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3 Reasons Why We Can’t Wait For Sawasdee DC Thai Festival

This Independence Day weekend, you’ll be happy you stayed in town.



Sawasdee DC brings an array of music, food, dance, performers, and more to the National Mall to celebrate Thai and U.S. culture. (Graphic provided by the Thai Embassy.)

On Sunday, July 2, the Thai Embassy is hosting Sawasdee DC on the National Mall to celebrate 190 years of diplomatic relations between Thailand and the United States. With a star-studded line-up of performers, delicious food vendors, and ample activities to enjoy, it’s sure to be a festival unlike any other.

Sawasdee DC will take place from 10 am to 6 pm, on 3rd/4th Street of the National Mall. It features Thai pop performers, New Orleans Jazz music, Thai massage, traditional food and dance, a Muay Thai demonstration, and more.

Here are three reasons we are especially excited for Sawasdee DC!

4mix, Thailand’s first LGBTQ+ pop group, will take to the stage at Sawasdee DC.(Photo provided by 411 Records.)

1. Dance to Thai pop’s first LGBTQ+ group among a star-studded musical lineup Thailand’s first LGBTQ+ pop group, 4mix, will take to the stage for their first performance in Washington, DC.

Their upbeat music, affirming lyrics, and gender non-conformity have made 4mix explosively popular among fans. Since their debut in May, 2021, the band has taken the music world by storm, with a fanbase that stretches from Thailand, to Latin America, and beyond.

4Mix is just one of many talented performers on the Sawasdee DC lineup. The Thai pop singer Ally will make her Washington, DC debut, too, and Wendell Brunious will lead the New Orleans Quintet in a performance to honor the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej was a lover of jazz music and composed dozens of jazz songs himself. Brunious, who once performed for King Bhumibol Adulyadej, will play a selection of songs written by the late king. For this reason, Brunious’ performance at Sawasdee DC will be especially meaningful.

Thailand’s most renowned kickboxer, Buakaw Banchamek, will perform a Muay Thai demonstration as part of Sawasdee DC. (Photo provided by C.P. Group.)

2. Pick up some Muay Thai tips from Thailand’s most famous kickboxer Musicians won’t be the only stars to grace the Sawasdee DC stage.

Buakaw Banchamek is joining the lineup of performers for a Muay Thai demonstration in his first appearance in Washington, DC.

Banchamek has earned global renown for his championship-winning Muay Thai, and is considered one of the best kickboxers in Thailand’s history. With a career spanning more than 290 wins and several championship titles, Banchamek is known for his work ethic and credited with Muay Thai’s recent growth in global popularity.

The Thai Embassy is thrilled to welcome this kickboxing legend to the District for the first time!

A delicious range of traditional Thai dishes will be available to try at Sawasdee DC. (Photos provided by the Thai Embassy.)

3. Celebrate many different aspects of Thai culture

Food, traditional dance, Thai massages — you name it! Sawasdee DC will feature a wide range of entertainers, vendors and activities that celebrate Thai culture.

Throughout the performances, an array of delicious food vendors will prepare a wide variety of traditional Thai dishes for attendees to enjoy as they watch traditional Thai dancers and other performing artists. Afterward, explore the broad range of activities at Sawasdee DC, including a Thai massage.

Want to learn more about the festival? Visit for a closer look at the fun that awaits at Sawasdee DC. We can’t wait to see you there!



PHOTOS: Miss Gay D.C.

Courtney Kelly crowned winner of annual drag competition



Courtney Kelly is crowned Miss Gay D.C. 2023 at The Lodge on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The 2023 Miss Gay D.C. competition was held at The Lodge in Boonsboro, Md. on Saturday, Dec. 2. Six contestants vied for the crown, and Courtney Kelly was crowned the winner.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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More queer books we love

Bellies: A Novel, Time Out and more for your gift list



(Book cover images courtesy of the publishers)

For the person on your gift list who’d love a boy-meets-boy story, wrap up “Bellies: A Novel” by Nicola Dinan (Hanover Square Press), the tale of a playwright and the man who loves him wholly, until a transition threatens to change everything.

If there’s a romantic on your list, then you’re in luck: finding a gift is easy when you wrap up “10 Things That never Happened” by Alexis Hall (Sourcebooks), the story of Sam, whose job is OK, and his boss, Jonathan, who should have never hired Sam. Too late now, except for the romance. Wrap it up with “Time Out” by Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner with Carlyn Greenwald (Simon & Schuster), the story of a basketball player who’s newly out of the closet, and a politically minded boy who could easily get his vote.

For the person on your list who likes to read quick, short articles, wrap up “Inverse Cowgirl: A Memoir” by Alicia Roth Weigel (HarperOne). It’s a collection of essays on life as an intersex person, and the necessity for advocating for others who are, too.

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Our favorite books for holiday gifts

Hitchcock, Britney, Barbra, and more!



(Book cover image courtesy of G.P. Putnam's Sons)

When it gets dark early, it’s cold outside and you want to spice up your life, what’s more intriguing than a book? Here are some holiday gift ideas for book lovers of all ages.

