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EDITORIAL
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Randy Shulman

JANUARY 15, 2015
Volume 21 / Issue 36

ART DIRECTOR
Todd Franson
POLITICAL EDITOR
Justin Snow
NEWS & BUSINESS EDITOR
John Riley

NEWS

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CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Doug Rule

FORTUNE 500S EARN
FAIRNESS ACCREDITATION
by John Riley

SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
Ward Morrison, Julian Vankim
CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR
Scott G. Brooks
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Christian Gerard, Brandon Harrison, Will O’Bryan
Troy Petenbrink, Kate Wingfield

BATTLEGROUND ATLANTA
by Justin Snow

ASSISTANT EDITOR
Rhuaridh Marr

FEATURES

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COMMUNITY CALENDAR

19

KINK 101
by John Riley and Doug Rule

WEBMASTER
David Uy

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PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
Julian Vankim

EVENT CALENDAR
MID-ATLANTIC LEATHER 2015
by Doug Rule

SALES & MARKETING
PUBLISHER
Randy Shulman
BRAND STRATEGY & MARKETING
Christopher Cunetto
Cunetto Creative
NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE
Rivendell Media Co.
212-242-6863

OUT ON THE TOWN

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STAGE

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by Dour Rule
TECH

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PATRON SAINT
Touko Laaksonen
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY
Todd Franson

CES 2015
by Rhuaridh Marr

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER
Dennis Havrilla
EDITOR EMERITUS
Sean Bugg

CHOIR BOY

GEARS

38

DETROIT AUTO SHOW
by Rhuaridh Marr

NIGHTLIFE

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FREDDIE’S BEACH BAR
photography by Ward Morrison

CLUBLIFE

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JAMES GRAHAM SPINS
MAL’S REACTION DANCE
DJ

by Doug Rule
photography by Julian Vankim
METRO WEEKLY
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SCENE

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FIREPLACE
photography by Ward Morrison

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LAST WORD

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LGBT

News

Now online at MetroWeekly.com
Hundreds Rally to Support Trans Rights
Council Introduces Surrogacy Bill

Fire Chief’s Firing Lights
Fuse Under Religious Right
Atlanta becomes ground zero in the debate over religious freedom

by Justin Snow

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GAGE SKIDMORE

H

UNDREDS OF SOCIAL
conservatives descended on
Georgia’s Capitol Tuesday
to express their support for
Atlanta’s former fire chief, as the state
becomes the frontline in the ongoing
debate over religious liberty and tolerance.
Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin
Cochran has been propped up as the
poster child of liberal intolerance since
his firing earlier this month, following
controversy over anti-gay statements he
made in a 2013 self-published book, Who
Told You That You Are Naked?, which
classifies homosexuality as a sexual perversion and compares it to beastiality and
pederasty. Following a 30-day suspension during which an investigation was
conducted by the city, Cochran was fired
by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Jan. 6,
sparking backlash from religious conservatives claiming Cochran’s constitutional
rights had been violated.
According to Reed, the decision to fire
Cochran came after an erosion in confidence in the former fire chief due to his
actions and remarks during his suspension. “My decision has nothing to do with
his religion and everything to do with his
judgment and conduct as the leader of
the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department and
a member of my Cabinet,” Reed said in
a statement. “Mr. Cochran ignored the
City’s Ethics Code which establish a clear
protocol which must be followed before
a Commissioner may engage in private
activity for pay. Mr. Cochran made
numerous judgment decisions regarding
the book that are unacceptable for a leader in City of Atlanta government: he sold
the book without the requisite approval;

Perkins

he authored the book identifying himself
as the Atlanta Fire Chief; he distributed
the book at work, despite the fact that
its content expressed opinions which
are contrary to the City’s and my personal commitment to nondiscrimination;
he exposed the City to potential litigation from employees; and he published
the book without ever mentioning it to
me. Mr. Cochran’s decisions as a City
official, not his religion, resulted in his
termination.”
The New York Times editorial board
defended Reed’s firing of Cochran as
well, arguing that, regardless that the
investigation found no evidence Cochran
discriminated in the workplace, “his
position as a high-level public servant
makes his remarks especially problematic, and requires that he be held to a
different standard.”
But while Reed insisted Cochran’s

religious views did not play a role in
his termination, telling reporters, “Let’s
stop trying to make this about religious freedom,” social conservatives,
including national groups such as the
Family Research Council and National
Organization for Marriage, pounced.
Cochran proclaimed that he was fired for
“no reason other than my Christian faith,”
and the Family Research Council mobilized a petition campaign, insisting that
in Atlanta “[r]eligious liberty is dangling
by a thread over a raging fire of government intolerance!” More than 30,000 signatures expressing support for Cochran
were delivered to Reed’s office Tuesday.
During a rally the same day, Cochran was
joined by a number of religious leaders
for a rally defending free speech in the
rotunda of the Georgia Capitol.
Among those in attendance was
Family Research Council President Tony

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LGBTNews
Perkins, who drew parallels to the terrorist attack on a satirical magazine, Charlie
Hebdo, in Paris last week. “Whether it’s
a journalist in France satirically writing
about religion or a fire chief in Atlanta,
Georgia writing about the sacred teachings of his faith, the silencing of either is a
threat to the freedoms of all,” Perkins said.
“The naked truth is that the actions taken
against the Chief are designed to send a
message that will silence Christians and
in effect force them to check their faith
at the door of public service.”
According to The Atlanta JournalConstitution, supporters of Cochran hope
Tuesday’s rally will build support for a
religious freedom bill introduced in the
Georgia Legislature. The bill, which mirrors similar religious freedom bills that
have popped up in states across the country as marriage equality has continued to
spread, is opposed by LGBT groups who
believe it could provide a license to discriminate. Georgia Equality has voiced
opposition to the bill, which they argue
would “allow people to discriminate
against LGBT people because treating
LGBT people equally would ‘burden”
their religious beliefs.”
Despite those concerns, the firestorm
of controversy over Cochran’s termination has increased the profile of the legislation. On Tuesday, Republican Gov.
Nathan Deal voiced support for a version
of the bill that would only apply to government agencies and not private businesses. “I personally do not think that
the adoption of such a law would have
the negative impacts that many people
portrayed it would have,” Deal told The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The debate over religious freedom
laws has been been elevated to national
levels over the past year, with the firing of Cochran only fueling it further.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s July decision
in the Hobby Lobby case, which found
some religious employers can refuse to
pay for insurance coverage of contraception under the federal Religious Freedom
Restoration Act, increased the clash over
religious liberty and LGBT rights. One day
after the Supreme Court handed down
the Hobby Lobby decision, Mississippi
enacted a state Religious Freedom
Restoration Act (RFRA), which seeks to
ensure “that state action or an action by
any person based on state action shall not
burden a person’s right to the exercise of
religion.” When the law was being considered by lawmakers, advocates argued
the bill’s broad language would allow
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those burdens to include nondiscrimination laws. The bill mirrored a controversial measure approved by Arizona
lawmakers and vetoed by Arizona Gov.
Jan Brewer (R) last February following
national attention. Such bills, introduced
in Republican-dominated states, are part
of a broader backlash to gains across the
nation for marriage equality. Opponents
of LGBT rights justify the move by pointing to states with marriage equality and
existing nondiscrimination laws that
encompass sexual orientation that have
seen a growing number of conflicts, as
in New Mexico, where the state’s highest court ruled a wedding photographer
violated the state’s Human Rights Act
by refusing service to a same-sex couple.
While Cochran has found social conservatives solidly in his corner, LGBTrights groups have defended Atlanta’s
besieged mayor. “The fact that Mayor
Reed lost confidence in Kelvin Cochran’s
ability to do his job is completely unsurprising, and his decision to terminate
Cochran was right, fair and in the best
interest of all Atlanta’s residents,” said
Chad Griffin, president of the Human
Rights Campaign, in a statement. “People
of faith take their religious convictions with them to the workplace every
day, but Cochran’s unprofessional and
irresponsible conduct was completely
unrelated to his personal convictions.
Instead, his actions before and during the
investigation left him unfit to serve, and
if Mayor Reed had not taken action, it
would have represented a severe failure

in his duties as the city’s chief executive.”
Reed, and Atlanta under his tenure as
mayor, has regularly received high rankings for LGBT equality from HRC. Reed
is also a member of the Mayors for the
Freedom to Marry coalition.
“Radical anti-LGBT activists are
mounting a campaign to transform
Kelvin Cochran from an employee who
exhibited extremely poor professional
judgment into a martyr for the failing
campaign to keep LGBT people as second-class citizens across this country,”
added Griffin. “This is more than misleading, it completely ignores the facts of
this case.”
But with losses by marriage-equality
opponents growing, and national resolution from the Supreme Court perhaps
finally within reach, a strategy focused on
religious liberty and mounted by social
conservatives appears likely to become
ever more common.
“The fringe right is really overplaying
its hand on the religious liberty front,”
added Gregory T. Angelo, executive
director of Log Cabin Republicans. “Log
Cabin Republicans has always included
religious liberty considerations in all of
our pro-equality lobbying, but our definition of ‘religious liberty’ is apparently far
different from those on the fringe right
who are seeking a special privilege to
discriminate and cloaking it in a cross.
That’s not the Jesus Christ I know. This
is a cynical political strategy employed by
individuals determined to oppose LGBT
equality until the bitter end.” l

Fortune 500s
Earn Fairness
Accreditation

LGBT rights organization Equality Virginia honors companies for
commitment to workplace fairness, diversity
by John Riley

E

QUALITY VIRGINIA, THE
commonwealth’s top LGBT
rights organization, recognized five Richmond-area
Fortune 500 companies for workplace

policies that do not discriminate against
LGBT people, presenting them with
the Virginia Fairness Award at a Jan. 8
reception. The ceremony was held at the
downtown Richmond headquarters of
Fairness Award recipient Capital One —
named one of the “Best Places to Work
for LGBT Equality” by the Human Rights
Campaign (HRC) — with Gov. Terry

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LGBTNews
McAuliffe (D) in attendance.
In addition to Capital One, the other
companies honored for their LGBTfriendly workplace policies include
tobacco giant Altria, used car retailer
CarMax, Dominion, the commonwealth’s
top provider of electricity and natural
gas, and Genworth, a financial planning
and insurance company.
“We have accredited these companies because they have policies in place
that clearly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and protect them from discrimination in the
workplace,” James Parrish, the executive director of Equality Virginia said in
a statement announcing the honorees.
“These companies know that policies
welcoming diversity and inclusion are
not only good for business, but are the
right thing to do.”
“Diversity, equality and inclusion
are central to the Capital One culture,
a culture that thrives because of the
varying experiences, backgrounds and
perspectives offered by our associates,”
said Lane Hopkins, managing vice president of enterprise human resources
at Capital One. “From programs and
resources offered through our LGBT
Associate Network, to a broad range of
benefits and development opportunities, we are committed to fostering an
environment where all of our associates
feel heard, valued and respected. We are
very proud to be recognized by Equality
Virginia.”
The other companies being honored
also acknowledged Equality Virginia
for recognizing their efforts to promote
workplace fairness.
“The families of today, including
those of my colleagues at Genworth,
reflect the great diversity that defines
America. We are committed to supporting that diversity and creating an
environment of inclusiveness for all of
our employees,” said Marty Klein, the
company’s chief financial officer. “It’s
a commitment that also extends to our
customers. As a provider of insurance
solutions that help families become
more financially secure, self-reliant and
prepared for the future, we are dedicated to helping all families protect
those they love. This is a mission we at
Genworth share with Equality Virginia,
and we are proud to be part of it.”
Others argue that adopting nondiscrimination policies just makes good
business sense.
“At Dominion, we want to attract
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and retain the best employees,” added
Shannon Venable, the company’s vice
president of staffing and diversity. “I
think this recognition demonstrates
that Dominion is committed to providing a respectful and inclusive work
environment for all of its employees —
which is fundamental to attracting and
retaining the best.”
Whether from a political or a business perspective, the Virginia Fairness
accreditation is mutually beneficial to
all those involved. All five Fortune 500
companies are able to use the honor,
which highlights their pro-LGBT workplace policies, to help recruit and retain
talent that might otherwise be reticent
to settle or work in the commonwealth.
Equality Virginia benefits by being able
to get press surrounding the event, while
simultaneously emphasizing that major
companies headquartered in Virginia
already have policies prohibiting workplace discrimination. And McAuliffe
gets to tout the commonwealth’s probusiness policies that attract companies
like the five Fortune 500 awardees to
Virginia while also showing support for
the LGBT community and its straight
progressive allies, who constitute an
influential bloc among his Democratic
Party’s base.
By highlighting the policies already
in place at all five companies, and celebrating their success, Equality Virginia
is hoping to undercut as much opposition as possible to three bills — one in the
state senate and two others in the House
of Delegates, including one patroned
by a Republican, Del. Ron Villanueva
(Virginia Beach, Chesapeake) — that
would protect all LGBT public employees from workplace discrimination or
unwarranted termination based on their
sexual orientation. But similar bills
introduced in previous sessions have run
into opposition from the Republicandominated General Assembly. A contingent of moderate or fair-minded yet
conservative Republicans in the state
senate has often voted with Democrats
to pass similar legislation through the
upper chamber, but House Speaker Bill
Howell (R-Fredericksburg, Stafford,
Aquia Harbor) and several committee
chairs have refused to hear those bills,
instead choosing to relegate them to
hostile subcommittees where they have
no chance of passing (and, often, away
from subcommittees where Republicans
from Democratic-leaning or “swing”
areas that are more socially moder-

ate, like Northern Virginia or Hampton
Roads, would be forced to take potentially unpopular votes).
While Virginia same-sex couples
already have the freedom to marry,
the commonwealth finds itself among
a growing number of states where an
LGBT person could get married legally,
but could also be fired if, for example,
their wedding announcement were published in a local paper. According to
polling by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner
Research — frequently cited by Equality
Virginia — most Virginians wrongly
assume that it is already illegal to refuse
to hire or fire someone because they are
lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,
and 75 percent of Virginians would support a law protecting LGBT people from
employment discrimination.
Equality Virginia hopes that by recognizing Virginia-based pro-equality
corporations, they can convince General
Assembly legislators that adopting similar nondiscrimination protections is neither unusual nor harmful to business.
This is particularly aimed at General
Assembly Republicans who wish to be
seen as more “mainstream” conservatives or potential statewide candidates
in the future. Unlike some of their colleagues whose political profile rests on
their reputation as socially conservative firebrands, these other Republicans,
often from more socially moderate
regions of the commonwealth, have previously argued, without supporting evidence, that enacting such policies will
prove burdensome to businesses and
hinder economic growth, painting their
opposition as motivated by economic
concerns, rather than outright dislike of
LGBT people.
“These companies are leading
Virginia forward, and the Virginia
Fairness accreditation is one way we
can celebrate them for being leaders,”
Equality Virginia’s Parrish said of the
Fairness Award recipients. “Recognizing
these companies at this particular time
in history is especially meaningful
because even with marriage equality,
there is currently no state law in Virginia
to protect public employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation
or gender identity. These companies are
setting the standard when it comes to
promoting inclusivity, strengthening
Virginia’s ability to recruit and retain
a talented workforce and ensuring that
Virginia is a welcoming place to live,
work, and visit.” l

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LGBTCommunityCalendar
Metro Weekly’s Community Calendar highlights important events in
the D.C.-area LGBT community, from alternative social events to
volunteer opportunities. Event information should be sent by email to
calendar@MetroWeekly.com. Deadline for inclusion is noon
of the Friday before Thursday’s publication. Questions about
the calendar may be directed to the Metro Weekly office at
202-638-6830 or the calendar email address.

SMYAL’S REC NIGHT provides a social atmosphere for GLBT and questioning youth, featuring
dance parties, vogue nights, movies and games.
More info, catherine.chu@smyal.org.
SMYAL offers free HIV Testing, 3-6 p.m., by
appointment and walk-in, for youth 21 and younger.
Youth Center, 410 7th St. SE. 202-567-3155, testing@smyal.org.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 17
BURGUNDY CRESCENT, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers today for Lost Dog & Cat Rescue
Foundation at Falls Church PetSmart. To participate, visit burgundycrescent.org.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 15
CENTER MILITARY AND DOD PRIDE host their
monthly PENTAGON LGBT HAPPY HOUR at

Freddie’s Beach Bar in Arlington. Free appetizers
and discounted drinks for those who attend. 5 p.m.8 p.m. 555 23rd St. S Arlington, Va. For information
on happy hour, contact Eric Perez, 202-682-2245 or
via email at eric.perez@thedccenter.org. For listings
and dates for future events, meetup.com/CenterMilitary-Meetup-Group.

CENTER POLY DISCUSSION GROUP, for those

interested in learning about polyamory and nonmonagamous relationships, meets at The DC
Center. 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. 2000 14th St. NW, Suite
105. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

THE DC CENTER invites community members to
a BOOK SIGNING AND READING featuring local
author Otis Randolf, who will read excerpts from
his erotic murder mystery thriller, Shadows Behind
the Rainbow. Free admission. 5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
2000 14th St. NW, Suite 105. Cash or credit card
required to purchase books. For more information,
contact Nolan McClinton, Nolan.McClinton@gmail.
com or 202-232-8607.

WEEKLY EVENTS
free HIV testing, 9-5 p.m., and HIV services (by
appointment). Call 202-291-4707, or visit andromedatransculturalhealth.org.

DC AQUATICS CLUB (DCAC) practice session at
Takoma Aquatic Center, 300 Van Buren St. NW.
7:30-9 p.m. swimdcac.org.

DC LAMBDA SQUARES gay and lesbian squaredancing group features mainstream through
advanced square dancing at the National City
Christian Church, 5 Thomas Circle NW, 7-9:30 p.m.
Casual dress. 301-257-0517, dclambdasquares.org.
The DULLES TRIANGLES Northern Virginia social
group meets for happy hour at Sheraton in Reston,
11810 Sunrise Valley Drive, second-floor bar, 7-9
p.m. All welcome. dullestriangles.com.

