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Music & Concerts

SPRING ARTS 2017 — classical: Not as gay as you’d think

Spring classical season only dotted with LGBT events, performers



classical concerts, gay news, Washington Blade

A scene from ‘Champion,’ a gay-themed jazz opera that runs March 4-18 at the Kennedy Center. (Photo by Ken Howard; courtesy WNO)

The classical world overall feels just a tad obtuse in regard to LGBT issues. It’s not so much that being out is any big deal, for many contemporary composers, conductors and instrumentalists are, but far fewer are out in classical music than in pop culture.

So what you’re left with in a big, gay town like Washington is a spring classical music scene in which very little by way of LGBT content or personnel is known. Its numbers, if not quite its themes, are probably just as gay as the D.C. theater scene (maybe not quite, but I’d guess close), yet unless you’re in the pits, it’s a tough thing to gauge.

Here’s what we know:

• Queer organist Cameron Carpenter, an envelope pusher who’s both loved and loathed but is a true virtuoso at the console, plays the Music Center at Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, Md.) on Thursday, March 23 (rescheduled from March 3) at 8 p.m. Though he’s performed several times on the Kennedy Center’s new Casavant organ, this will be the first time Washington audiences have a chance to hear his Marshall & Ogletree International Touring Organ, a sleek, digital instrument he’s been touring the world with the last few years that packs an impressive sonic wallop (technical issues reportedly caused the rescheduled date). Pipe organ purists, a notoriously fussy bunch, will never fully embrace this concept, but that’s OK — Carpenter is still a master technician especially adept at balancing musical nourishment and straight-up entertainment. Tickets are $40-65. Details here.

• “Champion” is Terence Blanchard’s jazz opera about the real-life story of Emile Griffith, a closeted gay boxer from the ‘60s whose story comes to life with a soulful score, jazz-style singing and Afro-Caribbean beats with a libretto by Michael Cristofer. It got strong reviews when it debuted in 2013 with the New York Times saying it “strikes a resonant chord.” It runs March 4-18 in the Kennedy Center Opera House (2700 F St., N.W.). Tickets range from $35-300. Details here.

• Gay-helmed contemporary opera outfit UrbanArias offers “Lucy,” a new work by John Glover and Kelley Rourke about the true story of Maurice Temerlin and the chimpanzee he raised from birth, runs April 1-8 at Atlas Performing Arts Center ( Tickets are $35. Details at

• The D.C. Different Drummers, a queer orchestra, offers “Glitter and Be Gay! a Concert Exploring LGBT Composers” on Saturday, March 25 at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Epiphany (1317 G St., N.W.). Tickets are $20. Details at

Virginia Opera, under the baton of out conductor Adam Turner, brings Puccini’s “Turandot” to George Mason University March 25-26. Tickets are $54-110. Details at

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington joins the Washington Chorus for “Carmina Burana” and Stravinsky’s “Oedipus Rex” at the Kennedy Center on Sunday, May 14. Tickets are $18-72. Details at

Not LGBT but also of note: the Maryland State BoyChoir have performances in Baltimore April 2 and May 20; “Shift: a Festival of American Orchestras” runs March 28-April 1 at the Kennedy Center; Washington Concert Opera presents Beethoven’s “Leonore” March 5 at the G.W. Lisner Auditorium; Young Artists of America presents “The Circle of Life: the Songs of Time Rice” on Sunday, March 12 at the Strathmore; pianist Daniil Trifonov performs at the Kennedy Center on Tuesday, April 4: violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter performs at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, April 8; sitarist Anoushka Shankar performs at Sixth & I also on April 8th; and pianist Yefim Bronfman performs at UDC Theater of the Arts on Tuesday, April 25. For full details on all Washington Performing Arts events, visit


Music & Concerts

New dance single pays tribute to Town Danceboutique

Local musicians pen ‘Town’ in honor of shuttered club



Bryce Bowyn (Photo by Clarissa Villondo)

The closing of the LGBTQ nightclub Town Danceboutique in the summer of 2017 was heartbreaking to local musician Bryce Bowyn. He and his Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter friend Lexie Martin decided to honor its legacy in their new single, “Town.”

For Bowyn, who moved to the District about a decade ago to attend school at American University, the memories he has from Town Danceboutique are endless. And when it closed, it was a massive loss to Bowyn and many others. 

“It was such a cool space,” Bowyn said. “It was just disappointing to see a place that brought so many people together become part of the landscape again.” The building Town Danceboutique used to be housed in is now home to upscale apartments and a CVS. 

Town Danceboutique was a formative place for Bowyn and Martin, and it was Bowyn’s first experience in an open and accepting LGBTQ environment. His favorite memories at the club were always on Halloween, he said. Patrons, including Bowyn, would go all out with their costumes to look their very best. 

