Washingtonblade.com, Volume 50, Issue 5, February 01, 2019

Page 1

F EBRUA RY 01, 2019 • VOLUME 50 • I S S UE 05 • WA S HI NGTON B LAD E.CO M

02 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

Blazer: Hadik 50394372 $745 Shirt: T-Charlie 50394414 $298 Trouser: Giro 50394713 $228

Full name: Sam Roberson Occupation: Business/Tax Attorney Favorite local restaurant: Al Tiramisu Favorite local bar/lounge: 18th & U Duplex Diner Favorite vacation spot: Alaska (most recent favorite) Favorite Charity: Humane Rescue Alliance Favorite thing to do on a weekend: Hiking

Sam is wearing the latest items from the Spring 2019 collection.

Georgetown • 1517 Wisconsin Avenue NW • Washington, DC 20007 • 202.625.2677 Mention this editorial and receive a 20% discount on your regular price purchase only at HUGO BOSS Georgetown.

F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 03


PO Box 53352 Washington DC 20009 PHONE

Looking back:


Gettin’ all lovey-dovey

50 years of the Blade


A candle-lit table for two please?

Brother, Help Thyself turns 40;


‘The Origin’ of Hedwig

set to give $75k in grants


Queery: Diedre D. Gray


Comings & Goings


Distrkt C turns 3


‘Past, Present, Proud’ to mark


Quirky ‘Buzzsaw’ delights

Capital Pride 2019 theme


Musical ‘DNA’


Exploring Pete Buttigieg’s path


‘Admissions’ explores

For distribution, contact Lynne Brown at 202-747-2077, ext. 8075. Distributed by MediaPoint, LLC

Mayor Pete Buttigieg faces an uphill fight for the White House — but there is a path. PAGE 12

06 08


to the White House 14

Jussie Smollett attacked in

tough questions 42

suspected hate crime 15

Rival group to hold competing

new locale 45

Pride march in NYC 19

Cannabis Culture



Wig Night Out moves to

Don’t know if you should buy a home?



All material in the Washington Blade is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Washington Blade. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons. Although the Washington Blade is supported by many fine advertisers, we cannot accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Washington Blade, but the paper cannot take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. A single copy of the Washington Blade is available from authorized distribution points, to any individual within a 50-mile radius of Washington, D.C. Multiple copies are available from the Washington Blade office only. Call for rates. If you are unable to get to a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 52-week mailed subscription for $195 per year or $5.00 per single issue. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Phil Rockstroh at prockstroh@ washblade.com. Postmaster: Send address changes to the Washington Blade, PO BOX 53352 Washington, DC 20009. The Washington Blade is published weekly, on Friday, by Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. Individual Subscriptions are $195 per year for 52 issues (only $3.75 per issue mailed to you USPS). Rates for businesses/institutions are $450 per year. Periodical postage paid at Washington, D.C., and additional mailing offices. Editorial positions of the Washington Blade are expressed in editorials and in editors’ notes as determined by the paper’s editors. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Washington Blade or its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words; commentaries should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Send submissions by e-mail to knaff@washblade.com.


04 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 05

Celebrating Black History Month in 1979

Here is an article from the Feb. 15, 1979 issue of the Blade that discusses three pivotal judges: Thurgood Marshall, William Rehnquist and Spottswood Robinson III. Marshall and Robinson would be considered reliable allies to LGBT equality throughout the years, yet Rehnquist was an intractable foe to the movement. Rehnquist defended the so-called “separate-but-equal” doctrine of segregation in a memorandum while he worked as a law clerk for Justice Robert H. Jackson. Marshall and Robinson, meanwhile, “set the strategy and tactics that led to the Brown v. Board of Education decision desegregating public schools.” Marshall and Rehnquist would go on to serve as justices in the Supreme Court. Robinson would serve as the Senior Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Top Photo: Justice THURGOOD MARSHALL was a reliable LGBT ally throughout the years. Bottom Photo:

06 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

Thank you to our founding sponsors and partners of the Washington Blade’s 50th anniversary year.


FULL LOGO (Preferred)

Text Only Stack

Text Only Inline

Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington

DC Housing Finance Agency

Community Partners

For more information on getting involved with the 50th Anniversary please contact Stephen Rutgers at srutgers@washblade.com F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA DE.COM • 07

Brother,HelpThyself turns 40; set to give $75k in grants LGBT philanthropic group has donated more than $3 million over the years By JOEY DIGUGLIELMO JOEYD@WASHBLADE.COM

Top photo: The Lone Star Dancers at a 1985 Brother, Help Thyself event. Washington Blade file photo Bottom photo: Brother, Help Thyself board members JIM SLATTERY (left) and ANDREW McCARTY with D.C. Mayor MURIEL BOWSER in 2015. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key by Doug Hinckle

The first time Jim Slattery sat in on a Brother Help Thyself grant hearing, the experience made an impression. He recalls hearing a rep from a PFLAG chapter in Columbia, Md., speak to the board about the importance of its aid. “She spoke so passionately about it and I think it was just a $100 check she had gotten from Brother Help Thyself back

in the ’80s,” Slattery said. “But she talked with such passion about that donation as if it was a million dollars and I was sitting there against the wall in tears. I knew at that point I wanted to be formally involved with BHT. I made my interest known and before the end of the meeting, I was voted onto the board.” Slattery, who’s gay, had been invited by a friend, Bradley Hill (still a Brother board member) to observe. “I said, ‘Sure, I’ll come by sometime. I went and never really left,’” Slattery, who joined in 2009, said. He’s a former Brother president and is now vice president. Brother, Help Thyself Inc. is a community-based organization that provides financial and other support to non-profit organizations serving the LGBT and HIV/AIDS population in the Baltimore and Washington areas. It was founded in 1978 by four gay motorcycle clubs and claims it’s “one of the first organizations in the United States to provide funding for (LGBT) health, cultural and social services.” The first fund drive by The Capital Area Board of Leather and Levi Motorcycle Clubs raised $4,518. Brother was formed to award the grant to The Gay Men’s VD Clinic (later Whitman-Walker), which was having financial difficulties. Brother celebrates its 40th anniversary this weekend with a Saturday, Feb. 2 event at the Belvedere Hotel (1 E. Chase St.) in Baltimore. “A Dressier Affair: Celebrating 40 Years of Brother, Help Thyself” is from 7-10 p.m. and will commemorate the organization’s long history. Awards for the 2018 grant cycle will be given out as well as five annual community service awards given and two non-grant awards of $2,500 each to LGBT youth non-profits. No tickets are required; hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will be available. Usually Brother grants are handed out at informal events held at the Eagle or Grand Central but they’re going a bit more formal this year because of the anniversary. Former board members have been invited and information on the agency’s history will be presented. Since its inception, Brother has awarded 1,098 grants totaling more than $3 million to 194 regional LGBT non-profits. This year, Brother will award about $75,000 in grants to 32 organizations. Current officers are Andrew McCarty, president; Mark Clark, treasurer; and Nina Love, secretary. Brother funding comes from donations, fundraisers, endowments and interest.

The agency receives no District, state or federal funding. It’s a wholly volunteer-led organization run by an 11-member board. Members rent a small office at Dignity Washington, an LGBT Catholic group, on Barracks Row. Meetings are held in the Dignity conference room the second Wednesday of each month. Brother typically receives between 3035 applications each year. To be eligible, potential recipients must meet geographic requirements (which are slightly beyond D.C. and Baltimore proper) and have operating budgets less than $2 million annually. Food & Friends, for example, previously received Brother grants for several years but since 2009 has been too large to qualify. The organization grew steadily over the years. After the initial $4,500 grant, $10,000 was awarded to various entities in 1980, $21,000 by 1982, $35,000 by 1986 and so on. Since 1991, at least $71,000 has been awarded each year. None are automatically renewed. Agencies must submit grant applications each year and appear before the board. The agencies must either be LGBT specific or have an LGBT component/arm to their work. Players in D.C.’s Different Drummers pay a $175 annual due to play in the LGBT band but it uses Brother donations to offset dues for members who can’t afford it. Annual Brother funds yield the Drummers between $1,000-2,000 each year. “For our organization, it’s meant that LGBT people and our allies who want to make music are able to do so without any sort of financial impediment,” said Chip Clapp, who plays the euphonium in Drummers and who’s gay. He’s on Drummers’ development committee. “I think the work they’re doing really speaks for itself,” Clapp said. Dr. Imani Woody, founder and CEO of Mary’s House for Older Adults, a local nonprofit for senior LGBT people, says Brother grants — which vary in amount each year — have been crucial in helping her agency in practical ways. One recent grant, for example, was used so she could hire an assistant to help in the office. “I love Brother Help Thyself, I love Jim and Andrew (McCarty) and all the guys that work there,” Woody, a lesbian, says. “It’s an important space and was important for us because even though we have a national presence, we’re a small non-profit and Brother, Help Thyself really understood that and bought into our mission.”

08 • WA S HI NGTON B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9 • LO CAL N EWS






F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 09

Comings & Goings Sklarz takes new role at SAGE; Zumwalt lands promotion By PETER ROSENSTEIN

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: comingsandgoings@washblade.com. Congratulations to Scott Paul Zumwalt on his appointment as a managing director at Bully Pulpit Interactive (BPI). Bully Pulpit Interactive is a modern SCOTT PAUL ZUMWALT communications agency that builds believers for brands, causes and candidates. Founded by leaders of the Obama campaign, they apply their expertise to create customized strategies for companies, causes and candidates. Upon his promotion Zumwalt said, “I’m especially proud of our team’s work to drive innovation in the fight for LGBTQ equality. Whether through our work the last six years with the Human Rights Campaign or this past year in Massachusetts where we successfully fought to protect transgender rights in Massachusetts, the BPI team has been an amazing partner to our movement.” MELISSA SKLARZ Zumwalt has been at BPI for six years helping to develop BPI’s metrics-driven approach to many of their largest corporate and public affairs clients. He has more than a decade of experience in digital strategy and marketing for Fortune 500 corporations, non-profits and progressive political campaigns. In his time at BPI, he’s also served as a lead digital marketing consultant for the Human Rights Campaign for the past six years and worked on multiple campaigns and initiatives. He has also served on the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund Campaign Board since 2014. Before joining BPI, Zumwalt was a freelance consultant and owner of Empowered Media Strategies. As a digital innovator in the LGBTQ+ rights movement, he was the chief digital strategist that helped launch and develop the award-winning It Gets Better Project in 2010. Zumwalt earned his bachelor’s in Political Economy from Georgetown University where he graduated cum laude and he was president of the Georgetown University College Democrats and then the D.C. College Democrats. He is anticipating finishing his Executive MBA at Columbia Business School in May. Congratulations also to Melissa Sklarz who has started her new position with SAGE, Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders as a Senior Government Relations Strategist. She will be advocating for SAGE at the city and state level in New York to help with their legislative agenda including fighting for LGBT veteran services and protection in long-term care. She will work on the capital campaign to provide resources for the Ingersoll Senior Residences in Brooklyn. Sklarz said, “This position is a good fit for my skills and I am very grateful to Lynn Faria and Michael Adams for the opportunity.” She has broken ground in many ways for the transgender community. In 1999, Sklarz became the first transgender person elected to office in New York when she was elected a Judicial Delegate from the 66th Assembly District. In 2004, she became the first transgender person from New York to be part of the state delegation at the Democratic National Convention, by being appointed to the Credentials Committee and again on the Rules Committee in 2008. In 2016, she became the first New York trans person elected to be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Later that year, Sklarz became the first trans American to be selected for the Electoral College. She is a past board co-chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and of National Stonewall Democrats. She is a former president of Stonewall Democratic Club of New York and of Gay & Lesbian Independent Democrats. In 2008, she served as a co-chair for Obama Pride NYC, helping to organize the LGBT community for the campaign and was one of 250 activists invited to the first LGBT Pride in White House in June 2009. Sklarz worked for two years as director of development for the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund resigning in 2018 to run for Assembly. She also had a featured role in the film “Transamerica.”

Organizers consider date change for NationalTrans March First-ever event initially set for April 1 may move to March 31 By LOU CHIBBARO JR. The lead organizer of a National Transgender Visibility March on Washington initially scheduled for Monday, April 1 said organizers are now considering holding the first-ever national march for trans rights one day earlier on Sunday, March 31. Veteran transgender activist Marissa Miller, who’s listed on the march’s website as its senior strategist and director, told the Washington Blade that meetings last week with D.C.-based trans activists and LGBT allies prompted her and other organizers to view a Sunday as a potentially better day for drawing a greater number of people to a national march. She said a final decision on the date for the march would be made on Feb. 5. Miller said plans for the march were first announced on social media last October. A short time later April 1 was designated as the date for the march, according to Miller, with additional plans announced for a March 31 gathering to honor longtime transgender community leaders and a separate Trans Visibility Ball as a venue to “celebrate who we are.” She said organizers are now considering holding the march and the other two events on the same day on March 31. “Members of the transgender and gender non-conforming communities will take a major stand against hate and discrimination when they rally in the nation’s capital for the first-ever National Trans Visibility March on Washington,” a Jan. 11 statement by organizers says. “Transgender individuals from major metropolitan cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Memphis, New York and San Francisco will come together with their allies calling for equal rights, physical safety and demanding the transgender communities be officially and federally recognized across every state department within this great nation,” the statement says. Miller said organizers are arranging for a caravan of buses to bring trans and gender non-conforming people and their supporters to Washington from locations within eight hours driving time. She said funds were being raised to supplement a “presenting” corporate sponsorship of Gilead Sciences pharmaceutical company and other corporate

sponsors to enable the march organization to pay transportation and lodging for 1,500 trans and gender non-conforming people who would otherwise not be able to come to D.C. to participate in the march and related events. Although the exact route of the march has yet to be announced, Miller said the march would begin in front of the White House and end at the U.S. Capitol, where a rally with speakers is expected to take place. She said the Torch Awards ceremony to honor 15 prominent trans and gender non-conforming leaders who have devoted years of volunteer work and other endeavors in advancing trans rights along with the Trans Visibility Ball were initially planned to take place March 31 at the Marriott Gaylord Hotel at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., across the Potomac River from D.C. Now, with plans under consideration to hold the march on March 31, Miller said organizers may consider changing the location of the awards ceremony and Trans Visibility Ball. Also serving on the Organizing Team is D.C. transgender activist Consuella Lopez, an official with the D.C. LGBT community services center Casa Ruby. Ruby Corado, the founder and executive director of Casa Ruby, is also providing assistance in the organizing of the march, Miller told the Blade. She said Casa Ruby has been designated as the event’s host sponsor. The Trans March website, transmarchondc.org, says the presenting sponsor of the march, which was to be for one exclusive sponsor, would be expected to contribute $500,000 or more. “Gilead Sciences Inc. is the proud presenting sponsor of the Trans Visibility March,” said Gilead Senior Vice President for Public Affairs Amy Flood in a statement released by march organizers on Jan. 11. “Gilead is proud to stand with the millions of transgender and gender non-conforming Americans,” Flood said in the statement. “As a company, we’re committed to equality and to using our platform to advocate for marginalized communities.” Miller said that although anyone supportive of the march and its goals will be welcome to show up for the march and join its ranks, she said organizers are urging those planning to participate to register in advance on the march website so organizers will have an idea of how many people will come.

