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Time to Freak Out for DC Black Pride

An interview with freak OUT organizer Alissa Hall Perine



One of the best things about being queer in the chocolate city is that time of year when the snow is as good as gone, the neighbors are playing go-go music, and DC Black Pride invites start rolling in. One of my favorite events is freak OUT, the quaintly queer tea dance that always leaves me exhausted from shaking what my mama gave me. While chatting with freak OUT organizer Alissa Hall Perine she shared the event’s story as well as what we can expect from this year’s festivities.

What in your opinion is essential for a successful tea?
Great music, drink specials, an accessible space and people who want to connect and have fun! We’re committed to creating the safest space we’re able to and are committed to anti-oppressive parties where we can each show up as we are.

How did freak OUT come to be?
DC Black Pride is one of my favorite weekends of the year. In 2008 I hosted a Black Pride brunch at my apartment and since then I’ve either hosted brunches or happy hours during the weekend. In 2012, I decided I wanted to do something different. When I lived in Seattle, I went to a tea dance every Sunday at a bar called Timberline Spirits. It was an incredibly inclusive space and the energy was amazing. I could dance all afternoon and still get a good night’s sleep. It was the highlight of my week. I wanted to recreate that tea dance experience and that’s how freak OUT was born. I teamed up with Amanda Hall Perine, Nora Rasman, and Jessica Rucker to plan the first event and we became team freak OUT.

Alissa Perine

freak OUT organizer Alissa Hall Perine

How long has freak OUT been going on?
The first freak OUT was held during Memorial Day 2012. That fall we hosted our second tea dance as a fundraiser for AIDS Walk Washington. Last year, we returned with freak OUT and had a special edition Halloween party called freak-or-treat. This Memorial Day, we’re thrilled to present three days of events!

What are your favorite things about DC Black Pride? What are your must-dos and must-sees for the week?
One of our favorite things about DC Black Pride is the convergence of so many phenomenal and dynamic people coming together to share, connect, and celebrate. We’ve had folks at our party come from all over the East Coast and Midwest, which has been really exciting.

My must see is DJ India’s musical ensemble on Saturday, which sounds pretty phenomenal and KrushGroove, our happy hour, on Friday at MOVA of course. A must do is to complement your parties with informational sessions, film screenings and live music.

What would you like tea goers to leave freak OUT with? More importantly, what will you be wearing?
We want tea goers to leave feeling full, happy, and with a new button. We’re committed to creating and holding space and work to create events that celebrate our communities. And of course, we want folks to leave a little tired, from all the dancing and conversations with new and old friends. I’ll be wearing jeans, t-shirt and a freak OUT button. I like to call my look “a dot com millionaire”.

Freak Out: Everybody Dance takes place Sunday, May 25 at Jin Lounge, 2017 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 4 – 8 p.m.