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2013 in photography

2013 was a banner year for the LGBT community. Here are the top Washington Blade photos of the year. (Washington Blade photos by Blake Bergen, Tyler Grigsby, Michael Key, Kevin Majoros, Damien Salas, Lee Whitman and Jon Wooten) buyphoto 

03
Jan
2014

Xanadu

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington held a dress rehearsal for an all-male performance of ‘Xanadu’ at Lisner Auditorium on Thursday. For tickets and showtimes, visit gmcw.org. (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key) buyphoto 

15
Mar
2013

Concerts: Strike up the band!

Chely Wright, Catie Curtis, gay news, Washington Blade

Lesbian singer/songwriters Chely Wright and Catie Curtis (left) are both expected to return to the region this spring. Curtis is at Wolf Trap. Wright plays a special show in Rehoboth Beach. (Photo courtesy Wolf Trap and Vanguard Records)

From hip-hop to Broadway, this season of performers brings such a diverse set of music that there’s room for all kinds of audience members.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington puts on a all-male version of “Xanadu” at Lisner Auditorium (730 21st St., NW) on March 15-16 at 8 p.m. with a matinee performance March 17 at 3 p.m. The show is based on the 1980 romantic film starring Olivia Newton-John. The main character Kira, a Greek muse, is sent to California with a mission: to inspire men. She inspires the creative genius of the film to create the world’s first roller disco! Tickets are $20-$55. For more information, visit gmcw.org.

The Washington Women in Jazz Festival kicks off on March 20 with Kimberly Thompson performing at 8 p.m. at the Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H St., NE). Tickets for this specific event are $25. The following evening on March 21 at 5:30 p.m. is the vocal showcase with Christie Dashiell and Jessica Boykin-Settles at Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington). This event is free. The festival continues until March 27, including events such as the Young Arts Contest and Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra. The festival concludes with jazz legend Geri Allen on the piano at 8 p.m. at the Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H St., NE). Tickets are $35 for the finale. For a full a schedule and ticket prices for specific events, visit washingtonwomeninjazz.com.

Transgender performer Mykki Blanco comes to Comet Ping Pong (5037 Connecticut Ave., NW) along with Dope Body on March 27 at 9 p.m. This outgoing alter-ego to Michael David Quattlebaum Jr., is a New York-based poet and hip-hop musician. Dope Body is a noise rock band from Baltimore that formed in 2008. Their most recent album “Natural History” saw a change in sound with more big melodic hooks. Tickets are $12. For more information, visit cometpingpong.com.

Singer and lesbian activist Catie Curtis comes to The Barns at Wolf Trap (1645 Trap Rd., Vienna) on March 28 at 8 p.m. Curtis brings her stories about tackling personal and social justice themes that any audience member can relate to. Tickets are $22. For more information, visit wolftrap.org.

Country singer Chely Wright is the headliner for Rehoboth’s “Women’s Fest 2013” on April 12 at 8:45 p.m. at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center (229 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Del.). Wright became the first major country singer to come out as gay in May 2010, citing her concerns about bullying of gays as well as being true to herself. Tickets are $25. There are a limited amount of front table seats that are $100. For more information, visit camprehoboth.com.

Several big-name pop and rock acts are slated to play the region. Look for Pink at the Verizon Center on March 14, “Wonder Woman” Lynda Carter at the Kennedy Center on March 23, Fleetwood Mac (which has a large gay following thanks to singer Stevie Nicks) at the Verizon Center on April 9, gay popster Mika at the Sixth and I Synagogue April 10, Motown/soul diva Gladys Knight at the Strathmore April 25-26, comedian/filmmaker and John Waters at the Howard on May 15.

In classical music, look for bi organist Cameron Carpenter at the Strathmore on April 12. He’s expected to bring a predictably unpredictable set and has been playing self-composed programmatic suites in recent shows. And under the gay leadership of Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra plays Mahler’s 9th Symphony at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on March 23.

The Rock Creek Singers and Potomac Fever, the Gay Men’s Chorus’ two vocal ensembles, perform together on April 20 at 5 and 8 p.m. at Church of the Epiphany (1317 G St., NW). The evening includes a dazzling performance from these two groups sharing the stage singing in a cappella and tight harmonies, spanning music styles from Broadway, pop and classical. Tickets are $35. For more information, visit gmcw.org.

The same evening, gay singer, pianist and music revivalist Michael Feinstein performs at the Music Center at the Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda). Tickets are $40 -$105. For more information, visit Strathmore.org.

The Cliks, with transgender lead singer Lucas Silveira, come to DC9 (1940 9th St., NW) on May 5, after their new album “Black Tie Elevator” is released. According to their website, the time of the event will be announced and it is a 21 or older event. For more information, visi thecliks.com.

Special Agent Galatica has monthly and twice-monthly engagements at a host of local venues — Black Fox Lounge, Nellie’s and Freddie’s. All details are at pinkhairedone.com.