HIV TESTING at Whitman-Walker Health. The
Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center, 1701 14th St. NW,
9 a.m.-5 p.m. At the Max Robinson Center, 2301
MLK Jr. Ave. SE, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Call 202-7457000. Visit whitman-walker.org.

JANUARY 15, 2015

in Gaithersburg, 414 East Diamond Ave., and in
Takoma Park, 7676 New Hampshire Ave., Suite 411.
Walk-ins 2-6 p.m. For appointments other hours,
call Gaithersburg, 301-300-9978, or Takoma Park,
301-422-2398.

METROHEALTH CENTER offers free, rapid HIV
testing. Appointment needed. 1012 14th St. NW,
Suite 700. 202-638-0750.

SMYAL offers free HIV Testing, 3-5 p.m., by
appointment and walk-in, for youth 21 and younger.
202-567-3155 or testing@smyal.org.
US HELPING US hosts a Narcotics Anonymous

Meeting, 6:30-7:30 p.m., 3636 Georgia Ave. NW.
The group is independent of UHU. 202-446-1100.

WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE for young
LBTQ women, 13-21, interested in leadership development. 5-6:30 p.m. SMYAL Youth Center, 410 7th
St. SE. 202-567-3163, catherine.chu@smyal.org.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 16
WEEKLY EVENTS
ANDROMEDA TRANSCULTURAL HEALTH offers

ANDROMEDA TRANSCULTURAL HEALTH offers

14

IDENTITY offers free and confidential HIV testing

METROWEEKLY.COM

free HIV testing, 9-5 p.m., and HIV services (by
appointment). 202-291-4707, andromedatransculturalhealth.org.

DC AQUATICS CLUB (DCAC) practice session

at Hains Point, 927 Ohio Dr. SW. 6:30-8 p.m. Visit
swimdcac.org.

GAY DISTRICT holds facilitated discussion for

GBTQ men, 18-35, first and third Fridays. 8:30 p.m.
The DC Center, 2000 14th St. NW, Suite 105. 202682-2245, gaydistrict.org.

HIV TESTING at Whitman-Walker Health,

Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center, 1701 14th St. NW,
9 a.m.-5 p.m. 202-745-7000, whitman-walker.org.

METROHEALTH CENTER offers free, rapid HIV
testing. Appointment needed. 1012 14th St. NW,
Suite 700. 202-638-0750.

PROJECT STRIPES hosts LGBT-affirming social

group for ages 11-24. 4-6 p.m. 1419 Columbia Road
NW. Contact Tamara, 202-319-0422, layc-dc.org.

CHRYSALIS arts & culture group holds bi-monthly

Dinner Social at restaurant near Silver Spring Metro
Station. 7 p.m. All welcome. Plans for late winter
museum visits and out-of-town excursions will be
reviewed. Kevin, 703-464-9040, x1. kgiles27@gmail.
com.

LGBT ASYLUM SEEKERS/ASYLEES FORUM, a
forum for LGBT immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees and their supporters, holds its monthly meeting at The DC Center. 2000 14th St. NW, Suite 105.
For more information, visit thedccenter.org.
THE DC CENTER hosts an event with special guest
David Rink, president of the International Deaf
Leather Organization. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The DC Center.
2000 14th St. NW, Suite 105. For more information,
visit thedccenter.org.

WEEKLY EVENTS
ANDROMEDA TRANSCULTURAL HEALTH offers

free HIV testing, 9-5 p.m., and HIV services (by
appointment). 202-291-4707 or andromedatransculturalhealth.org.

BET MISHPACHAH, founded by members of the
LGBT community, holds Saturday morning Shabbat
services, 10 a.m., followed by Kiddush luncheon.
Services in DCJCC Community Room, 1529 16th St.
NW. betmish.org.
BRAZILIAN GLBT GROUP, including others interested in Brazilian culture, meets. For location/time,
email braziliangaygroup@yahoo.com.
DC AQUATICS CLUB (DCAC) practice session at
Hains Point, 972 Ohio Dr., SW. 8:30-10 a.m. Visit
swimdcac.org.

DC FRONT RUNNERS running/walking/social

club welcomes all levels for exercise in a fun and
supportive environment, socializing afterward.
Meet 9:30 a.m., 23rd & P Streets NW, for a walk; or
10 a.m. for fun run. dcfrontrunners.org.

DC SENTINELS basketball team meets at Turkey

Thicket Recreation Center, 1100 Michigan Ave. NE,
2-4 p.m. For players of all levels, gay or straight.
teamdcbasketball.org.

LGBTCommunityCalendar
DIGNITY NORTHERN VIRGINIA sponsors Mass
for LGBT community, family and friends. 6:30 p.m.,
Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill, 3606 Seminary
Road, Alexandria. All welcome. For more info, visit
dignitywashington.org.
GAY LANGUAGE CLUB discusses critical languag-

es and foreign languages. 7 p.m. Nellie’s, 900 U St.
NW. RVSP preferred. brendandarcy@gmail.com.

IDENTITY offers free and confidential HIV testing
in Takoma Park, 7676 New Hampshire Ave., Suite
411. Walk-ins 12-3 p.m. For appointments other
hours, call 301-422-2398.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 18
CHICK CHAT, an age 50+ lesbian singles group,

hosts a free social at Politics & Prose Bookstore
Cafe. 2 p.m.-3 p.m. 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW.
RSVP to Cheryl Woerner at woernerc@yahoo.com
for more details.

WEEKLY EVENTS
LGBT-inclusive ALL SOULS MEMORIAL
EPISCOPAL CHURCH celebrates Low Mass at 8:30
a.m., High Mass at 11 a.m. 2300 Cathedral Ave. NW.
202-232-4244, allsoulsdc.org.

BETHEL CHURCH-DC progressive and radically
inclusive church holds services at 11:30 a.m. 2217
Minnesota Ave. SE. 202-248-1895, betheldc.org.
DC AQUATICS CLUB (DCAC) practice session at
Hains Point, 972 Ohio Dr., SW. 9:30-11 a.m. Visit
swimdcac.org.

DIGNITY WASHINGTON offers Roman Catholic

Mass for the LGBT community. 6 p.m., St.
Margaret’s Church, 1820 Connecticut Ave. NW. All
welcome. Sign interpreted. For more info, visit dignitywashington.org.

Join LINCOLN CONGREGATIONAL TEMPLE –
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST for an inclusive,
loving and progressive faith community every
Sunday. 11 a.m. 1701 11th Street NW, near R in
Shaw/Logan neighborhood. lincolntemple.org.

LUTHERAN CHURCH OF REFORMATION invites

all to Sunday worship at 8:30 or 11 a.m. Childcare is
available at both services. Welcoming LGBT people
for 25 years. 212 East Capitol St. NE.
reformationdc.org

METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH OF
NORTHERN VIRGINIA services at 11 a.m., led by

FIRST CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF
CHRIST welcomes all to 10:30 a.m. service, 945 G

Rev. Onetta Brooks. Children’s Sunday School, 11
a.m. 10383 Democracy Lane, Fairfax. 703-691-0930,
mccnova.com.

FRIENDS MEETING OF WASHINGTON meets for
worship, 10:30 a.m., 2111 Florida Ave. NW, Quaker
House Living Room (next to Meeting House on
Decatur Place), 2nd floor. Special welcome to lesbians and gays. Handicapped accessible from Phelps
Place gate. Hearing assistance. quakersdc.org.

METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH OF
WASHINGTON, D.C. services at 9 a.m. (ASL inter-

St. NW. firstuccdc.org or 202-628-4317.

preted) and 11 a.m. Children’s Sunday School at 11
a.m. 474 Ridge St. NW. 202-638-7373, mccdc.com.

NATIONAL CITY CHRISTIAN CHURCH, inclusive

GLBT community for worship. 10:30 a.m., 6130 Old
Telegraph Road, Alexandria. hopeucc.org.

church with GLBT fellowship, offers gospel worship, 8:30 a.m., and traditional worship, 11 a.m. 5
Thomas Circle NW. 202-232-0323,
nationalcitycc.org.

INSTITUTE FOR SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT,
God-centered new age church & learning center.
Sunday Services and Workshops event. 5419 Sherier
Place NW. isd-dc.org.

RIVERSIDE BAPTIST CHURCH, a Christ-centered,
interracial, welcoming-and-affirming church, offers
service at 10 a.m. 680 I St. SW. 202-554-4330,
riverside-dc.org.

HOPE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST welcomes

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LGBTCommunityCalendar
ST. STEPHEN AND THE INCARNATION, an

WASHINGTON WETSKINS Water Polo Team
practices 7-9 p.m. Takoma Aquatic Center, 300 Van
Buren St. NW. Newcomers with at least basic swimming ability always welcome. Tom, 703-299-0504,
secretary@wetskins.org, wetskins.org.

UNITARIAN CHURCH OF ARLINGTON, an
LGBTQ welcoming-and-affirming congregation,
offers services at 10 a.m. Virginia Rainbow UU
Ministry. 4444 Arlington Blvd. uucava.org.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 20

“interracial, multi-ethnic Christian Community”
offers services in English, 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., and
in Spanish at 5:15 p.m. 1525 Newton St. NW. 202232-0900, saintstephensdc.org.

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH OF
SILVER SPRING invites LGBTQ families and indi-

viduals of all creeds and cultures to join the church.
Services 9:15 and 11:15 a.m. 10309 New Hampshire
Ave. uucss.org.

UNIVERSALIST NATIONAL MEMORIAL
CHURCH, a welcoming and inclusive church. GLBT

Interweave social/service group meets monthly.
Services at 11 a.m., Romanesque sanctuary. 1810 16th
St. NW. 202-387-3411, universalist.org.

CENTER BI, a group of The DC Center, hosts

a roundtable discussion of issues related to the
bisexual community in a private setting. 7:00 p.m.8:00 p.m. 2000 14th St. NW, Suite 105. For more
information, visit thedccenter.org.

POWER OF KABBALAH, a course in kabbalis-

tic teachings offered by the Kabbalah Centre in
Washington, D.C., holds an eight-week workshop. Free for newcomers. 7:00 p.m. at Southern
Hospitality. 1815 Adams Mill Rd. NW, 2nd floor. For
more information, call 800-522-2252 or visit kabbalah.com/dc.

MONDAY, JANUARY 19

WEEKLY EVENTS

HAPPY MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY!

free HIV testing, 9-5 p.m., and HIV services (by
appointment). 202-291-4707, andromedatransculturalhealth.org.

Regularly scheduled Monday events resume next
week.

WEEKLY EVENTS
Michael Brazell teaches BEARS DO YOGA, a program of The DC Center. 6:30 p.m., Green Lantern,
1335 Green Court NW. No cost, newcomers welcome. 202-682-2245, thedccenter.org.

DC AQUATICS CLUB (DCAC) practice session

at Hains Point, 927 Ohio Dr. SW. 7-8:30 p.m. Visit
swimdcac.org.

DC SCANDALS RUGBY holds practice, 6:30-8:30

p.m. Garrison Elementary, 1200 S St. NW. dcscandals.wordpress.com.

The DC Center hosts COFFEE DROP-IN FOR THE
SENIOR LGBT COMMUNITY. 10 a.m.-noon. 2000
14th St. NW. 202-682-2245, thedccenter.org.

ANDROMEDA TRANSCULTURAL HEALTH offers

ASIANS AND FRIENDS weekly dinner in Dupont/
Logan Circle area, 6:30 p.m. afwash@aol.com,
afwashington.net.
DC AQUATICS CLUB (DCAC) practice session at
Takoma Aquatic Center, 300 Van Buren St. NW.
7:30-9 p.m. swimdcac.org.

DC FRONT RUNNERS running/walking/social

club serving greater D.C.’s LGBT community and
allies hosts an evening run/walk. dcfrontrunners.
org.

THE GAY MEN’S HEALTH COLLABORATIVE

offers free HIV/STI screening every 2nd and 4th
Tuesday. 5-6:30 p.m. Rainbow Tuesday LGBT
Clinic, Alexandria Health Department, 4480 King
St. 703-321-2511, james.leslie@inova.org.

THE HIV WORKING GROUP of THE DC CENTER
hosts “Packing Party,” where volunteers assemble
safe-sex kits of condoms and lube. 7 p.m., Green
Lantern, 1335 Green Court NW. thedccenter.org.

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IDENTITY offers free and confidential HIV testing

in Gaithersburg, 414 East Diamond Ave., and in
Takoma Park, 7676 New Hampshire Ave., Suite 411.
Walk-ins 2-6 p.m. For appointments other hours,
call Gaithersburg at 301-300-9978 or Takoma Park
at 301-422-2398.

KARING WITH INDIVIDUALITY (K.I.) SERVICES,

at 3333 Duke St., Alexandria, offers free “rapid” HIV
testing and counseling, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 703-823-4401.

METROHEALTH CENTER offers free, rapid HIV
testing. Appointment needed. 1012 14th St. NW,
Suite 700. 202-638-0750.

SMYAL offers free HIV Testing, 3-5 p.m., by
appointment and walk-in, for youth 21 and younger.
Youth Center, 410 7th St. SE. 202-567-3155, testing@smyal.org.
SUPPORT GROUP FOR LGBTQ YOUTH ages 13-21
meets at SMYAL, 410 7th St. SE, 5-6:30 p.m. Cathy
Chu, 202-567-3163, catherine.chu@smyal.org.

US HELPING US hosts a support group for black
gay men 40 and older. 7-9 p.m., 3636 Georgia Ave.
NW. 202-446-1100.
Whitman-Walker Health’s GAY MEN’S HEALTH
AND WELLNESS/STD CLINIC opens at 6 p.m.,
1701 14th St. NW. Patients are seen on walk-in basis.
No-cost screening for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea and
chlamydia. Hepatitis and herpes testing available
for fee. whitman-walker.org.

HIV TESTING at Whitman-Walker Health. D.C.:

Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center, 1701 14th St. NW,
9 a.m.-5 p.m. At the Max Robinson Center, 2301
MLK Jr. Ave. SE, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For an appointment call 202-745-7000. Visit whitman-walker.org.

OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS—LGBT focused
meeting every Tuesday, 7 p.m. St. George’s
Episcopal Church, 915 Oakland Ave., Arlington, just
steps from Virginia Square Metro. For more info.
call Dick, 703-521-1999 or Gretchen, 703-307-9517
Handicapped accessible. Newcomers welcome.

LGBTCommunityCalendar
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21
BOOKMEN DC, an informal men’s gay-literature
group, discusses selected essays from “Love,
Christopher Street: Reflections of New York City,”
edited by Thomas Keith. 7:30 p.m. DC Center, 2000
14th St. NW, Suite 105. All welcome. bookmendc.
blogspot.com
GAY & LESBIAN INTERNATIONAL (GLINT), a

newly launched cross-embassy initiative to connect
the LGBT community working for embassies in
Washington, D.C., kicks off its first networking and
social event. 6:00-9:00 p.m. Number Nine, 1435 P
St. NW. RSVP at info@glintdc.com.

JOB CLUB, a weekly support program for job

entrants and seekers, meets at The DC Center. 2000
14th St. NW, Suite 105. 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. More info,
www.centercareers.org.

PRIME TIMERS OF DC, social club for mature gay
men, hosts weekly happy hour/dinner. 6:30 p.m.,
Windows Bar above Dupont Italian Kitchen, 1637
17th St. NW. Carl, 703-573-8316.

METROHEALTH CENTER offers free, rapid HIV

HIV TESTING at Whitman-Walker Health. D.C.:

testing. No appointment needed. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 1012
14th St. NW, Suite 700. 202-638-0750.

NOVASALUD offers free HIV testing. 11 a.m.-

Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center, 1701 14th St. NW,
9 a.m.-6 p.m. At the Max Robinson Center, 2301
MLK Jr. Ave. SE, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 202-745-7000,
whitman-walker.org. l

2 p.m. 2049 N. 15th St., Suite 200, Arlington.
Appointments: 703-789-4467.

FOR MORE CALENDAR LISTINGS
PLEASE VISIT
WWW.METROWEEKLY.COM

The HIV SUPPORT GROUP of The DC Center
meets on the third Wednesday of each month.
Support group is open to all, regardless of HIV status. 5:30-7:30 p.m. 14th St. NW, Suite 105. For more
details, contact Marcus Conway, 202-841-0755.

THE TOM DAVOREN SOCIAL BRIDGE CLUB

meets for Social Bridge. 7:30 p.m. Dignity Center,
721 8th St SE, across from Marine Barrack. No
reservation and partner needed. 301-345-1571 for
more info.

WOMAN TO WOMAN: A SUPPORT GROUP FOR
HIV-POSITIVE WOMEN WHO LOVE WOMEN,

meets on the third Wednesday of every month at
the Women’s Collective. Light refreshments served.
5:30-7:30 p.m. 1331 Rhode Island Ave. NE. For more
information, contact June Pollydore, 202-483-7003.

WEEKLY EVENTS
AD LIB, a group for freestyle conversation, meets
about 7:45 p.m., covered-patio area of Cosi, 1647
20th St. NW. All welcome. Jamie, 703-892-8567.
ANDROMEDA TRANSCULTURAL HEALTH offers
free HIV testing, 9-5 p.m., and HIV services (by
appointment). 202-291-4707, andromedatransculturalhealth.org.

DC AQUATICS CLUB (DCAC) practice session

at Hains Point, 927 Ohio Dr. SW. 7-8:30 p.m. Visit
swimdcac.org.

DC SCANDALS RUGBY holds practice, 6:30-8:30

p.m. Garrison Elementary, 1200 S St. NW. dcscandals.wordpress.com.

