Metro Weekly

Nightlife Highlights: Avalon Saturdays, CTRL: QWERTY, Ottermatic and more!

Our picks of the best LGBTQ nightlife in D.C. this week!

Avalon Saturdays — Photo: Ward Morrison/file photo


Last fall, in the wake of Town’s closure, Dougie Meyers launched a weekly Saturday night LGBTQ party. Formerly the general manager of Town, Meyers even managed to secure another one of D.C.’s newest generation of well-designed and well-revered nightclubs for the peak-night occasion. So far, most editions of Avalon Saturdays at downtown’s Soundcheck have been slight variations on the tried-and-true theme of showcasing talent from nightlife’s usual suspects. And to an extent, that holds true this Saturday, Jan. 26, when part of the focus is on the spinning star — DJ Kris Sutton — and the slaying queens Lena Lett, Mama Angelina, Ba’Naka, and Brooklyn, who will all play party co-hosts alongside male dancer Eddie Danger. Beyond that, the party wildly departs from the script, with the promise of “Live Acts All Night” in carnival-like fashion. Step right up and see clowns, contortionists, even an electronic violinist! And what’s a gay party without a self-proclaimed sword swallower and snake charmer? You can also expect to witness a Rubber Boy and a Balloon Artist. And when was the last time you were able to devour cotton candy, popcorn, and a hotdog while out clubbing? Life is a carnival at this party, co-presented by This Free Life and starting at 10 p.m. Soundcheck, 1420 K St. NW. Tickets are $15, or $20 for VIP. Call 202-789-5429 or visit


Late last summer, after four years at Town, organizers of the monthly queer dance party CTRL launched a more intimate edition at Trade incorporating favorite themes and new twists. In addition to the return of resident DJs Adam Koussari-Amin, Dvonne, and Jeff Prior — who spin “queerstep” and other harder pop/EDM-focused tunes than what’s heard at the average gay party — CTRL: QWERTY hosts queer drag shows, queer giveaways, “and as much dancing as we can fit inside.” The first party of 2019 puts an emphasis on ball culture by incorporating the strutting sounds of vogue house and flamboyant disco into the mix and as the soundtrack to a special performance by local drag act LaBellela Ziah aka Miss LaBella Mafia. Saturday, Jan. 26, starting at 10 p.m. Trade is at 1410 14th St. NW. No cover; must be 21 or older. Call 202-986-1094 or visit


XX+ Crostino, the designated “queer womxn’s lounge/bar” on the second floor of Shaw’s Al Crostino restaurant, presents a Caribbean-centered party whose name comes from an expression meaning “to have a good time” and “to dance wildly.” And given the name, it’s quite likely DJ Elle Groove will play “Getting on Bad,” a 2015 hit throughout the Caribbean by Trinidadian artist Machel Montano. Montano is one of the biggest names in soca, the funky tropical dance genre that merges African/calypso music with East Indian rhythms. You certainly know at least one signature soca song that Groove might also factor into the setlist: “Who Let The Dogs Out?,” the Baha Men dance ditty that was ubiquitous everywhere at the turn of the millennium. But Get On Bad! isn’t just limited to soca, as it also celebrates other uptempo hits — both “old and new school” — from the tropical-rooted but more globally popular genres of reggae, dancehall, and Afrobeat. The party is geared to attract, per promoter AJ Anderson, “Ladies who LOVVEEE ladies in the DMV” — though only those aged 21 and over. Friday, Jan. 25, starting at 10 p.m. XX+ Crostino is at 1926 9th St. NW. No cover. Call 202-797-0523 or visit


Friday sees the debut of an event hyped not just as a new party, but “a whole new type of dance party at Green Lantern,” one “where the dance floor is electrified and otters shoot lasers out of their eyes.” Talk about a stunning feat — one you have to see to believe, I guess. Puffed-up patter aside, Ottermatic is shaping up to be a somewhat different critter than Otter Crossing, the wildly popular first-Friday party named after a type of hirsute gay men that Otter Den promoter David Brown produced at Green Lantern until 2017. With Ottermatic, planned as a monthly fourth-Friday party, lead promoters Bryan Smith (aka DJ The Barber Streisand) and bartender Matt Strother have developed an updated and expanded version that strives for greater diversity, dancing, and interaction. Ottermatic is “open to all people and self-identified animals,” and especially those willing to be “vibrant and expressive” in how they dress and engage. “Add some EL wire to your harness and let’s light up the town,” they suggest. DJ Jesse “MadScience” Jackson will join Streisand for the debut party featuring otter pinup Grant Collins as host. Friday, Jan. 25, starting at 10 p.m. 1335 Green Ct. NW. Cover is $5. Call 202-347-4533 or visit


“What if we came down here and put on wigs, threw in tip money and donated it to charity?” That was the simple notion that inspired Jack Jacobson and a group of friends, who together teased into formation this hair-raising “fun philanthropy” event, initially at Dito’s Bar below restaurant Floriana. In 2019, the frivolous-for-a-cause affair makes its biggest move yet, from its most recent home bar, JR.’s, to the newer Pitchers. Funds raised through the event will be shared between Whitman-Walker Health and Casa Ruby. “It’s the easiest fundraiser I’ve ever thrown,” Jacobson told Metro Weekly a few years back. “It’s literally as easy or as fantastic as you want to make it. Some folks grab whatever they can find in the back of their closets, some will buy special wigs that are made by wigmasters.” Of course, no one will wig out, as it were, over participants who decide not to wear a wig. After all, the ultimate priority is to raise money for two of D.C.’s most critical LGBTQ service organizations — with the goal of several thousand dollars each. Saturday, Feb. 2, from 8 to 10 p.m. Pitchers is at 2317 18th St. NW. There is a suggested minimum donation of $10. Call 202-733-2568 or visit

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!