This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Mayor Fenty makes
D.C. marriage bill
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.
With about 200 spectators cheering
from the pews, D.C. Mayor Adrian
Fenty signed a bill last week to legalize
same-sex marriage in Washington dur-
ing a ceremony at a church that played
a leading role in pushing for black civil
rights in the 1950s and 1960s.
“To the world, today an era of
struggle ends for thousands of resi-
dents of Washington, D.C., who have
been denied the fundamental right to
marry the person of their choosing,”
Fenty told the gathering at All Souls
Unitarian Church in Northwest D.C.
“I say to all those residents who
watch the nation’s capital today that our
city is taking a leap forward in ensuring
freedom and equality to all residents.”
Fenty signed the Religious
Freedom & Civil Marriage Equality
Amendment Act of 2009 four days
after the D.C. Council gave its final
approval of the measure, 11-2.
The signing also came five
months after a separate bill passed
by the Council and signed by Fenty,
which recognizes same-sex mar-
riages performed in other jurisdic-
tions, became law after clearing its
required congressional review.
The measure that Fenty signed
Friday was expected to be sent to
Capitol Hill this week, where it, too,
must undergo a congressional
review of 30 legislative days. Most
congressional observers expect the
Democratic controlled Congress will
allow the bill to become law by taking
no legislative action to overturn it.
U.S. wants Museveni
to ‘be a leader’
By CHRIS JOHNSON
U.S. officials have received assur-
ances from the Ugandan president
that he would work to block a harshly
anti-gay bill from becoming law in his
country and would veto the legisla-
tion should it come to his desk,
according to the State Department.
Jon Tollefson, a State Department
spokesperson, told DC Agenda that
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
has pledged on several occasions to
the top U.S. diplomat engaged in
Africa that he would stop progress on
the anti-gay bill.
Assistant Secretary of State for
African Affairs Johnnie Carson received
this assurance from Museveni on Oct.
24 during an in-person meeting with the
president in Uganda and again during a
phone conversation with Museveni on
Dec. 4, Tollefson said.
Homosexual acts are already illegal
in Uganda, but the anti-gay legislation
— a bill sponsored by a member of the
president’s party — would, among
other things, institute the death penalty
for repeat offenders of the homosexual
acts ban and those who have homo-
sexual sex while HIV positive.
Additionally, the bill would crimi-
nalize the formation of LGBT organi-
zations and the publication or broad-
cast of pro-gay materials in Uganda.
Surrounded by D.C. City Council members and other supporters, Mayor Adrian Fenty signs a bill to legalize same-sex mar-
riage in Washington.
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
City’s gay community center to temporarily
relocate Jan. 1. Page 5
Our former intern, Callie, prepares for
debut of ‘REAL WORLD D.C.’ Page 20
with a ‘view’
How David Franco’s
latest project, a $90 million
survived the recession
and real estate bust.
A roundup of local
New Year’s Eve party
options as the city
prepares to celebrate
the arrival of 2010.
The holidays can bring
added stress for those
fighting addiction. Local
actor John Moletress
recalls his own struggle.
the lgbtq community’s news source
dcagenda.com • vol. 1, issue 6 • december 25, 2009
Continues on page 5
Continues on page 16
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
Photo courtesy of
Ugandan president to block
anti-gay bill, officials say
2 dcagenda.com • december 25, 2009
ISENTRESS is an anti-HIV medicine used for the treatment of HIV. ISENTRESS must be used with other
anti-HIV medicines, which may increase the likelihood of response to treatment.
The safety and effectiveness of ISENTRESS in children has not been studied.
It is important that you remain under your doctor’s care.
ISENTRESS will NOT cure HIV infection or reduce your chance of passing HIV to others through sexual
contact, sharing needles, or being exposed to your blood.
IMPORTANT RISK INFORMATION
A condition called Immune Reconstitution Syndrome can happen in some patients with advanced HIV
infection (AIDS) when anti-HIV treatment is started. Signs and symptoms of inammation from opportunistic
infections may occur as the medicines work to treat the HIV infection and strengthen the immune system.
Call your doctor right away if you notice any signs or symptoms of an infection after starting ISENTRESS.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness while
taking ISENTRESS. This is because on rare occasions muscle problems can be serious and can lead to
When ISENTRESS has been given with other anti-HIV drugs, the most common side effects included nausea,
headache, tiredness, weakness, and trouble sleeping.
december 25, 2009 • dcagenda.com 3
Call 1-866-350-9232 Need help paying for ISENTRESS?
You are special, unique, and different from anyone else. And so is your
path to managing HIV. When you’re ready to start HIV therapy, talk to
your doctor about a medication that may ﬁt your needs and lifestyle.
In clinical studies lasting 48 weeks, patients being treated with HIV medication for the rst time who took
ISENTRESS plus Truvada:
Had a low rate of side effects
— In 4% of patients taking ISENTRESS plus Truvada versus 3% taking Sustiva plus Truvada, the
most commonly reported side effect of moderate to severe intensity (that interfered with or kept
patients from performing daily activities) was trouble sleeping
Experienced less effect on LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
— Cholesterol increased an average of 6 mg/dL with ISENTRESS plus Truvada versus 16 mg/dL
with Sustiva plus Truvada
Ask your doctor about ISENTRESS.
People taking ISENTRESS may still develop infections, including opportunistic infections or other conditions
that occur with HIV infection.
Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, including if you have any allergies, are pregnant
or plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed. ISENTRESS is not recommended
for use during pregnancy. Women with HIV should not breast-feed because their babies could be infected
with HIV through their breast milk.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription medicines like rifampin (a medicine
used to treat infections such as tuberculosis), non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of
prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch,
or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
For more information about ISENTRESS, please
read the Patient Information on the following page.
ISENTRESS is a registered trademark of Merck & Co., Inc.
Copyright © 2009 Merck & Co., Inc. All rights reserved.
Sustiva is a registered trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb
Truvada is a registered trademark of Gilead Sciences, Inc.
4 dcagenda.com • december 25, 2009
Read the patient information that comes with ISENTRESS
before you start taking
it and each time you get a reﬁll. There may be new information. This leaﬂet is a
summary of the information for patients. Your doctor or pharmacist can give you
additional information. This leaﬂet does not take the place of talking with your
doctor about your medical condition or your treatment.
What is ISENTRESS?
º ISENTRESS is an anti-HIV (antiretroviral) medicine used for the treatment
of HIV. The term HIV stands for Human Immunodeﬁciency Virus. It is the
virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deﬁciency Syndrome). ISENTRESS
is used along with other anti-HIV medicines. ISENTRESS will NOT cure HIV
º People takind l8EhTRE88 ma] still develop infections, includind
opportunistic infections or other conditions that happen with HIV infection.
º 8ta] under the care of ]our doctor durind treatment with l8EhTRE88.
º The safety and effectiveness of ISENTRESS in children has not been studied.
ISENTRESS must be used with other anti-HIV medicines.
How does ISENTRESS work?
º l8EhTRE88 olocks an enz]me which the virus (HlVì needs in order to make
more virus. The enz]me that l8EhTRE88 olocks is called HlV intedrase.
º when used with other anti-HlV medicines, l8EhTRE88 ma] do two thinds.
1. Reduce the amount of HIV in your blood. This is called your “viral load”.
2. Increase the number of white blood cells called CD4 (T) cells.
º l8EhTRE88 ma] not have these effects in all patients.
Does ISENTRESS lower the chance of passing HIV to other people?
No. ISENTRESS does not reduce the chance of passing HIV to others through sexual
contact, sharind needles, or oeind exposed to ]our olood.
º Continue to practice safer sex.
º Use latex or pol]urethane condoms or other oarrier methods to lower the
chance of sexual contact with any body ﬂuids. This includes semen from a
man, vadinal secretions from a woman, or olood.
º hever re-use or share needles.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about safer sex or how to prevent
passing HIV to other people.
What should I tell my doctor before and during treatment with ISENTRESS?
Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Include any of the following
that applies to ]ou.
º You have an] allerdies.
º You are prednant or plan to oecome prednant.
- ISENTRESS is not recommended for use during pregnancy.
ISENTRESS has not been studied in pregnant women. If you take
l8EhTRE88 while ]ou are prednant, talk to ]our doctor aoout how
]ou can oe included in the Antiretroviral Prednanc] Redistr].
º You are oreast-feedind or plan to oreast-feed.
- It is recommended that HIV-infected women should not breast-feed
their infants. This is because their babies could be infected with HIV
through their breast milk.
- Talk with your doctor about the best way to feed your baby.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take. Include the following:
º prescription medicines, includind rifampin (a medicine used to treat some
infections such as tuberculosis)
º non-prescription medicines
º heroal supplements
Know the medicines you take.
º Keep a list of ]our medicines. 8how the list to ]our doctor and pharmacist
when you get a new medicine.
How should I take ISENTRESS?
Take ISENTRESS exactly as your doctor has prescribed. The recommended
dose is as follows:
º Take onl] one 4OO-md taolet at a time.
º Take it twice a da].
º Take it o] mouth.
º Take it with or without food.
Do not change your dose or stop taking ISENTRESS or your other anti-HIV
medicines without ﬁrst talking with your doctor.
IMPORTANT: Take ISENTRESS exactly as your doctor prescribed and at the
right times of day because if you don’t.
º The amount of virus (HlVì in ]our olood ma] increase if the medicine is
stopped for even a short period of time.
º The virus ma] develop resistance to l8EhTRE88 and oecome harder to
º Your medicines ma] stop workind to fdht HlV.
º The activit] of l8EhTRE88 ma] oe reduced (due to resistanceì.
If you fail to take ISENTRESS the way you should, here’s what to do:
º lf ]ou miss a dose, take it as soon as ]ou rememoer. lf ]ou do not
rememoer until it is time for ]our next dose, skip the missed dose and do
back to your regular schedule. Do NOT take two tablets of ISENTRESS at the
same time. ln other words, do h0T take a douole dose.
º lf ]ou take too much l8EhTRE88, call ]our doctor or local Poison Control
Be sure to keep a supply of your anti-HIV medicines.
º when ]our l8EhTRE88 suppl] starts to run low, det more from ]our doctor
º Do not wait until ]our medicine runs out to det more.
What are the possible side effects of ISENTRESS?
When ISENTRESS has been given with other anti-HIV drugs, the most
common side effects included:
º trouole sleepind
Other side effects include rash, severe skin reactions, feelind anxious,
depression, suicidal thoudhts and actions, paranoia, low olood platelet count.
A condition called Immune Reconstitution Syndrome can happen in some
patients with advanced HIV infection (AIDS) when combination antiretroviral
treatment is started. Signs and symptoms of inﬂammation from opportunistic
infections that a person has or had may occur as the medicines work to treat
the HIV infection and help to strengthen the immune system. Call your doctor
right away if you notice any signs or symptoms of an infection after starting
ISENTRESS with other anti-HIV medicines.
