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Not just pasties and G-strings

D.C. Gurly Show brings burlesque to area audiences

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(Photo courtesy of D.C. Gurly Show)

Cher and Christina Aguilera just did it. The Pussycat Dolls did it. Dita Von Teese does it. D.C. Gurly Show does it — right in your backyard.

But what is burlesque? A rich source of music, dance and comedy. When burlesque began in Europe in the 1800s, it was theatrical entertainment for the working class whose main purpose was to “burlesque” — or parody — cultural norms of the upper classes. Burlesque has, from the beginning, questioned traditional roles and ideas of both gender and sexuality.

“Without question, however, burlesque’s principal legacy as a cultural form was its establishment of patterns of gender representation that forever changed the role of the woman on the American stage and later influenced her role on the screen … The very sight of a female body not covered by the accepted costume of bourgeois respectability forcefully if playfully called attention to the entire question of the ‘place’ of woman in American society,” wrote Robert G. Allen, in “Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture.”

The pasties and G-string aspect of burlesque appeared in the 1920s when Prohibition attitudes were closing the burlesque halls. Regardless of the level of reveal, the burlesque show is a high- energy romp. It is fun and titillating. It is lighthearted in its suggestiveness. It is playfully naughty. It is not vulgar or demeaning. It honors all the shapes and sizes that women are, and shows how each body is sexy in its own right. It celebrates humanity, sensuality and relationship.

The D.C. Gurly Show is the area’s premier burlesque troupe fostering an encouraging and supportive community of performers and fans. It was founded in 2005 by Kitty Victorian. Since then, the D.C. Gurlies have been performing monthly throughout your city. D.C. Gurly Show is home to some well-known performers: Kitty Victorian, Coco Monroe, Sindalicious, Private Tails, Velvet Kensington and Bambi Galore, to name a few. These performers have gained notoriety in the D.C. area and around the country.

The Gurlies perform the third Wednesday or Friday (alternately) at Phase One and at First Fridays at Apex with the D.C. Kings. They also have other venues and show dates lined up through the spring and summer. And you don’t want to miss them on the main stage at Pride.

So what can you expect to see at a DC Gurly Show? A wide variety of performers with a diverse range of talents. Some of the Gurlies have dance or theater training, some sing and others simply love to disrobe in front of an audience. Solos, duets, and group numbers make up the show, as well as banter from the lovely hostess. The stage will be graced with vivacious vixens like Velvet Kensington, Coco Monroe, Missy Aggravation, Private Tails, Lola Rose, Grena Dean, Anna Steasya, Felon Whoreness and Sindalicious.

For more information on the DC Gurly Show, visit dcgurlyshow.com. Catch the next performance tonight at 11 p.m. at Apex, 1415 22nd St., N.W.

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Bars & Parties

30 LGBTQ events today

Celebrate Pride in the DMV with family and friends

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A scene from the 2022 Pride on the Pier. The tradition continues this year. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Happy Pride! Below are our picks for some of the most fun and creative things to do today (Saturday, June 10) in the DMV that are of special interest to the LGBTQ community.


Unholy

Saturday, June 10
3:30 a.m.-9 a.m.
Bunker
2001 14th Street, N.W.
Some tier 2 priority entry tickets available at $50
Tickets

Bunker’s late night party rages through 9 in the morning.


LGBTQ+ Pride Brunch

Saturday, June 10
10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Freddie’s Beach Bar
555 23rd Street South
Arlington, Va.
Eventbrite

Go Gay DC has organized an LGBTQ+ Pride Brunch at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Arlington, Va. this morning.


Flower Crown Bar for Pride

Saturday, June 10
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
PLNTR
1825 18th Street, N.W.
$25
Eventbrite

If you are looking to make a striking impression at Pride, you could make your own rainbow flower crown! Go to the Flower Crown Bar for Pride today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at PLNTR to make your crown. $25 for materials and instruction.


Friendship Place Pride

Saturday, June 10
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
1436 U Street, N.W.
Free
Eventbrite

Organizers promise fun and prizes in the tents and booths set up in the courtyard of Friendship Place for Pride today.


PRIDE Drag Brunch

Saturday, June 10
11 a.m. seating / 12:30 p.m. show
King & Rye
480 King Street
Alexandria, Va.
$45
Eventbrite

Evon Dior Michelle hosts a Pride Drag Brunch at King & Rye in Alexandria, Va. today. Performers include Amber St. Lexington, Dee A. Diamond and Stella Ray.