HISTORIC CHRIST CHURCH offers Wednesday
worship 7:15 a.m. and 12:05 p.m. All welcome. 118 N.
Washington St., Alexandria. 703-549-1450, historicchristchurch.org.
IDENTITY offers free and confidential HIV testing
in Gaithersburg, 414 East Diamond Ave. Walkins 2-7 p.m. For appointments other hours, call
Gaithersburg at 301-300-9978.

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E

VERY JANUARY, HUGE CROWDS COVER THE LOBBY
and lower levels of the Hyatt Regency on
Capitol Hill, attracted en masse to MidAtlantic Leather Weekend, an annual event
hosted by local motorcycle club Centaur MC. In
addition to a Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather contest,
MAL features fetish demonstrations, dances,
cocktail parties and a leather mart where people
can purchase gear. Moreover, the full hotel is
booked for the event, making it an exclusive
leather and fetish preserve.
There’s often just enough space to tiptoe
through the crowd or navigate through the maze
of booths at the mart. Everybody from playful
leathermen, dressed in full regalia, to couples
wearing wrestling singlets and armbands crowd
together, sipping on cocktails, chatting and
introducing themselves to each other, with maybe
a flirtatious double entendre or playful nipple
tweak here and there.
Because of the hotel’s internal layout and
the sheer size of the crowds, the scene at MAL
weekend can be overwhelming and intimidating
for the MAL novice. Even veterans can be taken

aback by the sheer scale of it. But it’s certainly friendlier than it may initially seem.
Nigel Williams, Mr. DC Eagle 2013, says newcomers shouldn’t be scared. Use your first MAL as an
educational experience by attending the various
parties, auctions or receptions, or by engaging
people huddled in small groups throughout the
hotel’s main lobby.
“I’d say, ‘It’s great that you’re going. Be
respectful. Go with an open mind. Don’t go in
judging,’” Williams advises. “Visit the vendor mart. Educate yourself about the various
toys, gear, kinks. Meet people and talk with
them. If you have a particular fetish, or you’re
just starting out in the scene, the vendors are
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19

there to explain and answer questions. The most important
thing to remember is that everyone was new once, and, hopefully, everybody will be able to empathize.”
Jackie Thompson, a member of the Highwaymen TNT,
a local biker club, says there is often a stereotype of those in
the leather or fetish community as being harsh, mean and
unfriendly, a perception she says could not be further from
the truth.
“The community is quite friendly and welcoming,”
Thompson says. “That’s a good thing. If you’re new, you’re
not the only one. Every person has been where you are
before. We’re still here, standing with open arms.”
That’s not to say there aren’t rules, however. Particularly
in relationships with a power structure, such as masterslave, sir-boy or puppy-handler relationships, there is often
an unspoken code of behavior or etiquette by which one is
expected to abide. In those cases, local MAL veterans say, it’s
best to ask whether to engage the submissive partner before
committing a faux pas, such as touching a pup’s collar.
“Say, ‘excuse me’ when you approach people and introduce yourself,” says Thompson. “If someone’s in the middle
of a scene, or is a puppy, for example, don’t interrupt or touch
them without asking their dom. Always ask permission and
be respectful. ‘Hi’ is always a good start.”
“You’re going to meet a collection of people who may take
those rules very seriously,” Williams says. “You’re also going
to see a lot of people who are just there to have a good time.
Of course, walking the hallways can be an adventure,” he
adds, referring to the cruisy reputation MAL has developed
during the nighttime hours in the hotel.
There are markers for many, if not most, of the particular
kinks and fetishes and one’s role in them — chiefly based on
the position and color of an armband or handkerchief. (Right
signifies bottom or submissive, left a top or dominant partner,
with a rainbow of colors that can signify everything from
vanilla — white for masturbation, a teddy bear signifying cuddling — to hardcore, with orange signaling “anything goes.”)
The best way to find out what somebody is into is to engage
them in conversation, as many — at MAL, at least — are often
proud to share that information, as well as any additional
scenes they may be into but are not visibly “flagging.”
“I think the biggest misconception about MAL is that
everyone thinks it’s all about whips, chains and bondage,”
Williams says. “If you see someone in leather, you may think
they’re automatically into whipping or tying up someone. But
there’s a whole rich history of leather. The key components
behind leather are brotherhood, shared interests, and a sense
of belonging. I personally find it very empowering, because
you’re able to be yourself. Leather is not one-size-fits-all. But
that’s the joy of communication: you get to meet all types of
people.”
Longtime MAL attendee David Merrill, who co-produces
the fetishwear party CODE and is a Gold Key Master at
SigMa, the local BDSM club, says there’s often overlap
between various scenes within the kink or fetish community.
The other thing to remember, he says, is that no one’s fetish
is completely the same.
“You’ve got various ways of approaching the entire lifestyle,” Merrill says. “You’ve got the various relationships we
have, you’ve got the fetish wear, and you’ve got the kinds of
play that we do. I think those are the basic ways we approach
the scene. And you have those people who may or may not
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be into any particular kind of play, whether it’s whipping or
flogging or bondage or needles or anything else. They’re completely independent of each other. You can have guys that are
into bondage and jock gear and nothing else. You can have
guys who are into leather and needles and nothing else. You
can have guys who are not into leather or gear but are into
spanking. It’s kind of a Chinese menu — take what you want,
leave what you don’t.”
But the one thing that all experts and veterans of MAL
seem to agree on is the importance of communication to
understanding people’s boundaries — and keeping all interactions fun, but also safe and consensual.
“I think a lot of people have instinctive sexual desires,”
Merrill says of people’s willingness to seek out various scenes
within the leather or kink community. “Sexual desire comes
from the animal brain. Their higher-level brain may not be
engaged at all. And that’s a problem. You have to have your

entire brain engaged. You have to have the discussion before
you start. You have to keep communicating while you’re playing. You can’t just let things go where they go, because you
might … regret it.
“If you want to play with somebody, if you continue telling
them how you’re feeling during the play and what you want,
you’re probably going to have a good experience,” Merrill
continues. “If you don’t, it’s a crap shoot. If you’re really
lucky, you might find a guy who will give you everything you
want. Otherwise, it’s more likely that you’re going to have a
terrible time.”
Thompson agrees with that assessment, saying open and
honest conversation is essential to making one’s first time
enjoyable. Communication also helps to establish trust, not
only for the submissive partner, but also the dominant one.
“It all starts with communication,” Thompson, who
describes herself as an “equal opportunity top,” says. “Talking
to people, asking them, ‘Are you interested?’ and ‘Are you in
the right frame of mind?’ If you don’t tell me what you want,
how can I trust you to tell me that that’s too far, or beyond
your limit? The conversation sets the tone for any scene.”

Photography by Todd Franson
It’s also important to keep in mind a distinction between
fantasy and reality — or the difference between what you
might see in porn or in real-life demonstrations at MAL, and
what you can achieve on your own.
“It’s really important to remember that what you see as
being advertised or being promoted,” says Mindy Chateauvert,
a member of Centaur MC, “is not necessarily something that
you want to do without a lot of training or a lot of experience,
or without somebody who is experienced. The analogy is
close to operating dangerous equipment without having any
experience or anybody to tell you how to use it.”
Yet that’s all part of what makes MAL so important and
critical as a meeting point and breeding ground for exploring and engaging in various kinks and fetishes. “I know so
many people whose first experience with anything involving
leather/kink/BDSM was at MAL,” a Facebook user named
Dominion Onyx, a member of Onyx, the leather and BDSM

group for people of color in D.C., recently posted to MAL’s
page. The comment came in response to a question about
whether “lasting connections” are made at the event. “It
is definitely a chance to do so much more than meet your
next play buddy,” Onyx wrote. “For many of us, it was a lifechanging experience.”
As an introduction to MAL, we asked local experts and
veteran attendees to expound on fetish scenes common at the
event — how they work and why they’re so popular among
the leather, BDSM and kink communities.

SCENE 1: LEATHER/BDSM
PERSON OF INTEREST:
Mindy Chateauvert

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? “San Francisco in 1976. At that time

there was a huge community, [but] because I was not part
of it, the stuff that I ended up doing and getting involved in
turned out to be very abusive — psychologically and physical-

ly. I didn’t participate originally in a community with people
who understood what safe, sane and consensual meant. So it
really wasn’t until I found some of the groups in D.C. that I
felt like I could once again participate, eventually finding out
that there were ways of participating that were not a danger
to your life.”
WHAT ATTRACTS YOU TO IT? “The part that’s attractive to so
many people is the idea of power exchange — putting your
trust in somebody else. We don’t like to talk about how
important power is in relationships, and I think that one of
the things that for me is attractive is the honesty around the
power, as opposed to pretending it doesn’t exist.”
HOW DOES IT WORK? “One of the things that becomes so important is negotiation. When we’re talking with a potential play
partner, you do talk specifically about what it is you like

and what you don’t like, and what you’re willing to try and
what you’re not willing to try, and what stuff turns you on
and what stuff doesn’t turn you on. When I negotiate with
somebody, we spend the first two or three days talking about
what we’re interested in, before anything happens. So this is
not something that’s just sort of like, ‘Oh, I meet you at a bar
and then we go home and do something.’ It’s a long process
and preparation.”
WHAT CLUBS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN EXPLORING THE SCENE? “There are a lot of different groups. One of

the most important ones here in DC is M.A.S.T. [Masters
and Slaves Together]. There is both a pansexual and a gay
M.A.S.T. They’ve been around for a very long time.”
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION? “There’s so little talk these days
about how to talk about sex, that people can’t talk about it, so
they find themselves — in my observation and experience —
having a very difficult time even knowing what they actually
are interested in. In the BDSM and leather communities, it’s
all about figuring out what it is you want and exploring that in

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21

a safe environment. The BDSM community insists on negotiating and understanding what each partner is interested
in — their limits, their ideas, and most importantly this idea
of power exchange. It’s an old saw, but something to remember: The bottom, if you will, always has the right to say ‘no.’
And when that ‘no’ happens, it’s supposed to stop. That’s the
whole point.”

SCENE 2: GEAR (RUBBER,
JOCKS, SPANDEX, SINGLETS,
SPORTS EQUIPMENT)

PERSON OF INTEREST: David Merrill
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? “I came out of the leather scene.

All leather, all the time. Some time in the ‘90s, gear started

happening and I thought it was great from the very beginning. It’s a whole other approach to kind of a masculine,
kinky kind of sexuality. Over time, I think I’ve gotten more
into gear, and less into leather. When I was 12 years old, I had
a neighbor who was a football player, who I would tie up. And
I would punch him until he cried, and then send him home to
his father. And he’d come back the next week to do it all over
again, so I know he enjoyed it. I didn’t think of it as gear back
then. But oh, it was so hot.”
WHAT ATTRACTS YOU TO IT? “It’s sexual, but it’s not just sexual.

Any gay person should be able to relate to it, because it’s similar to being gay. The gay community is not just about being
gay. It’s not just about the sex. And it’s the same way with the
gear community. It’s not just about the gear. It’s more about a
shared experience, shared interests. If you’re talking leather
versus gear, it’s pretty much a matter of what you wear, what
kind of dress you think is sexy. What the gear guys are doing
when they go into the dungeon and play is really not that different from what the leather guys were doing 30 years ago in
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the dungeon when they played.
“We like to fetishize the old days, and say everything was
really rigid and there were all these rules. But that really isn’t
how it was. It was pretty much just the same as it is today,
except the scene and the community had not developed as
much. The scene has broadened — added new things. We
still have sirs, we still have boys, we still establish respect
and trust as two of our highest values. The kind of clothes
we find sexy may change, but people don’t change. They may
find different ways of expressing themselves, but it’s still the
same underlying motivations, the same needs — sexual and
non-sexual.”
HOW DOES IT WORK? “The gear is part of the scene. It doesn’t
define the scene, it’s not the entire scene, but it is an intrinsic
part. So, for instance, I might take a guy. I might put him in
football gear, socks, cleats, pads, jockstrap. I might put him in
a football helmet. I might have a gag built into the helmet. I

might hogtie him. And then he becomes my little plaything.
I’m approaching it as a top. So I’m very into bondage. I’m into
the gear.
“So my favorite approach is gear, then bondage, then play.
So you put a guy into hot gear, tie him up real nice and tight,
and have fun with him. Depending on the guy, the fun can be
various kinds of things, other than just sex — spanking, toys,
gags, butt plugs, tails. It can be as simple as putting a guy in
a helmet and a gag and fucking him, or as elaborate as full
hockey kit. There’s lots of different approaches.”
WHAT CLUBS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN EXPLORING THE SCENE? “As far as I know, there aren’t any explicitly

gear clubs in this area. You have your rubber club, which is
more open to gear than your traditional leather clubs usually
are. Most of the guys into gear play tend to be younger. They
tend to be less likely to be aligned with a club. They’re more
likely to be GDIs, as the old guys would call them — ‘God
Damn Independents.’ That term comes from back in the days
when most guys were expected to affiliate themselves with a

club. And GDIs were the guys who refused to. Today, most
guys are unaffiliated.
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION? “I have no idea. I don’t know if there

are that many.”

a tail, some don’t. Some wear their hoods. I don’t wear a
hood. In my personal experience, if I’m wearing my hood, it’s
for show. I don’t go into puppy space if I’ve got my hood on.”
WHAT CLUBS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN EXPLORING THE SCENE? “Right here in DC we have the Mid-Atlantic

SCENE 3: PUPPY PLAY

Kennel Korps (MAKK). I’m actually one of the co-founders.
We don’t have regular dates. And it doesn’t cover just D.C. It’s
a regional group — D.C., Baltimore, Philly, Pittsburgh, Jersey.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? “I first saw puppy play way back
in 2002 at SouthEast LeatherFest (SELF) in Atlanta. It was
a leatherman out with his pup — right there at the event, he
was leading his pup through. I was introduced to them by my
sir at the time. He knew them. At that time that particular
sir was very much against it. So I had to wait. It was at MAL
2008 where I first ‘pupped out.’”

BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION? “While pup play itself isn’t new —

PERSON OF INTEREST: Pup Tripp

it’s been around for years — the community is actually fairly
new, less than a decade old. And it’s not fully understood. It’s
defining itself, for one thing. And there’s been a lot of misconceptions about who and what we are. And that’s one of the
things that as a title holder [IPC International Puppy 2014]
I work towards clearing up. Some people [see it as degrading] — and there was a time when it was. It used to be used
as punishment, years ago. And then those crazy people found
out we liked it. To me it’d be a reward.”

SCENE 4: ROPEWORK/BONDAGE
PERSON OF INTEREST: Eli Sirra

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? “I was drawn to it after I saw

pictures of guys being tied up. I used to go to Lambda Rising
bookstore and check out pictures, like the Tom of Finland
drawings. I later took a three-day course in D.C. from Midori,
who’s a heavy hitter in the world of rope bondage. I think
that once you find out what your kink is, you need to explore
it and learn all about it.”

WHAT ATTRACTS YOU TO IT? “After my first experience, it felt
so natural. It was neat. When I first saw it, I was really, really
intrigued. There was something about the energy in it that
drew me in. I can’t tell you how I related to it, I just did. A lot
will tell you it’s a form of fetish play. To me pup play is not
sexual but actually very spiritual. I’m expressing a very deep
part of myself, a very canine part of my personality. And when
I get into that zone, and completely let go, that inner pup can
pretty much take over. But I’m still human.”
HOW DOES IT WORK? “The annual puppy park at MAL — how
does one describe a mosh without calling it controlled chaos?
That’s where the pups who are interested in doing this —
not all pups like to mosh — they’ll get down there and play.
Everything from chasing a ball around on the floor, romping
around with each other, in a safe and relatively controlled
environment. A lot of people will wear custom things where
they can move a lot more freely. We do kind of restrict some
gear so that people don’t get hurt — like something with
spikes. But people will be down there in singlets. Some wear

WHAT ATTRACTS YOU TO IT? “In the pictures or drawings of
guys tied up, I would notice how tight the ropes were as the
guy struggled against them. They exuded masculinity. As I
became more interested in rope bondage, I was attracted to
how the rope was tied, even if it was a girl being tied up. It was
something that was turning me on, just in terms of pictures.
For me, it’s the fact that someone would submit or let me
have control over them, a sort of power exchange where I can
do whatever I want to them. That makes it erotic.”
HOW DOES IT WORK? “Bondage can happen with rope, or tape,

or latex — anything. Once the person is bound, you can engage
in sex, BDSM, cock-and-ball torture, nipple play, electrical or
sensitivity play. Basically, any other kind or fetish can go
along with ropework as part of the experience. For me, it’s
the icing on the cake. I can do these things without bondage,
but once I know I’m playing with rope, it heightens it for me.
“Essentially, you can tie a sub up, or restrain them, and
then have them submit to your will. I also learned suspension
techniques in rope bondage. That’s where a person gets suspended in air by a teepee or a pulley. It requires a lot of safety
precautions and training. But essentially, once you secure the
arms and legs, you can run a rope through a person’s harness,
and suspend them via a pulley. Then you add in the other elements of bondage.”
WHAT CLUBS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN EXPLORING THE SCENE? “If you look around or online, there are clubs

or private parties with demonstrations, where it’s like a class.
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You invite people to come and show off the different kinks,
like using electro devices on a sub. Then, afterwards, you can
ask questions of both the dom and the sub. You can also read
books about rope bondage.
”In the club, I will often flag that I’m interested in rope
bondage with a gray handkerchief in my left pocket. If they’re
interested in being a sub, they will wear one on the righthand side. That’s another way you can show interest.”
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION? “I think the biggest misconception

is that people think that you are just tying them up, and that’s
it — that there’s nothing in addition to it. I think some people
also think that ropework has to be done pretty, like entirely
symmetrical or neat. But that’s not the case. For me, it’s just
the fact that the person is bonded. It’s about the struggle
against being tied that makes it erotic.”