Contact ]our doctor promptl] if ]ou experience unexplained muscle pain,
tenderness, or weakness while takind l8EhTRE88. This is oecause on rare
occasions, muscle proolems can oe serious and can lead to kidne] damade.
Tell your doctor if you have any side effects that bother you.
These are not all the side effects of l8EhTRE88. For more information, ask
your doctor or pharmacist.
How should I store ISENTRESS?
º 8tore l8EhTRE88 at room temperature (O8 to 77°Fì.
º Keep ISENTRESS and all medicines out of the reach of children.
General information about the use of ISENTRESS
Medicines are sometimes prescribed for conditions that are not mentioned in
patient information leaﬂets.
º Do not use l8EhTRE88 for a condition for which it was not prescrioed.
º Do not dive l8EhTRE88 to other people, even if the] have the same
symptoms you have. It may harm them.
This leaﬂet gives you the most important information about ISENTRESS.
º lf ]ou would like to know more, talk with ]our doctor.
º You can ask ]our doctor or pharmacist for additional information aoout
ISENTRESS that is written for health professionals.
º For more information do to www.l8EhTRE88.com or call 1-8OO-O22-4477.
What are the ingredients in ISENTRESS?
Active ingredient: Each flm-coated taolet contains 4OO md of raltedravir.
Inactive ingredients: Nicrocr]stalline cellulose, lactose monoh]drate, calcium
phosphate dioasic anh]drous, h]promellose 22O8, poloxamer 4O7 (contains O.O17
out]lated h]drox]toluene as antioxidantì, sodium stear]l fumarate, madnesium
stearate. ln addition, the flm coatind contains the followind inactive indredients.
pol]vin]l alcohol, titanium dioxide, pol]eth]lene dl]col 885O, talc, red iron oxide
and black iron oxide.
NERCK & C0., lnc.
whitehouse 8tation, hJ O8889, U8A
Revised 0ctooer 2OO9
U.8. Patent hos. U8 7,1O9,78O 2O953087(10ì(1OOì-l8h-C0h
(eye sen tris)
Redistered trademark of NERCK & C0., lnc.
C0PYRl0HT © 2OO7, 2OO9 NERCK & C0., lnc.
All rights reserved
“The signing of this bill marks a
watershed moment for human rights
in the District of Columbia,” said Rev.
Robert Hardies, pastor of All Souls
Unitarian Church and one of the
leaders of a coalition of D.C. clergy
members who support same-sex
“I and the nearly 200 D.C. clergy
who supported this bill look forward to
celebrating the marriages of loving les-
bian and gay couples in sanctuaries
like this one all over our city,” he said.
Among those standing behind
Fenty as he signed the bill at a table
set up in front of the church alter were
D.C. Council Chair Vincent Gray (D-At
Large); gay Council member David
Catania (I-At Large), author and lead
sponsor of the bill; and Council mem-
ber Phil Mendelson (D-At Large),
chair of the committee that shepherd-
ed the bill through the Council.
Also standing at the table for the
signing were gay Council member Jim
Graham (D-Ward 1), in whose ward the
church is located; Council members
Jack Evans (D-Ward 1); Muriel Bowser
(D-Ward 4), and Harry Thomas Jr. (D-
Ward 5); and Fenty’s LGBT Affairs
Office director, Christopher Dyer.
Fenty and Catania, among others
participating in the bill signing ceremo-
ny, said the decision to hold the event in
a church was symbolic of the message
they sought to project during the cam-
paign to legalize same-sex marriage in
the city: that the legislation would not
infringe on the rights of people of faith
and would, in fact, give ministers sup-
portive of marriage equality the right to
legally perform same-sex marriages.
Most of the opposition to the legisla-
tion was led by clergy who oppose same-
sex marriage on religious grounds.
Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope
Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., and
the lead spokesperson for the bill’s oppo-
nents, has vowed to continue efforts to
urge Congress to overturn the legislation.
Jackson and his supporters also
are appealing in D.C. Superior Court
a ruling by the city’s election board
denying a proposed voter initiative
that sought to ban same-sex mar-
riage in the District of Columbia.
Catania told people gathered for
the bill’s signing that six generations
of his family, including his grandfa-
ther, have been Baptist ministers. He
noted that leaders of the churches in
which his ancestors were a part were
outspoken abolitionists in the fight
against slavery prior to the Civil War.
“I was raised in a household that
loved this country,” he said. “And at
times, even in our struggles, we wonder
whether our best days are behind us. I
have to be completely honest with you.
I’ve never been more certain in my life
that our best days are before us.”
Catania said the passage and sign-
ing of a same-sex marriage bill was the
culmination of years of work from com-
mitted LGBT activists and their allies,
beginning with veteran D.C. gay activist
Frank Kameny, who is credited with
founding the local LGBT rights move-
ment in the early 1960s.
“I was fortunate enough to simply
guide the process and draft [the bill],
but it would not have taken place
without the extraordinary leadership
of Phil Mendelson on the Judiciary
Committee and our non-stop support
from our [Council] chairman. And
enough cannot be said about the
rank and file members of this
Council, who stood with us.”
Sources familiar with the mayor’s
office said Fenty also considered hold-
ing the signing ceremony at Covenant
Baptist church in Southeast D.C.,
which is headed by pro-same-sex mar-
riage pastors Dennis and Christine
Wiley. The Wileys, along with Hardies
of All Souls, were co-chairs of the coali-
tion of clergy backing same-sex mar-
riage. One source, speaking on condi-
tion of anonymity, said Fenty is thought
to have chosen All Souls in part
because it’s located in the neighbor-
hood where he grew up.
In his remarks, Fenty introduced
his parents, who were in the audience,
and noted that their status as an inter-
racial couple made them a part of the
marriage equality movement.
“My parents know a little some-
thing about marriage equality,” he
said. “They married almost 40 years
ago and in a country at the time where
every jurisdiction didn’t agree that an
interracial couple should be married.
Had they not been able to, I would not
be standing here as mayor of the
District of Columbia right now.”
Graham, who, along with Catania,
has been a longtime LGBT rights
advocate, appeared to express the
emotion that many LGBT activists
and same-sex couples present at the
bill signing event shared.
“Thank God for this day,” he said.
“Thank God that I was able to live to
see this day.”
Graham praised Fenty for standing
out as a “certainty” that the bill would
be signed whenever the Council felt
the time was right to pass it.
He also pointed to the historic
support All Souls Unitarian Church
provided for the African American
civil rights movement in the 1950s,
when the church founded one of the
city’s first integrated youth clubs. It
was at a time when D.C.’s youth
recreation facilities were segregated
among black and whites.
“We can’t overlook how fitting it is
that we are in this church,” he said,
“because this church has a great tra-
dition of fighting for civil rights and
Fenty, Catania and Graham were
beseeched after the ceremony by
activists and same-sex couples
attending the event who asked them
to pose for pictures with them and to
sign copies of a mayoral press state-
ment announcing the bill signing.
“It’s an exciting day for many of us,”
said gay Democratic activist Peter
Rosenstein, one of the organizers of
the same-sex marriage advocacy
group Campaign for All D.C. Families.
“It’s a day that many of us thought
wouldn’t come in our lifetimes. It’s for
us and for future generations.”
Michael Crawford, co-chair of D.C.
for Marriage, said he doesn’t believe
Fenty and the 11 Council members
who voted for the bill would face seri-
ous opposition in their upcoming elec-
tions over this specific issue.
“The folks who are claiming they
will enact political retribution against
Council members that voted for mar-
riage equality, by and large, don’t live
in the District,” he said. “So it’s going
to be pretty difficult for them to have
an impact on District elections.”
Rev. Abena McCray, pastor of
D.C.’s LGBT welcoming Unity
Fellowship Church, and Bishop
Rainey Cheeks, pastor of the city’s
Inner Light Ministries, which also has
a largely LGBT congregation, each
said the mayor’s signing of the mar-
riage bill would boost the faith and
morale of LGBT people of faith.
“I don’t anticipate a backlash,”
McCray said, when asked about
clergy who have opposed the bill.
“God is in control,” she said. “God
spoke today. History was made. And
we’re going to move forward in only
one thing, and that’s love.”
Cheeks said he expects efforts by
people of faith to fight the legislation will
be diminished once they understand it.
“When they really understand
that this law does not take away any-
thing from anybody, it adds to,” they
will be far less likely to try to reverse
the law, he said.
“Every church and every denomi-
nation already has the right to say no
to whomever they want to say no to,”
Cheeks said, on the question of per-
forming same-sex marriages. “It sim-
ply expands the right for us to be able
to do what we need to do.”
The D.C. LGBT community center
is scheduled to move Jan. 1 to a new
location at 14th and S streets, N.W.,
where it will occupy two adjacent,
one-story buildings formerly used by
the Whitman-Walker Clinic.
Center Executive Director David
Mariner said a real estate develop-
ment company that bought the build-
ings from Whitman-Walker last year
has “generously offered” them to the
center on a temporary basis.
Mariner declined to disclose the
rent that would be paid for the new
buildings, but said the cost would be
considerably less than the rent for the
office space it’s about to leave in a
high-rise office building at 1111 14th
St., N.W., just south of Thomas Circle.
“This new location is more visible,
more accessible, and nearly twice the
size of our current office suite,” he
said. “Still, this space is a temporary
solution, and we continue to work
toward the goal of a permanent home
for the LGBT community in D.C.”
Center officials have acknowl-
edged they encountered a serious
setback in their effort to secure a per-
manent building when the D.C. City
Council in August cancelled a
$500,000 city grant that Mayor Adrian
Fenty had earmarked to help the
Center buy a building. The Council’s
action was part of a decision to elimi-
nate all earmark — or non-competi-
tive — grants to more than 100 non-
profit organizations in the city.
Two weeks before the Council
eliminated the grants, Fenty called for
cutting them by 60 percent as part of
a cost-saving measure to address a
projected budget deficit. The elimina-
tion of the earmark grants also killed
a separate $150,000 grant for the
Center’s highly acclaimed Crystal
Meth Working Group, which pushes
to curtail crystal meth abuse in the
Mariner said the development
company, JPG Properties, will allow
the Center to remain in the adjacent
street-level buildings until the compa-
ny is ready to redevelop the site, most
likely into a high-rise condominium-
office complex. JPG has postponed
the development due to the current
According to Mariner, the redevel-
opment could take place in less than
a year, or following a period of sever-
al years, and that “we just don’t
know” the exact timetable.
The address for the new location is
1804 and 1810 14th St., N.W. The
space had been used as an annex to
Whitman-Walker’s former headquar-
ters building. The Clinic last year
moved its headquarters into its existing
Elizabeth Taylor Building less than two
blocks away at 1701 14th St., N.W.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
‘An era of struggle ends’ as Fenty signs marriage bill
december 25, 2009 • dcagenda.com 5
Continued from page 1
D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty celebrates with members of the City Council after signing the same-sex marriage bill last week.
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
LGBT Center to move into new temporary location
The DC Center will move to 14 and S
streets as of Jan. 1.
