A bounty of queer bands are slated for Phasefest which starts Thursday and runs through next weekend at Phase 1’s Eastern Market (original) location (525 8th Street S.E.). Look for indie bands like Bitch, Athen Boys Choir, Angie Head, People at Parties, Mitten, Hunter Valentine, D.C. band Glitterlust, Vanity Theft and many others. Weekend passes are $55. Tickets for individual nights are $15 Thursday, $20 for Sept. 22 and $25 for Sept. 22 and are available only at the door. Visit phasefest.com for details.
Grizzly Bear, whose new album “Shields” is slated to drop Tuesday, plays two nights at the 9:30 Club (815 V Street, N.W.) Sept. 20-21. Both shows are sold out. Gay singer/songwriter Ed Droste fronts the Brooklyn-based quartet. Try StubHub if you really want to go. Doors are 7 for the Thursday show; 8 for the Friday show. Unknown Mortal Orchestra opens.
Madonna brings her “MDNA Tour” to the Verizon Center (601 F Street, N.W.) Sept. 23-24, her first D.C. shows here since the “Re-Invention Tour” in 2004. Tickets were still available for the second night as of Blade press time but be warned the night of the show — as longtime fans now, she almost never starts on time. She didn’t go on in Philly a few weeks ago until almost 10:30 p.m. Check Ticketmaster or StubHub for availability.
Diamond Rings, a one-man outfit consisting of openly gay John O (his new album drops Oct. 22), opens for Stars at the 9:30 Club on Sept. 23. Doors are at 7. It’s sold out.
“Spill: True Stories of Queer Sex, Desire and Romance,” a new monthly performance event, kicks off at Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave. N.W.) at 8 p.m. on Sept. 27. It’s free. Bi New Yorker Jefferson hosts. More info at spillstories.wordpress.com.
Tony winner Sutton Foster (“Anything Goes,” “Thoroughly Mordern Millie” and “Shrek the Musical”) plays George Mason University’s Center for the Arts (on the George Mason campus in Fairfax County, Va.) Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available for $40, $55 and $70. Visit cfa.gmu.edu for information.
Broadway legend Patti LuPone brings her “Matters of the Heart” show to the Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda) for two nights Oct. 5-6. The 8 p.m. shows will find the double Tony winner singing love songs from a wide range of composers from Broadway legends like Rodgers and Hammerstein to pop singers such as Joni Mitchell and Cyndi Lauper. Tickets range from $45-$85. Buy online at Strathmore.org.
Look for ‘70s teen idol David Cassidy, inspiration for surely many gay coming-of-age fantasies, at the Birchmere Oct. 6. Tickets are $49.50 for the 7:30 p.m. show. Details at birchmere.com.
Shi-Queeta-Lee and her “cast of celebrity female impersonators” return to the Howard Theatre (620 T Street, N.W.) Oct. 10 for another “Drag Salute to the Divas” after a successful debut there in August. The lady poses as Mary J. Blige in the ads. Tickets are $20 in advance ($25 at the door) for the 8 p.m. show.
In other drag news, Special Agent Galactica (Jeffrey Johnson) plays Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave. N.W.) every second and fourth Friday of the month from 6-9 p.m. and the first Tuesday of each month she brings her “Ye Olde Rock ‘n Roll Show” to MOVA (2204 14th Street) from 8-10 p.m. All free. Details at pinkhairedone.com.
Queer Women of Color successfully raised $5,000 in an online drive for its third annual Revival Poetry Tour that’s slated to wrap in D.C. Oct. 13. Details pending.
Soul legend Mavis Staples plays the Hamilton (600 14th Street, N.W.) Oct. 17. Tickets are $55-$62 for the 7:30 p.m. show. Info at thehamiltondc.com.
It’s a trek from D.C., but if you want to catch Liza Minnelli’s fall show “Confessions,” the closest spot is the Luhrs Performing Arts Center (1871 Old Main Drive) in Shippensburg, Pa., on the campus of Shippensburg University. It’s about a two-hour drive from D.C. Tickets range from $67-$95. Details at luhrscenter.com.
Perrenniel lesbian road warriors The Indigo Girls are slated to play Rams Head Live (20 Market Place) in Baltimore Oct. 20. Tickets are $35 for the 9 p.m. show. Check ticketfly.com for tickets or link there through ramsheadlive.com.
Gay comedian David Sedaris plays the Strathmore Oct. 23. Tickets range from $48-$58 for the 8 p.m. show. Details at Strathmore.org.
Of course there’s an ocean of stuff going on all the time in New York, but if you happen to be there Oct. 30 (the night of the High Heel Race in D.C., by the way), consider checking out a special Freedom to Marry concert there featuring Rufus Wainwright, They Might Be Giants, John Cameron Mitchell, Justin Bond and more. It will be held at the Beacon Theatre (2124 Broadway, New York) at 8 p.m. and 100 percent of the $50-$155 tickets benefit LGBT advocacy group Freedom to Marry (Rufus’s dad, Loudon Wainwright III, who’s been playing a new song he just wrote for Rufus’s gay wedding at his summer shows, plays the Birchmere Oct. 12-13).
Lesbian rocker Melissa Etheridge plays the Strathmore Nov. 2 for her “4th Street Feeling Tour.” Tickets range from $57.50-$102.50. Details at Strathmore.org.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington has its Home Cooked Cabaret night dubbed “Showmen and Showstoppers” at Town Danceboutique (2009 8th Street N.W.) Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $100 for reserved seats or $75 general admission. Visit gmcw.org for information.
Dance diva Stephanie Mills plays the Birchmere Nov. 10. Tickets are $69.50 (birchmere.com).
Aretha Franklin plays DAR Constitution Hall (1776 D Street, NW) Nov. 20. Tickets are $59.50-$115.50 at Ticketmaster.
The Chorus’s “Winter Nights” show is the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the Lisner Auditorium (730 21st Street, N.W.). No word yet on ticket prices for that show.
That’s the big stuff but a few other venues to keep an eye on or plan checking out include gay-owned Comet Ping Pong (5037 Connecticut Ave., N.W.), a gay-owned pizza restaurant, live music venue that hosts indie bands — some queer — all the time. Info at cometpingpong.com.
The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland (claricesmithcenter.umd.edu), the Washington Performing Arts Society (wpas.org) and Wolf Trap (wolftrap.org) all have great events scheduled throughout the fall.