10 • WA S HI NGTON B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9 • LO CAL N EWS

‘Past,Present,Proud’ to mark Capital Pride 2019 theme D.C. events to commemorate Stonewall’s 50th By LOU CHIBBARO JR. LCHIBBARO@WASHBLADE.COM The Blade-DC Brau Pride can design contest is back.

DC Brau, Blade team up again for Pride beer can

Washington blade photo by John Yanson

The Capital Pride Alliance, which organizes D.C.’s annual LGBT Pride Parade, Festival and related events, launched the start of the city’s Pride season Thursday night by revealing its 2019 Pride theme – “shhhOUT Past, Present & Proud.” The group disclosed the 2019 theme and plans for this year’s Pride events at its annual “Reveal” party at City Winery restaurant and nightclub in Northeast D.C. “Through our history, and still today, there are forces that try to silence our community,” Capital Pride said in a statement. “We must be willing to stand up and speak OUT against injustice,” the statement says. “In doing so, we must give a ‘shhhOUT’ OUT, to our Past, Present, and continue to SHOUT OUT Proud forward.” Ashley Smith, president of the Capital Pride Alliance Board of Directors, said the community has more work to do and must address a variety of issues. “We will overcome those challenges by joining together,” Smith said. “At the same time, we celebrate the decades of resilience and resistance that have brought advances to us both as communities and individuals,” he said. In its statement, Capital Pride says it and other organizations that sponsor Pride events for various constituency groups would be collaborating this year to coordinate seven different Pride events: • Youth Pride Day (May 4) presented by Youth Pride Alliance, Damien Ministries, and SMYAL • Silver Pride (May 10) produced by Whitman-Walker Health in partnership with IONA Senior Services and AARP in collaboration with Capital Pride Alliance • Capital Trans Pride (May 17-May 19) produced by Capital Pride Alliance • D.C. Black Pride (May 24-May 27) produced by the Center for Black Equity • D.C. Latinx Pride (June 1, 2, & 6) produced by the Latino GLBT History Project • Asian Pacific Island Pride (date to be announced) produced by Capital Pride Alliance in collaboration with Asian and Pacific Islander Queers United for Action, Asian Pacific Island Queer Society, Khush DC, and Korean Queer & Transgender Association of D.C. • Capital Pride Celebration (May 31 – June 9) produced by Capital Pride Alliance


DC Brau Brewing Company and the Washington Blade are searching for a new design for a special can of Brau Pils to be released during this summer’s Pride celebration. For a third time, professional and amateur creatives are invited to submit their original designs for consideration for this year’s limited-edition “PRIDE PILS” can. This year’s release is extra special as the LGBT community celebrates 50 years since Stonewall, as well as the golden anniversary of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest LGBT newspaper. “The Washington Blade is excited to continue our partnership with DC Brau that allows the LGBT community to showcase themselves in a creative way,” says Blade publisher Lynne Brown. “We can’t wait to see how the designs celebrate the diversity of our community.” Approximately 1,200 cases of Brau Pils will be re-packaged as PRIDE PILS for distribution during PRIDE 2019 this June in D.C. The winning can design will be chosen through a multi-step process that includes a period of public voting on the Blade’s website in early March to narrow the field to three top contenders, one of which will ultimately work with DC Brau to finalize the artwork for production. “We continue to be proud of this partnership with the Washington Blade and what we’ve been able to do together for worthwhile causes in D.C.’s LGBT community,” says DC Brau’s CEO & co-founder Brandon Skall. “Last year, we were able to donate more than $16,000 to SMYAL and The Blade Foundation from the sale of the PRIDE PILS cans designed by Alden Leonard. We’re excited for another great run of PRIDE PILS this summer to celebrate the Blade’s 50th anniversary during Pride.” For all Pride Can Design Contest details and to submit an entry, visit washingtonblade.com/dcbrau. Deadline for design submissions is

Monday, Feb. 25 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Must be 21 years or older to participate. Proceeds from the sale of PRIDE PILS will benefit The Blade Foundation, which is dedicated to funding enterprise journalism projects and encouraging the next generation of LGBT journalists, and local LGBTQ youth empowerment program, SMYAL. STAFF REPORTS

Va. House advances pro-LGBT bills Two bills that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in Virginia made it through the Rules Committee in the Virginia House of Delegates on Monday. The General Laws Committee will hear the bills on Jan. 31. The two pieces of legislation must be approved by the committee by the end of this week to be eligible to become law this year. Similar pieces of legislation passed in the Virginia Senate with bipartisan support 10 days ago. This year marks the fourth year in which the bills have passed in the state Senate. Each year, they have gone on to die in the House at the hands of conservative Republican leadership. This year, Equality Virginia worked to increase support for the legislation with its Virginia Beach for Fairness Campaign. Equality Virginia collected stories of individuals who have faced discrimination on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation and sent those stories to Republican leadership in the House. The goal was to prove that LGBT protections were necessary in the state of Virginia. Members and supporters of Equality Virginia, the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom for All Americans will gather at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond at 10:30 a.m. every day this week to encourage the House of Delegates to pass legislation that would protect LGBT individuals from discrimination in housing and public employment. JAMES WELLEMEYER

Exploring Pete Buttigieg’s path to the White House Mayor should look first to the LGBT community for support: experts By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM

PETE BUTTIGIEG should look to the LGBT community first in his bid for the White House, experts say. Blade photo by Michael Key

Pete Buttigieg would make history if he becomes the first openly gay Democratic presidential nominee — and his path to the nomination may depend on whether the LGBT community supports him in his pursuit. The mayor of South Bend, Ind., last week declared he has created an exploratory committee, which is considered the first step in a presidential run, emphasizing a “fresh start” for the nation and touting the rejuvenation of his city as mayor in his announcement. Robby Mook, who’s gay and served as campaign manager for Hillary Clinton in 2016, weighed in on Buttigieg’s potential run in an email to the Blade. “The key will be to stand out from the crowd and be able to drive your own message,” Mook said. “He certainly has a unique story to tell and this contest is wide open. There is no front runner.” Chris Massicotte, a gay political consultant for the D.C-based DSPolitical, said LGBT support would be key in getting Buttigieg’s campaign off the ground. “With the expected number of declared candidates to number in the dozens I think what the mayor needs to do is to first acknowledge that he has a natural national base in the LGBT community and quickly solicit low dollar contributions from our community,” Massiciote said. Those donations, Massicotte said, would be essential in ensuring Buttigieg has a place on the debate stage among other Democrats in the primary process. “Criteria for qualifying for the primary

debates starting this summer is going to go beyond polling, and will also measure the number of grassroots donors a candidate has,” Massicotte said. “If Mayor Buttigieg can realize his grassroots fundraising potential he will get on the debate stage. Once he does that, he will stand out and shine as the youngest person on the stage with one of the most impressive resumes beyond just elected office. With this kind of field, it is anyone’s game.” Even with LGBT support, political experts say this will be an uphill fight in a crowded field of Democrats who have greater name recognition than Buttigieg. Buttigieg has a built a resume that includes being mayor of South Bend, Ind., military service in Afghanistan and a 2017 run to become chair of the Democratic National Committee, but he’s competing against Democrats who are U.S. senators — and possibly a former vice president and the 2016 Democratic nominee. Daniel Pinello, a gay political scientist at the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was blunt in his assessment of Buttigieg’s chances in the 2020 race. “Since World War II, no presidential nominee of either major party has had the political credentials of just being the mayor of a city of 100,000 people,” Pinello said. “Rather, the overwhelming majority of modern Democratic and Republican nominees have been either a vice president, a United States senator or

a governor.” Pinello added former President Eisenhower was “a very unusual exception” to this rule because he had name recognition from World War II as is President Trump, although he was recognized “in large measure due to his unique business and media history’s creating substantial national name recognition, too.” “In contrast, how many American voters today would recognize Pete Buttigieg’s name let alone know how to pronounce it?” Pinello said. “So his current chances of securing the Democratic nomination are absolutely non-existent.” Instead of pursuing the White House, Pinello concluded Buttigieg “would be far better advised to run for governor of Indiana first.” Also questioning Buttigieg’s decision to run for president was Rufus Gifford, who unsuccessfully ran to represent Massachusetts’ 3rd congressional district in 2018 and raised money for the Democratic National Committee and former President Obama’s presidential campaigns. “I don’t know what his email list looks like,” Gifford said. “I would imagine it’s probably pretty decent, but certainly doesn’t measure up to the Warrens and the Bernies and the Kamalas of the world just because of the work they’ve done historically, so he’s going to have to pound the pavement.” Gifford, who said he hasn’t yet endorsed a candidate for 2020, added the LGBT community would be a “logical audience for him at the outset” and Buttigieg should work that circuit hard from a fundraising standpoint. “I will say this, though, the LGBT community sees real allies in this field, so it’s not like he’s running 20 years ago when there would have been one candidate who’s head and shoulders above the field on LGBT issues,” Gifford said. “The fact that he is, of course, openly gay matters, and the community will respond to that, but it’s hard when you have real champions of LGBT equality in the field already.” Gifford said Buttigieg has a “tough road” ahead and the key going forward is “hard work, diligence and message.” “I think his message does resonate very much, very, very much, but the question is does it resonate enough to help put him over the top against candidates who have equally compelling messages,” Gifford said. “I think that’s his big challenge considering he’s obviously at a massive institutional disadvantage because of just who he is, because he does not have a national profile.”

12 • WA S HI N GTONB L A D E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9 • N AT IO N AL N EW S

F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 13

Jussie Smollett attacked in suspected hate crime Assailants douse ‘Empire’ star with bleach while yelling slurs By MARIAH COOPER MCOOPER@WASHBLADE.COM “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was hospitalized in Chicago after suffering a brutal attack early Tuesday morning that is being investigated as a possible racist and homophobic hate crime. Media outlets reported that Smollett landed in Chicago, where “Empire” is currently filming, from New York City late Monday night. Around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Smollett was walking out of sandwich chain Subway when he was approached by two men in ski masks. “Aren’t you that fa**ot ‘Empire’ n**?” the men allegedly yelled at Smollett. The men proceeded to beat Smollett and fracture his rib. The assailants reportedly poured bleach on Smollett and fastened a noose around his neck. The suspects fled the scene and Smollett was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He was treated and discharged a few hours later. ThatGrapeJuice.net reported that Smollett had been the target of a homophobic and racist threat sent to Fox Studios in Chicago eight days before the physical attack. The letter, addressed to Smollett, spelled out the words “You will die black f*g” in cut-out letters. The Chicago Police Department told E! News they are currently investigating the incident as a “possible” hate crime. “Overnight, the Chicago Police Department received a report of a possible racially-charged assault and battery involving a cast member of the television show Empire,” CPD Chief Spokesman Anthony Gugliemi told E! News. “Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime. Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline.” Smollett portrays gay musician Jamal Lyon, the son of music mogul Lucious Lyon, on the hit Fox series. Smollett publicly came out as gay in a 2015 interview with Ellen DeGeneres. The New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) issued a statement in response to the incident highlighting the particular oppression of people with intersectional identities. “While details are still developing, the hate violence Jussie Smollett experienced is reflective of what we see in our national data on hate violence, in our clients in New York City as well as the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) across the nation. LGBTQ people living at multiple intersections of oppression, such as racism and homophobia, experience compounded violence. ... Gay Black men are some of the most vulnerable to violence in the LGBTQ community and this must continue to be addressed.” As details of the attack emerged, GLAAD issued a statement via the Hollywood Reporter: “Jussie is a true champion for LGBTQ people and is beloved by the community and allies around the world.” Fox, the home network of “Empire,” also said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our Empire family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night. We send our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice.” “Empire” creator Lee Daniels sent an emotional message of support to Smollett in an Instagram video. “It’s taken me a minute to come to social media about this because Jussie, you are my son,” Daniels says. “You didn’t deserve to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you, to be called ‘die f––––t, n––––r,’ or whatever they said to you. You are better than that. We are better than that. America is better than that. We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are, because it shows that we are united.” “No racist f––k can come in and do the things that they did to you. Hold your head up, Jussie. I’m with you, I’ll be there in a minute. It’s just another f–––––g day in America,” Daniels concluded.

