DJ Lemz can still vividly recall the mood that night, in January of 2020. “There was a really good energy in the air. It just felt really electric — like everyone was there having a good time,” says the promoter behind Bent, the 9:30 Club’s quarterly LGBTQ party. “Unfortunately,” he continues, “it led us to think, ‘God, this year is going to be amazing! This is going to be a fantastic year for Bent.’ And then….”
Everyone knows what came two months later, when venues were forced to close and cancel all live, in-person gatherings until further notice. One saving grace over the pandemic’s first year were the occasional livestreams hosted by the club, which generated support from fans. “I got hit really hard with the pandemic, so getting support from the community really helped a lot,” Lemz says. “It really saved me.”
In June, Lemz produced his first, in-person party in more than 15 months, a Saturday Sleaze at DC9. Two months later, he announced the Shaw venue would become the new home for the monthly LGBTQ party, formerly at Wonderland.
As for Bent, the massive dance party resumes this Labor Day Weekend. “We’re returning to 9:30 Club,” he says, noting the party has been tagged Bent: Out of Shape. “We’ve been stuck in our homes for so long that it doesn’t matter what shape we’re in, physically or mentally. It’s just going to be so exciting to be around everybody again.”
Lemz recruited “an eclectic lineup” for the return, hosted by Pussy Noir, and featuring performances by drag king Blaq Milk, drag queen Rigatoni, nonbinary pole dancer Bumber, and female Baltimore rapper Rye Rye.
Joining Lemz in mixing musical magic will be Natty Boom, the Booty Rex and Anthology of Booty veteran DJ, and Sidekick, who will go all night in the downstairs BackBar space, along with longtime Town resident DJ Wess tag-teaming a set with JJ202, also known as DJ MadScience.
“It’s like all the stops are being pulled out,” says Lemz, who later this month will open for Big Freedia at the Lincoln Theatre. “Everyone has been itching to do this for over a year. I can’t think of a better rush of endorphins than this — a good reset and a very good welcome back to the 9:30 Club.”
Bent: Out of Shape is Saturday, Sept. 4, at 10 p.m., at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-265-0930 or visit www.930.com.
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 MetroWeekly.com 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!