Metro Weekly

Out On the (Virtual) Town: Arts and entertainment highlights — June 4-10, 2020

Everything arts and entertainment in the D.C. area this week!

2020 Capital Pride theme — Photo: Capital Pride Alliance

PRIDE 2020


This year’s official festivities will be bookended with dancing, starting with the eclectic “Pride Night” #VirtualDanceParty presented by Scorpio Entertainment. International hoop artist Zbu Hoopism will perform live from Ghana as part of a 90-minute event also featuring powerhouse vocalist Tiffany Lyn Royster and capped off with multi-genre pop-oriented sets from DJ Tezrah and Scorpio’s founder DJ Edward Daniels, who will also serve as host. Saturday, June 6, at 8:30 p.m. Donations are suggested, benefiting the featured artists. RSVP for Zoom link at


Among the newest and least understood elements making up this year’s reimagined celebration is this “first-ever” roving vehicle that is set to venture to all eight wards of D.C. “to document how businesses, residents, and neighborhoods show they have Pride.” It even comes with the lure of prizes for “the most prideful storefronts and residences.” Additionally, local DJs and drag acts will be enlisted “to entertain our neighborhoods” and to help “cast a rainbow on our beloved city.” Saturday, June 13, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit


The official festivities draw to a close with a more traditional yet still virtual gay dance party starring the gay circuit veteran and recent Grammy winner, DJ Tracy Young, who will work her musical magic for a virtual two-hour, Capitol-conjuring #SunsetDanceParty on Sunday, June 14, starting at 8 p.m. Visit


In partnership with the DC Center, Capital Pride is developing a new web series to introduce online viewers to some favorite small businesses, bars, and restaurants, cultural treasures, and local heroes that make the city tick and the community proud. The series, which will be available for streaming from the Capital Pride Alliance’s Facebook and YouTube pages, will debut with “Episode No. 1: #StillWe Entertain,” a virtual showcase of D.C.’s diverse talent pool, consisting of pre-recorded live performances by local and regional LGBTQ singers, dancers, drag artists, visual artists, and more. For more details and updated information, visit

Allie X


When COVID-19 forced the cancellation of Austin’s South By Southwest in March, it took with it what had been planned as the first-ever Pride showcase at the influential festival. That subsequently inspired live event company JJ|LA to go big in a way that will benefit a lot more people. The expanded #WeAreOutLoud program is a month-long, multi-event series on Facebook featuring an emerging crop of LGBTQ-identified musical acts and benefiting the nation’s key pride organizations, at a time when they could no doubt use a boost. Betty Who, Madame Gandhi, The Aces, and Wrabel headlined the first livestreamed episodes, which were emceed in alternating fashion by Candis Cayne and Jake Borelli, and benefited pride presenters in L.A., Houston, and Phoenix. Even Capital Pride gets a spotlight in the coming weeks, with a show featuring headline Allie X. The series continues on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through June 24, with all episodes starting at 8 p.m. Visit


The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System presents virtual readings with two young, best-selling gay authors as part of a full slate of June as Pride Month offerings. First up is R. Eric Thomas with reflections on growing up in Baltimore and embracing his identity in Here For It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America. The senior staff writer at who is also the host of the Moth StorySlams in D.C. and Philadelphia and an award-winning playwright (Time Is On Our Side) will discuss his debut collection of witty, humorous essays on Tuesday, June 9, at 7 p.m. A week later it will be George M. Johnson’s turn in the virtual spotlight with a discussion of All Boys Aren’t Blue. The debut memoir for young adults shares Johnson’s memories of growing up black and queer in New Jersey and Virginia. The New York-based freelance writer will discuss his new book on Wednesday, June 17, at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, the system with 19 branch libraries throughout the suburban Maryland county has also unveiled “LGBTQ+ Pride.” The new LGBTQ history and culture webpage ( features a well-curated collection of informative content, helpful resources, and recommended reads and streaming content — all compiled over the past year by the Library’s LGBTQ+ Working Group of staff and community members. The page also includes short, personal videos created by LGBTQ-identifying members of the @PGCMLS staff for the global It Gets Better Project. And then there are the details about the crowdsourced Virtual Community Pride Quilt project. Any member of the public can submit “a photo or video clip that describes or documents what pride means to them” for quilt consideration, with submissions accepted until June 19 at The quilt will go on display on the Library’s website and social media at the end of the month.

