"I do see people, I guess, being more beard-positive," David Brown says with a laugh. "I think people kind of understand what the term 'otter' means now."
This Friday, Oct. 4, Brown will throw the second anniversary bash of his first-Fridays monthly party at the DC Eagle, called "Otter Crossing," which is geared toward hairy gay men, slimmer than bears, and their admirers. But the party was always intended to appeal to everyone, hirsute or hairless. "The whole purpose of the party in the first place was to bring people together," Brown says, "to break down some of those barriers that exist between different parts of the gay community."
Otter Crossing at The DC Eagle
(Photo by Ward Morrison)
In two years Brown feels the crowd has gotten both more diverse and more comfortable. "Every month we still have new people coming in," he says. "It's their first time at the event, their first time at the Eagle. When we first started I think some of the Eagle regulars were weary of the new folks. Now I think it's well-integrated and everyone really enjoys hanging out with each other."
Brown is especially proud of the charitable tie-in to the party. In two years Otter Crossing has raised about $10,000 for charity, donated to local nonprofits including the HIV hospice Joseph's House in Adams Morgan and Whitman-Walker Health. Brown also singles out the way the party subtly gives attention to local DJs. Since the Eagle doesn't have a license allowing live DJs, Brown requests pre-recorded "otter track" sets from DJs as diverse as Bil Todd, CTRL and Tommy Cornelis, who will supply the tunes for the second-anniversary party.
This Friday's festivities kick off with free drinks from 9 to 10 p.m., and all night long the gay Washington Scandals rugby team will offer alcohol shots in exchange for donations. The party also sees the return of the Best Beard competition, with the winner, picked chiefly by audience vote, earning $75.
You can't get more beard-positive than that.
Otter Crossing's Two-Year Anniversary is Friday, Oct. 4, starting at 9 p.m. The DC Eagle, 639 New York Ave. NW. Call 202-347-6025 or visit dceagle.com.