#MALLORY2018: An Unofficial Guide to MAL

Artwork by Michael Moraine. Glenn O’Brien’s Schott Perfecto jacket personalized by Jean-Michel Basquiat #KnowYourHerstory

The past 2 years, I’ve done these huge, lengthy write-ups here on DC House Grooves previewing cool alternative events happening during Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL) weekend and other suggestions for how to navigate DC’s signature leather and fetish event. But, thankfully, I think the time for hand holding is over. DC and so many other cities across North America are featuring thriving queer underground communities now, and the growth of good shit to do during MAL is a reflection of that. #MALLORY2018 is the best schedule of underground events to date for MAL, and I’m pretty sure everyone gets what we’re doing and why by now.

So it’s really quite simple this year. These are the main moves to achieve maximum MAL impact (but I’ll list even more good shit to do down below):

There’s really no right or wrong way to do MAL. This weekend is really all about letting your inner kink demon out. So these listings and the following advice are just my 2 cents:

  • Buy advanced tickets and thank the party planners. Tickets are selling out and will be more expensive at the door, so plan ahead and save coins. And also please be polite to the party planners about guest lists and information seeking. These events are expensive AF with the talent we’re bringing in and are a lot of hard work to produce. We’re investing in you to make this community better, but we’re also understanding of procrastination and differing income levels. Offer to pay reduced price or whatever you’re comfortable with. Look at event pages for the information you’re seeking before texting the DJ and be patient with response times.
  • Don’t get stuck in the hotel for too long. Have all the fun at the hotel and exhibition hall and be safe in whatever way that means to you. But definitely get out and enjoy DC too. I’m obviously focusing on nightlife in this post but the museums, restaurants, and sights-to-see here are all top notch.
  • Pace yourself and be safe. Even with having Monday off for the MLK holiday, this weekend is still very draining. Sleep when you can. Eat well. Drink water. Look out for one another. Take uber/lyft/via with friends.
  • Avoid circuit music. Music is obviously subjective, but seriously.. circuit music is really, really bad, you guys. I could get into the toxic, masc, homogeneous culture of it all or the bad drugs in the circuit scene, but, at the end of the day, MAL has something for everyone, and we’re just offering something different with #MALLORY2018. Do what you want. There’s plenty of fun to be had by all in whatever scene floats your boat.
  • Grab a drink at TRADE. Having Trade as a quality, everyday gay bar the past 2 years has been so crucial to the growth of our community. The drag queens and DJs there have complete freedom to be themselves, and it is so refreshing. Their lineup this weekend is super good: (Alex DB on Friday, Mark O’Brien (our buddy from Polyglamorous in SF!!) on Saturday, and Church on Sunday with Outputmessage, Wess the DJ, Rev. Jesse Jackson and drag performances by Jaxknife, Jane Saw and Pussy Noir!
  • Check out The DC Eagle. People complain about how far it is, but DC is a pretty small city, and the Eagle is definitely worth a visit. The place is huge! 3 floors with something for everybody. They’ve also provided a crucial 24-hour space for many different music scenes, including good house and techno parties we frequent like Sequence.

I already listed the main moves for the weekend but here are my full listings of good queer parties to check out this weekend:


Sleaze (Keenan Orr, DJ Lemz) w/ The Carry Nation (NYC) at Wonderland Ballroom

Petworth Social Club – January Happy Hour (MAL Kickoff Edition) w/ Outputmessage at Homestead

Schadenfreude Neubauten w/ DJ Spookster at Safari DC


Honcho MAL: Mike Servito & Justin Cudmore

DJ Alex DB at Trade

Furball DC MAL Weekend


TNX Leather Weekend: Horse Meat Disco

Mark O’Brien (Polyglamorous, SF) at Trade


Last Chance Tea Dance feat. Sfire + StrikeStone: MAL Sunday

Church presents Holy Glory!

Oh.. and there are also rumors of a word-of-mouth, no social-media-posting after party Sunday night featuring DJ Still Standing (any of the many queer DJs both locally and in town who are still on their feet). Inquire within.

And Happy #MALLORY2018!

#MALGroupPlay 2017: Buckle Up!

DC House Grooves’ queer correspondent Tommy Cornelis here, checking in for another assignment as Mid Atlantic Leather (MAL) Weekend descends about DC! If you missed my write up last year about this event organized by the Centaurs Motorcycle Club, definitely re-visit it and also check out LeatherWeekend.com. It includes all you need to know about the host hotel, a full schedule including expo hours and when the Puppy Pen is happening, the history of Centaurs MC, and all the great official events going on this weekend.

For DC House Grooves, I’ll be talking about the unofficial, underground events that have sprung up in support of this amazing weekend! And to thank you for reading this long-winded preview, we’re giving away a pair of tickets to see Horse Meat Disco on Saturday! Just fill out the form here.

For MAL 2017, we’ve definitely compiled our most ambitious schedule yet, with the TNX/DJ Lisa Frank, Honcho & Otter Den crews working together for what we’ve dubbed #MALGroupPlay: 4-nights of madness with amazing queer talent from London, Detroit, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and, of course, a heavy dose of DC!