All told, the Library is offering at least 15 virtual events through its month-long “Pride at PGCMLS” series, promising a “celebration for all ages.” The programming ranges from a “Crafternoon: Show Your Pride – Make a Collage Flag” activity for families (June 5 at 3 p.m.), to a Pride-focused Career Chat for teens and young professionals (June 17 at 4 p.m.), to an LGBTQ+ Zines Workshop for teens/adults (June 19 at 4 p.m.). Visit


Nearly 100 photographs will mark the 50th Anniversary of San Francisco Pride. Over half of the works set for the exhibition, curated by Lenore Chinn and Pamela Peniston, are already available online. Presented by the GLBT Historical Society and the San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries, the exhibition features works from the Historical Society’s archives alongside photographs from other institutions and over 20 independent queer artists, all serving to pay tribute to how the city’s LGBTQ community came into its own in the best and the worst of times. Visit


Ten years and 75 stories later, D.C.’s premier storytelling organization readies another round of stories touching on the LGBTQ experience for this annual showcase. A co-partnership with the Capital Pride Alliance and a handful of other LGBTQ organizations, the 2020 edition is a virtual affair, to be livestreamed on YouTube. The 10th anniversary of Out/Spoken is also celebrated by featuring six of the more popular storytellers and stories from years past in addition to a few first-timers as coached by this year’s co-directors Darryl Smith and Story District’s artistic director Amy Saidman. Tuesday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can. Visit


Any other year, Sarah Massey would be leading the charge, riding with her fellow Dykes on Bikes at the front of the Capital Pride Parade. Although unable to carry out that tradition this year, the former communications director of the National LGBTQ Task Force was determined to create a virtual alternative, even aiming for the same time as the annual parade. Ultimately, though, the parade has nothing on what’s to come in the “online nightclub” that Massey has developed, channeling the feelings of community, camaraderie, and support engendered by the parade but where participants are invited to go further, to “express themselves as who they want to be in the ways that they want to.” In other words, expect a clothing-optional, nudity-allowed environment building on the weekly “Queer Naked Dance Party” Massey started in the wake of COVID-19. Festivities kick off at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, with an eclectic mix of music modeled after a multi-floor, multi-genre venue, including sets by Myra Sinnott’s DJ BEATrix, Les the DJ (aka The Pinstriped Rebel), DJ BK, and DJ Jesse “Bunce Force Trauma.” There will also be a “Capturing Fire Queer Poetry Slam Showcase” and the promise of something called a “hookup cruise.” And then comes the After-Party running from 10 p.m. until midnight, which is a pride-enhanced, late-night version of Queer Naked Dance Party ( Everything transpires on the online platform, Joie De Vivre, that Massey built specifically for “the body-positive and sex-positive queer community.” “I knew that other platforms record or spy, or they say that nudity and nakedness is not allowed,” Massey explained in a podcast, adding that her events are open to all but limited to those who sign a user agreement including a no-record clause that she intends to strictly enforce. For more information and to purchase tickets, when they become available, visit



Launched shortly after COVID-19 forced the closure of its cinemas, including two in Northern Virginia, the national arthouse film chain’s Alamo-At-Home series was such a success, the company has decided to expand its eccentric virtual streaming offerings — with a focus on “challenging, provocative, and occasionally batsh*t insane films.” And the Alamo’s new video-on-demand platform features plenty of films that fit that outlandish bill, including Butt Boy, Tyler Cornack’s comedy/thriller about a detective who is out to prove his wild theory about a mentor of his, one he suspects “uses his butt to make people disappear,” and Porno, Keola Racela’s 2019 scary tale about a group of repressed teenagers in a small conservative town “visited by a sex demon that gives them a taste of the dark side.” Visit


