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Best of Gay D.C. 2011: NIGHTLIFE



Best Gay-Friendly Straight Bar
Tattoo Bar

“We pride ourselves on our diverse crowd and we welcome all,” says Scott Eustace, general manager of Tattoo. “We have no specific demographic night, basically it is come one come all.”

Tattoo Bar is an edgy, hip, rock ‘n’ roll entertainment venue with an intimate and accepting feel. Tattoo Bar beckons the rock lover to come enjoy an evening of great music, good company and excellent customer service. A diversity of musical genres makes it a true pioneer of the “Party Rock” theme in the D.C. nightlife scene.

Tattoo Bar also provides a place to release your creative side. During Halloween weekend, for example, Friday is Rehab: Triage, a sexy nurse costume contest and Saturday, a True Blood costume contest.

“We are getting ready to start a retro ‘80s and ‘90s night,” Eustace says. “Our main promoter is gay and is he doing a great job getting the word out to everyone.”

Rocking a 90-inch projection screen and seven high-definition TVs, Tattoo Bar provides visual entertainment as well as some of the best music in D.C. Whether it’s the music videos, various images of tattooed people as artwork, motorcycle chains or the infamous “ghost rider” crashing the party over the bar, there’s always plenty to see at Tattoo Bar.

“This is really great the readers of the Washington Blade have selected us. We are thrilled,” Eustace says. Tattoo Bar is owned by the Michael Romeo Group. (DP)
1413 K St., N.W.
Washington, DC

Best Maryland Bar
Club Hippo

Gay owned and operated, Club Hippo was established in 1972 in the heart of Mount Vernon, an area commonly known as Baltimore’s gay district. Club Hippo has always been supportive of the local LGBT community. Wednesday nights, for example, is bingo night, when a portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore.

Club Hippo (Blade photo by Pete Exis)

Also, the Hippo is known for its large dance floor and awesome sound system. On Friday and Saturday nights, club goers can dance until 2 a.m.

For “Glee” junkies, Tuesday night provides an opportunity to watch the show with other friends. And Thursday nights are devoted to hip-hop. (DP)
Club Hippo
1 West Eager St.

Best Place to Meet Women
Lure/Bare at Cobalt

Bare, a monthly lesbian event at Cobalt, celebrated its second anniversary in January and is still going strong.

Lure (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Presented by Ladies of Lure, the event is sometimes given a different spin and will often have special celebrity guests like cast members from “The Real L Word.” There’s the annual White Party in July and a Pride edition in June.

“This event [is] a place where you can come with friends, meet new ones, or just dance the night away,” says Karen Diehl of Lure.

The latest edition of Bare was a joint effort with Mautner Project to raise funds for the organization in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (JE)

Best Dance Club

Town Danceboutique is the champ here. This is Town’s fourth win in this category and counting Ba’Naka and the Ladies of Town wins, Town now has 14 Blade awards.
Town Danceboutique
2009 8th St. N.W.

Best Virginia Bar
Freddie’s Beach Bar

Some years we’ve just given one non-D.C. gay bar an award and called the category “Best Out-of-D.C. Bar.” Other years, like this one, we’ve given one award for Virginia and another for Maryland. No matter what we’ve called it, Freddie’s Beach Bar has never lost. This is the Crystal City, Va., bar’s 10th consecutive win in this category and its 15th Blade Best Of award overall.

Freddie's Beach Bar (Blade photo by Michael Key)

But it’s not quite the no-brainer it might once have been as Freddie’s isn’t the sole Northern Virginia gay bar as it was for years. Herndon’s So Addictive Lounge is now part of the scene. Freddie’s owner Freddie Lutz says he feels no sense of competition with So Addictive and has enjoyed visiting there several times.

“I don’t think of them as competition at all,” he says. “I think they’re a great addition to Virginia. There are so many people out that way so they’re really increasing the diversity there, which I think is just great. They’re getting even further down into the conservative territory so I really salute them. I’ve been there several times and their owner, Dewey, has been here. We’re very friendly.”