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
6 dcagenda.com • december 25, 2009
A striking new ‘View’ on 14th Street
at how Franco’s $90
million project survived
the real estate crisis
By NICK NAPOLITANO
Special to DC Agenda
David Franco laughs as he recalls
his foray into the entrepreneurial
arena. It was 1989 and his good friend,
John Guggenmos, was pulling togeth-
er a group of investors to buy the
nightclub Tracks. Franco, a fresh-faced
24-year-old, could not have known
that Tracks would shortly experience
its heyday and become the focal point
of D.C.’s gay nightlife scene, making it
a hugely profitable venture, but he
smelled opportunity. Or at the very
least a really good time. He was ready
to jump at the chance.
There was just one snag: “I was
not out at the time.”
Franco wasn’t among the legions
of gay men and lesbians who came
to D.C. to explore and embrace life
outside the closet. The recent
University of Maryland graduate was
a native Washingtonian who had
never lived anywhere else. He and
his four brothers worked for the fami-
ly business, a chain of discount
department stores run by their father,
and they all lived within a mile of
each other in the Maryland suburbs.
How would his family, especially his
Orthodox Jewish father, react to hav-
ing a family member who was not
only gay but owned a gay nightclub?
“I went to my father and said, ‘Dad,
I have this opportunity and the oppor-
tunity requires me to leave the family
business.’” When his father asked what
the opportunity was, Franco forced the
words out. “I said, ‘I have the opportu-
nity to go in with a group of guys to buy
a [gay] nightclub.’ I thought my father
was going to hit the roof. But instead
he said, ‘If this is going to make you
happy, you have my blessing.’”
The Tracks venture was the first
step along a career path that would
see Franco launch with his Tracks
associates a new gay establishment
in D.C., Trumpets restaurant, and
with business partner Keith Clark
start Universal Gear, a chain of cloth-
ing stores popular with gay men.
Those accomplishments, however,
were dwarfed with the opening last
month of View 14, a $90 million 185-
unit apartment building that he and
business partner Jeff Blum devel-
oped and built through their real
estate firm, Level 2 Development.
The building’s interior was
designed in collaboration with local
furniture store owners Jason Claire
and Eric Kole of Vastu and has the feel
of a boutique hotel: funky but modern,
stylish with some flashes of whimsy. It
boasts the usual upscale finishes like
granite countertops and stainless steel
appliances and an enviable array of
amenities, some the kind you would
expect in a new luxury building — roof
decks with Weber grills, a party room,
24-hour concierge service, fitness
center, underground parking — but
some you might not have seen else-
where, including a sculpture garden,
yoga studio, fully loaded theater, and a
screen in the cavernous lobby that
tells you when the next green and yel-
low line trains will be arriving at the U
Street Metro Station.
Franco likens View 14 itself to a
“giant ship coming down 14th Street.” It’s
a very fitting image, with the sleek and
majestic glass, steel and stone structure
seeming to glide down the hill from
Columbia Heights to the U Street area.
How View 14 came to be is a harrowing
voyage in itself, fraught with the squalls
and swells of a tanking real estate mar-
ket and the ensuing lending crisis.
It was 2005, and Franco and Blum
were finishing their first venture
together, the development of a 12-
unit apartment building on the 1400
block of Chapin Street, N.W., called
the Mercury at Meridian Hill Park. The
real estate market was moving from
high gear into overdrive, Franco said,
and the building sold out very quickly.
Flush with excitement, the two decid-
ed that for their second project
together they would go big in order to
capitalize on the red hot market.
After losing a bid on a property in
the NoMa neighborhood, they set
their sights on the Petrovich Auto
Repair garage at the corner of 14th
Street and Florida Avenue, around the
corner from the Mercury. The property
was perfectly situated on a hill that
would afford stunning views of the city,
and was within a stone’s throw of the
popular U Street corridor.
Unfortunately, owners Paolo and
Pedro Petrovich weren’t exactly
jumping at the opportunity.
“They weren’t prepared [to sell] at
that time,” said Franco. “They wanted
to reinvest [whatever profit they
would make from the sale] but didn’t
know what to do.”
Undeterred, Franco and Blum made
themselves a fixture at the Petroviches’
garage. “One of us would be in there at
least once a week, seeing how things
were,” often over lunch. “We really culti-
vated a relationship.” Franco, mean-
while, diligently researched opportuni-
ties for the Petroviches to reinvest their
money. When the brothers took him up
on a suggestion to tour some CVS
stores in the Baltimore area, Franco
began to feel guardedly optimistic.
Several months later, after a deli-
cate dance with the Petroviches that
could only be described as a wooing,
complete with the appearance of a rival
suitor, Franco and Blum won the sale.
Once that first major hurdle was
cleared other challenges followed —
finding a suitable architect and invest-
ment partner, navigating city bureau-
cracy to get the requisite permits to
build a large scale condo building
where an auto repair shop used to be,
making expensive arrangements for
the grounds to be cleansed of several
decades worth of oil and gasoline
seepage — but those were overcome
with hard work and perseverance.
Franco and Blum quickly found
strong support for their project among
D.C. politicians, with Mayor Adrian
Fenty attending the groundbreaking
and Ward 1 Council member Jim
Graham stepping in to facilitate com-
munication with Comcast, which had
been unresponsive to Franco and
Blum’s appeals to discuss with them
the relocation of Comcast-owned
satellite dish equipment and a signal
receiver tower from the View 14 site.
Graham would later champion legisla-
tion that gave the View 14 project $5.7
million in tax abatement.
The View 14 developers also won
kudos from local community leaders
and the city government by donating $1
million to the residents of Cresthill
Apartments toward the purchase of
their building and the formation of a
cooperative. This was done as part of
their deal with the city, which requires
developers to provide affordable hous-
ing if they are building a high-density
project. Rather than set aside units in
the new building for that purpose, as is
normally done, the View 14 developers,
seeing need in their community, chose
instead to donate needed funds to the
Cresthill residents, whose building was
less than a block away and was soon to
be sold on the open market.
“I never will forget the first day I met
David,” said Sankofa Cooperative pres-
ident Sheila Royster, who has lived in
the Cresthill Apartments building for 40
years. “He came to my unit and he
brought me a plant. I thought that was
wonderful. It was a genuine gesture
and to me it just demonstrated his
respect for us and what we were doing.”
Dark clouds began to loom,
though, as speculation that the hous-
ing market was cresting gave way to
fears of a housing bubble that could
burst at any moment and send prop-
erty values tumbling. Still, Franco
and Blum were confident. More than
1,000 people attended the lavish
launch party in September 2006.
Rival developers nervously dubbed
View 14 “The Death Star” because it
was expected to “suck up all the
other condo purchasers in the mar-
ket,” Franco said. “We were excited.”
Contracts trickled in, a dozen and a
half in the first two months, and the cold
reality set in: they weren’t selling enough
units to finance the start of construction
on time. It might be months, or even a
year, before they reached that point. If
they were able to reach that point.
The two men sat down with their
project partners and made the difficult
decision to re-engineer View 14 as a
rental project. “It was literally the mil-
lion dollar decision for us,” said Franco.
“We had spent a million dollars in mar-
keting and building a sales center.”
Franco said that he and Blum have
accepted a letter of intent from a “well-
known retail and services establishment
in the area” that will use 8,000 square
feet of space to expand their facilities.
“The neighborhood is going to be
ecstatic when they learn who’s going to
be there,” he promises. A signed lease
and announcement is expected soon.
Franco is just as ebullient when he
talks about the 14th and U Street
neighborhood and its future. He points
out that the Solea, a condo building
directly across 14th Street from View
14, has nearly sold out. And there is
just one unit left for sale at Union Row,
the massive, 216-unit condo building
that also houses Yes! Market, a CVS,
and the restaurant Eatonville.
“That speaks volumes to the desir-
ability of this neighborhood,” said Franco.
About 25 leases have been signed
so far and the first View 14 residents
moved in over Thanksgiving weekend,
among them Galan Panger, a 24-year-
old gay man who is leasing a studio.
Panger, who works in Google’s down-
town D.C. office, said he was impressed
by the quality of the building’s construc-
tion and with the finishes. The amenities
solidified the decision to trade in his digs
at nearby Union Row for View 14.
“It was nice of them to create
these community spaces,” Panger
said. “My boyfriend and I have been
grilling even though it’s been cold.”
They have been sticking to the east
roof deck after Franco joked during a
tour of the building that it was the
gayer of the two rooftop spaces since
it has “the more fabulous view.”
Franco himself is one of View 14’s
newest tenants, along with his dog;
last week he sold his home near
Meridian Hill Park and they moved
into one of the penthouse units.
Franco sees a wide mix of people
coming to View 14, from single young
professionals to retired couples. There is
also a fair bit of traffic from gay and les-
bian renters like Panger, which Franco
attributes to a variety of factors, includ-
ing the fact that the building bears the
strong imprint of two openly gay men,
he and Blum, as well as the influence of
other gay men they know like Chris
Cahill, a good friend of Franco’s who
works for Botanical Decorators and
came up with the idea for using the
courtyard space as a sculpture garden
and helped select the sculptures and
People, gay and straight alike,
Franco observed, appreciate quality
and, “not to rely too heavily on stereo-
types, but gay men have a natural atten-
tion to detail. We as gay men are
[attuned] to high style, high design and
convenience. This building delivers that.”
David Franco, a longtime local entrepreneur who co-owns Level 2 Development, opened View 14, a 185-unit apartment building
in the bustling 14th and U corridor.
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
december 25, 2009 • dcagenda.com 7
8 dcagenda.com • december 25, 2009
City cautious on medical marijuana
Congress lifts ban on
1998 law approved
by D.C. voters
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.
The Whitman-Walker Clinic has joined
D.C. Council member David Catania
(I-At Large) and city Attorney General
Peter Nickles in expressing caution
over how and when the city should
implement a 1998 law that legalizes
medical marijuana in the District.
Congress last week ended its nine-
year ban on allowing the law to take
effect when it approved a D.C. appropri-
ations bill that didn’t include a rider block-
ing the law. District voters approved the
law in a 1998 ballot initiative that passed
with 69 percent of the vote.
“More than anything else, this is
regarded as a very favorable turn of
events,” said Thomas Kujawski, an
official with the National Association
for People With AIDS.
Kujawski said recent studies have
shown that marijuana is especially
helpful in alleviating side effects from
powerful antiretroviral drugs used by
AIDS patients, such as nausea and a
painful nerve condition called periph-
Catania, who chairs the Council’s
Committee on Health, has said he
favors legal use of marijuana for
medical purposes, but believes the
Council and the city’s Department of
Health should carefully craft imple-
menting rules before rushing to put
the law into effect.
Nickles told the Washington Post
last week that he has asked his staff
to review whether the nine-year lag
time since voters approved the law
would prevent it from withstanding a
On a separate issue, Nickles and
D.C. Council Chair Vincent Gray (D-At
Large) said the city’s Home Rule charter
requires the city to submit the law to
Congress for a required review of 30
legislative days, just as all new D.C. laws
must be subjected to such a review.
