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In with the new

A gay bar, a drag king company, a bookshop and more enjoy recent launches

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LGBT Washington, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade photos of WiskHER and Dirty Goose by Hugh Clarke; photo of Namii courtesy Pretty Boi Drag)

LGBT Washington has seen a spate of new business openings in recent months. Here are a few to check out.

The Dirty Goose, a new gay bar

The Dirty Goose (913 U St., N.W.) is the new kid on the block for D.C.’s gay nightlife scene. Tucked into the U Street corridor across from Nellie’s Sports Bar, the Dirty Goose’s slogan is “Where Birds of a Feather Drink Together.” Owners Justin Parker and his fiancé Daniel Honeycutt say they consider the Dirty Goose a gay bar, but welcome all to their establishment. According to Park, they consider their bar to be upscale but welcoming.

”We believed that sometimes ‘upscale’ gets a stigma and is assumed to be stuffy and expensive,” Parker says. “We have tried really hard to address small details that we think can wash the stigma away. Our bartenders are specifically friendly, outgoing and always willing to help. Our prices are comparable to our neighbors. We simply just try to provide a higher quality of drinks, food and service.”

The bar, which opened Aug. 18, has plans for parties in the near future with details to be announced. In addition to dinner, the Dirty Goose also offers bottomless brunch for $38 on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Brunch includes your choice of a bottomless mimosa, rose mimosa or Bloody Mary paired with entrees such as the spring vegetable omelet, eggs Benedict and TDG hamburger with Sriracha aioli. Make reservations at thedirtygoosedc.com. (MC)

LGBT Washington, Dirty Goose, gay bar, gay news, Washington Blade

The Dirty Goose is working to take the snob quotient out of upscale. (Washington Blade photo by Hugh Clarke)

SIR, a new male burlesque show

SIR is an all-male burlesque show hosted at SAX Restaurant & Lounge (734 11th St., N.W.) every Sunday.

There are two shows — one at 10:30 a.m. and another at 1:30 p.m. It’s slated to launch on Sunday, Sept. 11.

Billed as an “electrifying show that brings together some of the hottest men in the DMV,” it promises a “theatrical experience that will leave you begging for more.”

Performers are dancers, aerialists, pole dancers and more. There are games, bottomless mimosas, brunch, go-go boys, “stud” waiters and more. Participants must be 21 to enter. Tickets are $50-65.

Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis. No entry 15 minutes after show time.

SAX is a French-American cuisine restaurant. Full details at saxwdc.com. (JD)

Pretty Boi Drag, a new drag king troupe

Pretty Boi Drag is a drag king collective that hosts day parties, brunch shows and workshops in the District. The shows feature music from DJ Tezrah and audience members are invited to dance and sing along with the kings making shows interactive. Workshops are part lecture and part Q&A for audience members to learn about the drag king experience and create their own drag king persona.

The group’s new brunch show at Acre 121 (1400 Irving St., N.W.) will be on the first Sunday of every month. For $40 enjoy bottomless mimosas, one entree and a show from noon-3 p.m. The first show of the season starts Sunday, Sept. 4.

Pretty Boi Drag also hosts its monthly day parties at the Bier Baron (1523 22nd St., N.W.). On Sunday, Sept. 18 the party’s theme will be #PrettyBoiHigh. The party will be back to school themed. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

On Sunday, Oct. 16 there will be #APrettyBoiFairyTale, which will be a fairy tale-themed event. Drag kings will perform as fairytale characters to reenact moments from fairy tale stories with a modern twist. The final show of 2016 will be #SundayService on Sunday, Nov. 20. The show will be a secular interpretation of a church service featuring a six-person choir, church fans and ushers.

Co-producer Pretty Rik E says being part of these shows as a troupe member and as an audience member is fun and brings people together.