The arthouse movieplex in Fairfax features streams of And Then We Danced, Levan Akin’s well-crafted tale of two male company members in the National Georgian Dance Ensemble who become competitors, then partners, then lovers, with Levan Gelbakhiani starring as the quiet yet intense Merab; Sorry We Missed You, Ken Loach’s wrenching, intimate family drama from last year focused on the British working class and exposing the dark side of the “gig economy”; and Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole, which focuses on the intense bond that forms between two women, both anti-aircraft gunners during World War II, who struggle to readjust to a haunted world and life in Leningrad after the war. In Russian with English subtitles. Visit

Hail Satan


The rise of the controversial Satanic Temple is the focus of Penny Lane’s documentary, one of this week’s new offerings available for streaming through the “Virtual Cinema” of the Avalon Theatre in Upper Northwest D.C. Magnolia Pictures’ Hail Satan? focuses on a media-savvy bunch of religious freedom advocates who prove that with little more than a clever idea and a mischievous sense of humor “you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways.” Opens Friday, June 5. A live virtual Q&A with director Lane in conversation with the Satanic Temple’s Lucien Greaves takes place Wednesday, June 10, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 for a three-day streaming period, with roughly half of sales benefiting the nonprofit theater and independent filmmaking and distribution. Call 202-966-6000 or visit


The Edlavitch DCJCC has teamed up with independent film distributors for select screening runs of new releases and restorations of classics, with 50 percent of all proceeds going toward its new (but currently shuttered) cinema space Cafritz Hall. Highlights include Fourteen, about two adult women who have been close friends since middle school; Agnieszka Holland’s thriller Mr. Jones, focused on a young Welsh journalist working to uncover the truth about Hitler’s rise to power and Stalin’s Soviet propaganda machine pushing their “utopia” to the Western world; and Outdoors, about a couple intent on fleeing the city for a fresh start in the countryside who can’t move quickly enough to save their relationship. Tickets are $10 to $12 for multi-day screenings per film, with passes also available. Visit


At the peak of her success, Linda Ronstadt, one of the most successful recording artists of all time, turned away from pop music to explore a variety of other genres, from American standards to operetta to traditional Mexican canciones. Sadly, her singing voice has been silenced due to Parkinson’s disease. Last year, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, the award-winning gay documentarians behind The Times of Harvey Milk and HOWL, debuted this musical biography telling Ronstadt’s story through her own words and music, as well as commentary by professional colleagues including Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, and Jackson Browne. Now, over the next week, BrightFocus Foundation, a nonprofit funding scientific research and promoting public awareness to end diseases of mind and sight, offers a free, virtual stream of the documentary that includes an introduction from the film’s producer James Keach and interviews with key scientists discussing their current research. Available to June 10. Visit


Among the weekly and recurring offerings in its Virtual Screening Room, Maryland’s AFI Silver Theatre has been celebrating the best animated shorts from around the world as released over the past four years. There’s always a lot of overlap between the films presented in each annual feature-length collection, curated by veteran animation producer Ron Diamond, and that year’s subsequent Oscar-nominated bunch. All in all, a New York Times critic raves that the films are “wonderfully original…dazzling…provocative.” As seen in the 17th through 20th editions, the films are also an eclectic and culturally diverse mix that nonetheless serves as a reminder of the universality of the human experience and shared ideals. A 48-hour rental of each program is $8.99, including $1 off using promo code AFISASOS. AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, with additional support to independent filmmaking and distribution. Visit