But D.C. Congressional Delegate
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), dis-
puted that view, saying Congress’s
decision to lift its hold on the law
amounted to a tacit approval, and the
30-day review would be an unneces-
sary redundancy. Congress blocked
the law, known as Ballot Initiative 59,
before the city had a chance to submit
it for the normal congressional review.
Other city hall observers noted
that while Gray and Norton hash out
whether to send the law to Capitol
Hill for congressional review, city offi-
cials were quietly expressing con-
cern over whether the city govern-
ment or private non-profit groups
should take the lead in cultivating
and distributing marijuana for med-
According to the text of Initiative
59, “All seriously ill individuals have
the right to obtain and use marijuana
for medical purposes” when a
licensed physician determines it’s
necessary for treatment and pre-
scribes its use.
The law says that residents of the
city “may organize and operate non-
for-profit corporations for the purpose
of cultivating, purchasing, and distrib-
uting marijuana exclusively for the
medical use of patients.” It says the
director of the D.C. Department of
Consumer & Regulatory Affairs shall
arrange for such non-profit corpora-
tions to be exempt from taxes that for-
profit corporations normally must pay.
When asked if the Whitman-Walker
Clinic, which serves as the city’s
largest treatment facility for people
with HIV and AIDS, would consider
prescribing medical marijuana for its
patients, Clinic spokesperson Chip
Lewis told DC Agenda that it was too
soon to make such a decision.
“Whitman-Walker Clinic believes that
everyone living with HIV/AIDS or other
chronic conditions should have access
to legal medications under a physician’s
care,” Lewis said. “If this law does take
effect, we will have to do some thought-
ful and careful planning, looking at cur-
rent standards of care, before we could
implement any program.”
Currently, medical marijuana is
legal in Alaska, California, Colorado,
Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana,
Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode
Island, Vermont and Washington state.
Kujawski pointed to a study report-
ed in the February 2007 edition of the
medical journal Neurology, which
found that smoked marijuana was “well
tolerated” and “effectively relieved
chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-
associated sensory neuropathy.”
He said the condition typically caus-
es tingling or burning sensations in the
limbs of AIDS patients. Experts aren’t
sure if the condition is caused by HIV
itself or is brought on by various anti-
retroviral drugs used to treat HIV.
“Anything that is going to result in
improved health outcomes for indi-
viduals and/or anything that’s going
to help support their adherence to
their medical treatment regimens,
we’re highly supportive of,” he said.
D.C. gay and AIDS activist Wayne
Turner and his late domestic partner,
Steve Michael, who died of AIDS
months before Initiative 59 came
before voters, have been credited with
starting efforts to place the issue on
the ballot. Turner was among the lead
campaign organizers for the initiative.
He praised the Democratic con-
trolled Congress for removing its hold
on the law and has called on the city
government to put the law in place as
soon as possible.
By DAVID J. HOFFMAN
Special to DC Agenda
“It was a constant circle, I was
caught in a loop and I couldn’t get out of
it,” declared one man of the tight com-
pulsive grip of sex addiction in his life.
“You just have to have it, you just
have to hunt it, no matter where, and
no matter how many times I had it
that night, I thought I’ve just got to
have it again,” said another.
But then “it’s hard to even recog-
nize sexually addictive behavior in the
gay community,” said a third, “because
it’s all so sexualized,” as others agreed,
chiming in, “our culture is a very sexu-
ally charged culture” and “the gay
lifestyle has so much to do with sex”
and “look at the straight world where
there’s no bathhouses.”
Each of these men were among
those at a Whitman-Walker Center lec-
ture held Dec. 15 by Alexandria-based
gay psychotherapist David Bissette,
who warned the nearly 20 men that
while cessation of sexually compulsive
acts — for example, excessive time
spent online searching for sex or looking
at pornography, acting out sexually in
public and risking arrest, engaging in
unsafe sexual practices such as bare-
backing — was best, at a minimum
steps to reduce harmful effects from
such behavior was imperative for contin-
uing such behavior can court disaster.
But the very label of “sexual
addiction” is problematic for clinical
professionals, some of whom accept
it — such as the man who coined the
term in 1983, Patrick Carnes, with a
doctorate in counseling who now
heads the Gentle Path program, a
treatment for what he terms “sexually
addictive disorder” at the Pine Grove
Behavioral Center in Hattiesburg,
Miss. Carnes’ approach is spelled out
in detail at his web site, sexhelp.com,
where he offers an online screening
test titled “Am I a sex addict?”
Other experts are doubtful that
such a condition can actually be
defined, and the term isn’t yet recog-
nized in the Diagnostic & Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders, the bible
of therapists everywhere. Along with
other controversial diagnoses, how-
ever, such as those relating to certain
gender identity issues, sexual addic-
tion, is now being debated for a
future revision of the DSM.
For Bissette, however, the condi-
tion exists and he offers treatment for
it, as will the Whitman-Walker Clinic,
which will offer two services: a sexu-
al compulsion psychotherapy group
run by Clinic staffer Randy Pumphrey
and a peer-led support group, run
something akin to a 12-step program.
But critics charge that the label of
sexual addiction is often just a dodge
invented to shield people like Tiger
Woods from the full consequences of
his alleged marital misdeeds or that it
is a lip-smacker packaged for TV
voyeur-viewers and offered for prurient
delectation such as on VH1’s recent
show “Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew.”
Some critics of the diagnosis also
link it to traditionalist Christian groups
that seek to promote conversion of
people from gay to straight sexual
orientations, and groups such as
James Dobson’s Focus on the Family
often conflate homosexuality itself
with sexual addiction. But another
point of view in this “contested ter-
rain” of diagnosis and treatment is
found at the Sexual Recovery
Institute, which clearly states that it
does not view homosexual relation-
ships as a sign of sexual addiction.
And one observer has pointed
out that “healthy sex” is subjective,
so the diagnosis of sexual addiction
typically relies on the patient simply
feeling ashamed of his or her behav-
ior. The diagnosis is incidentally
overwhelmingly male in its applica-
tion. In one observer’s view, every-
one is apt to feel ashamed at times
in a world pockmarked with taboos
and guilt. If we’re afraid of lust, in
other words, and being discovered
to be sexually abnormal, does that
mean that we really are?
Bissette can be reached at his
Alexandria office at 703-705-6161 or
at HealthyMind.com. Pumphrey can
be reached at the Whitman-Walker
Clinic at 202-939-7679 or at
email@example.com. To learn more
about the peer-led support group,
contact Whitman-Walker Center
staffer Steve Geishecker, a licensed
social worker, at 202-939-7674 or at
Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), said Congress’s decision
to lift its hold on the medical marijuana law in D.C. amounts to tacit approval.
Photo by Joe Tresh
Clinic to tackle sex addiction
Federal Triangles Soccer
Club wins recognition
Compete, a gay sports magazine, has named the Federal Triangles
Soccer Club the Northeast Community Team of the Year.
Established in 1990, Federal Triangles is organized for charitable and
educational purposes. It promotes the growth of soccer and aims to fos-
ter a sense of community for LGBT and LGBT-friendly players.
The recognition from Compete comes the same year the Federal Triangles
welcomed 30 soccer teams from around the world for the International Gay &
Lesbian Football Association’s world championships. Federal Triangles pro-
duced the weeklong summer event and won fourth place in its division.
Jim Ensor, the Federal Triangles president, additionally was recog-
nized in Compete as one of the runners up for its Athlete of the Year.
Ensor, who played a crucial role in coordinating the IGLFA event, is vice
president of that organization.
The Federal Triangles Soccer Club board includes Amanda Pyron, Jim
Ensor, Dennis Fish, William McGlashen, Coleen Lally and Craig Williams.
Photo courtesy of Les Johnson
december 25, 2009 • dcagenda.com 9
10 dcagenda.com • december 25, 2009
Senate panel approves
DP bill, takes OPM to task
A Senate panel approved legisla-
tion last week that would provide
domestic partner benefits to LGBT
federal workers, but not before criticiz-
ing the Obama administration for
allegedly not providing information on
how to offset costs for the bill.
The Senate Homeland Security &
Governmental Affairs Committee report-
ed out the legislation — known as the
Domestic Partnership Benefits &
Obligations Act — on an 8-1 vote. The
lone vote of dissent during the markup
was Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah).
Counting the votes of senators
who didn’t attend the markup and
voted by proxy, the legislation was
reported from the committee, 10-6.
The legislation, S. 1102, would make
available to the same-sex partners of
LGBT federal workers benefits afforded
to the spouses of straight employees,
including health and pension benefits.
Joe Solmonese, president of the
Human Rights Campaign, said in a
statement that the committee’s approval
of the bill “is an important step toward
guaranteeing equal compensation for
lesbian and gay workers serving our
government at home and abroad.”
But key supporters of the bill criticized
the U.S. Office of Personnel Management
during the markup for not explicitly provid-
ing information on how to offset the cost of
the legislation — an estimated $63 million
each year — and said a Senate floor vote wouldn’t take place until that data is provided.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), chair of the committee and sponsor of the bill, said
he earlier asked OPM to provide information on costs offsets, but received no information by
the time of the markup.
“We’re willing to do this and finance it within offsets from the existing OPM budget,” Lieberman
said. “They were unable, for some reason, to get that information across to us this morning.”
Lieberman pledged that a Senate floor vote wouldn’t take place until OPM provides the
information to senators. He had said earlier during an October committee hearing that he
expected a floor vote on the bill early next year.
In a statement, OPM director John Berry, who is gay, responded to the comments from
Lieberman and others by praising the committee for approving the legislation and promising
to work with senators as the legislation progresses.
“I am confident that we will be able to work with [the Office of Management & Budget] and the
Committee to address the concerns raised today so that forward progress can continue,” he said.
Both Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) praised the bill as a way for the feder-
al government to compete with the private sector in attracting the most qualified workers.
Collins said the legislation would be particularly effective in attracting younger people to
the federal workforce.
“It matters to them — whether they are straight or gay,” she said. “It matters to them
because they view it as part of the offer that any good employer would provide.”
CPAC retains gay group as sponsor, despite boycott threats
A prominent, conservative convention is letting a gay group remain a co-sponsor despite
threats from others who say they might boycott the event.
Organizers of the national Conservative Political Action Conference, set to take place in
D.C. in February, are allowing GOProud, a gay conservative group, to continue as a co-spon-
sor in the face of calls to exclude it from the event.
Asked about the boycott threats, a CPAC spokesperson deferred to a statement from event
director Lisa de Pasquale that was published this week in Hot Air, a conservative publication.
“After talking with their leadership and reviewing their web site, I am satisfied that they do
not represent a ‘radical leftist agenda,’ as some have stated, and should not be rejected as a
CPAC cosponsor,” she was quoted as saying.
On the agenda for GOProud, according to the organization’s web site, is repeal of “Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell” and opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment. It supports gun owner-
ship rights and privatization of Social Security and favors repealing the estate tax. The group
was among those that opposed the nomination of U.S. Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, said he’s “excited” his organization will take
part in the event, which some consider the most important annual gathering for conservatives.