Bowyn and Martin met while they were both in the musical theater program at American University. Despite their years-long friendship, “Town” is the first song they have written together. They sat down over FaceTime and got to work. It was Martin’s idea to pay homage to Town Danceboutique, and the song follows the story of pre-gaming, going out, and hitting the dance floor. 

But the single also serves as a hype song for going out in any city, at any place. 

“It was important to me for the song to remain relatable and accessible,” Bowyn said. “So the whole foundation of the chorus, ‘Let’s go to town,’ can either mean Town Danceboutique, or painting the town red and having the night of your life.”

Bowyn started writing and producing his own music in 2018. He released an EP titled “A Rosy Retrospect” in 2022, and most recently released a single “A Bridge Burned Down” in June. His music is inspired by late 2000s pop and ‘80s synthpop, influenced by stars like Madonna and Charli XCX. Lexie Martin released her self-titled EP in 2019 and most recently came out with her single “SUPERPOWER” in 2021. 

Bowyn has been a lifelong pop music enthusiast. He distinctly remembers watching Britney Spears perform “Oops!…I Did It Again” at the MTV Video Music Awards when he was a kid and thinking “That was what I wanted and what I was set to do in life.”

“My heart was always with pop music,” Bowyn said. 

“Town” is available now for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.

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Music & Concerts

From Monáe to Madonna, fall will rock in D.C.

Local venues hosting array of queer artists in coming months



Madonna’s delayed tour is slated to hit D.C. Dec. 18 and 19. (Screen capture via YouTube)

The D.C. area has many LGBTQ musical acts to look forward to this fall. Starting with pansexual and nonbinary actor and R&B singer Janelle Monáe, performing at the Anthem on Sept. 24-25 with ticket prices ranging from $135 to $301 on StubHub.

Janelle Monáe comes to the Anthem later this month. (Screen capture via YouTube)

Singer Hozier’s “Unreal Unearth Tour” is coming to the Anthem on Sept. 26-27. Tickets are available on StubHub starting at $324.

On Sept. 28 the CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore will see lesbian pop artist SZA’s “SOS Tour” with tickets starting at $165 on Ticketmaster. 

Queer indie pop singer Ashnikko is coming to the Anthem on Sept. 29 to perform their “Weedkiller Tour.” Tickets available on StubHub range from $49 to $279.

Coming to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., is the All Things Go Festival. Performing are lesbian singers Tegan and Sara, alt-pop singer Lana Del Rey, pop singer Carly Rae Jepson, and more. The festival will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 1 with two day passes starting at $397 on SeatGeek.  

Rock band Queen will perform “The Rhapsody Tour” at the CFG Bank Arena along with Adam Lambert on Oct. 4-5. Tickets are starting at $181 on Ticketmaster. 

Pop star and trans woman Kim Petras’ “Feed the Beast World Tour” will reach the Anthem on Oct 12. Tickets range from $72 to $817 on StubHub. 

Kim Petras brings the ‘Feed the Beast World Tour’ to the Anthem in October. (Photo by Thom Kerr)

Queer pop singer Kesha is coming to the Anthem on Oct. 29 to support her new album, “Gag Order.” Tickets go from $86 to $261 on Event Ticket Center. 

Queer pop rapper Shygirl is co-headlining with bisexual singer Tinashe for the “Nymph” tour at the Anthem on Nov. 5. Tickets range from $45 to $145 on Ticketmaster.

Indie band Men I Trust is performing at Echostage on Nov. 15. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster for $30. 

Nonbinary rapper Lil Uzi Vert’s “PINK TAPE TOUR” will be at the Anthem on Nov. 21. Tickets start at $90 on StubHub. 

Doja Cat’s “The Scarlett Tour” will reach Capital One Arena on Nov. 27. Tickets start at $100 on Ticketmaster. 

Madonna will bring her highly anticipated and delayed “The Celebration Tour” to the Capital One Arena Dec. 18 and 19. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster starting at $110.

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Music & Concerts

Tom Goss to perform at Rehoboth Beach Bear Weekend

Out singer entertains at the Sands Hotel



Tom Goss (Photo by Dusti Cunningham)

Out singer Tom Goss will perform at the Rehoboth Beach Bear Weekend on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Sands Hotel. 

He will sing his memorable songs like “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Bears,” as well as tracks from his new album, “Remember What It Feels Like,” where he sings about being a 42-year-old gay man still reeling from his husband’s infidelity who was recently conned by a lover with a secret life now serving time in prison. 

Tickets to Rehoboth Beach Bear Weekend start at $20 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

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