White House mum on anti-LGBTmeeting with GinniThomas LGBT advocates slam ‘shocking’ effort to lobby Trump By CHRIS JOHNSON CJOHNSON@WASHBLADE.COM

The White House remains silent on President Trump’s reported meeting with anti-LGBT activist Ginni Thomas, the spouse of conservative U.S. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, despite objections from LGBT rights advocates who say the meeting was inappropriate. On Monday during the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders ignored the Washington Blade, which was prepared to ask questions about the discussion. (The White House spokesperson has declined to call on the Blade for more than a year.) No other media outlet asked about the meeting. The New York Times reported over the weekend that Trump met last week with anti-LGBT activists led by Thomas in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. During the meeting, Trump was reportedly “listening quietly” as members of the group denounced transgender people serving in the U.S. military. The meeting came the same week the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on court orders barring enforcement of his transgender military ban, essentially allowing the anti-trans policy to go into effect. In addition to decrying transgender military service, the anti-LGBT activists said women shouldn’t serve in the military “because they had less muscle mass and lung capacity than men.” They also said the Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality is “harming the fabric of the United States” and sexual assault isn’t pervasive in the military, according to the New York Times. The New York Times reported the White House didn’t respond to a request to comment on the meeting for the article, nor did Thomas. Jennifer Pizer, law and policy director at Lambda Legal, said the meeting between Thomas and Trump was concerning. “It is no secret that Justice Thomas’s Supreme Court opinions often embrace the most extreme of far-right-wing perspectives, and routinely work to erode the wall of separation between church and state,” Pizer said. “But while the reactionary nature of his approach is well known, it’s

still shocking to hear that his wife is leading a delegation of religious and political extremists in overt, aggressive political lobbying of the president on issues actually pending before the Supreme Court at this very moment.” It’s not unusual for Trump to meet with anti-LGBT activists. For example, last year, heads of anti-LGBT advocacy groups met with Trump in the White House after he announced his decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Afterwards, those leaders emerged from the White House to thank Trump for anti-LGBT policies, such as the ban on transgender military service and “religious freedom” orders seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination. As the Blade has reported, Trump’s meetings with anti-LGBT advocacy groups represent the restored influence of those organizations after they were shut out for eight years during the Obama administration. Some have criticized the Thomas meeting as inappropriate not just because anti-LGBT policies were discussed, but also because a sitting U.S. president shouldn’t meet with the spouse of a justice on the Supreme Court. Pizer said the meeting between the spouse of a Supreme Court justice and Trump smacks of a violation of separation of powers. “One of the most fundamental principles of our constitutional system is that the three branches of government must be independent of each other, with the Supreme Court charged to check and correct unconstitutional actions of the political branches,” Pizer said. “The court is not to be just one more political branch. Although we all know that reality sometimes falls short of that principle, every Supreme Court justice must nonetheless take proper steps to maintain the appearance of impartiality. It is truly appalling to see such a brazen violation of that basic standard.” Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of the LGBT media watchdog group GLAAD, is calling on the White House to issue “official bookkeeping notes” on the meeting.

14 • WA S HI N GTONB L A D E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9 • N AT IO N AL N EWS

Rival group to hold competing Pride march in NYC

4 million expected to attend Stonewall 50th events in June By LOU CHIBBARO JR. LCHIBBARO@WASHBLADE.COM

A New York City-based group called the Reclaim Pride Coalition announced last week that more than 50 LGBT rights organizations in the U.S. and other countries have endorsed its plans for a “non-corporate, grassroots” civil rights march to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Organizers say the “Reclaim Pride” march will take place on June 30 on the same day and at the same time but along a different route than the official New York City Pride March, which has been organized for more than 20 years by the group Heritage of Pride or HOP. Similar to disputes over LGBT Pride events that have surfaced in recent years in other cities, including D.C., Reclaim Pride Coalition officials say they decided to hold their own march after their attempts for more than two years to persuade HOP to change its Pride March to better reflect the historic atmosphere of protest and rebellion triggered by Stonewall have been unsuccessful. “Eschewing the corporate-saturated, highly policed nature of recent parades, the [Reclaim Pride] March is a truly grassroots action that mobilizes the community to address the many social and political battles that continue to be fought locally, nationally, and globally,” the Reclaim Pride Coalition said in a Jan. 24 statement. Reclaim Pride Coalition leaders have noted that many LGBT activists have been troubled that in recent years large splashy floats by major U.S. corporations that serve as sponsors of the Heritage of Pride march, which looks more like a parade, have become the public face of the event. Heritage of Pride officials have said corporate sponsors make it possible for the nonprofit group to pay for a march and related events that have grown immensely since the first Pride March in New York in 1970. That march commemorated the first anniversary of the riots that began in New York’s Greenwich Village in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar, triggering what historians say was the start of the modern LGBT rights movement. James Fallarino, the Heritage of Pride communications manager, told the Washington Blade on Tuesday that in recent years the New York City Pride March has drawn between one and two million people,

most of whom are spectators who line the streets to watch the parade-like march. He said four million people are expected to turn out for the march this year, with about 60,000 expected to march in more than 100 contingents. He said the overwhelming majority of the contingents are comprised of small nonprofit groups, including LGBT advocacy or social groups. In addition to the larger turnout expected from people in other U.S. states and cities, Fallarino noted that New York Pride is also serving this year as the host for World Pride, an international LGBT event that will take place in the U.S. for the first time this year to commemorate the Stonewall rebellion. There are more than 50 Pride-related events scheduled to take place in New York City throughout the month of June. Among them will be an extravaganza closing ceremony on the day of the march in the city’s iconic Times Square that will include a performance by singer and songwriter Melissa Etheridge. The total cost for the events will be $12 million, said Fallarino, who added, “The vast majority of the funding will come from corporations.” Although Heritage of Pride officials insist that a wide range of LGBT groups participating in its march carry out the spirit of Stonewall each year and will do so again this year, critics have said large corporate sponsors appear to receive favorable placement in the march, with smaller groups relegated to the rear of the march that last year lasted more than nine hours. Fallarino disputes that claim, saying that corporate contingents in the march are dispersed throughout the length of the march and that many of the smaller contingents of nonprofit groups, along with some corporate floats, are placed near the front of the march. Some LGBT New Yorkers, who observers say don’t support some of the demands of the Reclaim Pride Coalition, such as banning police from participating in the march and banning most corporations, have become angry over a number of rules and restrictions put in place by Heritage of Pride. Last year, for example, HOP announced it would not allow anyone to join the march unless they preregistered and obtained a wrist band to gain entrance to the march route, which


was sealed off with metal barricades on both sides of the streets. A spokesperson for the New York City Police Department told the Blade that police set up such barricades for all large events such as parades and marches when they determine the crowd will exceed a certain size that could otherwise jeopardize public safety. But these and other restrictions imposed by Heritage of Pride on marchers and its image of being dominated by corporations were seized upon by organizers and supporters of the Reclaim Pride Coalition, including writer and activist Larry Kramer, one of the founders of the AIDS protest group ACT UP. “The current Pride Parade is shameful – a corporate extravaganza that completely ignores the profound fights we’re still waging all over the world,” Kramer said in a statement released by Reclaim Pride. “We must send a powerful message to the homophobic, racist Trump administration and regimes and corporations everywhere that are killing our brothers and sisters,” he said. Both Heritage of Pride and the Reclaim Pride Coalition said the city has yet to approve their respective applications for a permit to hold their marches along the routes they have proposed. Det. Ahmed Nasser, an NYPD spokesperson, told the Blade this week that the police and other city agencies are used to overseeing large events like parades and marches. He said he expected the permits to be approved and believes police have the resources to adequately oversee two marches taking place at the same time. Natalie James, an organizer and spokesperson for Reclaim Pride, said that march will begin at the site of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village and will travel along 6th Avenue to Central Park, where a rally will take place in the park’s Great Lawn, the same place where a rally was held at the culmination of the first Pride March in 1970. She said organizers were scheduled to meet with NYPD officials on Feb. 6 to discuss their permit application and logistics related to the march. “The sentiment amongst many in our coalition is that we will march anyway with or without a permit,” James told the Blade.

Competing Pride march in D.C.?

A spokesperson for the D.C. group No Justice No Pride, which has criticized the Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s Pride Parade and festival, couldn’t immediately be reached to determine whether a rival march was under consideration here. Members of No Justice No Pride have issued a series of demands calling, among other things, for Capital Pride Alliance to ban most corporations from the parade and for banning D.C. police from marching in the parade or having a visible presence along the parade route. In 2017, after Capital Pride declined to meet those and other demands, No Justice No Pride members blocked the route of the Capital Pride Parade by linking arms to form a human chain across the width of the street where the parade was traveling. D.C. police chose not to make arrests or force the protesters to reopen the street. Instead, police re-routed the parade. Last year No Justice No Pride did not take a similar action and the Capital Pride Parade proceeded uninterrupted. On its website this week a No Justice No Pride posting states, “Take Action: (DC) Reclaim Pride.” The No Justice No Pride posting asks people to sign a petition consisting of the demands it has issued to Capital Pride during the past two years on a number of issues, including restricting corporations and police from participating in Pride events. It makes no specific mention of organizing a separate Pride march in D.C. Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said he and others involved with the group were not aware of any plans to hold a separate march or parade. In its own statement released this week, Capital Pride said this year’s Pride events would have a special significance as the community reflects on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion. “We encourage the community to join and participate in the many Pride events offered in the Nation’s Capital,” the statement says. “We will reflect on over 50 years of pride, power, and progress, but also look forward to a future where all LGBTQ+ people are treated with equality and respect,” it says.

JAVAN Anti-Aging for all! •HRT-Hormone Replacement Therapy •PRP for Hair Loss •Botox •Dermal Fillers •PRP Facials Phone: 202-868-5993 Email: info@jvanwellness.com www.javanwellness.com

JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL Featuring the songs of Hedwig by


ISSUE DATE: 190201





REVIEW AD FOR COPY AND DESIGN ACCURACY. Revisions must be submitted within 24 hours of the date of proof. Proof will be considered final and will be submitted for publication if revision is not submitted within 24 hours of the date of proof. Revisions will not be accepted after 12:01 pm wednesday, the week of publication.Brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) is not responsible for the content and/or design of your ad. Advertiser is responsible for any legal liability arising out of or relating to the advertisement, and/or any material to which users can link through the advertisement. Advertiser represents that its advertisement will not violate any criminal laws or any rgihts of third parties, including, but not limited to, such violations as infringement or misapporpriation of any copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, music, image, or other proprietary or propety right, false advertising, unfair competition, defamation, invasion of privacy or rights of celebrity, violation of anti-discrimination law or regulation, or any other right of any person or entity. Advertiser agrees to idemnify brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) and to hold brown naff pitts omnimedia llc (dba the washington blade) harmless from any and all liability, loss, damages, claims, or causes of action, including reasonable legal fees and expenses that may be incurred by brown naff pitts omnimedia llc, arising out of or related to advertiser’s breach of any of the foregoing representations and warranties.


By signing this proof you are agreeing to your contract obligations with the washington blade newspaper. This includes but is not limited to placement, payment and insertion schedule.

16 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

Extraordinary Environment for Learning

Serving students age 18 months through Grade 12

Enrolling Now for Fall 2019! Call for a tour today! (301) 576-2800 admission@barrie.org

School • New K-5 Makerspace • STEAM courses include Planetary and Marine Science

Silver Sponsor Rainbow Families Conference

Barrie high school students at NASA’s Advanced Space Academy.

Barrie Camp is an extraordinary environment for


summer learning, exploration, and fun – camping at its best!

Campers are free to explore new things, enjoy the outdoors, spend quality time with friends, and benefit from encouragement provided by an exciting group of counselors and program specialists.

For ages 4-14

Come see for yourself!


Feb. 10, Mar. 10, Apr. 28 1-3 pm

Registration is now open! barrie.org/camp


13500 Layhill Road, Silver Spring, MD Minutes from ICC & Glenmont Metro Bus Transportation & Extended Day Available

100% FREE Weekly Residual Income System with NO Personal Purchase

18 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

Cannabis Culture

Gov. RON DESANTIS has told lawmakers to lift a legislatively imposed prohibition on the inhalation of medical cannabis. Photo by Gage Skidmore; Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Fla. guv seeks to lift ban on smoked cannabis TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has told lawmakers to lift a legislatively imposed prohibition on the inhalation of medical cannabis. Lawmakers imposed the ban in 2017 in response to the passage of a voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing the use and dispensing of medical cannabis. The ban prohibits registered patients from possessing marijuana “in a form for smoking” and bars the use of herbal cannabis except in instances where it is contained “in a sealed tamper-proof receptacle for vaping.” The 2016 constitutional amendment contained no such restrictions. DeSantis said that he opposed the legislature’s changes because they amended the law in a manner that was “not in accordance with what the amendment envisioned.” In May, a Florida Circuit Court judge ruled that the ban was unconstitutional. That decision was appealed by the administration of former Gov. Rick Scott. By contrast, Gov. DeSantis says that he will drop the appeal. Legislation was filed on Friday, SB 372, to permit patients to possess and inhale herbal cannabis preparations.

Cannabis extracts safe for autistic patients: study JERUSALEM — The administration of plant-derived cannabis extracts is effective and well-tolerated in patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to data published in the journal Scientific Reports. Israeli investigators assessed the safety and efficacy of the daily administration of CBD-enriched cannabis oil (consisting of 30 percent CBD and 1.5 percent THC) in a cohort of 188 patients with ASD. Of those patients who continued treatment for six months and provided feedback to researchers, over 90 percent reported some level of symptomatic improvement -- including reductions in restlessness, seizures, and rage attacks. Approximately onethird of respondents reported a reduction in their intake of other medications. Authors concluded: “Cannabis as a treatment for autism spectrum disorders patients appears to be well-tolerated, safe and seemingly effective option to relieve symptoms, mainly: seizures, tics, depression, restlessness and rage attacks. ... [W]e believe that double blind placebo-controlled trials are crucial for a better H E A LT H • FE BR UA RY 01, 2019 • WA SHINGTONB L A DE . COM • 19

understanding of the cannabis effect on ASD patients.” The results are consistent with those of a prior Israeli study which concluded that the daily administration of CBDdominant extracts was associated with “overall improvement in behavior, anxiety, and communication” in autism patients.