“Speaking from the perspective as a member of Pretty Boi Drag, we have the best performers and crew in D.C., hands down,” Pretty Rik E says. “More importantly, we are a family. We enjoy spending time with each other outside of performance space as much as we can and turn to each other in times of need or celebration. From the perspective of an audience member, we like to think we create an environment of fun and camaraderie whenever we put on a show. Our goal is to have every audience member leave our shows having had an experience.” prettyboidrag.com. (MC)

Pretty Boi Drag, LGBT Washington

Pretty Rik E performs in Pretty Boi Drag, a new drag king outfit. (Photo courtesy PBD)

WhiskHER, a new bi and trans queer party

WhiskHER is a brand new bisexual and trans-inclusive queer party that will take place at the Old Engine 12 Restaurant (1626 N Capitol St., N.W.) every fourth Friday of the month.

The V D.C. promoters behind the queer party GlittHER ended the event after the head promoter moved to San Francisco. Wanting to keep the same spirit alive in a different event, WhiskHER was born from GlittHER’s resident DJ Tezrah and Katy Ray, an active member of D.C.’s queer women’s community. Its opening party kicked off on Aug. 26. DJ Tezrah and Katy Ray say they have plenty of ideas for future parties. The pair want to include various DJs, live performances, artists, contests and different themes into this new party scene.

“Since GlittHER was consistently successful for three years, WhiskHER strives to emulate GlittHER’s positive presence while primarily possessing its own, distinct entity,” DJ Tezrah says.

Details at facebook.com/whiskherdc. (MC)

WiskHER, LGBT Washington

WhiskHER is every fourth Friday of the month. (Washington Blade photo by Hugh Clarke)

East City Bookshop, a new bookstore on Capitol Hill

Conventional wisdom has it that launching a new brick-and-mortar bookstore in this day and age and going up against Amazon is nuts. But there are some Davids out there making a case for themselves among all the Internet Goliaths.

East City Bookshop is a new queer-friendly space that opened at 645 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E. (suite 100) on April 30 on Capitol Hill. Sensing what she felt was a need after Trover Shop Bookstore closed in 2009 after 51 years in business, Laurie Gillman, a Washington resident since 1991, pounced.

“I was so annoyed I’d have to go to Virginia to go to a bookstore,” says the 50-year-old Gillman, who’s straight. “Even after my kids were older, I kept thinking, ‘Why do we not have a bookstore here? This is a perfectly good bookstore neighborhood.’ I began to think maybe I should open one.”

Gillman, who also lives in the neighborhood, went to Florida for a weeklong course offered by Paz and Associates, a group that offers seminars on how to open modern-day bookstores and the challenges entrepreneurs are likely to face. She says the “bottom of the valley” for bookstores was about 2009 but once so many were gone, people started to miss them.

“It’s actually a really good time because people do want actual books a lot of the time. They like to browse and pick things up and flip through them,” Gillman says. “And bookstores are such community spaces. … More bookstores have been opening than closing in the last few years.”

East City has about 3,200 square feet of retail space that Gillman rents in what she calls a “funky, little shopping center” right by the Eastern Market Metro. Labyrinth, a board game and role-playing game shop, is next door and offers “a nice mix of customers and items.” She has about 12,000 books in stock in all genres, including a large kids’ section, a bargain book section and everything in between. LGBT content is spread throughout — just because a mystery might have LGBT protagonists, for instance, did not justify putting all the gay stuff in one section, Gillman felt.

And so far business has exceeded her expectations. She hoped to turn a profit by the five-year point. If things continue at the present pace, she says that might be more like three years.

