyÂ andÂ practical gifts to fit your every need. NowÂ andÂ ThenÂ is proud to work withÂ andÂ showcase area artists includingÂ watercolorist Enid Romanek, tile maker John Hume, Â potter Mary Giammatteo, photographer Jan Morales, mixed media artist Christina GiammichelleÂ andÂ chocolatier Bailey Kasten.
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.
â€śIn Bed with Gore Vidalâ€ť by Tim Teeman is as juicy as the title implies, exploring in great detail, how gay the famed writerâ€™s sex life was despite his insistence that there was â€śno such thing as gay.â€ť E-book: $9.99; $19.99 trade paperback. (Photo courtesy Magnus)
â€śExtraordinary Heartsâ€ť by Nicholas Benton gathers the local newspaper publisherâ€™s sweeping series of LGBT essays under one cover. Lethe Press/$20 (Photo courtesy the author)
â€śThe Forever Marathonâ€ť by Jameson Currier is a new novel billed as a â€świckedly delightful war of wits and whines between longtimeâ€ť 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)
â€śLove to Love You Donnaâ€ť by Donna Summer is a remix collection of the late divaâ€™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)
â€śSnow Globeâ€ť by Erasure is the gay duoâ€™s first seasonal effort in a 25-year career. Itâ€™s as moody, electronic and subversive as one would expect. (Photo courtesy the Karpel Group)
Broadwayâ€™s â€śCarols for a Cureâ€ť Vo. 15, the annual AIDS benefit recording, is a double-disc set that carries on the seriesâ€™ tradition â€” seasonal covers done in every style from high camp (Perez Hilton is back again this year) to shockingly poignant (the cast of â€śMotownâ€™sâ€ť stunning medley). Rock-It Science Records.
â€śGleeâ€™sâ€ť Matthew Morrison has a holiday EP called â€śA Classic Christmasâ€ť 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)
â€śLoved Me Back to Lifeâ€ť by Celine Dion, the divaâ€™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 Dionâ€™s career. (Photo courtesy Columbia)
â€śBrave Enough: Live at the Variety Playhouseâ€ť by Sara Bareilles, a DVD/CD live set from the LGBT allyâ€™s tour. It features a cover of Elton Johnâ€™s â€śGoodbye Yellow Brick Road.â€ť (Photo courtesy the Karpel Group)
Kelly Clarkson is out with her first-ever holiday album, â€śWrapped in Red.â€ť It features first single â€śUnderneath the Treeâ€ť and the title cut. (Photo courtesy the Karpel Group)
Madonnaâ€™s â€śMDNA World Tourâ€ť is now available on DVD and Blu-ray after a recall delayed the proceedings. Interscope. (Photo courtesy the Karpel Group)
â€śBritten & Pears: a Unique Musical Cooperationâ€ť 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 Nicksâ€™ documentary film â€śIn Your Dreams,â€ť about the making of her album of the same name, drops Dec. 3. $14.98, Reprise.
â€śAb Fabâ€ť the entire series is now available on a 10-disc set. $158.98. (Photo courtesy BBC Home Entertainment)
â€śBewitched,â€ť available for years in season packs, is now out in a â€śwhole seriesâ€ť package. $55.99. (Photo courtesy Sony)
â€śFlo,â€ť the â€śAliceâ€ť 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)
There have been endless Catwoman interpretations over the years. The Barbie Collector Classic Catwoman pays homage to Julie Newmarâ€™s timeless performance. Another featuring Adam Westâ€™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. â€śNoirâ€ť is an â€śoriental, sensual fragrance that captures the twin facets of the Tom Ford man â€” the refined, urbane sophisticate whom everyone gets to see and the intriguingly sensuous private man they donâ€™t.â€ť 1.7 oz for $90; 3.4 oz. for $125. (Photo courtesy Tom Ford)
This seasonâ€™s new womenâ€™s fragrances offer an alluring array from Gucciâ€™s â€śGuilty Blackâ€ť ($75), Dolce & Gabbanaâ€™s â€śVelvet Desert Oudâ€ť ($270) to lighter scents like Calvin Kleinâ€™s â€śDowntownâ€ť ($65) and Jimmy Chooâ€™s â€śWhite Editionâ€ť ($150).Â (Photos courtesy Dolce & Gabbana/Jimmy Choo)
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 doesnâ€™t have to show up for work at midnight or worry about â€śdoor busterâ€ť sales.