Instead of its annual showcase of live, in-person LGBTQ theater during DC Black Pride, the African-American Collective Theater has moved everything online due to COVID-19. On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the organization unveiled its “latest work-in-progress, our new Internet home and archive.” New short plays are being added to the website now through Sunday, June 7, as part of a celebratory, all-virtual festival. A reimagined and expanded version of ACT’s annual Black Pride showcase, Out & About offers staged readings featuring actors breathing life into a sampling of the many plays written by Alan Sharpe, the artistic director who founded the company 28 years ago, many of them playfully, provocatively titled. Offerings include I’ll Show You Mine…If You Show Me Yours,” reenacted by Edwin Brown III and Darrell Johnson; Over Sex Ed, featuring Dolly Turner, Wilma Lynn Horton, and Abbey Asare-Bediako; The Tea… with August Bullock and Maggy Denise Lewis; and The OTHER One, featuring Davon Harris and Jordan Brown. Visit


An original web series launched by Round House Theatre that explores life under Stay-at-Home orders in the Nation’s Capital, the series stars Craig Wallace and Maboud Ebrahimzadeh and is progressing in a 10-episode “chain story” style, with each episode — one available for free every Monday — building off what came before but written by a different area playwright. This week sees the premiere of Episode 6, Tim J. Lord’s “Sometimes It Snows in April,” which finds Wallace and Ebrahimzadeh reflecting honestly on the trials their characters as well as our country have been living through — written and set only three short weeks ago, when the killing of Ahmaud Arbery was still front-page news in America. In a statement included with the episode’s release, Round House directors Ryan Rilette and Ed Zareski said, “In the midst of the worst health crisis of our lifetimes, when people of color — many of whom serve as essential workers — are being disproportionately hurt by both the pandemic and its economic fallout, it is unconscionable that our fellow Americans are not just overlooked, but murdered in broad daylight by white people in positions of power.” The first five episodes in the series are also available for streaming. Still to come, episodes from Audrey Cefaly, Dani Stoller, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, and Caleen Sinnette Jennings. Through June 29. Visit


The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Baltimore Center Stage are founding members of a small coalition of regional U.S. theaters also including the Kennedy Center and formed in the wake of COVID-19 as an attempt to inspire and engage both professional artists as well as theater amateurs and novices — connected through the act of storytelling and performance. The “Play At Home” initiative features a growing series of plays – 100 and counting — all under 10 minutes in length, created “specifically for this moment of unprecedented isolation, to inspire joy and connection for all.” Available as free downloads, the plays were written with the intimate setting of a private home in mind. The commissioned playwrights were also encouraged to think outside the box and allow for the inclusion of “elements that could not be reproduced for the stage.” The lineup includes Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi (The Diaz Family Talent Show), Aleshea Harris (If, Can, Mayhap), and Mike Lew (Performance Review), all specifically commissioned by Woolly Mammoth, Noah Diaz (House), Miranda Rose Hall (What Happened in the Kitchen), and Keenan Scott II (Strike) from Baltimore Center Stage, and Timothy Allen McDonald & Rob Rokicki (The Greatest 10 Minute Musical Ever Written!), a musical and reality TV show mashup from Jose Casas (Holyyyyyyy Hottttttt Cheetosssssss!!!!!!!) and Paige Hernandez (7th Street Echo), among those commissioned by the Kennedy Center with a focus on young audiences. People are encouraged to record and share their performance of the #PlayatHomePlays. Visit


Spooky Action sets out to explore the online possibilities with its New Works in Action program, presenting free live streamed readings of four new plays, all one-time-only offerings on the company’s YouTube channel — that is, they will not be recorded for posterity and archived, so you snooze, you lose. Audiences are invited to stay afterwards for talkbacks with the actors, director, and playwright. The series continues with Jack Novack’s Transferal, about a woman who loses her partner in a plane crash and the parents who are trying to reconnect and move on, on Sunday, Jun 7; and Laura Shamas’ Circular, exploring what actually happened in combat between a soldier and her commanding officer, revealed gradually as part of the healing process, and portrayed by actors Lisa Hodsoll and Jonathan Holmes in a reading directed by Katherine Chase Bryer, on June 14. All performances at 3 p.m. Call 202-248-0301 or visit


