District Fray Magazine // October 2021

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on the road with LUCY DACUS fall foodie FORECAST

10 killer outdoor WORKOUTS


38 | APRIL 2021


38 | APRIL 2021 39




5 October Calendar

30 Inner Loop Contest Winners

12 Communing with Holly Twyford

71 Indie Rock Artist Lucy Dacus

16 Karen Ann Daniels’ Next Act


Publisher robert@unitedfray.com



Editor-in-Chief + Director of Media monica@unitedfray.com

19 Fall Foodie Forecast

42 52 Local Trailblazers



Managing Editor andrew@unitedfray.com


35 In the “Lab” with Studio Sonic

23 New Cocktail Bar Jane Jane

68 10 Can’t-Miss Autumn Workouts



26 This Is 40: Wolf Trap’s Legacy

66 Monster Mash Illustration


34 October 2021 Cover Shoot

Behind the scenes with Studio Sonic’s Eliud Arbelo II + Pierre Edwards. Photo by Shaughn Cooper.



Editorial Assistant nicole@unitedfray.com


Editorial Designer julia@unitedfray.com


Key Account Manager tomroth@unitedfray.com


Senior Director of Events martin@unitedfray.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Trent Johnson, Colleen Kennedy, Travis Mitchell, Abi Newhouse, Rina Rapuano, Amanda Weisbrod CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Jamie McCrary CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS + PHOTOGRAPHERS James Coreas, Eric Dolgas, Rich Kessler, Benjamin Slyngstad COVER PHOTOGRAPHER Shaughn Cooper ON THE COVER Studio Sonic COVER LOCATION Top floor of the Naval Lodge in Capitol Hill


| OCTOBER 2021


TRAILBLAZERS. It’s the first Friday in September, and I’m standing with my team on the top floor of the Naval Lodge in Capitol Hill, watching the dynamic duo behind multidisciplinary creative agency Studio Sonic set up for our October cover shoot. For the first time in six-and-a-half years, I’ve relinquished the bulk of my creative control during a cover shoot and trusted Studio Sonic’s Pierre Edwards and Eliud Arbelo II completely with their vision. In collaboration with photographer Shaughn Cooper, they crafted the most meta cover we’ve had to-date by having Cooper capture them in their element as creators — setting up and adjusting lighting, reviewing the set, communicating about what to tweak or focus on — and then, striking power poses in the freshest of outfits while lounging in vintage teal auditorium-style seats. Cooper ingeniously combined some of his strongest images for our cover. He depicted Edwards and Arbelo exuding hustle as the always-in-motion artists they are, overlayed with images of them front and center in the antique blue seats, looking at the camera with a fierceness that commands attention and respect. On our shoot day, I’m joined by my editorial team and writer Colleen Kennedy, who penned a stunning cover story on Studio Sonic. We’re taking in the sounds of the duo’s “The Tail End of Summer” mix along with the visuals of the eccentric cover location that, in Kennedy’s words, is “saturated with Masonic symbolism.” It’s the perfect setting for contemplation, and acknowledgment of the trailblazing entrepreneurs in the District making, doing and creating around the clock. But our coverage of trailblazers didn’t end with Studio Sonic. We rounded up 52 locals, a mix of up-and-coming and wellestablished professionals who’ve carved out a niche for each of their respective hustles. I had the joy of speaking with the very understated, humble queen of D.C. theatre, actress and director Holly Twyford, about her upcoming production of “Becoming Dr. Ruth” at Theater J — as well as a myriad of fangirl questions I’ve been saving for two decades. I also chatted with Folger Theatre’s brand-new artistic director, the forward-thinking and multitalented Karen Ann Daniels. Amanda Weisbrod picked indie darling and Richmond native Lucy Dacus’ brain, Trent

Johnson waxed poetic about The Barns at Wolf Trap’s 40th anniversary and Rina Rapuano gave us her fall foodie forecast. Plus, outdoor workout classes to enjoy in the coming months, our friends and collaborators Inner Loop’s annual writing contest winners, new cocktail bar Jane Jane, another epic illustration from my favorite artist E$, and much more. Cheers to all of the trailblazers making waves in this city. I look up to you all and can’t wait to share more of your stories.


Behind the scenes of our October cover shoot at the Naval Lodge in Capitol Hill. FROM L TO R. Andrew J. Williams III, Monica Alford, Eliud Arbelo II, Pierre Edwards, Colleen Kennedy + Nicole Schaller.




RADAR | CALENDAR The heat of summer has lifted. Fall is here, and October in the city offers everything from porch concerts on picturesque streets to tequila-centered festivals to gambling for a noble cause. Skip the pumpkin spice and let our radar be your autumn go-to.



Walk through a neuron — the “thinking cells” of the brain — and witness first-hand the beauty of one of science’s greatest mysteries: the human brain. “Life of a Neuron” brings artists and scientists together for a groundbreaking collaboration to explore how the brain shapes the shared human experience. ARTECHOUSE is the nation’s first innovative art destination dedicated to the intersection of art, science and technology. Various dates. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. $24. ARTECHOUSE: 1238 Maryland Ave. SW, DC; artechouse.com // @artechouse


Reserve tickets for up to eight people for a night of beer, food and live entertainment at Bethesda North Marriott Lawn. Food trucks will be lined up to serve a variety of food, and those 21+ can get local brews to wash it all down. Seating will be available at a first-come-first-served basis for the live entertainment. Various dates and times. $15-$25. Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center: 5701 Marinelli Rd. Rockville, MD; pikedistrict.org; @pike_district // dcfray.com; @dcfray



The Georgetown BID is hosting their 18th annual Georgetown French Market October 1-3. This popular Parisian-inspired open-air market will feature sidewalk sales and specials from more than 25 locally-owned boutiques, cafés and galleries, plus French fare, a caricature artist, music, a strolling mime and more. Neighborhood restaurants will also offer specials and French fare, including sweet and savory crepes, grilled merguez sausages, pastries and macarons. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Free. Georgetown: Along Wisconsin Avenue from O St. to Reservoir Rd. NW, DC; georgetownfrenchmarketdc.com // @officialgeorgetowndc

10.1+10.15 MARKET SW

Southwest D.C.’s eclectic Friday night market returns with a diverse mix of art, crafts, handmade jewelry, accessories, bath and beauty goods, and vintage and antique furnishings. On stage, local musicians and DJs will curate a mix of live music and inviting evening soundtracks. Additionally, specialty food businesses, a fully stocked beer garden, a cigar lounge and select food trucks 6

| OCTOBER 2021

add to the programming mix. 4-10 p.m. Free. The Lot SW: 4th + M Streets in SW, DC; marketswdc.com // @diversemarkets



