Big Bite of Beefcake

Chris Reed tools his popular ''Beefcake'' party at Green Lantern into one where you actually meet the meat

You don’t have to be beefy to go to ”Beefcake,” the party that Chris Reed throws once a month at the Green Lantern. In fact, you don’t even have to be beefy to win the party’s Mister Beefcake contest, decided by audience vote and worth a minimum prize of $100.

”You don’t necessarily have to be a big beefy guy,” Reed says. ”It’s really all about how you work the crowd. One time, two thin guys won. They competed together, and they really just put on a show.”

Of course, it helps if you are beefy — or, at the very least, like beefy guys. ”Beefcake is a party mostly for the bear/cub/chub crowd and their admirers,” says Reed, who lives in New York City and started the party a year ago at Rockbar up there. At the top of 2013 Green Lantern became the first outpost outside New York for the party, which also now serves up beef monthly at the Bike Stop in Philadelphia, with more cities to come.

Reed strives to make his party more than just one where patrons merely gawk at bigger guys, and one where you actually meet the meat. ”A lot of times you go to parties and you have … people staying in their own little groups,” he says. ”[At Beefcake] I try to be the connector, to introduce people to different people, and go around and say hi, and really act as a host.”

In addition to a friendly atmosphere, Reed also makes sure Beefcake offers eye candy — or eye meat, as it were — by hiring both local and New York-based beefy guys to serve as go-go dancers. ”To me, having go-go dancers is always an element of a good party.” Reed also credits the party’s success to its DJ, Kurt Jo. ”He just has these crazy, sick mixes that people love to hear.”

Reed, who grew up in Newark, N.J., started throwing parties when he was stationed with the military in Japan. He also DJ’ed back then, both at clubs throughout Asia and on military radio. These days, in addition to party promotion he works as an actor, mostly playing bit roles on TV and film, everything from NBC’s Law and Order and CBS’s Blue Bloods to the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie — and usually all in uniform. ”People say I have a cop look, so I play a cop on a lot of shows.” Sometimes, he plays one at Beefcake.

Says Reed: ”People love guys in uniform, so sometimes I show up with my cop uniform on.”

Beefcake happens third Saturdays, including Saturday, Aug. 17, starting at 10 p.m., at Green Lantern, 1335 Green Court NW. Tickets are $5. Visit greenlanterndc.com or facebook.com/beefcakeparty.

Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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