''I grew up in Texas, I grew up scared for my life at times,'' says Joshua Vogelsong. ''I've had my life threatened, I've been beaten up – all that kind of stuff.''
So when it came time to name a regular punk-inspired dance party at the Black Cat nearly two years ago, the local promoter opted for the tongue-in-cheek, double-entendre moniker ''Gay Bash.'' Naturally, Vogelsong, who spins at the party as DJ Joshua alongside DJ Dean -- aka Dean Douglas Sullivan -- never expected the name to become literal.
''It's unfortunate the whole situation, just from all sides,'' Vogelsong says, referring to the assault on local drag entertainer Heidi Glüm the night of last month's Gay Bash. Of course, it's unlikely that the two women who attacked Glüm -- or the male videographer who filmed the incident and posted it to YouTube -- had even heard of Gay Bash. The altercation happened at Manny & Olga's takeout restaurant down the block after Glüm had finished performing at Gay Bash. But the incident shows, as Vogelsong puts it, ''what we are up against,'' particularly in the context of a recent spate of local anti-LGBT attacks.
For his part, Miles DeNiro, the man behind the drag persona Glüm, says the incident has inspired him to become more outspoken and active against bullying.
''This has really taught me that I can't be silent anymore,'' he says. ''If I see anything, and anything happens to anybody I know, I'm going to speak up and I'm going to do the right thing.''
Glüm will serve as the host at the July edition of Gay Bash next Friday, July 12, which will also feature a performance by Glüm's ''drag daughter,'' Rumor Millz. While originally considering incorporating the video of the altercation into a performance, Glüm now says, ''I really don't want to promote any more of what's happened.''
Instead, partygoers can expect a typical punk-inspired performance by this ''supermodel of the underworld,'' something like a cross between Heidi Klum and Courtney Love. ''I don't really talk,'' she explains. ''I just kind of look haughty and angry all the time.''
The next Gay Bash is Friday, July 12, starting at 10 p.m. Black Cat Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $5. Call 202-667-4490 or visit blackcatdc.com.