June 19, 2017 at 9:41 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Jim Graham’s Sunday night show to go on
Jim Graham, Democratic Party, Ward 1, District of Columbia Council, gay news, Washington Blade, 2013 Capital Pride Parade

Jim Graham died on June 11. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The House nightclub on Georgia Ave., N.W., where for the past two years former D.C. Council member Jim Graham managed nude male dancers who performed on Sunday nights, will continue the Sunday night male dance shows in Graham’s honor, according to the club’s owner.

“We’re going to keep it going, definitely, every Sunday,” said Daryl Allen, whose family has owned and operated The House since 1979.

“We’re going to have a huge [party], a real big thing, next Sunday [June 25]” in a celebration of Graham’s life, Allen said.

He said the dancers and employees will wear bowties in honor and memory of Graham, whose colorful bowties became his trademark as a public figure in D.C.

Graham died on June 11 from complications associated with an intestinal infection that landed him in the hospital for more than a month.

Allen said he and his wife, who became good friends with Graham, and his employees were stunned and deeply saddened when they learned of Graham’s passing on Thursday.

He credited Graham with helping him learn the likes and customs of the gay male customers who have frequented The House on Sunday nights at a club that, up until Graham came into the picture, featured nude female dancers for mostly straight customers every night. The club continues to feature female dancers on all nights but Sundays.

According to Allen, Graham convinced him to try a “gay night” at the club when Allen wasn’t sure it would work in a place known for years as a female nude dance club.

“He said we can have a gay night,” Allen said. “I said I don’t know anything about the gay community. And he said don’t worry. I’ll do everything.”

After a learning curve of about six months, Allen said things began to work well.

“He actually brought about a different take on the club,” Allen explained. “And I actually like the people that come in there on Sunday. I had more fun on Sunday nights. I made new friends. I saw neighbors that I never knew [were gay] come in with Jim. He became a good friend.”

Allen said Graham was aware that some people he worked with and who knew him during his years in politics may not approve of his role in working at a strip club.

“He was like a kid excited to do something,” said Allen. “He said I don’t want to go back into politics. He said I want to have fun. I want to be me. I want to be free.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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