Author Topic: Bethesda/Washington DC  (Read 1356 times)

Tam

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Bethesda/Washington DC
« on: May 14, 2007, 05:25:19 PM »
Hi there:

I'm thinking of moving to Bethesda, Maryland (USA) and wondered if anyone has contacts or info on the trans/queer scene in the Bethesda/Washington DC area.

I'll be over there at the beginning of June so all suggestions welcome!

Thanks,

Tam :)

Offline Salaam

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Re: Bethesda/Washington DC
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2007, 06:55:17 PM »
I lived in DC for a number of years, although in the city itself, rather than the surrounding suburbs.  While I've not lived there in a number of years, I liked it when I was there.  There were fairly few women's bars, but a number of gay bars.  (In terms of women's bars, there was Phase One, I think it's called, which is on Capitol Hill, and there was one other one whose name escapes me - Phase One was still there as of November.)  In DC, the queer area used to be 17th Street, NW, and Dupont Circle more generally, although the lines have moved a lot since I was there.  Check out the Washington Blade, as you likely already have if you've been to Bethesda.

There were a ton of bars in the Southwest part of DC, but they were torn down to make room for a horrid stadium that the city is building.  Where the bars will move, and if they will find new places, I do not know, I'm afraid.  I used to adore Tracks, which was a great dance club in that area.

Another area where the lesbian community used to hang out is Takoma Park, Maryland.  It's a big leftie community, which also has been called the People's Republic of Takoma Park.  There are farmer's markets and other such places there, and it used to be a pretty cool place.

If you're into leather, the Eagle would be your scene.  My friends who frequent it tell me that it's not bad, but I've not set foot in it myself, so I can't help you on that one.  There's a country/western bar on Pennsylvania Ave, SE (I think around 6th), and Mr. Henry's, a bar that's down the street from it, is also pretty friendly, as is the Banana Cafe which is around the corner on 8th SE.

On the DC area generally, I should say one thing: people tend to either love or hate the place.  It's a pretty transient area, with a lot of civil servants coming in and moving out as elections take place, party control over various branches of the government change, etc.  It's also filled with NGOs who are based there because they have to lobby the government.  I'm a rather political person, and liked DC a great deal, but it's a love-it-or-loathe-it type of place.  The weather is utterly vile in the summer, as the city is effectively built on a swamp, so that can be a challenge for many.  That said, I think there are opportunities that one has there that are hard to find anywhere else, and I loved it.

Oh, and you absolutely must get used to the quadrant system, as it's perfectly possible for there to be four places in the city in which 3rd and C Streets intersect.  Once you learn the system, it's all clear, but it can be a challenge at first.

S
"You're a witness.  You're always standing around watching what's happening, scribbling in your book what other people do.  You have to get in the middle of it.  You have to take sides.  Make a contribution to the fight.  Any fight.  The one you believe in." ~~ Biloxi Blues, Neil Simon

Tam

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Re: Bethesda/Washington DC
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2007, 12:14:35 AM »
Hi Salaam,

Thanks for the great info.

I've lived in the US before but never the East coast so I'm looking forward to it (I say that as if I have the job already - I haven't even applied! I'm only going over to suss out the place before I commit myself).

I have heard mixed responses about DC, in particular to do with racial tension since it's apparently very white and middle class (although the US doesn't have a class system...).

Do you know if there is there anything like Gingerbeer i.e. an online queer community for the DC area?

Incidentally what were you doing in DC if you don't mind me asking?

Thanks,

Tam :)

Offline Jo_Bunny

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Re: Bethesda/Washington DC
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2007, 12:37:45 PM »
hi tam,

i know you were asking and i am sorry i did not get back to you earlier. 

I would say the eagle is the best place to go.  the address and phone number is 639 New York Avenue NW Washington, DC 20001  - phone 202-347-6025. 

