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2013 in photography

2013 was a banner year for the LGBT community. Here are the top Washington Blade photos of the year. (Washington Blade photos by Blake Bergen, Tyler Grigsby, Michael Key, Kevin Majoros, Damien Salas, Lee Whitman and Jon Wooten) buyphoto 

03
Jan
2014

A fond farewell

Rich Morel, Blowoff, gay news, Washington Blade

Blowoff is going on indefinite hiatus after Saturday night’s installment. (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Blowoff finale

Saturday

11:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m.

9:30 Club

815 V Street, N.W.

$12

blowoff.us

Blowoff, a monthly gay dance party helmed by DJs Richard Morel and Bob Mould, started innocuously. The two were collaborating on a project — a 2006 album called “Blowoff” — and finding themselves at the time both living in Washington, the concept was born.

That was 11 years ago.

“We just kind of said, ‘Why don’t we do a party?,’” Morel says. “He had just moved to town. It was really pretty simple. We started at Velvet Lounge on Sunday nights once a month. That’s how it began.”

Saturday night’s event, planned as usual for the January installment to coincide with Mid-Atlantic Leather weekend, will be the duo’s last. There’s no grand proclamation about it being the “last ever,” but with Mould now living in San Francisco, a good long run behind them and schedules as tough to coordinate now as ever, Morel says it was time to put the event on indefinite hiatus.

“It’s been a very successful event and very personally gratifying and fun and it’s done very well, but after 11 years, we both have other projects right now,” Morel says. “So we’re just taking a break for awhile. Who knows what might happen down the road in a year or two, but for now, we’re focusing on other projects.”

Mould, who is traveling this week and wasn’t available for comment, is known widely for his work with the bands Husker Du and Sugar. He’s released a series of well-received solo albums, most recently 2012’s “Silver Age.” Morel, known widely as a DJ, producer and remixer, has mixed hits for everyone from Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner, Yoko Ono, Nelly Furtado and scores of others.

The Blowoff concept was simple — the two took turns spinning for about an hour at a time. Nick Lopata created the party’s visual effects. Linas Garsys created a series of posters that became easily identifiable in the D.C. gay world over many years.

Jacob Pring, a local gay event promoter and CODE producer, says Blowoff will be missed.

“The music was different, the atmosphere was different and the visual effects were unheard of for the D.C. market,” he says. “I admire that they were able to create a party with a room full of gay men and no attitudes. That’s pretty unusual.”

After about five Blowoffs at Velvet Lounge, the party moved to the basement of the 9:30 Club and for a time was a weekly event. Eventually it moved upstairs in the club’s larger main space.

Morel guesses about 90 percent of attendees on average were gay with a large bear crowd especially. The music was usually a mix of indie rock and house with some dance and electronica, especially in more recent years. Blowoff events were also held at various times in New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Provincetown, Dallas, Denver and more.

Pring admires Mould but says Morel has been especially generous with him, sometimes sending him unreleased mixes to play at his own parties.

“It’s always music that just makes you feel good,” Pring says. “He’s a creative genius.”

15
Jan
2014

MAL-wear

MAL, Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather, Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend, gay news, Washington Blade

Last year’s Mid-Atlantic Leather festivities. (Washington Blade file photo by Tyler Grigsby)

Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend

Friday through Monday

Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill (host hotel)

400 New Jersey Ave., N.W.

MAL Full Run Package — $200

Limited number available at 3 p.m. Friday in the

registration area at the Hyatt

Weekend admission passes also available

Full weekend schedule and admission information

available at leatherweekend.com

It all began with a party and a cock ring.

That was the basis of the first Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend in 1976 and over the ensuing 37 years, the event has grown into one of the most popular and anticipated leather/fetish events in the world.

Friday through Monday, thousands of leathermen, skins, gearheads, kinksters and rubber freaks will descend on the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill for a four-day-long party of fetish fun.

