''For the longest time,'' says Charger Stone, ''people thought you couldn't go into Phase 1 unless you had a lesbian escorting you. And I get emails all the time about whether or not people can bring their lesbian friends to Bear Happy Hour.''
Of course gay men can enter the Capitol Hill lesbian institution Phase 1 sans women. And women can go to Town's Bear Happy Hour, which Stone runs through his DC Bëar Crüe organization. But a big reason people question how welcome they'd be at either venue is unfamiliarity and self-segregation. ''To our knowledge, there's never actually been a bear and lesbian joint party,'' says Stone, who decided to change that by teaming up with Karen Diehl, D.C.'s leading lesbian promoter of ''Ladies of LURe'' fame.
The result is the ''Bears vs. Babes'' party this Saturday, July 27, at the Brixton. Stone has previously held a bear event in the primarily straight hotspot across U Street from Nellie's Sports Bar. Meanwhile Diehl has previously organized a mixed LGBT event at the Brixton during National Police Week with Stone's partner Scott Gunn.
In other words, the Brixton is essentially neutral turf for both lesbians and bears. For the inaugural Bears vs. Babes event, music will come from three ''dueling DJs,'' trading off on the decks: Ladies of LURe DJ Dee Dub, DC Bëar Crüe DJ Jumbo Slice, and DJ Keenan, a DJ-about-town regularly spinning for parties catering to women and men, straight and gay. At some point there will be a ''dance-off'' between bears and lesbians, with the winning team earning a trophy. The Brixton will also offer happy-hour drink prices throughout the party, plus six $6 specialty cocktails -- though only the second floor, where all of the action will take place, with spillover on the Brixton's rooftop deck.
Stone says patrons can wear whatever they want -- even if they want to simply play up the stereotypes. Meaning there might be a lot of men and women ''in flannel and the shorts and the New Balance shoes'' -- especially for those lesbians who Stone says ''are pretty much just female bears anyway.''
''Hopefully,'' Stone continues, ''the party will kind of break down some of these walls and stereotypes, and help people to realize that we're really not so different.''
Bears vs. Babes is Saturday, July 27, from 5 to 9 p.m. The Brixton, 901 U St. NW. Tickets are $5, paid with cash or credit, in advance; or $8, by credit only, at the door. Visit bearsvsbabes.eventbrite.com.