Capital Pride Crack of Noon Pride Parade Brunch

Saturday, June 10
11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Viceroy Washington D.C.
1430 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W.
$60-$75 / 21+
Facebook

The Capital Pride Alliance holds its Capital Pride Crack of Noon Parade Brunch on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Viceroy Washington DC. It is 21+ to enter and tickets range from $60-$75.


Monarch Drag Brunch

Saturday, June 10
11:30 a.m.
Dupont Italian Kitchen Bar
Upstairs at 1637 17th Street, N.W.
$35

The regular Monarch Drag Brunch will be upstairs at Dupont Italian Kitchen Bar this morning.


Capital Pride Block Party

Saturday, June 10
12-10 p.m.
17th Street, N.W.
Between P Street and Q Street
Website

The free Capital Pride Block Party rages on throughout the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. on 17th Street between P and Q Streets. There will be booths and entertainment provided with some of D.C.’s best drag kings and queens.


Sassy Saturdays Drag Brunch

Saturday, June 10
12 p.m. seating / 1 p.m. show
Blue Iguana
12727 Shoppes Lane
Fairfax, Va.
$15.
Eventbrite

Evita Peroxide hosts Sassy Saturday’s Drag Brunch at The Blue Iguana in Fairfax, Va. at noon.


Green Lantern Pride Parade Afterparty by Lobo

Saturday, June 10
Open at 2 p.m. for Supergay Happy Hour / 9 p.m.-3 a.m.
Green Lantern
1335 Green Court, N.W.
No cover / 21+
Instagram

The Green Lantern is holding a Pride Parade Afterparty sponsored by Lobo. Doors open at 2 p.m. for Supergay Happy Hour with the big party planned for 9 p.m.- 3 a.m.


Lambda Sci-Fi Pride Tabletop Gaming Party and Parade Viewing

Saturday, June 10
2-11 p.m.
1425 S Street, N.W.
$10
Facebook

Lambda Sci Fi is holding a Tabletop Gaming Party and Parade Viewing at 1425 S Street, N.W. from 2-11 p.m. Bring $10 cash for pizza.


Pride on the Pier and Fireworks Show!

Saturday, June 10
2-9 p.m.
The Wharf DC: District Pier
101 District Square, S.W.
$0-$125
Eventbrite

The Washington Blade and the Ladies of LURe present the annual Pride on the Pier and Fireworks Show on Saturday from 2-9 p.m. at the Wharf DC: District Pier. The event is free, but you can purchase a VIP spot in an air conditioned space with an open bar, food, DJs and more.


Uptown Pride

Logo created by Anthony Dihle (Courtesy of Justin Noble)

Saturday, June 10
2-7 p.m.
Kennedy Street and 14th Street, N.W.
Free
Website

A new effort to create a Pride atmosphere for those in the northern part of D.C. who don’t want to brave the crowds of Dupont brings us Uptown Pride.


Capital Pride Parade

A scene from last year’s Capital Pride Parade. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Saturday, June 10
3-7:30 p.m.
Logan and Dupont Circle neighborhoods
Website

The 2023 Capital Pride Parade will follow a 1.5-mile route that begins on 14th Street at T Street, N.W., and ends on P Street at 21st Street, N.W. See the map here:


Pride Tea

Saturday, June 10
4-10 p.m.
Bunker
2001 14th Street, N.W.
Website

Crimsyn and Brooke N Hyman perform at Bunker’s Pride Tea this afternoon. Music is probvided by Steve Sidewalk and Miscalculated.


Rooftop Day Party

Saturday, June 10
4 p.m.
The Dirty Goose
913 U Street, N.W.
Instagram

Crystal Edge hosts a Day Party at Dirty Goose today.


Phantom Dupont Circle Pride Afterparty

Saturday, June 10
6-10 p.m.
Phantom Lounge
1327 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
$2
Eventbrite

Phantom Lounge Dupont Circle has its own parade afterparty tonight.


H!Gh Pride Fest

Saturday, June 10
6-9 p.m.
Euphoria DC
611 1/2 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E.
$0-$50
Eventbrite

If you are looking for a buzz among fellow heads, look no further than the H!Gh Pride Fest at Euphoria DC tonight. A $35 donation will garner you a “free gift.”