Every year, more than 50,000 visitors stroll down Mt. Vernon Avenue in Del Ray, Alexandria, between Bellefonte and Hume avenues. People are greeted by more than 300 artists (jewelers, woodworkers, pottery makers, soap crafters, glass makers, painters, sculptors and more), musicians and food vendors (hot dogs, BBQ, Indian, Mexican, pizza, crab cakes, homemade cider donuts and more). Kids activities are also a vital part of the festival — stuff your own scarecrow, paint a pumpkin, weave screen art, to name a few. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Free. Del Ray Neighborhood: Alexandria, VA; artontheavenue.org // @artontheavenuedelray


Join Mayor Bowser and D.C.’s Department of Transportation for the return of Open Streets 2021: the first in a series of Open Streets events across all eight wards to be held in 2021-2022. During the event, D.C. will close three miles of Georgia Avenue to cars, between Barry Place NW and Missouri Avenue. The corridor will be open to residents and visitors to walk, bike, run and scooter through, and visitors will have opportunities to support local businesses and participate in a range of activities. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Free. Georgia Avenue: Between Barry Place + Missouri Avenue in NW, DC; ddot.dc.com // @openstreetsdc


Join for the annual Adams Morgan PorchFest as live music takes over the neighborhood on over a dozen different porches, patios and stoops. The event will feature music from over 60 local bands. RSVP is requested, not required. 2-6 p.m. Free. Adams Morgan: NW, DC; admoporchfest.com //@admobid


Nigerian pop singer and songwriter Yemi Alade emerged in 2009. A native of Abia in southeastern Nigeria, Alade pursued her musical ambitions while earning a degree at the University of Lagos and released her debut single “Fimisile” later that year. The international 2013 hit single “Johnny” was included on her debut album, “King of Queens,” in 2014. A mix of reggae, R&B, rap, and Afro-pop, the album featured a number of collaborations between notable producers and guest artists. 6-9 p.m. $30. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; 930.com // @930club


During MPAartfest, McLean Central Park is transformed into a lively landscape of mini art galleries showcasing and NOTE: All descriptions courtesy of event hosts and edited for clarity.

offering for sale the work of juried artists from throughout the mid-Atlantic region. This event features contemporary art, live music throughout the day from some of the D.C.-area’s best musical talents, a Children’s Art Walk, food vendors and much more. Funds raised at MPAartfest via sponsorships and individual donations support MPA exhibitions and programs throughout the year. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Free. McLean Central Park: 1468 Dolley Madison Blvd. McLean, VA; mpaart.org // @mp4a


The Southeast Porchfest embodies the life and soul of D.C., spotlighting the region’s top emerging talent. It is an outing for the entire family, with its well-manicured lawns, tree-lined streets and super friendly residents, Penn Branch is the perfect choice for the 2021 Southeast Porchfest. 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Free. Penn Branch SE, DC; porchfestdc.com // @porchfestdc


The festival will once again showcase original artwork, prints, ceramics, silk-screening, bath and body care, jewelry, woodworking, textiles, leather goods and more, plus food for days, and 18 local bands will perform on three stages throughout the event. Come out and support your favorite local businesses, bands, artists and community groups as they celebrate 40 years of the festival. The festival will follow the most up-to-date state and county protocols relating to Covid-19 and large outdoor events, so check back frequently for updates. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Free. Takoma Park: Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park, MD to Carroll Street in NW, DC; mainstreettakoma.org // @mainstreettakoma


Couldn’t make the GMU screening of “In the Heights?” Visit La Cosecha to follow a New York barrio celebrating life, but also dreaming about a better one. Ticket includes food from either La Casita Puperseria or Las Gemelas. 6:45 p.m. $20. La Cosecha: 1280 4th St. NE, DC; lacosechadc.com // @lacosechadc

10.6-10.27 CINOMATIC

Reignite Your Wanderlust: That’s the theme for CiNoMatic’s 2021 weekly movie night series. Bring a picnic and let the movies transport you to faraway places. Screenings include “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Adventures of Priscilla,” “Queen of The Desert,” “The Farewell” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back.” 6-10 p.m. Free. Alethia Tanner Park: 227 Harry Thomas Way, NE, DC; nomabid.org // @noma.bid


comedians for a hilarious stand up comedy show presented at Busboys and Poets. This show is by women for ALL so bring your boo, your bestie, your boss, your babe (18+ please) and get ready for the laughs. 8-9:30 p.m. $10-$15. Busboys and Poets Takoma: 235 Carroll St. NW, DC; improbablecomedy.com // @improbablecomedy


Get your taste buds ready to try locally made hot sauces and help pick the winner. Then, enjoy all you can eat Rocklands BBQ/pig roast and delicious sides as well as unlimited beer and wine. This event is kid and dog-friendly and will be held rain or shine on the covered patio. Similar to past years, judges will pick a hot sauce winner and crown a People’s Champion with prizes for first, second and third place. 5:30-8 p.m. $40$45. ROCKLANDS Barbeque and Grilling Company: 3471 Washington Blvd. Arlington, VA; rocklands.com // @rocklandsbbq



Down in the Reeds is a fall gathering that brings together a mosaic of entertainment and activations reflective of D.C.’s cultural diversity and in celebration of the healing power of music. The ability of music to heal at the micro and macro level is one of music’s fundamental characteristics, bridging race, culture and socio-economic status across all Wards. This one-day celebration seeks to highlight that common experience through performances from some of D.C.’s most vibrant musicians as well as workshops, arts activations, community and family engagement and more. 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Free. The Parks at Walter Reed: 1010 Butternut St. NW, DC; downinthereeds. com // @downinthereeds


Georgetown Half Marathon route is flat, scenic, and offers beautiful views of the Potomac river. Enjoy a lovely day on the C&O Canal Towpath and see displays about the historic C&O Canal both before and after the race. Walkers welcome. Proceeds from the race will help to support girls’ education in rural Kenya and Nepal. 8 a.m. $100. Fletchers Cove: 4940 Canal Rd. NW, DC; safetyandhealthfoundation.org // @safetyandhealthfoundation


Roar into the ‘20s and honor Lucky Dog’s lifesaving work. Test your luck at craps, roulette, blackjack and the money wheel, while enjoying great music, delicious food, specialty drinks, a silent auction and an end of night raffle. Best of all, the night is dedicated to raising funds to continue saving the lives of more lucky dogs and cats. 7-11 p.m. $125. Lucky Dog Animal Rescue: 5159 Lee Hwy. Arlington, VA; luckydoganimalrescue.org // @dcluckydog


This is a standup comedy show we can all enjoy. The Mother of All Comedy Shows brings together amazing local and regional FIRST PAGE. Photo courtesy of ARTECHOUSE.