“I just think that we’re excited to be a part of it,” he said. “I don’t have anything more to add
to that. We’re just moving ahead and looking forward to being part of that important event.”
Although GOProud contributed $4,000 to co-sponsor CPAC, LaSalvia said a decision has-
n’t been made yet on whether the group would have a speaking role at the event. He said
more details would become known after a meeting in January.
College student was
By CHRIS JOHNSON
The U.S. Justice Department is closely
monitoring the fallout from an apparent anti-
gay killing in Puerto Rico in an incident that
could become the first prosecuted case under
the new federal hate crimes law, according to a
Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general
for the Justice Department’s civil rights divi-
sion, told reporters Dec. 17 that federal officials
are keeping a close eye on the case.
“That case is being investigated and prose-
cuted right now by the state of Puerto Rico as
both a murder, and they do have a hate crimes
law in Puerto Rico, so we’re closely monitoring
that case, as we do all cases, and we continue
to follow that case very closely,” he said.
Juan Martinez Matos, 26, is accused of
killing Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, who was
gay. The dismembered body of the 19-year-old
college student was found last month along a
road in the town of Cayey, according to the
The Associated Press quoted the local
prosecutor in the case as saying Martinez met
Lopez while looking for women in an area
known for prostitution. The suspect reportedly
said the victim was dressed as a woman and
that he stabbed Lopez after discovering he
Martinez was charged with first-degree
murder and weapons violations, and was jailed
on a $4 million bond, according to the
The next hearing in the case is set for Jan.
13. The defense has said Martinez is mentally
unfit to stand trial. A state psychiatrist is evalu-
ating the defendant, and the court will decide
Jan. 13 whether he’s mentally competent.
Should federal officials decide to prosecute
the killing as a hate crime, it would be the first
such prosecution under the Matthew Shepard &
James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act,
signed by President Obama into law in October.
Asked what would factor into federal officials’
decision to prosecute the killing under the new
law, Perez recalled recent news from
Shenandoah, Pa., regarding an allegedly bias-
motivated fatal beating of Luis Ramirez, a Latino
man. Two people — Derrick Donchak and
Brandon Piekarsky — were indicted under a pre-
viously enacted federal hate crimes statute.
“We’re monitoring [the Puerto Rico case], just
as we monitor the prosecution in the Shenandoah
case,” he said. “We kept a very close eye on it, and
when the case ended, we conducted our own pri-
vate independent investigation, and you saw the
fruits of it earlier this week.”
Also closely monitoring the case is the
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. Pedro Juliano
Serrano, spokesperson for the organization and
founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, said his
organization is calling for local and federal author-
ities to consider the killing as a hate crime.
“We do think it is a hate crime and we’re ask-
ing the authorities to investigate it as a hate
crime,” he said. “We called on the local authorities
to investigate it and we’re certainly satisfied that
the federal authorities are monitoring the local
investigation, and might be involved, if possible.”
The U.S. attorney involved with the case,
Rosa Emilia Rodriquez, reportedly told Puerto
Rican media last week that her office is monitor-
ing the case and will file paperwork with federal
authorities if the defendant is not convicted of a
hate crime. Still, El Nuevo Dia, a Puetro Rican
newspaper, quoted Rodriguez as saying she
believes the case is moving ahead properly.
Puerto Rico has had a local hate crimes
statute since 2002, but Serrano said he’s skep-
tical that Martinez would be prosecuted under
this law because no conviction has taken place
under this statute.
“In the seven years that the hate crimes has
been in place in Puerto Rico, we’ve had more
than 20 killings that have clearly had signs of
being probably hate crimes,” Serrano said.
“None of them have been classified as such.”
Serrano said the lack of prosecutions under
the Puerto Rico hate crimes statute is what’s
prompting activists to ask the federal govern-
ment to keep an eye on the case.
“That’s why we are calling on the authorities
to keep monitoring the situation because if the
local authorities again fail to process this as a
hate crime with their statute, we’re hoping that
the federal authorities can come in and
assume jurisdiction,” he said.
Serrano said he believes the incident was a
hate crime because Martinez reportedly con-
fessed to killing Lopez out of hatred for gays.
“He said that supposedly … he had been
raped during a stint in prison because he was
convicted of domestic violence, and because
he was raped, he hated gays,” Serrano said.
The brutal violence of the crime, Serrano
said, also indicates that it was bias-motivated.
He noted that Lopez’ body was dismembered,
decapitated and burned and that it’s unclear
whether the victim was in fact dressed in
women’s clothes because of the condition in
which the body was found.
Attention to the case in Puerto Rico comes
as the Justice Department is ramping up
efforts to comply with the newly enacted hate
crimes statute. Perez told reporters his office is
busy training federal and local authorities to
make the law fully effective.
“We have an implementation plan put in
place that involves training the assistant United
States attorneys, training the state and local
authorities and local prosecutors, working with
our community partners to train them, and also
to work on prevention initiatives,” he said.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) praised the Domestic
Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act as a way for the
federal government to compete with the private sector
in attracting the most qualified workers.
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
Feds ‘closely monitoring’
anti-gay Puerto Rico killing
Jorge Steven López Mercado
Photo courtesy of Facebook
december 25, 2009 • dcagenda.com 11
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Rep. Jerrold Nadler said he considers a new, alternative immigration reform bill that lacks provisions for
LGBT families ‘a starting point in the long drive toward comprehensive immigration reform.’
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
12 dcagenda.com • december 25, 2009
Advocates ‘pushed very hard’
to help bi-national couples
By CHRIS JOHNSON
An alternative immigration reform bill intro-
duced last week in Congress lacks sought-after
language for LGBT families, but advocates of
the provision remain optimistic the bill’s sponsor
will support inclusion in future legislation.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) introduced the
bill — titled the Comprehensive Immigration
Reform for America’s Security & Prosperity Act
— in the U.S. House along with more than 90
Because the legislation would, among other
things, offer a path to citizenship for undocu-
mented immigrants, the measure is seen as a
more liberal alternative bill that would set the
tone for comprehensive immigration reform
legislation next year.
But Gutierrez’s bill lacks a provision that
would allow LGBT Americans to sponsor their
foreign partners for residency in the United
States. Advocates had been pressuring
Gutierrez to include such language, which is
seen as necessary to stop the U.S. govern-
ment from keeping apart more than 36,000
LGBT bi-national couples.
Steve Ralls, spokesperson for Immigration
Equality, said his organization is disappointed
the lawmaker didn’t include this measure in his
bill. Still, Ralls noted that he remains optimistic
Gutierrez will support the provision in the path
toward immigration reform.
“We are extremely disappointed, and we
pushed very hard to have our families included,
but I do take Congressman Gutierrez at his word
that when the issue begins to move early next
year that he’s going to stand with us,” he said.
In response to a query on why the bill
excludes this language, Gutierrez said in a state-
ment that he’s “committed to fighting for a bill that
fixes our broken immigration system for as many
people, and as many families as possible.”
“The process I am committed to being a
part of in Congress will, I hope, address the
unacceptable situation that lesbian and gay bi-
national couples live under every day,” he said.
Advocates are hoping upcoming compre-
hensive immigration reform legislation will
include a provision for LGBT bi-national cou-
ples. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) is expected to
introduce the House legislation next year while
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is expected to
introduce the Senate legislation.
Additionally, standalone legislation already
introduced in the House and the Senate —
known as the Uniting American Families Act —
addresses the issue. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-
N.Y.) sponsors the legislation in the House and
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sponsors the legis-
lation in the Senate.
An original co-sponsor for UAFA in the
House, Gutierrez said his “commitment to end-
ing discrimination against [LGBT] immigrants
and their families has not diminished in any way.”
“Everyone’s goal should be a comprehen-
sive immigration reform bill that includes a
commitment to all families and honors our his-
tory as a nation of immigrants,” he said. “That
is my goal, and it is inclusive of the [LGBT]
Ralls noted many of the co-sponsors for
Gutierrez’s bill are the same as the sponsors
for UAFA and that he’s optimistic these law-
makers “will stand with us when the crafting of
the working bill happens.”
“Congressman Gutierrez has been very
clear throughout this process that, at the end
of the day, when Congress takes up a multi-
issue immigration reform bill, that he’s going to
support our inclusion,” Ralls said.
In a statement, Nadler called Gutierrez’s
legislation “a starting point in the long drive
toward comprehensive immigration reform” and
cited other opportunities to include UAFA in this
“I will continue to work with Reps. Gutierrez
and Lofgren, as well as Senator Schumer, dur-
ing this dynamic process,” Nadler said.
“Comprehensive immigration reform will not
truly be comprehensive if it excludes LGBT
immigration rights, and I will not stop until
those rights are a reality.”
New immigration reform
bill excludes LGBT families
december 25, 2009 • dcagenda.com 13
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The legislation is moving forward in the
Ugandan parliament, and this week lawmakers
were slated to have a second reading of the
bill, according to the Times of London. Mark
Bromley, chair of the Council for Global
Equality, said the bill is expected to come up
again in January for a final reading.
Tollefson said during the Oct. 24 meeting
that Carson met with Museveni and other high-
ranking Ugandan officials to express concern
about the legislation and conveyed that its pas-
sage would be “a big step backwards in human
rights” that “could really have the potential to
harm the reputation of Uganda.”
“And the president understood the con-
cerns and said that he would do what he could
to make sure the bill was not passed,” Tollefson
said. “He would not sign the bill. … He made a
commitment to the secretary that he would
work to make sure it wasn’t signed into law.”
Tollefson said when the bill started moving
forward and gaining international attention,
Carson on Dec. 4 contacted Museveni by
phone to reiterate U.S. concerns, and the pres-
ident again expressed his commitment to stop
the bill from becoming law.
“So that being said, the assistant secretary
is expecting the president to live up to that
commitment and … he expects President
Museveni to live up to his reputation as a
leader in the HIV/AIDS struggle in Africa,”
Tollefson said. “It’s a significant human rights
issue. I know it also gets in the way of treat-
ment and prevention and education on the
Asked whether it’s the understanding of
U.S. officials that Museveni would veto the leg-
islation should it come to his desk, Tollefson
replied, “Right, that’s a commitment that he’s
made. He made that personally to the assistant
secretary on that first meeting that he had on
Oct. 24 and again on a call on Dec. 4, and so
we’re going to continue to expect that.”
Tollefson said the United States wants
Museveni to go beyond his private commitment
to blocking the bill from becoming law and to
make a public statement against the legislation.
“He has not done that, and we’ve asked
him to come out and say how — be a leader
in this, just as he’s a leader in HIV/AIDS,”
On Friday at the State Department, Carson
briefed non-governmental organizations on the
commitment Museveni made to the United
States and explained the work U.S. officials
have done to prevent the measure from
Tollefson said about 20 NGOs were repre-
sented at the briefing, including groups
focused on African development, LGBT issues
and confronting the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Among the groups that were invited to the
briefing, which was closed to the public, were
the Human Rights Campaign, the International
Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission,
Human Rights First and Human Rights Watch.