Lutz says he’s often reminded of how important it is to keep a gay presence in the anti-gay state.
“A couple years ago at Pride, somebody came to our booth and said, ‘Why should we support a bar in Virginia, they’re so terrible,” Lutz says. “I said that’s exactly why. How are we ever going to make any progress if we don’t have some gay presence here.”

Next up for Freddie’s is a full weekend of Halloween festivities. Visit the bar online for details. (JD)
Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant
555 South 23rd St.
Crystal City, VA

Best Happy Hour/Best Neighborhood Bar

JR.’s, the popular 17th Street staple, is celebrating its 25th anniversary and its 18th and 19th Blade Best Of awards. The Eric Little-owned bar (he also owns Cobalt) holds the all-time record for most Blade Best Of awards.
Despite its record, manager Dave Perruzza sounds surprised.

JR.'s (Blade photo by Henry Linser)

“Wow, we won two things?” he says. “I think it’s great, especially on the year of our 25th anniversary.”
Talk of the bar possibly moving has been rumbling throughout the rumor mill.

Perruzza says it won’t happen “anytime soon. It all depends if we find a great space. We are looking to grow, though.” (JD)
1519 17th St., N.W.

Best Place to Meet Men
Nellie’s Sports Bar

This is Nellie’s fourth Blade Best Of award. It and JR.’s go back and forth on this category and the neighborhood favorite. This year, JR.’s got the neighborhood prize (Nellie’s won it last year) but Nellie’s won’t go home empty handed. Owner Doug Schantz sounds amused.

Nellie's Sports Bar (Blade photo by Pete Exis)

“Nellie’s is extremely proud to have received this honor from the Blade,” he says. “We would also like to throw in that we are a great place for people to meet in general, not just for men.”

He’s also quick to thank customers.

“They’ve really made Nellie’s what it is today,” he says. “As one can tell from looking at our walls, we take pride in being of and part of the Washington community.”

Nellie’s is almost always a happening spot, feeding off the popularity of nearby Town and the 9:30 club, both repeat winners as well. Located just about where U Street N.W. joins up with Florida Avenue, Nellie’s had perhaps its most delightful moment in the sun earlier this year when Nellie herself — actress Alison Arngrim from TV’s “Little House on the Prairie” — held a book signing there gamely posing with fans in her Goldilocks wig and prominently sporting a brooch that spelled out her character’s reputation: bitch. (JD)
Nellie’s Sports Bar
900 U St., N.W.

Best Live Music
9:30 club

The 9:30 club offers great opportunities to get up close and personal to major celebs (arrive early and you can stand right in front of the stage), though it’s not a place to sit back and relax to enjoy a show.

9:30 Club (Blade photo by Joey DiGuglielmo)

Seats are sparse and bars open throughout the evening can contribute to a rowdy crowd. But the sound system is great and mostly drowns out the talkers. And there’s an immediacy and energy to the venue the city’s other mid-size venues, like DAR Constitution Hall, can’t match. It draws big names and for those who do like to drink at shows, the bar boasts a staggering array of beers on tap with about 60 to choose from.

Just in the past couple weeks, acts as diverse as country legend Loretta Lynn and gay ally extraordinaire Cyndi Lauper gave powerful performances there.

And it’s wildly popular with Blade readers. This is the venue’s sixth consecutive win in this category. (JD)
9:30 club
815 V St., N.W.

Best Rehoboth Bar
Aqua Grill

It’s not uncommon to find yourself waiting in line on summer nights to get into Rehoboth’s Aqua Grill, the post-beach/pre-dinner place to see and be seen. Crowds start gathering at happy hour and by 6:30 the festive outdoor deck and sandy areas are packed with tanned and primped gay men.

But Aqua is more than cocktails and tank top-clad boys. It’s also a restaurant offering a nice selection of seafood (the “Bucket of Love” is particularly good, with steamed clams served with ginger and red pepper), sandwiches and entrees.
The space is inviting and the food is good, but the main attraction tends to be the staff — bartenders and bar backs, who are often shirtless or in revealing costumes depending on the night’s theme. Whether you’re looking for drinks, hot men or dinner, Aqua’s the place. Aqua is now closed for the season but will reopen in the spring.
57 Baltimore Ave.
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Best Cocktail
Lemon Squeeze at Duplex Diner

Kevin Lee, new owner of the renowned Duplex Diner, has one word for the Lemon Squeeze: “It’s dangerous.”
This is a big comeback year for Duplex — this is its first Blade award since 2005. It was a staple in the early years of these awards with seven previous wins.