The DC Polo Society is hosting their last edition of Summer Sundays. Come by to watch some polo matches, enjoy the complimentary bottle of wine provided with your reservation, and enjoy the summer sun while it still shines. 2-5 p.m. $125$200. Congressional Polo Club: 14660 Hughes Rd. Poolesville, MD; dcpolo.com; @dcpolosociety // dcfray.com; @dcfray


Join Cultivate the City’s interactive workshop and discover the art of making hot sauce from one of Cultivate the City’s lead farmers. Learn about some of the secret ingredients that make their way into most of their sauces and the flavor profiles of different peppers, how to best balance the heat, and make sure your hot sauces are sustainable and shelf-stable. 2-5 p.m. $30. Virtual. cultivatethecity.com // @hstfarms



Jump into an exciting, educational and enthralling treasure hunt with this year’s iteration of the District Hunt. This year’s theme revolves around the environment and climate, leading players through an engaging storyline that combines both learning and leisure. Various times, dates and locations. gamegenius.org; @gamegeniusdc // dcfray.com; @dcfray


Hear from authors and illustrators who amplify voices from across Latin American and Latinx communities for young readers. Open to families, educators and students — and anyone else interested — to celebrate Latinx voices, new and old. 6-7 p.m. Free. Virtual. loc.gov // @librarycongress


Mark G. Meadows is a man on a mission to create a unifying sound that breaks through social barriers. Come see him bring his unifying sound, harmonizing pop, gospel, R&B, hip hop, funk, and jazz to Comet Ping Pong’s Fall Outdoor Music Series, alongside Deacon Izzy and Bria Beddoe. 7 p.m. $20-$80. Comet Ping Pong: 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; cometpingpong.com // @cometpingpong



Gypsy Kitchen DC and Manor Hill Brewery are coming together to host a delicious five-course dining experience. The beer selections will be provided by Manor Hill Brewery, Howard County’s first brewery. 6-9 p.m. $75. Gypsy Kitchen DC: 1825 14th St. NW, DC; gypsykitchendc.com // @gypsykicthen_dc 8

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Join DC Fray and Union Market for free, in-person bingo on Tuesdays. We’re following CDC guidelines to ensure you feel safe, while having a great night playing bingo and winning prizes. DC Fray and Union Market will provide the host, the bingo materials (daubers too), and the awesome prizes for you to win. Safely get out of your house and jump back into fun with DC Fray. 6-7 p.m. Free. Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; dcfray.com // @dcfray



Tysons Corner Center and DC Fray have partnered together to bring a culture of fun and fitness to all with our monthly Tysons Fit Club. Fit Club helps attendees achieve their fitness goals one class at a time. Classes will be held on The Plaza at the green grass eclipse. This iteration of Tysons Fit Club features glow yoga. 6:15-8:15 p.m. Free. Tysons Corner Center Plaza: 1961 Chain Bridge Rd. Tysons, VA; tysonscornercenter.com; @shoptysons // dcfray.com; @dcfray


Potomac Social presents free Live Bar Bingo this fall. Join DC Fray and Potomac Social Tavern for free, in-person bingo on Thursdays. Join for complementary bingo materials, free prizes and fun-filled evenings. 6-7 p.m. Free. Potomac Social Tavern: 1480 Crystal Dr. Arlington, VA; potomacsocialtavern.com; @potomacsocialtavern // dcfray.com; @dcfray


DC Fray and Figleaf Bar & Lounge at Hotel Zena have teamed up, and they’re inviting you to put the phones down and come ready to meet your new mate the old fashion way — in person. They’ve locked down three Thursdays over the next three months to help you find your new boo-friend just in time for the holidays. All you have to do is show up dressed in your favorite head-turning attire and get your mingle on. 6 p.m. $17.50. Hotel Zena: 1155 14th St. NW, DC; figleafdc.com; @figleafdc // dcfray.com; @dcfray



The All Things Go Music Festival is moving to a new and improved Merriweather Post Pavilion in 2021. This year’s festival is expanding to two stages with 16 artist performances. Enjoy music, art, food and friends in the stunning forest setting of Merriweather’s Chrysalis Stage. With a wide selection of local and international beers on tap, you’re sure to find just the right drink for you; enjoy a brew with friends while vibing to your favorite music. Pick from a delicious selection of drink and food choices, which include vegan, vegetarian and glutenfree options, or get away from the everyday and have fun with friends at our festival photo booths, art installations and other activities. 12 p.m. $89.50-$225. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; allthingsgofestival.com // @allthingsgo


Specially curated wineries serve patrons tastings over a multisession, all-day, all-night vino experience. You’ll have the chance to sample premium wine to your heart’s content, while live entertainment keeps the party lively during this one of a kind experience. VIP admission means you’ll gain early access one hour before the crowd, so you’ll have more time to sample and mingle. 12-10 p.m. $35-$60. Dock 5: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; dcwinefest.com // @dcwinefest


Lost Boy Cider is hosting their first ever Oktoberfest Festival. Five different breweries will be on tap: Port City Brewing, Black Narrows, Vasen, Right Proper and Aslin Beer Co. Tickets include 3 -12 oz pours in a commemorative Oktoberfest mug, pretzel from Chewish Deli upon arrival, additional discounted drink tickets, $5 October Explorer Series cans and access to our authentic Beer Hall garden. There will be a food truck on site throughout the day. Costumes are encouraged. 12-6 p.m. $63.78. Lost Boy Cider: 317 Hooffs Run Dr. Alexandria, VA; lostboycider.com // @lostboycider

10.16 + 10.17 TACO, BEER + TEQUILA FEST

Come by the National Harbor for two days of the 2021 Taco, Beer, & Tequila Festival. New this year is the Guacamole Pavilion with fresh and hand-made guac to enjoy along with the region’s best taquerias and taco trucks. Plus, enjoy the Churros and Chocolate Pavilion for dessert. Unlimited wine, beer, tequila, cider, and soft drinks included in your ticket (must be 21 years of age to attend). Choose from eight margarita bars and a tequila pavilion while listening to live music. One hour early VIP admission. 12-5 p.m. $34-$75. Southpointe at National Harbor: 802 National Harbor Blvd. National Harbor, MD; nationalharbor.com // @nationalharbor



Philadelphia’s Sam Cook Parrott will provide an intimate performance of songs from his acclaimed indie rock band Radiator Hospital at Comet Ping Pong’s Fall Outdoor Music Series. Food and drink will be available for purchase from Comet Ping Pong and Buck’s Fishing & Camping. 7-10 p.m. $20-$80. Comet Ping Pong: 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; cometpingpong.com // @cometpingpong



The annual fundraiser returns to the LINE’s rooftop with libations and bites from some of the city’s most acclaimed chefs. Take in the views, participate in the auction, and enjoy the outdoor event while raising money for a good cause. 6-9 p.m. $150-$250. The Line Hotel Adams Morgan: 1770 Euclid St. NW, DC; freshfarm.org // @freshfarmdc