Bromley was among those in attendance at
the briefing. He confirmed for DC Agenda that
he was told Carson had received assurances
from the Ugandan president that he would
work to stop the bill from becoming law.
But Bromley said he isn’t sure whether the
president would terminate the bill by vetoing it
or via some other method.
“I’m not incredibly sure that veto is the right
word because I’m still trying to clarify whether the
president actually has the authority to veto under
the parliamentary system, but basically he
assured Assistant Secretary Carson in October
and then again in December that he would keep
the bill from going forward,” Bromley said.
Noting that the bill came from a member
of the president’s party and his party “domi-
nates the politics” in Uganda, Bromley said
pressure from the president would “certainly
slow the bill.”
“But Secretary Carson made it clear that on
two occasions, President Museveni has said
he would stop the bill from going forward and
he said that he’s continuing to write to him and
sending messages that the U.S. expects him to
honor his word,” Bromley said.
Tollefson also detailed work the State
Department has done to help block the legis-
lation from going forward and said Carson
has made clear to Museveni that — in addi-
tion to rejecting the measure — the United
States expects full decriminalization of
homosexuality in Uganda.
“He made very clear that we will not accept
simply the removal of the death penalty or
some of the harsher aspects of the law,”
Tollefson said. “We expect full decriminaliza-
tion of sexual acts between adults. There’s no
hedging on that.”
Noting that supporters of the legislation in
Uganda have been saying religious leaders
are in favor of the bill, Tollefson said the State
Department has delivered to the country state-
ments from U.S. religious leaders denouncing
the legislation. A statement from Rick Warren,
pastor of the Saddleback Church in California,
was among the statements from religious lead-
ers sent to Uganda in opposition to the bill.
Warren recently spoke out against the bill.
Tollefson said the State Department also
believes the legislation could have a detri-
mental effect on the region around Uganda
and noted that movement on anti-gay legisla-
tion in Uganda and other countries will be
recorded in the State Department’s annual
human rights report.
“It won’t just be focused on Uganda, we’re
not going to make a lot of effort to remove this
from Uganda while remaining silent on neigh-
boring countries that have similar legislation
even if they’re already on the books,” he said.
Asked whether restricting funds under the
President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief
could be a way to deter Uganda from passing
the bill, Tollefson said that question came up
during the Friday briefing, but U.S. officials are
reluctant to pursue that option.
PEPFAR, a multi-billion dollar initiative
started by President George W. Bush, provides
treatment for those living with HIV/AIDS in
“Public funds to start retroviral treatment is
not a one-day commitment, it’s a lifetime com-
mitment, and we haven’t had that discussion
and we don’t want to have that discussion,”
Tollefson said. “And, of course, no one would
want to see that happen, so it’s not something
that we want to consider.”
Bromley said he’s impressed with the State
Department’s level of commitment to stopping
the anti-gay legislation from being passed.
“I’m very pleased that the State
Department has been so forceful and is now
publicly challenging President Museveni to
honor his word and commitment,” Bromley
said. “I’m pleased that they are responding as
assertively as they are and that they are now
doing so in a public fashion.”
Continued from page 1
LGBT groups briefed on
anti-gay Ugandan bill
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Occupati on: Attorney
Hobbies: Electronic dance music, personal fitness, sci-fi, and foreign affairs.
Phi losophy: Know your worth, speak your truth.
Local actor recalls
struggle with addiction
to alcohol, drugs
By JOHN MOLETRESS
Special to DC Agenda
I had my first drink when I was 8
— a Sloe gin fizz.
“Sloe gin fizzy/do it till you’re
dizzy/give it all you got until you’re put
out of your misery.” Aerosmith said
that. It was the ’80s, the decade of
day-glo and hair bands. My first cas-
sette was an album by Poison. I grew
up in a small town in the suburbs of
Philadelphia that was populated with
middle-class Catholics, a place where
neighbors used their front lawns as
storage, the restaurant of choice was
Friendly’s and the popular Friday night
activity was tailgating down High
Street while intoxicated.
I showed up to my first day of high
school dressed in a rayon orchid-print
button down shirt, Lee’s husky jeans
and a pair of sand-colored loafers. I fre-
quently dyed my hair, tortured it with
hair gel, and had pierced ears. I got my
navel pierced when I was 16 at the
Jersey shore, and got my first tattoo
that same year. I ran, no walked, a 16-
minute mile in gym class, sneaked out
for lunch at McDonald’s, and when the
name calling and threats got worse in
school, took refuge in the music room
and “All My Children” at 3 p.m.
I felt overwhelmed — an overweight,
gay, soap opera-enthusiast teen. Then
came acid, LSD and the ‘90s rave
scene. It was a place to escape, where
people were too fucked up to care if you
were gay, straight or listened to
Poison. I took acid. A lot of it.
I went to my first gay bar when I
was 17. Armed with a fake ID and a
tube of Carmex, I tripped through the
front door of Woody’s, a gay hot spot in
Philadelphia, with a dream of meeting
a boyfriend. He would be cute, have
blond hair, blue eyes and be 19.
Fast forward three gin and tonics
later: He was a brunette, had brown
eyes and a limp and was 45. Every
Wednesday night I would drive my
Mustang into Philadelphia, booze up at
Woody’s, drive home drunk and try to
make it through the next day. I made
friends with people who bought me
drinks, better friends with the bar-
tenders and was merely acquaintanc-
es with those I would wake up next to.
At college in Allentown, Pa., there
was a new set of rules. Let’s play the
game “drink till you’re no longer
straight.” The theatre department was
full of tomorrow’s artists who were
today’s misguided youth. The drinks of
choice were Zima and Natural
Light. Then I discovered the beer bong,
a competition featuring horny, stressed
college students guzzling beer out of a
hose with a funnel on one end.
And what about that boyfriend? I
sought him in AOL chat rooms; those
meetings seemed to go better with
booze. And cigarettes. I smoked a lot
of cigarettes. My vocal coach smoked
cigarettes, so why couldn’t I? Finally,
graduation came. Cap, check. Gown,
check. Flask, check.
And now what? No more structure?
I took a trip to Atlanta and didn’t come
back. Atlanta introduced me to house
music, 24-hour clubs, warm weather,
circuit parties, and the letters E, G, K, T
and C. Ecstasy, GHB/GBL, ketamine,
crystal meth, and cocaine. They all
made you high, and when used togeth-
er, made you “crunk.” Considering that
among that list, one is a solvent used
to remove superglue, one is used as
an anesthetic for your dog and one has
been known to trigger explosions, it
might cause you to think that snorting
them up your nose while box-stepping
to a Deborah Cox remix may not be
such a good idea.
But the drugs shrunk my waist
from a 36 to a 34, made me feel
socially acceptable, and were highly
addictive. Ah, addiction. That force
that causes you to do things over and
over again expecting a different out-
come. Or in the words of George
Carlin, “Just cause you got the mon-
key off of your back, doesn’t mean
the circus has left town.”
I was doing nothing with my life. I
worked at Nordstrom, snorted ketamine
in the stock room, boozed it up at night
and blacked out. Wash, rinse, repeat.
I made the decision to go to grad
school on a hit of E. I moved to
Tennessee while high, I unpacked high,
went to class high, studied high, met a
boy drunk, got him high, and then
moved in with him. We did coke and we
were poor so we sold coke to pay for our
coke, all the while telling ourselves that
we weren’t getting in over our heads. I
got in over my head and moved again.
You may want to consider your
options when the list of your achieve-
ments starts looking more and more
like the storyboard for a Lifetime orig-
inal movie, rather than that of a suc-
Consider the following criteria. You
may be an alcoholic when you have a
glass of wine at a meal and that meal is
breakfast. Or, if you find you get your
best eight hours of sleep from noon to 8
p.m. Or perhaps you decide to increase
your fiber intake by drinking more
Guinness. Or you carry around busi-
ness cards that have your name and
address with the phrases “Hello, I’m
____” and “Please take me to ______”.
I moved to Philadelphia and I
drank. I moved to New York City and
drank. I moved to Raleigh and drank. I
moved back to Philadelphia and
drank. I moved to D.C. and drank. It
wasn’t working. No matter how much I
drank, I was still not the pretty, smart,
extroverted starlet that a bottle of
vodka was telling me I could become.
Even though I managed to shrink
my waist size to a 32, I was still terri-
bly unhappy. I was chasing some-
thing down a long, dimly lit tunnel,
with no end in sight. Blackout. Wake
up. Who are you? Where am I? The
walk of shame after impulses came
to me from the bottom of a bottle of
booze. I made many mistakes and
lied a lot. My life became a fictional
narrative, a choose-your-own-adven-
ture story with no happy endings.
It was time to do something.Something
had to change. I took off my sunglass-
es, soaked up the daylight and asked
for help. The party was over. The lights
came up. “Hello, my name is John and
I’m an alcoholic and drug addict.”
I haven’t had a perfect recovery. I’ve
had my share of slips, trips, falls and fol-
low-ups, but I’ve learned how to ask for
help, and to listen to those willing to
share their stories and suggestions. It’s
not the same script, different cast, but a
different script and more diverse cast.
I’m grateful to be sober today. Addiction
is always there. It’s a Christmas present
neatly wrapped in sparkly paper with a
glittery bow that contains an empty box.
I choose the other gift. It is the gift of
stories of other men and women who
are recovering and shedding the bur-
den of their pain. They are young, old,
black, white, straight, gay, bi, trans,
lawyers, doctors, artists, mothers,
fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents,
Poison fans and soap opera-enthusi-
asts and they all have one thing in com-
mon. They hope for a better way of liv-
ing. A sober way of living.
The following are excerpts from
comments posted to DCAgenda.com
responding to news and features
items. Join the discussion at
Re: “D.C. Council passes mar-
This is a great day! Now to contact
my representative and senators to tell
them to let it be. Congratulations
D.C.!! — Duane Snodgrass
Bishop Harry Jackson should be
more concerned with the “back-sliding
sinner heterosexuals” and their high
divorce rate. Preach to your own con-
gregation, sir. Bravo, D.C. City Council.
At least some legislative work can be
done in this city. — Frank
This to me is a non-issue. If you don’t
agree with marriage equality, don’t marry
someone of the same sex! As a school-
teacher, I don’t ever recall reading/citing
the words “with liberty and justice for
ALL” and seeing the word, “except.”
Separate but equal does not, has not
and should not work! We cannot “eenie
meenie miney moe” through our neigh-
borhoods and point to who is allowed
marriage or not. — Stephanie K.
