Happy queer New Year! Ring in 2019 in style, with our foolproof guide to getting the most out of your New Years Eve.
Marilyn Drew Necci | December 27, 2018
Another year is (almost) behind us, and considering all the depressing, ridiculous, and totally outlandish things we endured in 2018, I don’t think anyone can blame you if you want a big old blowout to mark the moment when we close the books on this past year.
Have no fear, gentle reader, for GayRVA is here to once again deliver the perfect guide for the best possible LGBTQ RVA New Year. Forget taking half-day trips to freeze your tootsies off in Times Square; the best possible way to spend the evening is right here in your hometown, where you’ll be able to avoid that depressing moment when you greet the sunrise in the front seat of your best friend’s Forester, with your party outfit still on and glitter still stuck to your cheek by last night’s champagne residue.
So hey, let’s avoid the whole sordid mess, party right here in town, and collapse into our beds while it’s still dark outside, as God intended.
PLF Presents Decemberween 13 at Diversity Richmond
Party Liberation Front‘s always been your go-to for fire-spinning, crazy mobile art installations, and other Burning Man-inspired attempts to keep the artistic approach to life alive all year round, through even the coldest winter months. To that end, they’ve been throwing their annual Decemberween party on New Years Eve for over a decade now, and this year sees them return to Diversity Richmond once again with this spectacle, which promises to bring the spirit of Halloween to the frolic of NYE.
Even if you’re used to the over-the-top spectacles PLF present on a regular basis at Gallery 5 and other haunts around town, you might need to catch your breath a bit for this one, because it is just totally beyond. Live bands, DJs, and a massive dance floor will keep the indoors bumping and grinding all night, while outside, there’ll be a huge outdoor pyrotechnic area featuring a plethora of fire-related performance artists and explosive extravaganzas.
The PLF may not be explicitly queer in their mission statement, but they’ve always been overtly LGBTQ-friendly, with a liberation agenda that includes equal rights and celebrations for all. Therefore it’s no surprise to find multiple LGBTQ acts on the bill at Decemberween, from RVA disco-punk faves Toxic Moxie to Brooklyn DJ and Tropic Of Bass co-founder Illexxandra. Rest assured, queers of Richmond — you will be welcomed with open arms at this one!
Tickets are $40, but you get so much with that price, it really amounts to a bargain. Along with admission, your ticket entitles you to a drink ticket for a midnight toast, free photobooth prints to preserve your killer outfits for posterity, and a raffle ticket that gives you a chance to win two excellent overstuffed gift baskets worth over $500 apiece. All that plus performances from Toxic Moxie and surf-punk crew The Embalmers, a nonstop-bumping dance floor courtesy of over a dozen killer DJs, fire performances from stars like Luciole Liberation and Dragoonis Flame, along with fire sculptures, adult beverages, and food courtesy of Goatacado… It’s a lot.
Our Eternal Favorites
As you’d expect, the gay clubs of RVA are throwing big ol’ New Years Eve get-downs as well. You may end up at one or more of these places on a near-weekly basis, but this is far from just another weekend night (in fact, it’s not even a weekend at all — but you know what I mean). In particular, our friends at Fallout are doing it up with their New Years Masquerade, which you must wear a mask and don “formal or fetish dress” to be allowed in.
Some of you may know that Fallout is also a members-only private club with a focus on fetish and kink, so yes, you will need to get one of your friends who is a member to get you in — although you can also contact the club on facebook to secure a one-night pass if you’re in need. You will be able to enjoy a packed dance floor with music provided by a coterie of Fallout’s usual suspects, plus a champagne toast at midnight, and of course all of the amazing outfits and people-watching that Fallout always provides. It may not be for everyone, but if it’s your type of thing (and I know for quite a few of us it is), this is the place to be on NYE. More info here.
Over at Babe’s, they’ll be presenting their “New Years Eve Gaylala,” which sounds fabulous. Featuring “heavy hors d’oeuvres” (which is enough to pique my interest right there) as well as party favors and a champagne toast, this dancefloor throwdown extravaganza will cost you $20 to get in, and is happening at 3166 W. Cary St in Carytown (as if you didn’t know). Find some additional info here. Barcode, located at 6 E. Grace St, will have some New Years Eve festivities as well, featuring DJ Amy on turntables and plenty of party favors, as well as a champagne toast and — always appealing — free admission. More info on this one here.
Not all of us want to spend New Years Eve partying til we puke, so if you’re looking for a more sedate good time — one you can experience seated, and/or without earplugs — there are a few options for you to check out as well. Over in Scott’s Addition, Richmond Triangle Players will be presenting two cabaret performances from well-loved veteran RVA performer Scott Wichmann, who’ll be presenting a show entitled “A Very Good Year.” Wichmann, who is known for roles as diverse as Leo Bloom in The Producers and Charlotte van Mahlsdorf in I Am My Own Wife, will be backed by a trio featuring his longtime music director, Ryan Corbitt, on piano.
