She.Rex: the best place to be on a Friday Night
Two weeks after moving to DC from San Francisco I was over it. I hadn’t seen one girl with a tattoo (or at least one that wasn’t a tramp stamp), the amount of khaki was overwhelming, and the “queer” party I went to was so terrifying I’d convinced myself I was an SF unicorn among a sea of DC ponies. But it was Friday evening and my ONE (gay) friend PROMISED me that the party he was taking me to that night would be better. I reluctantly postponed purchasing my plane ticket home and put on my dancing shoes.
Of course, we were painfully early and my fear remained. Until I noticed the DJs who looked sort of SF-esque, and I liked the music. A little after 11 girls started flowing in and by midnight both rooms were packed with the closest DC gets to dirty, queer hipsters, with tattoos. I’ve been a devoted follower of C.Rush, Coach Veee, and Junebullet ever since.
Of course, I’m talking about She.Rex, the monthly girl party (where boys are welcome at too) that started back in October 2009, on the same night Obama received the Nobel Piece Prize (only in DC). According to Coach Veee (aka Laura Varlas) the threesome met through community events like volunteering at Girls Rock! DC. When asked who’s responsible for making the party happen, Varlas asks: “Would this be the right time to thank *Steve Jobs?” But then she gets serious.
“Please don’t tell anyone that—aside from Facebook invites, set list preparation, and showing up with great attitudes—we don’t do a whole lot of work to put this together. People might get the wrong idea, like they could start their own dance party, wherever they wanted.”
Maybe this is why I love She.Rex so much: it never takes itself too seriously. Even the name “She.Rex” is proof of that. “Shelly, Maegen and I have a running contest to come up with the best all-girl cover band name for The Black Cat's annual Run-for-Cover show. She Rex was my idea for an all-girl T. Rex cover band, and it just fit as a way to describe a ladies dance night with a bit more muscle.”
The party is housed at Chief Ikes, in Adams Morgan and fits the She.Rex vibe perfectly. “The management and bartenders are really nice and laid back. The drinks are cheap, and the location is easy enough to get to. Plus the flavor pairing of Natty Boh, sweaty dance floor, and Chinatown Bus-caliber bathrooms cannot be beat.”
Of course, music is the most important ingredient for making a successful dance party. As a regular She.Rexer I’ve always appreciated the way the trio organizes their sets—first with a rock/indie-esque mix that flows into Top 40s, pop classics and random-anything-goes-last-call-songs. “We try for a mix of nostalgia, weird stuff, and new stuff,” explains Varlas. “It's the hardest easiest thing I've done -- sometimes you nail it, and hit the exact moment when everyone wants to hear ‘Islands in the Stream.’ Sometimes, you play the new Robyn song and not enough people know it and it turns out to be kind of boring.” Personally, I always remember the time ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ came on and an actual mosh pit ensued.
Like all great DJs the three of them also have their hands in a few other parties and happy hours throughout the city. Wood occasionally spins at Jimmy Valentine's Wet Girls with DJ K La Rock, “and we've all done Think of England, a ladies happy hour the first Friday of the month at Black Cat,” confirms Varlas.
So when’s the next She.Rex? TONIGHT, October 14. If you’re missing this party you’re missing the best place to be on a Friday night. So get there and mark your calendars: second Friday of the month. Count on it.