Vaporization ‘more efficient’ than smoking: study BALTIMORE — Vaporizing cannabis, as opposed to smoking it, is associated with greater THC concentrations in blood, according to clinical trial data published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology. A team of researchers from John Hopkins University in Maryland and the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina assessed cannabinoid concentrations in blood and in oral fluid following either marijuana smoking or vaporization. Authors concluded: “For whole blood, greater detection sensitivity for ELISA testing was observed in vaporized conditions. Conversely, for oral fluid, greater sensitivity was observed in smoked sessions. ... Vaporization appears to be a more efficient method of delivery compared with smoking.” Prior research by the same team published in the Journal of the American Medical Associationreported that vaporized cannabis is associated with more dramatic changes in drug-induced effects than is smoked marijuana.

U.S. Virgin Islands enacts medical cannabis law CHARLOTTE AMALIE, VIRGIN ISLANDS — Democratic Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. signed legislation into law last week establishing a regulated medical cannabis market in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act permits qualified patients to possess and access cannabis and cannabis-infused products from licensed dispensaries. Specified patients will also be permitted to cultivate their own marijuana. Under the law, regulators must finalize rules governing the program within 180 days. The Virgin Islands is the third U.S. territory to legalize medical cannabis access -- joining Guam and Puerto Rico. (Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at paul@norml.org.)

16698 Ki ngs H i ghwa y S t e . A , L e w e s , D E 19958 • ( 3 02) 645- 6 6 6 4 • L e e A n n Gr o u p . c o m

20 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

Bring your sweetheart to the beach for Valentine’s Day and fall in love with Black Hog Farmstead!

Dreaming of a B&B? Make this property your own! 16371 New Road, Lewes, DE 19958 Offered at $779,000

Location and opportunity meet you on 4+ acres, East of Route 1 in Lewes, a bike ride to the beach and the shopping and restaurants of Historic Downtown Lewes! Property includes a spacious 4-bedroom farmhouse with classic wraparound front porch, gardens, planting beds, barn/farm building, a pond, wooded border, and plenty of room for your idyllic vision. Call us at 302.645.6664 or email LeeAnn@LeeAnnGroup.com today to arrange your personal tour! 16698 Ki ngs H i ghwa y S t e . A , L e w e s , D E 19958 • ( 3 02) 645- 6 66 4 • L e e A n n Gr o u p . c o m

F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 21

22 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9


is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at knaff@washblade.com.


is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @ MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.



is a D.C.-based LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.


is a Washington Blade intern.



is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at knaff@washblade.com.

Remembering Harris Wofford

An academic and a gentleman who valued public service

Blade editor KEVIN NAFF walking with Sen. HARRIS WOFFORD on the Hill in 1993.

The death of former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford (D-Pa.) barely registered on the mainstream media’s radar last week, lost amid the never-ending obsession with covering the latest Tweet storm from the Oval Office. What a contrast in style and character — the selfless, honorable career of Wofford, who traveled extensively in India, studying non-violent protest from followers of Gandhi and who later marched in Selma — versus the crude, grammatically challenged and racist demagoguery of the current president. Wofford, who came out late in life, died at a Washington, D.C. hospital last week after suffering a fall. He was 92. Wofford had a long career in civil rights activism before joining the Senate. He graduated from Howard University Law School and marched with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He served in the Kennedy administration as special assistant for civil rights and was instrumental in creating the Peace Corps before moving to academia where he served as a university president. Wofford was married to his wife Clare for 48 years before she died in 1996. They had three children. He recalled their romance in a 2016 New York Times essay, writing, “Our romance and adventure continued for five decades. When I was running for election to the Senate in 1991, Clare gave up her job to become an all-out campaigner, helping us win in a landslide.

In my narrow losing re-election campaign of 1994, astute Pennsylvanians observed that if Clare had been the candidate, she would have won.” In that same essay, Wofford shared his coming out story. At age 75, he met Matthew Charlton, 50 years his junior, on a Fort Lauderdale beach. The two became close friends, eventually lovers, and married in 2016. “Too often, our society seeks to label people by pinning them on the wall — straight, gay or in between,” Wofford wrote. “I don’t categorize myself based on the gender of those I love. I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness.” Wofford was appointed to fill the Senate seat of John Heinz, who was killed in a 1991 plane crash. He later held the seat in a special election upset, defeating the popular Richard Thornburgh, in part because of his focus on health care reform. Three years later, Wofford was defeated in his re-election bid by Rick Santorum, who would go on to become one of the Senate’s most notorious homophobes. I worked for Wofford in 1993 in his Senate press office and reconnected with him years later after he came out in the Times essay, teasing him that he should have come out in the Blade. I used to interview him for his office’s weekly radio service and we had many meaningful conversations. In February 1993, I accompanied him to a book signing for his inspirational work, “Of Kennedys & Kings: Making Sense of the Sixties.” In it, Wofford quotes everyone from Tocqueville to Lincoln, lamenting “the cynicism about all government that has paralyzed our politics.” And that was 1993. Things have only gotten worse in that regard, something that clearly upset Wofford who believed strongly in the importance of public service and academic rigor, noting presciently in his book that energy is no substitute for wisdom. After reconnecting at an Obama White House event, I had the pleasure of meeting Matthew. They were a loving, dashing couple. Our country could use more smart, thoughtful, selfless people like Harris Wofford in public service.

Metro pleads for full late-night surrender to Uber and Lyft Nighttime consumers have abandoned public transit, but late-shift workers will be hurt On Tuesday morning at a D.C. Council breakfast meeting with Mayor Muriel Bowser, Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld urged the District to allow the transit agency additional time to continue repairs of the trouble-plagued system by not exercising a planned jurisdictional veto that would restore late-night service hours. Shortly after coming on board in late 2015, Wiedefeld convinced the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority multi-jurisdictional board to eliminate late-night service in June 2016. Although intended to be temporary, the transit system has now extended the discontinuation of nighttime rail service hours for a total of three years. The worn-thin patience of D.C. elected officials with truncated service affecting the city’s nighttime economy appears to have come to an end in recent weeks. D.C. Council member Jack Evans, who serves as WMATA board chair, had previously indicated that the District would use its veto to force the rail system to at least partially restore late-night service. In response, Wiedefeld recently prepared four options on service hours for the board to decide in coming weeks and to take effect beginning mid-year. One would fully restore service to 2016 hours, an action Wiedefeld has increasingly made clear he thinks is not functionally possible, another would merely continue the current service hours, while two others would partially restore late-night service to varying degrees but with one significantly delaying service initiation in the mornings throughout the week. To their credit, both Mayor Bowser and D.C. Council members reacted negatively to Wiedefeld’s proposed alternatives. The rail system has already been largely abandoned as a viable transportation mode for nightlife consumers. Uber and Lyft ride-hailing car services have essentially replaced late-night public transit. The drop in Metro ridership both in the evenings and on weekends has been dramatic, and most evident among area residents 35 years of age and younger who have now essentially discarded the system. Consumers of the city’s nighttime amenities

and entertainment options no longer even consider Metro when making plans for an evening out or weekend about in the District. Wiedefeld and Metro have ironically been attempting to negotiate a program of special service and rates by Uber and Lyft to replace late-night rail system operation. The transit manager appears willing to do almost anything possible to avoid ever restoring nighttime Metro service, further reducing the system to merely a method for regional workers to get to-and-from their daytime jobs. Transit advocates have begun sounding the alarm that consumer reliance on automobile services or private vehicles is both worsening area road congestion and scrapping use of public transit during broad periods of the week. Metrorail ridership has continued to plummet, further straining the system’s financial viability. Most hurt by the elimination of late-night service have been the area residents working late-shift lower-wage jobs. Unable to afford car service fees for transportation home, in many cases outside the metropolitan area center due to the local cost of living close to the urban core, the hourly wage workers cleaning offices and staffing late-night businesses are hardest hit. The local Metrorail system, despite an original promise to eventually offer 24hour service, was primarily focused as a transportation mode for classic office-hour traditional workers in downtown buildings and at federal agencies. It was shuttling federal government workers from the suburbs to their D.C. offices that justified the huge financial contribution by the federal government to the cost of building the system. Even a full restoration of the service hours discontinued three years ago would not fully address the evolving needs of the region’s dynamic economy and lifestyle hours. It would, however, be a start to restoring the relevance and utility of a diminished transit system increasingly irrelevant to growing numbers of residents. It’s a disappointing reality that Metro management is no longer committed to striving to provide modern-era service that corresponds to the needs of all residents and workers and a world-class business economy with broadened transit requirements.

24 • WA S HI NGTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9 • V IEWP O IN T



is a Washington Blade intern.

is a D.C.-based LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

Time to give up on Creating Change conference?

Task Force leadership fails again amid anti-Israel protests It may be time to give up on the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference as a place where any real dialogue can occur. Real leaders understand that without dialogue, there will be no change. This year there were two incidents reported from the conference exemplifying why this conference has become a waste of time for current and future leaders wanting to talk honestly about change and has become a place for those who want to stifle opinions that run contrary to their own. The first instance was an incident similar to one that occurred at the conference in Chicago in 2016 when demonstrators shut down a scheduled session hosted by A Wider Bridge shouting anti-Semitic slogans. That demonstration nearly turned violent, police were called, and there was an inadequate response from the Task Force. This year in Detroit another group of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist demonstrators took over the opening plenary session for nearly 15 minutes voicing hate directed at the Jewish community. The protesters used the chant “from the river to the sea,” which is an anti-Semitic dog whistle used by those who want to see the State of Israel and its people disappear. There was again no action taken against these demonstrators by the Task Force leadership or those responsible for running the Creating Change conference. My feelings are echoed by Rabbi Denise L. Eger, founding rabbi, Congregation Kol Ami and immediate past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and Tyler Gregory, executive director, A Wider Bridge who wrote a letter to Rea Carey, executive director of the Task Force calling for change. They wrote, “Our aim is not to silence dissenting voices around the issues of Israel/Palestine with which we disagree. Accepting and providing space to differing voices around the conflict should be encouraged, especially to resolve our differences. ... Anti-Semitism, slander, and chants calling for the erasure of Israel must

not go unchecked at Creating Change. If so, what kind of change are we creating?” The second issue of concern reported from the conference was that organizers disinvited Detroit Police Department LGBT Liaison Cpl. Danielle Woods, as she announced on Facebook. She had originally been asked to sit on a panel titled “What the L? All Things Lesbian.” She was prepared to discuss what she was told the panel would focus on — the movement, wellness, mental health, education and financial and family planning. After agreeing to participate, Woods was told if she wanted to attend in her uniform, which includes carrying a gun, she wouldn’t be welcome. That made no sense to her as she had been invited to join the panel in her official capacity as police department LGBT liaison. The person who disinvited Cpl. Woods was Creating Change Director Andy Garcia. It was reported he said, “His intention was to protect conference attendees coming from cities and regions where relationships between the LGBT community and the police are rocky at best. Officer Woods has contributed to the LGBT movement and we applaud the progress she has made in Detroit between law enforcement and the LGBT community. At the same time, we have thousands of guests who have come from communities across the country that have had very different experiences with law enforcement. We need to listen to them, too.” So the Task Force thinks hiding the uniform of an LGBTQ+ person who has worked hard to become a leader in law enforcement, becoming the liaison to the entire LGBTQ+ community, is the right thing to do. They think highlighting good members of the force is hurtful to their attendees and something she must hide to participate in their meeting. I have also been told they would not admit those serving in the military if they were wearing their uniforms. This is no way to foster discussion or to “create change.” It is bias in no uncertain terms and if the Task Force doesn’t understand this then as I wrote it may just be time to end this conference or find a more appropriate name for it.


Creating Change brings focus to marginalized narratives Detroit plays host to 31st annual conference DETROIT — The National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change 2019 conference here wrapped on Sunday. The 31-yearold gathering of LGBTQ activists brings together almost 4,000 individuals each year to discuss queer and trans equality and liberation. In addition to LGBTQ issues, the conference also centralizes the perspectives and narratives of the leaders in the city in which it is held. Detroit in January is freezing. And many — including me — voiced some complaints about the conference’s location. But as I reflect on my experience as a volunteer at Creating Change 2019, the location of the conference seems important to its mission. Creating Change seeks to centralize marginalized narratives. That occurs by bringing queer activists — particularly queer people of color and trans and gender non-conforming individuals — into a space for discussion and reflection. But it also occurs by telling the stories of the individuals the white LGBTQ+ movement neglects to recognize and fails to honor. Plenty of queer activists live in New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco. But the reality is LGBT people live and fight in every corner of every city. In an era in which gay is increasingly accepted and even glamorized by the mainstream, it’s important to honor those in the movement who are marginalized. What’s special about Creating Change 2019 is that it provides a national platform for local activists. Detroit made this year’s Creating Change what it was. We cannot forget that, and we cannot separate the city from the conference. The Revive, Thrive, Decolonize Opening Plenary featured stories and perspectives from activists such as Cynthia Thornton and Cecilia LaPointe. Cynthia serves as president of Pride at Work Michigan,

an AFL-CIO-recognized union for LGBT people in Michigan. In that role, she seeks to ensure LGBT-affirming workspaces for union members. Cecelia LaPointe is the founder of Native Justice Coalition, a grassroots indigenous-led organization that aims to provide a platform to Native people in decolonization work. Cecelia and Cynthia shared their important work with a crowd of activists who probably would have never learned about it otherwise. Creating Change recognized Cornelius Wilson, an HIV activist who serves on the board of the Detroit planning body of the Southeast Michigan HIV/AIDS Council. He has worked in HIV community support since the epidemic began in the 1980s, and he has served on the planning committee of the Hotter than July LGBT Annual Gathering conference, the second oldest Black LGBT pride event in the world. The National LGBTQ Task Force also honored the Trans Sistas of Color Project, a local collective of Detroit-based trans women of color working to support each other. These activists have been recognized in Detroit. But on a national level, their voices have been overlooked compared to those of LGBT activists based out of larger cities. Detroit never needed Creating Change. Detroit didn’t need an influx of New York- and D.C.-based activists flooding a Marriott hotel. LGBT people in Detroit have been doing the work for as long as — or longer than — activists in white mainstream queer hubs. But Creating Change did need Detroit. As a conference focused on centering marginalized narratives, Creating Change needed a city whose activists have been sidelined. It’s time we recognize that LGBT activism in America extends beyond Greenwich Village and The Castro. Creating Change 2019 helped us do just that.