According to Lee, the Lemon Squeeze has been served at the Diner for several years, but lately it has taken on a life of its own. “It’s just a vodka lemonade,” Lee notes, “but you don’t taste the vodka. It goes down easy.”

It’s easily the most popular drink at this popular establishment. In fact, it has spawned imitators. There’s a version that swaps out the vodka for bourbon, and variations that replace the lemonade with orange or lime juice. The Orange Squeeze will be the feature of the Diner’s new Sunday Brunch, a tradition that Lee is pleased to bring back after a nine-year hiatus.

Lee has made other changes at the diner, which is gay-owned. The new menu features some updated dishes, but the Diner still serves generous portions of everyone’s favorite comfort foods. The kitchen is now under the direction of Mark Mulvey who moved to D.C. from Charleston, S.C. Lee says, “He’s added a Southern flair to some of the dishes, but the food is still delicious.” (BTC)
Duplex Diner
2004 18th St., N.W.



What it means to be an active ally to your LGBTQ+ co-workers TEST

Five easy tips to help you avoid common risks



Be sure to install baby gates if you have stairs in your home with young children. (Photo by Kasia Bialasiewicz/Bigstock)

Your home is more than just a place to eat and sleep; it’s your safe haven. As much as you might cherish your home, you should probably also recognize the potential hazards within its familiar walls. Accidents can happen in an instant, yet with a little foresight and some simple adjustments, you can transform your house into a safer haven. 

Accidents can happen anywhere, and with a few simple tweaks, you can lower risks in your space. Below you’ll find five tips for each room in your home to help prevent injuries, falls, and other mishaps. In short, home safety. 

This article was inspired by a shower in a rental we managed that began leaking through the kitchen ceiling below. If only the landlord had installed grab bars, right!? Below, we’ll guide you through the steps to fortify your bathroom, making it a place of relaxation without the fear of slips and falls. Then, we’ll venture into the room where the magic happens, where proper planning can ensure great nights and peaceful mornings. We’ll show you how to prevent accidents while you experiment becoming the next Gordon Ramsey. And we’ll include a few surprising solutions for those other rooms that hold their own unique hazards, offering solutions to safeguard against unexpected mishaps.

Bathroom Safety

Install Grab Bars: Adding grab bars near the shower and toilet can provide essential support for family members of all ages. Not only can they help with getting in and out, but they can help provide stability when washing. Make sure they are securely anchored to the wall.

Non-Slip Mats: Place non-slip mats inside the shower and bathtub to prevent slips. They’re a small investment that can save you from falls and head injuries.

Adjust Water Temperature:  Ensure your hot water is set to a safe temperature to avoid scalding. The hot water heater should be set to around 120°F (49°C)l, the middle setting on many water heater settings. 

Medicine Cabinet Locks: If you have young children, use childproof locks on your medicine cabinet to keep harmful substances out of reach.

Proper Lighting: Ensure there’s adequate lighting in the bathroom to avoid trips and falls during nighttime visits. Nightlights can be a simple and effective solution. 

Bedroom Safety

Clear Pathways: Keep pathways in the bedroom clutter free to prevent tripping. Ensure there’s enough space to move around comfortably, particularly getting around the bed.  Be aware where all furniture is when walking around to avoid stubbed toes, particularly at night.

Secure Rugs: If you have throw rugs, use rug grippers or double-sided tape to keep them from slipping. Loose rugs are a common trip hazard. 

Bed Rails: For anyone at risk of falling out of bed, consider installing bed rails to provide extra support and prevent falls.

Nightstands with Drawers: Opt for nightstands with drawers to keep essential items.  This reduces the need to get out of bed at night, minimizing the risk of falls, as you race to grab what you need and not lose a moment’s rest.

Fire Safety: Install battery-operated smoke detectors in the bedrooms if there are none. Make sure to install them 36 inches away from an air vent or the edge of a ceiling fan.  Also six inches away from the joint between the wall and ceiling.  And test smoke detectors regularly.

