Metro Weekly

Partying for Pride: Every DC Pride party this weekend

A roundup of the many Pride-related party highlights on tap this weekend in D.C.

Want to start Pride weekend with a splash? Vida will allow just that, as its Yards location is hosting the first official Pride party of the weekend on Thursday, June 9, with a rooftop pool party at 7 p.m. featuring DJ Shea Van Horn and special guests Michael Sam, Nick Ayler and DNA cover model Bo Roberts.

For those who prefer to stay dry, there are plenty more traditional nightlife options to start the big weekend on Thursday, from a Latino Pride party at Town Danceboutique featuring Yara Sofia — the first of many RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants to appear this weekend — to Cobalt‘s weekly amateur Best Body Contest hosted by Kristina Kelly and BaNaka, to Trade‘s “My 2 Dads…and Mother, Too,” a free dance party featuring a “family” of local DJs — Bil Todd, Morgan Tepper and Tommy Cornelis.

Blast Off! Official Capital Pride Opening Party at Dock 5 Union Market -- Photo: Ward Morrison

Blast Off! Official Capital Pride Opening Party at Dock 5 Union Market — Photo: Ward Morrison

Friday starts with a dash — the 4th Annual DC Front Runners Pride Run 5K at 7 p.m. at Congressional Cemetery, ending with a Finish Line Party at JR.’s to benefit SMYAL. You just might have to run if you want to make it to DC Bear Crue‘s happy hour at Town this week: The 8:30 p.m. cutoff is an hour earlier than usual so that the downstairs can be de-bearded in time for a huge Friday Drag Show, featuring Kim Chi of RuPaul’s Drag Race as well as the Ladies of Town. DJs Wess and BacK2bACk will pump the jams for dancing afterwards.

Chi Chi DeVayne and Thorny Thor — two more Drag Race participants — appear at Friday’s official Pride Opening Party at Dock 5 at Union Market, along with club singer Pepper Mashay, Team Peaches, Pussy Noir, “the Hairy Otter Go-Go Squad” and DJs Nick Ayler, Grind and Lisa Moody. But wait, there’s more: Shi-Queeta Lee will once again lead a “Drag Salute to the Divas” at the Howard Theatre. There’s more drag in store at Ziegfeld’s, whose Friday Drag Show host is original Drag Race contestant Tatiyanna Voche.

Other Friday highlights include Green Lantern‘s Otter Crossing, with indie electro-pop recording artist Bright Light Bright Light returning to serve as the monthly party’s main DJ. Meanwhile, the Black Cat hosts a Booty Rex Pride Party.

The next day Cobalt offers free climate-controlled refuge before, during and after the parade beginning at 3 p.m. with DJ Ryan Doubleyou. Number Nine also offers potential respite from the elements, broadcasting a live feed of the parade on its many screens starting at 4:30 p.m., thereby allowing patrons to take advantage of its daily 2-for-1 Happy Hour specials. DJ Khelan Bhatia will spin at Trade at 5:30 p.m., during a Huge Happy Hour with XL cocktails and $4 beer and wine specials lasting until DJs Aaron Riggins and Kris Sutton arrive at 10 p.m. And, of course, JR.’s will host its annual, massive beer garden on the side street alongside the bar. It’s virtually a parade tradition at this point.

Saturday, June 11, is the official night to get up and dance. For the ladies, there’s Fuse at the Howard Theatre, featuring live performers and DJs Jacq Jill, Jai Syncere and Tezrah. Meanwhile, the DC Eagle is a mere Uber-ride away for dancing men, with its monthly blowout, Distrkt C. DJs Mark DeMarko and Manny Lehman will stir up a leather-fetish frenzy crowd, which will also enjoy dancing porn stars and a performance by Pretty Poison singer Jade Starling, known for the 1987 pop hit “Catch Me (I’m Falling).”

Saturday is the official Gay Latin Pride Party, hosted by Alondra Sanchez and Juanita Dior and featuring DJ Yul, at the Georgia Avenue club Nocha Ardiente. Meanwhile, Ella Fitzgerald hosts seven returning Miss Ziegfeld’s to the Saturday drag show. As per tradition, Town has the top two finishers from the most recent season of Drag Race, Bob the Drag Queen and Naomi Smalls, for its “Massive Pride Drag Show and Dance Party” featuring music by DJ Ed Bailey and Wess all night. A block away at the 9:30 Club, Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer fire up their long-running dance-pop party, Mixtape. The Black Cat also becomes an LGBT nightclub on Pride Saturday, hosting the return of Furball, where progressive house DJ Tedd Patterson will help work the hirsute crowd into a particularly frisky lather. Speaking of frisky, Green Lantern offers a JOX underwear party featuring sexy tribal sounds of DJ David Merrill. Not to be outdone, U Street Music Hall will also paint the night rainbow, offering a Pride party with music by Gay Marvine, the sobriquet of underground Detroit veteran DJ Chuck Hampton, plus local queer underground DJ sensations Lisa Frank and gay collective NeedlExchange.

Flash has three back-to-back events. The first is a fundraiser, starting at 6 p.m., for community organization HIPS and featuring music by DJs Dean Sullivan and Keenan Orr. The evening’s peak-hour event is the third anniversary of Motel Flash featuring New York DJ Honey Dijon, Detroit’s K-Hand and D.C.’s Sean Morris. The Shaw venue will keep the grooves going past dawn with the official Afterhours party, Smoke and Mirrors at 3:30 a.m., featuring Mexican DJ Alex Acosta and X Gonzalez.

Sunday night kicks off with a free, hour-long Sunset Dance Party at 8:30 p.m., immediately after Meghan Trainor’s headlining performance on Pride’s Pennsylvania Avenue mainstage. Celebrity DJ Tracy Young will work her musical magic. It’s followed by Mother of Dragons, the official closing party at Cobalt, featuring DJs Power Infiniti and MadScience. Sunday also offers a special, second Distrkt C party at the DC Eagle, this one with DJs Tony Moran and Mike Reimer, plus performances by club singer Jason Walker and more dancing porn stars.

For those who’d like to oogle fully nude male dancers, the Men of Secrets will be naked and happy to see you every night of the weekend. DJ Steve Henderson spins Friday and Saturday nights and DJ Tim’e, Sunday. You can also see skin at Jim Graham’s Rock Hard DC on Georgia Avenue NW. Both Thursday and Sunday nights feature more than 10 “all nude, all male” dancers on three stages. And just as you could launch your weekend Thursday at the Green Lantern by doffing your shirt to drink free, you could also end the weekend there by doffing your pants for the free Strap’d underwear after-party starting at 10 p.m. Whatever you do, just be sure you don’t expose too much of your pride.

For more details on these and other weekend events, visit as well as

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.