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Calendar: Sept. 20-26

Parties, shows and events in the week to come



Jonathan Van Ness, gay news, Washington Blade
‘Queer Eye’s’ Jonathan Van Ness talks about his new memoir, ‘Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love’ on Sept. 26. (Photo by Dexter Brown)

Friday, Sept. 20

The REACH Opening Festival starts today from 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (2700 F St., N.W.). The event includes 16 days and nights of free performances and activities celebrating the new expansion of the REACH campus. These innovative indoor and outdoor spaces put the audience at the center of the art. Tickets and information available at

The historic Woodrow Wilson House museum (2340 S. St., N.W.) presents its Vintage Garden Soirée tonight from 6-9 p.m. Step back in time and experience the excitement of the 1920s while dancing under the stars to live jazz music by the Foggy Bottom Whomp Stompers. Toast the upcoming anniversary of Women’s Suffrage with a vintage cocktail. Tickets start at $40. Come early for the VIP reception to meet the curator and see rare Suffrage artifacts. Visit for tickets and information. 

Fall isn’t here yet. Join host DJ Matt Bailer at the Hot Gurl Summer Queer Dance Party starting at 10 p.m. tonight in the Satellite Room (2047 9th St., N.W.). Tickets are $5 for this 21-and-up event. Doors open at 10, show starts at midnight and dancing fills the night until 3 a.m. Dee Dee Deleon, Washington Heights and Venus Fastrada also host. For tickets and information, visit

Saturday, Sept. 21

The Maryland Trans Resilience Conference is today from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Lord Baltimore Hotel (20 West Baltimore St., Baltimore). The conference includes workshops, panel discussions, wellness, art, resource tables and more all within a trans-affirming environment. Admission is free but registration is encouraged at

“Coat of Many Colors: The Music of Dolly Parton” hosted by The American Pops Orchestra is tonight from 8-9:30 p.m. at Arena Stage (1101 6th St., N.W.). Tickets start at $35 for this one-night only show. Join the American Pops for a season opener featuring the music of an iconic, country legend featuring the talents of Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Joan Osborne, Nova Payton of “Dreamgirls,” Garrett Clayton of King Cobra and “Hairspray Live” and many more. Visit for tickets and information. 

Defending our Transgender Brothers and Sisters in Arms presented by Veterans Against Hate is tonight from 4-6:30 p.m. at the Cloyd Heck Marvin Center Amphitheater (800 21st St., N.W.). Opening statement will begin at 4 p.m. followed by a panel discussion at 4:30, a reception at 6 and a screening of the documentary “TransMilitary” at 6:30. Learn more about this free event at and

The D.C. Shorts International Film Festival opening weekend city view party is tonight from 7-9 p.m. at the Cambria Hotel Washington, D.C. Convention Center (899 O St., N.W.). Tickets are $25. Celebrate the festival’s opening weekend with cocktails, appetizers and dancing to DJ MIM beneath the stars. Tickets and information available at

Sunday, Sept. 22

The Sunday Dinner Drag Show is tonight and every Sunday at Shaw’s Tavern (520 Florida Ave., N.W.) starting at 8 p.m. Join drag queen Kristina Kelly and her ladies of illusion along with dinner and a side of laughs. Free tickets are available on, but attendees must still make a reservation by emailing [email protected]

QT Fusion Dance: Blues Night is tonight from 6-9:30 p.m. at the Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.). The event features LGBTQ blues dance lessons taught by Lucy and Clyde. Lucy McVeigh is a partner dancer with 10 years experience specializing in lindy hop and blues, while Clyde is a seasoned instructor who is the only blues dancer in D.C. to compete at the all-star level in national competitions. Lessons are $10, $5 via Facebook and free in exchange for volunteering. For more information, visit or Facebook events. 

Monday, Sept. 23

Rayceen’s Reading Room is tonight from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Park Public Library (3310 Connecticut Ave., N.W.). Team Rayceen kick off the D.C. public library’s banned books week with an evening of entertainment filled with author talks, poetry readings, dramatic monologues and more all designed to highlight self-expression, cultural diversity and freedom of speech. Visit to find out more about this and other banned book week events. 

Tuesday, Sept. 24

The “Dracula” season three watch party is tonight and every Tuesday at 9 p.m. at the D.C. Eagle (3701 Benning Rd., N.E.). Watch the newest episode of “Dracula” with local host Crystal Edge. Following the screening will be a drag show featuring a rotating list of guest performers. There is no cover for this 18-and-up event and drinks are two for one all night, every Tuesday. For more information visit

Wednesday, Sept. 25

Night Out for Trevor hosted by The Trevor Project is tonight from 6-9 p.m. at Pitchers D.C. (2317 18th St., N.W.). Ticket sales support the project’s youth suicide prevention services. Come enjoy an open bar sponsored by Three Olives Vodka, meet local and national Trevor representatives and learn about ways you can support LGBTQ youth. For tickets and information, visit

The 14th Hispanic LGBTQ Heritage Awards hosted by the Latino GLBT history project are tonight from 6-9 p.m. at the Human Rights Campaign (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.). Hispanic heritage month is a time for the community to come together and recognize exceptional individuals who have celebrated and promoted the Latinx experience. Food and drink will be provided. Admission is free but donations are accepted at the door. Visit for more information. 