“We have lots of things going on at the hotel 24-7 so to speak, such as MIR hosting a meet and greet on the Friday night, and they haven’t had an event with us before,” says Patrick Grady, chair of the event. “People need to just come out to the lobby and see the mass humanity of people. It’s the largest gay bar in the city over that weekend.”

Steve Ranger, past president of Centaur MC and Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2005, says the number of events in the hotel have expanded this year, including three new parties. Last year, several new dances made their debut and will return and this year’s new entries will see Sigma (once again sponsoring the dungeon parties) bringing a demonstration and instruction on safe practices. New parties include those thrown by the Boys of Leather and the Highway Men.

“A lot of the guests really like the ability to stay in the hotel and really enjoy themselves, so we have made a concerted effort to provide more events and themed parties,” Ranger says. “There’s a brotherhood and sisterhood and people just have a great time and people accept you for who you are.”

The heart of the weekend is the historic leather formal Saturday evening cocktail social, Leather Cocktails. This year marks the 30th anniversary that the Centaur MC has hosted the party and it will commemorate the event with specialty cocktails and 3-D miniature mock-ups of what the stage will be like for the event. Additionally, Leather Archives is bringing in an award that has been handed down over the years.

“The focus will be on the fact that this is a weekend that started from a simple cocktail party and has grown into what it has become and a big focus on the back-patch leather clubs in the District,” says Todd White, president of Centaur MC. “The Centaurs are honored and blessed that the community trusts us with their tradition and the weekend, and we appreciate that it’s a joint effort of all the clubs in the D.C.-area coming together. Without the parties planned by the clubs throughout the weekend, it just wouldn’t be the same.”

Some welcome news came in early January when the D.C. Eagle, a popular gay bar with many of the attendees in year’s past, announced that it would remain open throughout the weekend of the show, having previously thought it would be closed as it made way for construction of a new office building.

“We will have a shuttle bus for our package holders taking them to the Eagle and the Green Lantern,” Ranger says. “People who have come to Washington for many years are used to going to the Eagle, so this is a chance for them to say farewell.”

There’s been a lot of change in the region’s leather community of late.

Eagle co-owners Ted Clements and Peter Lloyd are working on transporting the venue to a three-story warehouse building at 3701 Benning Rd, N.E., proposing to operate as a tavern and restaurant and offer live entertainment, dancing, a rooftop “summer garden” and a small retail gift shop.

On New Year’s Eve, the L Bar, a popular leather bar in Rehoboth, closed its doors after 16 years and will reportedly reopen as a non-leather, non-gay bar.

The leather community also lost a dear friend and Centaur brother Jim Raymond before New Year’s, and many look to honor his memory at the celebration.

The Weekend also includes official events organized by weekend hosts, Centaur MC that include a bustling Leather Exhibit Hall, Sunday brunch, Mr. MAL Contest and the official Sunday night closing party, REACTION.

“This weekend is a time to see friends who come from all over the country, Canada, Europe and even Australia and socialize, enjoy cocktails and have one comfortable social environment filled with camaraderie,” Ranger says. “You can wear your clothes, your leather, your gear all around the hotel and it’s a very welcoming environment.”

The contest has changed a great deal since Ranger took home the award in ’05, with a much better prize package being offered and more people letting down their inhibitions and competing.

The hotel is already sold out and the pre-numbers that Centaur MC are seeing reflect possibly the biggest turnout ever.

“It’s definitely going to be one of our biggest ones in recent history,” Grady says. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. The leather community is very friendly. For those who want to come out or maybe are just curious, you should take advantage of it while you can because you don’t know when it could be your last.”

16
Jan
2014

Calendar: events through Jan. 23

Birdie LaCage, gay news, drag, Washington Blade

Birdie LaCage hosts a ‘Grease’ sing-along Tuesday at JR.’s. (Washington Blade file photo by Blake Bergen)

Friday, Jan. 17

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts “Kickoff” featuring DJ Matt Bailer tonight from 10 p.m.-closing. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) holds a happy hour from 5-7:30 p.m. tonight with all drinks half price. Music begins at 11 p.m. Enjoy pool, video games and cards. Admission is $5 after 9 p.m. Must be 21 and over. For more details, visit bachelorsmill.com.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts Bear Happy Hour tonight from 6-11 p.m. There is no cover charge and admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit towndc.com.

