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Former Town manager plans new weekend dance/drag party

Weekly Avalon Saturdays events at Soundcheck to feature Lena, Ba’Naka et. al.

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Local drag legend Ba’Naka will be at the first Avalon Saturdays event this weekend. (Photo courtesy Avalon)

The closing of Town left a hole in D.C. LGBT nightlife that is slowly being repopulated by parties at smaller venues throughout the city.

Avalon Saturdays at Soundcheck (1420 K St., N.W.) is the latest gay dance party to emerge in the city’s post-Town world. Promoter Dougie Meyer told the Washington Blade he decided to start a new party after hearing people over the summer mourn the loss of Town.

“Town as everyone in this city knows was an institution,” Meyer says. “That’s where everyone went and knew they could have a great time and dance all night long. Once it closed it was almost like there was no dance club left. We had many bars in the city but there was no actual dance club space. Over the summer, all I was hearing from so many people was, ‘I wish we had a dance club.’”

He decided that he could make it happen.

Meyer, who previously worked as a general manager at Town, reached out to Soundcheck as the home for Avalon Saturdays. He explains that he chose the space because of its D&B Audiotechnik Y-series speakers and its lighting system. Meyer says he, “could think of no better space to create a dance party than in a space like Soundcheck.”

Avalon Saturdays presents its debut party on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 10 p.m. Drag queens Lena Lett, Ba’Naka, Sasha and Gigi will perform. Eddie Danger and Trevor Northman will give dance performances and DJ Steve Sidewalk will spin tracks all night. General admission tickets are $15. VIP tickets are $25 and give ticket holders access to express entry and a private VIP lounge with private bar.

If partygoers hope to make Avalon Saturdays their new weekly hotspot, they won’t get bored. Meyer promises that each party will have a weekly rotation of drag queens and DJs to give each party its own vibe.

Meyer also thinks it’s important to switch up the type of music played throughout the night. He surveyed groups of people immersed in D.C.’s nightlife to discover what people want.

“They want a little bit of everything from pop music and EDM remixes. But there’s also a massive group who want circuit music. There’s also people who want to see drag queens, they want to see performances. You’re going to get a little mixture of everything throughout the night,” Meyer says. “It’s not going to be a set, sit-down drag show but you’re still going to get those drag performances that are going to pop up throughout the night. You’re going to be able to come early on and get more of the top 40s, EDM remix feel but as the night goes on it will be more circuit.”

Upcoming events include Avalon’s Halloween party on Saturday, Oct. 27 and numerous other events throughout November and December.

Although there will be varying music throughout each party and something new to expect at each event, Meyer hopes that every partygoer has the same feeling when they leave Soundcheck.

“I’m hoping that when they walk away they have a smile on their face because they danced their face off and they had one of the best nights that they’ve had in a long time,” he says. “I want everyone who goes there to feel safe and accepted and in a happy place, a happy space, and it’s gong to make them want to come back and do it the next week.”

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Bars & Parties

Disco Funk Brunch at Crazy Aunt Helen’s

Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese perform

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Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Drag queen Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese perform at the biweekly Disco Funk Brunch at the LGBT-owned Crazy Aunt Helen’s on Sunday. For future showtimes, go to crazyaunthelens.com. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

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Bars & Parties

Blade’s summer closing party set for Sept. 17 in Rehoboth

Benefits journalism scholarship

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(Washington Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

The Washington Blade’s 15-year tradition of hosting a summer kickoff party in Rehoboth Beach was disrupted due to COVID restrictions. In lieu of that May event, the Blade is hosting a summer closing party on Friday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at The Pines (56 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Del.). 

Tickets are $20, which includes two drinks and appetizers. The event benefits the Blade Foundation’s Steve Elkins Memorial Journalism Fellowship, a 12-week program in which an LGBTQ student journalist covers stories of interest to Delaware’s queer community each summer. 

All COVID safety protocols will be followed, including a requirement that attendees furnish proof of vaccination to gain entry. 

If you are unable to attend you can make a donation to the Blade Foundation at BladeFoundation.org. Sponsors of the event include Delmarva Power and The Pines.

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Bars & Parties

Rehoboth to close out summer with SunFest

Series of events to replace long-running Sundance due to pandemic

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This year’s Sundance in Rehoboth is renamed SunFest and will look different from this scene in 2019 due to the pandemic. (Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

SunFest will feature a week of live performances, dances, and a live auction, sponsored by non-profit LGBTQ+ center CAMP Rehoboth.

The weeklong festival runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5 and is a change from the annual SunDance that CAMP Rehoboth has sponsored since 1988. This transformation began last year when the event was forced to go digital due to the coronavirus and the in-person events scheduled this year are important, according to development director and co-coordinator of SunFest Anita Broccolino.

“We love that community feel and the in-person makes all the difference in the world for us. Not being able to do it last year just reminded everyone how important we all are to one another,” Broccolino said. “I think that bringing back these events this year is just huge for us and it will be extra celebratory as a result.”

The festival begins with a 5k race and online auction opening on Sunday. Monday night features a give-back event at Iron Hill Brewery while Tuesday’s agenda is still to be determined, said Broccolino. Diego’s will host a Studio 54 give-back dance party on Wednesday and Thursday is the Port 251 women’s give-back. 

Live performances featuring the Skivvies, Randy Harrison and Diane Huey are scheduled for Friday night and Jennifer Holiday will follow with a performance on Saturday night, both at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. The festival closes out Sunday with auction pick-ups and Fun in the Sand and Sun, according to the CAMP Rehoboth website.

This event is also important to the organization’s contributions to the community, said Broccolino.

“The essential services we provide for free to the community, which is a huge amount of health and wellness activities, as well as arts programming, a lot of youth programming and the community counts on us for those things. We never stopped during COVID, we made as much as we could virtual, but we took quite a hit not being able to raise those funds and awareness of the programs,” Broccolino said. “We invite the entire community to come celebrate with us and make it to Rehoboth Beach, and let’s make it joyful, and wonderful and make sure we’re living up to the standards of all the people who helped found CAMP Rehoboth and live up to their legacy and beyond.”

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