The Lambda Bridge Club meets 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E., across from the Marine Barracks) for duplicate bridge. No reservations are needed and newcomers are welcome. Phone 202-841-0279 if you need a partner.

Thursday, Sept. 26

“Queer Eye’s” Jonathan Van Ness talks about his new memoir, “Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love” tonight starting at 7:30 p.m. at Sixth & I (600 I St., N.W.). Van Ness moves from the grooming and self-care tips that launched him to stardom on the landmark make-over series to details about his life today. For more information, visit

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Out & About

Must-attend events in D.C. this fall

Mix of in-person and virtual exhibits, brunches, and more



fall LGBT virtual events, Washington Blade
SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2018 Fall Brunch. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Last year, the pandemic forced many event planners to cancel their projects or move everything entirely online. However, this year, with the number of vaccinated people increasing and the mask mandate in place, events are slowly returning to the in-person format. Check out the list below for a good mix of both in-person and virtual events to watch out for this fall:

Smithsonian Associates will be hosting “Palestinian Embroidery 101: The Tatreez Sampler Series” on Friday, Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. This online event teaches the art of Palestinian embroidery including the basic Palestinian cross-stitch and how to create a tatreez sampler, using Aida cloth fabric. The class will be taught by Wafa Ghnaim who began her training in embroidery with her mother at age 2. Visit the Smithsonian’s website for more information.

Join Capital Pride Alliance virtually to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on Monday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. This event will focus on “[supporting] the continuous fight for full inclusion for transgender and intersex servicemembers.” Keynote speakers include former Rep. Patrick J. Murphy, and Jennifer Dane, Air Force veteran and Executive Director of the Modern Military Association of America. Guests will get to hear extraordinary stories from service members of all branches and learn more about the fight for the codification of transgender military service and the effort to lift the ban on service for intersex individuals and folks living with HIV. For more information, visit Capital Pride Alliance’s website.

The 2021 LGBTQ Intergenerational Symposium will be on Thursday, Sept. 23. This is a free two-day virtual event sponsored by the DC Department of Aging and Community Living, Capitol Hill Village, and the DC Villages and is open to LGBTQ individuals and allies of all ages. There will also be a virtual kickoff for attendees, speakers, and organizations that are involved to get to know each other. Each day will include two health and wellness sessions, one panel, and breakout session.

The Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics will host New Vistas in Astronomy: Imaging a Black Hole on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. This event will celebrate the 51st year of the New Vistas in Astronomy lecture series at Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO). There will be speakers from across the many scientific divisions of the Center for Astrophysics Harvard & Smithsonian led by founding director of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Shep Doeleman. 

DC Front Runners will host its 40th anniversary party on Saturday, Sept. 25 at Jack Rose Dining Saloon at 3 p.m. This event will be held outside on the large roof deck. Tickets for this event are $35 and cover two drinks, passed appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. You are welcome to open a tab at the bar after your drink tickets have been used. Drink tickets for paid attendees will be available starting mid-September at the runs, and also available day of the event by contacting Josh Yankovic. More information about this event is available on DC Front Runners’ website.

All Things Go and the Capital Pride Alliance are joining forces to launch “Club Pride”, a third stage and dance party at the All Things Go Music Festival on Saturday, Oct. 16. This all-day event will feature special intimate artist performances, DJ sets, special guests and more throughout the day. Access to Club Pride is included with all festival tickets. Club Pride is located at Merriweather Post Pavilion’s 9:32 Stage. For more information, visit Capital Pride Alliance’s website.

Capital Pride Alliance will host the first ever “Colorful Fest” that will include a block party and street fair on Sunday, Oct. 17. The Street Fair will feature small independent businesses, community groups, artisans, and food along 15th Street. The Block Party will include entertainment, an As You Are Bar pop-up, and dancing throughout the day for guests 21 and over. For more details, visit Capital Pride Alliance’s website.

Smithsonian Associates presents “The Philosophical Thought of Thomas Aquinas” on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. This event will be hosted online and Aquinas scholar Gregory T. Doolan will explore Aquinas’s philosophical thought. Thomas Aquinas’s work presents one of Western civilization’s most comprehensive philosophical systems. Although a theologian by profession, this man of faith dedicated much of his vast writings to discerning what the human mind can learn independently of faith. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s website. 