SCENE 5: WATERSPORTS

SCENE 6: SPANKING/FLOGGING

PERSON OF INTEREST: Jackie Thompson
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? “It honestly started with rodeo. I

went to a party for women and trans folk, and I was good with
a rope and lasso, so that brought an interesting kink to things.
But this one night at Tracks, I was with friends and we met
this guy who wanted to be humiliated by a woman or group
of women. So I tried it, and it was like a duck to water. It was
natural. It was fun.”
WHAT ATTRACTS YOU TO IT? “I guess I’m a unique person. I’m

an equal opportunity top.”
HOW DOES IT WORK? “Leather’s about sex. The way it smells,

the way it feels. BDSM has parts of that. But there’s also a

PERSON OF INTEREST: David Gerard
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? “When I first came out, I wanted to

try everything to see what I liked. That was one of the things
I tried.”
WHAT ATTRACTS YOU TO IT? “If you love a man’s penis, why not
all of a man’s penis? A penis is more than just for penetration.”
HOW IT WORKS: “There are a lot of ways. The easiest thing
to do is be a watersports top first, because the act of getting
pissed on is a bigger leap than pissing on someone or into
their mouth. And you don’t have to confine yourself to the
bathtub, because that’s not always fun, but rubber sheets and
a rubber play mat will work very nicely.”
WHAT CLUBS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN EXPLORING THE SCENE? “There really aren’t any clubs around in D.C.,

though you can find watersports parties. They all vary. There
can be as many as 200 people at a party in New York, for
example, or it could just be two guys getting together at someone’s house to play. Pretty much any kink is difficult to find
among vanilla guys at a vanilla bar. But there are some guys
who are very open about their kinks. Other times, they’re not,
because some of the vanilla guys can be judgmental.
“You can always go online to Manhunt or Recon and
check the box for ‘watersports.’ Sometimes, when one goes to
a leather bar, one may find a sub boy chained to a urinal, who
says, ‘Please, sir, don’t waste that.’ And it’s okay to pee on the
boy. At an event like MAL, you’ll see people wearing a yellow
hanky on their right. It’s okay to go up and talk to him and ask
him about the scene.”
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION? “That it’s really smelly, or that

you can get an STI from it. It’s actually very clean. You’re
not going to be repulsed by the smell. There’s no risk of
physical injury. It’s probably one of the safest kinks there
is, besides getting a handjob. It’s easy, doesn’t cost anything,
and requires no preparation, whereas even regular anal sex
requires extensive preparation. It’s one of the easiest, safest
kinks there is, which is why it’s a lot more common than some
BDSM activities.”

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mental part to it, that’s 24 hours a day for some. There are
roles, like ladies, subs, doms. There are verbal and nonverbal
cues to stop or go, based on how far you want to go, and how
far you can go. What I will typically ask is questions like, ‘Do
you have any shoulder problems?’ That helps me in terms of
planning what they’re going to do. If they can’t stand, I have
to take that into account. I need to think about their physical limitations, and ask them, ‘Have you done this before?’ If
they don’t know the answer to that question, then you have
to teach them that.”
WHAT CLUBS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN EXPLORING THE SCENE: “There’s the leather community, the BDSM

community. It’s all about finding a group that works for you.”

SCENE 7: BDSM/DOM-SUB
ROLE PLAY
PERSON OF INTEREST: Chaz

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? “I got into it by chance. I was

meeting people online, and I hooked up with a kinky bottom, who suggested bondage. And we did it, we had a great
time. And it just seemed to spark an interest in me, and I just
kept pursuing it. And I’ve now been in it about 15 years. And
I’ve met a lot of great people along the way. I don’t play a lot
because I’m old-fashioned — I’m relationship-oriented and
monogamous-bound.”
WHAT ATTRACTS YOU TO IT? “As a dominant, it is definitely the
power exchange. It’s definitely the trust. There’s an erotic
element to it that really powers it. If I’m playing with a sub-

missive, and I know he’s getting really turned on by what
we’re doing, it fuels me even more.”
HOW DOES IT WORK? “We really focus on negotiation. You basically talk about what you want to do while you’re in a scene,
prior to playing, so both parties know exactly what’s going to
happen and what’s expected. And then during the scene you
don’t break negotiation — meaning you don’t add something
to it that wasn’t previously agreed upon. And the third step
is ‘after-care,’ which is bringing that person back down from
his erotic and sensual experience. Your endorphins and all
the other chemicals in your brain get supercharged. And
‘after-care’ is where we talk about what worked for you, what
didn’t work for you, and what could happen to make the next
time better.”
WHAT CLUBS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN EXPLORING THE SCENE? “SigMa is a really active, all-male BDSM

organization. We teach safety protocols. We provide support
when people need to talk. SigMa specifically works with

Dominants/submissives. We don’t really put labels on people
other than that. There’s another group called Leather and
Kink United, which is relatively new, but they’re preparing
to do workshops, education, outreach and support. And it
incorporates everybody — straight/gay and however you
identify yourself.
What we’re trying to, essentially, is to provide accurate
information, have support groups that people can go to and
talk about the things that are going on in their life. And just
make friendships, because kink, although it’s very popular, is
not widely accepted. We’re trying to create an environment
where people feel safe to explore this, without any kind of
backlash from friends or family.”
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION? “I think there are two big miscon-

ceptions. One, that most people who are into kink have psy-

chological issues. A lot of people just see it as a bad thing. If
it’s done under the right conditions, it’s a very good thing. It
does a lot of positive things for you.
“It’s sort of like how it was years ago, when people thought
that homosexuality was a psychological issue. And a lot of
people’s perception is that being kinky or having a fetish is
bad — there’s something wrong with you. And that’s not the
case. Society decides what is normal, what is sane — and it
just doesn’t fit the reality of it. I know many, many people
who are into kink, and they are the most together people I’ve
met because they know themselves.
“The second is that what everybody reads online is true.
There’s a lot of inaccuracies in the information that’s out
there on BDSM/kink. If you research the role of a dominant,
you’ll get many, many articles and testimonies of what is a
good dominant and what is a good submissive, and there are
a lot of inconsistencies and inaccuracies. It’s basically one
person’s fantasy of what a dominant is, or specifically what
their needs for a dominant is.” l
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Event Calendar
Mid-Atlantic Leather 2015

M

By Doug Rule

ORE THAN 3,000 PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND THIS
year’s Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend, which will fill every nook and
cranny of its host hotel, the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol
Hill at 400 New Jersey Avenue NW.
“The lobby turns into the largest gay bar in the city,” says Patrick Grady, the
event’s longtime chair and a member of presenting organization, the Centaurs
MC. But this year, the action isn’t confined to the host hotel. Several other
local venues will be hosting parties, including many bear-popular spots, from
Green Lantern to Town Danceboutique. And Nellie’s Sports Bar is offering
discounted drinks and dining to those with an MAL wristband on Sunday, Jan.
18, making it a good choice for a pit stop before that evening’s official closing
party — the Reaction Dance at the 9:30 Club, just a block away.
This year’s MAL also ushers in the 30th annual Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather
contest, where a handful of contestants and a good portion of former titleholders are expected — including Mr. MAL 1993, the contest’s perpetual cutup
emcee Frank Nowicki.
“There’s great buzz this year,” Grady says. “Lots of people coming — lots
of first-timers...with lots of interests in kink and fetish.... There’s something for
everyone this year at MAL, really.”
Events in this calendar marked with an asterisk are official, MAL-ticketed
events for weekend-pass holders only. A shuttle van for day ticket or weekend
pass holders runs Friday and Saturday nights, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., between the
host hotel and the Green Lantern, 1335 Green Court NW. Other transportation
available as noted. All listings subject to change.
Weekend Admission Passes to the Exhibit Hall and other events on the host
hotel’s lower levels are available in one-day ($10), Saturday and Sunday combined ($20), or three-day ($25) variations. Full registration, including tickets to
all MAL-ticketed events, are $200.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 15
DC Leather Pride: Welcome to MAL 2015
9 p.m. til close
Shirtless Men Drink Free from 10 to 11 p.m.
Green Lantern
1335 Green Court NW
Greenlanterndc.com

FRIDAY, JANUARY 16
MAL Registration
3 to 10 p.m.
Capitol Rooms A and B
Host Hotel
Bootblacks on Duty
Benefitting Mr. MAL Travel Fund and the
Leather Heart Foundation
4 to 10 p.m.
Lower Level
3 p.m. to Midnight
Lobby Level
Host Hotel
Exhibit Hall
4 to 10 p.m.
Lower Level
Host Hotel
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DC Bëar Crüe:
Leather Bear Party & Patio Cigar Party
6 to 11 p.m.
No cover before 9:30 p.m.
Town Danceboutique
2009 8th St. NW
dcbearcrue.com
Mister International Rubber Cocktail Party
7 to 10 p.m.
Thornton Room
Host Hotel
Highwaymen TNT Fetish Party:
“ExtremeO”
10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Regency Ballroom B
Host Hotel
trashandtravel.com
SigMa Dungeon Party
8 p.m. to Midnight
$20 SigMa members, $25 nonmembers
1636 R St. NW, Second Floor
sigmadc.org

Grunt Party: “1 Nation Under Gods”
10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Tickets are $12
Green Lantern
1335 Green Court NW
greenlanterndc.com
Code
Rubber/Skin/Uniform/Leather/Naked,
strictly enforced
10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
$40 for one night, or $60 for Weekend Pass
Glorious Health Club
2120 West Virginia Ave. NE
codedc.com
Free shuttle from Host Hotel,
10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
495 Bears: Leather Growl Party with
Naked Bear Dancers
8 p.m. to 3 a.m.
No cover until 10 p.m.
Secrets
1824 Half Street SW
secretsdc.com

SATURDAY, JANUARY 17
MAL Registration
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Capitol A and B
Host Hotel
Bootblacks on Duty
11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Lower Level
12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Lobby Level
Host Hotel
Exhibit Hall
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Lower Level
Host Hotel
Mid-Atlantic Kennel Korps: “Puppy Park
VII” puppy mosh
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Congressional A and B
Host Hotel
makkorps.org
BDSM Demonstrations by SigMa
Noon to 2 p.m.
Regency A and B
Host Hotel
sigmadc.org
International Mr. Leather 2015 Judges
Announcement
Noon to 1 p.m.
Thornton Room
imrl.com
Onyx Cocktail Party &
Leather/Fetish Gear Show
Live Auction benefits SMYAL and Onyx
2 to 6 p.m.
Suggested donation of $5
Congressional A
Host Hotel
onyxmen.com

495 Bears: Bears Can Dance MAL
Celebration
9 p.m. to 3 a.m.
No cover
Green Lantern
greenlanterndc.com
SigMa Dungeon Party
6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
$20 SigMa members, $25 nonmembers
1636 R St. NW, Second Floor
sigmadc.org
Leather Cocktails*
7 to 9 p.m.
Regency Ballroom
Host Hotel
Code
Rubber/Skin/Uniform/Leather/Naked,
strictly enforced
10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
$40 for one night, or $60 for Weekend Pass
Glorious Health Club
2120 West Virginia Ave. NE
codedc.com
NastyKinkPigs: FxCK Party
10 p.m to 3 a.m.
Regency B, C & D
Host Hotel
fxck.co

MAUL (Mid-Atlantic Uniform League)
Party: “Report for Duty”
10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Congressional B
Host Hotel
uniformleague.org

DC Leather Pride: BLUF DC (Breeches &
Leather Uniform Fanclub)
4 to 10 p.m.
Tickets are $10 in gear, or $15
Cobalt
1639 R St. NW
facebook.com/cobaltdc

SUNDAY, JANUARY 18

SigMa Dungeon Party
6 to 10 p.m.
$20 SigMa members, $25 nonmembers
1636 R St. NW, Second Floor
sigmadc.org

MAL Brunch*
10 to 11:30 a.m.
Capitol A and B
Host Hotel
MAL Registration
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Capitol Room Foyer
Host Hotel
Bootblacks on Duty
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lower Level
Noon to 6 p.m.
Lobby Level
Host Hotel
Exhibit Hall
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lower Level
Host Hotel
Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2015 Contest*
1 to 4 p.m.
Non-pass-holder tickets available for $25
Regency A, B, C & D
Host Hotel

The NeedlExchange: Honcho (Pittsburgh)
9 p.m. to close
Tickets are $9
Green Lantern
greenlanterndc.com
Rich Morel’s Hot Sauce DC MAL Weekend
10 p.m. to close
No cover
Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar
1104 H St. NE
facebook.com/RichMorelsHotSauce
Official Closing Party: Reaction
9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
$45
9:30 Club
815 V St. NW
Shuttle bus runs 9:30 p.m. to 4 a.m.
930.com l

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27

JANUARY 15 - 22, 2015

Compiled by Doug Rule

SPOTLIGHT

SMELLIN’ UP THE DEN

GIGI

The Kennedy Center taps Signature Theatre’s Eric
Schaeffer to helm a new Broadway-bound revival
of Lerner and Loewe’s Oscar and Tony-winning
musical comedy, set in turn-of-the-century Paris.
Former Disney Channel star Vanessa Hudgens (High
School Musical) takes on the title role, playing a freespirited young woman on a journey to find her true
self — and her true love. Victoria Clark (The Light in
the Piazza), Dee Hoty (Footloose), Howard McGillin
(Anything Goes), Corey Cott (Newsies) and Steffanie
Leigh (Mary Poppins) also star. Opens Friday, Jan.
16, at 8 p.m. To Feb. 12. Kennedy Center Eisenhower
Theater. Tickets are $45 to $145. Call 202-467-4600
or visit kennedy-center.org.

NATALIE COLE IN LET FREEDOM RING!
Get in line early if you want to hear this celebrated
vocalist, who will perform as part of the Kennedy
Center and Georgetown University’s annual free
musical celebration honoring Martin Luther King,
Jr.’s legacy. Also on the bill is the Let Freedom Ring
Choir with music director Rev. Nolan Williams Jr.
And the 13th annual John Thompson Legacy of a
Dream Award will be presented to George Jones,
head of Bread for the City, a D.C. nonprofit providing
food, clothing and comprehensive services for lowincome residents. Monday, Jan. 19, at 6 p.m. Kennedy
Center Concert Hall. Free tickets will be given away
two per person on a first-come, first-served basis
starting at 5 p.m. that day. Call 202-467-4600 or visit
kennedy-center.org.
JASON ALEXANDER WITH
THE BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Jack Everly leads the BSO Pops in a performance
featuring the former Seinfeld actor, who reprises his
salad days on Broadway with a variety show featuring stand-up and improv — plus lots of music, of
course. Thursday, Jan. 22, at 8 p.m. Music Center at
Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda.
Also Friday, Jan. 23, and Saturday, Jan. 24, at 8 p.m,
and Sunday, Jan. 25, at 3 p.m. Joseph Meyerhoff
Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore.
Tickets are $40 to $120. Call 410-783-8000 or visit
bsomusic.org.

KING: A FILMED RECORD…MONTGOMERY
TO MEMPHIS

The American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre celebrates MLK Day by screening a free documentary
featuring footage of the civil rights legend. King: A
Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis includes
his stirring “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln
Memorial, and also features narration and commentary from Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Paul
Newman, Charlton Heston, Harry Belafonte and
Ruby Dee, among others. Sidney Lumet and Joseph
L. Mankiewicz co-directed and produced this 1970
film. Monday, Jan. 19, at 1:45 p.m. AFI Silver Theatre,
8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are free.
Call 301-495-6720 or visit afi.com/Silver.

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Red Knight Productions, which started a couple
years ago at the Capital Fringe Festival, offers a new
New York-style sketch comedy show, Smellin’ Up
The Den. Written by Red Knight’s Scott Courlander
and David Juliano, the piece was first performed in
a shorter version at Amy Poehler’s Upright Citizens
Brigade Theatre in New York and is billed as “Think
SNL, but with the F-word.” It features Michael
Cartwright, Katie Courlander and Justus Hammon
telling a sketchy story that spoofs on Charlie Brown,
the Muppets and America’s brightest children somehow or other roped into competing for the Scripps
National “Penis” Bee. Opens Friday, Jan. 16, at 8
p.m. Runs to Jan. 31. Port City Playhouse, 1819 North
Quaker Lane. Alexandria. Tickets are $!8 to $22 and
come with complimentary beer or wine. Call 703838-2880 or visit redknightproductions.com.

STUDIO GALLERY EXHIBIT:
PORTRAITS OF SELF AS OTHER

Thomas Drymon got the idea for this Doris-Mae
exhibit, hosted at Dupont Circle’s Studio Gallery,
after looking at hundreds of Instagram feeds and
other sources of social media sharing, or self-selected “curating” of photos. “If you look at an artist’s
body of work,” he asks in an official statement,
“can you glean a sense of identity from it much the
same way one can do with social media apps?” He
attempts to answer the question with a look at the
works of six painters: Laura Elkins, Joren Lindholm,
Kanchan Balse, Paul Pietsch, Amanda Kates and
Luke Alexander Atkinson. Now to Jan. 31. A Meet the
Artists Reception is Saturday, Jan. 17, from 4 p.m. to
6 p.m. Studio Gallery, 2108 R St. NW. Call 202-2328734 or visit studiogallerydc.com or doris-mae.com.

THE INSERIES: BELLINI’S SONNAMBULA

The next opera in the In Series’ “pocket opera” series
is this infrequently performed Romantic story of
innocent young love, jealousy, intrigue and sleepwalking. It’s a full production with chamber ensemble of a new English adaptation by Steven Scott
Mazzola. CarrieAnnie Winter, Joseph Haughton,
Brody Del Baccaro, Eduardo Castro and Kimberly
Christie make up the cast. To Jan. 25. Source, 1835
14th St. NW. Tickets are $22 to $42. Call 202-2047760 or visit inseries.org.