Re: “D.C. marriage bill signing”
Great news! Kudos to David Catania
and our community and its friends for
this oh so major accomplishment! Let
the 30-day congressional legislative
review begin! — DC John
Re: “Gay business group hires
I think Mark is the perfect person to
do this job. The Chamber has a real
and expanding role in the life of the
metro area and Mark can help to bring
that role to fruition. Congratulations to
both Mark and the Chamber for taking
this step. — Peter Rosenstein
Re: “Senate panel approves DP
bill, takes OPM to task”
John Berry spoke at the Out &
Equal Conference in Orlando this
year — and went on, at length, about
how the Obama Administration was
passionate about “real” equality for
LGBT people in terms of employ-
ment. He also admitted that the fed-
eral government is woefully behind in
implementing LGBT-inclusive poli-
cies and practices. What’s pretty
clear is 1) they’re really rather clue-
less about putting together the num-
bers and the business case (some-
thing covered in the LGBT 101 pre-
sentations), and 2) there’s apparent-
ly little incentive to work on these
issues from the administration’s per-
spective. — Mike in Houston
Make no mistake about it: The
Obama administration will work behind
the scenes to ensure this will not see the
light of day. Read his administration’s
briefs and read what they told the
California court judge about domestic
benefits. Wake up gay people, we are
turning toward Uganda. That is where the
Republicans, conservatives, Christians,
Muslims and most Democrats want this
country to go. — Brian
Re: “Calif. man could become
first openly gay dad in Congress”
You identified Steve Pougnet’s hus-
band as his “partner” in your article about
him. They were married in Palm Springs
when it was still legal in California. And
Steve married my husband Al and me in
his capacity as mayor. Perhaps if you
start referring to married gays as hus-
bands and wives, it will catch on. The
word partner has always sounded more
like a business relationship than a life-
long commitment. — Larry Deitz
18 dcagenda.com • december 25, 2009
Vol. 1, Issue 6
LYNNE J. BROWN
News & Multimedia Editor
Sr. News Reporter
Online Creative and DCATV
Exec. Producer ARAMVARTIAN
Ad Operations Manager
Sr. Acct. Executive
Sr. Acct. Executive
PHILLIP G. ROCKSTROH
Accounting services provided
by Martin & Wall, P.C. C.P.A.
Distributed by MediaPoint, LLC
of DC Agenda 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 DC Agenda or its staff.
© 2009, TWB Employee
Acquisition, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the staff
This is the sixth edition of the new
DC Agenda, brought to you by the
same staff responsible for the
Washington Blade, which was
abruptly shuttered by parent com-
pany Window Media last month.
Thank you for your patience as we
navigate this unexpected change.
We are all volunteers who continue
to be awed by the outpouring of local
community support for DC Agenda
and will respond to all offers of assis-
tance as soon as possible.
Please visit savetheblade.com to
make a financial contribution to the
new venture or DCAgenda.com for
updated news and information.
The long road to recovery
“It was time to do something. The party was
over. ‘Hello, my name is John and I’m an
alcoholic and drug addict.’”
If you are coping with addiction
this holiday season, Whitman-
Walker’s Addiction Services pro-
gram can help. Contact the Clinic
at 202-939-7690 or via wwc.org.
december 25, 2009 • dcagenda.com 19
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20 dcagenda.com • december 25, 2009
A new gay-themed film called “A
SINGLE MAN” from director Tom Ford
opens today at Landmark E Street
Cinema. Set in Los Angeles in 1962, the
film tells the story of George Falconer
(Colin Firth), a 52-year-old British college
professor struggling to find meaning after
the death of his long-time partner, Jim
(Matthew Goode). George dwells on the
past and cannot see his future as the film
follows him through a single day where a
series of events and encounters ulti-
mately leads him to decide if there is a
meaning to life after Jim. George is con-
soled by his closest friend Charley
(Julianne Moore), who’s wrestling with
her own future. It’s based on the novel by
Christopher Isherwood. The new Pedro
Almodovar movie “Broken Embraces,”
starring Penelope Cruz, also opens
today at E Street. For more information,
ALL SOULS MEMORIAL EPISCOPAL
CHURCH, a gay-friendly church located
at 2300 Cathedral Ave., N.W., has a
Christmas Day Mass today at 10 a.m.,
billed as a simple service planned to
enjoy the beauty and quiet of the day. Visit
allsoulsddc.org for more information.
saturday, dec. 26
“AFTER THE GARDEN: EDITH BEALE
LIVE AT RENO SWEENEY,” a recre-
ation of the nightclub performance that
Edith Beale (of “Grey Gardens” fame)
performed briefly in New York in 1978,
will be performed tonight and Sunday at
Cobalt at 7:30 p.m. This Ganymede Arts
production starring Jeffrey Johnson as
Edie, was performed earlier this year in
Washington and is back by popular
demand. A New York production is
planned. Admission is “pay what you
can.” Cobalt is located at 1639 R Street,
N.W. Visit www.ganymedearts.org for
BURGUNDY CRESCENT VOLUNTEERS,
a gay volunteer group, is offering help
to Food & Friends today at 8 and 10
a.m. For more information about this
and other volunteer opportunities, visit
sunday, dec. 27
DIGNITY WASHINGTON, a local gay
Catholic group, celebrates Mass for the
LGBT community every Sunday at 6
p.m. at St. Margaret’s, located at 1820
Connecticut Ave., N.W. Call 202-546-
2245 for more information or visit
monday, dec. 28
LEVEL ONE, a gay-owned restaurant
in the basement of Cobalt at 1639 R
Street, N.W., has pasta night every
Monday with choice of three sauces,
salad and dessert for $12.95 Bottles of
wine are half price from 5 p.m. on every
Monday and Wednesday nights. Visit
levelonedc.com for more information.
NELLIE’S SPORTS BAR, a gay bar
located at 900 U Street, N.W., holds
“Pokerface,” a Texas hold ‘em poker night
every Monday at 8 p.m. It’s free to play
and prizes are awarded. Visit nelliess-
portsbar.com for more information.
tuesday, dec. 29
Poz, a bar night for HIV-positive men and
men open to dating HIV-positive men
regardless of their own HIV status, is held
every Tuesday night from 7 p.m. to mid-
night at Motley Bar, located above EFN
Lounge at 1318 19th Street, N.W. The
event is organized by HIV-positive party
promoter Jacob Pring. Visit the group’s
Facebook page at facebook.com/pozdc
for more information.
wednesday, dec. 30
LADIES FIRST NIGHT is tonight and
every Wednesday at Fab Lounge, located
at 1805 Connecticut Ave., N.W. For more
information, visit myspace.com/ladiesfirst.
DC CENTERis moving today and needs
volunteers to help. Those who volunteer
for a two-hour shift will get a free “legal-
ize gay” T-shirt from American Apparel.
Shifts start at 2 p.m. at the Center’s cur-
rent location at 1111 14th Street, N.W.,
suite 350. The day will start by packing
the Our Heroes photo exhibit currently
on display. Larger items won’t be moved
until about 6 p.m. A truck hauling most of
the office’s contents is expected to
depart about 7 p.m. Those who can vol-
unteer are encouraged to send an e-
mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the Center’s web site at thedccen-
ter.org for more information.
REAL WORLD D.C. premieres on MTV
tonight and the channel is celebrating
with a viewing party tonight at 8 p.m. at
BlackFinn D.C., a new bar located at
1620 I Street, N.W. One cast member
interned at HRC during filming and anoth-
er at the Washington Blade. The party is
free but RSVPs are required. Metromix
D.C., a guide to local restaurants and
nightlife, is hosting the event and will pres-
ent awards. Some cast members are
rumored to be in attendance. To RSVP, go
thursday, dec. 31
Busboys and Poets is hosting a New
Year’s Eve party tonight called “ONE
NATION UNDER A GROOVE,” featur-
ing open bar, DJs, hors d’oeuvres,
dancing and a midnight Champagne
toast. Tickets are $65, $10 of which will
be donated to DC Agenda or a non-
profit. Visit busboysandpoets.com for
tickets or more information.
FREDDIE’S BEACH BAR &
RESTAURANT, a gay bar in Crystal City,
Va., is having a New Year’s Eve party
tonight with hors d’oeuvres, a midnight
Champagne toast, DJ, drag cameos and
karaoke. New Year’s Day brunch will be
served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Freddie’s is
located at 555 S. 23rd St. Call 703-685-
0555 for more information.
APEX has a New Year’s Eve party
tonight with DJ Randy White in the main
arena and DJ Michael Brandon spinning
Latin dance hits in the East Wing Dance
Lounge. Cover is $15. Doors open at 9
p.m. Apex is located at 1415 22nd St.,
N.W., in Dupont Circle. Visit apex-
dc.com for more information.
THE MEN OF OMEGAperform tonight at
Omega at 11 p.m. with a Champagne
toast to follow at midnight. Cover is $8;
doors open at 9. Omega is located at
2122 P St., N.W. Visit www.omegadc.com
for more information.
An event called LADIES NYE BASH is
being held at the Republic tonight from 9
p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets range in price from
$20 to $50 depending on when one
arrives and whether regular or VIP tickets
are purchased. The Republic is located
at 1355 U St., N.W. Visit www.dcladies-
nye.com for more information.
Town’s New Year’s Eve event is called
“TWENTY 10” and patrons will vote for
the top 10 songs of the year played dur-
ing the countdown to midnight. Votes
are being taken at www.towndc.com.
DJ Ed Bailey will spin upstairs; DJ
Wess will spin downstairs. Tickets are
$20 and are available at the club for
pre-purchase now. Tickets will be $25 at
the door. Doors open at 9 p.m. Town is
located at 2009 8th St., N.W.
The Hippo, a gay dance club in
Baltimore, has a $10 cover tonight and
opens at 10 p.m. with DJ Shawn Q. Hats,
horns and favors will be available along
with a champagne toast at midnight.
Karaoke will be held in the video bar at 10
p.m. Coffee and pastries will be served in
the morning. The Hippo is located at 1
West Eager St. in Baltimore. Visit clubhip-
po.com for more information.
‘REAL WORLD D.C.’ premieres on MTV Dec. 30 and there will be a viewing party that night at 8 p.m. at BlackFinn D.C. It is rumored that one or more cast mem-
bers will attend. Callie, pictured, was part of the cast; she interned at the Washington Blade this fall.
Photo by of Rene Cervantes; courtesy of MTV
december 25, 2009 • dcagenda.com 21
Diverse slate of parties
planned for New Year’s Eve
By TYRONE FORD
Special to DC Agenda
D.C. is gearing up for yet another
New Year’s Eve packed full of events,
parties and several after parties. There
is no shortage of choices, whether you
prefer low key or an all out two-day
affair. The city’s bars, clubs and restau-
rants are working tirelessly to plan
events that will make New Year’s Eve a
memorable one. Below are a few
options to consider.
• APEX, located at 1415 22nd St.,
NW, is throwing “2 Great Parties, 1
Great Time” with DJ Randy White spin-
ning in the main area and DJ Michael
Brandon spinning Latin dance hits in
the East Wing Dance Lounge. The
good people of Apex will be providing
complimentary Champagne and
assorted party favors with doors open-
ing at 9 p.m. and a cover charge of $15.