Online readings of two new plays will close out the third year of programming for Theater J’s signature Yiddish Theater Lab. Miriam, a commission from playwright Alix Sobler (Sheltered) that has been freely adapted from Peretz Hirschbein’s Miryam, will be livestreamed first, on Sunday, June 7, at 5 p.m., followed by Paula Prilutski’s One Of Those, adapted and translated by Allen Lewis Rickman, on June 18, at 5:30 p.m. Free, but registration for tickets required; the streams will continue on-demand for three days after the reading. Call 202-777-3210 or visit


Chris Urquiaga — Photo: Julian Vankim / Metro Weekly


Every Wednesday, Strathmore offers livestreams primarily featuring solo performances of its multi-genre Artists in Residence, both those from the current 2020 class as well as a select few alumni of the esteemed A.I.R. program. Each concert presents bite-sized performances — roughly 20 minutes in length — captured live from the living rooms of local musicians and streamed via Facebook Live starting at 7:30 p.m. The lineup continues with the local gay multifaceted singer-songwriter Chris Urquiaga on June 10, the soulful D.C. queerpop singer-songwriter Be Steadwell on June 17, and innovative string player and international recording artist Chelsey Green on June 24. In addition, recordings of past concerts in the series remain available on the Facebook page @StrathmoreArts, including Christian Douglas, a budding pop artist and theater artist who most recently performed in the ensembles of Arena Stage’s Newsies and Signature Theatre’s Gun & Powder; Mark G. Meadows, another well-known local theater pianist and vocalist; Niccolo Seligmann, a gay artist merging the sounds of obscure folk instruments with early classical music; Christylez Bacon, the celebrated Grammy-nominated progressive hip-hop artist and multi-instrumentalist; and the Bumper Jackson Duo, Jess Eliot Myhre and Chris Ousley’s American roots project merging country and jazz. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


The Kennedy Center presents a free Millennium Stage concert every night at 6 p.m. under normal circumstances — that is, when the large campus is open to the public. Until it can reopen post-pandemic, the organization is offering Couch Concerts livestreamed direct from artists’ homes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4 p.m. Even better, all past Millennium Stage and #KCCouchConcerts remain online for streaming anytime — a treasure trove that includes recent livestreams including the double bill of Kennedy Center Hip-Hop Advisory Council member Kokayi and up-and-coming local five-piece band Oh He Dead, and the Washington Women in Jazz Festival Showcase with Amy K Bormet, Christie Dasheill, and Nicole Saphos; plus recent Millennium Stage Encore shows from the 2013 concert by ’90s hit-making hip-hop group Arrested Development to the 2019 “Wind Me Up Chuck!” special tribute to the late godfather of go-go and featuring his namesake outfit The Chuck Brown Band, or from the 2018 concert by the four-part-harmony-focused Australian indie-folk band All Our Exes Live in Texas, to the 2019 concert featuring Mexican starlet and past Best New Artist Latin Grammy Awardee Gaby Moreno. Visit


The Alexandria-based folk-pop singer-songwriter Luke James Shaffer is the next to get the virtual spotlight in a biweekly, five-event summer series being broadcast from the Great Lawn at the Parks at Walter Reed — in lieu of a live performance from the grassy knoll. Shaffer is expected to play selections from a forthcoming new album at his @TheParksDC concert, which will be livestreamed via Instagram on Sunday, June 7, at 5 p.m., and then featured on YouTube later. Visit


Until it can once again host live events under the dome in its acoustically rich former synagogue space, Sixth and I has launched a Living Room Sessions series, co-presented by DCist, featuring select artists in free livestream performances from their homes. Next up in the series is Andrew Grossman, the bandleader, guitarist, and lead vocalist for D.C.’s The North Country, said to blend polyphonic psychedelia, classic American songwritership, and soulful indie-rock compositions. Friday, June 5, streaming from Sixth and I’s Facebook page starting at 4 p.m. Free, although both RSVPs and donations, which will be shared evenly among the venue and the featured artists, are appreciated. Call 202-408-3100 or visit