POV Live is tonight with Glorious, a “livetronica” drummer and D.C.-area native, performing with DJ Tempo at the W Hotel (515 15th St., N.W.). She also plays Saturday night with DJ Oz. Free. RSVP at whappenings@brandlinkdcrsvp.com.

Saturday, Jan. 18

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers today for the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation at the Falls Church PetSmart (6100 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, Va.) at 11:45 a.m. today. You will be paired with a dog on a leash to walk around and play with. Wear casual clothes. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.

Bistro Bistro (1726 Connecticut Ave., NW.) hosts “Let Freedom Ring,” a Martin Luther King weekend ladies bash, tonight from 11 p.m.-3 a.m. Enjoy music from two lesbian DJs with the cast of lesbian web series “District Heat.” There will be giveaways by Style is Freedom, a lesbian clothing line. Cover is $10 before midnight and $15 after midnight. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over.

Onyx Cocktail Party and Gear Show, a leather/BDSM auction, is at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill (400 New Jersey Ave., N.W.) today from 2-6 p.m. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to SMYAL, a local organization that aids LGBT youth in the District. For details, visit leatherweekend.com.

Several Species: the Pink Floyd Experience,” a Floyd tribute show, is tonight at the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St., N.W.). Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35. Details at thelincolndc.com.

Merrifield Garden Center starts its winter/spring series of free seminars on gardening and landscaping today with events at each of its three locations. A session on orchids with the Smithsonian’s Jonathan Kavalier will be held at the Merrifield location (Merrifield Community Hall, 8104 Lee Highway, Merrfifield, Va.). “A Gardener’s Calendar” with plant specialist David Yost will be held at Fair Oaks (Fair Oaks Meeting Room, 12101 Lee Highway in Fairfax, Fa.). Terrariums with Regina Lanctot, a tropical plant specialist, will be held at the Gainesville location (Our Garden Room, 6895 Wellington Road, Gainesville, Va.). Visit merrifieldgardencenter.com for details.

Sunday, Jan 19

Del Ray Artisans (2704 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.) hosts “From Board Game to Book,” a workshop to create a hand-bound notebook or journal with a board game as the cover, today from noon-4 p.m. Recycle any cardboard board game into an art book using traditional bookbinding methods. Supplies will be provided. Tickets are $48 for Del Ray Artisans members and $53 for non-members. For details, visit thedelrayartisans.org/bookmaking.

Patty Boom Boom (1359 U St., N.W.) hosts “Free to Be,” an LGBT dancehall event, tonight from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Dance to reggae, dancehall and roots music to raise funds to support J-Flag, an organization dedicated to supporting LGBT people in Jamaica. Entry is free. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For details, visit pattyboomboomdc.com.

Perry’s (1811 Columbia Rd., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Sunday Drag Brunch” today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $24.95 for an all-you-can-eat buffet. For more details, visit perrysadamsmorgan.com.

Monday, Jan. 20

The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) hosts a free relationship workshop for lesbian couples today from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. It’s the first workshop in a series of six. This workshop focuses on sex and intimacy led by professional relationship coach Jayne Kelly. Bring your partner and lunch to learn how to have a healthy and sexually satisfying relationship. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W..) hosts coffee drop-in hours this morning from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT community. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Us Helping Us  (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) holds a support group for gay black men to discuss topics that affect them today, share perspectives and have meaningful conversations. For details, visit uhupil.org.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts poker night tonight at 8 p.m. Win prizes. Free to play. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Tuesday, Jan. 21

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers today for the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr.  at the Atlas Center (1333 H St., N.E.) tonight at 7 p.m. Duties include ushering the event and a chance to watch the concert. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.

Special Agent Galactica performs “Intoxicating” with Peter Fields at Banana Café (500 8th St., S.E.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. The show is a mix of jazz, burlesque and modern hits. No cover. For details, visit pinkhairedone.com.

Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) hosts its weekly ”FUK!T Packing Party” from 7-9 p.m. tonight. For more details, visit thedccenter.org or greenlanterndc.com.

Birdie LaCage hosts a “Grease” sing-a-long at JR.’s (1519 17th Street, N.W.) tonight at 10 p.m. Drinks are two-for-one ‘til midnight.

Wednesday, Jan. 22

The Lambda Bridge Club meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for duplicate bridge. No reservations required and new comers welcome. If you need a partner, call 703-407-6540.

The D.C. Center and Professionals in the City host speed dating for women in their twenties and thirties at Finn and Porter located inside the Embassy Suites Hotel (900 10th St., N.W.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. Dating is approximately one hour. After enjoy a mixer with fellow speed daters. Cash bar. Check in is at 7 p.m. and dating begins at 7:20 p.m. Complimentary valet parking offered to anyone who purchases two drinks or other items from the bar or restaurant. Cost is $30. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Thursday, Jan. 23

Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) hold a meeting at The D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 7-8:30 p.m. GLOV works to reduce violence against LGBT individuals through community outreach, education and assisting members of anti-LGBT violence. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.

Rude Boi Entertainment hosts “Tempted 2 Touch,” a ladies dance party, at the Fab Lounge (2022 Florida Ave., N.W.) tonight. Doors open at 10 p.m. Drink specials $5 and vodka shots $3 all night. No cover charge. Admission limited to guests 21 and over. For more details, visit rudeboientertainment.wordpress.com.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts “Café SMYAL,” a fun event to get out of the cold, today from 4-5 p.m. Drink hot cocoa, play board games and make new friends. For more information, visit smyal.org.

Whitman-Walker provides free and confidential HIV testing at Miriam’s Kitchen (2401 Virginia Ave., N.W.) today from 4-6 p.m. For details, visit whitman-walker.org.

16
Jan
2014

Leather events are next weekend in D.C.

Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend, gay news, Washington Blade, MAL

Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend (Washington Blade file photo by Denis Largeron)

The Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend comes to Washington at the Hyatt Regency (400 New Jersey Ave., NW) for the weekend of January 11-13. Full packages are $180 online and $200 on site and allow attendees to go to official MAL weekend events and activities. The Weekend Pass is $10 to $25 and does not include admission to Official MAL events. MAL is a mostly gay event and attracts leather enthusiasts from all over the country. Below are official and unofficial MAL events:

* On Thursday, the night before the event, there is a Former MAL Titleholders Bar Night at D.C. Eagle (639 New York Ave., NW) from 9 p.m.-1 a.m.

* The Exhibit Hall for the event is open from 5-11 p.m. Friday night, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

* The SigMa D.C. (1014 H St., NE) party is Friday night from 8 p.m.-midnight. This party is not included in the MAL weekend package. Cost for SigMaDC members is $20 and $25 for non-members.

* CODE D.C. is hosting a party at Crucible (16 M St., NE) Friday and Saturday night 9 p.m.-3 a.m. This is party is not part of the MAL weekend package. The cost is $40 a night or $60 both nights in advance online and it is $60 at the door.

* The ONYX dance party “ONYX After Dark” in the Regency Ballroom of the hotel is Friday night 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

* The D.C. boys of leather: “Where the boys are” is Friday night from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. in the Congressional Room in the hotel.

* The Mid-Atlantic Kennel Korps host Puppy Park Saturday 1-3:30 p.m. in the Regency Ballroom.

* SigMa holds a BDSM demonstration 1-3 p.m. in the Regency Ballroom of the hotel.

* The ONYX Cocktail Party and Leather Gear Show and Auction happens Saturday from 3-6 p.m. in the Congressional Room.

* Another SigMa DC (1014 H St., NE) party is Saturday night from 6 p.m.-2 a.m. This party is not included in the MAL weekend package. Cost for SigMaDC members is $20 and $25 for non-members.