Store Hours: 10am-5pm

5258 River Road Bethesda, MD 20816 7405 River Road Bethesda, MD 20817 Landscape Design/Build/Maintain call for appointment 301.762.6301

who’s your valentine?



5130 Wisconsin Ave. NW • DC • (202) 966-6400 • www.JosephGawlers.com

Serving Our Community for 35 years

a d v i C e • m e d iat i o N • L i t i G at i o N • a P P e a L S • C o L L a B o r at i o N

CALL FOR RESERVATIONS FamiLY | eState PLaNNiNG | emPLoYmeNt | immiGratioN ComPLeX LitiGatioN | CiviL riGHtS | LGBt | adoPtioN | BuSiNeSS

Silber, Perlman, Sigman & Tilev, P.A.

M-TH 11:30AM-10PM • F-SAT 11:30AM-11PM SUN. BRUNCH 11AM-3PM / DINNER 3-10PM

3 0 1 . 8 9 1 . 2 2 0 0 • S P - L aw. C o m

322 MASS. AVE. NE • 202.543.7656

at tor N e YS at L aw • d C | m d | va

6 9 3 0 C a r r o L L av e , S u i t e 6 1 0 • ta k o m a Pa r k m d


George Jermstad 703-864-3386

gjermstad@mercedesalexandria.com Specializing in factory certified new and pre-owned.

MERCEDES-BENZ OF ALEXANDRIA For all your automotive questions. Mercedes-Benz of Alexandria 200 South Pickett Street, Alexandria, VA 22304 Main Telephone 703-341-2100

26 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9


Surprise someone this Valentine’s Day with these utterly queer gifts By MIKEY ROX

Show the love for your someone special with these affordable gifts that go straight for the feels.

Neon Love Sign

Vibrating Couple Bracelets

Flexible LED tubing that mimics the real glow of neon turns your romantic passion into illuminated wall art with Amped & Co’s white “love sign” mounted on clear acrylic backing for easy hanging. “Love” in purple and a red heart also are available. $60, ampedandco.com

Sensory technology in Bond Touch’s vibrating bracelets allow couples to ping each other no matter the distance to calm anxiety, create a sense of intimacy and strengthen relationships. A quick tap on the bracelet relays to your partner that they’re on your mind, plus you can create custom codes like three taps for “I Love You.” $98/pair, bond-touch.com

‘This Date in Music’ Book

Starry Sky Map

Your favorite music lover will appreciate author Mike Walter’s “On This Date in Music” book, which features stories of significant events in audio history for each day of the year from Edison patenting the phonograph to Pharrell Williams’ 10-week “Happy” run in 2014. Bar trivia is in your future. $30, amazon.com

Same-Sex Cake Toppers While finding a bakery to supply your Valentine’s wedding cake could be tricky in some parts of this country, head Down Under for exquisitely designed same-sex cake toppers. Australia’s Marri Tree Lane offers both sexes singly in light, medium and dark skin tones to accurately represent the betrothed. $20, marritreelane.com.au F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA DE.COM • 27

Did the stars align the night you two met? They did, and you can take away a memento of that specific time and place with an exact depiction of how the cosmos looked overhead. My Sky Moment provides a personalized print of your celestial encounter that blends astronomy and art with a dash of sentiment. $50, myskymoment.com

Beekman 1802 Sweet Treats Indulge in straight-from-the-farm sweets from the Fabulous Beekman Boys with their Chewy Gooey Caramels, salty goat milk fudge cookies, or the Snuggle Bundle, which includes a pair of Beekman 1802 enamelware mugs and your choice of Heirloom Pantry Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa or double chocolate hot cocoa, which calls for a stay-in-bed snow day. $15-30, shop.beekman1802.com Continues on page 28


Love-Themed Beaded Pins

Fog of Love Game

Handmade beaded pins from celeb-worn Jewels for Hope — in a Pride heart or bouquet of flowers — keeps Valentine’s gift giving sweet and simple. Upon checkout, select one of several charitable organizations that a portion of proceeds will benefit, including the Born This Way Foundation. $35-55, etsy.com/shop/jewelsforhope

Settlers of Catan meets RomCom in Fog of Love, a two-player strategy game where players role-play as couples to experience all the milestones, hurdles, compromises and celebrations of a typical relationship to end up happily ever after or in heartache, because ya win some, ya lose some. $50, walmart.com

Customized Skin Care Artificial intelligence uses your partner’s skin type, age, living environment, stress and other factors to design a personalized Y’OUR Skin Care regimen that includes a cleanser, day cream, night cream and serum for a smoother, more kissable complexion. $180, yourskin.com

Travel-Tracking Maps Travel the country (or the world if you’re ambitious) while tracking your progress on pushpin maps from GeoJango. Framed versions as wall art provide a special way to look back on a lifetime of adventure. Sports maps also are available to chronicle tours of MLB, NHL, NFL and NBA stadiums. $99, geojango.com

Continued from page 27

Léon and George Plants

Keep a symbol of your love fresh and vibrant with help from Léon & George, purveyors of stunning, responsibly sourced statement-piece houseplants styled by interior design pros. Choose from 13 varieties of flora, including peperomia, silver evergreen and bird’s nest fern, that each arrive with a wood-crafted dock. For every plant purchased, a donation is made to plant trees for humanity. $79-109, leonandgeorge.com

What I Love About You book If whispering sweet nothings isn’t your forte, pick up a copy of the fill-in-the-blank book “What I Love About You,” which prompts you to complete evocative checklists, deliver compliments and otherwise tap into your sensitive side for a gift that your partner will cherish forever. $9, amazon.com

Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He spends his time writing from the beach with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyrox

28 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

A CANDLE-LIT TABLE FOR TWO PLEASE? The Gibson, Marvin, Moxy and more among tasty options for Valentine’s Day By EVAN CAPLAN

Clockwise from top left: Paella for two at The Alex, guinea hen dumplings at Dirty Habit and striped bass at The Delegate — just a few of the many tempting options on the menu at local restaurants for Valentine’s Day. Photos courtesy the restaurants

Valentine’s Day in D.C.: When residents take a minute to reach across the aisle, whether politically or romantically. Restaurants, bars, hotels and other spots are offering plenty of options for you to get out and spend the evening with your one (or more) true loves. The Gibson (2009 14th St., N.W.) is marrying the spiritual and the carnal. In its downstairs, the bar will take reservations for two only, with champagne and chocolate arrangements. Upstairs, at Profane Love, will be set up for mingling with strangers at the bar. The Gibson is also running a love story contest with a bar tab prize of $150. Entries and reservations should be sent to gibsondc.events@gmail.com.

Next door at Marvin (2007 14th St., N.W.), the music flows as freely as the drinks. A $75 per person three-course tasting menu consists of Marvin’s favorites (see: chickenfried oysters for that aphrodisiacal spin). A glass of Chandon bubbly is included. D.C. singer Allison Balanc deepens the mood with her lively jazz. For those looking for a date post V-Day, The Ugly Mug (723 8th St., S.E.) on Capitol Hill is hosting Meet-A-Marine, an auction and charity event showcasing the talented men from the nearby Marine Barracks. There’s no cover and all auction proceeds benefit HillVets. Go luxe at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington offering a Valentine’s Day dinner at its restaurant, Westend Bistro

F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA DE.COM • 29

(1190 22nd St., N.W.) called Winter WonderLove, a four-course extravaganza that finishes with a “journey through chocolate.” Dinner is $110 per person, or $125 with bottomless sparkling bar. The hotel also has an overnight package for most of the month. Another hotel’s hosting something a bit less formal and bit more electric. Moxy D.C. (1011 K St., N.W.) is hosting a “Put Your Hands on Me” package that seems straight from Vegas, which includes an upgraded welcome cocktail to a shot of tequila, massage oil, pink fuzzy handcuffs, a set of romantic dice and late checkout. The Kimpton group of hotels is throwing together a diversity of events for different takes on Valentine’s Day. Firefly (1310 New Hampshire Ave., N.W.) has a $75 per person meal with aphrodisiac-inspired ingredients; Urbana (2121 P St., N.W.) will have a $75 per person four-course Italian meal in the spirit of Rome’s saint of courtly love. On Feb. 13, Urbana will honor “ladies celebrating ladies” with an all-night Galentine’s Day happy hour; it’ll be collecting donations for N Street Village’s winter wellness initiative for women in need. Decadence is on the menu at The Lafayette (800 16th St.,N.W.) at the HayAdams hotel. Its prix-fixe on Feb. 14 includes courses with fish, lamb and steak; there’s an options champagne pairing. Prices start at $220 per couple. All weekend long, Dirty Habit (555 8th St., N.W.) in Penn Quarter, is offering a la carte menu decadent creations for couples exploring a more laid-back yet still decadent place to celebrate the romantic

holiday. Diners can also enjoy three pours of handpicked beer, wine or cocktails to complement the meal. What’s Valentine’s Day sans vino? Pop open some good stuff at Cork Wine Bar (1805 14th St., N.W.) for its ninth annual six-course champagne dinner for $130 per person. Sommeliers will be on hand to talk about the hand-selected group of champagnes that accompany the food. On the other hand, there’s always pizza and beer. Ruth Gresser’s Pizzeria Paradiso (2003 P St., N.W.) in Dupont Circle is hosting the ‘Mix Tapes and Mix Taps’ with 13 drafts from 13 different independent breweries; the mainstay has worked with the breweries to choose a song that symbolizes their beer (and yes, it’ll be on Spotify). Spicing things up for Valentine’s Day is the city’s high-end Indian trio: Rasika, Rasika West End (1190 New Hampshire Ave., N.W.) and the Bombay Club. Each of these is pulling out the stops for an $85 per person feast, featuring amuse bouches, fine seafood, stunning plating, and a warm atmosphere to match the heat of the dishes — and the night. Brookland’s Finest (3126 12th St., N.E.) also recognizes that the day is filled with mixed feelings. The bar is going to do a special salty and bitter menu, with salty snacks, specialty IPAs, and cocktails featuring Campari, Amaro and bitters. Finally, gay-owned-and-operated Mikko (1636 R St., N.W.) right along vibrant 17th Street, is hosting a prix-fixe dinner for $75 per person, with an optional wine pairing. The dinner with run four courses and is inspired by Chef Mikko’s Nordic background.

JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL in full-on Hedwig drag. Photo by Mick Rock

‘The Origin’ of Hedwig John Cameron Mitchell revives iconic character in new show By PATRICK FOLLIARD

John Cameron Mitchell, as one would expect, has spent many years thinking about his most iconic character. “She isn’t easy to peg. But who is, ultimately,” he says. The she to whom Mitchell refers is the hilariously bewigged, “internationally ignored song stylist” and title character of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” It’s a subject the out actor/writer/director knows well. Mitchell, who co-created the glam rock musical, was also the first actor to play Hedwig when it debuted Off-Broadway a hard-to-believe 21 years ago. For the uninitiated, here’s the story. Pressured by her American G.I. boyfriend to undergo sexual reassignment surgery, East Berlin “girly boy” Hansel reluctantly complies. The operation is botched leaving Hansel, newly christened Hedwig, with one inch where there’d been six. Still the couple marries and moves to Kansas. After Luther leaves her for a man, Hedwig glamorizes her look, works on her music and transforms her new, confused love interest into rock star Tommy Gnosis. He finds fame while an again-abandoned Hedwig plays dives in the shadow of Tommy’s sold-out stadium gigs. “Because Hansel was coerced, I can’t really call Hedwig transsexual,” Mitchell says. “Her surgery is a sort of a mutilation by the patriarchy or binarchy. Still, people love labels in America because it confers status and value. And it’s especially true when you’re young because you need to come out and say what you are. Gay, bisexual, trans? You can never get that specific to what you really are other than calling yourself your name. No pronoun really works except for I.” With his new show “The Origin of Love,” soon making its American premiere with a one off on Friday, Feb. 8 at D.C.’s National Theatre, Mitchell revisits “Hedwig,” the music and the history. “Part cabaret and part musical, it’s a grab bag really,” he says. “You’re getting the story of the making of a musical. Emotionally, autobiographically and philosophically, you’ll see how it changed the maker. And it’s fun.” Mitchell sports the trademark wig and a fabulous geometric dress he’s dubbed “the transformer” because it changes into a half dozen different costumes. He’ll sing the David Bowie/Lou Reed-inspired songs scored by “Hedwig” co-creator Stephen Trask. Also, Mitchell plans to preview songs from his upcoming musical podcast “Anthem,” a sort of autobiographical fiction about what his life might have been like if he had spent his entire life in a small town. (In addition to Mitchell, the six hour-

