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There’s been a Town-sized hole for the District’s LGBTQ community ever since the venerable dance club closed in July. Steve Lemmerman is hoping to fill that void, or at least part of it.
On Saturday, Jan. 5, the 9:30 Club will launch BENT, a new quarterly LGBTQ dance night. But Lemmerman doesn’t want BENT to just be a replacement for all that Town had to offer the District’s bustling queer community—he wants it to be a true spectacle. “It’s a dance party, but it’s also just a showcase of the local queer community talent,” he tells City Paper. “There’s a focus on dancing, and there’s a focus on performance.”
Though Lemmerman says that BENT will, in part, be a kind of “homage to Town,” the idea for it came about well before the club closed. Every year, 9:30 Club owner Seth Hurwitz hosts a town hall-style forum for his employees in which they can voice ideas for events the club should host. A friend of Lemmerman’s who works with him at the club said that he’d like to see the club host more gay events. Lemmerman jumped at the opportunity: “Seth and I had a few meetings [after that] and out of that came BENT.”
As for what to expect with BENT, Lemmerman says that his main goal was to create something that’s inclusive and inviting to all of D.C.’s LGBTQ communities. “I don’t want to focus on just one group in our community,” he says. “There’s not always spaces for everyone, too, which is kind of sad. This is my chance to do that and help the community do better.”
And that means partnering with other people in different facets of the city’s queer communities. For the inaugural BENT, Lemmerman has scheduled DJs KeenanOrr and The Barber Streisand (with Lemmerman himself DJing as DJ Lemz), as well as performances by local drag queens Pussy Noir, Donna Slash, and Bombalicious Eklaver. Lemmerman adds that BENTwill take up both floors of the 9:30 Club and will transform the club in ways that regulars haven’t ever seen before. He didn’t want to give away too many spoilers, but for starters, there will be a runway.
Jan. 5 at 9:30 Club. 815 V St. NW. $15. (202) 265-0930. 930.com.