February 2, 2010 | by Michael Key
Snow @ Apex

Apex Nightclub hosted a “Snow” party on Jan. 29.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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‘Snow Queen’ party at APEX

By DAVID J. HOFFMAN
Special to DC Agenda

The Divine Ms. C — the awesome Chanel Devereux, a Saturday staple for APEX —donned her “Snow Queen” duds for the special “Let There be Snow” party on Friday, Jan. 29.

Outside the dance, club winter’s winds howled, but inside all was customary mellow “chill,” an invitation to join in dancing ecstasy amid constant movement on the mirrored dance floor, to cries and murmurs, shafts of laser light, popping strobe lights, floating snowflakes and the pulse of the driving bass beat.

“We want to keep you stimulated,” said 13-year APEX general manager Joey Oldaker, “to keep you in dancing bliss.”

He acknowledged that the recession has taken a toll on business: “Crowds today aren’t what they were even five years ago in size. … The kids coming up today don’t feel they have to go to a gay club. They have the freedom to express themselves at a straight bar, and also the Internet plays a huge role in people not going out as much. To hook up today, your choices are expanded, but nightclubs still provide the ‘dazzle effect’ as I like to call it.”

And Chanel provides the dazzle effect. In four-and-a-half-inch high heels, she’s 6’1” and tells me: “Let me go shake my boom boom around the room room.”

A former Miss Ziegfield and the last to be crowned at the old location in 2005 before it was displaced by baseball stadium redevelopment, for the past four years he’s dressed in drag for APEX while maintaining a day job and another night job. A native of small-town Tidewater, Va., Chanel calls his home “four hours away and 300 years behind, it’s one of those places were you are not gay, and there were Bible beaters in every corner, and you just didn’t have options available to you.”

You can see Chanel every Saturday at the club and many Fridays, too. Oldaker plans future “event” nights — such as for Mardi Gras, and a beach night and a “white night, you wear white and you get in free.”

Apex is located at 1415 22nd St., N.W.

Michael Key has worked as a photojournalist for the Washington Blade since 2009 and is currently serving as the photo editor. He has worked on Capitol Hill, in the White House, on the campaign trail and in cities along the East Coast taking iconic photos documenting the extension of marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and other events of interest to the LGBT community. Follow Michael

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