THE T PARTY

Forum Theatre stages an immersive theatrical event
celebrating gender transformation in D.C. Writer
and director Natsu Onoda Power tells the real-life
stories of local transgender people through a series of
scenes, songs, videos and even a dance party. Closes
this Saturday, Jan. 17. Round House Theatre Silver
Spring, 8641 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets
are $30 to $35. Call 240-644-1100 or visit forumtheatre.com.

TIG NOTARO

In addition to lesbian comic Tig Notaro’s breadand-butter base of stand-up, chances are you’ve also
appreciated her generally behind-the-scenes television writing work — most notably for Comedy
Central’s The Sarah Silverman Program and Inside

Amy Schumer — as well as her occasional contributions to PRI’s This American Life. Notaro, a
Mississippi native who lives in Los Angeles, returns
to the area for an unusual winter stop. Monday,
Jan. 19, at 8 p.m. Ram’s Head On Stage, 33 West St.,
Annapolis. Tickets are $25. Call 410-268-4545 or
visit ramsheadonstage.com.

FILM
PADDINGTON

Are you ready to have the eponymous bear, fondly
remembered from the ‘70s TV series with a mix
of 2D drawings and 3D stop-motion, recreated in
CGI and placed into a real-world setting? Hugh
Bonneville, Julie Walters and Nicole Kidman aim to
ease the transition, directed by the producer of the
Harry Potter films, David Heyman. Here’s hoping it
doesn’t suffer Garfield’s fate. Opens Friday, Jan. 16.
Area theaters. Visit fandango.com.

STILL ALICE

Julianne Moore offers another terrific, heartbreaking and unforgettable performance — also awardwinning, a la the Golden Globes most recently — this
time as Alice, a mother who is starting to forget her
words (her stock-in-trade as a linguistics professor)
due to early onset Alzheimer’s. Richard Glatzer and
Wash Westmoreland direct this film, based on Lisa
Genova’s novel, that also stars Alec Baldwin as Alice’s
husband and Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish and
Kristen Stewart as their children. Opens Friday, Jan.
16. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call
202-452-7672 or visit landmarktheatres.com.

STAGE
BAD JEWS

★★★★★
In Joshua Harmon’s acerbic dramedy Bad Jews,
none of the four characters are lovable. They are,
in fact, as the title would have it, all bad, to varying
degrees — though only three of the four are Jewish,
cousins reunited for their grandfather’s funeral.
Irene Sofia Lucio as Daphna and Alex Mandell
as Liam both turn in astonishing performances as
the show’s two tentpole monsters, one an Israelidreaming Jewish hardliner, the other a thoroughly
assimilated American atheist. Peace and goodwill
between these two is as impossible to imagine as it
is between Israel and Palestine. Closes this Sunday,
Jan. 18. Studio Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Tickets
are $44 to $88. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org. (Doug Rule)

BASKERVILLE:
A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY

Arena Stage presents the world-premiere of Ken
Ludwig’s comic adaptation of everyone’s favorite
crime-solver, in a co-production with McCarter
Theatre Center. Amanda Dehnert directs. Opens
Friday, Jan. 16, at 8 p.m. To Feb. 22. Mead Center for
American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $45
to $98. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.

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JANUARY 15, 2015

29

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT IN AMERICA

Virginia’s American Century Theater offers two
intense one-act dramas in an evening with echoes
of today’s Ferguson: Terry Curtis Fox’s Cops (based
on a sketch by David Mamet) and William Saroyan’s
classic Hello Out There. Both are encore productions,
with Cops one of the company’s best-received shows
and Hello Out There garnering the company its first
Helen Hayes nomination in its second season. Now
to Jan. 31. Gunston Theater Two, 2700 South Lang
St. Arlington. Tickets are $32 to $40. Call 703-9984555 or visit americancentury.org.

DINER: THE MUSICAL

Kathleen Marshall, a veteran Broadway director/
choreographer of hit revivals including Wonderful
Town and Anything Goes, helms a new adaptation of Barry Levinson’s classic ‘80s movie set in
Baltimore and featuring music and lyrics by bluesy
rocker Sheryl Crow. After last year’s scheduled
Broadway debut was postponed for further refinement, Signature Theatre stepped up to the plate to
give the show its world premiere. The production
features a large cast of 20, with the central circle of
friends portrayed by Adam Kantor as Eddie, Josh
Grisetti as Shrevie, Derek Klena as Boogie, Aaron C.
Finley as Billy and Matthew James Thomas as Fen.
And Signature’s main star in its arsenal, Nova Y.
Payton, plays “Stripper.” To Jan. 25. Max Signature
Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703820-9771 or visit signature-theatre.org.

IN PRAISE OF LOVE

Washington Stage Guild offers a production
of Terence Rattigan’s play about the marriage of
Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall, an early hit at the
Kennedy Center. Laura Giannarelli directs. Now
to Jan. 25. Undercroft Theatre of Mount Vernon
United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Ave.
NW. Tickets are $40 to $50. Call 240-582-0050 or
visit stageguild.org.

THE TEMPEST

One of Shakespeare’s late masterpieces, a magical tale in which sprites, goddesses and fools
hold court on a deserted island after a shipwreck.
Ethan McSweeney directs a Shakespeare Theatre
Company production. Closes this Sunday, Jan. 18.
Sidney Harman Hall, Harman Center for the Arts,
610 F St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.

MUSIC
AFRIKA BAMBAATAA AND
FUNK FOR THE DREAM

D.C.’s Fort Knox Recordings presents this celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., featuring DJ sets
from electro-funk master and “godfather of hip-hop”
Afrika Bambaataa, plus multi-genre local group Fort
Knox Five. Sunday, Jan. 18. Doors at 9 p.m. U Street
Music Hall, 1115A U St. NW. Tickets are $10. Call
202-588-1880 or visit ustreetmusichall.com.

ARI HEST

Thirty-four-year-old Ari Hest’s range now is chiefly
a baritone — well suited to heavier sentiments about
life and love than the average. ”I guess I identify
more with the struggle – whatever the struggle is – in
music,” Hest told Metro Weekly two years ago. “Not
to compare myself to Leonard Cohen, but you know
that kind of voice, generally, you think of some kind
of weighted song coming from a voice like that.”
Sarah Siskind, whose perceptive folk music has been
performed on ABC’s Nashville, opens. Saturday, Jan.
24, at 7:30 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap
Road, Vienna. Tickets are $25. Call 877-WOLFTRAP
or visit wolftrap.org.
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BOHEMIAN CAVERNS JAZZ ORCHESTRA

Every Monday night the 17-piece jazz orchestra
performs a variety of music from the big band repertoire — including pieces by Duke Ellington, Count
Basie, Billy Strayhorn and Maria Schneider, plus
originals from band members, at its namesake venue.
Founded by baritone saxophonist Brad Linde and
club owner Omrao Brown, featuring some of D.C.’s
best jazz musicians, including Linde and trumpeter
Joe Herrera, who co-direct. Performances at 8 p.m.
and 10 p.m. every Monday night. Bohemian Caverns,
2001 11th St. NW. Tickets are $10. Call 202-299-0800
or visit bohemiancaverns.com.

BUDAPEST FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA

Former National Symphony Orchestra conductor
Iván Fischer co-founded and leads the Budapest
Festival Orchestra, a relatively young yet highly
regarded ensemble. The BFO returns to the area with
a program linking two dramatic works: Mozart’s
The Magic Flute and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer
Night’s Dream. Plus, violinist Pinchas Zukerman
joins to perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in
A Major. Friday, Jan. 23, at 8 p.m. Music Center at
Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda.
Tickets are $35 to $95. Call 301-581-5100 or visit
strathmore.org.

FOUR BITCHIN’ BABES

“Best of the Babes 25th Anniversary Show” features highlights from the comedic music ensemble
featuring Ohio-based Sally Fingerett, Philadelphiabased comedic singer Deirdre Flint and two locals,
Grammy-winning lesbian multi-instrumentalist
Marcy Marxer and former The Hags singer Debi
Smith. In an interview with Metro Weekly a couple
years ago, Smith summed up the Babes’ outlook to
songwriting and performing: “We look at life, as it’s
happening, usually in a comedic way – [and] through
a wacky viewfinder.” Saturday, Jan. 24, at 7:30
p.m., at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,
Alexandria. Tickets are $35. Call 703-549-7500 or
visit birchmere.com.

GREAT NOISE ENSEMBLE

Since composer and conductor Armando Bayolo
founded it in 2005, the Great Noise Ensemble has
become one of the most important and adventurous
ensembles in D.C. focused on contemporary classical
music. The group returns to the Atlas with a “Winter
Light” program featuring two new-music giants:
Arvo Part and his Fratres, and Pulitzer Prize winner
John Luther Adams and his Clouds of Forgetting,
Clouds of Unknowing. Friday, Jan. 23, at 8 p.m. Atlas
Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are
$28. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.

LAURA BENANTI

Last year Tony-winning star Laura Benanti (Gypsy,
Into The Woods) recalled to Metro Weekly having a
slight existential crisis as a kid. “What is this world
that I live in? What is this horrible place where people know who Paula Abdul is, and they don’t know
who Rosemary Clooney is? It made me feel really
lonely and really sad,” Benanti said. On the flipside,
it also made her feel like “a 45-year-old gay man
in a little girl’s body.” After performing once again
with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, Benanti
returns less than a year later to offer another night of
cabaret-style song, dance and humor. Sunday, June
25, at 7:30 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap
Road, Vienna. Tickets are $40. Call 877-WOLFTRAP
or visit wolftrap.org.

NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Christoph Eschenbach conducts a program that
includes a U.S. premiere of an NSO co-commissioned piano concerto by the radical Wolfgang Rihm
and performed by Tzimon Barto. Also on the bill
are works by Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and

Dvorak’s Carnival Overture. Thursday, Jan. 15, at 7
p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center
Concert Hall. Tickets are $10 to $85. Call 202-4674600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

SUPER DIAMOND

From “Sweet Caroline” to “Heartlight,” the San
Francisco-based Super Diamond has Neil Diamond
covered, literally. “I’ve met them and I have been to
their shows, they’re wonderful,” Diamond raved a
decade ago to Katie Couric. Saturday, Jan. 17. Doors
at 8 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $22.
Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.

THE SMITHEREENS

Hard to believe it’s already been more than three
decades since the leather-wearing, American college-rock band charted with “Only A Memory,”
“11” and “A Girl Like You.” Friday, Jan. 23, at 9 p.m.
The State Theatre, 220 North Washington St., Falls
Church. Tickets are $21. Call 703-237-0300 or visit
thestatetheatre.com.

THE TRAGICALLY HIP

Formed over three decades ago by five friends, the
Tragically Hip is a truly hip sensation in its native
Canada. If not as popular south of the border, at least
the band isn’t tragically unknown. They returns to
play the Lincoln Theatre next week. Wednesday,
Jan. 21. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215
U St. NW. Tickets are $49.50 to $75. Call 202-3286000 or visit thelincolndc.com.

DANCE
32ND ANNUAL
CHOREOGRAPHERS’ SHOWCASE

A co-presentation with the Maryland-National
Capital Park and Planning Commission, this annual
showcase at the Clarice features some of the region’s
most talented emerging choreographers adjudicated
by Zvi Gotheiner and Keith A. Thompson. Noted
local gay choreographer Christopher K. Morgan
is one of those selected this round, along with
Kimmie Dobbs Chan, Robin Neveu Brown, Madhvi
Venkatesh, Emily Heller, Colette Krogol with
Matthew Reeves and Taura Broadhurst. Saturday,
Jan. 24, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. The Clarice at the
University of Maryland, University Boulevard and
Stadium Drive. College Park. Tickets are $25. Call
301-405-ARTS or visit theclarice.umd.edu.

KANKOURAN
WEST AFRICAN DANCE COMPANY

Kankouran offers its annual performance honoring
Martin Luther King, Jr. on his birthday weekend.
The program features an electrifying, athletic and
kid-friendly routines set to traditional West African
dancing and drumming. Saturday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m.,
and Sunday, Jan. 18, at 4 p.m. Dance Place, 3225 8th
St. NE. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door.
Call 202-269-1600 or visit danceplace.org.

SUSAN MARSHALL

A MacArthur Fellow last decade and the director of dance at Princeton University, ballet-minded
choreographer Susan Marshall has been developing
a new work involving the body, objects and sound
with So Percussion composer and musician Jason
Treuting and visiaul artist Suzanne Bocanegra. The
trio will perform sketches from the new work next
weekend at the American Dance Institute. Friday,
Jan. 23, and Saturday, Jan. 24, at 8 p.m. American
Dance Institute, 1501 East Jefferson St. Rockville.
Tickets are $31.25. Call 301-984-3003 or visit americandance.org.

READINGS
ROGER COHEN

The Girl from Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family is an intimate
memoir about this award-winning New York Times columnist’s family legacy,
from pre-Holocaust days in Lithuania to apartheid-era South Africa to U.S. and
Israel more recently. Thursday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue.
600 I St. NW. Tickets are $12, or $28 for two tickets and one book. Call 202-4083100 or visit sixthandi.org.

COMEDY
PORKCHOP VOLCANO

This live short form improv troop specializes in rapid-fire laughs inspired by
audience suggestions and performs on special Saturday nights at its home base,
the Arlington Drafthouse. Saturday, Jan. 24, at 9 p.m. Arlington Cinema N’
Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington. Tickets are free. Call 703-486-2345
or visit arlingtondrafthouse.com.

MODERN SCULPTURE: DIALOGUES IN THREE DIMENSIONS

While its galleries are closed for renovation and expansion, the National Gallery
of Art has set up throughout its East Building a special installation of modern
sculpture from its renowned holdings. And three times a week, the gallery offers
a new 60-minute guided tour highlighting these works, allowing patrons to
engage with each other in open-ended discussions about, in addition to the guide
pointing out connections between, the works on view, from Alexander Calder’s
monumental mobile Untitled from 1976 to Andy Goldsworthy’s decade-old
Roof. The relationship between I.M. Pei’s East Building and John Russell Pop’s
West Building is also examined. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, at 1:30 p.m.
National Gallery of Art East Building Information Desk, 3rd Street at Constitution
Avenue NW. Call 202-737-4215 or visit nga.gov.

ONCE THERE WERE BILLIONS

Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America documents those
species of birds we’ve lost on this continent over the past two centuries, from
the puffin-like great auck to the Carolina parakeet to the heath hen to the passenger pigeon, not to be confused with the commonplace carrier pigeon. Through
October. National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution
Avenue NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit mnh.si.edu.

PERSONALLY SPEAKING: 12X12

GALLERIES
AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE: TOURING THE GLOBE FOR 75 YEARS

A collection of 43 artifacts, including photographs, costume sketches, posters
and a short film of clips, tracing the history and impact of what was founded in
1939 as Ballet Theatre. This troupe incorporated American influences and helped
inspire American choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille and
Twyla Tharp, to transform this classical genre. Through Jan. 24. Performing Arts
Reading Room in The Library of Congress’s James Madison Memorial Building,
101 Independence Ave. SE. Call 202-707-8000 or visit loc.gov/exhibits.

BEYOND BOLLYWOOD: INDIAN AMERICANS SHAPE THE NATION

Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center presents this ambitious and colorful exhibition on the second floor of the National Museum of Natural History,
exploring the heritage, daily experiences and diverse contributions of Indians
and Indian Americans. Through Aug. 16. National Museum of Natural History,
10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit mnh.si.edu.

A juried multi-media art show, Personally Speaking: 12x12 features Capitol Hill
Arts League member artists revealing their personal style through work that
holds a personal meaning to them. Opening reception is Saturday, Jan. 17, from 5
p.m. to 7 p.m. Runs to March 5. Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th St. SE. Call
202-547-6839 or visit chaw.org.

PICTURING MARY: WOMAN, MOTHER, IDEA

The National Museum of Women in the Arts offers a landmark exhibition
bringing together Renaissance and Baroque masterworks from major museums,
churches and private collections in Europe and around the U.S., all depicting the
Virgin Mary in one form or another as the ultimate conception of motherhood.
The exhibition includes more than 60 paintings, sculptures and textiles from
artists both male — Botticelli, Michelangelo and Dürer — and to a lesser extent
female, including Artemisia Gentileschi and Elisabetta Sirani. Through April 12.
National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave NW. Admission is
$10. Call 202-783-5000 or visit nmwa.org.

DECODING THE RENAISSANCE

The Folger Shakespeare Library’s latest exhibition focuses on the first great age
of mass communication, the Renaissance, which launched printing, developed
diplomacy and created postal systems. All of this triggered an obsession with
encryption and secret communication that produced some of the period’s most
brilliant inventions, most beautiful books and most enduring legacies, including
that of code-breakers and cryptographers. Through Feb. 26. Folger Great Hall in
Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Free. Call 202-544-7077 or
visit folger.edu.

ELSABE DIXON: LIVE/LIFE

South Africa-born, Virginia-based artist Elsabe Dixon investigates our relationship with changing systems and networks using organic and repurposed material,
focused on the biological life cycle of insects. In Live/Life at Artisphere, Dixon
shows an insect life cycle as an ephemeral gesture over a period of five months.
To Feb. 22. Artist In Resident Studio at Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd. Arlington.
Call 703-875-1100 or visit artisphere.com.

FOOD: OUR GLOBAL KITCHEN

National Geographic imports this exhibition from New York’s American Museum
of Natural History exploring the complex and intricate farm-to-fork food system,
with sections devoted to growing, transporting, cooking, eating, tasting and
celebrating. Through Feb. 22. National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th St. NW.
Tickets are $11. Call 202-857-7588 or visit ngmuseum.org.

JAMESON MAGROGAN: 12TH ANNUAL DC ARTIST SOLO EXHIBITION

Transformer presents its 12th annual solo exhibition with a focus on Jameson
Magrogan. Oil, Then Acrylic investigates the artist’s relationship to the mythos
of art history through painting, drawing, sculpture and print. Through Jan. 31.
Transformer, 1404 P St. NW. Call 202-483-1102 or visit transformerdc.org.

