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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

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

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