Connect with us

Bars & Parties

Ready to run

High Heel Race draws thousands, including mayor, to 17th Street

Published

on

A typically over-the-top delegation from the 2008 High Heel Race. (Washington Blade file photo by Henry Linser)

It begins with a parade and ends with a race.

And it happens every year — each Tuesday before Halloween, with tricked-out hairdos and outrageous costumes. It’s a drag race on D.C.’s gay main drag of 17th Street. But don’t think men-in-cars drag race; think men in heels.

In high heels, in fact, and in full costumed regalia, on Tuesday night rain or shine, 100 or so men in drag will sprint — or wobble unsteadily — for victory, in an annual event that’s like a street carnival and that High Heels Race organizer David Perruzza says “shows a sense of community.” Though it draws a huge crowd of onlookers, he boasts the race has been “incident free for years.”

Perruzza, vice president of JR.’s Bar and Grill and Cobalt, has been the event’s lead organizer for 12 years.

Formerly a bit of a free-for-all, JR.’s took over the logistical work including securing permits and making sure police patrols are present.

It began in 1986, at least according to legend, when several drag queens challenged each other to a race from JR.’s to Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse, where they would down a shot and then race back.

These days, the 9 p.m. race, which Perruzza says begins “on the dot,” is, with its typical blur of gold lame and feather boas, guaranteed to elicit plenty of that drag fun charm. However regular attendees know that the real fun begins at 7:30 p.m. when contestants parade up and down the length of the several-block course to show off their finery. Those wanting a front-row seat should stake out a spot as early as 6 p.m. at one of the on-course cafes.

“People dress up to what’s going on,” says Perruzza, who recalls some stand-out characters from past races including runners appearing together as the cast of TV sitcoms like “The Facts of Life” and “The Golden Girls.” One year, however, someone pushed right through the envelope of good taste and came as Terri Sciavo, the woman in a vegetative state following massive brain damage and the focus of a legal battle from 1990 to 2005 over whether or not to disconnect her feeding tube to allow her to die.

“As sick as it was, it was kind of funny,” Perruzza says. “But I have a sick sense of humor.”

The race rules are clear: “Winners must cross the finish line wearing heels that are at least one inch.” Last year the first person to cross the finish line was disqualified, according to Perruzza, because that runner was not in heels and so the second person won. The race begins at the corner of 17th and R streets, N.W., and ends at the alley just past JR.s at 1519 17th Street.

All runners must register at the door at Cobalt. The same goes for those wanting to participate in the parade. Area residents and race participants are advised that some streets will be closed and towing will begin at 6.  To volunteer to be a race marshal, e-mail to [email protected]

Gay D.C. Council member David Catania will be the grand marshal and drag queen Lena Lett will officiate. Also expected to attend are Mayor Adrian Fenty and Council member Jack Evans.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. K

    October 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Correction: Would have been better to dress as Terri Sciavo with her mother…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bars & Parties

Disco Funk Brunch at Crazy Aunt Helen’s

Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese perform

Published

on

Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Drag queen Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese perform at the biweekly Disco Funk Brunch at the LGBT-owned Crazy Aunt Helen’s on Sunday. For future showtimes, go to crazyaunthelens.com. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Continue Reading

Bars & Parties

Blade’s summer closing party set for Sept. 17 in Rehoboth

Benefits journalism scholarship

Published

on

Rehoboth Beach Museum, Joe Maggio Realty, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

The Washington Blade’s 15-year tradition of hosting a summer kickoff party in Rehoboth Beach was disrupted due to COVID restrictions. In lieu of that May event, the Blade is hosting a summer closing party on Friday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at The Pines (56 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Del.). 

Tickets are $20, which includes two drinks and appetizers. The event benefits the Blade Foundation’s Steve Elkins Memorial Journalism Fellowship, a 12-week program in which an LGBTQ student journalist covers stories of interest to Delaware’s queer community each summer. 

All COVID safety protocols will be followed, including a requirement that attendees furnish proof of vaccination to gain entry. 

If you are unable to attend you can make a donation to the Blade Foundation at BladeFoundation.org. Sponsors of the event include Delmarva Power and The Pines.

Continue Reading

Bars & Parties

Rehoboth to close out summer with SunFest

Series of events to replace long-running Sundance due to pandemic

Published

on

This year’s Sundance in Rehoboth is renamed SunFest and will look different from this scene in 2019 due to the pandemic. (Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

SunFest will feature a week of live performances, dances, and a live auction, sponsored by non-profit LGBTQ+ center CAMP Rehoboth.

The weeklong festival runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5 and is a change from the annual SunDance that CAMP Rehoboth has sponsored since 1988. This transformation began last year when the event was forced to go digital due to the coronavirus and the in-person events scheduled this year are important, according to development director and co-coordinator of SunFest Anita Broccolino.

“We love that community feel and the in-person makes all the difference in the world for us. Not being able to do it last year just reminded everyone how important we all are to one another,” Broccolino said. “I think that bringing back these events this year is just huge for us and it will be extra celebratory as a result.”

The festival begins with a 5k race and online auction opening on Sunday. Monday night features a give-back event at Iron Hill Brewery while Tuesday’s agenda is still to be determined, said Broccolino. Diego’s will host a Studio 54 give-back dance party on Wednesday and Thursday is the Port 251 women’s give-back. 

Live performances featuring the Skivvies, Randy Harrison and Diane Huey are scheduled for Friday night and Jennifer Holiday will follow with a performance on Saturday night, both at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. The festival closes out Sunday with auction pick-ups and Fun in the Sand and Sun, according to the CAMP Rehoboth website.

This event is also important to the organization’s contributions to the community, said Broccolino.

“The essential services we provide for free to the community, which is a huge amount of health and wellness activities, as well as arts programming, a lot of youth programming and the community counts on us for those things. We never stopped during COVID, we made as much as we could virtual, but we took quite a hit not being able to raise those funds and awareness of the programs,” Broccolino said. “We invite the entire community to come celebrate with us and make it to Rehoboth Beach, and let’s make it joyful, and wonderful and make sure we’re living up to the standards of all the people who helped found CAMP Rehoboth and live up to their legacy and beyond.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular