“The LGBTQ community is thriving in DC, and personally, I’ve been living my best gay life,” proclaims Steve Lemmerman, a.k.a. DC-based DJ Lemz.
DC has one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the country, and with new LGBTQ businesses and events popping up every year, there is a wide variety of ways to celebrate pride in the city. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to grow. Since wildly popular gay nightclub Town Danceboutique closed this past summer, there’s been a void in local LGBTQ dance parties.
“Everything is either [in] underground or small venues, and they’re all varied events that cater to parts of the community,” Lemmerman says. “Town was a place that really tried to bring everyone together no matter their gender expression, identity, sexuality – no matter what they were.”
Hoping to carry on Town’s tradition of bringing people together, Lemmerman and 9:30 Club Owner Seth Hurwitz established BENT: A New LGBTQ Dance Party in hopes of a quarterly event. The inaugural dance party will take place this Saturday, January 5 at the aforementioned venue.
“[BENT] is a place where you don’t have to be gay, you don’t have to identify as any gender,” Lemmerman says. “You can just be you no matter who you are, and know the staff there has your back. The people there just want to party with you and express themselves.”
Unlike some LGBTQ dance parties or clubs in the city, BENT will benefit from the 9:30 Club’s space by offering more room for people and performances, according to Lemmerman. In the spirit of uniting all types of people and communities, there will be a variety of performance styles – from DJs to drag queens, and everything in between.
Lemmerman adds that people should expect surprises, especially with how different the club will look to those familiar with its traditional interior. The entire venue will be utilized for performances, not just the main stage and standing area.
“I want BENT to be the starting story for friendships and new romances and one-night stands,” Lemmerman says. “I want people to just come and meet new people and learn new music and see new acts […] Just be a home for people.”
Stop by 9:30 Club on Saturday, January 5 for the inaugural BENT: A New LGBTQ Dance Party. The doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets are $15. For more information, click here.
9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; 202-265-0930; www.930.com
Shantel Mitchell Breen photographed 42 shows for On Tap in 2018. Now that the calendar has turned, the photographer wanted to post her top shots of the year. Below are photos from her top 10 concerts, including Beach House, Bush, Cage the Elephant, Nine Inch Nails and more. Photos: Shantel Mitchell Breen
No matter how you want to ring in the New Year, the DC area has an option for your specific partying needs. Maybe 2018 wasn’t your year, so drink it away in Clarendon’s many bars. If food is your endgame, spend the night at an acclaimed restaurant. If you’re the type to always seek out the best new beer, a local brewery’s soiree is your spot. If you’re like me, though, you’ll be craving a New Year’s celebration where music is the centerpiece of your celebration.
Enter Union Stage’s New Year’s offering. Dubbed “Funk (with Soul) vs. Bluegrass, the throwdown features one of the city’s most prolific live bands: Aztec Soul. With a reputation for their electrifying stage presence and jubilant blend of funk and soul (hence the name), the band will literally have you dancing your 2018 troubles away at The Wharf.
So what exactly can attendees expect from their New Years Eve night at Union Stage?
“A high-energy set from start to finish,” says Stephane Detchou, band leader and lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist. Detchou also let us in on the band’s plans to don bright and colorful outfits, and bring some guests onstage with them.
Aztec Sun will be joined by Bencoolen and The Dirty Grass Players. Given the stacked lineup and indication of a competitive (or perhaps collaborative) element with the “versus” in the title, I couldn’t help but wonder what the bands meant by that.
“There will definitely be a collaborative element to the performance,” Detchou assures, “but you’ll have to come to the show and find out!”
And when the New Year dawns, Union Stage will greet you with a complimentary champagne toast complete with “a special song/mashup planned for when the clock strikes 12,” the band leader continues.
In addition to the complimentary toast, Union Stage will offer its full drink and dinner menu. Craft beer and pizza lovers rejoice: the venue is home to a host of the best local and national brews, and their pizza is worth sharing with your fellow partygoers. Bonus: you won’t have to make an extra stop for food! Just grab a delicious Jersey-style bar pie at the venue.
If your New Year’s resolution looks like more celebrations with food, drinks and music all around, Union Stage has all you need. After all, Detchou says the band’s ultimate goal is “to give you the best show all around.”
“From the music to our outfits and our moves, we guarantee you’ll be thoroughly entertained.”
And as for Aztec Sun’s own New Year’s resolutions?
“To continue sharing our music with as diverse an audience as possible, and creating safe spaces for enjoying art at our show.”
Join Aztec Sun, Bencoolen and The Dirty Grass Players at Union Stage on Monday, December 31. Doors at 7:30 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m. Tickets start at $35.
Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; 877-987-6487; www.unionstage.com
O.A.R. performed last Saturday at The Anthem, rounding out their Just Like Paradise tour. The Maryland-based band recently released a new single, “Miss You All the Time,” from their forthcoming 2019 album, The Mighty, which they performed in addition to 20 songs from their 20-year catalog. Every song on the setlist was performed with tremendous energy. The audience truly enjoyed the show. Photos/write-up: Shantel Mitchell Breen
The Auld Shebeen in Fairfax hosted the last Year of Beer sampling of the year featuring complimentary appetizers, a gift card raffle, beer samples from five breweries and live music. Each brewery served two brews from their portfolio, including winter beers.
Rosslyn hosted its annual holiday event on Central Place Plaza with live music from Jarreau Williams, food from Timber Pizza Co., sips from Belle Isle Moonshine, sweet treats and more. Photos: Devin Overbey