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Fall Arts Preview 2023: Above & Beyond

Rocky Horror, the Lincoln Theatre is the ticket — as long as you hurry and get your ticket before it sells out.815 V St. NW 202-265-0930www.930.com901 Wharf St. SW. 202-888-0020www.theanthemdc.comJoseph Meyerhoff Hall 1212 Cathedral St. Baltimore, Md. 410-783-8000www.baltimorespeakers.orgPresented by Stevenson University at the Baltimore Symphony’s Meyerhoff Hall in downtown Baltimore, the annual series of seven lectures is available by subscription only.

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‘Evita’ Review: Cry Hard
Evita (★★★☆☆), Shereen Pimentel, in the title role, declaims not from a balcony of the Presidential Palace, but surrounded by risers of flowers stacked to the rafters.A luminous rose among a field of lesser blooms, Eva “Evita” Péron, addresses her nation to the triumphant strains of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” Indeed it’s a triumphant moment for the Shakespeare Theatre’s production, directed by Sammi Cannold, building on her staged concert presentation of Evita for New York City Center Encores! in 2019, and a subsequent American Repertory Theatre production in Cambridge, Massachusetts this past summer.Finessing the First Lady’s appeal to her people, Pimentel’s voice is at its loveliest on “Don’t Cry,” while Jason Sherwood’s scenic design provides a gorgeous visual representation of Evita’s lofty status amongst the Argentinian masses.The stirring number reinforces the tune’s status as the crown jewel of one of Webber’s best-known scores, with a polished, patient rendition that belies the effort to deliver all an audience might hope for or want from a hit. Other gems in the score don’t gleam with the same care and intention, although the performers, backed by music director Mona Seyed-Bolorforosh’s 16-piece orchestra, have their moments.The warm baritone of Caesar Samayoa, as Presidente Juan Péron, booms confidently through the droll game of musical chairs depicting the military colonel’s rise to power.
The Riley Roundup: Transgender Educational Warfare, Part 1
Sacramento Bee, San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Tom Garza issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Chino Valley Unified School District from enforcing the policy, which is one of six school districts in the state to have adopted policies requiring parental notification when a student doesn’t conform to gender norms or stereotypes.The Chino Valley policy was challenged by Attorney General Rob Bonta, who argued that the policy violates the privacy rights of LGBTQ students, and endangers the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of transgender and gender-nonconforming students.The Orange Unified School District was the most recent to adopt a policy similar to Chino Valley’s — coming after Bonta’s lawsuit was filed — with school boards in Murietta, Temecula, the Anderson Union High School District in Shasta County, in the northern part of the state, and the Rocklin School District, northeast of Sacramento.The policies are increasingly being adopted in conservative enclaves throughout the state as part of a larger societal backlash against transgender visibility — which has been encouraged by conservative influencers and Republican Party leaders.A group of activists recently filed a ballot initiative — one of three targeting transgender youth visibility — that would impose similar parental notification policies on districts throughout the state.The Alaska State Board of Education recently approved a proposed regulation barring transgender girls from competing on female-designated high school sports teams for any districts that are part of the Alaska School Activities Association.
‘Blue Beetle’ Review: Buggin’ Out
DC’s latest addition to superhero cinema, Blue Beetle (★★☆☆☆), seems to thread together two disparate films that the makers struggle mightily to fuse into a satisfying, cohesive whole.At its most successful, the movie, directed by Ángel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings), introduces Mexican college grad Jaime Reyes, played by Cobra Kai’s Xolo Maridueña, along with Jaime’s loving, but financially imperiled family. Dad Alberto (Damián Alcázar), mom Rocio (Elpidio Carrillo), younger sister Milagro (Belissa Escobedo), crazy conspiracy theory-addled uncle Rudy (George Lopez), and feisty matriarch Nana (Adriana Barraza, who almost steals the show) all rally around Jaime when a mysterious sapphire-blue scarab latches onto his body and consciousness, making him an unwilling host to a “world-destroying weapon.” Time spent with Jaime and the Reyes family, steeped in authentic Latino culture, humor, and relationships, plays like the warmly comic pilot episode of a sitcom I’d gladly binge.Each episode could include a flashback to the adventures of Nana Reyes, which, based on the hints she drops, would be as thrilling and dangerous as anything Jaime encounters in his new scarab-assisted superhero form as Blue Beetle.That brings us to the other, less successful counterpart to the Meet the Reyes Family sitcom: the relatively lame-ass origin story of another DC Comics hero that’s so clearly intended as a setup for future appearances that it fails to do anything interesting with the character’s big-screen debut.