“SMYAL’s Annual Fall Brunch” will be on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 10:30 a.m. at the Marriott Marquis. This event ​​includes a cocktail reception featuring a silent auction, three-course brunch, and a chance to hear from some of the LGBTQ community’s most inspiring leaders. This event will bring together LGBTQ individuals and allies, friends, and families in support of the inspirational youth SMYAL works with every day. For more information, visit SMYAL’s website.

DC Area Transmasculine Society (DCATS) will host “Transmasculine and Nonbinary Social Hour on Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at Red Bear Brewing Company. At this social hour, DCATS will be accepting binder donations and will also give out needles to those who are in need. All partners and friends are required to be accompanied by a transmasculine individual. The event is reservation-only, and you can RSVP online on Eventbrite. 

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Arts & Entertainment

Lil Nas X heads up new role at Taco Bell

The 22-year-old musical artist, now riding the success of two global No. 1 hits was an hourly wage earner as part of a Taco Bell team in 2017



Lil Nas X (Screenshot courtesy of Taco Bell)

The iconic American fast-food chain serving Mexican-inspired fare such as tacos, quesadillas and nachos has a new pitchman, former Taco Bell employee and now Grammy award winning rapper & singer-songwriter Lil Nas X, (real name Montero Lamar Hill).

In an announcement Monday, Mark King, CEO of Taco Bell commented that “Lil Nas X knows the job, the experience and the culture Taco Bell creates for its fans – including its people,” King added; ““This unique partnership will deliver on more than just marketing, allowing us to tap into the genius of Lil Nas X to inspire our team members and align with our commitment to unlocking opportunities for young people.”

As a cultural icon with an insider’s perspective on the Taco Bell team member experience, Lil Nas X has been appointed the title of ‘Chief Impact Officer,’ a newly created role that will allow him to collaborate on the brand experience from the inside out.

The 22-year-old musical artist, who catapulted to fame and now is riding the success of two global No. 1 hits in “Old Town Road” and “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” was an hourly wage earner as part of the Taco Bell team at an Atlanta-area restaurant in 2017.

Two years later as a successful up and coming musical artist, on June 30, 2019, the last day of Pride Month, he came out publicly as gay tweeting: “some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more. but before this month ends i want y’all to listen closely to c7osure. 🌈🤩✨”

(Courtesy of Taco Bell)

In today’s announcement the company acknowledged his ascendency to artistic celebrity as well as his sexual orientation.

Back in 2017, Lil Nas X laid down roots working at an Atlanta-area Taco Bell as a team member and less than five years later he’s ascended to stardom by defying conventions, charting his own course and remaining authentically true to himself – all things that Taco Bell stands for in its own way.”

As part of his new role, Lil Nas X will support the Taco Bell Foundation’s mission and help announce awards to recipients of the Live Más scholarship to enable them to pursue their creative passions. The Taco Bell Foundation breaks down barriers to educate and inspire the next generation of America’s leaders.

Since 1992, the Taco Bell Foundation has reached more than 4 million young people across the country and has awarded more than $110 million in Live Más Scholarships and grants to youth-serving nonprofit organizations focused on education and career readiness.

The artist’s “expertise in understanding social media and youth culture alongside his skills in creating great music makes this partnership with Taco Bell exciting, brave and one of the most innovative campaigns I’ve had the pleasure of creating,” said Jennifer Frommer, senior vp brand partnerships & commercial sync at Columbia Records.

As one of his first initiatives, Lil Nas X will make a cameo in Taco Bell’s breakfast campaign, which kicks off today, as the brand brings its breakfast offerings back to approximately 90% of restaurants nationwide by mid-September.

According to music industry trade magazine Billboard, in June, the rapper revealed his highly anticipated first full-length album would be “coming soon,” though a release date has not been announced.

Lil Nas X x Taco Bell:

From the press release:

As a brand known for its late night Fourth Meal, Taco Bell is celebrating fans who begin craving and planning for their morning meal in the evening to remind them that Taco Bell breakfast awaits come morning.

Breakfast, In Bedtime Stories – Toasted Breakfast Burritos (Commercial) |Taco Bell:

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Music & Concerts

Erasure’s ‘Neon Tour’ coming to The Anthem

Features out lead Andy Bell



Erasure (Photo courtesy of The Anthem)

Erasure will play The Anthem on Thursday, Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The band features lead singer Andy Bell who is openly LGBTQ and HIV positive.

Tickets cost between $69.50 and $89.50. Super Excellent Seats are non-transferable. The ID of the original purchaser must be presented to pick up the tickets, and also, Super Excellent Seats will be made available for will call pick up no earlier than 30 minutes prior to doors. 

For more information, visit The Anthem’s website.

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