Capital Trans Pride Pool Party

Saturday, June 10
8 p.m.-12 a.m.
Penthouse Pool and Lounge
1612 U Street, N.W., fourth floor
Free / Ticket required
Website

Cool off at the Capital Trans Pool Party tonight at the Penthouse Pool and Lounge.


Electric Disco

Saturday, June 10
8 p.m.
507 8th Street, N.E.
Website

Scorpio Entertainment and Taoti Creative produce the Electric Disco tonight with DJ Tezrah, DJ Edward Daniels and DJ Philly Phill.


Hellboiz! A priDEMONth Drag King Show

Saturday, June 10
8:30 p.m.
The Runway
3523 12th Street, N.E.
$15-$20
Facebook | Eventbrite

Baphemette hosts “Hellboiz, a priDEMONth Drag King Show tonight at The Runway DC. Performers include Mota, Flirty Rico, Silver Ware and Dr. Torcher.


Revolution! The Official Capital Pride Saturday Party

Saturday, June 10
9 p.m.-3 a.m.
WEG
1235 W Street, N.E.
$35-$55
Eventbrite

The Capital Pride Alliance holds the official Saturday Pride party at WEG tonight.


Vanguard Pride

Saturday, June 10
9 p.m.-2 a.m.
Safari DC
4306 Georgia Avenue, N.W.
$7-$10
Eventbrite

Vanguard Dark Dance Party brings you Vanguard Pride at Safari DC tonight. Admission is $7 in advance, $10 at the door and only $5 with a student ID.


FUSE: Main Womxn’s DC Pride Party

Saturday, June 10
9:30 p.m.-3 a.m.
Howard Theatre
620 T Street, N.W.
$20 / 18+
Facebook | Tickets

The Ladies of LURe and Tagg Magazine present the Main Womxn’s DC Pride Party: fuse. The Howard Theatre event features the DystRucXion Dancers, DJ Honey, DJ Jai Syncere and DJ Eletrox.


All That Glitters Drag Ball

Saturday, June 10
10 p.m.
Shaw’s Tavern
520 Florida Avenue, N.W.
Reservations

Shaw’s Tavern is holding an “All That Glitters Drag Ball” tonight featuring Sapphire Dupree, Nubia Love Jackson, Genocide Abrasax and Alexa V. Shontelle.


Dirty Pop Pride

Saturday, June 10
10 p.m.-3 a.m.
Bunker
2001 14th Street, N.W.
Some VIP express entry final tier tickets available at $25
Tickets

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Aja is featured at Dirty Pop Pride at Bunker tonight.


KINETIC: Candyland with Betty Who

Saturday, June 10
10 p.m.-4 a.m.
Echostage
2135 Queens Chapel Road, N.E.
$65-$80 (or purchase weekend pass)
FacebookTickets

The big Pride parties continue with KINETIC: Candyland with Betty Who at Echostage from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.


Kinki. Leather Night

Saturday, June 10
10 p.m.
Kiki
910 U Street, N.W.
Instagram | Facebook

Kiki is holding its leather night, “Kinki,” tonight at 10 p.m.


Leather Dykes: Pride 2023

Saturday, June 10
10 p.m.-3 a.m.
DC9 Nightclub
1940 9th Street, N.W.
$15
Eventbrite

Leather aficionados are spoiled for choice as DC9 Nightclub holds Leather Dykes: Pride 2023 tonight.

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Theater

Signature’s acclaimed music director tackles ‘Sweeney Todd’

Kalbfleisch excited to conduct 15-piece orchestration

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Jon Kalbfleisch in action. (Photo by Christopher Mueller)

‘Sweeney Todd’
Through July 9
Signature Theatre
4200 Campbell Ave.
Arlington, Va. 22206
$40-119
Sigtheatre.org

Typically, music directors play second fiddle to directors. “That’s just how it is in theater,” says Jon Kalbfleisch, longtime resident music director at Signature Theatre. “It’s different with opera. But those audiences have altogether different expectations.”

For the hugely talented Kalbfleisch, vying for attention has never been a concern. With 10 Helen Hayes Awards and an astounding 30 nominations under his belt, he’s had his time in the limelight, and more importantly, the out music director is focused on the work.