For LGBTQ Youth, Longtime Ally Ben Cohen Is A Team Player
Patterns, London teen Liam (Rufus Gleave) wishes for guidance from the poster boy on his wall, English rugby champion Ben Cohen, and, in the show’s camp comedy fashion, his wish is granted.Stepping directly out of a shirtless poster into Liam’s room, the former pro winger materializes to help the kid build up the confidence to conquer school bullies, and finally come out to his, incidentally, pretty DILF-y dad, Preston (Matthew Simpson).The role came as a natural fit for Cohen, who has long put combating bullying and homophobia at the center of his activism, founding the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation in 2011. Few world-class professional athletes, who are straight, have worn their LGBTQ allyship as prominently or as proudly as Cohen, who goes so far in Patterns as to dance a dream ballet in a crop tee and cutoff shorts, all for the sake of supporting Liam, and kids like him.“This was a great opportunity to be a role model and to help support [Patterns director-producer] Rex [Glensy] through something that I’ve probably always been curious of, with acting,” Cohen says over a video call from his home in the English countryside.Though Cohen has made several non-sports-related TV appearances, most famously as a contestant on season 13 of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, he had “never really acted before, in front of the camera.”He credits Gleave, the episode’s young lead, with supporting him.
‘Talk To Me’ Review: Getting Handsy
Talk to Me (★★★☆☆) — not unlike co-directors Danny and Michael Philippou, twins from Adelaide, Australia, whose YouTube channel, RackaRacka, has cracked over a billion views with its brand of special effects-assisted comedy videos.Working from a script co-written by Danny Philippou and RackaRacka collaborator Bill Hinzman, the filmmakers invest their feature debut with ample compassion for the movie’s circle of camera-clutching Australian high schoolers, who barely distinguish between danger and content.Led by troubled Mia (played with intensity by Sophie Wilde, also making her feature debut), these friends charge full-speed into the maws of death, but none are treated by the film as expendable, nor as merely grist for grisly humor.In fact, Talk to Me doesn’t rack up a high-volume body count as it weaves grave drama into its taut supernatural tale following Mia, her bestie Jade (Alexandra Jensen), and their friends down a dark rabbit hole of convening with the dead.Mia, grief-stricken over the death of her mother, and probably now a bit too attached to Jade’s family, and definitely feeling some kind of way about Jade dating her ex, Daniel (Otis Dhanji), is already teetering on the edge. So when the group, including Jade’s younger teen brother Riley (Joe Bird), gets introduced to a party game that involves contacting the dead — by grasping a cursed, embalmed hand, and inviting the spirits to “Talk to me” — Mia plunges in eagerly, desperately hoping to make contact.Of course, Mia and friends make contact in ways they hadn’t imagined, summoning spirits who enter gladly but then won’t leave.
Seven GOP Attorneys General Threaten Target
letter — a rambling, unfocused missive that allows the attorneys to vent their spleen at Target for embracing and celebrating LGBTQ consumers — accuses Target of violating laws meant to “protect children from harmful content meant to sexualize them and prohibit gender transitions of children.”“As Attorneys General committed to enforcing our States’ child-protection and parental-rights laws and our States’ economic interests as Target shareholders, we are concerned by recent events involving the company’s ‘Pride’ campaign,” the attorneys general wrote in the letter.“Our concerns entail the company’s promotion and sale of potentially harmful products to minors, related potential interference with parental authority in matters of sex and gender identity, and possible violation of fiduciary duties by the company’s directors and officers,” the letter continues.The letter further alleges that putting up Pride displays in stores may violate child protection laws penalizing the “sale or distribution” of “obscene matter.”The letter accuses LGBTQ activists of using Target to advance their own agenda of “exposing Target’s valuable customer base, which include families with young children across the country, to ‘LGBTQIA+’ concepts and values.”The letter lists a litany of offending merchandise that social conservatives were outraged by, such as Pride- or rainbow-themed T-shirts and clothing for children, a “tuck-friendly” swimsuit sold in adult sizes, and an adult-sized T-shirt with the drag queen Katya on it.Even though the latter two items were not marketed toward children nor sold in children’s sizes, the letter deliberately misstates facts and alleges that such products will encourage kids to become transgender.The attorneys then
DeSantis Campaign Shares Homoerotic Ad Touting Anti-LGBTQ Record
homoerotic ad indirectly criticizing the former president’s past statements claiming to support LGBTQ rights.Much of the ad, shared by the “DeSantis War Room” account on Twitter, highlights moments from the 2016 presidential campaign when Trump was either trying to distinguish himself from other Republican candidates or trying to peel away some LGBTQ support from Hillary Clinton after clinching his party’s nomination. Whether DeSantis’s campaign made the ad or simply shared it online is unclear.The ad shows a snippet of Trump’s speech from the 2016 Republican Convention vowing to “do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens,” a reference to Trump’s willingness to defend LGBTQ people from terrorism in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting, in which 49 people were killed.The gunman, who was killed in the shooting, had pledged allegiance to ISIS, reawakening concerns about national security and the threat of Islamic radicals carrying out attacks against Americans.It also shows Trump’s campaign selling LGBTQ-themed merchandise, photos of Trump with Caitlyn Jenner, a clip of Trump affirming that Jenner could use whatever gendered restroom she wanted if she came to visit him at Trump Tower, and a clip of Trump, at the time the owner of the Miss Universe pageant, telling the late Barbara Walters that transgender contestants would be able to compete in Miss Universe.The ad splices those video clips with screenshots of tweets and headlines showing Trump supporting — or at least purporting to support — LGBTQ rights, often while pandering to LGBTQ conservatives.