Kitchen Safety

Non-Slip Flooring: Choose slip-resistant rugs in the kitchen, especially in areas where spills are common. Mats near the sink and stove can also help and you can often buy them fairly cheaply at Costco.

Childproof Cabinets: If you have little ones, use childproof latches on cabinets and drawers to prevent them from accessing potentially hazardous items.

Anti-tip brackets: Install an anti-tip bracket behind the range. These are often used when children are in the home. Although they are less likely to open the oven door and use it as a step stool to get to the stove-top, adults can also benefit from installing these. 

Adequate Lighting: Proper lighting is crucial in the kitchen to avoid accidents. Under-cabinet lighting can illuminate work areas effectively.

Secure Heavy Items: Ensure heavy pots and pans are stored at waist level to prevent straining or dropping them from high shelves.

Sharp Object Storage: Keep knives and other sharp objects in a secure drawer or block. And handle all sharp items with extreme care, even when washing and drying. These steps reduce the risk of accidental cuts.  

Other Safety Tips

Furniture Anchors: Secure heavy furniture, like bookshelves and dressers, to the wall to prevent tip-overs, especially if you have young children.

Adequate Outlets: Check for damaged outlets and replace them promptly. Avoid overloading circuits with too many devices. Install placeholder plugs in outlets to prevent young curious fingers (or tongues?) from going inside an electrical outlet.

Stair Gates: If your home has stairs, install safety gates at the top and bottom to prevent falls, especially if you have toddlers or pets to keep them off of the stairs when you cannot monitor them.

Emergency Escape Plan: Develop and practice an emergency escape plan with your family, including a designated meeting place outside.

Carbon Monoxide Detector:  If your home burns any fossil fuels for heating or appliances, install carbon monoxide detectors in common areas of your home to detect this odorless gas. The D.C. building codes require this if you use a fireplace or if you have an attached garage. In essence, if there is any potential source of carbon monoxide in the home, be sure to install these detectors.

Remember, a safer home not only prevents accidents but also provides peace of mind for you and your family. Implement these simple tips to create a secure environment in every room of your house.

With these practical tips and a few adjustments, you can significantly reduce the risk of injuries and falls in your home. Enjoy peace of mind in your now much safer haven.

Scott Bloom is owner and senior property manager of Columbia Property Management.

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Celebrity News

Lizzo makes $50K donation to Marsha P. Johnson Institute

Singer is vocal LGBTQ ally



Lizzo at the 65th Grammy Awards (Screenshot from the Grammy Awards)

When Lizzo sings “If I’m shinin,’ everybody gonna shine,” in her hit song, “Juice,” she means it. Proof of that came this week on Instagram when the LGBTQ ally announced the first winner of her annual Juneteenth Giveback Campaign is the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, a national nonprofit based in Richmond, Calif., dedicated to the protection and defense of Black transgender people. 

And she did so in song: “On the first day of Juneteenth, Lizzo gave to me,” she sang in her video, posted Tuesday, as she revealed her $50,000 gift to MPJI.

“That’s right, we know who Marsha P. Johnson is. We know what Marsha P. Johnson has done for the LGBTQ, emphasis on that ‘T,’ Q community,” said Lizzo to her 13.5 million followers. “Thank you so much to the people at the Marsha P. Johnson Institute. You deserve this, and I hope this helps you so much as you help protect our Black trans family.” 

“What the Marsha P. Johnson Institute does is protects and defends the rights of Black transgender people. They do this by organizing community, advocating for the people, and creating an intentional healing community, developing transformative leadership and promoting collective power,” she said. 

“We are overjoyed for the shoutout from Lizzo today, the generosity of her sharing her platform and the recognition of MPJI and its work,” said Elle Moxley, MPJI’s executive director. “The resources from this campaign will ensure the protection and defense of Black transgender people continue at a time where it is so vitally needed. We are so grateful for the support of Lizzo and her fans.”

As one of Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year for 2019 and a 2023 Grammy winner, Lizzo is more than a pop star but an inspiration to millions of fans for her body-positive attitude, her self-confidence on stage and in her videos, her empowering music and her activism. She’s also the founder of her own clothing line, Yitty. In 2021, she made headlines when she publicly corrected a paparazzo for using “she/her” pronouns and misgendering Demi Levato.