* Leather Cocktails take place in the Regency Ballroom Saturday evening 6:30-9 p.m.

* The Manhunt Jock Party “Dirty” event is Saturday night 10 p.m.-2 a.m. in the Capitol Room.

* Spurg hosts a free Blackout Party Saturday night 10 p.m.-3 a.m. in the Regency Ballroom.

* The 9:30 Club (815 V St., NW) hosts the party “Blowoff” Saturday night at 11:30 p.m. This event is not included in the weekend package. Cost is $12.

* For weekend package holders there is a brunch Sunday morning from 10 a.m.-noon in the Capitol Room.

* The Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2013 Contest is on Sunday from 1-3:30 p.m. in the Regency Ballroom. Tickets are $25.

* U Street Music Hall (1115 U St., NW) hosts Tea Dance 3.0 Sunday night from 5 p.m.-midnight.

For more information, visit leatherweekend.com.

03
Jan
2013

MAL events continue all weekend

MAL, Mid-Atlantic Leather, gay news, Washington Blade

2010 Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather contest (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Foursquare

On Foursquare? Get all of what’s happening MAL weekend, and connect with the Blade to always be in the know.

The Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend is here at the Hyatt Regency (400 New Jersey Ave., N.W.). Full packages are $180 online and $200 on site and allow attendees to go to official MAL weekend events and activities. The Weekend Pass is $10 to $25 and does not include admission to Official MAL events. MAL is a mostly gay event and attracts leather enthusiasts from all over the country. Below are official and unofficial MAL events:

• The Exhibit Hall for the event is open from 5-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

• The SigMa D.C. (1014 H St., NE) party is Friday  from 8 p.m.-midnight. This party is not included in the MAL weekend package. Cost for SigMaDC members is $20 and $25 for non-members.

• CODE D.C. is hosting a party at Crucible (16 M St., NE) Friday and Saturday night 9 p.m.-3 a.m. This is party is not part of the MAL weekend package. The cost is $40 a night or $60 both nights in advance online and it is $60 at the door.

• The ONYX dance party “ONYX After Dark” in the Regency Ballroom of the hotel is Friday from 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

• The D.C. boys of leather: “Where the boys are” is Friday from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. in the Congressional Room in the hotel.

• The Mid-Atlantic Kennel Korps host Puppy Park Saturday 1-3:30 p.m. in the Regency Ballroom.

• SigMa holds a BDSM demonstration 1-3 p.m. in the Regency Ballroom of the hotel.

• The ONYX Cocktail Party and Leather Gear Show and Auction happens Saturday from 3-6 p.m. in the Congressional Room.

• Another SigMa DC (1014 H St., NE) party is Saturday night from 6 p.m.-2 a.m. This party is not included in the MAL weekend package. Cost for SigMaDC members is $20 and $25 for non-members.

• Leather Cocktails take place in the Regency Ballroom Saturday evening 6:30-9 p.m.

• The Manhunt Jock Party “Dirty” event is Saturday night 10 p.m.-2 a.m. in the Capitol Room.

• Spurg hosts a free Blackout Party Saturday night 10 p.m.-3 a.m. in the Regency Ballroom.

• The 9:30 Club (815 V St., NW) hosts the party “Blowoff” Saturday night at 11:30 p.m. This event is not included in the weekend package. Cost is $12.

• For weekend package holders there is a brunch Sunday morning from 10 a.m.-noon in the Capitol Room.

• The Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2013 Contest is on Sunday from 1-3:30 p.m. in the Regency Ballroom. Tickets are $25.

• U Street Music Hall (1115 U St., NW) hosts Tea Dance 3.0 Sunday night from 5 p.m.-midnight.

For more information, visit leatherweekend.com.

10
Jan
2013

Leather Cocktails

Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend included a ‘leather cocktails’ event on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. (Washington Blade photos by Tyler Grigsby) buyphoto

14
Jan
2013

Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather

buyphotoBryce Caine won the title of Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2013 at the Hyatt Regency on Sunday. (Washington Blade photos by Tyler Grigsby)

17
Jan
2013