The Washington Ballet’s Opening Performance Celebration at the National Building Museum will feature the artists in celebrated, classical roles as well as exclusive works. Various dates and times. $80-$110. National Building Museum: 401 F St. NW, DC; washingtonballet.org // @thewashingtonballet



A monthly happy hour hosted by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Join for conversation that covers small business, restaurants, art, entrepreneurship, politics and more. The event is hosted by Celeste Beatty, founder of the Harlem Brewing Company, and Kendra Woods of Sylvia’s Restaurant. Various dates and times. Free. Virtual. nwma.org // @womeninthearts

10.21-10.23 HASAN MINHAJ

The comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and television host makes his Kennedy Center debut. Hasan Minhaj is back with a brand new one-man show, “The King’s Jester.” Minhaj returns to his storytelling roots four years after the global success of his Netflix comedy special “Homecoming King,” which garnered rave reviews and won a 2018 Peabody Award. Various dates and times. $45-$179. The Kennedy Center: 2700 F St. NW, DC; kennedy-center.org // @kennedycenter



Arte Agave is a unique celebración of fine agave spirits + arts + entertainment inspired by the richness of Latinx culture. There will be more than 100 varieties of Agave spirits to sample, including Casa Noble, Wahaka Mezcal, Tanteo, Ilegal Mezcal, Patrón, Revel Avila, Maximo Mezcal and more. Learn the art of making agave inspired cocktails, while enjoying traditional Baile Folklórico performed by Corazón Folklórico. 6-10 p.m. $75-$90. The Schuyler: 1001 14th St. NW, DC; theschuylerdc.com // @theschuylerdc


New York born Puerto Rican MC, singer, songwriter, and activist is coming to The Fillmore in Silver Spring. They’re touring in support of their newly announced “BLOOM” EP, as a part of the aptly-named BLOOM tour. 8 p.m. $35-$110. The Fillmore: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; fillmoresilverspring.com // @fillmoresilverspring






The Ivy Foundation hosts the Drive by Crab Feast, a golden opportunity to enjoy a few dozen crabs. A Covid-safe event, the crabs will be available for pick-up with a time-slot ticket purchase. 2 p.m. $65. Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ: 4704 13th St. NW, DC; ivyfoundation.org // @ivy_foundation


London-based, American-born rapper and singer Ashnikko will be performing at The Fillmore as a part of The Demidevil Tour. Her tour is in support of her 2021 release “DEMIDEVIL,” which includes her smash-hit “Slumber Party” with Princess Nokia. 6:30-9:30 p.m. $27.50. The Fillmore: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; fillmoresilverspring.com // @fillmoresilverspring

10.27 COCO

Another edition to NoMa’s new CiNoMatic outdoor film series. Following the “reignite your wanderlust” theme, enjoy a cinematic trip to Mexico through “Coco,” the heart-bending newage Disney classic. 9-11 p.m. Free. Alethia Tanner Park: 227 Harry Thomas Way NE, DC; nomabid.org/cinomatic/ // @noma.bid


Enjoy Halloween yoga on the rooftop of The Energy Club — under the moonlight. DJ Thunder Bunny will play the sounds of Halloween to set off the Halloween scene. Costumes are strongly recommended, but not required. 6:30-8 p.m. $25. The Energy Club: 2900 South Quincy St. Arlington, VA; eatyogadrink.com // @eatyogadrink



Haunted Hops will host a spread of Halloween-appropriate fun, with more than 50+ craft beers, ciders, plus live music, artisans and more. Enjoy some local dining and drinks while soaking in some live entertainment. General admission tickets feature two hours of unlimited sampling of the provided beers and ciders. Various times and dates. $49.99-$75.99. Hook Hall: 3400 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; hookhall.com // @hookhall_dc



Come wind down October with an oyster roast and a couple pints of cider. We’ll be pouring Midlanticky, a lemon sea-salt 10 | OCTOBER 2021

cider that pairs perfectly with oysters from Rappahannock Oysters. We’ll also have multiple other ciders on tap to choose from. Your ticket includes a dozen oysters and two pints of cider. 2-6 p.m. $40-$45. Supreme Core Cider: 2400 T St. NE, DC; rroysters.com // @rroysters


Have you ever considered having a Halloween party on a yacht? Turn your imagination into reality at the Black Pearl costume party. Between four decks and two DJs, there’s bound to be limitless amounts of fun to be had on-deck of The Spirit of the Washington. 11 p.m. - 2 a.m. $33-$69. The Spirit of the Washington: 580 Water St. SW, DC; nightlifedc.com // @vipnightlife__


The hit Broadway musical “Waitress” is set to hit the stage at the Capital One Hall this October. Come out to witness a story of growing out of a small town, a marriage, and more — and into something better. Starring Jennifer Nettles. Various times. $54.50. Capital One Hall: 7750 Capital One Tower Rd. Tysons, VA; capitalonehall.com // @capitalonehall



Join our nature and forest therapy guide in this two-hour program that encourages you to slow down and take in the National Arboretum through all your senses. Forest bathing, or shinrin yoku, is the simple practice of taking in the woods through the senses for health benefits. Our forest bathing walks consist of three “invitations.” While some people choose to walk extensively during this “forest bathing walk,” many others choose to sit and get to know specific areas of the collection. Each forest bathing walk will end with a modified tea ceremony — we will have small pre-packaged snacks to close the walk. 9-11 a.m. Free. US National Arboretum: 3501 New York Ave. NE, DC; usna.usda.gov // @fonarboretum


Do the Time Warp again with Events DC and fellow fans with the special limited-engagement tour hosted by the original ‘Brad Majors’ Barry Bostwick (“Oh Brad!”) on Halloween night this year. The screening of the original unedited movie will include a live shadow cast and, of course, full audience participation. Attendees will have the chance to take photos with Barry Bostwick and have personal items autographed. Costumes are encouraged for the extra special costume contest during the event. 8 p.m. $25+. Entertainment & Sports Arena: 1100 Oak Dr. SE, DC; eventsdc.com // @events







Join us on Saturday, October 9 for Lucky Dog Animal Rescue’s 8th annual Casino Night Gala! Try your luck at blackjack, roulette, poker or craps while enjoying great live music, food, speciality drinks, a silent auction and an exciting raffle to end the night. This year, we’re hosting both an in-person gala at the Sheraton Pentagon City in Arlington, Virginia and a virtual event for those who want to join in the lifesaving fun from the comfort of home. The best part? All of the proceeds will go toward saving the lives of at-risk and homeless dogs and cats throughout the United States. Get your tickets today.

www.l uck yd o gan imal r es c u e. o rg


HOLLY Holly Twyford, one of D.C.’s most prolific theatre actors, opens up about directing her peers, why she gets up in the morning and the entrepreneurial spirit.

