The Capital Pride festival brings late-night dance parties, bachelor/ette auctions and "Project Runway" winner Christian Siriano; the Breeders cannonball into the 9:30 club, Collie Buddz headlines a night of yard music at Zanzibar and embassy staffers throw a save-the-environment party with free food, an open bar and salsa and merengue music.
Wednesday, June 11
It's Pride Week in Washington, and which means there are multiple parties and events every night through Sunday. Rather than turn this column into the Capital Pride Nightlife Agenda, we're just going to highlight a few events every day. Tonight's Big Deal Event is the Mister and Miss Capital Pride Pageant at Town. Contestants vie for the crown in categories like eveningwear, talent and pride attire, and the winner gets to make appearances at events throughout the next year. (This is also the last hurrah for 2007 winners Sasha Renee and Xavier Bottoms, who will make special appearances. There's a $10 cover. Make sure you arrive before 7:30, when the pageant starts -- the best seats go early.
The Breeders (listen) are playing at the 9:30 Club tonight. The Breeders, man! You know, "Check check check ow-oooooo-ooooooo. Ow-oooooooo-ooooooo." There's a ton of alt-rock nostalgia going around these days, but this is one band that deserves every bit of it. Kim Deal always delivers the goods. That's been the case throughout her 20-plus years in the music biz. OK, the new one from the Breeders, "Mountain Battles," is the closest she's come to not delivering the goods. It's a bit of a snoozer, we'll be honest. But the rest of the Breeders' material is straight-up rock greatness. David's been working on his dream setlist for a little bit -- "Divine Hammer," "Doe," "Glorious," "Pacer," "Saints," those are at the top. Along with "No Aloha," "Tipp City," "Hellbound," "I Just Wanna Get Along" and "Hoverin'." Oh and don't forget "Fortunately Gone" and "Do You Love Me Now?"
Love Is All (listen) last played in D.C. in the fall of 2005, which is roughly 17 hype cycles ago in the Internet age, so it's hard to know if the buzz that surrounded the group's excellent debut, "Nine Times That Same Song," remains. The Swedish band has a not-so-Swedish sound. Its indie pop is on the scratchy and spastic side, not the mellow singer-songwritery stuff of fellow Gothenburg natives Jens Lekman and Jose Gonzalez. Love Is All doesn't have a new album to support, but it will have CD-R copies of a new EP of covers at its show at the Black Cat. Covered on the EP? Flock of Seagulls, Lung Leg, Dire Straits and Prince. Now that is some variety for you. Baltimore's Videohippos (listen) open. The band does enchance its performance with background videos, but they are humans, not hippos. If they were actual hippos, we think the show would have to be on the mainstage. The DJs from We Fought the Big One will be spinning their usual post-punk obscurity before, between and after sets.
Thursday, June 12
If you're single and looking for a date, tonight's a big night for you. First up are the annual Capital Pride Bachelor and Bachelorette Auctions, which include all kinds of prizes -- vacations, airline tickets, gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses. Sometimes you get a date with the bachelor/ette, sometimes you're only bidding on the package. Make sure you know what you're getting into. Anyway, both the bachelor and bachelorette auctions take place between 9 and 11. If you want to bid on the men, head to Remingtons; the ladies will be at RnR Bar & Lounge. Proceeds from both auctions help fund Capital Pride.
You'll be seeing a number of invitations to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society events over the next few months as the charity's annual fundraising drive kicks into gear. While we love the charity, we can't list them all. One that stands out, though, is at Lotus Lounge tonight: a bachelor and bachelorette auction that includes dates with D.C. United players Marc Burch and Domenic Mediate. (Check out all the participants on dcdateauction.blogspot.com.) There's a $10 cover, but that -- and all proceeds with the winning date bids -- go to help fight blood cancers and improve treatments for those who have them. Doors open at 7; the party goes until 10.
Friday, June 13
The big news about the "Official" Pride party for men tonight at Town is the guest host: "Project Runway" winner Christian Siriano. Siriano will be walking around the club with a squad of fashion police, giving out "hot mess fashion citations." Dress up, guys -- you've been warned. Of course, the evening's about much more than a celebrity appearance. The seven-hour party features a drag show hosted by Lena Lett and starring an all-star squad that includes Blair Michaels, Destiny B. Childs and Shiqueeta Lee, a performance by the X-Faction dance troupe, VJs spinning classics and Top 40 on the first floor and DJ Wess playing house and high-energy remixes upstairs. Admission to the 18-and-over party is $10 before 11 and $15 after.
While the boys party at Town, the ladies will be around the corner at the 9:30 club for a concert and dance party. Folkie singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick and local pop-rock band Odd Girl Out are among the bands on at 8, while the First Ladies DJ Collective spins dance music from 11 to 4. Admission is $25 for the concert and dance party, or $15 for the DJs only.
Although dancehall artists usually release tunes at a furious clip, Collie Buddz (listen) has been kind of quiet since having hit after hit in 2007. That doesn't mean he's off the radar -- his tour schedule stays packed because "Come Around" still smashes the dance floor and the ladies still love to wine de waist to "Mamacita." Your yard music intake will be balanced tonight at Zanzibar, as the dancehall chatting of Collie Buddz is balanced out by Proverbs Roots Rock Reggae Band and New Kingston Band.
