DCBigPappa's Blog

Politics & Pop Culture from a homocon.

Tag Archives: Capital Pride

Quotes from the Pride Parade

size_550x415_Capital Pride new logo JPG

“But if my being seen in the parade is a visible sign that God loves and accepts people across the full spectrum of human sexuality, it will have achieved its purpose.”
– The Very Rev. Gary Hall, Washington National Cathedral

But he didn’t stop there.

“I’m sure I’ll get some angry letters for participating in something this flamboyant. But you know, I think the flamboyance might actually loosen up some uptight people.”

– The Very Rev. Gary Hall, Washington National Cathedral

The Reopening of Mova: Was It Grand?

Update on coat check:

It appears that one of the rods holding up the coats snapped and broke, causing many of the jackets to detach from their hangers.  Thus, the ensuing chaos.


Last Friday night, I went to the reopening of Mova (formerly Halo) which used to be located on P Street across from Whole Foods.  The new location, 2204 14th St., NW, is still in the gayborhood, but just slightly north of most of the traditional haunts.  It’s nestled midway between the 17th Street strip of JRs and Cobalt, and the Shaw area bars of Nellie’s and Town.

The VIP Reception was overall quite a delight!  It was the venerable who’s who of the DC gay community.  There were the political leaders of Stonewall Democrats and Log Cabin Republicans, as well as the Mayor’s Director of GLBT Affairs.  Also in attendance were leaders of other community organizations and events including Team DC, Capital Pride, and Homo Hotel Happy Hour.  Mayor Gray even made a brief appearance.

Upon entrance, I noted a problem.  Standing in line for coat check at the beginning of the night showed a flaw in their preparations for the night.  No one had bothered to prep the coat check.  So as the staffer was taking coats at the beginning of the night, she had to grab an empty hanger, attach a ticket to it, drape the coat over the hanger, and then tear the ticket for the customer.  At first, this didn’t seem too arduous.  However, when you add ten to twelve people standing in line, it became time-consuming.

Moving further inside, the place had an exalted look to it.  It was completely different from its original location; probably more akin to its sister bar in South Beach Miami.  Mova is broken up into three sections with two bars.  The front room has an elongated bar on the right side, much like its original location.  There were four very friendly bartenders serving up delicious Finlandia vodka drinks.  The pours were extremely generous, but I mostly attribute that to it being the VIP reception.  There is a hallway that leads to a quaint, yet small back room.  It houses the DJ booth immediately on the right, and another bar at the very back.  There are two restrooms on either side along the hallway.

The stairs on the left lead to a charmingly decorated rooftop terrace with four Hammered Bronze Quartz Glass Tube Heater heating lamps.  They were quite the conversation starter.  However, once you were more than a foot away from the lamps, you felt no heat.  So people tended not to stay on the deck for more than a few minutes.

Another issue for the deck was the sound system.  While inside, you could easily lose yourself in the thumping beats of the DJ who was doing an excellent job.  But once you went outside, the music  faded in and out of the poorly chosen Garden Rock Outdoor Speakers.

At 10pm, the doors were opened to the general public.  It was a good thing the fire marshal was not in the vicinity, as it was wall-to-wall people inside.  This is also when the shit show began!

At the point in the night when the doors were opened for all, there was a line of people coming into the bar waiting to check their coats, as well as another line of  people who were there from the VIP party ready to leave.  The scene quickly delved into chaos, as the two separate lines morphed into what was close to a mob.

People were shouting their ticket number at the staffer, who was visibly overwhelmed and a bit shaken.  At one point, the poor guy simply started holding up coats asking aloud, “does this jacket belong to anyone?”  It appears that one of the rods holding up the coats snapped and broke, causing many of the jackets to detach from their hangers.  After waiting nearly 40 minutes simply to retrieve my coat (thankfully he was able to find it), I finally left.

The worse thing for a new or reopening bar to have happen is for the very last interaction with the bar be a negative one.  I am sure Mova can recover from this near fiasco, but some damage has been done to the brand.

I am quite sure I will return to Mova, just not sure it will be before it warms up and I don’t have to fear more coat check mayhem.

Why Pride Still Matters

The following piece is printed in the current issue of The Washington Blade.

Forty-two years ago we fought back. We said we had had enough, and we weren’t going to take it anymore. That was the message of the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Bless those gay men and lesbians of yesteryear; those queers and benders; and especially those drag queens. What would we have done without those drag queens? One year later, Gay Pride marches occurred in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to commemorate the anniversary of Stonewall. That began the tradition of what we celebrate as Pride.

Today, Pride is celebrated the world over. You can find it in every big city from New York to Paris to Rio, and in small to mid-sized towns like Annapolis, Richmond, Austin and Seattle.  Chances are if you are reading this, you have more than likely attended at least one event produced for Capital Pride — Washington, D.C.’s own Pride celebration.