Nearest metro is Mount Vernon Square Metro, near Convention Center. Occasional Women-oriented events.  you walk down the street and you will come to new york avenue and then you turn left.  you HAVE to take ID with you regardless of how old you look.  My 50 year old g/f had to show ID. 

The eagle, is leather, and best night to go is dyke night which is once a month, and is majority women, but also has alot of trans F to M, and bio guys. 

Also you can go in there any day of the week and they are a really nice crowd and will be able to direct you to other places that you would like to go.

Dupont circle is the place to hang out, very "trendy" gay area - bit like soho, expensive but loads of info on the gay scene. 

like salaam says get the washington blade.  there is not really a scene in bethesda but there is a scene in maryland, baltimore, but that is a bit a trek, even tho you are two minutes away from the dc/maryland border there. 

the bannana cafe is really nice, my head office used to be down the road from there. 

now I feel cravings for DC, as i have not been there for DC, after writing this.  Hoping to go in the next few months.  it would be great to catch up there - i can introduce you to my friends. 

love and hugs

jo bunny xxxx


 
I became the butterfly. I got out of my cocoon and I flew (Lynn Redgrave)

Offline Salaam

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Re: Bethesda/Washington DC
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2007, 04:22:21 PM »
Like many US cities, DC is a rather divided one in some ways.  The NW quadrant is seen as being largely comprised of white, more well-to-do neighbourhoods, while the SE one is seen as being largely African American and poor.  That being said, I've lived in three of the four quadrants over the years, and each of my neighbourhoods was reasonably diverse in terms of those who lived there, community resources, etc.

The housing market boomed just as I was leaving, and it has been escalating ever since.  As inevitably happens in such situations, the poorer get forced out of some areas economically while the better-off move in and "gentrify" neighbourhoods.  Unsurprisingly, as in other countries, the economic divide somewhat parallels racial divides, so the end result is often that African Americans are pushed out through this process. :(  I'm therefore a bit out of touch with what the situation is now, since it's changed rather a lot since I was there.

As a side point, personally, I think that the US does have a class system, although I think it's less obvious than that in the UK, and it's easier to work one's way up the class system in the US than it is in the UK (if one is so inclined and has a reasonable degree of success, that is).

The East and West Coasts are somewhat different, though, so it may take a bit of getting used to for you if you are accustomed to the California lifestyle.  Depends on which city, in a way - I think DC has a good deal in common with LA, as they're both "business" towns, in which the first question one is often asked is, "What do you do?" and much of what follows may depend on your answer to that question.

The frustration to me about DC was more the fact that the city and its residents are marginalised by the federal government.  It's not a state, despite the fact that it has a larger population than some other entities which are deemed states, and the feds can sometimes be frustrating in not letting the residents do what they want to do.  And the feds ultimately control its budget, so the buck stops there, so to speak.  One could perhaps understand it under some of the politicians who previously held office there, but it's not like incompetence and corruption has ever really caused other states to lose their status, as far as I can tell. >:(  Eventually, there must be full representation given to the city's residents.

And I work in charities, in particular in the field of international human rights.  I'm American - if one lives in the US and works in that field, it's likely one will end up in DC at some point.

S
"You're a witness.  You're always standing around watching what's happening, scribbling in your book what other people do.  You have to get in the middle of it.  You have to take sides.  Make a contribution to the fight.  Any fight.  The one you believe in." ~~ Biloxi Blues, Neil Simon

Tam

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Re: Bethesda/Washington DC
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2007, 09:13:40 PM »
Thanks Salaam and Jo:

I'm getting excited now as I've been offered a job, or rather a choice of jobs, in Bethesda and I haven't even applied yet!

Anyway, I leave for a conference in Montreal on Saturday then I'm driving down to DC.

I'm curious to know what my first impressions will be like, especially since now it's more of a reality that I could be moving out there.

I've printed your emails off and will definitely check out the places you mention.

I'll report back on my findings in a few weeks!

Thanks again,

Tam :)