Without further ado I’ll get to this full listings:


Fam Night w/ Jeffrey Sfire, Poppy Burns & Kunj [MAL Group Play]

DJs: Jeffrey Sfire (CockTail d’Amore & Ghostly, Detroit) & Poppy Burns (Tommy Cornelis)
Performance: Kunj
Location: Trade
Time: 9PM-Close
Cost: Free
411: Trade opened up on 14th street a little over a year ago, and it has been such a welcome addition for the gay community. We finally have a gay bar that allows DC’s queer DJs and drag queens to push the envelope in music selection and performances. For the past year, the extended TNX dance music fiends have been meeting up there on Thursdays for what we’ve dubbed “Fam Night”, and from there we stroll off to find the best dance floor, whether it be at St. Ex, Ten Tigers, Velvet Lounge, UHall or Flash. It’s really brought our community together and lights up any dance floor we end up at. We decided to kick off MAL weekend by bringing all of this energy right to Trade, and we’ve booked Jeffrey Sfire from Detroit… the brains behind this dance floor classic:

I’ll be on opening duties DJing under my drag persona Poppy Burns starting at 9PM, then we’ll have a special performance by visual artist Kunj at 11PM and then Sfire will bang it out the rest of the night!

I also wanna give a huge shout out to TRADE for letting us use their bar as our home base for the weekend. The lineup for the entire weekend is stacked and don’t forget about their XL Happy Hour Deals (XL mixed drinks and $4 beer/wine til 10PM).

DC Leather Pride- Welcome to DC

DJ: Keenan Orr
Location: DC Eagle
Time: 9PM-3AM
Cost: Suggested $5 Donation
411: A year ago I wrote that the DC Eagle was finally open for business after a lengthy and difficult move to Benning Road, and I hoped MAL weekend would help get DC’s only leather bar back on their feet. Wow- what a difference a year makes! The Exile dance floor space, the basement, and the patio bar are now regularly pumping out great dance events, and not just for the queer or leather community. Crews of all persuasions have made this a staple of DC’s now thriving after-hours scene. Definitely make sure you get out to The DC Eagle at least once this MAL Weekend. There are free shuttles from the host hotels, tons of parties going on, and this great little opening party with one of my favorite DJs in the world: Keenan Orr!

Also Worth Checking Out:
NightFlight 0112 w/ Neutral
Schadenfreude Neubauten


Location: Trade
Time: 6PM-10PM
Cost: Free
411: These two remain some of my favorite guests we’ve ever had at the old-format TNX at Velvet, and I’m so excited they’ll be kicking off Night 2 of #MALGroupPlay. The exhibitor hall is open at the host hotel at 4PM, and this will be the perfect spot to head to afterward and/or the designated meet-up happy hour before Furball with Vicki Powell and Honcho at U Street Music Hall! Dean Sullivan will be continuing on at Trade afterwards for the rest of the night, if you’re not quite ready to head to UHall yet.
DJs: Vicki Powell (Atlanta) & Honcho (Aaron Clark, Clark Price & George D’Adhemar, Pittsburgh)
Time: 10PM-3AM
Cost: $12 Advanced, $15 at the door
411: 3 years ago, I met and saw Aaron Clark DJ for the first time at the Luther party for MAL, 2 years ago Honcho and TNX hosted our MAL party together, last year we each hosted our own parties to make for a bigger weekend of events, and this year TNX is moving to a warehouse space and Honcho is taking over U Street Music Hall. The exponential growth of quality, underground events for MAL astounds me, and the fact that they’re bringing in Vicki Powell from Atlanta is just icing on the cake!

Also Worth Checking Out:
Perversion Therapy by Eames Armstrong & John Moletress – Opening
Bear Happy Hour at Rock & Roll Hotel: Jan 13 Leather Weekend
(Vjuan Allure is DJing this!)

Saturday – January 14th

MAL Group Play Happy Hour w/ Outputmessage
DJ: Outputmessage
Location: Trade
Time: 7-10PM
411: Night 3 of #MALGroupPlay continues with Outputmessage hosting happy hour duties at Trade. Rest up during the day, then get your squad together here and carpool over to Horse Meat Disco! Barber Streisand is DJing the rest of the night at Trade here, and HMD will be going til 6AM so take your time getting over to 300 Morse (but not too much!).

Horse Meat Disco: MAL Saturday

Horse Meat Disco (London), The NeedlExchange & DJ Lisa Frank
Location: TBA
Time: 10PM-6AM
Cost: $15 Advance, $20 at door before 3AM, $25 after
411: When something is so right and just makes perfect sense, why not do it again? Horse Meat Disco and MAL go together perfectly, so DJ Lisa Frank & TNX are bringing them back again this year, but this time at 300 Morse for extra hours of fun. Remember that MAL is a marathon not a race, so make sure you pace yourself just right for the prime-time event. If you’ve never caught an HMD set, get ready to dance and smile for hours!

DJs: Mark Louque (FAGBASH, Provincetown/NOLA) & Strike Stone
Location: Town
Time: 5PM-10:30PM
Cost: $8
411: A new addition to last year’s schedule of events, this Sunday tea dance hosted by Otter Crossing ended up being the surprise breakout hit of the weekend! This year Strike Stone is on the lineup and they’re bringing in Mark Louque, founder of PTown’s legendary FAG BASH party. Last year Town ended up giving over the reigns for the night to a bunch of DJs still standing from the weekend afterwards, and there is a rumor that may happen again ?. Plus Town is conveniently located by the official closing party at 9:30 Club with Ultra Nate!
Location: 9:30 Club
Time: 10PM
Cost: $35 Advanced, $45 at the door
411: Flagging + Ultra Naté, what more do you need?! She’s pricey, but the official closing party beautifully shows the history of dance culture for the leather community.
It’s very easy for MAL newbies to spend all of their time in the host hotel and at circuit parties, so my biggest advice is to get out and enjoy our beautiful city and the diverse and music-forward dance culture we have. As you can see, there’s not a lack of options!