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HRC dinner slated for Saturday night

White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett announced as last-minute guest

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Human Rights Campaign has once again done an impressive job of booking talent for its national dinner, set for Saturday in Washington, its highest profile annual event, with Pink, Bette Midler, Oscar winner Mo’Nique and the cast of ABC’s hilarious gay-inclusive sitcom “Modern Family” set to appear. HRC announced today that White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett will also speak.

“Valerie Jarrett is a tremendous addition to the event and we look forward to hearing from one of the President’s closest advisors,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “She and President Obama both care deeply about equality and are strong supporters of those of us fighting for LGBT rights.”

Those who don’t have tickets are likely out of luck. The black-tie event is sold out but a waiting list is available here for the $275 tickets. More than 3,000 are expected at the Washington Convention Center. HRC president Joe Solmonese echoes a recurring theme — it’s been “a remarkable year,” he says, “but there is much work left to be done.”

The program begins at 7 p.m. and includes a silent auction of many items, several of which are musically themed such as a child’s violin and case, inscribed “Stradivarius anno 1725,” and an antique, red and gold silk brocade grand piano cover. Also featured are a package of air travel and hotel accommodations to attend this year’s annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, two Delta Airlines round-trip tickets courtesy of ORBITZ, weekend stays at Kimpton hotels and more.

Every year since 1997, HRC has hosted a national dinner featuring high-profile speakers such as President Barack Obama last year and in past years President Bill Clinton and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton. The organization was founded in 1980 and is America’s largest LGBT advocacy group. In 2003, it opened its headquarters building in Washington and Solmonese became president in 2005.

Receiving HRC awards will be singer/songwriter Pink, receiving the Ally for Equality Award from presenter Bette Midler; and Lee Daniels, producer/director of the 2009 film “Precious,” receiving the Visibility Award from presenter Mo’Nique, who won an Oscar for her role in that film. The National Arts and Culture Award will go to three members of the cast of the hit TV sitcom “Modern family” — Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Sonia Vergara.

HRC’s agenda is wide-ranging, including pressing for action on hate crimes and success was finally reached on this front in 2009 when President Obama signed into law — in the names of victims Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. — a hate crime amendment giving the U.S. Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence. At the time, Solmonese called the law “an historic milestone” as “the first time that we as a nation have explicitly protected the LGBT community in the law.”

Other priorities include promoting steps to protect families through marriage equality and relationship recognition; fighting to end the military’s discrimination through the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law; and creating a fair and equal workplace through enactment of a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), so that employees cannot be fired based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

In recent years, other LGBT-oriented groups have staged protests at the National Dinner, accusing HRC of neglecting to prioritize transgender rights issues, among other complaints. Obama’s presence last year made for a raucous, celebratory atmosphere. But with repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” one of the movement’s top priorities, in limbo, and Democrats facing dim midterm election prospects, partygoers may not be in such high spirits this weekend.

PHOTO: HRC President Joe Solmonese at the 2008 dinner. (Blade file photo by Henry Linser)

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Bars & Parties

Here’s your guide to the merriest gay holiday season!

Cocktails, music and dancing at upcoming parties

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The holidays are here and it’s time to party.

“LGBTQ Social Mixer – Pride On The Patio at Showroom” will be on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 5:30 p.m. at Showroom. 

There will be happy hour cocktails and dinner on the heated patio at the venue. Dress is casual, fancy, or comfortable. Guests are encouraged to bring their most authentic selves to chat, laugh, and get a little crazy.

Admission is free and more details are available on Eventbrite

The Iconic International House of Balenciaga will host “Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Extravaganza” on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 10 p.m. at Privilege. 

There will be a limited buffet and open bar, hookah, VIP packages, bottle specials and music by DJ Dave Thom and DJ Obie. There will also be a sweater contest with a cash prize. 

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.

