Trigger Meets Tatooine

Town welcomes cowboys, drag queens and sci-fi geeks for a little bit of country and a whole lot of comedy

Where have all the cowboys gone?

Would you believe, Paula Cole, to Town? In fact, this Saturday, Town welcomes cowboys, drag queens and geeks — oh, my!

“I’m hoping that people in the local community will realize that LGBT country dancers are alive and well,” says Cullen Ruff, a member of the DC Rawhides. After a couple years in the church hall at Dupont Circle’s Church of the Pilgrims, this country-western dance group christens the large second floor of Town Danceboutique as its new home, every other week starting this Saturday, April 19. It’ll also be the first Saturday since the closure of Remingtons, D.C.’s longstanding LGBT country-western venue that had fallen on hard times. “When Remingtons was drawing bigger crowds,” Ruff recalls fondly, “it was a popular place not only for the dancing, but for meeting people in a setting where you felt like you could talk to people. Very relaxed. You didn’t find a lot of attitude there.”

The DC Rawhides aim to continue that tradition at Town with a party dubbed Town & Country. The hoedown starts with dance lessons at 7 p.m., then runs through to 10:30 when the second floor transitions from mostly country music to Town’s regular EDM/club music and dancing that’s a bit more individual and freestyle.

“I think it will appeal to a broader range of people, even people who don’t think they like country music,” Ruff says of Town & Country. He notes that about a quarter of the music played will be pop/club hits, to accompany some of the choreographed line dances and even a few couples dances. “The thing about social dancing,” he says, “is that there’s much more of a camaraderie with this than your average disco or club-type dancing. You connect with people more.”

And those who don’t know how to do social dancing needn’t worry, even if they miss the hour-long lessons before each event. “We have people, we see ourselves as ‘dance angels,’” promises Ruff, “who want to make sure we go introduce ourselves to people who may be new and to help them practice their step until they’re comfortable doing this on their own.”

There’s plenty more, however, to top this Saturday at Town. Starting at 10:30 p.m., both floors will serve as a themed party inspired by Awesome-Con, the annual event at the Washington Convention Center that draws in science fiction, fantasy and comic lovers by the thousands. Town is calling this night devoted to cheeky geekdom “Star Whores: The Empire’s Got Back.”

“There are a few official after-parties during Awesome-Con at straight clubs,” says Town’s Ed Bailey. “But as far as I know, we’re the only gay place that’s even kind of recognizing that it’s going on.”

DJ Hector Fonseca will spin his usual electro/tribal/EDM music, which can be occasionally spooky and no doubt a bit loopy or out-there for some, while Kid Madonny will dress up the club in sci-fi-themed decor. The weekly first-floor drag show will find Lena Lett, Shiqueeta Lee and Ba’Naka leading the drag cast performing scary pop-culture spoofs as well as inevitably competing for the crown: “Biggest Star Whore of Them All!”

Town & Country is Saturday, April 19, with lessons starting at 7 p.m., then dancing until 10:30 p.m., when Star Whores takes over at Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th NW. Cover is $5 for the whole night including Town & Country, or $8 10 to 11 p.m., $12 after. 21 and older. Call 202-234-TOWN or visit towndc.com.

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

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