30 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

Left: JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL out of drag. Photo by Matthew Placek Right: JOHN CAMERON MITHCELL on stage last summer. Photo courtesy Kid Logic

long, 10-episode podcast slated to be available in May, features a roster of show biz heavyweights including Glenn Close, Patti LuPone and Cynthia Eviro.) And he’ll tell tales too. Including those that unfolded in the ’90s at Squeezebox, the downtown New York drag/rock and roll party, where Mitchell and Trask developed the Hedwig character and her story before an appreciative yet discerning audience. So far, Mitchell has performed “The Origin of Love” in Australia (where he crowd-surfed in the Sydney Opera House) and Korea (with simultaneous translation), attracting die-hard Hedwig fans known as “Hedheads” as well as the newly acquainted. “The Hedwig club is not exclusive. The borders are porous. Everyone is welcome,” Mitchell says. “It’s like the military in that way. No one cares where you come from as long as you do your job. That’s why banning transgender people from the armed forces is so wrong. Any military brat knows that it’s both wrong and inefficient. But doing the right thing is always better and makes getting the job done easier. If you don’t treat people well the work isn’t as good. My dad taught me that.” A self-described army brat, Mitchell moved around a lot growing up. He lived throughout America and parts of Europe. For a time, his late father, a Washington native and career officer who held the rank

of Army Major General, was in charge of all U.S. military forces in West Germany. He stood behind Ronald Reagan in 1987 when he said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” “My dad wanted me to be in the military, no kidding,” Mitchell says. “Instead, I wore a yellow wig and directed the film version of ‘Hedwig’ in Toronto. So, I did take over my dad’s job in a way. I became a different kind of general but I used the same skills. Making everyone feel welcome and valued.” Both of Mitchell’s parents were proud of his Hedwig success. But being politically conservative and Catholics prevented them from really talking about it. “My mom called it vulgar but understood the show shed a good light on things and had a positive effect,” he says. “And they were at the Sundance Film Festival when the film premiered in 2001.” Recently deceased Broadway legend Carol Channing, another performer who wore a big blonde wig, was best known for one role: Dolly Levy. She considered the part a true gift and played it for decades. While Mitchell isn’t wed to the role, he is Hedwig first. “It’s definitely something to be proud of,” he says pondering the comparison. “But I’m sure at one mid-career point, Channing must have wished that the ‘Hello, Dolly!’ parade would pass her by already.”

F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA DE.COM • 31

Mitchell has done lots more. His wide-ranging vitae lists writing/directing “Shortbus,” an independent film in which people have real sex; directing “Rabbit Hole,” a film starring Nicole Kidman as a mother whose young son dies unexpectedly, a project Mitchell took on in memory of his own little brother who died young; and memorably playing an ill-fated ebook editor in the sorely missed HBO series “Girls.” Still boyish looking at 55, Cameron is comfortable with aging. “When you hit your 50s, you become more accepting about so many things. Also, you get older, you forget was sexuality or even gender our friends are. We thing, ‘Oh, I forget you were gay or straight.’ If it’s somebody you’re fucking it will matter, but otherwise who cares?” “But obviously,” he continues, “when you’re coming out of those stressful times called childhood, and cultures and neighborhoods where you’re considered a freak, you need to empower yourself with gender and pronouns and drag armor. That’s just a part of life. Straight people do it too.” In the end, Hedwig rejects the wig. “Something is forced upon her and she makes something pretty out it. And then she lets go of drag when she doesn’t need it anymore. Hedwig is a beautiful gender of one.” While it garners attention and often

awards, playing Hedwig is challenging. “For many actors who tackle the role, it’s the hardest thing they will ever do,” says Mitchell who played her for a year. “It’s a rite of passage that plumbs the soul and changes them.” The list of actors is long and thrillingly varied. It includes, among many others, Michael Cerveris, Lena Hall, Darren Criss, Taye Diggs, Michael C. Hall, Ally Sheedy, Euan Morton, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Jinkx Monsoon, and notably Neil Patrick Harris who nabbed a Tony Award for his turn as Hedwig in the 2014 Broadway revival. “Hedwig doesn’t speak for anyone but herself and that why I think people relate to her,” Mitchell says. “Her tribe is anyone who feels they don’t belong. Despite her specifics — drag humor, rock and roll history and Germanness — she’s someone we all know if we’re willing to look deep enough.”

‘The Origin of Love’ Feb. 8 National Theatre 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20004 $54-79 202-628-6161 thenationaldc.org

QUEERY Diedre D. Gray Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key

QUEERY:DiedreD.Gray The LOVEInspiredChorale director answers 20 gay questions By JOEY DiGUGLIELMO joeyd@washblade.com

Diedre D. Gray has been singing almost as long as she can remember. She gave her first concert at age 5, was directing choir by age 13 and co-founded her high school’s gospel choir, which performed at the World Youth Music Festival in Japan. She went on to direct college and community gospel choirs and says reflecting her faith via music is essential. “It’s been the greatest joy of my life to lift up the name of Jesus,” Gray, a transgender, 44-year-old Omaha, Neb., native, says. “At every stop on my journey, I take the joy of Jesus in music everywhere I go.” Gray is now director of the LOVEInspiredChorale, a 12-member choir of LGBT singers and allies who perform a mix of gospel, spirituals, classical and popular songs. “We are working to present the best we have to God,” Gray says.

The LOVEInspiredChorale will perform on Thursday, Feb. 7 at “Team Rayceen presents The Black LGBT Experience with Rayceen Pendarvis,” a Black History Month event with live music, poetry, comedy and more featuring co-hosts Larry Miller and Beverly “Miss Chocolate” White and DJ Heat. A reception will be held at 6 p.m. The show runs from 7-8:30 at the Cleveland Park Public Library (3310 Connecticut Ave., N.W.). It’s free. “The Ask Rayceen Show” returns March 6 for its season eight premiere. Gray came to Washington 20 years ago to finish school and direct music at her aunt’s then-new church. This performance is her debut with local host Rayceen Pendarvis. She’s separated and works by day as a transgender health coordinator. Gray enjoys word searches, sci-fi and relaxing near the water in her free time.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? Five-plus years. Honestly — myself. Who’s your LGBT hero? Willmer “Little Axe” Broadnax What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? The Bachelors Mill Describe your dream wedding. I don’t have a dream wedding scenario. What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? Church issues in our community. What historical outcome would you change? 2016 presidential election results What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? Michael Jackson’s moonwalk at the Motown 25th anniversary. On what do you insist? I WILL BE RESPECTED.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? Performing for the Montgomery County MLK Jr. celebration. If your life were a book, what would the title be? “I Like Ham But Don’t Put No Chitterlings On My Plate!” If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? Pray What do you believe in beyond the physical world? I am a minister raised in the Christian faith. However, I live and believe in relationship over religion. Therefore I see my existence continuing on as a part of my relationship with my creator. What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? Please learn how to unite us as people of color to change laws on our local levels.

32 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

I love wandering through Smithsonian museums, eating on H Street with friends, and going to shows at Howard Theatre.

I’m a transgender woman and I’m part of DC. Please treat me the way any woman would want to be treated: with courtesy and respect. Discrimination based on gender identity and expression is illegal in the District of Columbia. If you think you’ve been the target of discrimination, visit www.ohr.dc.gov or call (202) 727-4559.



What would you walk across hot coals for? My mom What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? The assumption that trans women are all hetero and sex workers are not very intelligent.

Show your support! Spread word of the #TransRespect campaign by photographing this ad and sharing on Twitter.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? “To Wong Foo” What’s the most overrated social custom? Being “catty” What trophy or prize do you most covet? I honestly want people whom I’ve touched to remember what I tried to share. What do you wish you’d known at 18? It would’ve been OK to start my transition then. Why Washington? My mom felt safe about me moving here. F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA DE.COM • 33

PFLAG promotes the equality and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons, their families and friends through: • Support to cope with an adverse society. • Education to enlighten an ill-informed public. • Advocacy to end discrimination and secure equal civil rights. Trained facilitators lead the Arlington Support Group and confidentiality is maintained. For further information about the Arlington Support Group, contact us at arl.pflag@gmail.com. Our groups meet on the second Sunday of each month, from 3 – 4:30pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington, at George Mason Drive & Route 50. A.L.Y. is a group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Questioning Youth and Allies in grades 7-12. Our goal is to give LGBTQ youth a safe place to gather. Trained facilitators lead the youth group. Confidentiality maintained. For more info, contact: aly.pflagdc@gmail.com. Our Washington DC Chapter of PFLAG may be reached at 202-638-3852.

Top: DJ TEZRAH. Washington Blade photo by Tom Hausman. Bottom clockwise: ROSIE O’DONNELL, NORM LEWIS and JESSIE MUELLER star in ‘The Music Man.’ It runs Feb. 6-11 at The Kennedy Center. Photo by Jeremy Daniel. The Alvin Ailey dancers perform Wayne McGregor’s ‘Kairos.’ Photo by Paul Kolnik. Last year’s Blade Singles Party. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

Distrkt C turns 3 Distrkt C hosts its third anniversary party at Karma (221 Adams Pl., N.E.) on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 10 p.m.-6 a.m. DJ X Gonzalez and DJ Nacho Chapado will spin tracks all night. Pre-sale tickets have been extended to Feb. 1 due to the federal government shutdown. Tickets are $25. Attendees must be 21 or over for entry. For more details, visit distrktc.com.

Scarlet Bake Sale is Feb. 10

Ailey dancers return to Kennedy Center

Scarlet’s Foundation hosts Scarlet’s Bake Sale at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) on Sunday, Feb. 10 from noon-9 p.m. The bake sale will benefit Brother, Help Thyself. Cake drop-off is from 1:30-3 p.m. Cocktails start at 3 p.m. followed by a live auction at 4 p.m. For more information, visit facebook. com/scarlets.foundation.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrates its 60th anniversary at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) with a multi-program act Feb. 5-10. Program A consists of “Lazarus,” the company’s first two-act ballet, from hiphop choreographer Rennie Harris and “Revelations” from Alvin Ailey. Program B

includes “The Call” by Ronald K. Brown, a modern and African dance set, “Karios” by British choreographer Wayne McGregor, “Juba” by Artistic Director Robert Battle, his first choreographic work for Ailey, and “Revelation.” Program C is “Timeless Ailey,” a program of Ailey’s work including classics such as “Love Songs” and “Night Creatures” and rarely performed works like “Choral” and “Lark Ascending.” Tickets range from $59-219. For a complete list of showtimes and to purchase tickets, visit kennedy-center.org.

34 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9


Get ready to Werk Qrew: Werk returns to a new venue at Union Stage on (740 Water St., S.W.) on Friday, Feb. 8 from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. DJ Tezrah will play music for the night and Pretty Boi Drag will perform. This Free Life will offer giveaways. Late night happy hour is from 9-10:30 p.m. The first 65 attendees who are 21 and over will receive a free drink ticket. The event is 18 and over. Tickets are $10. For more details, visit unionstage.com.

Meet the Blade’s ’19 singles Washington Blade will bring together the top 20 LGBT singles in the D.C. area for its Singles Party on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. at Avalon Saturdays at Soundcheck (1420 K St., N.W.). After more than 200 nominations, the top 20 most eligible singles will be recognized at the party. Get a sneak peek at the guest list when the top 20 will be announced online Feb. 4. At the party, doors open at 10 p.m. followed by the introduction of the singles at 11:15 p.m. Cover is $15. For more information, visit washingtonblade.com/singles.

Freddie’s Bear Bar (555 23rd St. S Arlington, Va.) hosts its Freddie’s Follies Drag Show tonight from 8-10 p.m. Cover is $5. Drag show starts at 8 p.m. and karaoke begins at 10 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended. For more details, visit facebook.com/ freddiesbeachbararlington.

Let’s Go Play hosts Baltimore Pup Night at Flavor (15 E Centre St., Baltimore) tonight from 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. There will be pups, handlers, gear, music, Jell-O shots and more. DJ Pup Ultra will play music. Pup Thunder will give demos. Attendees must be age 19 or over or 18 with a college ID. Cover is $10. For more information, visit facebook.com/letsgoplay. The D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) hosts Woof Happy Hour and Porn Star Bingo today at 5 p.m. Eddie Danger hosts the party. There will be free pizza at 7:30 p.m. Drink specials include $4 rail drinks, $4 draft beers and more. No cover before 8:30 p.m. For more details, visit dceagle.com. Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) hosts a weekly viewing party for “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4” tonight at 8 p.m. Trade queens will host the night along with guest hosts. There will be games, prizes and more. Wessthedj will spin tracks before, during and after the episode.For more information, visit facebook.com/ tradebardc. Go Gay D.C. hosts its LGBT happy hour social at Pinzimini Lounge in Westin Arlington Gateway (801 N Glebe Rd., Arlington, Va.) tonight from 6:30-8:30 p.m. No cover. Everyone welcome. For more details, visit meetup.com/gogaydc.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts Super Bowl Sunday tonight from 6:30-10:30 p.m. The bar will screen the New England versus Los Angeles Rams game. Drink specials include $15 beer buckets. Shirtless members of the Washington Renegades Rugby will serve Jell-O shots. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com. The D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) hosts Sunday Cruise today from noon-2 a.m. Drink specials include $2 off any drink, $3 off whiskey and bourbon, $10 bottomless Bud/Bud Light and more. For more information, visit dceagle.com. Glam Box, a costume party, is at Trade (1410 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. The theme is heartbreak disco. Ms. Rose and Zack Von Gaga will make appearances. Music starts at 9 p.m. Walk-off is at 11 p.m. The walk-off winners receives a prize. No cover. For more details, visit tradebardc.com.