MAKE SOME NOISE: STUDENTS AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

Pegged to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and just one of
several exhibitions at the Newseum marking the occasion, Make Some Noise:
Students and the Civil Rights Movement explores the new generation of student
leaders that emerged in the 1960s to fight segregation and fight for civil rights.
John Lewis, now a U.S. representative from Georgia, and Julian Bond, a former
chair of the NAACP, are among the leaders highlighted here. Through 2015.
Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $21.95 for general admission.
Call 888-NEWSEUM or visit newseum.org.

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THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964: A LONG STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM

The Library of Congress commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights
Act with a yearlong exhibition highlighting legal and legislative victories and
shedding light on the individuals who shaped the civil rights movement. Through
Sept. 12. The Library of Congress’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE.
Call 202-707-8000 or visit loc.gov/exhibits.

ZEN, TEA AND CHINESE ART IN MEDIEVAL JAPAN

Well-known expressions of Japanese culture have their roots in Chinese arts and
ideas, from Buddhism to tea to ink painting. The Smithsonian Institution’s Freer
Gallery of Art offers an exhibition featuring Chinese and Japanese paintings,
lacquer ware and ceramics from the 13th through the 19th centuries. To June
14. Freer Gallery of Art, Jefferson Drive at 12th Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or
visit asia.si.edu.

THE SINGING AND THE SILENCE: BIRDS IN CONTEMPORARY ART

A century after the extinction of the passenger pigeon and 50 years after the
Wilderness Act, the Smithsonian American Art Museum offers an exhibition
examining humankind’s relationship to birds and the natural world in the
works of 12 contemporary American artists, including Rachel Berwick, Barbara
Bosworth, James Prosek and Tom Uttech. Through Feb. 22. Smithsonian
American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit americanart.si.edu.

THE VISIONARY EXPERIENCE: SAINT FRANCIS TO FINSTER

Baltimore’s quirky Visionary Art Museum offers its 20th annual exhibition,
this one championing life’s grand “Eureka!” moments, held in common by
Earth’s most dynamic and intuitive “evolutionaries,” from inventors, scientists,
America’s founding fathers, dreamers and saints. The show was co-curated by
filmmaker and publisher Jodi Wille and AVAM founder and director Rebecca
Alban Hoffberger. Through Aug. 30. American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key
Highway. Baltimore. Tickets are $15.95. Call 410-244-1900 or visit avam.org.

WINDOW TO WASHINGTON

Window to Washington: The Kiplinger Collection at HSW is an exhibition at
Washington’s Carnegie Library that traces the development of the nation’s capital from a sleepy Southern town to a modern metropolis, as documented through
the works of artists. The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., exhibition was
made possible by a donation from the Kiplinger family. It’s also an early step in a
reorganization effort by the society, which has struggled to revive ever since its
short-lived effort a decade ago to run a City Museum of Washington proved too
ambitious. Open Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursdays
from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., at the Carnegie
Library, 801 K St. NW. Call 202-393-1420 or visit historydc.org.

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ABOVE AND BEYOND
NOVA PRIDE’S LGBTUESDAYS AT IOTA

The organization NOVA Pride has recruited Iota to set aside one day every week
to explicitly serve LGBT residents and allies in the Clarendon community, originally started as a promotion of the first annual Northern Virginia Pride Festival,
held last fall. Each Tuesday’s event starts with a Smasher Lunch at 11 a.m., and
includes a Happy Hour from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. that kicks off with Mikey’s “Bar A”
Video Wall at 7 p.m. Iota Club and Café, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. No cover.
Call 703-522-8340 or visit novapride.org. l

stage

Praiseworthy
The real power of Choir Boy is
in its subtle, graceful and
evocative style of storytelling

IGOR DMITRY

by DOUG RULE

I

F ONLY WE COULD ALL BE A LITTLE MORE LIKE
Pharus Jonathan Young, the lead character in Tarell
McCraney’s Choir Boy, now in production at Studio
Theatre.
We first meet Pharus as he sings his school’s anthem, “Trust
and Obey.” He’s gleeful but poised, confident in his abilities to
become the next Choir Lead at Charles R. Drew Preparatory

School for Boys, an African-American school set in an unspecified, present-day location. (President Obama’s is one portrait
hanging above designer Jason Sherwood’s warm, classically
minded set, as if to suggest he’s an alumnus.)
Pharus’s poise is quickly ruined when the school bully, Bobby
(an impressionistic Keith Antone), who is also Pharus’s main
rival, rattles him mid-song with verbal taunts of “sissy” and
“faggot-ass nigga.” Uncharacteristically, but also understandably, Pharus flinches, and in response the school’s Headmaster
Marrow (a commanding Marty Austin Lamar) flinches too.
Choir Boy chiefly centers on the headmaster’s growing concerns about whether Pharus is the right fit to lead his school’s
celebrated choir. No question he’s the most talented as well as
the most charismatic and lovable but maybe he’s just a little too
lovable — too sweet, too soft, too sissy-like.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d be forgiven for thinking
that McCraney wrote the part of Pharus for Jelani Alladin, so
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completely does the young actor in Studio’s production capture
the essence of this sympathetic character. In Alladin’s hands,
Pharus is slightly more flamboyant than even most gay choristers, but his vivacious personality and enthusiastic expressiveness are the opposite of a character flaw or sign of weakness.
Instead, they’re the source of his strength, and fundamentally
what drives him to succeed.
McCraney explores a lot of topics in his 95-minute, intermission-less play, chief among them the power of music — specifically, spirituals — to help people find inner-strength to carry
on through pain and strife. Choir Boy uses music as if it were a
musical, weaving it into the fabric of the story. Pharus and the
four other boys we meet at Drew Prep School sing a lot throughout the show, both in the context of their day-to-day existence,
rehearsing or performing with the choir, as well as to further
the play’s character development and story exposition. Most
notably, all of the music is gospel or at least gospel-inspired, and
performed a cappella.
Director Kent Gash has corralled a strong group of young
singing actors and helped them realize a way of breaking into
song both naturally and spontaneously,, while remaining in sync
with the narrative and in harmony with one another. In fact, the
few times they don’t succeed usually works to enhance the play’s
larger point about imperfect boys growing up in an imperfect
world — and going to a school focused on nurturing the next
generation of black leaders — who can’t possibly meet all the
demands placed upon them.
For example, Pharus is consumed with the idea of leadership,
repeatedly questioning if he has what it takes to be a leader. Is
it enough for a leader to be respected, or does he have to be
feared too, he wonders aloud. It’s a fair question. The genuinely

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nice and mostly magnanimous Pharus can only make a play for
people’s respect; he doesn’t know — or doesn’t think he knows —
how to make anyone fear him. He also doesn’t know how to love,
and generally represses his sexual feelings — but one can only go
so far, or so long, living like that, McCraney suggests.
There are a few tear-inducing moments in Choir Boy — a
heartbreaking conversation when Pharus talks to his mother
by phone or the way a couple of the boys subtly but surely (and
only privately) show Pharus affection. There are also plenty of
gentle laughs, through clever wordplay and a few choice cultural critiques. But the real power of the piece is in McCraney’s
subtle, graceful and evocative style of storytelling. Heartstrings
aren’t pulled in obviously manipulative ways, we’re not beaten
on the head about the key themes or takeaways, and everything
remains a little mysterious, more suggestive than definitive. As
with life, in Choir Boy there are few clear or easy — or altogether
happy — resolutions.
By play’s end, the bullied choir boy isn’t entirely victorious —
and certainly not unscathed — in overcoming anti-gay adversity.
And there’s just something satisfyingly realistic, particularly
as seen through gay eyes, about the way Pharus’s experiences
of being bullied, disrespected, misunderstood or rejected are
shown to have subtly colored his life, and presumably will continue to do so. At the same time, they leave a theatergoer with
few doubts about Pharus’s faith to carry on or his ability to look
ahead, to make a future brighter than his past — to forgive his
trespassers, if not forget what they did.
Choir Boy (
) runs to Feb. 22 at Studio Theatre, 14th &
P Streets NW. Tickets are $44 to $88. Call 202-332-3300 or visit
studiotheatre.org. l

tech

Sony XBR 900C

Best in Show
CES was dominated by a focus on
4K televisions and curved screens
by RHUARIDH MARR

SONY

E

VERY YEAR, LAS VEGAS GIVES UP A PORTION
of the Strip’s acres of convention space to the
Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, to those who
doggedly follow the annual show. For fans of technology in all shapes and sizes, for every room of the house and
the great outdoors, too, CES is the holy land, with thousands
of products from hundreds of exhibitors, showcasing the latest
and greatest in tech. Naturally, some of the world’s largest firms
are present, ready to dazzle us with the shiny, plastic-wrapped
products we’ll devour as consumers over the coming year. From
televisions to audio products to smartphones, we’ve gathered
the most important announcements from LG, Samsung and Sony
— though all three leaned heavily on televisions and the industry’s obsession with “4K” to bolster their press releases this year.
Sony returned to CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las

Vegas to showcase a product the company was once the undisputed king of: television. Sony’s Trinitron sets were the hallmark
for high-quality viewing in the ’80s and ’90s, but with HDTV and
the introduction of Samsung and other players into the market,
the company had somewhat lost its relevance. Still, the Japanese
electronics giant wasn’t exactly going to roll over and admit
defeat. With 4K (also known as UltraHD) being the talk of the
town at CES 2015, Sony decided to show just how powerfully its
manufacturing arm can flex, and debuted its flagship XBR 900C,
which slots in at the top of its Bravia line of TVs.
The set itself is incredibly thin. Available in 55-, 65-, or
75-inch sizes, the 4K/UltraHD/super-high-res displays are just
4.9mm at their thinnest point (that’s less than 0.2 inches, for
us Americans). Sony dubs it “virtually frameless,” and they’re
certainly not lying. These ultra-slim TVs come with Sony’s
Triluminos tech to improve picture clarity and color accuracy, as
well as the X1 4K processor, purported to upgrade and enhance
4K footage as well as any other content you plug into or stream
to your TV. Android TV, Google’s fast, fluid OS, should make
watching your favorite content simple, while PlayStation Now
is onboard, letting gamers connect a PlayStation controller and
stream PS3 games — no console required.
The price? Well, if you have to ask, you likely can’t afford —
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Walkman ZX2

and Sony isn’t revealing it, which should be another hint that a
second mortgage might be on the cards for the 75-inch model.
Still, if you can afford them, Sony is also offering choice, in the
form of the slightly chunkier XBR X930C and X940C sets (these
names roll off the tongue, we know…), in 65- and 75-inch variants
respectively, which swap out extreme thinness for front-facing,
powerful speakers. Both come with the same image processor
and Android/PlayStation capabilities as their svelte siblings. For
the rest of us there are 4K screens ranging from 43- to 75-inches,
which should carry more palatable price tags.
Fans of high-quality audio now have another option for listening to their favorite music: enter the original king of portable
audio (Sony has lost quite a few thrones in the past decade or
so), the Walkman — the Walkman ZX2, to be specific. The long
and short of it? This is strictly for audiophiles, not people who
think Spotify is good enough for enjoying their music catalogue.
Crafted from aluminum and leather, it isn’t intended to compete
with the iPod touch. In fact, the ZX2 would likely spit on the
iPod for settling for iTunes-quality mp3s.
Here’s some facts for those of you who know what’s what in
the audio world (disclaimer: I haven’t a clue what half of this
means). Sony claims the ZX2 is capable of beyond-CD quality,
thanks to its S-Master HX digital amp, DSEE HX processing
(which recreates high-frequency information in mosic that’s
lost in normal audio files), up to 192 kHz/24-bit audio, support
for MP3, WMA, FLAC, linear PCM, WAV, AAC-LC, HE-AAC,
Apple Lossless, AIFF, and DSD, and gold-plated copper plate,
oxygen-free copper cables, and high purity lead-free solder to
help bolster sound quality. There’s even more crammed into the
ZX2’s frame to aid audio quality, but we’ll settle for this: the ZX2
will blow most other portable music players out of the water.
With 60 hours of MP3 playback and 33 hours of Hi-Res Audio
playback, Android 4.2 which brings all of Google’s OS and apps
36

JANUARY 15, 2015

METROWEEKLY.COM

to the device, a 4.0-inch Triluminos display, WiFi, Bluetooth and
NFC, among other such inclusions, the ZX2 is crammed full of
technology. Of course, its niche appeal is reflected in its price:
this isn’t something you’ll use to listen to music at the gym or to
sing along to while sitting on the subway. This is a leisure device
for audio purists, and has a price tag to match. How much?
Sony will be asking over $1,100 when it launches later this year
— though final pricing has yet to be confirmed, this is a pretty
confident estimate.
And finally, of course, Sony couldn’t leave the stage at CES
without discussing all of the drama surround The Interview and
the subsequent hacking scandal which threatened to dismantle Sony Pictures Entertainment. According to Engadget, Sony
President Kaz Hirai paused briefly during his press conference,
before saying: “Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association — those are very important lifebloods and lifelines of Sony and our entertainment business.” You do you, Sony.
This year, LG made sure that everyone who visited its stand
got a literal eyeful of its products. LG was all about displays in
Sin City, from the vast to the easily pocketed, and almost all with
one thing in common: curves. Yes, just like 3D before it, curved
screens are the current du jour feature for flagship televisions
and monitors, and no other company — with perhaps the exception of Samsung — is flaunting its curves as often as LG.
Indeed, all of this year’s buzzwords make it into LG’s latest
TVs. UltraHD (also known as 4K)? Check. Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens? They’ve got them. Fantastically thin
bezels? Of course. Curved glass displays? You betcha.
LG brought no fewer than seven 4K OLED TVs to CES, available with flat or curved displays and ranging from 55- to 77-inches and featuring LG’s “Art Slim” design to minimize clutter and
distractions around the display area. Of course, if you have the
money for LG’s top-of-the-line 77EG9900 set, you’ll never have

SUHD

G Flex 2

to choose between flat or curved again — it builds on a concept
LG showcased last year and features a body flexible enough to
move between flat and curved by itself. This is the future, people!
The pricing of these new sets has yet to be announced, but
last year’s 77-inch OLED flagship started at an eye-watering
$25,000 — and it wasn’t able to transform between flat and
curved, so this year’s flagship could potentially cost even more.
Pricing for the “cheaper” sets will vary, but don’t expect to pick
one up without some significant savings in your bank or a relative you’re not averse to selling.
Smartphones are one area where curved screens are still taking their first, tentative steps. LG and Samsung have led the market, each bringing out devices with curved screens last year to
test the waters with a wary public. Neither device was a runaway
success, but that hasn’t hindered LG from developing a follow up
to its model, the G Flex, with the appropriately named G Flex 2.
In every way possible, it’s a substantial upgrade.
Out goes its predecessor’s 6-inch, 720p screen, and in comes
a 5.5-inch 1080p dispplay, coated in chemically treated Gorilla
Glass which is 20 percent more durable than the standard clear
stuff. Making its return is the somewhat magical self-healing
plastic build, which last year could “heal” minor scratches and
imperfections in three minutes. This time around, if you scuff
your G Flex 2, expect it to sort its wounds in just ten seconds.
Inside lies the most powerful mobile chip currently available,
Qualcomm’s eight-core Snapdragon 810, paired to a meaty 2GB
of DDR4 RAM and powering Android 5.0 Lollipop, while storage is either 16 or 32GB of storage. Charging the G Flex 2 should
be easy, too, thanks to a battery and charger which can yield a
fifty-percent charge in just forty minutes, while image capture
is improved with the inclusion of the G3 smartphone’s 13MP
optically-stabilized camera and its laser-powered autofocus.
Of course, the G Flex’s party trick remains. As its name would

suggest, this curved smartphone, which comes in silver or a gorgeous claret red, can bend. Quite dramatically, actually, with
the smartphone always returning to its original, slightly curved,
shape no matter how hard you flex the device (within reason, of
course). In an era of Bendgate with the iPhone 6 Plus and the
need for cases to protect from scrapes and scuffs, it’s nice to see
LG thinking outside the box a little when it comes to durable
smartphone design. Pricing and release date are unannounced,
but AT&T has already confirmed that they will carry the G Flex 2.
Samsung, comparatively, had a relatively demure CES.
There were few major announcements, with the company going
through the motions with regards most of the devices it had on
show. As with the rest of CES, Samsung was on-hand to further
confuse consumers with an onslaught of 4K/Ultra HD/UHD
displays, except the South Korean company saw fit to further
add fuel to the acronym-heavy fire with the reveal of its latest
flagship display technology: SUHD.
Let’s clear something up: that S, which stands for “Super,”
doesn’t bring any great resolution over normal UHD rivals.
Samsung hasn’t crammed any extra pixels in to warrant the
super prefix, so what makes its new sets so fantastic? Well,
perhaps most notably, they’re the first mass-produced TVs to
offer HDR content. Yes, it’s yet another acronym, but HDR is
something smartphone users will be familiar with, and stands
for high dynamic range. In layman’s terms? Your new Samsung
TV is capable of offer bright, richer images with better contrast
and detail.
The improvement in image quality is backed up by a rather
eye-popping 500 nits of brightness (Samsung claims it’s twice as
bright as standard televisions), 10-bit panels, and “Quantum Dot”
color technology which claims to use 50,000 minute crystals in
the display to improve contrast and brightness, as well as reproduce colors a purported 64 times better than normal televisions.
Naturally, Samsung’s new sets are curved, and they’re available
in sizes stretching from 48- to a breathtaking 88-inches.
As with LG and its webOS smart TV software, Samsung is
leveraging its homegrown Tizen OS to power its new TVs. The
software promises to offer enhanced responsiveness, while
keeping all of your content to a single, scrollable screen to
reduce clutter and confusion. Of course, Samsung’s unusuallynamed Milk music- and video-streaming service is onboard,
as well as Sony’s PlayStation Now gaming service — a nice
touch if you’re not keen on one of Sony’s own sets, or ruining
your home cinema setup with a games console and its many
wires. Unfortunately, Samsung is remaining tight-lipped on
pricing and release dates for its SUHD TVs, but, as with LG,
this much technology — especially at larger sizes — isn’t going
to be cheap.
One of the most intriguing products Samsung announced at
CES wasn’t a glitzy TV or 360-degree speaker (though it had
both on offer). Instead, it was something more humble: a portable, external drive. The unassumingly named Portable SSD
T1, though, is arguably something everyone should know about.
As its name would suggest, it’s a drive of the solid-state variety,
which means blistering read and write speeds — 450 MB/s for
both via USB 3.0 — for its 250GB, 500GB or 1TB of storage. All
that speed is rather reasonably priced, too, given this is SSD
technology, with the lowest storage option starting at $180,
reaching up to $600 for the full terabyte. In bang-for-bucks
terms, it’s an incredible deal, letting those with a lot of data to
carry around finally have both speedy performance and high
capacity without completely draining their account. Expect the
T1 to reach stores this January. l
METROWEEKLY.COM