• SHIFT is taking over Cobalt,
located at 1639 R St., NW, with what
will certainly be an epic event titled
SHIFT: The End is NYE. DJ MAJR
and DJ Aaron Riggins are controlling
the tables for your listening pleasure
all night with SHIFT’s enjoyable blend
of electro-indie-pop music to keep you
dancing into the New Year. SHIFT
takes over Cobalt starting at 9pm, 21+
to enter and a $10 cover charge.
• EFN LOUNGE, located at 1318
9th St., NW, will feature their Premier
Ball of 2010 on the main floor. Think
“Paris is Burning” meets the future.
There will be a $20 cover charge and
complimentary Champagne. Motley
Bar, located on the upper level of
EFN Lounge, will have Dick Clark’s
Rockin’ NYE on the eight video
screens, no cover, top hits of the
year, complimentary Champagne.
• THE HOTEL ROUGE, located at
1315 16th Street, NW, is asking that
you join them for “Divalution VI: Back
to Basics,” which is certain to be a New
Year’s Eve extravaganza. There is
always a need for fabulous New Year’s
Eve parties and Hotel Rouge does not
disappoint. DJ Bryan will be providing
the soundtrack so join the Hotel
Rouge and start the year off right.
• NELLIE’S SPORTS BAR, locat-
ed at 900 U Street NW, is suggesting
you join them to “Eat, Drink, and
make a Nellie Resolution.” This New
Year’s Eve event is thrown with the
typical Nellie’s flair with no cover
charge, a Champagne toast, party
favors, and several drink specials. DJ
Don Trott will be spinning and giving
us a look back at the music of 2009.
• TOWN DANCEBOUTIQUE,
2009 8th St., NW, is inviting you to
“Be the DJ” this New Year’s Eve. Just
go to TownDC.com and vote for the
top 10 songs played up to midnight.
Tickets are available at the Town box
office for pre-purchase during regular
club hours for $20. Tickets are also
available online or at the door the
night of New Year’s Eve for $25.
Music will be provided by DJ Ed
Bailey and DJ Wess with live per-
formances by X-Faction and The
Ladies of Town. The doors will open
at Town at 9 p.m. for 21 and over.
• THE REPUBLIC, 1335 U St., NW,
is ready to host its “NYE Ladies Bash:
The New Year’s Eve event you don’t
want to Miss!” Being billed as the
“biggest all ladies New Year’s Eve bash
in the DMV” you can expect two levels
of the hottest music with DJ Gemz on
level one spinning top 40 and pop hits
and DJ Jai Syncere on level two spin-
ning hip hop and R&B favorites. Doors
open at 9 p.m. and general access
includes favors, a midnight toast and
dessert bar. VIP access includes
favors, midnight toast, buffet and
dessert bar with VIP Lounge $40
before 12/25 and $50 after — online
sales only at dcladiesnye.com with
sales ending at 11:55pm on 12/30.
Only general access Tickets will be
available at the door. Attire should be
festive party, black tie is not required.
• HOMO/SONIC and THE BLACK
CAT, located at 1811 14th St., NW,
have already made plans for New
Year’s Day and who could turn that
down? Join The New Gay’s DJs
Michael and Zack for their first rockin’
queer indie dance party of the year
2010. Expect to party along to the
best indie, alternative, retro and pop
dance music with a coed, trans-inclu-
sive, straight-friendly crowd of people
just dying to meet you. The party
starts at 9 p.m. so mark your calendar.
Join THE NEW GAY’S DJs Zack and Michael (above) for their first rockin’ queer
indie dance party of the year 2010.
Photos courtesy of TheNewGay.net
ringing in 2010
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22 dcagenda.com • december 25, 2009
Sir Derek Jacobi stars as
bitter Jewish con man
By DAVID J. HOFFMAN
Special to DC Agenda
Film buffs drawn to the Jewish
Community Center’s annual film festi-
val earlier this month stumbled onto a
surprise gem of a major motion picture
in the making, in the guise of being just
one of five “Queer Shorts” offered by
the JCC’s program for Gay & Lesbian
Outreach & Engagement (GLOE).
Starring the Tony and Emmy
Award-winning actor Sir Derek
Jacobi, the 19-minute film “Sidney
Turtlebaum” is now shaping up as a
likely Academy Award nominee in
the live action short film category,
according to the film’s producer
Daniel Jewel, who spoke to the audi-
ence after the recent D.C. screening.
Jewel, a young Oxford University
educated head of a small London-
based production house Third Man
Films Ltd, has wanted to make films
since he was 13. In a script by his
friend, the South Africa-born screen-
writer Raphael Smith, Jewel found
what he calls “the portrait of a cold, cal-
culating con man” — the film’s title
character, played by Jacobi as an older
Jewish gay man who makes a criminal
living in London fleecing unsuspecting
mourners at “shiva houses,” where the
newly departed are being mourned by
friends and family.
Jewel and Smith then took the 15-
page script — a bittersweet look at a
man so angry at life that he has no
friends and lives only to hurt others —
to the U.K. Jewish Film Festival for
advance funding. After succeeding
there, they snagged Jacobi, who
agreed after just two days of convinc-
ing to play the character of Sidney.
Jacobi, known for his TV role in “I,
Claudius” as well as roles on the stage
in many Shakespeare plays, brought
in as the second principal cast mem-
ber the young English actor Rupert
Evans to play Gabriel, the happy-go-
lucky hooker ultimately rejected by
Sidney as their lives intersect over the
narrative arc of a single day.
When Jacobi read the script he
simply loved it and he knew it was
scheduled to be shot in just four days
so he decided to go for it, fascinated
by the complexity of the bitterness
and vengeance central to the role of
Sidney, according to Jewel.
The director, meanwhile, first-time
dramatic filmmaker Tristram Shapeero,
was brought in by Jewel only after cast-
ing the main roles was complete.
“After one read of the script I could-
n’t get the character of Sidney out of my
mind, someone so armored and so vul-
nerable at the same time,” said Jewel.
The film’s tagline is “he steals
more than just the show,” which has a
double-meaning as Jacobi domi-
nates the film and his character is a
thief, robbing trusting souls as he
also romances them with a nostalgic
song and dance — something that
so shocks Gabriel that he tells
Sidney that he steals in order to get
attention, causing the old man to
explode with anger and end their
relationship, just as he ends any that
threatens to get close to him.
Jewel says that the story is now
being scripted to be produced as a
feature-length film, also to star
Jacobi and Evans, a step almost cer-
tain to get funding if the film is indeed
named an Oscar winner.
Not until early February, however,
will Jewel learn whether the film, cur-
rently short-listed as one of 10 prelimi-
nary nominees, enters the charmed
circle of the final five official nominees.
For more information on
“Sidney Turtlebaum” see sidney-
RUPERT EVANS (left) and SIR DEREK JACOBI star in a new film short with Oscar potential.
Photos courtesy of Third Man Films
gay short film has oscar potential
december 25, 2009 • dcagenda.com 23
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24 dcagenda.com • december 25, 2009
Theaters offer plenty of
gay-friendly kids’ fare
By PATRICK FOLLIARD
I once read in a Bette Davis bio that
as a kid in New England the highlight
of her childhood Christmases was
finding the theater tickets that Santa
Claus had left her under the tree. Take
a note from Bette’s book, and try giv-
ing the little ones in your life the gift of
theater this holiday season. Who
knows — maybe your present will be
the nudge that sends a little thespian-
in-the-making on the path to a brilliant
career of his or her own?
Imagination Stage (imagination-
stage.com) in Bethesda is present-
ing Disney’s “Mulan” through Jan.
10. After her father (Keith E. Irby) is
wounded on the battlefield, Mulan
(Manna Nichols), in the great tradi-
tion of Joan of Arc, dons boy’s
clothes and joins up with the
Chinese Imperial army in its war
against the invading Huns.
Throughout her adventures, our
heroine is protected by Moshu (Toni
Rae Brotons), an ancestor-sent
magical dragon; and unlike the Maid
of Orleans, this girl warrior’s story
ends happily. Adapted from the hit
1998 animated movie (with Asian-
flavored, Broadway-sounding music
and lyrics from a team including
famed music folk Stephen Schwartz
and Jeanine Tesori), “Mulan” is full
of lessons in courage, self-reliance,
family and love (recommended for
ages 5 and up).
At Arlington’s Classika Theatre
(www.classika.org) — the entertain-
ment-for-children arm of Synetic
Theater, the metro area’s premier
physical company, it’s “The Snow
Queen.” Based on the fairytale by
Hans Christian Andersen (and creat-
ed in collaboration with puppet artists
from Varna National Theatre in
Bulgaria), the splendidly titled show
focuses on a young girl’s quest to
find her friend who’s been whisked
off to the snowy north. This one runs
through Jan. 10 and is recommended
for ages 4 and up.
“The Little Engine That Could” is
currently making its area premiere
at Adventure Theatre (www.adven-
turetheatre.org) in Glen Echo Park.
Based on the book by Watty Piper,
this classic tale of determination’s
train is carrying a full of toys for
good boys and girls when it con-
fronts a seemingly impassable
mountain. Staged by Jeremy
Skidmore, a talented director of
local theater for grownups too, the
show runs through Jan. 10.
Especially festooned in evergreen
and lights for the season, Ford’s
makes an ideal holiday destination.
Through Jan. 3, esteemed local actor
Edward Gero is starring as Scrooge
in Ford’s annual production of
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas
Carol.” Staged by Michael Baron, the
fresh interpretation also features
Felicia Curry in the role of Christmas
past and present and Helen Hayes
award-winning Christopher Bloch as
Bob Cratchit. This holiday classic
isn’t for very young children.
Just in time for Christmas, the
Theater Alliance (theateralliance.com)
at the H Street Playhouse is offering
“Black Nativity” through Jan. 3.
Combining the Gospel of St. Luke,
gay playwright Langston Hughes’
inimitable poetry, gospel music and
dance, the “song-play” — the compa-
ny’s website promises — will touch a
chord in everyone’s heart. Theatre
Alliance recommends “Black Nativity”
for the entire family.
And when you tire of wholesome
family fare, you might want to make a
beeline to Theater J (www.washing-
for parenting tips from Judy Gold, a 6
foot, 3 inch-tall gay mother of two. Best
known for standup, Gold is bringing
her one woman show, “Mommy
Queerest,” to the Cecile Goldman
Theater at the DCJCC through Jan. 3.
Disguised Mulan (Manna Nichols) trains with Mushu (Toni Rae Brotons) and
another soldier (Christopher Mueller) in Disney’s MULAN, playing through Jan.
10 at Imagination Stage in Bethesda.
Photo by Scott Suchman
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DWIGHT MORTENSEN 202-361-4400
DAVID BEDIZ 202-352-8456
2535 13th Street, NW #103
Beautiful 1BR condo with garage parking. Building
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wood floors, granite counters, SS appliances &
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1140 23RD STREET NW #603
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DWIGHT MORTENSEN 202-361-4400
DAVID BEDIZ 202-352-8456
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