â€śWe donâ€™t have sales but thereâ€™s a lot of increased traffic and itâ€™s very busy all weekend,â€ť the 31-year-old Longview, Texas, native says. â€śWe do about 30 percent of our business for the year between Thanksgiving and Christmas so itâ€™s just so busy and I feel a responsibility to the store to be there all the time.â€ť
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.
â€śEvery person in retail feels a little ripped off with the holidays,â€ť he says. â€śBut in a way you get used to it at the same time too. You canâ€™t really hold a grudge because itâ€™s what you signed up for. We knew this is a given when we got into it.â€ť
Clay says he didnâ€™t â€śnecessarilyâ€ť 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?Â
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 â€śBible Beltâ€ť of the South and they were/are very religious.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
I love Ellen because sheâ€™s a proud lesbian but itâ€™s not all about that. Look at her show and her appeal. Sheâ€™s someone who came out and is embraced by everyone because sheâ€™s just an amazing person who also happens to be gay. Thatâ€™s what I try to emulate.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?Â
I have to say I love Cobalt and Nellieâ€™s when Iâ€™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, itâ€™s all about health issues. If we donâ€™t have our health, we have nothing. Iâ€™m passionate about breast cancer, Leukemia and Lymphoma and HIV-related issues.
What historical outcome would you change?
I wouldnâ€™t change a thing because Iâ€™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 itâ€™s been a few years, but I couldnâ€™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?
â€śWho is seeing BeyoncĂ© for the second time this year soon? This guy!â€ť
If your life were a book, what would the title be?Â
â€śBuying Fabulous On Layawayâ€ť
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?Â
I wouldnâ€™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 Iâ€™m happy with it.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?Â
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. Donâ€™t push too hard and donâ€™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?
â€śPriscilla Queen of the Desertâ€ť or â€śTo Wong Foo.â€ť Tough choice!
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Saying â€śHi how are you?â€ť to someone you donâ€™t know. I think itâ€™s safe to say that you donâ€™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?Â
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.
Itâ€™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 â€” to be something more.
Gay-ownedÂ Mitchell Gold & Bob WilliamsÂ (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.
Hillâ€™s KitchenÂ (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 atÂ 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 Hillâ€™s Kitchen, and round out your order with a sphere ice mold for $11.50.
For vintage home furnishings and accessories, look no further thanÂ Miss Pixieâ€™sÂ (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. OnÂ Dec. 5Â fromÂ 6-8 p.m., Miss Pixieâ€™s is hosting a customer appreciation event, which includes a 10 percent discount throughout the store. Miss Pixieâ€™s also offers a delivery service for $35 within most of the D.C. metro area or $45 outside of D.C.
Salvage ModernÂ 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/salvagemodern,Â krrb.com/salvagemodernÂ orÂ facebook.com/salvageforthesoul
For a simpler, more affordable gift option, visitÂ Millennium Decorative ArtsÂ (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 fromÂ Appalachian SpringÂ (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,Â Merrifield Garden CenterÂ 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), itâ€™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 atÂ World MarketÂ (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 RuleÂ (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).
tabletopÂ (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.
AnthropologieÂ (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.
WhileÂ Design Within ReachÂ (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.
The Baltimore County chapter of PFLAG will hold its annual holiday potluck dinner on Dec. 27. The event was moved because the normally scheduled date of the fourth Tuesday fell on Christmas Day. It will take place at 7 p.m. at the Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1710 Dulaney Valley Rd., Lutherville, MD 21093. For information, call 443-255-1484.