Saturday, Feb. 2

Monday, Feb. 4

The D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.) hosts Daddy, a men’s jock and underwear party, tonight from 8 p.m.-4 a.m. DJ Strike Walton Stone and DJ Dean Douglas Sullivan spin tracks for the night. Bryan Thompson will dance in the go-go box. Tickets are $12. For more information, visit dceagle.com. The Rowan Tree (1633 S Charles St., Baltimore) hosts its first Satur-Gays, hosted by Shawnna Alexander, tonight from 8:15 p.m.-2 a.m. The mini-drag show, featuring rotating performers, is at 8:30 p.m. Sip N Gossip karaoke is at 10 p.m. No cover. For more details, visit facebook. com/rowan.tree.baltimore.

The 2019 Helen Hayes Awards nominations take place at the National Theatre (1321 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) tonight from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The 2018 Helen Hayes Award recipients will announce the 2019 crop of nominees in more than 40 categories. The awards ceremony’s co-hosts will also be announced. There will be food, drinks and more. For more information, visit facebook.com/theatrewashington.

F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA DE.COM • 35

Sunday, Feb. 3

Tuesday, Feb. 5 Latino GLBT History Project hosts

D.C.’s Queer Performer Swap and Sale at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) today from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Costume pieces, accessories, corsets, costume crafting supplies and more will be up for sale or swap. For more information, visit facebook.com/latinoglbthistory.

Wednesday, Feb. 6 Broadway Center Stage presents the premiere of “The Music Man” at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. Rosie O’Donnell, Jessie Mueller and Norm Lewis star. The show runs through Monday, Feb. 11. Tickets range from $69-249. For more details, visit kennedy-center.org. The McCourt LGBTQ Policy Initiative (37th St., N.W. and O St., N.W.) hosts Global LGBT Civil Rights Policy, a discussion panel, today from 5-6 p.m. The panel will discuss the implications of the 2018 rainbow wave. Speakers include Donna Morrison, associate professor at the McCourt School Public Policy at Georgetown University; Sharita Gruberg, associate director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at American Progress; Bogdan Globa, a Ukrainian LGBT activist and Olena Globa, chairman of the board of organization Parents Initiative TERGO. Refreshments will be provided. For more information, visit facebook.com/mccourtpl. Bookmen D.C., an informal gay men’s literature group, discusses“The Tastemaker: Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America,” by Edward White at the Cleveland Park Library (3310 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome. For more information, visit bookmendc.blogspot.com.

Thursday, Feb. 7 A support group for the Asian and Pacific Islander Queer Community meets at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 7-8 p.m. The group is co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific Islander Queer Society D.C. and Asian Queers United for Action. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.

Keep your promise to protect each other.

Wills & Trusts Powers of Attorney • Living Wills Partnership & Prenuptial Agreements

(240) 778-2330 • (703) 536-0220 www.PartnerPlanning.com

+ Largest LGBT owned title company + Billions of dollars in transactions closed annually + 6 in house attorneys + Residential and commercial transactions + In home and in office refinance settlements + Licensed in DC, DE, MD, NJ, VA & WV

Serving the LGBT Community in DC/MD/VA since 1983 Lawrence S. Jacobs/McMillan Metro, PC 36 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

Satire. Horror. Restraint. These three words normally don’t go together, but they are the perfect way to describe “Velvet Buzzsaw,” the humorous thriller that premieres tonight (Friday, Feb. 1) on Netflix. Written and directed by Dan Gilroy (“Nightcrawler” and “Roman J Israel, Esq.”), “Velvet Buzzsaw” starts out as a breezy spoof of the elite Los Angeles art scene but turns by slow degree into a frightening horror movie. The opening scenes introduce us to the ensemble cast at various meetings and art openings. Jake Gyllenhaal (“Brokeback Mountain” and Broadway’s “Sunday in the Park with George”) is wonderful as art critic Morf Vandewalt. As his name implies, his personality is both malleable and mercurial; he’s gay, but breaks up with his hot boyfriend to have an affair with a woman. Rene Russo (“Thor” and “The Thomas Crown Affair”) sparkles as Morf’s long-time frenemy Rhodora Haze, a famous punk rocker who is now a legendary gallery owner who celebrates avant-garde art. One of the artists she represents is Piers (John Malkovich) a celebrated painter who hasn’t produced any new work in years. Other employees of the Haze Gallery include Josephina (Zawe Ashton), an ambitious associate; Coco (Natalia Dyer), a naïve intern who quickly learns the ropes; and, Bryson (Billy Magnussen), an unpleasant handyman with aspirations of his own. The lead cast is rounded out by Toni Collette as Gretchen, a museum curator who moves to the private sector to make more money; Daveed Diggs as Damrish, an idealistic artist being courted by the high-end art market; and, Tom Sturridge as Jon Dondon, a rival gallery owner. The entire cast is excellent, turning in finely tuned performances. After the breezy opening scenes, the horror story kicks in when Josephina stumbles upon the body of her neighbor Victor Dease. The building superintendent tells her that Dease has left no heirs and an apartment crammed with dozens of eerie paintings, Dease has left instructions that the paintings be destroyed, but Josephina senses an opportunity. She brings the paintings to Rhodora and soon everyone is obsessed with the dead man’s creepy artwork and the money they can make from it. The paintings literally begin to haunt the greedy denizens and the art world, seeming to come to life, and soon the bodies begin to pile up, often in ways that ghoulishly mock the victims. Inspired by the work of Robert Altman, Academy Award nominee Gilroy is a masterful screenwriter and director. Like the screenplay, the pace is brisk and effective, never lingering too long in any one place. The script is full of witty jaded epigrams that sound completely natural from these characters. The camera glides effortlessly from character to character as it snakes through crowded openings and offices. Working closely with cinematographer Robert Elswit, editor John Gilroy, composer Marco Beltrami, VFX Producer David Feinsilber and Production Designer John D. Bissell, Gilroy expertly ratchets up

ZAWE ASHTON and JAKE GYLLENHAAL in ‘Velvet Buzzsaw.’ Photo courtesy Netflix

the tension as the movie unfolds. The opening scenes take place in the beautiful sunlit expanses of swimming pools, posh galleries and sleek high-tech offices, but the action slowly moves to dark hallways and alleys and empty half-lit exhibition spaces. (Gilroy, in fact, says he was inspired to make the movie after he wandered through a contemporary art gallery after closing time.) The costume designs by Trish Summerville and Iris Mussenden are simply delightful and tell their own story. The cast starts out perfectly coiffed in the latest, trendiest L.A. fashions, but their carefully crafted looks start to unravel as the fear kicks in and fashion takes a back seat to survival. Their work with Toni Collette is especially scrumptious. In the midst of all the well-modulated comedy and horror, Gilroy also manages to find some moving moments where the characters drop their brittle pretentious facades to truly connect with each other. In one lovely sequence, Rhodora tells her old friend Piers, whose inspiration has dried up, that he needs to leave L.A. and get back in touch with his roots. This is part of the admirable restraint that Gilroy shows throughout the movie. While he never forgets that this is a “satirical thriller,” he is never mean-spirited or excessively gory. For gay male viewers, “Velvet Buzzsaw” has an added bonus: beefcake. Gyllenhaal, Magnuson and Diggs all do scenes with their shirts (and sometimes their pants) off. It’s an interesting and fun reversal of “the male gaze” that normally dominates mainstream filmmaking. With an adult libation is hand, “Velvet Buzzsaw” is an excellent way to spend a winter night. Just don’t watch it alone.

F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA DE.COM • 37

Quirky ‘Buzzsaw’ delights

Comedy-thriller finds haunted paintings wreaking havoc in trendy L.A. By BRIAN T. CARNEY

The new Backstreet Boys album features trademark harmonies and catchy songs but doesn’t attempt to break any new musical ground. Image courtesy RCA

Musical ‘DNA’

Backstreet Boys keeps it predictable but fun on first album in six years By THOM MURPHY Boy bands are one of pop music’s many curiosities. Often they disappear almost as quickly as they break onto the scene. One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer are recent examples. But the stranger phenomenon is the boy bands that manage to stick around for years and sometimes decades. After all, the appeal of groups is often more visual than musical, so what does it mean to mean to be a “boy band” when the members have long outgrown the name? Have they evolved into a legit pop music outfit? One might convincingly argue The Beatles were originally a boy band of sorts. Or are they riding the nostalgia train with pleasant if hardly innovative results? On new Backstreet Boys album “DNA,” it’s definitely the latter. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of their third album, “Millenium.” The enormous success of their diamondselling-and-then-some album cemented the group’s place as pop music icons with the songs such as “I Want It That Way” and “Larger than Life.” And the Backstreet Boys were only one part of the larger late-‘90s boy band phenomenon. NSYNC, Hanson and LFO all experienced major success. Capitalizing on nostalgia, the Backstreet Boys and their forebearers New Kids on the Block even launched a major tour and released a compilation album together in 2011. Yet “DNA” is more than just the boy band’s eighth studio album. It follows after the biggest break in the group’s history, even longer than the official hiatus following the release of “Black & Blue” (2000). After the group reunited for the 2005 album “Never Gone,” they released music regularly — but with limited chart success — until 2013. Breaking a six-year gap at this point in their history makes something of a statement. And it may pay off since we’ve had long enough to miss them (if we were ever inclined to do so). Billboard reports this week early sales figures are strong enough that the group could have the top U.S.-selling album of the week. Yeah, it’s first quarter doldrums so competition isn’t stiff, but that’s still remarkable for a boy band 15 years past its prime. Remarkably, the original lineup is intact —

AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Brian Littrell and even Kevin Richardson who left the group in 2006 but was back by 2012. Despite the intrinsic gayness of the boy band concept, none have followed in the steps of NSYNC’s Lance Bass and come out. All the “boys” are now married to women and have kids. “DNA” revisits the group’s fundamental musical makeup, which has been a recipe for success: multi-layered harmonies, simple lyrics, uptempo pop beats. The album’s lead single, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” charted on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s a catchy, inoffensive pop tune that sounds not unlike everything else on pop radio. Some of the vocal effects used on the bridge are even reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s “Delicate.” Singles “Chances” and “No Place” are mostly inoffensive and lean slightly country, which has the unfortunate side effect of reminding us that the five are not all equally talented singers. Like the lead single, the sounds could be sung by virtually any pop group today with much the same effect. “Chateau” is one of the more interesting songs on the album and it bucks the pop assimilation trend, sounding more like an outtake from one of their first albums. Perhaps it’s the nostalgic tone of the song (“Baby, I want you back”) that lends itself to this delightful anachronism. Instead of suggesting — as other cuts here seem to — that the Backstreet Boys are on the periphery of today’s pop scene, the song reminds us they used to be front and center. There’s a perennial formula for boy bands — good looks and catchy, digestible hits. But when they inevitably outgrow both the boyish looks and the music, things can seem either fun and nostalgic or stuck in a time warp. If the Backstreet Boys are still touring, then our own maturity seems plausibly deniable. And this is what groups like the Backstreet Boys continue to capitalize on, nearly two decades after they hit their peak. To say there’s nothing remarkable about the new Backstreet Boys’ album is to miss the point. What’s remarkable is the group’s ability to stick around at all and to continue packing arenas with devoted fans who remember the days when the Backstreet Boys were really on top.

38 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

If Spanish movie star Penélope Cruz is a person of color, does that same label extend to Italy’s Sophia Loren? Why does the white son of a South American diplomat qualify as a minority, but the smart daughter of hardworking Asian immigrants does not? These are some of the questions that vex young Charlie Mason, a senior at a New Hampshire boarding school in Joshua Harmon’s “Admissions,” a deliciously exhaustive exploration of diversity and privilege now making its D.C. area premiere at Studio Theatre with a superb production directed by Mike Donahue. Bright and hardworking, Charlie (the excellent Ephraim Birney) is suddenly struggling. He lives in a world of white privilege where strides in diversity are met with elation and popping corks. But when he’s deferred from his first-choice school, Yale, while his best friend Perry a less accomplished student who is part black, gets accepted, he feels embittered. After spending four hours screaming in a nearby forest, he shares his feelings. Charlie’s intensely progressive parents, Sherri (Meg Gibson) and Bill (Kevin Kilner), Hillcrest’s dean of admissions and headmaster, respectively, have devoted their lives to adding some color to the school’s lily white, upper middle-class complexion. Their mission in life is to level the playing field, but when that requires surrendering privilege, it’s another story. Harmon’s scathing comedy (a fast hour and 40 minutes without intermission) spans winter through spring, a significant time in the lives of college-bound seniors. During these months, we hear of Charlie’s other resentments like losing the newspaper editor post to a less talented girl. He’s irritated by classmates objecting to yet another white author when it’s Willa Cather who was, he explains, a woman and was “like, basically a lesbian.” But no one wants to hear from Charlie, a white, cisgender male. The story unfolds mostly in the Mason’s spacious modern kitchen (realistically rendered by set designer Caite Hevner), but sometimes the action moves to Sherri’s Hillcrest office (subtly achieved by Amith Chandrashaker training lights on the kitchen table and transitioning with school sounds like chimes, bells and a bouncing basketball). An ongoing exchange between perfectly spoken, studiously composed Sherri and Roberta (terrifically played by out actor Sarah Marshall), an older, downto-earth employee in the development office charged with putting together

MEG GIBSON and EPHRAIM BIRNEY in ‘Admissions.’ Photo by Teresa Wood; courtesy Studio

Hillcrest’s admissions catalog is both hilarious and illuminating. Attached to the school for decades, Roberta claims she doesn’t see color. (We’ve heard this before, but in her case it might possibly be true.) So, when Sherri delicately explains that the catalog needs reflect diversity but not too much, Roberta is baffled. Problems also arise between Sherri and Yale-bound Perry’s feisty white mother Ginnie (Marni Penning). For years, the women thought they were on the same diversity team and now suddenly they find their best-friendship fraught with tension. There’s more, but I won’t give it away. So much of Harmon’s play turns on unexpected developments. Suffice to say, the characters find themselves mired in confusion that none of them created. Styled similar to Hillary during her longhair State Department phase, Gibson’s Sherri is slightly annoying but thankfully not humorless. You may feel you’ve met her. Gibson is especially successful at portraying conflict between Sherri’s principles and her concerns about Charlie’s disappointment and hopes for his future. Charlie’s father is less understanding. With “Admissions,” Harmon unflinchingly asks all the questions. He shows us what people talk about behind closed doors.