This performance should be full of lovely songs that’ll send you into 2019 on a high note — and one thing’s for sure: we all need something like that. Tickets for the early show are sold out, but the late show, which starts at 10:30 and runs right up til midnight, still has a few available for $65 apiece. Grab yours at rtriangle.org, and tell ‘em GayRVA sent you.
We also recommend that you check out the goings-on over at Coalition Theater, which will be ending the year with a comedic performance that’s been given the memorable title of Suck It, 2018! This “New Years Eve sketch comedy blowout” features a wide variety of Coalition regulars, all giving you reason to laugh one more time about the follies and foibles of the year that is drawing thankfully to a close.
This event kicks off with an 8 PM cocktail hour featuring hors d’oeuvres and drinks; then the show gets rolling at 9. After the show, there’ll be music and dancing into the wee hours, complete with a photobooth and party favors galore. You can get in for the party starting at 11 PM for only five bucks, but this one is really all about the show, so plunk down the $30 admission price over here and spend your evening at the Coalition Theater, which is located at 8 W. Broad St.
What are the straights up to?
Sometimes it’s entertaining to see how the other half parties. You can certainly do that in a wide variety of places this year, but if you still want to spend a properly glamorous evening out despite being surrounded by boring breeders, The Hof has you covered. They’ve managed to book Jerome “Bigfoot” Brailey’s P-Funk All-Stars, which is a collection of funk warriors who’ve done time in George Clinton’s multiple legendary groups, but no longer run with Mr. Atomic Dog himself. Fear not, all of these funksters know how to light up a dance floor with the classics you know and love — it’ll be well worth the trip.
The Hof has four different party spaces spread over three different floors, so there’s plenty to do all around this place, and you’re sure to avoid boredom regardless of how many hours you spend on the scene. There are complimentary hors d’oeuvres (a term I’ll never misspell again after writing this article) available in the Taproom, along with music from DJ Corey Axt, as well as coffee and desserts after midnight. DJ Ninkendo is on the decks in The Dark Room. The Loft is where Bigfoot Brailey’s P-Funk All-Stars and special guests Black Masala will enthrall the crowd. And you can expect some sort of surprise guest to hit the rooftop (assuming it doesn’t rain or, god forbid, snow).
There’ll be a balloon drop at midnight, and in the meantime, you won’t have to worry about waiting at any overcrowded bars, since there are four spread all over the space and you’ll always be able to belly up to at least one. There’s an open bar til 10, and if you upgrade to VIP for a few bucks more, it stays open for you all night! Tickets start at $50, and can be purchased here. The Hof can be found at the gateway to Scott’s Addition, on West Broad St just west of Boulevard. Hit em up.
If you want nothing more than to see some killer bands on your New Years Eve this year, we’ve got the hookup for that too. Gallery 5 is the place you need to be if you want to experience a wide variety of genres from a bevy of local talents. Piranha Rama is heading the evening up with their “unique and lushly instrumented take on lounge-inflected retro-surf indie pop,” as I wrote over at RVA Mag yesterday. If you read that column, you know what else I’m gonna tell you here, so let’s keep it short and sweet: excellent hip hop from Chance Fischer and Dr. Millionaire, electro-goth awesomeness from Dazeases and Ghost Piss, champagne toast at midnight, photobooth, glitter, tears… everything you want from an end-of-year bash and then some, in other words. This jam is $15 at the door, but only $10 in advance, so go here and order your tickets now!
If goofy covers and wild times are more your speed, we’ve got a couple of New Years Eve shows you should check out on that tip as well. The Broadberry‘s bringing back Richmond’s tried-and-true yacht rock faves, Three Sheets To The Wind, for their annual New Years Eve Anchor Drop. Three Sheets, along with their pals the Roaring Cape Horns, are your best bet for Michael McDonald and Toto covers done with panache and derring-do. Tickets for this one are $35 to start, and you can upgrade to VIP for a few bucks more — order here.
Not to be outdone, The National‘s got a tribute party of its own on tap, bringing us the Bayside Tigers’ exuberant take on the music of the 90s, from Lit to N’SYNC. This party’s gonna go all night, what with DJ GHOZT spinning the tunes on the wheels of steel after the Tigers finish up, and taking you all night long and into 2019. Tickets for this one start at $22, and can be obtained right here. Get it happening!
Maybe all these parties, shows, and events are a bit much for you. Maybe you’d just like to get some friends together for a good time in a comfortable environment. Well, not to worry, we’ve even got a tip for you! Over at Midlothian’s King Pin Lanes, they’re running an all-you-can-bowl deal on New Years Eve — it costs just $20 a person to reserve a lane for five hours, from 8 PM til 1 AM, and bowl til you drop! They may not be expecting a pack of queers to roll up in their bowling alley, but what the hell — glam up the suburbs and roll! They’ve even got the party favors and champagne toast you’ll find at all the wild clubs, and some cheap drink specials if you show up on time. You can reserve a lane of your own by emailing ReserveMyLane@gmail.com.
I hope not, because I’m at my word limit! Have a great New Years Eve, everyone, and we’ll see you on the dance floor!
Top photo: Outdoor fireworks from Decemberween XII by Elizabeth Swider