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Queer Queens and Hot Bits show off Baltimore’s racier side

Poppy and her ladies serve up laughs March 25; next weekend looks steamy



Queer Queens, gay news, Washington Blade

Gloria Bigelow joins the rotating cast of the Queer Queens of Qomedy this weekend in Baltimore. (Photo courtesy QQQ)

Sometimes there’s just too much worthy stuff happening to fit into our usual calendars or Out & About page. Here are two upcoming LGBT Baltimore events you may want to check out.

On Sunday, March 25, the Queer Queens of Qomedy play Magooby’s Joke House (9603 Deerco Rd., Timonium, Md.) at 5 p.m.

Gloria Bigelow (“Last Comic Standing,” OWN’s “Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious”), Poppy Champlin (producer and host who has been on Showtime, HBO and more) and Michele Durante, a veteran of New York’s top comedy clubs, trade off doing mini-sets. It will mark the first time Bigelow is playing Baltimore since she lived there around the year 2000.

“I think any show that has three women on it is a political statement,” the Rhode Island-based Champlin says. “We don’t need a man to have a sell-out comedy show. Women are funny and appreciate women’s humor.”

Tickets are $25. VIP tickets are $40. 

Next weekend Hot Bits, a queer erotic short film and arts festival that celebrates queer and transgender people of color, will be held in Baltimore.

“This festival is part of rewriting the alienating categories defined by the mainstream commercial porn and sex industries of who and what are desirable and what desire looks and feels like,” organizers said in a release. “We believe erotic art holds the potential for uncovering the sexual self-determination necessary for fully liberated connection and healing.”

While the Blade typically does not peddle in porn — no judgement, just not our thing — Hot Bits is so refreshingly off the beaten path, we feel it deserves a shout out. Fair warning, though: Hot Bits indie shorts range from erotic softcore to hardcore (its poster proudly boasts “XXX”). It’s curated and produced by a collective of queer artists including Baltimore-based TopShelf.

It runs Saturday, March 31 (8 p.m.)-Sunday, April 1 (7 p.m.) at Creative Alliance (3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore). Tickets are $10 or $7 for Creative Alliance members. Festival passes are $18 ($15 for members). More details here

The festival, in its second year, received more than a hundred submissions from all over the world. 

Wet Bits, an after party, will be held Saturday night at 10 p.m. at Trip’s Place (1813 N. Charles St., Baltimore). GRL PWR, a Baltimore-based events collective for female-identified, non-binary femme and queer artists, hosts the afterparty. Details here

Model Luzifer Priest in a photo by Evie Snax that’s part of the Hot Bits queer erotic festival next weekend in Baltimore. (Photo courtesy Hot Bits)

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Bars & Parties

KINETIC: Pride DC launches with 3 major events

Weekend kicks off Friday with UNCUT XL at BLISS



KINETIC: Pride DC will partner with Capital Pride Alliance to celebrate Pride month with three official events that will feature leading gay DJs: Abel, Ben Bakson, Joe Pacheco, Dan Slater and Alexis Tucci.

The weekend kicks off Friday, June 10 at 10 p.m. with UNCUT XL at BLISS Nightclub. Grammy-nominated DJ Abel will headline the city’s “most risqué circuit event of the year” at BLISS nightclub.

“Uncut is returning to DC Pride for the first time in four years so there will be lots of sweating, dancing, and men bumping and sliding into one another on the main floor as well as in the play zone,” said producer Jesus Quispe in a press release late May.

 KINETIC: Pride Galactic Edition will be on Saturday, June 11 at 10 p.m. at Echostage. DJs Dan Slater and Ben Bakson will perform back-to-back sets. DJ Joe Pacheco will open the night.

The series of events will wrap up on Sunday June 12 with DC Pride’s official closing party, “discoVERS” at 10 p.m. at SAX in Downtown D.C. Disco-diva Alexis Tucci will spin an open-to-close set with Disco, Nu-Disco, and Disco House music all night long. Special performances throughout the night will be integrated into her high-energy disco set as well.

To purchase tickets, visit KINETIC: Pride DC.

