We’ve got Pride’s mobile parade, a tea party, and lots of outdoor fun.
Here’s what you should check out this weekend:
Look up: A new art installation at the National Museum of Women in the Arts is a visual representation of the 19th amendment’s ratification following the centennial. Marilyn Artus created “Her Flag” collaborating with artists in the 36 states that ratified it by 1920. Artus incorporated each artwork as a stripe on the bigger flag and traveled around the country to visit state capitals, where she sewed the pieces together. The piece will be displayed outdoors on the museum’s façade. On display Thursday 6/10 through July 12.
Glitz and glamour: Get an up-close look at the glossy life of Marjorie Merriweather Post through her expansive collection in the new exhibit, “Roaring Twenties: The Life and Style of Marjorie Merriweather Post,” at her Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens. The heiress of the cereal company that later became General Foods, Post was one of the wealthiest women in the country in the early 1900s and owned a trove of Russian and French art. In this show, see her stunning jewelry collection—Cartier was a consistent favorite—and her fashionable wardrobe with flapper gowns and dramatic capes. Saturday 6/12 through January 2022; $18 suggested donation, find tickets here.
The parade is ON: The Pride Parade is returning this year with the Colorful Pridemobile Parade. It’ll be led by the official Pridemobile Trolley, followed by a colorful array of decorated vehicles registered to organizations and businesses. Though the official route is still TBA, it will pass through Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and the Capitol Building; here’s what you need to know about the street closures. Plus: If you’re still looking for Pride events, see our roundup of fun celebrations around town. Saturday 6/12 at 3 PM; Free, learn more here. — Washingtonian editorial fellow Maya Pottiger
Local lens: Now in its 14th year, the East of the River Show spotlights DC artists in Wards 7 and 8. See works by more than 15 creatives, including graffiti artist/muralist Luis Peralta, abstract oil painter Chinedu Felix Osuchukwu, and painter Nicolette Gordon. The opening reception will be a live event (masks up) at the Anacostia Arts Center. The show’s distinguished artist award will go to portraitist and sculptor Jay Coleman, whose recent work includes the medallions on Howard Theatre’s Walk of Fame and a mural of Marion Barry. Opening reception at the Anacostia Arts Center: Saturday 6/12 at 6 PM; Free, register here or tune into the event on Facebook here.
Sip in the sun: Sterling-based Rocket Frog Brewing Company is teaming up with Alexandria coworking space the Loop to host a beer garden with a series of monthly events for the summer. This weekend sample Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken from Soul Rebel Food, hear a live reggae show, and explore arts, crafts, and beer vendors outside of the Loop’s North Payne Street location. Saturday 6/12 at noon; $10 (includes a beer), buy tickets at the door or online here.
What’s the tea: Shop Made in DC is hosting an outdoor Garden Tea Party at its Georgetown location. There will be a tea demonstration with tastings from artisanal company Ver té on how to find your “poetic zen,” which we might all be needing right now. Plus, there will be macarons and you’ll leave with a guide to tea brewing. Saturday 6/12 at noon; $40, buy tickets here.
A perfect pairing: The annual Bourbon and Bluegrass show from President Lincoln’s Cottage will be a livestreamed performance paired with a special bourbon cocktail kit delivery. Local Grammy-winning country/folk musician Dom Flemons, whose previous albums include Black Cowboys and Genuine Negro Jig, will headline the bluegrass lineup; the virtual event will also feature bourbon cocktail classes. Sunday 6/13 at 4 PM; $35-$85, buy tickets here.
Your next photoshoot: Selfie WRLD, a photo studio franchise, just opened in Tysons Corner for those of you who want to up your photo game with fun props and elaborate backdrops. My coworker Damare Baker visited to see what all the hype was about.
This week, we’re continuing to roll out our June 2021 issue about sex and the pandemic and today I want to share my story about an entrepreneur who created freeQ, a new tech platform by and for queer folks. Read it below. (Also, be on the lookout: freeQ is throwing an all-virtual Pride bash this month, too.)
In March of 2020, Sarah Massey, a 47-year-old kinky queer woman, left her job running communications for the National LGBTQ Task Force to care for her parents in Paris. Some 4,000 miles away from friends and partners in DC, she was desperate to connect and to recreate a favorite pastime: naked dance parties.
While dates and happy hours transferred easily to video calls in the pandemic, having actual sex on platforms like Zoom, Facebook, or Google Meet was a nonstarter—nudity and sexual content are subject to strict limitations or banned altogether. Then there was the not-unfounded fear of surveillance by Big Tech. So Massey searched for alternatives. Discord, which allows some nudity and NSFW communication with caveats, was one option, though it notoriously has struggled with issues of revenge porn, underage content, and violent white supremacy.
Stymied by the options, Massey decided to make her own platform where folks could feel safe to strip. “Seeing the human body when [we have been] boxed in is important to emotional wellbeing, health, and flourishing,” she says. “It’s the best antidepressant.” Massey linked up with Riley Lamey, a trans web developer who built the nude-friendly tech with open-source software. In April 2020, they launched a video-call website, with a flagship Queer Dance Naked Party.
“We have no artificial intelligence, no surveillance, [and] double logins with multiple layers of security,” says Massey. “There are very stringent ground rules that everyone signs off on.” (They’ve also got bouncer-like abilities to remove any disruptors.) Dubbed freeQ—“freedom for queers”—they’ve hosted more than 3,000 attendees at 100-plus events including naked poetry, queer yoga, and happy hours. Major conferences like San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair and, most recently, Portland’s KinkFest turned to Massey’s team to run their racy programming virtually. Up next: A completely online and interactive weekend festival, freeQ PrideFest, where you can find parties, music, art, and even a dating game.
Massey is now back in Washington, but with the app connecting people across the globe, and the hindrances of Big Tech unlikely to change post-pandemic, she’s keeping the party going. “I think in a small way we’ve created just a taste of liberation.”
Thanks for reading! Tell me what you’re up to at home by dropping me a line at email@example.com.