WORDS BY MONICA ALFORD | ILLUSTRATION BY BENJAMIN SLYNGSTAD The first time I met Holly Twyford, I was 15. She was playing Viola in Aaron Posner’s production of “Twelfth Night” at Folger Theatre, and what felt like a moment of kismet in my teenage mind occurred. My parents, grandmother and I had been in the audience one evening, and we grabbed a post-show meal at Old Ebbitt Grill. Lo and behold, Twyford and her parents were in the booth next to us. My grandmother, an avid fan of the prolific D.C. actress, did not hesitate to go over and introduce herself. Thus began my several-decade, unapologetically open girl crush on Twyford. Fast-forward to January 2017, when the Northern Virginia native played Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” at Ford’s Theatre — also directed by Posner — and I had the opportunity to interview her over the phone about the complex, raw and in many ways, emotionally exhausting role she was tackling. I kept it very professional, with no mention of our chance meeting at Old Ebbitt, secretly reveling in the fact I was finally getting the chance to pick the brain of one of the District’s most beloved theatre performers. And a few weeks later, I sat in the audience at Ford’s, riveted by one of the most compelling performances I’d ever seen onstage. My respect, and my girl crush, grew exponentially. The second time I met Twyford in person, we communed at neighborhood coffee shop TCB in Shaw, near where she lives with her wife Saskia and daughter Helena. I’d reached out to interview her about her upcoming production of “Becoming Dr. Ruth” at Theater J, which runs through October 24. I was eager to sit down with her, this time from the perspective of director, as she’s at the helm of this remount. And after 18 months of missing human connection, my professional boundaries had waned slightly. I no longer cringed at the thought of sharing my unabashed admiration for her. If I’m being honest, I really wanted to hang out with her. Over the course of three hours on a warm September afternoon, we covered everything from how some of the stalwarts of D.C. theatre have survived Covid to the frustratingly taboo subject of post-partum depression. It felt like grabbing a cup of coffee with an old friend, and in some ways, it was. Halfway through our conversation, Twyford 12 | OCTOBER 2021

and I realized she spent the first five years of her life in the Falls Church, Virginia neighborhood I grew up in, and my grandparents lived next door to the parents of her childhood best friend. Though her family relocated to Great Falls when she was five, her connection to Lake Barcroft is what prompted my grandmother to say hi all those years ago. At 34, I now know my teenage notion of kismet wasn’t wrong.

“Becoming Dr. Ruth”

Twyford’s sterling reputation in the D.C. theatre world is undeniable. With four Helen Hayes Awards and 10 nominations under her belt, she’s spent three decades making waves at nearly every major theater in the area. The actress has always been a staunch supporter of the smaller black box theaters that have popped up in recent years, and is known for taking risks in embracing edgy subject matter and challenging roles. She’s a relationship builder, fondly speaking of the extended theatre family she’s formed over the course of her career. At this point, getting onstage with any combination of this family feels like a mini reunion where the actors simply have the best time. That, and they have the advantage of knowing each other so well that collaborations run almost seamlessly. Along with some of her more seasoned peers, Twyford has been shifting partial focus to directing. “[One] thing that’s been really cool to witness and be a part of is this generation of actors who are becoming directors,” she says. Twyford is quick to call out so many of her fellow actors and directors by name, a constant cheerleader for the performing arts scene in the District who is only interested in building up the artists around her. And when it comes to “Becoming Dr. Ruth,” she says there’s no way this production would be what it is without actress Naomi Jacobson. The pair has worked together many times over the years and built a close friendship, and both had the other in mind for this collaboration for the first run in early 2018. Twyford describes the October play as a remount of a remount, as the duo and their team had just started rehearsals in March of last year. They put a pin

DISTRICT DENIZENS | RADAR in that project and are eager to revisit it now with a renewed sense of purpose and pent-up artistic energy. “It’s really exciting to get back to it, and specifically with that show. It is about not just overcoming adversity but embracing it — all the things Dr. Ruth has gone through in her amazing life. [She] still came out with this abundance of joy. I’m sure for most of the people in the audience, it will be their first show coming back. That’s going to be really emotional.” Twyford gets a little choked up sharing this excitement with me, and her passion for Mark St. Germain’s depiction of the famous sex therapist’s life story is palpable. The 90-minute, no intermission, one-woman play, which earned Jacobson a Helen Hayes nomination in 2018, leads audiences through Ruth Westheimer’s incredible journey — from fleeing Germany to being a sniper in Jerusalem to juggling single motherhood and iconic sex therapist status in the U.S. She says it will resonate with everyone, because with such universal themes, how could it not? “There’s no getting around her personality and the joy of her discussing sex,” she says. “It’s hilarious. That’s one of the things that made what she did work so well, and she knew it. She knew, here’s a way to talk to people about sex. I’m this little, teeny older lady, and I’m talking about blowjobs. People started opening up. She also talks about family and overcoming stuff.” Twyford stresses the importance of not portraying Dr. Ruth as a caricature, like so many have done before. She notes a Robin Williams clip of the comedian imitating her, which, while funny, is not what this is about. “This is about the person behind that voice, who had a lot going on. And Naomi can’t not tell the truth.” She credits Jacobson with being one of the hardest working actors she knows, and someone who she enjoys peeling back the layers of a character with. “We can just keep digging at one little, teeny line: ‘What if it’s this? What if it’s that?’ It’s a great equation.” When it comes to how to breathe new life into the 2021 production after its former success, Twyford has a few ideas around what to tweak and where to go a little deeper. “I am playing around with making something about the fact that this is a play coming out just after this big crisis,” she says. “I don’t know what form that will take. I feel like it’s something that should be acknowledged. So, we’ll see what awaits there.”

Ikigai Like every other artist in town during the pandemic, Twyford has had to get creative and flex some new muscles — something she’s happy to do. She even recently applied for a gig at a local hardware store and included a letter listing all of the tools she knows how to use and things she’s Illustration of Holly Twyford as Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

built, but guesses the 30+ years of theatre credits on her resume might’ve impacted the final decision to hire someone else. However, she’s added a new skillset to her repertoire in the past year-and-a-half: teaching. Theater J Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr — or in Twyford’s words, “the brilliant, generous mensch who is Adam Immerwahr” — called her and asked if she’d be interested in teaching a Zoom class about acting. She says while it sounded terrifying, she thought, “Sure, I’ll give it a shot.” He extended this offer to a handful of actors and directors without much to do during Covid, and Twyford describes the experience as amazing. “It was really a great connection for the theatre makers to be making with the theatre lovers because those are the people who took the classes. I’d say, ‘What made you want to take this class?’ and they’d say, ‘I’ve been a Washington theatre fan for this many years and I love it and I love all the artists.’ That was a great emotional boost — not just about ego, but wow, we are connecting to people and we’ve made a difference in people’s lives.”   DISTRICT FRAY | 13