Gay authors are peppered throughout the upcoming events schedule. This week out author Gregg Shapiro shared readings from his new short-story collection, “How to Whistle.” On Friday, Sept. 16, comic artist Ed Luce will talk about his underground hit series “Wuvable Oaf,” set in San Francisco’s queer music scene. Full schedule is online at eastcitybookshop.com. (JD)

Long-time Washingtonian Laurie Gillman says Capitol Hill needed its own bookstore so she took it upon herself to open one. (Photo courtesy Gillman) 

Long-time Washingtonian Laurie Gillman says Capitol Hill needed its own bookstore so she took it upon herself to open one. (Photo courtesy Gillman)

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Rodriquez scores historic win at otherwise irrelevant Golden Globes

Award represents a major milestone for trans visibility

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Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, on right, and Billy Porter in 'Pose.' (Photo courtesy of FX)

HOLLYWOOD – Despite its continuing status as something of a pariah organization in Hollywood, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has managed to cling to relevance in the wake of last night’s behind-closed-doors presentation of its 79th Annual Golden Globe Awards by sole virtue of having bestowed the prize for “Best Leading Actress in a Television Series – Drama” on Michaela Jaé Rodriguez for her work in the final season of “Pose” – making her the first transgender performer to win a Golden Globe.

The ceremony took place as a private, no-press-or-audience event in which winners were revealed via a series of tweets from the Golden Globes Twitter account. No celebrities were present (not even the nominees or winners), although actress Jamie Lee Curtis participated by appearing in a video in which she pronounced her continuing loyalty to the HFPA – without mention of the  longstanding issues around diversity and ethical practices, revealed early in 2021 by a bombshell Los Angeles Times report, that have led to an nearly industry-wide boycott of the organization and its awards as well as the cancellation of the annual Golden Globes broadcast by NBC for the foreseeable future.

While the Golden Globes may have lost their luster for the time being, the award for Rodriquez represents a major milestone for trans visibility and inclusion in the traditionally transphobic entertainment industry, and for her part, the actress responded to news of her win with characteristic grace and good will.

Posting on her Instagram account, the 31-year old actress said: 

“OMG OMGGG!!!! @goldenglobes Wow! You talking about sickening birthday present! Thank you!

“This is the door that is going to Open the door for many more young talented individuals. They will see that it is more than possible. They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark New Jersey who had a dream, to change the minds others would WITH LOVE. LOVE WINS.

“To my young LGBTQAI babies WE ARE HERE the door is now open now reach the stars!!!!!”

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As You Are Bar and the importance of queer gathering spaces

New bar/restaurant poised to open in 2022

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As You Are Bar had a pop-up venue at Capital Pride's "Colorful Fest" block party in October. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

More than just a watering hole: As You Are Bar is set to be the city’s newest queer gathering place where patrons can spill tea over late-morning cappuccinos as easily as they can over late-night vodka-sodas.

Co-owners and founders Jo McDaniel and Rachel Pike built on their extensive experience in the hospitality industry – including stints at several gay bars – to sign a lease for their new concept in Barracks Row, replacing what was previously District Soul Food and Banana Café. In a prime corner spot, they are seeking to bring together the disparate colors of the LGBTQ rainbow – but first must navigate the approval process (more on that later).

The duo decided on this Southeast neighborhood locale to increase accessibility for “the marginalized parts of our community,” they say, “bringing out the intersectionality inherent in the queer space.”

Northwest D.C., they explain, not only already has many gay bar options, but is also more difficult to get to for those who don’t live within walking distance. The Barracks Row location is right by a Metro stop, “reducing pay walls.” Plus, there, “we are able to find a neighborhood to bring in a queer presence that doesn’t exist today.”

McDaniel points out that the area has a deep queer bar history. Western bar Remington’s was once located in the area, and it’s a mere block from the former Phase 1, the longest-running lesbian bar, which was open from 1971-2015.

McDaniel and Pike hope that As You Are Bar will be an inclusive space that “welcomes anyone of any walk of life that will support, love, and celebrate the mission of queer culture. We want people of all ages, gender, sexual identity, as well as drinkers and non-drinkers, to have space.”

McDaniel (she/her) began her career at Apex in 2005 and was most recently the opening manager of ALOHO. Pike (she/they) was behind the bar and worked as security at ALOHO, where the two met.