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Bars & Parties

Beyonce vs. Rihanna dance party

Music provided by DJ Just Different at Union Stage



R² Productions LLC and Union Stage are teaming up to host  R² Productions’ inaugural “MEGA Dance Party” on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at Union Stage at The Wharf.

The event will be a night full of dancing to music by pop stars Beyonce and Rihanna. DJ Just Different will be performing at the event. 

General Admission tickets cost $25 and Premier Plus tickets cost $35. For more information about ticket purchases, visit Union Stage’s website.

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Bars & Parties

Kiki quickly becomes popular LGBTQ destination

New bar on U Street plans summer expansion, patio space



Kiki, at 915 U St., is already drawing crowds. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

After a New Year’s Eve soft opening, Kiki has become one of the most popular LGBTQ destinations in Washington, D.C.

The two-floor bar takes over the space vacated by Velvet Lounge and Dodge City on the 900 block of U Street. Both closed during the pandemic. The locale is directly adjacent to another gay bar, Dirty Goose.

Owner and gay man Keaton Fedak, a general manager at Dirty Goose, noticed that these two next-door bars had gone dark during the pandemic, and met with the owners of the two buildings, who are cousins. Plans quickly developed to use both buildings to craft an expansive, interconnected, inclusive space to transform the city’s gay bar landscape.

Fedak called the bar “Kiki” both after himself (it’s a nickname) and for its connection with the LGBTQ community. “The word wasn’t invented by the Scissor Sisters song,” he explains. “It’s been an important concept in the community for decades.”

The first half of Fedak’s vision has already opened. The ground floor of the 915 U St. building is open-plan space with bar stools and a color-block wall of rainbow panels. A bar sits in the back up a short flight of stairs. This level will feature music, but quieter than the second-floor space. There, a DJ booth presides over a large dance floor. Disco lights flood this space; there is a bar on this level as well. The elevated dance floor is set to hold drag shows.

In the spring, a small patio will open, strung with fairy lights. It will have a “backyard aesthetic,” he says, to be green, bright, and relaxing. “It’s a good place to chill on a nice day outside.” It may even be reminiscent of Town Danceboutique’s popular patio.

The second half, at 917 U St., is still waiting for permits, and Fedak hopes to open this section in the summer.

It will connect to the current space via the outdoor patio. This section will have more of a sports bar feel, given Fedak’s connection to D.C.’s Gay Flag Football League (he is a former board member). The bar will welcome Stonewall Sports and other LGBTQ sports teams, and will be replete with plenty of mounted TVs to show various games.

After the closing of Cobalt and Town, Fedak wanted to ensure that Kiki was “an inclusive space, so that there’s vibes for everyone,” he says. “It should be a place where regulars would just show up and hang out.” He made sure that he recruited staff from different professional and personal backgrounds.

Fedak began working in food and hospitality at age 17 in his hometown in Pennsylvania. After moving to the D.C. area for work, he continued to moonlight as a bartender. Fedak joined Dirty Goose as general manager in 2019 before starting his Kiki journey.

To stock the bar, Fedak has plenty of spirits to go around. There is a focus on the vodka offerings, but he ensures that local distilleries take center stage: He carries District Made Vodka and Rye Whiskey, as well as Green Hat Gin. The beer game is also a winning strategy: there are more than 25 bottles and cans available, with three beers on tap. Local options are first-string, including selections from DC Brau, Right Proper, and Anxo Cider. Finally, the bar comes complete with a house margarita on tap (“ it’s a homemade recipe,” notes Fedak, using agave nectar syrup instead of sugar). The 16-ounce marg is always on special for $10.

While Kiki doesn’t serve food, Fedak is exploring options for a small truck or stand in the backyard.
Moving forward, Kiki will host weekly events. The bar already hosts drag shows during “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing parties. Fedak plans to begin a “Cobalt-style underwear contest” as well. Once COVID cases decline, he also wants to resurrect the Sunday funday parties that Cobalt would host with sports teams.

Fedak’s mantra for Kiki is evident in the mural that will take up the backyard patio – a quote from “Schitt’s Creek”: “I like the wine and not the label.”

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