RADAR | DISTRICT DENIZENS Soon, the brilliant, generous mensch brought her an opportunity to teach in-person — specifically, to teach locals in their 80s and 90s. “It was just a kick,” she says. “I might have learned more than they learned. One of my students just turned 98 and another one was 94, and they would proudly say, ‘My birthday is on Tuesday.’ And damned if they didn’t dive right in.” Her class ended up being about building characters, which she jokingly says is really her only strong suit as a teacher. Each student was recorded on video and a screening is in the works for all participants. After The Washington Post wrote about her teaching endeavors, she received several calls expressing interest in working with her in a similar capacity. She’ll be teaching a comedy class at Theater J soon and is keeping her options open as other opportunities arise. She recalls a recent conversation about the health benefits of the arts, which reminds her of her recent students. “The reason Rose is 98 and Shelly is 94 is that they just keep learning. They’re sponges. One of the students in my class is learning the recorder, and in another class, another one was learning the violin. We all need to learn from that. We all need to say, ‘You’ve got to keep learning.’ There’s a Japanese word: ikigai. What it means is, essentially, “reason to get up in the morning.” And we all need that. They seem to have figured out they’re going to take every opportunity they can. That was inspiring.”

The Entrepreneurial Spirit When Twyford wasn’t busy teaching, she was navigating the new normal of performing via Zoom and digesting artistic content via livestreams. She maintained an impressively positive attitude about all of it, noting the experience of directing “Steel Magnolias” virtually for Ford’s Theatre. She found little ways to make the performance feel dynamic through the screen, like sending each member of her “dream cast,” as she put it, matching coffee mugs. Though many miles away from one another, the illusion of the actors passing the same mug around created an element of basic human interaction we all sorely missed during the pandemic. “I hope we can take some of the things [we learned] and continue on with them,” she says. “In one of the classes I taught at Theater J, I had a student in Massachusetts and a student in Australia. That was really cool. In a way, it made things much more global, and maybe also because we were all in the same f—king boat.” And while she appreciated being able to take in Shakespeare’s Globe productions she would never have the luxury of seeing without being in London, the flatness of the virtual experience also got to her. For example, how she felt when watching Bobby Cannavale and Marisa Tomei in a streamed reading of Jon Robin Baitz’s “Three Hotels.” “I watched it and they’re great, but they were in their little f—king boxes. I appreciate how you’re trying to work it. Marisa Tomei was getting up in her chair and doing stuff like that, and I was like, ‘Okay. That’s cool, but you’re still in a television screen to me.’ That’s hard.” She elaborates further, noting, “It’s not that being in front of an audience is a part of what theatre is. It is what theatre is. It is the experience — period. It can’t be replicated on Zoom.” In addition to “Steel Magnolias,” she participated in a virtual 14 | OCTOBER 2021

performance of Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual “Will on the Hill” fundraiser in June and directed a workshop of new play “The Upstairs Department,” debuting at Signature Theatre next spring. She also just starred in a 20-minute online radio play, “Laughter in the Shadow of the Trees,” which streamed through the month of September. She finds the experience of radio to be more dynamic, if forced to choose between that and a Zoom production or livestream. “The thing about radio plays is you have to use your imagination, even more so than in the theatre, and I think that’s what I love more about it. At a certain point [with Zoom productions], it was like, ‘Is it Zoom or is it just TV? Like, why don’t we just watch TV?’ To me, the radio was closer to theatre because I feel like it engages me more.” Twyford’s definitely interested in keeping radio plays in rotation, even as she ventures back out into the live theatre world. I express gratitude for her decision to remain in the D.C. area as she continues new pursuits. Not only has she helped put our theatre scene on the map nationally, she’s paved the way for up-and-coming actors who choose to stay here rather than “make it” in New York or L.A. You can make it in our city, too, and she’s living proof. She feels lucky to be here and says there have always been a lot of reasons to stay. She’s watched the theatre industry boom in the District, and remembers the days when there were only a few heavy hitters like the Kennedy Center and Arena Stage in the local performing arts world. Now, she hears from theatregoers all the time about how they switch up which spaces they subscribe to annually because they have so many options to choose from. And she’s watched artistic directors she’s formed lifelong friendships with bring new works and innovative adaptations to D.C. and make game-changing decisions for their theaters that have helped them keep pace with bigger cities. From stepping outside of her comfort zone for steamy scenes in “Sex with Strangers” and rare moments of bursting into song in “A Little Night Music” at Signature Theatre to commanding roles as Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and astronomer Williamina Fleming in “Silent Sky” at Ford’s Theatre, there’s no telling what you might see Twyford in next. We do know, however, that she’ll be joining forces with director Alan Paul next February in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of “Our Town,” in the role of stage manager with some of her favorite fellow D.C. actors. “I think Alan’s idea was this is our town — all of these familiar faces. That’s very exciting.” While there’s no bucket list, per se, she has several theaters in mind she’d like to work with in the future, as well as members of her theatre family she’d like to embark on new projects with. In the meantime? “I’ll see what the entrepreneurial spirit comes up with.” And as for me, I’m equal parts excited to be in the audience on opening night of “Becoming Dr. Ruth” and to catch up over our next cup of coffee. And the fact that I can do both is a joy and privilege. Learn more about “Becoming Dr. Ruth,” at Theater J from September 30 to October 24, at theaterj.org. Regular tickets start at $40. Theater J: 1529 16th St. NW, DC; 202-777-3210; theaterj.org // @theaterjdc

Photo by Drew Xeron.

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meet D.C.’s newest theatre powerhouse WORDS BY MONICA ALFORD

Folger Theatre’s new artistic director and director of programming lands in the District this October with a renewed sense of focus on accessibility and community in our performing arts landscape.

Karen Ann Daniels sees possibility in D.C. When the Folger Theatre tapped her as its new artistic director and director of programming this summer, the San Diego native was ready. “I’m hyper focused on community and activating the resources of major institutions,” she says. “D.C. felt like, ‘Oh yeah, we can do this. This is going to be a really amazing thing, especially with an institution like the Folger. There’s a lot of connectivity and healing that comes from doing this work.” Daniels steps into her new role on October 1 after several years as director of Public Theater’s Mobile Unit in New York and prior to that, six years as associate director of arts engagement at Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. The actor, director, playwright and musician has built a reputation 16 | OCTOBER 2021

for promoting accessibility within the arts and connecting underserved communities to the theaters she’s worked for. At Mobile Unit, she created the Hip-Hop vs. Shakespeare program for New York City’s correctional centers, and at Old Globe, she was responsible for implementing the Globe for All, coLAB, Community Voices and Reflecting Shakespeare programs. In all cases, her primary goal was to create universal opportunities for community members to experience the arts. Her move to the nation’s capital seemed like a natural evolution at this stage in her career because she views Folger as a place that wants to grow. The cultural institution’s hybrid role as both a theater and independent research library uniquely positions it — and Daniels — to build connections within the D.C. community.

