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”They were very impressed with the first party,” says Kurt Graves. ”They were satisfied with the attendance, the sales. They’re all aboard.”
Since it opened last year, the storied Howard Theatre has hosted a couple parties produced by outside promoters geared toward the LGBT community. But this past February the gorgeously refurbished and nearly always booked venue offered its own TempTation, organized by Graves, who goes by the name DJ TWiN. (Obviously he has a little thing for offbeat capitalization.)
The second TempTation is now set for next Friday, May 31, with a theme of ”Jockz vs. Nerdz.” ”We’re encouraging people to either dress up as a jock or a nerd, or a mixture of both,” says DJ TWiN, who will spin high-energy tunes, both Top 40 and club or house hits. His goal with the party is to get people involved in the theme. ”I think we need something different for D.C. instead of the same old, same old, going there and [just] dance,” he says. ”I want people to actually be a part of the party.”
The 29-year-old Graves, who grew up in Mississippi across the state line from New Orleans, got inspired to DJ when he lived in London a few years ago as a support staffer for the U.S. State Department. A friend there encouraged him to learn how to DJ, and soon enough he was a resident DJ at a straight club. When the State Department moved him back to D.C. he started spinning at Nellie’s, where he’s now the resident DJ every other Saturday night.
As you might have guessed given his DJ name, Graves has an identical twin brother. Both got their undergraduate degrees at Howard University. ”People used to always call me ‘Twin’ because they could never tell us apart,” he says. Graves’s brother, now married with kids and living in Houston, was the first to start DJ’ing, when they were just teenagers. But he’s more on the R&B/rap tip, not electronic/house.
DJ TWiN, who will serve as the closing DJ at the Capital Pride Festival next month, is eyeing late July or early August for the next TempTation at Howard. ”I don’t want the party every month,” he says. ”I want it to be something that people can get excited about [and] look forward to. I don’t want it to get old.”
The next TempTation is Friday, May 31, at 11 p.m., at the Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. Tickets are $10. Call 202-588-5595 or visit thehowardtheatre.com.