#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!

Pride Underground 2017

I honestly didn’t know if I was going to do Pride Underground this year. Not because of a lack of quality DIY, music-forward, independent-of-Capital Pride events this year (actuality, this is, by far, the largest collection of pride events I have ever found that fit that bill). I was mostly hesitant because a) it is a very large undertaking, and b) this is a confusing time to be gay in America, with lots of heated and needed discussions about what is and what should be the point of Pride in the Trump era. I thought maybe this was a year to just take a seat, and focus more on listening to the people who have largely felt silenced during Pride celebrations, rather than try to insert into the narrative my take on what a good party agenda is for the weekend.

Concerns about the commercialization of Pride and the lack of representation of POC, women and the trans community are certainly not new, but they’ve been more formally organized this year under a coalition of queer organizations and individuals called No Justice No Pride. Their efforts have solicited a wide-range of responses from Capital Pride and the community at large. Some see it as a much-needed activist element that has been missing from Pride for too long. Some choose to ignore. Others are dismissive of a “pesky bunch” they like to label as “the intolerant left.” To be honest, some of the in-fighting on both sides is getting a bit out of control, and I think most people in the gay community feel somewhere in the middle. I’m hearing a lot of calls for “can’t we all just get along?” However, while that sentiment might be cute, it only stifles the meaningful and needed dialogue we need to have in order move our community forward. You don’t have to support of all of NJNP’s viewpoints or agree with their tactics, but now is now the time to be dismissive of people who for too long have not had a seat at the table.

These are trying times, and dance culture has an important role to play in organizing and providing relief for those who are resisting and fighting back. DC’s dance community is strong, and LGBTQ+ people are vital to its current health- providing quality, welcoming events all over the DMV. It was these people who reached out to me asking if Pride Underground was happening again this year who ultimately convinced me that these listings need to happen, now more than ever.

So with that, I present to you the Pride Underground 2017 listings. As I mentioned before, there are so many good events this year, and I wish I could have provided detailed write-ups for all of them. So I kindly ask that you click on all the links provided and learn about these events and add the people throwing them to your radar, even if they don’t ultimately make your dance card during this very busy Pride weekend. I’ve also included information for marches, panel discussions, and activist demonstrations under an “Act Up” column, so make sure you do more than just drink and dance this weekend! And if there’s anything I missed (and I’m sure I did), please reach out to me. I am happy to add them (you can reach me here)! Category is queer, non-official, and welcoming to all.

And if you dig what this is all about, please share on social media and use #PrideUnderground, if you’re so inclined. Happy pride!

Wednesday – June 7th

Market Crash – Come Bash Crash Pride Edition

FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/131161074106189/136978853524411
DJ: The Barber Streisand
Drag Queens: Donna Slash, Salvadora Dali, Cis Jenner
Location: The Big Board
Time: 9PM-1:30AM
411: Market Crash is celebrating 3 years of throwing Wednesday night, bi-monthly gay parties on H Street, with a rotating cast of DJs and drag queens. The burgers at Big Board are really good too, FYI!

The IVy Project presents – A Pride Rooftop Party at Flash

FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/396525610733929
DJs: Eletrox , DJ Salamander Silk and Milko
Location: Flash Rooftop
Time: 10PM-2:30AM

Thursday – June 8th

Sleaze: Pride Edition – Taste Our Rainbow

FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/1929883547232631
DJs: Tommy Cornelis, The Barber Streisand, Lemz, Keenan Orr
Drag Queen: Moon Baby (Pittsburgh)
Location: Wonderland Ballroom
Time: 9PM-1:30AM
411: Lemz is back in DC and already busy, and he’s teamed up with Keenan for a new monthly at Wonderland. I’m on the bill along w/ Barber Streisand (Bryan Smith), and performing is Moon Baby- a seriously fierce queen from PGH, who is a favorite of the Honcho crew. Make sure you don’t miss her performances throughout the night.

Schadenfreude Neubauten // Ripping Headaches

FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/309540479489471
DJs: Ripping Headaches (Special Guest) + Wolfblister & Dianamatic (Schadenfreude Neubauten)
Location: Dr. Clock’s Nowhere Bar
Time: 9PM-2AM
411: Schadenfreude Neubauten takes place on 2nd Thursday’s at Dr Clocks- a place I like to call the DJ incubator space. It’s always free and weird: minimal synth // post-punk // wave // ebm // industrial // and whatever else.

Regrets Only: S&M Pride Kickoff

FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/178927462637633
DJs: DJ Lisa Frank & Sarah Myers
Location: Ten Tigers
Time: 10PM-2AM
411: Ten Tigers has been a much welcome addition for DC’s dance community- providing an intimate, uptown space with great sound, good food, and a nice slate of parties eager to take advantage. Regrets Only (Nitti, Morgan, Taiga and guests) got in early, pushing a weekly Thursday shame fest! For pride, Morgan and Sarah Myers take over and are encouraging fetish gear.