DISTRICT DENIZENS | RADAR “What separates the Folger from the rest of the theatre industry is that it can slow its pace just a hair to examine why we do what we do, how we’re doing it and how we can be intentional about making small shifts. A series of small shifts [allows us] to become a little bit more dynamic [and] relatable. Then overall, [we can] start inviting more and more people into the storytelling and inform that storytelling by where we are and who we actually serve.” As Folger Shakespeare Library’s director of programming and Folger Theatre’s artistic director, respectively, Daniels is splitting her focus between two distinct channels of cultural connectivity. She’s eager to roll up her sleeves and get to work, which means letting new information soak in and listening very closely. “In my work, my practice is deep listening,” she says. “That’s what I spend most of my time doing before I start making choices. Initially, it’s going to be very much about gathering knowledge and understanding and creating relationships.” Relationship building within her team and the community at large is crucial, but so is getting to know her peers at other institutions. She says the presence of fellow artistic directors like Maria Manuela Goyanes of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Stephanie Ybarra of Baltimore Center Stage makes her new role that much more exciting. It’s this forward momentum and tangible energy shared among leaders in local theatre that helps motivate Daniels. She also wants to support the up-and-coming spaces that can benefit from the support of more well-established theaters. “I would love to look at smaller arts organizations and figure out, ‘Can we do things that are feeding back into the artistic ecosystem, and vice versa?’ So that [way], there’s a little bit more of enhancing our entire artistic community versus just making headway for ourselves. I’m all relationship-based. We want to set up these relationships so that it is a give and take, and there’s a back and forth [and] a trust we can continue to enhance and build. That can only happen in collaboration as a field.” Daniels uses Anacostia Playhouse as an example, and it’s clear she’s done her homework and knows who some of the key players — both big and small — are in D.C.’s theatre world. She’s just as quick to say she would rely on the Anacostia Playhouses of the area to help in Folger’s growth and connectivity, reinforcing the value of bringing a larger institution’s works and presence out into the community at a more intimate space. Some might find it stressful to start a new position for an institution currently undergoing major renovations, but Daniels is here for it. While Folger has a myriad of virtual readings, talks and screenings this fall and winter, its first physical production since Covid will be next July and August at the National Building Museum in the form of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In the meantime, the Folger will continue to transform itself, adding new public spaces for maximum community engagement. “Any time an institution has to press pause, there’s an immense opportunity to meet people where they are,” she says. “That is the number one goal at this time leading into producing again [and] reopening the building. It is about going back into the community and reintroducing ourselves — letting people know who we are, what we do [and] what’s here for them.” She says this is a great opportunity to throw out old

protocols, build new partnerships and “break it down to something introducible and palatable, and help people know we’re here and we’re here for them.” Daniels is particularly amped to activate National Building Museum next year for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The self-described huge museum nerd can’t wait to provide locals with this immersive experience in a new setting. She’s also looking forward to the outdoor presence of Folger’s new garden, immediately drawing on her SoCal roots with visions of mariachi bands performing and families exploring the space. “How do we make this place alive during the day? The theater is a very important piece of it, but we have this other mandate to activate and make these resources as accessible as possible. That’s the heart of a work in a theater, the heart of a work in a gallery. All of that work is about accessibility and [being] holistic in how we’re thinking about what we’re doing, so they [relate] to each other and aren’t working in isolation.” She takes a different approach to the idea of accessibility. From where she’s standing, she doesn’t see a lack of theatre, music or dance in other communities. Folger, or whichever institution she’s at the helm of, isn’t bringing anything to folks they don’t already know or understand. Instead, she’s welcoming folks into the theatre community she’s building and making it an experience they want to have. “It’s really important to understand what people actually need from us and then we can start to build that on-ramp to diversify who we reach and how we reach them,” she says. “We have control over how welcoming, inclusive [and] representational our work is by the choices we make day-today. It is about us saying, ‘You’re welcome here, and here’s the evidence.’ It [challenges] the thinking institutions must do in order to continue meeting all of our constituents in some way, shape or form.” While the bulk of her time will be spent settling into her new digs in the District and absorbing the city’s theatre landscape, Daniels hopes to also work on her original musical “The Ruby in Us.” Her 2019 play tells the story of 6-year-old Ruby Bridges, the first Black child to integrate a white elementary school in New Orleans in 1960. She worked in collaboration with a senior center in San Diego County, speaking with many of Bridges’ peers about the ripple effects of her actions. “A lot of the community voices in the musical are their stories about how segregation and integration impacted their lives,” she says. She hopes to bring the musical to D.C. at some point, and to “get it on its feet in a different way.” In the meantime, exploring the city’s cultural institutions (she’s particularly excited to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture) and ample green spaces after several years in the concrete jungle of New York are high on her list. But mostly, she’s just looking forward to the next chapter. “I’m just ready to figure out what life is in D.C.”

Learn more about Folger Shakespeare Library and Folger Theatre’s virtual programming and 2022 season at folger.edu and follow them on Instagram @folgerlibrary. Folger Theatre: 201 E Capitol St. SE, DC; 202-544-4600; folger.edu // @folgerlibrary





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Nothing feels more pre-Covid than obsessing over which new restaurant to try. Luckily, several restaurateurs and chefs are working hard to make sure there are plenty of fresh, new dining options. Here are 10 new spots to watch out for this fall and winter.

Bistro Du Jour

Opening early October KNEAD Hospitality + Design remained busy over the summer, opening a Mah-Ze-Dahr bakery outpost at National Landing, launching Mi Casa in Dupont and launching Succotash Prime, a “Southern steakhouse with an Asian twist.” The group is at it again with an all-day Parisian cafe at The Wharf, featuring Mah-Ze-Dahr pastries and espresso drinks in the morning, plus bistro classics like coq au vin, French onion soup, steak frites and foie gras from lunch through dinner. Look out for patio seating, brunch and a bubbly bar. 99 District Sq. SW, DC; bistro-dujour.com // @bistrodujour

Blue Rock

Opening fall 2021 When you’re feeling the urge for a road trip, book a table at the soon-to-open, equestrian-themed inn located in Washington, Virginia. You’ll find chef Bin Lu, formerly of Pineapple and Pearls and Bourbon Steak, serving a four-course menu of contemporary American cuisine. Reserve one of the gorgeously renovated guest rooms, indulge in the wine and spirits tasting room, and take in the picturesque 80 acres flanked by Blue Ridge Mountains by daylight. The dining room also features a stone fireplace and sunset views. 12567 Lee Hwy. Washington, VA; bluerockva.com // @bluerockvirginia 20 | OCTOBER 2021