Capital Pride is the annual celebration of the LGBT community in our nation’s capital. This year, Capital Pride celebrates its 36th anniversary. This year, Capital Pride has offered more than 30 events that have spanned 10 days that highlight, showcase, and represent D.C.’s LGBT community. We’ve honored heroes, hosted town halls and religious programs, as well as dances, parties and pageants. This weekend, we will conclude with an amazing parade that will be viewed by tens of thousands and a free festival the entire family can enjoy that ranks in the top five for attendance in North America.

Each year, we reflect on how far we’ve come as a community, and how much further we need to travel down that path toward full equality. The last 12 months have been no exception.  Since last Pride, we’ve seen the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” along with other steps toward equality. But conversely, in many jurisdictions across our country, we still have not reached our goals with regard to marriage, adoption and a host of other issues. And so we continue to have Pride.

The celebration of Pride is a time when all aspects of our community can come together as one. But Pride has a different meaning to many people.

The dichotomy that is Pride boils down to this: Is it a party or is it a protest? Generally speaking, the answer to that question will depend on the age of the person responding.

I am here to say that it can and should be both! While we will most certainly fail if we attempt to be too many things to all people, we must certainly have a variety of activities that span the cross-section that is our community. This means not only dance parties and happy hours, but also educational and cultural events.

Gay society is changing. Pride celebrations need to reflect that. We are no longer confined to the gayborhoods of Dupont, Chelsea, West Hollywood and North Halsted among others. So it can’t only be about the bar scene.

Many of us who grew up and came out more than a decade ago have a different take on what Pride should be than some who are now coming of age. That’s not to say one group is wrong or right.

Many of the younger generation look to Pride as a celebration — a party. And that’s fine.  Those who are a little more “seasoned” often view Pride as a protest, mindful of the riots on those late June nights back at the Stonewall Inn.

And it is extremely important that we show our youth, especially in small towns and throughout middle America, that it does get better. Though we may face hardship and ridicule from our peers, we can become anything we dream of being.

Locally, we need to do more to bring the various Pride celebrations — Capital Pride, Black Pride, Youth Pride, Latino Pride — together, while still retaining individual identities. And we need to do more throughout the calendar year.  Pride should be a year-long celebration, not just a few weeks in the summer.

So please come out this weekend and celebrate Pride. And once the fun events and activities are done, give back. Help us plan next year’s festivities. After all, this is for you, the community.  Constructive feedback and input are necessary for us to thrive as a community.  And if that’s not your cup of tea, volunteer with a local group or organization. There are many in our great city.  The point is to show your Pride!

Macy’s Shows its Pride

This morning I was walking downtown near Metro Center and came across this window design.

NICE! Thanks, Macy’s!


Capital Pride Heroes Gala & Reception

Making Lemonade with Capital Pride

Two weeks ago, we at Capital Pride were excited to announce that Mya would be performing this year at DC’s Pride celebration.  This would have built on last year’s headliner, RuPaul.  Then late last week, we were notified by Mya’s camp that she had complications associated with a recent foot surgery that would prevent her from appearing at the event.

Some of us went into panic mode.  Those of us who’ve been on the board of directors for Pride (or the planning committee back when it was with Whitman-Walker) for a number of years remember how disappointed the crowd is when we have no major headlining act.  Looking back only two year ago, we had Jason & DeMarco, a group I had never heard of.  The crowd was supportive and receptive, but not as enthusiastic as last year with Ru.

So after some hard work and late nights by our Entertainment Committee, we announced last night that Capital Pride was going Country.  We were able to secure at the last minute, Chely Wright as our headlining act.

As some of you will know, Chely recent came out of the closet and announced she was a lesbian.  And tomorrow she will appear on Ellen to talk about what it is like to be the first openly lesbian country music star.  Wright’s performance at Capital Pride on June 13th will be her first free and open-to-the-public musical performance since coming out.  It will also be the second time she has performed for a large audience in Washington, DC, having been a featured performer during the National Independence Day Celebration, “Capitol Fourth” concert in 2001.

Also, if you’d like to volunteer for Pride this year, we have a host of event, including the Parade on the 12th and the Festival on the 13th.  Email dblades@capitalpride.org for more information.

