It’s easy to assume everyone in our underground community knows that we owe a great deal to our “dancestors”, particularly LGBTQIA people of color, when we step on the dance floor. But then you hear Ten Walls (aka Mario Basanov) spew some truly vile shit that would make Rick Santorum blush, and you’re left scratching your head.
And while it’s great to see gay rights progress incredible fast, it’s sad to see gay audiences completely unaware of our roots. I meet gay people all the time who have never heard the names of Larry Levan or Frankie Knuckles, but know every word to [insert name of generic, straight pop star].
Far too often lines are drawn on both sides, albeit unintentional, where gay people might be really into a DJ, but the harsh reality is that they may not attend the event because they don’t want to be the only gay person there, coupled with the concern “is this truly a safe space?”. Conversely, some straight people won’t go to a queer event out of fear of invading their space, or maybe they too feel like the “odd one(s) out”.
As we embark on our annual DC Pride celebration, active discussions on diversity in dance culture and the commercialization of Pride are taking place. While these (and many other) conversations are crucial to our identities, and should be evolving beyond the scope of one week in June, I say we stop taking sides and strive to create inviting spaces that would make our dance forefathers and mothers proud. We are a resilient, diverse community, bound by our love for the dance floor and expression of self.
If you want to take me up on that challenge, here are some pride events from DC’s emerging, queer underground for you to sweat to this week!
Market Crash – Pride 2015 Special Edition at The Big Board
It’s really cool seeing gays throwing weekday parties AND branching out of NW, and Market Crash just celebrated one year of doing just that with their monthly party on H Street at The Big Board. For Pride they’re bringing in guest DJ Tommy Cornelis and drag queen Heidi Glüm. Heidi hosts a drag night at Black Cat called Gay Bash, where you’re more likely to see a Marilyn Manson performance than Britney Spears.
Black Coffee with Vanniety Kills, meegs at U Street Music Hall
While not technically a gay or pride event, everyone’s favorite person who just happens to be a lesbian, DJ Vanniety Kills, is making an unfortunately rare DJ appearance with meegs in support of Black Coffee. Annie has been supporting a loved one in a fight against cancer, and this weekend “The DC Three” (ESL, Uhall, and Flash) are hosting 3 Love Triangle events to raise funds: including secretsundaze DC with Giles Smith, James Priestley, Brian Monaco; Body Werk at Flash on Friday, PARADISE MIRAGE – PRIDE 2015 feat. Kim Ann Foxman on Saturday, and Sam Burns and friends on Sunday at ESL.
Schadenfreude Neubauten w/ DJ Laura Palmer at Dr. Clock’s Nowhere Bar
DJs Wolfblister (Kwasi) and Dianamatic were DJing a party called Kitty Twister together at Dodge City when they started Schadenfreudu Neubauten as an outlet to play coldwave, post punk, minimal synth, goth and near goth stuff. And they do this all at Dr. Clock’s, which has served as an incubator of sorts for off-the-wall ideas. Find out who killed guest DJ Laura Palmer this Thursday.
Shirtless at Green Lantern
No one goes here for the music, but “Shirtless” at “The Latrine” is a proud DC tradition. The deal is you drink for free from 10-11PM if you take your shirt off. It creates a dance floor full of shirtless, sweaty dudes, which sometimes hits the spot.. especially during Pride. Shirtless is also a stop on the Leather Barcrawl, which has a free bus to the not-so-convenient new location of the DC Eagle, so it’s a good opportunity to drink cheap, check out the Eagle, and get your leather on!
Pornstache at Satellite Room
Satellite Room is hosting several pride-related events this year, including this party from the team behind Market Crash.DJ Kevo and DJ Melo will be playing electro music all night, and there will be performances by drag queens Heidi Glüm and Salvadora Dali.
Booty Rex at Black Cat
Top pick for Friday night is definitely the now annual and quite legendary Booty Rex party, combining the Anthology of Booty collective and the (now defunct) She.Rex party. There aren’t a ton of lesbian parties in DC, but when there are- people show up in full force ready to get down. There’s something to be said about this model in a city where we so often have to pick and choose from several great events each night. Booty Rex takes over both floors of The Cat w/ DJs Natty Boom, Alex DB, DJ RAt, and Junebullet, to name a few.
Otter Crossing feat. CTRL at Green Lantern
Otter Crossing is one of the few gay parties in DC that has achieved a cult-like following that doesn’t compromise on music selection. For Pride, Otter Crossing is hosting the boys of CTRL, who promise to transport us to a 70s bathhouse and play some disco!