JANUARY 15, 2015

37

gears

Ford GT

Future Perfect

by RHUARIDH MARR

T

HE NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO
Show — Detroit Auto Show, to save time, or NAIAS
for acronym enthusiasts — is the holy grail of car
shows. For American consumers, it’s where we’re
most likely to see the models we’ll be driving within the next
year or so, a chance for manufacturers to whet our appetites
and pry open our checkbooks as we drool over the latest, greatest sheetmetal. And dammit, it works — this year will certainly
38

JANUARY 15, 2015

METROWEEKLY.COM

go down as one of the finest shows in recent memory, not least
because it marked the launch of the latest iteration of America’s
greatest racing icon: the Ford GT. Yes, folks, the Ford GT has
stepped up for just its third version in more than half a century
— and really, all other news is a moot point after that fact, but
for the sake of journalism, variety, and the fact that there were
plenty of other great cars on offer, here’s our choices for some of
the best cars of the NAIAS.
FORD GT

Of course we had to start with this. Let’s cut right to the chase:
this is not your father’s GT40. Unlike the mid-’00s retroinspired Ford GT, which brought V8 muscle and a ’60s aesthetic
to the supercar party, this GT — which enters production in 2016
— is thoroughly modern. That aggressively sliced, aerodynamic
bodywork is crafted from carbon fiber and aluminum to save
weight. Gone are the eight-cylinders of old, replaced with Ford’s
twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 — and before you balk at that
fact, the engine shoves more than 600 horsepower to the GT’s
rear-wheels, and has “one of the best power-to-weight ratios of

ALL IMAGES PRIOVIDED BY THE MANUFACTURERS

The Detroit Auto Show offered
a tantalizing glimpse at the cars
we’ll be driving and drooling
over in the near future

any production car,” according to Ford. The engine,
Ford’s most powerful EcoBoost engine ever, is mated
to a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox for slick, fast
gear changes. Under the chassis, an active racingstyle torsion bar and pushrod suspension with adjustable ride height ensure the GT is equipped to tackle
the best supercars from Europe and Japan, while
20-inch wheels with super-grippy, specially-designed
Michelin rubber will help keep you stuck to the
pavement. As for stopping all of that power? Carbonceramic brakes are fitted to each wheel to stop any
embarrassing accidents from occurring. Inside the
GT’s cabin, accessed through upward-swinging “scissor” doors, an F1-style steering wheel offers numerous
driver aids and controls within easy reach, while a
fully-configurable, digital instrument cluster ensures
that only the required information is shown as you
tackle a mountain pass or rocket down the highway.
The emphasis on modernity and technology, in favor
of the old GT’s rather more mechanical roots, is to
help customers “benefit from the ultimate performance Ford and its new-generation innovations,”
according to Ford.
Indeed, Ford claims that the new GT was crafted to
“make people’s hearts pound.” Mission accomplished.

Buick Avenir

BUICK AVENIR

This isn’t a car you can expect to drive any time soon,
so don’t get your hopes up, but Buick’s graceful Avenir
concept deserves a mention regardless. The massive
four-door (which is bigger than a Cadillac Escalade)
is a marriage of Buick design traditions, including its
sweep-spear bodyside and VentiPorts, and a glimpse
at future production vehicles from the brand — fitting,
given Avenir is French for ‘future.’ Its design, a collaboration of Buick’s global design team, was intended
to “really [take] your breath away,” by representing
“a break from convention and progressiveness in
technology.” What does all of that marketing-speak
translate into? A beautiful concept car whose beauty
isn’t skin deep. Under the surface, a direct-injected
V6 with fuel savings features like stop/start and active
fuel management purrs away, connected to a ninespeed auto and shifting the Avenir via a twin-clutch
all-wheel-drive system. Inside the Avenir, you’ll find
Buick’s next-gen infotainment system, Intellilink,
complete with a 12-inch touch screen and driverrecognition features such as automatically synced
preferences for navigation and calendar events. In the
rear, passengers can connect their devices to video
screens, while relaxing in premium leather seats and rich carpeting. Buick aren’t saying if we’ll see any or all of the Avenir’s
features in a new model any time soon — but if they can successfully distill it into a production model, they’ve surely got a hit on
their hands.
VOLKSWAGEN CROSS COUPE GTE

We kind of wish Volkswagen would stop teasing its next-gen
crossover and just build the damn thing already. Volkswagen
first showed elements of this design in 2013, with the CrossBlue
concept, then followed it with last year’s CrossBlue Coupe at the
Shanghai Motor Show. Now, we’ve got the Cross Coupe GTE,
and perhaps the closest look at what VW’s midsize SUV will look

VW Cross Coupe GTE

Chevy Bolt

like when it eventually reaches dealers in the next two years.
For now, the GTE offers a lot to like. Its power comes from a
VR6 engine, which teams its 276 horsepower with two electric
motors, one mounted to each axle. The front motor outputs 54
horsepower, while the rear offers a punchier 114 horses, giving
the Cross Coupe a total output of 355 horsepower and 280 lb-ft
of torque (no, the math doesn’t add up for us, either) when the
three motors are working together, good enough for a 0-60 mph
time of six seconds. It operates in a fuel-saving EV-only mode
for up to 20 miles, can reach up to 70 MPGe, and offers a variety of modes for on- and off-road driving. That’s great and all,
Volkswagen, but why do we have to wait until the end of 2016
for your Tennessee plant to start building it?
METROWEEKLY.COM

JANUARY 15, 2015

39

Chevy Volt

power alone. Sure, Tesla may have the EV market
cornered with the 250+ mile range in its Model S
sedan, but that car starts at $70,000. Chevy’s Bolt
EV envisions a production model that costs just
$30,000. Its design is heavily-inspired by Chevy’s
compact models, with minimal overhangs and a
spacious greenhouse. Inside you’ll find an interior
that wouldn’t look out of place in a future version of
the Chevy Sonic — save for the Volt-inspired digital
instrument cluster. Unlike the Model S, Chevrolet
were going for attainability, not exclusivity, and the
Bolt’s envisioned price is intended to reflect that.
That’s not to say it’s lacking in the futuristic hallmarks of a concept, though. Via
a smartphone app, it’s possible to unlock
the car, tell the Bolt to park and retrieve
itself, offer ride-sharing to other users
with payment options built into the app,
as well as connect with the car’s 10-inch
display to access all of the content stored
on the phone. There’s no indication of any
future production model — this is purely a
design concept — but it showcases General
Motor’s intent to get serious on electric
vehicles in the future.
ACURA NSX

CHEVROLET VOLT AND CHEVROLET BOLT

Chevrolet brought two forward-thinking vehicles to Detroit this
year: the next iteration of its Volt EV, and an all-new concept EV
called the Bolt.
The 2016 Volt represents a minor improvement over the
outgoing model, more a refresh than a complete overhaul. The
range-extending EV, which uses a small gas engine to charge its
battery when depleted, increases its electric-only range from 38
to 50 miles, and obtain 102 MPGe compared with the old Volt’s
98 MPGe, though the Volt’s battery and engine are both new.
The former increases its rating to 18.4-kWh, while the latter is a
new, 1.5 liter four-cylinder engine, up from the old car’s 1.4 liter
unit, which Chevy claims will offer more power with less noise.
Outside, the Volt’s stylish face has been given a subtle tweaking,
somewhat dulling the old car’s good looks, while inside there
are customer-driven improvements such as better driving characteristics, better refinement, a better storage compartment for
the charging cable, and a new regenerative braking system with
better braking feel and adjustable levels. Indeed, while the Volt
looks less futuristic than it previously did, Chevrolet is making a
conscious effort to appeal to more consumers — its interior may
be less touch-focused than old, but it’s much more usable, while
there’s now five seats as opposed to the previous model’s four. If
you like the look of the new Volt, the fuel-sipping car hits showrooms in the second half of 2015.
However, it’s hardly the most forward-thinking of vehicles,
as impressive as its range-extending motor may be. General
Motors is clearly aware that 50 miles of electric range isn’t
the best, which is why they’ve introduced the Chevrolet Bolt
concept in Detroit — capable of travelling 200 miles on battery40

JANUARY 15, 2015

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Ford isn’t the only mass-market automaker with a supercar on the horizon. Honda,
makers of the reliable CR-V and Civic,
dabbled with a high-performance vehicle
Acura NSX
in the late ‘80s, eventually giving birth to
the much-loved and often celebrated NSX
supercar. Here in the States, it was Honda’s Acura brand which
sold the car, and the Acura NSX carved its own little space in
supercar history as an affordable, attractive barnstormer of a
car. Light, fast and surprisingly brilliant, a new version has been
hotly anticipated since the old car went to the scrapyard in the
sky in 2005.
It’s finally here. After years of teasing, Honda is ready to
show the final car in all of its glory — wearing Acura branding
for its Detroit debut, naturally — and what they’ve delivered is
something pretty incredible. It doesn’t stray too far from the
2013 concept NSX on the outside, which is good, as the car is
gorgeous. The NSX’s exterior design project leader, Michelle
Christensen, stated that the NSX uses “Interwoven Dynamic
design,” which she believes blends the best parts of exotic sports
car form with supercar function. Under the dramatic exterior
lies a chassis that’s made from a variety of materials, chief among
which is aluminum, which should make the NSX strong and
light. Carbon-fiber flooring and high-strength steel pillars round
out the NSX’s metalwork, making for a taut car which, combined
with its independent front and rear suspension, brake torque
vectoring and ceramic brakes should make for an intense driving
experience. Powering all of this Japanese beauty? A longitudinally mounted, turbocharged, dry-sump V6 capable of outputting more than 550 horsepower. That’s not all, though, because
the engine works in conjunction with three electric motors to
drive all four of the NSX’s wheels, something Acura are referring
to as “Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.” The 2016
NSX is expected to hit dealers this summer with a price starting
around $150,000, but if Honda/Acura can get it right, it should
be worth every penny. l

METROWEEKLY.COM

JANUARY 15, 2015

41

42

JANUARY 15, 2015

METROWEEKLY.COM

NIGHT

LIFE
LISTINGS
THURS., 01.15.15

9 1/2
Happy Hour: 2 for 1 on any
drink, 5-9pm • Multiple
TVs showing movies,
shows, sports • Expanded
craft beer selection • No
Cover
ANNIE’S/ANNIE’S
UPSTAIRS
4@4 Happy Hour, 4pm-7pm
• $4 Small Plates, $4 Stella
Artois, $4 House Wines,
$4 Stolichnaya Cocktails,
$4 Manhattans and Vodka
Martinis
COBALT/30 DEGREES
Happy Hour: $6 Call
Martini, $3 Miller Lite, $4
Rail, $5 Call, 4-9pm • $3
Rail Drinks, 10pm-midnight,
$5 Red Bull, Gatorade
and Frozen Virgin Drinks
• Locker Room Thursday
Nights • DJs Sean Morris
and MadScience • Ripped
Hot Body Contest at midnight, hosted by Sasha
J. Adams and Ba’Naka •
$200 Cash Prize • Doors
open 10pm, 18+ • $5 Cover
under 21 and free with
college ID
FREDDIE’S BEACH BAR
Crazy Hour, 4-7pm •
Karaoke, 8pm
GREEN LANTERN
DC Leather Pride presents Welcome to MAL
2015, 9pm • Featuring
International Mr. Leather
Ramien Pierre • Shirtless
Thursday, 10-11pm •
Featuring music by DJs
BacK2bACk

NELLIE’S SPORTS BAR
Beat The Clock Happy Hour
— $2 (5-6pm), $3 (6-7pm),
$4 (7-8pm) • Buckets of
Beer $15

JR.’S
$3 Rail Vodka Highballs, $2
JR.’s drafts, 8pm to close •
Throwback Thursday featuring rock/pop retro hits

METROWEEKLY.COM

43

44

JANUARY 15, 2015

METROWEEKLY.COM

scene
Freddie’s Beach Bar
Saturday, January 10
scan this tag
with your
smartphone
for bonus scene
pics online!

PHOTOGRAPHY BY
WARD MORRISON

NUMBER NINE
Happy Hour: 2 for 1 on any
drink, 5-9pm • No Cover
ZIEGFELD’S/SECRETS
All male, nude dancers •
Shirtless Thursday • DJ
Tim-e in Secrets • 9pm •
Cover 21+
FRI., 01.16.15

9 1/2
Open at 5pm • Happy Hour:
2 for 1 on any drink, 5-9pm
• Friday Night Videos with
resident DJ Shea Van Horn
• VJ • Expanded craft beer
selection • No cover
ANNIE’S
4@4 Happy Hour, 4-7pm •
$4 Small Plates, $4 Stella
Artois, $4 House Wines,
$4 Stolichnaya Cocktails,
$4 Manhattans and Vodka
Martinis • Upstairs open
5-11pm
COBALT/30 DEGREES
All You Can Drink Happy
Hour • $15 Rail &
Domestic, $21 Call &

Imports, 6-9pm • Guys
Night Out • Free Rail
Vodka, 11pm-Midnight, $6
Belvedere Vodka Drinks all
night • DJ Keenan Orr in
Cobalt, DJ Barronhawk in
30 Degrees • $10 cover
10pm-1am, $5 after 1am
• 21+
DC BEAR CRUE
@Town • Bear Happy
Hour, 6-11pm • $4 Bud
Light & Bud Light Platinum
bottles, $4 Draft Pints, $8
Draft Pitchers • Free Pizza,
7pm • Hosted by Charger
Stone • No cover • Entry
ends at 9:30pm • 21+
• Cigar Party on Heated
Outdoor Patio • Standard
drink prices on patio til
11pm
FREDDIE’S BEACH BAR
Crazy Hour, 4-7pm •
Karaoke, 8pm
GLORIOUS HEALTH
CLUB
2120 West Virginia Ave. NE
Mid-Atlantic Leather CODE
Rubber/Uniform/Skin/
Leather Dress Code Party,

10pm-4am • Featuring DJ
Erik Gruber and DJ MF •
21+ • $40 per night or $60
for weekend pass • Tickets
available at MAL host hotel
or online at forttroff.com or
codedc.com
GREEN LANTERN
Happy Hour, 4-9pm • New
Gay App GRUNT presents
1 Nation Under GODS •
Featuring adult film star
Francois Sagat debuting
KickSagat Gear, Andrew
Christian model Pablo
Hernandez and DJ Jack
Chang, 10pm-close • $12
Cover
HYATT REGENCY ON
CAPITOL HILL
Mister International
Rubber Cocktail Party in
the Thornton Room, 7-9pm
• Extreme0 Dance Party,
hosted by the Highwaymen,
in Regency B, 10pm-2am
JR.’S
Buy 1, Get 1, 11pm-midnight • Happy Hour: 2-for1, 4-9pm • $5 Coronas, $8
Vodka Red Bulls, 9pm-close

NELLIE’S SPORTS BAR
DJ Matt Bailer • Videos,
Dancing • Beat The Clock
Happy Hour — $2 (5-6pm),
$3 (6-7pm), $4 (7-8pm) •
Buckets of Beer $15
NUMBER NINE
Open 5pm • Happy Hour: 2
for 1 on any drink, 5-9pm •
No Cover
PHASE 1
DJ Styalo • Dancing •
$5 cover

over, $5 from 10-11pm and
$10 after 11pm • For those
18-20, $12 all night • 18+
ZIEGFELD’S/SECRETS
All male, nude dancers,
hosted by LaTroya Nicole •
Ladies of Illusion with host
Kristina Kelly, 9pm • DJ
Steve Henderson in Secrets
• DJ Don T. in Ziegfeld’s •
Cover 21+
SAT., 01.17.15

PW’S SPORTS BAR
9855 Washington Blvd. N
Laurel, Md.
301-498-4840
Drag Show in lounge •
Half-price burgers and fries,
4-8pm

9 1/2
Open at 5pm • Happy Hour:
2 for 1 on any drink, 5-9pm
• $5 Absolut & Tito’s, $3
Miller Lite after 9pm •
Expanded craft beer selection • No Cover

TOWN
Drag Show starts at
10:30pm • Hosted by Lena
Lett and featuring Miss
Tatianna, Shi-QueetaLee, Epiphany B. Lee
and Ba’Naka • DJ Wess
upstairs, BacK2bACk
downstairs • Doors open
at 10pm • For those 21 and

COBALT/30 DEGREES
Drag Yourself to Brunch
at Level One, 11am-2 and
2-4pm • Featuring Kristina
Kelly and the Ladies of
Illusion • Bottomless
Mimosas and Bloody
Marys • Happy Hour: $3
Miller Lite, $4 Rail, $5
Call, 4-9pm • The ladies of