Currently he’s music directing his fourth production of composer Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” at Signature Theatre and he couldn’t be happier. He counts the famously hard to sing “Sweeney” as both his favorite Sondheim show and among his all-time favorite scores overall. He says “like all Sondheim shows it has a lot of challenges, the ensemble stuff is particularly hard and the finale is really tricky. When it goes perfectly though, it’s wonderful.”

A tale of revenge soaked in melodrama and dark humor, the 1979 hit musical set in grubby 19th century London is rife with memorable numbers including “The Worst Pies in London,” “A Little Priest,” “Johanna” and “Not While I’m Around.” In Signature’s current offering directed by Sarna Lapine, Sweeney, the disgruntled, murderous barber, and his ruthless pie-making accomplice Mrs. Lovett are played respectively by Broadway actors Nathaniel Stampley and Bryonha Marie.

Kalbfleisch first music directed “Sweeney” (Signature’s first ever musical) in 1991 at the company’s then home, the Gunston Arts Center in Arlington; his second Signature “Sweeney” starring Norm Lewis and Donna Migliaccio was in 1998 at Signature’s legendary garage space; and there was a third production in the MAX Theatre, their top-notch permanent home in Shirlington in 2010 with Ed Gero and Sherri L. Edelen.

“What makes the current production unique,” explains Kalbfleisch, who lives just a short walk from Signature, “is a 15-piece orchestration that Jonathan Tunick [famed longtime Sondheim collaborator] did for a production in the UK. When Tunick takes his own work and makes it for a small ensemble it feels utterly complete. The way he redid it, it doesn’t feel smaller than the original.”

Long before the cast convenes, Kalbfleisch begins his preparation, attacking a score as if he’s never seen it before. For several weeks, he rehearses the orchestra, ensemble, and leads separately and together. Once the show opens, he conducts the 15-piece orchestra at every performance. Arduous? Maybe. But he enjoys every moment.

A meticulous professional prone to generous laughter, Kalbfleisch’s first love is piano, but conducting runs a close second. He says “the opportunity to stand up and conduct 15 players with the terrific cast of ‘Sweeney’ that we have right now I’m in a very happy place.”

Like many talented young pianists, the Lawton, Okla., native was recruited into musical theater: “My high school’s choir director said you’re going to be my accompanist. Similarly, my band director volunteered me to play piano for the school music ‘You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown’ I had little choice.”

“The experience was lots of fun, but it never occurred to me that it would be a big part of my career.”

He studied classic piano at Cameron University in Oklahoma, and went on to earn a Master of Music, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. It was in Texas that he really dipped his toe into music direction at a small professional theater with shows like “Pirates of Penzance” and a fully orchestrated “A Chorus Line.”

Over his more than 30-year tenure at Signature, Kalbfleisch has music directed 33 Sondheim musicals. As an integral part of Signature, a Tony Award-winning regional theater, he’s had the chance to collaborate with Broadway luminaries including Sondheim, Angela Lansbury, Chita Rivera, and Tunick. He’s humbled and happy by the way things have worked out.

Looking forward, Kalbfleisch is ready for more pared down, big music Sondheim shows. He says, “Matthew [Matthew Gardiner, Signature’s artistic director] is very appreciative of the music and keen on maintaining doing shows with as big of an orchestra that we can manage.”

He’s a terrifically busy guy. In addition to his work at Signature, Kalbfleisch is – among a zillion other things — the conductor of his hometown Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra and serves as the music director and organist at Capitol Hill United Methodist Church.

Sundays can be complicated. They might include church service, a matinee, and an evening performance. When his schedule is tight, it’s just eating, sleeping, and working and not much else.

And when “Sweeney” closes in July? Kalbfleisch says he’ll drop. Until the next job.

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Out & About

Virginia Queer Film Festival to debut

Inaugural event to hold screenings at ODU’s University Theater

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(Screen capture via Virginia Queer Film Festival YouTube)

The inaugural Virginia Queer Film Festival will start on Wednesday, June 14 on the campus of Old Dominion University at the University Theater.

More than 35 films, including short packages, features and documentaries, will be screened. In addition to the films, there will be filmmaker talkbacks, educational workshops and opening and closing ceremonies.

Tickets are available on the festival’s website.

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