Bear Happy Hour at Rock ‘n Roll Hotel
Bears in DC have always strived to be a fun, welcoming community, but the music has sometimes been an afterthought. Luckily this summer, Tommy Cornelis has teamed up with the Bear Nonsense Happy Hour at RnR to curate a rotating cast of DJs that has or will include Bil Todd, Keenan Orr, Ed the Metaphysical, Baronhawk, Dean Sullivan, Natty Boom, and George D’adhemar. It’s breathed some new life into the expansive, political, and often competing bear happy hour scene, and has united the younger, bear-ish queers with a great DC tradition. For the Pride edition, Alex DB and Jim Gade will be on the decks with support from Tommy Cornelis!
LoveCamp: Pride Edition ft Metaphysical & Dean Sullivan at Embassy Row Hotel
One Love Massive is also hosting a rooftop happy hour, so you got options on getting your night started. This one features a reunion of the party Church with DJs Ed the Metaphysical (ESL) and Dean Sullivan (Gay Bash, BearZerk, DILF).
Paradise Mirage feat. Kim Ann Foxman at U Street Music Hall
I’m obviously biased but top pick for the entire weekend is Paradise Mirage, where U Street Music Hall and TNX (Bil Todd, Baronhawk & Tommy Cornelis) aim to resurrect Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage through Keith Haring-inspired artwork, Paradise Garage-inspired visuals, and music from the Butch Queen DJs, TNX, DJ Lisa Frank, and Kim Ann Foxman. The theme for Pride this year is Flashback, so it’s great to see a party connecting with the origins of the queer and modern dance floor, and that uhall is again supporting this vision with an amazing booking. Kim rose to notoriety through Hercules and Love Affair, but has been holding it down as a DJ and producer and at the helm of Firehouse Recordings. This event is also part of The DC Three present: LOVE TRIANGLE Fundraiser and a portion of proceeds will go towards helping one of our own to say #FCancer!
Here are some preview mixes from Lisa Frank and TNX to put you in the spirit.
Babe Rainbow at Black Cat
For the 2nd year, the Black Cat is giving over both floors to local DJs who represent a diverse collection of underground nights in DC. Keenan Orr, Dean Sullivan, Alex DB, Abichula, Tom from Prague, Bryan Smith, and Candice Jones will give you a great mix of sounds, and a portion of proceeds go towards The DC Center. Definitely include this as a stop while you’re party hopping and expect amazing artwork from the hands of Linas Garsys. Black Cat is at the forefront of supporting queer weirdos and their out-of-the-mainstream parties, something, sadly, not many gay bars in this city are willing to do. They’re really stepping up by giving over both floors to pride events on Friday and Saturday.
Here’s a preview mix from Dean
Supergay Saturday! at Embassy Row Hotel
If you’re looking for a destination before, after or even during the parade, One Love Massive is hosting a pool party at the Embassy Row Hotel with DJs Outputmessage, Tommy Cornelis & Illexxandra from 12-7pm. If you haven’t yet, check out Outputmessage’s entirely original and seriously good productions. Bernard is a great DJ too, so expect perfect poolside vibes from these 3 in a beautiful setting that’s waving distance from the parade. It’s supposed to be a hot one on Saturday, so a no cover event with free access to a pool is greatly appreciated.
Best Above Ground:
Pride Parade Presented by Marriott®™ ®
FUSE | Official Capital Pride Women’s Party w/ DJ Jacq Jill and DJ Rosie
MIXTAPE Pride Party w/ Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer
CRUISING: Leather and Kink Pride Event at Satellite Room
#UndergroundThrowdown at Dance Loft
(Saturday into) Sunday Picks
A proper, queer afterhours party in DC is finally happening.. and it features San Francisco’s Honey Soundsystem no less! Following Flash’s party with Vicenzo, Honey is sending over Jackie House and Jason Kendig, and they’re letting you scramble on that windowless dance floor from 4am til noon. Honey Soundsystem absolutely destroyed TNX’s pride party at uhall last year alongside Honey Dijon and Nancy Whang, so it’s going to be really nice to see them play an extended set for pride this year. We’re really hoping DC can hang with them for this one. Pro-tip: tickets from Vicenzo are honored for this event, and stamps from Paradise Mirage and Babe Rainbow earn you a $5 discount.
Double Feature at Satellite Room
Satellite Room has been showing two movies on Sundays, and for Pride they are showing Hairspray and Paris is Burning!
Best Above Ground:
Pride Festival presented by Live! Casino®™ ®
Pride Concert presented by Hot 99.5®™ w/ En Vogue and Amber
Fanny Pack- Ladies Tea/Pride Closing Party w/ DJ Deedub, DC Kings and DJ LiLo
Cobalt Presents: DC Pride Official Closing Party – Power of Pride w/ DJ MadScience and DJ Power Infiniti