The public is encouraged to “buy a meal for those in need” from participating restaurants in the Clyde’s Restaurant Group and Knead Hospitality chains — including Clyde’s, The Hamilton, Old Ebbitt Grill, Succotash, and Mi Vida. The two local restaurant groups are also working to keep some of their restaurant workers employed through this initiative, a partnership also including the nonprofits Martha’s Table and MedStar Health, which will work to distribute the prepared meals to those directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. A donation of $13 feeds an individual for one night while $54 covers a family of four, with $91 covering an individual’s meals for a week and $378 feeding four for a week. Visit



To honor Jane Goodall’s 86th birthday, the National Geographic Society gave new, virtual life to a recent exhibition, developed in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute, whose run at the museum was cut short due to COVID-19. Refashioned into a Virtual Tour, enhanced with 360-degree videos capturing the layout of the physical exhibition, Becoming Jane online allows viewers to explore at their own pace and immerse themselves in whatever details they desire. The multimedia-rich Becoming Jane tells the story of the intrepid explorer and renowned scientist through multi-screen experiences and iconic images, plus video captures of the original exhibition’s advanced projections and augmented-reality features — the latter including footage of a hologram-like projection of Goodall regaling viewers with her memories of Tanzania’s Gombe National Park, which is then shown and explored through a virtual expedition. Gombe is where Goodall launched her groundbreaking career 60 years ago, ultimately helping pioneer the genre of nature documentary as the subject of National Geographic’s very first television program. The exhibition highlights the key breakthroughs and scientific achievements of Goodall’s career working with chimpanzees while also showcasing her more recent work in conservation. Visit


Just last year, the New York Times referred to the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art as “the only museum in the world dedicated to artwork that speaks to the LGBTQ experience.” If you’ve never been to the gallery in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, now is as good a time as any to visit — but only online, of course. While the physical location, like every other arts organization, remains closed due to COVID-19, organizers have been working to enhance the museum’s digital offerings, with its Instagram page in particular updated regularly to include virtual tours, collection highlights, and artist profiles. Meanwhile, the museum has stocked its Vimeo page with recordings of lectures and panel discussions from past events. You can also browse the museum’s vast collection by selecting Random Images in the fully searchable Online Collections Database available through its website. Visit


For a deep dive into a deadly virus from a century ago that has echoes in today’s COVID-19 pandemic, the National Archives offers this online exhibit telling the story of the spread of the 1918 influenza pandemic through assembled documents and artifacts including letters, telegrams, and photos — many featuring face mask-wearing officials and public citizens. That epidemic directly affected one-fifth of the world’s population and is responsible for an estimated 50 million deaths, killing “more people than any other illness in recorded history.” Visit


Touted as a new online platform for queer art and artists, the Naked Truth Show was originally conceived as a traditional exhibit celebrating the nude in figurative art from five diverse, Baltimore-area LGBTQ artists with Otis Street Arts Project. The platform launches with the original Pride-inspired June 2020 exhibit of works by Lania d’Agostino, Douglas Johnson, Jasjyot Singh Hans, Kieran Solley, and Metro Weekly contributor Scott G. Brooks. Meanwhile, the artists will be interviewed as part of a new podcast series focused on queer artists, in this case intended to help dispel myths and misconceptions about the practice and use of nude models. The podcasts are hosted by Peter Pup Orpheus, a classical composer, live model, arts advocate, and Mr. Maryland Leather 2017, and his interviews with Brooks and Hans are already available, with future episodes featuring D’Agostino (June 11), Johnson (June 18), and Solley (June 25). Visit


Virginia’s Del Ray Artisans kicked off March with the exhibition Tell Me a Story, which was nearly double the size of a typical show at the gallery, featuring 189 works of narrative art from 95 artists. After COVID-19 forced it to close just a few weeks later, organizers created a Flickr album to continue showcasing the art, and continues that with The Story of Tell Me a Story, an online exhibition in which visual art and literary works offer viewers an imaginative journey. The works are on display online and available for purchase until June 10. Visit

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