La Fiesta: “La Resistencia”

FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/648926531977085/
DJ: El Especialista (El Zol)
Location: Town
Time: 9PM-2AM

More Dancing:
NightFlight PreFlight at Preview at Flash
NightFlight 0608 Residents Night at St. Ex

Act Up:
Women & Queer Folk in Leather: A Panel Discussion at The DC Center

Friday – June 9th

Booty Rex Pride Party

FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/286947428398903/
DJ: DJ Alex DB (BODYWORK D.C.), DJ Kristy la Rat (Anthology of Booty, Maracuyeah), MOTHERSHIESTER (Anthology of Booty), Natty Boom (Anthology of Booty), DJ INDANILE (Anthology of Booty), DJ bent (Anthology of Booty), JUNEBULLET (She Rex), DJ C.RUSH (She Rex), DJ COACH (She Rex)
Location: Black Cat
Time: 9PM-3AM
411: I’m not even sure how many years this has been going on, but it’s safe to say this party has achieved legendary pride status for DC! 2 floors of fun at Black Cat featuring the full cast of DJs from the Anthology of Booty and She Rex crews.

Otter Crossing PRIDE feat. Bright Light Bright Light (DJ Set)

FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/432578393766591/
DJs: Bright Light Bright Light, Shea Van Horn, Strike Stone
Location: Green Lantern
Time: 9PM-close
411: The indie-synth pop singer Bright Light Bright Light, who has toured with the likes of Scissor Sisters and Elton John, is back again for Otter Crossing’s pride party! This year, Shea Van Horn and OX resident Strike Stone join the lineup!

More Dancing:
Friday: Furball DC Pride! at DC Eagle
Petworth FUNK with DJ Freez and Adrian Collazo at Looking Glass Lounge
The Coven & MimSol Entertainment present Pride at U Street Music Hall
SEQUENCE.749_SHXCXCHCXSH at Warehouse Location TBA

Act Up:
No Justice No Pride – Night March at Logan Circle

Saturday – June 10th

TNX Pride w/ DJ Minx, Jacq Jill & The NeedlExchange

FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/1866973313564291
DJs: DJ Minx (Women on Wax, Detroit), The NeedlExchange (Bil Todd, Baronhawk, DJ Lisa Frank, Tommy Cornelis) and Jacq Jill (JUICE, DC)
Location: Warehouse Location in NE DC, TBA
Time: 9PM-6AM
411: TNX, hot off officially adding Morgan as a full-time member, are back at it for their fourth pride party- this time moving into the ROAM warehouse location for their first all-night affair for pride! Joining them is DJ Minx, the legendary Detroit recently named one of the five best performers at Movement by Resident Adviser, for her DC debut plus local favorite Jacq Jill. I’m obviously super biased, but this is THE party of the weekend. Pro-tip: do not get wasted at the parade or other day-drinking festivities! Save your energy for this. And if you’re worried about this affecting your marching ability on Sunday, we promise Minx is gonna leave you more uplifted coming out of it than you came in!

Flash Presents 2nd Annual Pride in our HIPS Party

FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/610155315853497
DJs: Devon Trotter, The Barber Streisand, Dean Sullivan
Location: Flash Rooftop
Time: 6PM-10PM
411: I’m so glad Flash is bringing back this fundraiser for one of my favorite organizations: HIPS. This is gonna be the perfect post-parade, pre-turnup event on Saturday! Here’s their mission statement: HIPS promotes the health, rights, and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by sexual exchange and/or drug use due to choice, coercion, or circumstance. HIPS provides compassionate harm reduction services, advocacy, and community engagement that is respectful, non-judgmental, and affirms and honors individual power and agency.

More Dancing:
Pride 2017: Boys Noize w/ Outputmessage, Keenan Orr, Lemz at U Street Music Hall
Meso Creso 1,001 Beats Presents: SHINE at Zeba Bar
Mixtape Pride Party with DJs Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer at 9:30 Club
PRIDE at the Byrd at Songbyrd
CHRISTEENE, Nastie Band (feat. Roddy Bottum of Faith No More and Imperial Teen), DJ Donna Slash at Black Cat

Act Up:
Join GAG (Gays Against Guns) in DC Pride Parade
No Justice No Pride – DC Day Of Action at McPherson Square
QT Night of Healing and Resistance at The Festival Center

Sunday – June 11th


DJs: DJ Precolumbian (Philly) and DJ Olive T (NY)
Location: The Airedale
Time: 7PM-11PM
411: The correctly spelled Bodywork DJs, Alex DB and Abby, are throwing a special Sunday evening Bodywork just for pride and have booked a really dope headliner to boot in DJ Precolumbian (check out this great mix and Q&A she did w/ DISCWOMAN). Those still standing from a long weekend of dancing and marching are in for a treat!

More Dancing:
Deep Tech XI: Cindel (6.11) at Old Engine 12
ROAR: Rooftop Beer Bust (w/ DJ Mike Babbitt) at Uproar
Flesh World (Mem Limp Wrist), Kombat, Koev Halev, Broken Grids at Slash Run

Act Up:
The Equality March for Unity and Pride

Trade has been such a welcome addition gay bar to DC. It wasn’t that long ago that underground queer artists couldn’t get booked at most gay bars, but Trade has totally changed the landscape. Check ’em out all weekend!

 Also check out the Pride Underground listings from 2016 and 2015– it’s fun to see the evolution!

#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!