The ClubHouse (also known as the Clubhouse and the Club House) defined the DC style of house music and also became the focal point for the African American gay community's response to AIDS. It operated from May 1975 to May 1990 as DC's top African American dance club, but also drew a strong white and straight presence to its weekend dance parties. The club trained and employed a generation of DJs who carried the DC version of house music – a style of electronic music that arose in the 1980s, particularly in African American, Latino, and gay communities -- to urban centers around the nation. The ClubHouse was the third, and most successful, dance club project of the Metropolitan Capitolites, one of DC's earliest gay-oriented social clubs. In the segregated, white-dominated Washington social scene of the 1950s and 1960s, social clubs provided an essential entertainment and meeting space, as well as social networking opportunities, for African American gays and lesbians. During the 1980s the ClubHouse was instrumental, under the leadership of John Eddy, Morrell Chasten, and Audrea Scott, in creating an awareness of HIV and AIDS in the African American community. The club lent its space, mailing list, and organizing ability to the first (September 1983) forum for African Americans on AIDS, jointly sponsored with Whitman Walker Clinic. Less than 18 months later, ClubHouse staff organized a holistic health response to AIDS that became Us Helping Us, one of DC's most important African American AIDS education and support organizations. Us Helping Us met at the ClubHouse until it closed in 1990. The group celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2008.


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