28
Feb
2013

GMCW gears up for ‘Xanadu’ next weekend

GMCW, Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, Xanadu, gay news, Washington Blade

(Image courtesy Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington)

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington puts on a all-male version of “Xanadu” at Lisner Auditorium (730 21st St., NW) on March 15-16 at 8 p.m. with a matinee performance on March 17 at 3 p.m.

The show is based on the 1980 romantic film starring Olivia Newton-John. The main character Kira, a Greek muse, is sent to California with a mission: to inspire men. She inspires the creative genius of the film to create the world’s first roller disco.

Tickets are $20-$55. For more information, visit gmcw.org.

07
Mar
2013

Queery: Kip Jacobs

Kip Jacobs, GMCW, Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, Xanadu, Queery, gay news, Washington Blade

Kip Jacobs (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Kip Jacobs says if you’ve never seen “Xanadu,” the campy 1980 movie, forget it for now and come hear the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s all-male interpretation of the Broadway version with fresh eyes and ears.

“It’s the Broadway version but with our own GMCW twist,” Jacobs, who plays Sonny, says. “We’ve expanded the cast from about nine to about 80 to incorporate the Chorus, so it will definitely be a fun show with all this great music from the ‘80s.”

“Xanadu” opens tonight at 8 at the Lisner Auditorium (730 21st Street, NW) and will also be performed Saturday night at 8 and Sunday afternoon at 3. The campy show tells of Kira, a Greek muse, who’s sent to Venice Beach to inspire men. The results? A talented artist finds his Olympian love and creates his own masterpiece — the world’s first roller disco. Tickets range from $20-$55. Visit gmcw.org for details.

Jacobs, a native of nearby Westminster, Md., has been in the Chorus since 2006.

He works by day in information technology as a project analyst for Advisory Board Company, a consulting firm. His first couple years out of college, he taught high school French in his hometown school district, but soon moved to Washington where he’s been ever since.

He and boyfriend Paul Heald met in a line waiting to get into Cobalt three years ago. They live together in the U Street area. He enjoys singing, theater, technology and gadgets and watching “Downton Abbey” in his free time.

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

I started to come out around 18. It was my senior year and, emotionally, it was tough. I almost lost my spot as valedictorian due to meeting a boy. All those awakenings that most people go through in sixth grade were happening to me at a time when all I should have been doing was studying.

Who’s your LGBT hero? 

Ellen. She has really done a lot to help the perception of the LGBT community.

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

This may date me a bit, but it has to be Nation. I really miss having a real dance club in town.

Describe your dream wedding. 

One fully recognized by all 50 states and the federal government. Simple. Good friends. Good Champagne.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? 

The cost of milk. When did it get so expensive?

What historical outcome would you change? 

DOMA. Why did this ever happen?

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

Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction.” I can still hear the earth exploding in my ears.

On what do you insist? 

Showering, if not several times a day. This goes for all around me too.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? 

Great rehearsal with the #Xanadudes. #Xanadu tech week is creeping up on us! Proud to be @GMCWashington

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

“Finding Xanadu — The crazy journey of a boy, a Brit and a Mini Cooper”

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

I would just say no. Nothing is better than being gay, out and proud. I feel like you aren’t strapped into the gender roles that straight men (in America) have to cling to every day. You can live life as you want.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

That some people were meant to be together and that connection doesn’t have to be heterosexual. Oh, and, of course, I believe in “Xanadu!”

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? 

Stop emailing me so much. If I read your article once or gave a small donation once, then I know who you are. It’s unfortunate, since I know there is good work being done, but they need to manage their mailing lists!

What would you walk across hot coals for? 

Homemade crumpets by a certain “you know who.”

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? 

Trying to push gay men into traditional gender roles of “the guy” and “the girl.” I just want the freedom to be me.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“Justify My Love” by Madonna. I remember finally getting hold of a copy in my adolescent hands on VHS tape after it was banned by MTV.

What’s the most overrated social custom? 

Ladies first. Aren’t we all created equal? Aren’t we fighting for equality? We could take a cue from the Brits and just queue up in the order we arrive. I take this mostly from fighting for a space on overcrowded busses, trying to get to work.

What trophy or prize do you most covet? 

My upcoming role as Sonny Malone in “Xanadu.” I’ve played bit parts here and there before, but this is a huge role and I can’t wait to get out there and share it with everyone.

What do you wish you’d known at 18? 

You don’t need “more” to be an adult or to be happy. You spend half your life accumulating stuff and then the rest of it slowly getting rid of it, realizing that all you need in the end is love, friends, some good food, music and a cozy place to lay your head. Keep it simple. Be happy.

Why Washington?

Many moons ago, all I wanted was to get out of the small town I grew up in. I only got an hour and a half away to D.C., but I know my family loves that I’m still around and that we get to see each other often. D.C. has really changed and will keep getting better.

13
Mar
2013

Year in review: Gems from the stage

From left are Chris Stezin, Liz Mamana, Kimberly Gilbert and Will Gartshore in ‘The Religion Thing.’ (Photo by C. Stanley Photography; courtesy Theater J)

From left are Chris Stezin, Liz Mamana, Kimberly Gilbert and Will Gartshore in ‘The Religion Thing.’ (Photo by C. Stanley Photography; courtesy Theater J)

Like so many past years, 2012 also saw an energetic pool of LGBT theater professionals contributing to the vitality and success of the ever-expanding local theater scene. The following gives you an idea.