Morning Shot: May 25, 2010

  • Birthday Shots
    Today offers some great shots to give out! Ralp Waldo Emerson would be 207, Robert Ludlum of the Jason Bourne series would be 83, Gandalf himself – Sir Ian McKellen – ages gracefully, as does Mike Myers, Stacy London (What Not to Wear) and Lauryn Hill.
  • This Day in History
    On this day in 1977, Memorial Day weekend opens with an intergalactic bang as the first of George Lucas’ blockbuster Star Wars movies hits American theaters.
  • Hey Napalitano, It’s a Gulf, not an Ocean.
    This video is taken straight from the Politico.
  • Don’t Mess with Miss DC!
    City Paper reports that bombshell beauty queen, and a runner-up for Miss America, Jennifer Corey took matters into her own hands, after hands were taken to her. They quote the Washington Examiner, who says the District beauty queen winner was slapped in the butt by a group of “spoiled rich preppy kids who think that they are better than you because their dad makes a lot of money.” They were out in Georgetown, if you can imagine. After the third assault, “I just had so much rage against him . . . that I slammed him up against the wall,” Corey said. “[T]here is no reason for a girl to have to worry about being slapped . . . or touched when we go out.”
  • Will DDOT Rain on the Pride Parade?
    That is the question many people have been asking since last November when the District Department of Transportation began ripping up the sidewalk along 17th Street NW right in the middle of the parade route for Capital Pride. The project is scheduled to last for 240 days (weather permitting). That would put completion around July 29th, (weather permitting). We’re less than three weeks out from the parade, so we shall see. Oh, and they even have a website to monitor their progress — http://17thstreetstreetscape.com/default.aspx

Today offers some great shots to give out!  Ralp Waldo Emerson would be 207, Robert Ludlum of the Jason Bourne series would be 83, Gandalf himself – Sir Ian McKellen – ages gracefully, as does Mike Myers, Stacy London (What Not to Wear) and Lauryn Hill.

Thoughts on Roy Ashburn for the Christian Science Monitor

In light of CA State Senator Roy Ashburn’s decision today to come out of the closet after his DUI and the reporting that he had been seen leaving a gay bar, I was asked via email by a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor to offer my input on the difficulty for openly gay Republicans in contemporary politics.  More specifically, are Americans beyond the point where a politician’s sexual orientation would keep them from winning an election, or are American more likely today to see past that?

Unfortunately, due to my commitments as a member of the Board of Directors for Capital Pride, I was unable to offer my thoughts in a timely manner before his deadline.  I thought I would write them down in any case.  Below is my response.

It would depend on the particular constituency and the record of the politician.  For example, the city of Houston, Texas recently elected Annise Parker, a lesbian as mayor because of her credentials, not because of her sexuality.  Arizona Republican Jim Kolbe came out back in 1996 and was reelected to Congress five times.

That being said, I still feel there are more challenges running for the Republican nominee as an out gay man or lesbian.  But we are seeing a few more gay candidates running as Republicans each year.

For instance, there is a Congressional candidate running in Virginia against Rep. Jim Moran (VA-08) – Matthew Berry.  He has a contested primary, but is the odds on favorite to make it to the general because he flatly stated that he was gay and moved on.  He’s a not a gay candidate, but a candidate who happens to be gay.  And he’s good on the issues that Republican voters care about — taxes, education, national security, fiscal responsibility.

When you let your gayness define you, that is when people – the voters lose interest.

Lambda Rising Closing — Losing an Icon

On Saturday, I met up with a friend for coffee at Starbucks.  There being no room to sit inside, and with the season’s first snow fall, we decided to venture two blocks north and peruse the bookshelves of Lambda Rising, the premiere bookstore for gay DC.  Lambda Rising has been serving the GLBT community in the nation’s capital for 35 years.

While there, we heard the very sad news that Lambda was closing it store soon after the new year.  A patron nearby vocalized exactly what I was thinking at that moment – “first the Blade and now this?”  The clerk quickly countered that the Blade had now become the DC Agenda.

I was happy to learn, after some quick digging, that Lambda was not closing because of hard financial times, but simply because its owners wanted to retire.  You see, Deacon Maccubbin has been at the forefront of our push for civil rights.  His name is often mentioned in the same breath as Frank Kameny, Del Martin and the likes.

Deacon created DC’s Gay Pride Day, which has become Capital Pride, of which I am a board member.  What started out as a one-day community block party has turned into the fourth largest event of its kind in the US.

So I would like to applaud Deacon and Jim Bennett, his partner of 32 years for their incredible service to our city and our community.  Thank you very much, and happy retirement!

You can read more on the closing of Lambda Rising in the DC Agenda.

The Washington Blade Closes…for now.

What started out as an easy going Monday morning, quickly delved into a chaotic rush for information.  A couple of hours ago, queerty.com posted

SHOCK: Blade Publisher Window Media Closes

Now I knew that Windows Media, the parent company to the Blade was in trouble, but I didn’t think it would come to this point so fast!

I am triply saddened because 1) The Blade has been a great resource for the national GLBT community for the last 40 years; 2) I was fortunate enough to have been asked to contribute to their publication through op-eds and letters to the editor over the past eight months; and 3) The Blade had extended out a pro-bono hand to Capital Pride in offering office space.

Now, I am off to ZipCar over to help clear out the Capital Pride office.  Oh what a day!

%d bloggers like this: