Things to Do

Pride Month, Museum Reopenings, and a Talk on the Tulsa Race Massacre: Things to Do in DC, June 1-2

Plus: A look into Washingtonian's archive of queer stories.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hi folks!

Hope you had a great weekend. Looking forward, we’ve got the start of Pride, a look at the new mermaid museum, and a conversation about the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

It’s Pride Month!

Here’s what you should check out this week:

Pride kick-off: Capital Pride Alliance is jumping into Pride month with a series of virtual “Pride Talks.” The first one will spotlight Max Ernst, who will share his journey complete with backup from his fellow SHAED band members (which are his brother Spencer and his sister-in-law Chelsea Lee). The electro-pop trio will talk about their song “Colorful” from the band’s debut album with a panel of other special guests including folks from Casa Ruby, Capital Pride Alliance, and the White House. Tuesday 6/1 at 7 PM; Free, watch it on YouTube Live on CapitalPrideDC’s channel here.

Plus, more on Pride: What’s the overall plan for Pride this year? There will be a parade, for one thing. This year, it’s billed as the Colorful Pridemobile Parade. Find out more about what to expect this month from Washingtonian editorial fellow Maya Pottiger here.

In remembrance: To commemorate 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre, the National Museum of African American History & Culture and Smithsonian magazine are hosting a virtual panel to look back at the history of the racist attack on the thriving Greenwood District and how the residents built back. Speakers include Michigan State economics professor Lisa Cook, Tulsa journalist Victor Luckerson, and historian/curator Paul Gardullo (see his Tulsa exhibit currently on view at the museum; explore its digital collection of Tulsa-related objects here). Wednesday 6/2 at 7 PM; Free, registration required.

One more round: Play six rounds of drag bingo with a semi-regular game series at Hook Hall. Popular host and drag queen Crystal Edge will run the event with a rotating cast of fabulous co-hosts. Each night includes live performances, victory prizes of free drinks, and champagne for each table. Drag bingo starts this week and will continue on the first and third Wednesdays of the summer months. Wednesday 6/2 at 7 PM; $50 to reserve a table for 1-6 people, buy tickets here.

Summer plans: Museum enthusiasts, fear not—most spaces are reopening this summer, with many expecting to be back at full capacity in the near future. Here’s our rundown of Smithsonian museum reopening dates; all institutions will fully reopen by the end of August.

Maybe a myth: The world’s first-ever museum dedicated to mermaids recently opened in the small town of Berlin, Maryland. The Mermaid Museum is a fun look at the history of the part-fish creatures dating back to the first century and covering present day mermaid culture, too. (Anyone remember a collection of merfolk—not a joke—lounging with their sparkly scaly tails at the Tidal Basin? Our inimitable photographer Evy Mages captured the colorful crew here.) Learn more about the Mermaid Museum from Washingtonian editorial fellow Baylor Spears here.

Looking back: 

Rest in power, Marsha.
In honor of the start of Pride month, I wanted to highlight a few important stories about DC-area queer folks from Washingtonian’s recent archives. One story I was excited to publish a couple years ago focused on the gay couple behind the extremely popular Instagram account @lgbt_history. Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown (DC lawyers who met—where else?—at a networking event) were so passionate about the history of queer resistance that they turned their Instagram research into the sprawling, captivating book We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation. In October 2019, we wrote a short snapshot of the Ask Rayceen show, a part variety show, part educational workshop for queer and trans folks in DC from emcee Rayceen Pendarvis. That same month, Washingtonian published its cover story about what it means to be a woman in Washington, including two essential voices: Here, read about drag king performer Majic Dyke, who talks through the detailed process of becoming Majic; Here, read about Air Force sergeant Alexandria Holder and her experiences as a trans woman in the military.

If you’re looking for history you can use, try walking around DC to see some important queer historic sites, including the Cairo Hotel and JR’s. Here’s our guide from 2016. Next, hear about what it was like to be a gay Congressman from this 2015 interview with Barney Frank, who was the second-ever openly gay member of Congress.

More recently, Washingtonian managing editor Bill O’Sullivan wrote about the lasting legacy of local LGBTQ rights activist Frank Kameny, which was highlighted in the 2020 book The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America. Beyond history-focused work, one show that I covered also touches on queerness in DC, specifically in a college setting. The Netflix docuseries Deaf U, which follows a handful of students navigating various relationships at Gallaudet, is from the famous deaf and queer model Nyle DiMarco (whose face you might remember from America’s Next Top Model or Dancing With the Stars). Plus, if you missed it, last month I chatted with Lauren Hough about her memoir, Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing, in which she writes about her experiences working at Badlands (RIP) and her keen observations of DC’s queer scene. Do you have plans to celebrate Pride this year? Let me know what you’re up to!

Thanks for reading! Tell me what you’re up to at home by dropping me a line at

Rosa is a senior editor at Bitch Magazine. She’s written for Washingtonian and Smithsonian magazine.