Undoubtedly, one of the area’s hardest working theater folks throughout this year has been Signature Theatre’s gay associate director Matthew Gardiner. He’s also one of its most talented.

Gardiner staged four excellent and very different Signature productions beginning with “Really Really,” a comic tragedy about today’s mind numbingly self-absorbed youth. Next up, he directed and choreographed a well-executed production of the ‘70s campfest musical, “Xanadu.” In the fall, he helmed gay playwright Christopher Shinn’s “Dying City,” an intimate drama about life and death in the shadow of the Iraq War with strapping actor Thomas Keegan playing both the butch army officer and his more effusive gay identical twin. Gardiner finished the year directing and choreographing a first rate production of “Dreamgirls.” And if all that weren’t enough, sometime in early fall he made time to choreograph MetroStage’s notable production of “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.”

Last spring’s “Twist Festival D.C.” gave local audiences were given an opportunity to experience the magic of gay puppeteer extraordinaire Basil Twist. The mini-fest kicked off at the Shakespeare Theatre Company with “Petrushka,” Twist’s trippy take on the classic Russian ballet about a love triangle involving three puppets: the eponymous clown, a ballerina and a Moor. Originally commissioned for New York’s Lincoln Center in 2000, the charming show featured pirouetting puppets and floating objects accompanied by real life Russian identical twins playing a reduction of Igor Stravinsky’s score on identical pianos.

Other festival productions included “Arias with a Twist” (Twist’s campy collaboration with legendary downtown New York drag performer Joey Arias); and “Dogugaeshi,” a Japanese-inspired journey of images accompanied by original Japanese lute compositions (at Woolly Mammoth and Studio Theatre respectively).

Over the year, art imitated life with gay actors giving memorable performances as gay characters including Tom Story and Chris Dinolfo as a mismatched but devoted couple in Roundhouse Theatre’s “Next Fall.” Rep Stage’s production of gay playwright Jon Marans’ “The Temperamentals” featured Rick Hammerly as Bob Hull, a founding member of the Los Angeles-based Mattachine Society (the first gay rights organization in the United States). And at Theater J, MaryBeth Wise played one half of a same-sex couple in Annie Baker’s comic drama “Body Awareness.”

Also at Theater J, Will Gartshore played an allegedly “ex-gay” Christian in “The Religion Thing” (penned by local playwright Renee Calarco and staged by her gay brother, director Joe Calarco). Gartshore’s layered performance gave dimension to a character that might otherwise have been perceived simply as a creepy stereotype.

Impressively, Gartshore performed three different one-man cabarets in just two weeks this summer: A mix of well-known and obscure tunes titled “Underappreciated & Overexposed” at Signature Theatre, “Dressed Up” the next weekend, then companion piece “Stripped Down” at Round House Theatre’s Silver Spring space. With his gorgeous tenor, talent for intimate storytelling and ability to put across both a painful breakup song and cheekily spun version of Cole Porter’s “You’re the Top,” with equal ease, Gartshore took his audiences on a gratifying and fun musical journey. D.C. is lucky to have him.

Local out actor Bobby Smith showed off his skill set in 2012. In the fall, Smith wowed audiences playing the title character in MetroStage’s topnotch production of “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris,” a musical revue celebrating the work of the late singer/songwriter known as the voice of postwar Paris. Smith was terrific as the world weary, cynical yet sentimental Brel.

Following “Jacques Brel,” Smith staged a charming take on Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical “Cinderella” at the Olney Theatre Center (runs through Dec. 30).

In 2012, some openly gay actors played it straight. The versatile and nimble Alex Mills starred as the upstanding scientist and his terrifying alter ego in Synetic Theatre’s “Jeckyll and Hyde.” Broadway actor Nicholas Rodriquez returned to Arena Stage to play love-struck Freddy Eynsford-Hill, the Edwardian dandy who falls in love with Eliza in “My Fair Lady” (through Jan. 6). And Holly Twyford and Matthew Montelongo fought and fornicated in Studio Theatre’s world premiere of “Dirt,” Bryony Lavery’s play about morality and decay.

A highlight from this year was Arena Stage’s production of Larry Kramer’s stunning drama “The Normal Heart.” Considered a rant when it premiered in New York in 1985, Kramer’s autobiographical AIDS play has aged beautifully — still full of fury but also empathetic, loving and sad. This production was skillfully staged by gay director George C. Wolfe and featured a fabulous cast including Patrick Breen as Ned, the Kramer character, and handsome Luke MacFarlane as his lover who has been diagnosed with the virus.

For Shakespeare Theatre Company’s gay artistic director Michael Kahn, 2012 was a spectacular year. Not only did his company celebrating its 25th anniversary season, it was also honored with the prestigious Regional Theatre Tony Award. Not too shabby.

27
Dec
2012