Six Degrees of Splendor
Cherry Six in Washington, DC
by Matt Kalkhoff

The magnificent cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the temperature is slowly rising, and the boys are getting even friskier than usual. In other words, spring has sprung in our nation’s capital. The lively spring circuit season officially kicks into high gear the weekend of April 20-22 when thousands of revelers descend on Washington, DC for Cherry Six.

This volunteer-driven series of fundraising and community building events offers the opportunity to party with a purpose. Building on the almost $400,000 raised to date, proceeds from Cherry Six will benefit several important gay and lesbian charities. Among them are the Victory Foundation, which supports qualified gay and lesbian candidates running for political offices throughout the country, the HIV/AIDS program at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the Lambda Legal Defense Fund, and the Mautner Project for Lesbians with Cancer. Funds will also be earmarked again this year for Washington’s proposed Gay and Lesbian Community Center.

The little party that could has really grown up over the years. This past year alone earned Cherry an abundance of accolades within the community including distinguished honors from, and The sixth installment is once again perfectly poised to impress even the most discriminating party critics. A sensible three-day schedule offering six spectacular soirees even allows plenty of time to indulge in other guilty pleasures like sleep and sightseeing. Imagine the comfort of experiencing one of the nation’s top circuit weekends without pushing your body to its limits.

Start the weekend off right with a cocktail at one of the city’s local watering holes, and then make your way over to Insomnia for the Friday night welcome party. Local performance artist Aubrey will work the runway while New York DJ and Peter Rauhofer protegee Alex Lauterstein introduces the District to future house, a progressive blend of uplifting modern house and energetic underground vibes specially formulated by the South American sensation. Those of you who attended this event last year in the former Element space might remember the rainstorm on the dance floor (no, you weren’t hallucinating). Well, leave your umbrellas at home because the air conditioning now reliably pumps out refreshingly frigid air. Numerous other aesthetic improvements are sure to leave you breathless as well.

The party continues well into the morning just a few blocks away with Tantrum at Zei Club. Velvet Nation’s resident DJ Angelo Kortez will be serving a hard-boiled set of high-energy tunes and a generous helping of hometown hospitality for breakfast. The Tantrum boys also have some special surprises in store for all you nocturnal troopers.

For those of you looking to squeeze in a last-minute workout before the main event, head over to Results, the Gym for the official Pre-Party Pump on Saturday. The tremendous turntable talents of local DJ Darryl Strickland will revitalize your routine and make those precious last reps much more bearable. Darryl has also mixed the Cherry Six CD in conjunction with event sponsor Centaur Music.

The Cherry committee tirelessly explored countless venues around town before finally deciding to once again hold the event at the dramatic Old Post Office Pavilion. A diverse selection of DJs was also carefully considered, but circuit phenom Roland Belmares ultimately won the coveted slot. Voted the Best Circuit DJ of 2000 by the readers of, Roland will shower the pavilion with a lighter mix of memorable melodies and awe-inspiring anthems. Circuit Mom will fly in from Chicago for her DC debut, and Ross Berger will brilliantly illuminate the massive room with a formidable arsenal of stunning visual stimuli to create a most awesome spectacle.

After the straight people clear out of Platinum, one of Washington’s most glamorous and beautiful nightclubs, the club will be transformed into an after-hours refuge for your early morning dancing pleasure. Rising circuit star Joe Gauthreaux will man the wheels of steel to ease the transition from Saturday night to Sunday morning with his southern charm and spirited sounds.

For those of you looking for a more profound experience this weekend, you might want to try 1Spirit2Dance on Sunday afternoon. Although not a Cherry-produced party, this spirit dance, which offers guests an opportunity to explore the spiritual side of the circuit in a nurturing and conducive environment, is officially sanctioned by The Cherry Fund. DJ Lawrence Needham guides you on your journey beginning at the Lizard Lounge. Destination: Unknown. Please visit for more information.

The burning question on everyone’s mind this year is, "Can the Cherry Six Closing Party possibly top last year’s over-the-top production?" We won’t really know until the following Monday, but the Cherry committee, Velvet Nation, and DJs Michele Miruski and Manny Lehman are sure going to try. Lighting director John Niederhauser and host Power Infinity will contribute their extraordinary talents to help accomplish this challenging mission. The program is a little different this year, though, with the party starting at 6:00 p.m. and ending at 2:00 a.m. (maybe slightly later, but only if you’re good). Michele will get the groove going first with Manny blasting the party through the roof sometime around 8:00 p.m. Plan to arrive as early as possible so that you can witness firsthand what everyone will be talking about for the next year.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again -- Washington is not just a stuffy city full of crooked politicians and their tired sex scandals; instead, it’s a dynamic party destination where you can dance like nobody’s watching while raising lots of money for your community. But fundraising organizations like The Cherry Fund are facing increasingly complex obstacles. Rising production costs and mounting health concerns are jeopardizing the future of circuit parties. In order to ensure their survival, please party responsibly and support the sponsors (like GayWired’s sister site, Dance 1) who make these valuable community building events possible.

For more information on Cherry Six, please visit Passes and tickets are also available through and locally at Universal Gear.

© 2001 Matt Kalkhoff

This article was featured at in April 2001