One of the most promising event invitations that we've seen recently begins like this: "Come and save the planet dancing the night away while supporting Ibero-American Culture!" If helping the environment means dancing to salsa and meringue while sipping beers and snacking on empanadas and taqueÃ±os, we'll gladly become the new Al Gores. Tonight's "Noche de Salsa for the Environment" is sponsored by the Ibero-American Cultural Attaches Association, a nonprofit umbrella group representing embassies from Argentina to Venezuela. The Noche de Salsa, held at the Mexican Cultural Institute, features an open bar, snacks, music from local group Zeniza All Stars and a silent auction, with proceeds going to environmental groups. As befits an environmental fundraiser, guests are asked to wear green. Admission is $35 in advance if you buy tickets online; a limited number of tickets will be sold for $40 at the door. Probably best to plan ahead.
Tonight's Alicia Keys party at Love seems like nothing more than a calculated effort to get the lovely Miss Keys' face onto the club's flyer. Though she's in town to perform at the Verizon Center, Keys is not listed as "performing" at or "hosting" at the New York Avenue nightclub. It's not as if the club didn't have enough starpower for the evening: Ne-Yo is "hosting" -- read: in the building, maybe waving to the crowd for a hot second -- while '80s hip-hop legend (and newly pardoned ex-con) Slick Rick performs with Biz Markie on the decks. Tickets are $20, or you can get on the guestlist (and wait in long lines) if you RSVP on lovetheclub.com.
Saturday, June 14
Every Saturday night, dozens -- maybe hundreds -- of well-dressed folks cluster outside Josephine, trying to barter admission from the bouncers. Problem is, there's not much wiggle room: On Saturdays, the easiest ways to get into the popular lounge are to buy a table for bottle service (with minimums starting at $500) or to know a promoter, owner and manager. Other than that, you're going to be reduced to pleading your case with a large man wearing a Secret Service-style earpiece. Unless, that is, you're on the K Street After Dark Nightlife Tour. Hosted by Things to Do D.C., this is a whistle-stop tour of popular upscale lounges, including Tattoo, Josephine, Lotus and a "surprise location" that we're betting is either Lima, the Park or kstreet. Things to Do is charging a flat $20 for admission to all four destinations -- a steal, given that covers to the three named clubs could easily top $60, and organizers are also promising no lines or waits at any of them. A reminder from Things to Do: "All of these clubs have strict dress codes. Dress to impress. No hats, T's, tank tops, torn or baggy jeans, jerseys, athletic wear, boots or sneakers." Meet at Tattoo at 9.
For the established community of modern jazz and soul fusion in this town, Monday Michiru's (listen) arrival in D.C. at Liv tonight is long overdue. Although the bulk of her labors have been in Japan, she factored greatly into the listening habits of anyone who dug the acid jazz scene of the early '90s. If you were rocking some Incognito or Count Basic, you're probably also into Michiru. She didn't let herself be discarded as acid jazz went from hot to fad, releasing material over the years that touched the dance, soul, experimental and straight-ahead jazz worlds. She's as comfortable with DJs and beats as she is leading an acoustic combo, which is the look she'll be sporting for her debut at the Caverns.
After the men and women separated for Pride parties on Friday, everyone's getting together for the Unity Party at Fur tonight. Every single room of the club will be blowing up as New York DJ Steve "Chip Chop" Gonzales -- of megaclubs Pacha and Crobar as well as Sirius Radio -- spins uptempo house on the main floor from 9 to 2, followed by a disco set from Cherry festival veteran Steve Henderson from 2 to 4. Meanwhile, hip-hop and Top 40 will be featured in the smaller side rooms. Make sure to grab an energy drink or six: The party keeps going until 8 a.m. with DJs spinning house, hip-hop and classics.
Sunday, June 15
A dream back-to-back old-school indie pop show starts with a rare Tullycraft (listen) show at the Red & the Black tonight. Tullycraft is twee and proud of it. The band plays unapologetically wimpy but catchy ditties that revel in their absolute and total lack of menace. Their song "Twee" can be considered the genre's theme song. A sampling of lyrics: "Well she wakes up every morning / To the sound of Sarah Records / On a compilation tape" ... "She grabbed her Slumberland guitar case / And her 14 Iced Bears ring" ... "Well you can keep the punk rock / Ska rap beats and house / [Expletive] me I'm twee." From Bubblegum to Sky (listen), a rare appearance by Sprites (listen) and a not-so-rare appearance by Sad Crocodile (listen) round out the bill.
Monday, June 16
The second half of indie pop heaven takes place at the area's old home for all things gentle and catchy, Galaxy Hut. Australia's the Cannanes (listen) have been at it for a long while. The first time this group played in D.C., Bush was president. Bush 41! The band played at D.C. Space with Tsunami and Scrawl in 1991. Now that is old school. It's been almost eight years since the last show at Galaxy Hut, but the band keeps churning out understated, ramshackle delights. Lorelei (listen) completes the throwback show.
-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
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