‘Admissions’ Through March 3 Studio Theatre 1501 14th St., N.W. $20-90 202-332-3300 studiotheatre.org

F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA DE.COM • 39

‘Admissions’ explores tough questions High school senior ponders identity, society in tight new play By PATRICK FOLLIARD

ENHANCE YOUR INTIMACY Our treatment is needle-free, surgery-free, and drug-free. Over 80% of men receiving our treatment experience long-term improvement in sexual performance.


一䄀䬀䔀䐀 夀伀䜀䄀 䴀漀渀搀愀礀猀 ☀ 眀攀搀渀攀猀搀愀礀猀

㘀㨀㌀ 倀䴀

琀甀攀猀搀愀 礀猀 ㄀⼀㈀ 瀀爀椀挀攀 氀漀挀欀攀爀猀 ☀ 爀漀漀洀猀 㠀 愀洀 ⴀ 洀椀搀渀椀最栀琀

猀愀 琀甀爀搀愀 礀猀 最爀愀戀 愀 ␀㔀 漀昀昀 挀愀爀搀 愀琀 吀刀䄀䐀䔀 昀愀挀攀戀漀漀欀⸀挀漀洀⼀琀栀攀挀爀攀眀挀氀甀戀

㄀㌀㈀㄀ ㄀㐀琀栀 猀琀 一圀

I will furnish you with paint (but Michaelangelo, I ain’t).

VALERIE M. BLAKE, Associate Broker, GRI, Director of Education & Mentorship Dupont Circle Office • 202-518-8781 (o) • 202.246.8602 (c) Valerie@DCHomeQuest.com • www.DCHomeQuest.com


(240) 232-8744 11300 Rockville Pike, STE 406 Rockville, MD 20852 www.MetroMensHealth.net 40 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 41

Revelers at last year’s Wig Night Out. Washington Blade photo by Wyatt Reid Westlund

Wig Night Out moves to new locale Annual charity event is at Pitchers Saturday night By MARIAH COOPER MCOOPER@WASHBLADE.COM Instead of spending a Saturday night snatching wigs over drinks, Wig Night Out wants you to don a wig over drinks in the name of charity instead. Wig Night Out takes over Pitchers (2317 18th St., N.W.) on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 8-10 p.m. where the venue will be filled with people rocking their wigs in support of local LGBT charities. Jeff Seese, a co-founder of Wig Night Out, says the annual event began in 2011 when he and his friends decided to throw on wigs while grabbing drinks at Dito’s bar in Floriana. Seese says everyone was curious about why they were wearing wigs and he realized they could turn their silly night into a charitable venture. “Suddenly it dawned on us that this could be a real fundraiser idea for when people say, ‘Why are you wearing a wig?’ You know what we’re wearing it for charity,” Seese says. The first Wig Night Out raised $1,000 for the Point Foundation and soon flourished into an event held at JR.’s Bar. When JR.’s general manager David Peruzza left JR.’s and moved to Pitchers, Seese says he asked if Wig Night Out would have a home there too. Peruzza agreed. This year’s Wig Night Out charities are Whitman-Walker Health and Casa Ruby. They’re both charities that were clear choices for Wig Night Out to support. “Whitman-Walker has been a lifelong member of the community and a huge supporter of LGBTQ rights and activities. They are fundamental to our community so we want to make sure that they are recognized and find money through our community,” Seese says. As for Casa Ruby, Seese says they want to uplift a small but important part of the local LGBT community. “They have done a substantial amount of work with Pitchers and Dave Peruzza,” Seese says. “We felt it was necessary to highlight that organization in a broader spotlight than

what they have historically seen. It’s such a small organization. Every donation really, truly means something to a place like Casa Ruby.” Wig Night Out has already raised $10,000 for this year’s event based on donors from previous years who made significant contributions. There is a suggested $10 donation at the door. Attendees can expect plenty of wigs, a raffle and entertainment from local drag performer Kitti Chanel who will have a “bucket brigade” to collect any additional donations. Guests can purchase five raffle tickets for $10 with a long list of prizes offered from local businesses and restaurants. Participating businesses include Pitchers, Brick Lane, Duke’s Grocery, Floriana, Taqueria del Bario, Hank’s Oyster, VIDA Fitnes, Aveda Salon and Chester Gap Cellars located in Front Royal, Va. Seese says the night is ideal for both the LGBT community and straight allies to have fun and support local charity. Sometimes, the most fun is had from people who wander into Wig Night Out without warning. “I actually had someone two years ago come up to me. It was a work function so a few guys after work, they’re dressed in suits,” he says. “We happened to be hosting the event and they still came in and said, ‘You know I’ve never worn a wig before.’ One of the guys said, ‘Here’s a $100 if I can wear the wig on your head for the next hour.’ And I said, ‘Absolutely’ and took the donation. He wore the wig and he had a fantastic time with his work colleagues. They were laughing, joking and they were suddenly made aware of these causes we were supporting.”

Wig Night Out Pitchers 2317 18th St., N.W. Saturday, Feb. 2 8-10 p.m.

42 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

Saturday Feb 9, 2019 Avalon Saturdays - 1420 K St NW Doors open 10pm • 21+ / $15 cover


F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 43

Ready to Own, Ready to Live at National Harbor!

Only 3 remaining for this special! VA loans with $0 down and all closing costs paid*

Tom Gaffney | Senior Loan Officer NMLS ID #182206

Current Incentives**


tgaffney@fhmtg.com www.GaffneyLoans.com

• 1 year of Condo fees paid • Washer and dryer level 1 included • 2" faux wood white blinds – excluding the transoms • American Express $2500 gift card included

First Heritage Mortgage, LLC 3201 Jermantown Road, Suite 800 Fairfax, VA 22030 First Heritage Mortgage, LLC | Company NMLS ID #86548 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) This is an advertisement and not a guarantee of lending. Terms and conditions apply. All approvals subject to underwriting guidelines. Prepared: 09/05/2018.

*Closing costs paid when using First Heritage Mortgage and does not include pre-paids. Pricing and terms may change, please speak with Loan Officer.

** not valid on previous contracts and must settle on or before 12/31/18.

MHBR #6755

Potomac Overlook Brownstones from the $600's 503 Halliard Lane, National Harbor, MD 20745 sales@integrityhmw.com | (703) 955-1187 44 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9

Don’t know if you should buy a home?

On the fence about buying a home? Here’s why you should make the leap. Photo by Rawpixel.com; photo courtesy of Bigstock

Here are four reasons why you shouldn’t wait any longer By TEDDY ROJANADIT Thinking of buying a home in 2019? Here are four more reasons why you should not wait any longer to purchase your new home this year. Interest Rates on the Rise: Zillow predicts mortgage rates will continue to rise throughout 2019. As

interest rates rise, your purchasing power can decrease. For example, on a $324,900 condo, your payment could go up almost $95/month with an increase of just .375%. Because of this, now is the perfect time to lock in a lower interest rate and avoid paying more in interest on a monthly basis. D.C. Housing Market Keeps Rising: The D.C. housing market has not slowed down. An average one-bedroom rental is roughly $1,800/month. A recent client of mine actually saved $150 a month when they decided to purchase a similar property they were renting. That is $1,800/ year they are saving on their housing payment. They are also gaining equity in the property and not their landlord. Tax Incentives: April 15 is the day

F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA DE.COM • 45

many Americans dread. As a homeowner though, you get to deduct your property tax and mortgage interest from your taxes. If you keep renting though, your landlord gets to take advantage of the tax benefits. New Savings Account: When you purchase your new home, it’s basically setting up a new savings account for your future. Part of your mortgage goes toward the principal of the loan. The principal is going toward the equity of the home. When you go to sell it, you get that money from your equity. It’s a built-in savings mechanism for your future. Worried you don’t know how much you can afford? Talk to a lender. I work with very qualified local lenders who are able to look at your finances and help decide the right purchase price for you. They can

also see if you qualify for helpful programs such as D.C. Open Doors or the Mortgage Credit Certificate. After talking with a lender, I am here to guide you every step of the way through the real estate process. Give me a call at 202-664-3736 to get started today.

Teddy Rojanadit is a Realtor with Bediz Group, LLC at Keller Williams Capital Properties, winner of the Washington Blade’s Best Real Estate Group in 2015 and 2017 and runnerup in 2018. Reach him at 202-664-3736 or teddy@bediz.com. Follow him on IG @ teddydcrealtor.



All Classified Ads - Including Regular & Adult Must Be Received By Mondays at 5PM So They Can Be Included in That Week’s Edition of Washington Blade and washingtonblade.com

Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.* *25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.




MASSAGE ROSSLYN – MASSAGE low key spot near Rosslyn, Sun-Tues, spa in DC, Thurs-Sat. Call or text Gary 301-704-1158, mymassagebygary.com.


Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.* *25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.

EMPLOYMENT BULLETIN BOARD MERCEDES-BENZ OF ALEXANDRIA For all your automotive questions. Please call or text George Jermstad on 703864-3386 or email gjermstad@ mercedesalexandria.com Thank You!

COUNSELING COUNSELING FOR GAY MEN. Individual/couple counseling w/ volunteer peer counselor. Gay Men’s Counseling Community since 1973. 202-580-8861. gaymenscounseling.org. No fees, donation requested.

WHOLISTIC SERVICES, INC. Seeking Full Time Direct Support Professionals to assist intellectually disabled adults with behavioral health complexities in group homes & day services throughout D.C. Requirements: Valid Driver’s License, able to lift 50-75 lbs., complete training program, become Med Certified within 6 months of hire, pass security background check. (Associates degree preferred) For more information please contact Human Resources @ 301-392-2500.

LOCKER ROOM ATTENDANTS NEEDED! The Crew Club, a gay men’s naturist gym & sauna, is now hiring Locker Room Attendants. We all scrub toilets & do heavy cleaning. You must be physically able to handle the work & have a great attitude doing it. No drunks/ druggies need apply. Please call David at (202) 319-1333. from 9-5pm, to schedule an interview.

LEGAL SERVICES ADOPTION, DONOR, SURROGACY legal services. Jennifer represents LGBTQ clients in DC, MD & VA interested in adoption or ART matters. 240-863- 2441, JFairfax@jenniferfairfax.com. FULL SERVICE LAW FIRM Representing the GLBT community for over 35 years. Family adoptions, estate planning, immigration, employment. (301) 891-2200. Silber, Perlman, Sigman & Tilev, P.A. www.SP-Law. com.

TELL ‘EM YOU saw their ad in the Blade classifieds!

PHOTOGRAPHY STEVE O’TOOLE PHOTOGRAPHY Fine Art Photographer for Portraits & Weddings & more! Check out my website - www. steveotoolephotography.com. Specializing in Bears & Big men. Steve 703-861-4422.

CLEANING FERNANDO’S CLEANING: Residential & Commercial Cleaning, Reasonable Rates, Free Estimates, Routine, 1-Time, Move-In/Move-Out. (202) 234-7050, 202-486-6183.

LIMOUSINES KASPER’S LIVERY SERVICE Since 1987. Gay & Veteran Owner/ Operator. 2016 Luxury BMW 750Li Sedan. Properly Licensed & Livery Insured in DC. www.KasperLivery.com. Phone 202-554-2471.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Results-Oriented • Affordable

Larry Cohen, LICSW

30 years serving the LGBT community

202-244-0903 socialanxietyhelp.com

See website for NPR story on my work




DAVE LLOYD & ASSOCIATES Top 1% Nationwide NVAR Life Member Top Producder



Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.* *25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.

46 • WAS H IN GTO N B LAD E.CO M • FEB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 1 9



All Classified Ads - Including Regular & Adult Must Be Received By Mondays at 5PM So They Can Be Included in That Week’s Edition of Washington Blade and washingtonblade.com

Place your HOUSING TO SHARE ad online at washingtonblade.com and the ad prints free in the paper and online.* *25 words or less prints free - anything more is $1/word.




AROUND TOWN MOVERS. Professional Moving & Storage. Let Our Movers Do The Heavy Lifting. Mention the ‘Blade’ for 5% off of our regular rates. Call today 202.734.3080. www. aroundtownmovers.com


BRITISH REMODELING HANDYMAN Local licensed company with over 25 years of experience. Specializing in bathrooms, kitchens & all interior/exterior repairs. Drywall, paint, electric & wallpaper. Trevor 703-303-8699.


Bathroom Sinks, Tubs, Vanities, Kitchen Sinks, Disposals, Boilers & Furnaces, Hot Water Heaters, Drain Service! 202-251-1479. Licensed, Bonded & Insured. DC Plumbers License #707. Visa, MasterCard, American Express accepted.

SHARE / DC NW DC LARGE Room for rent, Shared bathroom, First/last month rent $800.00, Utilities included, No drugs, No pets, Close to bus, Ft. Totten Metro, CAC. 5509 1st Street NW #102. Moody2743@yahoo. com, 646-630-3346.

SHARE / VA HERNDON VA FULLY FURNISHED Furnished Private Room and Private Bath $850/month; serious Inquiries only; No Smoking; Clean, Quiet, limited cooking; w/d in unit; off-street parking, no storage. gailvb12@yahoo.com.

BODYWORK THE MAGIC TOUCH: Swedish, Massage or Deep Tissue. Appts 202-486-6183, Low Rates, 24/7, In-Calls.

F EB R UARY 0 1 , 2 0 19 • WA SHINGTONBLA D E.COM • 47

Playmates and soul mates...



18+ MegaMates.com