As part of her campaign, now in its 4th year, Lizzo recognizes Black-led grassroots organizations and businesses and encourages her fans to join her in supporting each of the five organizations she highlights this week. Fans who take action by donating are  entered into a drawing for an all-expenses paid trip to see her perform at Fuji Rock in Japan later this year. 

This week’s other nonprofits receiving gifts are: Black Girls Smile, Sphinx Music, the University of Houston and Save Our Sisters United.

Find out more about Lizzo’s 4th annual Juneteenth Giveback Campaign by clicking here.

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Celebrity News

Anne Heche dies after removal from life support

Actress dated Ellen DeGeneres in late 1990s



(Screenshot/YouTube Inside Edition)

Actress Anne Heche died after she was removed from life support on Sunday, nearly two weeks after her Mini-Cooper crashed through a two-story house in Los Angeles’ Mar Vista neighborhood. Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department believe she was intoxicated at the time.

She sustained a severe anoxic brain injury along with severe burns and was being treated at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital, near Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley.

The 53-year-old actress who was a star of films like “Donnie Brasco,” the political satire “Wag the Dog” and the 1998 remake of “Psycho,” had been declared legally dead under California law on Friday, however, her family kept her alive long enough to be an organ donor.

In a statement Friday, the LAPD announced that: “As of today, there will be no further investigative efforts made in this case. Any information or records that have been requested prior to this turn of events will still be collected as they arrive as a matter of formalities and included in the overall case. When a person suspected of a crime expires, we do not present for filing consideration.” LAPD detectives had previously made public that investigators into the crash found narcotics in a blood sample taken from Heche.

The actress’s family released a statement on Friday:

“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend. Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact,” the statement added.

Heche was married to camera operator Coleman Laffoon from 2001 to 2009. The two had a son, Homer, together. She had another son, named Atlas, during a relationship with actor James Tupper, her co-star on the TV series “Men In Trees.”

Laffoon left a moving tribute on an Instagram reel in which he also gave an update on how their 20-year-old son Homer Laffoon is coping with the loss of his mother.

“I loved her and I miss her, and I’m always going to,” he said adding: “Homer is okay. He’s grieving, of course, and it’s rough. It’s really rough, as probably anybody can imagine. But he’s surrounded by family and he’s strong, and he’s gonna be okay.”

“Rest In Peace, Mom, I love you, Homer,” the actor’s 20-year-old son, Homer, said in a statement after Heche was declared legally dead on Friday.“ My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom,” read the statement. “After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully, my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom. Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time. Rest In Peace Mom, I love you, Homer.”

Tupper, a Canadian actor who starred alongside Heche in “Men in Trees,” had a 13-year-old son, Atlas, with her. “Love you forever,” Tupper, 57, wrote on his Instagram post’s caption with a broken heart emoji, which shared an image of the actress from Men in Trees.

Between 1997 and 2000, Heche was also in a relationship with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

“This is a sad day,” DeGeneres posted on Twitter. “I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.” The year after her break-up with the comedian, in September 2001, Heche recounted in her memoir “Call Me Crazy,” about her lifelong struggles with mental health and a childhood of abuse.

KTLA’s entertainment reporter Sam Rubin noted that over the past two decades, Heche’s career pivoted several times. In 2017, she hosted a weekly radio show on SiriusXM with Jason Ellis called “Love and Heche.”

In 2020, Heche made her way into the podcast world. She launched “Better Together” which she cohosted alongside Heather Duffy Boylston. The show was described as a way to celebrate friendship. 

She also worked in smaller films, on Broadway, and on TV shows. She recently had recurring roles on the network series “Chicago P.D.,” and “All Rise” and was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”

People magazine reported that several of Heche’s acting projects are expected to be released posthumously.

These include “Girl in Room 13,” expected to be released on Lifetime in September, “What Remains,” scheduled to be released in 2023, and HBO Max TV series “The Idol,” created by Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) and Euphoria creator Sam Levinson.

In her Instagram post from earlier this year Heche stands between her sons Atlas, 13 and Homer, 20.

From KTLA:

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