METROWEEKLY.COM

LURe present BARE Dance
Party’s 6th Anniversary •
Featuring DJs Rosie Hicks
and Keenan Orr • Also
featuring Chris Jay Photo
& Video in Photo Set-up •
Plus DystRucXion Dancers
and a performance by The
DC Kings Brolo honoring
Phase 1 staff • Dance
competition, 1 am, hosted
by DJ MadScience • Cash
prizes • Doors open 10pm
• 21+ with photo ID • Free
entry for those who can
prove they worked at Phase
1 Capitol Hill
FREDDIE’S BEACH BAR
Diner-style Breakfast
Buffet, 10am-3pm •
Crazy Hour, 4-7pm •
Freddie’s Follies Drag
Show 8pm-10pm, hosted
by Ms. Destiny B. Childs •
Karaoke, 10pm-1am
GLORIOUS HEALTH
CLUB
2120 West Virginia Ave. NE
Mid-Atlantic Leather CODE
Rubber/Uniform/Skin/
Leather Dress Code Party,
10pm-4am • Featuring

JANUARY 15, 2015

45

DJs Chord, David Merrill
& Marx • 21+ • $40 per
night or $60 for weekend
pass • Tickets available at
MAL host hotel or online at
forttroff.com or codedc.com

NUMBER NINE
Happy Hour: 2 for 1 on any
drink, 5-9pm • No Cover

GREEN LANTERN
Happy Hour, 4-9pm •
Bears Can Dance MAL
Celebration, 9pm-close •
Featuring DJ Jeff Eletto •
No Cover

PW’S SPORTS BAR
Karaoke in the lounge •
Charity Bingo with Cash
Prizes 3rd Sat. of Every
Month • Half-price cheesesteaks and fries, 4-8pm

HYATT REGENCY ON
CAPITOL HILL
Leather Cocktails (sold out
event), 7-9pm in Regency
Ballroom • MAUL Report
for Duty Uniform Party,
10pm-2am in Congressional
B • FxCK Dance Party,
10pm-3am in Regency B,
C and D

TOWN
MIXTAPE Dance Party,
10pm-close • DJs Shea
Van Horn and Matt Bailer
• Drag Show starts at
10:30pm • Hosted by Lena
Lett and featuring Miss
Tatianna, Shi-QueetaLee, Epiphany B. Lee and
Ba’Naka • Music and videos by DJ Wess downstairs
• Cover $8 from 10-11pm,
$12 after 11pm • 21+

JR.’S
$4 Coors, $5 Vodka highballs, $7 Vodka Red Bulls
NELLIE’S
Guest DJs • Zing Zang
Bloody Marys, Nellie Beer,
House Rail Drinks and
Mimosas, $4, 11am-5pm •
Buckets of Beer, $15

46

JANUARY 15, 2015

METROWEEKLY.COM

PHASE 1
Dancing, 9pm-close

ZIEGFELD’S/SECRETS
Men of Secrets, 9pm •
Guest dancers • Ladies
of Illusion with host Ella
Fitzgerald, 9pm • DJ Steve
Henderson in Secrets •

DJ Joey O in Ziegfeld’s •
Doors 8pm • Cover 21+
SUN., 01.18.15

9 1/2
Happy Hour: 2 for 1 on any
drink, 5-9pm • Multiple
TVs showing movies,
shows, sports • Expanded
craft beer selection • No
Cover
9:30 CLUB
Reaction: MAL’s Closing
Dance Party, 9pm-4am •
Featuring DJ James “DJ
Dub” Graham • $35 in
advance with registration,
$45 at door
COBALT/30 DEGREES
BLUF: DC (Breaches &
Leather Uniform Fanclub),
4pm-10pm • General
admission $10 in gear, $15
without gear • $4 Stoli
and Miller Lite all day •
Homowood Karaoke, 10pmclose
FREDDIE’S BEACH BAR
Champagne Brunch Buffet,

10am-3pm • Crazy Hour,
4-7pm • Karaoke 8pm-1am

1 on any drink, 5-9pm •
No Cover

GREEN LANTERN
Happy Hour, 4-9pm
• Upstairs: The
NeedlExchange presents
Honcho Dance Party, 9pm •
$9 in advance, $12 at door
• Downstairs: Mama’s
Trailer Park Karaoke,
9:30pm-close

TOWN
WTF: All You Can Eat
Dance Party, 10pm-close
• Featuring various DJs •
Free from 10-11pm, $5 after
11pm • 21+

JR.’S
Sunday Funday • Liquid
Brunch • Doors open at
1pm • $2 Coors Lights &
$3 Skyy (all flavors), all day
and night
NELLIE’S
Drag Brunch, hosted by
Shi-Queeta-Lee, 11am-3pm
• $20 Brunch Buffet •
House Rail Drinks, Zing
Zang Bloody Marys, Nellie
Beer and Mimosas, $4,
11am-close • Buckets of
Beer, $15
NUMBER NINE
Pop Goes the World with
Wes Della Volla at 9:30
pm • Happy Hour: 2 for

ZIEGFELD’S/SECRETS
All male, nude dancers •
Decades of Dance • DJ
Tim-e in Secrets • Doors
8pm • Cover 21+
MON., 01.19.15

9 1/2
Open at 5pm • Happy Hour:
2 for 1 on any drink, 5-9pm
• Multiple TVs showing
movies, shows, sports •
Expanded craft beer selection • No Cover
ANNIE’S
4@4 Happy Hour, 4-7pm •
$4 Small Plates, $4 Stella
Artois, $4 House Wines,
$4 Stolichnaya Cocktails,
$4 Manhattans and Vodka
Martinis

COBALT/30 DEGREES
Happy Hour: $2 Rail, $3
Miller Lite, $5 Call, 4-9pm
• Drag Show hosted by
Kristina Kelly • Doors open
at 10pm, show starts at
11pm • $3 Skyy Cocktails,
$8 Skyy and Red Bull • No
Cover, 18+
FREDDIE’S
Crazy Hour, 4-7pm •
Karaoke, 8pm
GREEN LANTERN
Happy Hour All Night Long,
4pm-close • Michael’s
Open Mic Night Karaoke,
9:30pm-close
JR.’S
Happy Hour: 2-for-1, 4-9pm
• Showtunes Songs &
Singalongs, 9pm-close •
DJ Jamez • $3 Drafts
NELLIE’S SPORTS BAR
Beat The Clock Happy Hour
— $2 (5-6pm), $3 (6-7pm),
$4 (7-8pm) • Buckets of
Beer $15 • Poker Texas
Hold’em, 8pm • Dart
Boards

NUMBER NINE
Open 5pm • Happy Hour: 2
for 1 on any drink, 5-9pm •
No Cover
TUES., 01.20.15

9 1/2
Open at 5pm • Happy Hour:
2 for 1 on any drink, 5-9pm
• Multiple TVs showing
movies, shows, sports •
Expanded craft beer selection • No Cover
ANNIE’S
Happy Hour, 4-7pm • $4
Stella Artois, $4 House
Wines, $4 Stolichnaya
Cocktails, $4 Manhattans
and Vodka Martinis
COBALT/30 DEGREES
Happy Hour: $2 Rail, $3
Miller Lite, $5 Call, 4-9pm
• SIN Industry Night •
Half-price Cocktails, 10pmclose
FREDDIE’S BEACH BAR
Crazy Hour, 4-7pm •
Karaoke, 8pm

GREEN LANTERN
Happy Hour All Night Long,
4pm-close
JR.’S
Underground (Indie Pop/Alt/
Brit Rock), 9pm-close • DJ
Wes Della Volla • 2-for-1,
all day and night
NELLIE’S SPORTS BAR
Beat The Clock Happy Hour
— $2 (5-6pm), $3 (6-7pm),
$4 (7-8pm) • Buckets of
Beer $15 • Karaoke and
Drag Bingo
NUMBER NINE
Open 5pm • Happy Hour: 2
for 1 on any drink, 5-9pm •
No Cover • Safe Word: A
Gay Spelling Bee, 8-11pm
• Prizes to top three
spellers • After 9pm, $3
Absolut, Bulleit & Stella
WED., 01.21.15

9 1/2
Happy Hour: 2 for 1 on any
drink, 5-9pm • Multiple
TVs showing movies,
shows, sports • Expanded

METROWEEKLY.COM

craft beer selection • No
Cover
ANNIE’S
Happy Hour, 4-7pm • $4
Stella Artois, $4 House
Wines, $4 Stolichnaya
Cocktails, $4 Manhattans
and Vodka Martinis
COBALT/30 DEGREES
Happy Hour: $2 Rail, $3
Miller Lite, $5 Call, 4-9pm
• Wednesday Night
Karaoke downstairs, 10pm
• $4 Stoli and Stoli Flavors
and Miller Lite • No Cover
• 21+
FREDDIE’S BEACH BAR
Crazy Hour, 4-7pm • $6
Burgers • Drag Bingo
Night, hosted by Ms.
Regina Jozet Adams •
Karaoke, 10pm-1am
GREEN LANTERN
Happy Hour, 4-9pm •
Upstairs: The Boys of
HUMP, 9pm-1am
JR.’S
Trivia with MC Jay Ray,
8pm • The Queen, 10-11pm

JANUARY 15, 2015

47

• $2 JR’s Drafts & $4
Vodka ($2 with College I.D./
JR’s Team Shirt)

shows, sports • Expanded
craft beer selection • No
Cover

FREDDIE’S BEACH BAR
Crazy Hour, 4-7pm •
Karaoke, 8pm

NELLIE’S SPORTS BAR
SmartAss Trivia Night, 8pm
and 9pm • Prizes include
bar tabs and tickets to
shows at the 9:30 Club •
$15 Buckets of Beer for
SmartAss Teams only •
Bring a new team member
and each get a free $10
Dinner

ANNIE’S/ANNIE’S
UPSTAIRS
4@4 Happy Hour, 4pm-7pm
• $4 Small Plates, $4 Stella
Artois, $4 House Wines,
$4 Stolichnaya Cocktails,
$4 Manhattans and Vodka
Martinis

GREEN LANTERN
Happy Hour, 4-9pm
• Shirtless Thursday,
10-11pm • Featuring music
by DJs BacK2bACk

NUMBER NINE
Happy Hour: 2 for 1 on any
drink, 5-9pm • No Cover
ZIEGFELD’S/SECRETS
All male, nude dancers •
Shirtless Night, 10-11pm,
12-12:30am • Military
Night, no cover with
military ID • DJ Don T. in
Secrets • 9pm • Cover 21+
THURS., 01.22.15

9 1/2
Happy Hour: 2 for 1 on any
drink, 5-9pm • Multiple
TVs showing movies,

48

JANUARY 15, 2015

METROWEEKLY.COM

COBALT/30 DEGREES
Happy Hour: $6 Call
Martini, $3 Miller Lite, $4
Rail, $5 Call, 4-9pm • $3
Rail Drinks, 10pm-midnight,
$5 Red Bull, Gatorade
and Frozen Virgin Drinks
• Locker Room Thursday
Nights • DJs Sean Morris
and MadScience • Ripped
Hot Body Contest at midnight, hosted by Sasha
J. Adams and Ba’Naka •
$200 Cash Prize • Doors
open 10pm, 18+ • $5 Cover
under 21 and free with
college ID

JR.’S
$3 Rail Vodka Highballs, $2
JR.’s drafts, 8pm to close •
Throwback Thursday featuring rock/pop retro hits
NELLIE’S SPORTS BAR
Beat The Clock Happy Hour
— $2 (5-6pm), $3 (6-7pm),
$4 (7-8pm) • Buckets of
Beer $15 • Drag Bingo
NUMBER NINE
Happy Hour: 2 for 1 on any
drink, 5-9pm • No Cover
ZIEGFELD’S/SECRETS
All male, nude dancers •
Shirtless Thursday • DJ
Tim-e in Secrets • 9pm •
Cover 21+ l

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49

BY DOUG RULE // PHOTOGRAPHY BY JULIAN VANKIM

CLUBLIFE

S

Reactionary
Former Tracks DJ James Graham makes a return to MAL’s popular Reaction Dance

I

REMEMBER THE
first night that I auditioned at Tracks,”
James Graham says.
“Marty [Chernoff] the
owner came up to me at
the end of the night and
said, ‘I want to just make
sure this isn’t a fluke.’”
He scheduled Graham for
50

JANUARY 15, 2015

the very next weekend,
Halloween 1994, to see if
lightning would strike twice.
Did it ever: Graham became
a weekly resident at Tracks,
playing until the fabled
nightclub closed in 1999.
Graham has made it
something of a lifelong tradition to pleasantly surprise
people — chiefly through

METROWEEKLY.COM

his love of dance music. “If
you can imagine me growing up in New York, then
coming to Washington,
where my neighborhood
was predominantly Latino
and black, and I’m liking
soul and disco,” he recalls.
“So they were like, ‘What
the hell is he listening to?’

“And when I first started
playing in different clubs,”
he continues, “house music
was always looked down
upon as either [too] gay or
too black. There were all
these stigmas attached to
it. I’m so happy that we’ve
gotten past that.”
Graham is neither gay
nor black, but whether at

Tracks, or the now-closed
Badlands, among other
hot spots around D.C.,
Graham has often played
to a mixed crowd, if not
a predominantly gay one.
He was just wired that
way. “Bless my mother’s
soul, she was a Quaker,”
he explains. “She believed
that you can’t judge people,
and I was raised that way.
Somebody’s sexual preference, somebody’s skin
color, someone’s religion

— you were born that way,
and that’s the way it is....
Growing up with different
people, both gay/straight,
black/white/whatever, it just
provided me that opportunity to not be a judgmental
person and understanding
that music is...for everybody.”
Graham got hooked on
nightlife early, tagging along
with his uncle, who was
a club lighting and sound
engineer throughout the
Mid-Atlantic region. He

eventually gravitated to the
turntables. Last decade, he
even co-owned the DJ Hut,
the record store for DJs
that briefly occupied the
space on P Street in Dupont
Circle where 12 Inch Dance
Records once reigned.
“That was my love until the
music industry went upside
down,” he says. “My
dream of owning a record
store quickly disappeared.”
After a decade of spinning every Saturday night

at Georgetown’s former
swanky spot Mie N Yu,
Graham took a little time
off as a club DJ and began
working as a manager at a
car dealership in Virginia.
But he’s now raring to get
back behind the turntables
in a bigger way. “I’m really
wanting to take this on the
road, if you will,” he says.
And he’s eager to show
that last year’s great set
at Mid-Atlantic Leather’s
Reaction dance wasn’t
any more of a fluke than
his debut at Tracks two
decades ago. Reaction
organizer Danny Linden has
brought him back to be the
party’s sole DJ, allowing
him to give partygoers a
true musical journey from
open to close.
“I like all dance music,”
he says, “[but] I prefer syrupy, soulful type of stuff.”
And that’s the right overall
vibe for a Sunday night
party such as Reaction.
“You’re winding down from
crazy Friday and Saturday
nights,” he notes, “so
you’re coming into Sunday
and you don’t want to beat
the horse too bad.”
But that doesn’t mean
he won’t throw in “a little
bit of tribal percussion,” or
“a little bit of edge” courtesy of a choice cut or two
from Tiesto, Above and
Beyond or another of the
better producers in today’s
EDM scene. Graham strives
to remain as current now
as ever.
“I’m creeping up in
age,” he says, “but musically and mentally I’m still
that twenty-something/
thirty-something guy that
was jumping around all the
different clubs.”
The Reaction Dance is this
Sunday, Jan. 18. Doors at
9 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V
St. NW. Tickets are $35 in
advance, or $45 on the day
of the event. Call 202-2650930 or visit 930.com or
leatherweekend.com. l

METROWEEKLY.COM

JANUARY 15, 2015

51

scene
Fireplace
Friday, January 9
scan this tag
with your
smartphone
for bonus scene
pics online!

PHOTOGRAPHY BY
WARD MORRISON

52

SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS EVENT AT WWW.METROWEEKLY.COM/SCENE

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53

“Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your inspiration. Thank you for your patience. And
thank you for letting us be a part of the change.”
— JEFFREY TAMBOR, star of Amazon Studios’ Transparent, in his acceptance speech after winning the Golden Globe for Best
Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy. Tambor plays Maura Pfefferman, a middle-aged man who comes out to his family and
starts living as a woman over the course of the series. “I would like to dedicate my performance and this award to the transgender community,” Tambor said, adding, “This is much bigger than me. Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press for putting us
on the map and making people aware of our story.”

“We will make them normal.
We will have a centre for them. Like
Alcoholics Anonymous
centres, we will have centres…

— Goa’s Sports and Youth Affairs Minister RAMESH TAWADKAR speaking to journalists in the Indian state’s capital, Panaji, The
Hindu reports. Mr Tawadkar was announcing a series of centers specifically for LGBT youth, where the government will “train
them and [give them] medicines too,” in an effort to help “stigmatised” LGBT youths, who apparently require focused attention,
the paper quotes Tawadkar as saying.

“I smiled, said hello [and]
told the Westboro Baptist folks we loved each of them.”
— Openly gay Christian rock singer VICKY BEECHING, speaking via her Twitter account about her interaction with anti-gay
Westboro Baptist Church members, who were protesting her keynote speech at the Gay Christian Network
conference in Portland.

“South Dakota law
deprives them of that right solely because they are
same-sex
couples and without sufficient justification.

— U.S. District Judge KAREN SCHREIER, in a decision which ruled that South Dakota’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Schreier put a stay on her ruling, pending an appeal from the state, so marriage remains on hold for
South Dakota’s gay population.

“To the generation that we lost and the people we continue to lose due to this disease, I just want to say
we love you, we remember you.”
— MATT BOMER, in his acceptance speech after winning Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series, Movie, or Miniseries at the Golden
Globes for his role as Felix Turner in HBO’s The Normal Heart, which is adapted from Larry Kramer’s play about the
rise of HIV/AIDS in New York City’s gay population in the ‘80s.
54

JANUARY 15, 2015

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JANUARY 15, 2015

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