Since leaving ALOHO earlier this year, they have pursued the As You Are Bar project, first by hosting virtual events during the pandemic, and now in this brick-and-mortar space. They expressed concern that receiving the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) liquor license approval and the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, or ANC, approval will be a long and expensive process.

They have already received notice that some neighbors intend to protest As You Are Bar’s application for the “tavern” liquor license that ABRA grants to serve alcohol and allow for live entertainment (e.g. drag shows). They applied for the license on Nov. 12, and have no anticipated opening date, estimating at least six months. If ABRA and the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board give final approval, the local ANC 6B and nearby residents can no longer protest the license until the license comes up for renewal.

Until approval is given, they continue physical buildout (including soundproofing) and planning their offerings. If the license is approved, ABRA and the ABC Board can take action against As You Are Bar, like any bar, at any time if they violate the terms of the license or create a neighborhood disturbance that violates city laws such as the local noise ordinance.  In the kitchen, the duo snagged Chef Nina Love to develop the menu. Love will oversee café-style fare; look out for breakfast sandwiches making an appearance all the way until close. They will also have baked goods during the day.

McDaniel and Pike themselves will craft the bar menu. Importantly, they note, the coffee bar will also serve until close. There will be a full bar as well as a list of zero-proof cocktails. As with their sourcing, they hope to work with queer-, minority-, and women-owned businesses for everything not made in-house.

Flexible conceptually, they seek to grow with their customer base, allowing patrons to create the culture that they seek.

Their goal is to move the queer space away from a focus on alcohol consumption. From book clubs, to letter-writing, to shared workspaces, to dance parties, they seek an all-day, morning-to-night rhythm of youth, families, and adults to find a niche. “We want to shift the narrative of a furtive, secretive, dark gay space and hold it up to the light,” they say. “It’s a little like The Planet from the original L Word show,” they joke.

Pike notes that they plan on working closely with SMYAL, for example, to promote programming for youth. Weekend potential activities include lunch-and-learn sessions on Saturdays and festive Sunday brunches.

The café space, to be located on the first floor, will have coffeehouse-style sofas as well as workstations. A slim patio on 8th Street will hold about six tables.

Even as other queer bars have closed, they reinforce that the need is still present. “Yes, we can visit a café or bar, but we always need to have a place where we are 100 percent certain that we are safe, and that our security is paramount. Even as queer acceptance continues to grow, a dedicated queer space will always be necessary,” they say.

To get there, they continue to rally support of friends, neighbors, and leaders in ANC6B district; the ANC6B officials butted heads with District Soul Food, the previous restaurant in the space, over late-night noise and other complaints. McDaniel and Pike hope that once nearby residents and businesses understand the important contribution that As You Are Bar can make to the neighborhood, they will extend their support and allow the bar to open.

AYA, gay news, Washington Blade
Rachel Pike and Jo McDaniel signed a lease for their new concept in Barracks Row. (Photo courtesy Pike and McDaniel)
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Need a list-minute gift idea?

Books, non-profit donations make thoughtful choices

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‘Yes, Daddy’ by Jonathan Parks-Ramage is the story of a young man with dying dreams of fame and fortune, who schemes to meet an older man.

You knew this was coming.

You knew that you were going to have to finish your holiday shopping soon but it snuck up on you, didn’t it? And even if you’re close to being done, there are always those three or five people who are impossible to buy for, right? Remember this, though: books are easy to wrap and easy to give, and they last a while, too. So why not head to the bookstore with your Christmas List and look for these gifts.

And if you still have people to shop for, why not make a donation to a local non-profit in their name? A list of D.C.-area suggestions follows.

BOOKS: NONFICTION

If there’s about to be a new addition to your family, wrapping up “Queer Stepfamilies: The path to Social and Legal Recognition” by Katie L. Acosta would be a good thing. In this book, the author followed forty LGBTQ families to understand the joys, pitfalls, and legalities of forming a new union together. It can’t replace a lawyer, but it’s a good overview.