Who isn’t fascinated by the dark, twisty, sometimes, mordantly witty, movies of Alfred Hitchcock, or by Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedren, Ingrid Bergman and the other actresses in his films? Hitchcock’s Blondes: The Unforgettable Women Behind the Legendary Director’s Dark Obsession by Laurence Leamer, author of “Capote’s Women,” is an engrossing story not only of Hitchcock, but of the iconic “blondes” he cast in some of his most beloved movies from “39 Steps” to “Rear Window” to “Vertigo” to “Psycho.” $29. G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Reading about Hitchcock, no matter how intriguing the book, is never as good as watching his films. Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection (Blu-ray $39.96. DVD: $32.40) features “Rear Window,” “North by Northwest,” “Psycho” and “The Birds.”

Corona/Crown,” by D.C.-based queer poet Kim Roberts in collaboration with photographer Robert Revere, is a fab present for lovers of photography, museums, and poetry. Revere and Roberts were deeply affected by the closure of museums during the COVID pandemic. In this lovely chapbook, they create a new “museum” of their own. “This is what I learned when the pandemic struck,” Roberts writes, “when I couldn’t stop thinking about the artwork in all the museums, bereft of human eyes.” $21.25 WordTech Editions

Few things are as scary and/or captivating as a good ghost story. The Night Side of the River,” by acclaimed lesbian writer Jeanette Winterson, author of “Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?” and “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit,” is a provocative and engrossing collection of ghost stories. These deliciously chilling stories feature spirits, avatars, a haunted estate, AI and, pun intended, lively meetings between the living and the dead. $27. Grove.

Blackouts,” a novel by queer writer Justin Torres that received this year’s National Book Award for fiction, is a breathtaking book about storytelling, queer history, love, art, and erasure. A perfect gift for aficionados of characters that become etched into your DNA. $30. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

The Woman in Me,” the memoir by Britney Spears will be devoured by queers of all ages – from tweens to elders. Much of Spears’s story is known – from her youth in Louisiana to her rapid rise to fame to her conservatorship (when her father controlled her life). Yet the devil, as the saying goes, is in the details. In this riveting memoir, Spears reveals the horrifying and exhilarating aspects of her life: from how her father controlled what she ate and when she took a bath to the restrictions put on her ability to see her sons to her love of singing, dancing, and creating music. Spears writes of the queer community’s “unconditional” love and support for her.  $32.99. Gallery.

Few memoirs have been more eagerly anticipated than Barbra Streisand’s My Name Is Barbra.” In its nearly 1,000 pages, EGOT-winning (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony), divine, queer icon Streisand, 81, tells seemingly everything about her life. She quarreled with Larry Kramer over filming “The Normal Heart.” It didn’t work out: Streisand thought mainstream audiences would be turned off by explicit sex scenes. Marlon Brando and Streisand were good friends, she loves Brazilian coffee ice cream and her mother was a horror show. Contrary to how some lesser mortals see her, she doesn’t see herself as a diva. The print version of “My Name is Barbra” is fab. The audio version, a 48-hour listen, which Streisand narrates, is even better. $47. Viking. $45 on Audible.

Chasing Rembrandt,” by Richard Stevenson is a terrific gift for mystery lovers. Richard Stevenson was the pseudonym for Richard Lipez, the out queer author, who wrote witty, engaging mysteries featuring the openly gay detective Donald Strachey. Sadly, Stevenson died in 2022. But, “Chasing Rembrandt,” a novel featuring Strachey and his romantic partner Timmy, was published this year. The idea for the story was sparked by a real-life incident when paintings were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. “Robbers wreak havoc, smashing the glass covers protecting masterpieces and slicing paintings out of their frames,” Stevenson writes at the beginning of this entertaining story, “They make off with thirteen works, including three Rembrandts and a Vermeer, worth more than half a billion dollars and beloved in the world of art. It is arguably the greatest property theft in human history.”

With the repartee of Nick and Nora and the grit of Philip Marlowe, Strachey works to solve this mystery. $16.95. ReQueered Tales.

Some books never get old. “The Wild Things,” the beloved children’s picture book written and illustrated by acclaimed gay writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, was published in 1963. Sixty years later, the Caldecott Medal-winning classic is still loved by three to five-year-olds, their parents, siblings, aunts, and uncles. A new digital audio version of “Where the Wild Things Are,” narrated by Michelle Obama, was released this fall. Who can resist the Wild Things, when they plead: “Oh, please don’t go–we’ll eat you up–We love you so!”? Widely available in hard cover, paperback and e-book format. Audio: $5.50.

What’s more fun than playing a festive album while you’re reading during the holidays? Deck the halls! This year, queer icon Cher has released “Christmas,” her first holiday album. Highlights of the album include: Cher singing with Cyndi Lauper on “Put A Little Holiday In Your Heart,” Stevie Wonder on “What Christmas Means to Me” and Darlene Love on “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)” and the rapper Tyga on “Drop Top Sleigh Ride.” The perfect gift for Cher aficionados.

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