“Hip Hop Garden DC Day Party” will be on Saturday, Dec. 24 at 4 p.m. at Lost Society. This exclusive day party experience will feature non-stop music, dancing, and good vibes. Music played will be a crossover of genres and fusion of cultures.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

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Bars & Parties

Winterfest remains in full force

Yappy Hour will be on Sunday

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Yappy Hour will be on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 12 p.m.

Events for Wunder Garten’s 6th Annual Winterfest are still underway at one of D.C.’s most enthralling beer gardens at 1101 First St., N.E.

A Night of 1,000 Santas will be on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. Guests are encouraged to come dressed as Santa, Mrs. Claus, an elf, a reindeer, anything or anyone, to dance the night away and celebrate the holidays. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite. 

Yappy Hour will be on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 12 p.m. This is a special day for the pups and their “hoomans” and perfect opportunity for the pups to get some treats and make new friends. Select beers cost $6 and there will be free pupucinnos with a purchase. This event is free and more details are on Eventbrite.

Trivia Mondays will be on Monday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. This event will be hosted by Mark Lloyd. Guests are encouraged to bring friends and test their knowledge to win prizes and glory. There will also be boozy cocktails, seasonal beers and themed decor. Tickets are free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

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Bars & Parties

Halloween is back and more queer than ever!

Freddie’s Beach Bar to host Halloween party

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Freddie's Halloween (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant will be hosting a Halloween party on Monday, Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. 

Guests are encouraged to bring friends and meet new people from all over the world. Guests will gather in the back outside patio if the weather is nice or near the stage if not. Go Gay DC leader TJ Flavell will be there to greet you. Name tags will be provided. There’s no cover charge.

For more details, visit Eventbrite

Metrobar DC to host ‘Booze and Brews’ Halloween Brunch’

“Booze and Brews Halloween Brunch” will be on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at metrobar DC.

Guests are encouraged to come enjoy sounds from DJ Lalee and tasting tables from Catoctin and Republic Restoratives from 7-10 p.m. and drink specials featuring Catoctin or Republic Restoratives spirits all evening long.

This event is free to attend with an optional $15 Bash + SMYAL Fundraiser Ticket to help support LGBTQ youth across the district. Ticket holders will be honored with a cocktail. 

For more details, visit Eventbrite

Cake Pop to host ‘HallowQueen Drag Brunch’

“HallowQueen Drag Brunch” will be on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 11 a.m. at The Hall CP. New host Cake Pop will be hosting this ultimate Halloween-themed event. 

Flavored mimosas and Bloody Marys will cost $24 and the brunch buffet costs $30 and will include French toast casserole, buttermilk pancakes, tater tots hash, among many other menu items. 

Tickets for this event start at $25 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.

Baltimore Playhouse to hold ‘Haux-lloween’ party

“Taste.Touch.Feel: Haux-lloween” will be on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Baltimore Playhouse – Private Social Club. 

Guests are encouraged to come and enjoy top-tier burlesque and specialty performances, kink edutainment, interactive games, and plenty of surprises to thrill one’s senses.

There will also be a costume ball with three categories. Each category is limited to eight participants. The categories are:

  • Alien Superstar: Most unique, intergalactic freak
  • Fetish Faerie: Whimsy, kinky, faerie hauxs
  • Best Couples Costume: Period.

After the costume ball, there will be an “Adult Play Date After Party” for mingling and a night of no inhibitions where guests can enjoy spontaneous performances, play with their lover(s) or be a voyeur while the music plays. 

Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

Sirene, X and Nadia to perform at Firefly

Firefly Halloween Special Event will be on Saturday, Oct. 29 at p.m. at Firefly. This event will feature performances by drag queens Sirene, X and Nadia. There will also be two competitions: 

     • “Holy” a ghoulie drag performance with a cash prize of $100 and a bookings prize of $100.

     • A costume contest where the 1st place winner wins a one-night stay at Hotel Madeira, 2nd place wins dinner for two at Firefly, and 3rd place wins brunch for two at Firefly.

This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

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