For the parent who wants to ensure that their child grows up with a lack of bias, “Raising LGBTQ Allies” by Chris Tompkins is a great book to give. It’s filled with methods to stop bullying in its tracks, to be proactive in having That Conversation, and how to be sure that the next generation you’re responsible for becomes responsible in turn. Wrap it up with “The Healing Otherness Handbook” by Stacee L. Reicherzer, Ph.D., a book that helps readers to deal with bullying by finding confidence and empowerment.

If there’s someone on your gift list who’s determined to get “fit” in the coming year, then give “The Secret to Superhuman Strength” by Alison Bechdel this holiday. Told in graphic-novel format (comics, basically), it’s the story of searching for self-improvement and finding it in a surprising place.

So why not give a little nostalgia this year by wrapping up “A Night at the Sweet Gum Head” by Martin Padgett? It’s the tale of disco, drag, and drugs in the 1970s (of course!) in Atlanta, with appearances by activists, politics, and people who were there at that fabulous time. Wrap it up with “After Francesco” by Brian Malloy, a novel set a little later – in the mid-1980s in New York City and Minneapolis at the beginning of the AIDS crisis.

The LGBTQ activist on your gift list will want to read “The Case for Gay Reparations” by Omar G. Encarnacion. It’s a book about acknowledgment, obligation on the part of cis citizens, and fixing the pain that homophobia and violence has caused. Wrap it up with “Trans Medicine: The Emergence and Practice of Treating Gender” by Stef M. Shuster, a look at trans history that may also make your giftee growl.

FICTION

Young readers who have recently transitioned will enjoy reading “Both Sides Now” by Peyton Thomas. It’s a novel about a high school boy with gigantic dreams and the means to accomplish them all. Can he overcome the barriers that life gives him? It’s debatable… Pair it with “Can’t Take That Away” by Steven Salvatore, a book about two nonbinary students and the troubles they face as they fall in love.

The thriller fan on your list will be overjoyed to unwrap “Yes, Daddy” by Jonathan Parks-Ramage. It’s the story of a young man with dying dreams of fame and fortune, who schemes to meet an older, more accomplished man with the hopes of sparking his failing career. But the older man isn’t who the younger thinks he is, and that’s not good. Wrap it up with “Lies with Man” by Michael Nava, a book about a lawyer who agrees to be counsel for a group of activists. Good so far, right? Until one of them is accused of being involved in a deadly bombing.

For the fan of Southern fiction, you can’t go wrong when you wrap up “The Tender Grave” by Sheri Reynolds. It’s the tale of two sisters, one homophobic, the other lesbian, and how they learn to forgive and re-connect.

NON-PROFIT GIVING

Like nonprofit organizations throughout the country, D.C.-area LGBTQ supportive nonprofit groups have told the Blade they continue to rebuild amid the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted their fundraising efforts while increasing expenses, at least in part by prompting more people to come to them for help.

This holiday season, if you’re looking for a thoughtful gift, consider making a donation to one of our local LGBTQ non-profit organizations in someone else’s name. This list is by no means exhaustive, but a good place to start your research.

Contributions to the LGBTQ supportive nonprofit organizations can be made via the websites of these local organizations:

• Blade Foundation, which funds local scholarships and fellowships for queer student journalists, bladefoundation.org

• DC Center, our local community center that operates a wide range of programming,  thedccenter.org/donate

Food & Friends, which delivers meals to homebound patients, foodandfriends.org

HIPS, which advances the health rights and dignity of those impacted by sex work and drugs, hips.org

• SMYAL, which advocates for queer youth, smyal.org

Wanda Alston Foundation, which offers shelter and support for LGBTQ youth, wandaalstonfoundation.org

• Whitman-Walker Health, the city’s longtime LGBTQ-inclusive health care provider, whitmanwalkerimpact.org

Casa Ruby, which provides shelter and services to youth in need, casaruby.org

• Us Helping Us, which helps improve the health of communities of color and works to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Black community, ushelpingus.org/donate

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