Opening fall 2021 Named for the Hebrew word meaning “the place,” this modern kosher spot at the George Washington University Gewirz Hillel Center is fancier than your average fast-casual. Hamakom touts options like mission fig and tahini toast with maple butter and sea salt, or the BBQ brisket smoked in-house and served with cherry barbecue sauce, braised collards and vegan mac and “cheez.” You don’t need to keep kosher to appreciate a Nashville hot chicken sandwich fried in schmaltz and topped with pickles, slaw and a secret sauce — held together by a challah bun, naturally. 2300 H St. NW, DC; hamakomdc.com // @hamakom


Opening early October Chef/Owner Philippe Massoud brings his blend of modern and traditional Lebanese cuisine from New York’s Flatiron District to D.C. with his new outpost at The Wharf. Massoud spent a few years in D.C. working on the upscale Mediterranean eatery Neyla in Georgetown before moving to New York and opening the original ilili. The menu at ilili, which means “tell me” in colloquial Lebanese, will feature hot and cold mezza, plus entrees like Wagyu kebabs with bone marrow and caviar or panseared scallops with sunchoke chips, labneh tahini and pickled rhubarb. 100 District Sq. SW, DC; ililirestaurants.com // @ililirestaurants


Opening late September/early October Chef David Deshaies and restaurant partner Eric Eden brought us upscale diner food with Unconventional Diner, and now they’re

FIRST PAGE. Hamakom’s Nashville hot chicken. Photo by Danny Kim. THIS PAGE. Dishes from ilili. Photo courtesy of restaurant.

shooting for “glam Italian” with L’Ardente. Set to open any day in the Capitol Crossing development, the French-born chef says he and Eden were inspired by their love of Italian food and travels to Italy. Deshaies is excited for his team, who excels in the categories the menu will cover: grilled meats, veggies, pizza and pasta. Eden predicts, “I think our lasagna — it’s 40+ layers — is going to be a real crowd-pleaser.” 200 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC; lardente.com // @lardentedc

Mariscos 1133 Opening October

Sibling restaurateurs Jessica Solis and chef Alfredo Solis introduced many Washingtonians to the rich and varied cooking of Mexico with Anafre, El Sol and Mezcalero. They now plan to open a seafood-forward restaurant just a block or so from their original El Sol location that will serve ceviche, lobster and dishes found in coastal and island Latin communities. The menu will also include lechón caribe and oxtail dishes formerly served at the duo’s now-closed Cuban restaurant, Little Havana. 1133 11th St. NW, DC; website TBD


Opening in December Later this year, the former Montmartre space on Capitol Hill will be reborn as Newland, a new American restaurant from the team behind Beuchert’s Saloon and Fight Club. Chef Andrew Markert named the newcomer after the Baltimore street where he grew up. He’ll showcase local dishes and ingredients from his childhood, like crab and char-grilled steak, and will also pull from his background in Italian and French cuisine. As always, Markert and beverage director Mackenzie Conway will incorporate local and seasonal ingredients, including fresh pastas. 327 7th St. SE, DC; newlanddc.com // @newlanddc


Opening fall 2021 Chef Nicholas Stefanelli and his team at Creative Food Group are cooking up yet another downtown restaurant, hot on the heels of opening a third Officina. Instead of leaning into the Italian side of his family, as he did with Officina and Michelin-starred restaurant Masseria, Philotimo will play into his Greek side. The menu explores the culinary diversity of Greek food beyond the typical dishes we know (and love). 1100 15th St. NW, DC; philotimodc.com // @philotimodc

St. James

Opening mid-October At his upcoming restaurant at the corner of 14th and U Street NW, chef Peter Prime will continue to pay homage to the food he grew up eating. He Blue Rock Chef Bin Lu. Photo by Jennifer Chase.

plans to riff on those dishes more than at Cane, the first restaurant he opened with sister and business partner Jeanine Prime. “A lot of stuff will be inspired by the neighborhood in Trinidad we take our name from,” Prime says. “I’m going to give myself more freedom than at Cane.” The seasonal menu will include the iconic Trinidadian callaloo, which comes with a whole crab. “Our callaloo is going to be ridiculous,” he says. “I’m really excited to share it.” 2017 14th St. NW, DC; stjames-dc.com // @stjamesdc

Western Market

Opening late September This Foggy Bottom food hall spans a whopping 12,300 square feet and houses more than a dozen eateries. The first phase, which opened in late September, includes familiar names like Roaming Rooster, Capo Italian Deli, Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls and RAWish. Later this fall, expect exciting spin-off concepts like Tigerella from Ellē in Mount Pleasant and Sushi Onkei from Sushi Keiko in Glover Park, as well as newcomers Alitiko for Greek street foods and Nim Ali for Guatemalan street eats, among others. 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; westernmarketdc.com // @westernmarketdc   DISTRICT FRAY | 21



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39 | APRIL 2021



brings classic cocktails + southern hospitality to D.C. WORDS BY TRAVIS MITCHELL


Imagine the comforts of having friends over for cocktails: fun drinks, craveable snacks and good conversation in an inviting space. Now, think about hosting without needing to juice limes, preheat the oven or tidy up the bathroom. That’s the idea behind Jane Jane, a new cocktail bar from a trio of D.C. hospitality veterans. “We want it to feel like we’re inviting you to a cocktail party we’re hosting at our home, which just happens to be in a bar,” says co-owner Drew Porterfield, who created the space alongside husband Ralph Brabham and longtime friend J.P. Sabatier. Jane Jane opened in the mixed-use, historic Liz apartment building off 14th Street in Northwest, D.C. in late August. It’s inspired by and named after Brabham’s mother and her knack for welcoming house guests with an abundant spread of drinks and hors d’oeuvres. “As we always say, she’s never met a stranger,” Porterfield says. Jane Jane hopes to translate that easy Southern hospitality to D.C.’s bustling 14th Street Corridor. Attention to service is a focal point from start to finish. Guests receive a complimentary serving of mixed nuts as they 24 | OCTOBER 2021

browse the 30-something classic cocktails offered. The menu features both familiar picks, like the margarita, and lesserknown options, like the gin-based Corpse Reviver #2, made with lemon juice, curacao, cocchi americano and absinthe. Most drinks are priced at $14, and the bar makes syrups and ingredients in-house. A small selection of beer and wine is available as well. Sabatier, formerly of Rappahannock Oyster Bar, Maydan and Compass Rose, oversees the bar and cocktail program. Don’t expect any smoked glassware or elaborate preparations, though. Sabatier thinks keeping things straightforward will help to demystify traditional recipes. “We are just doing classics, and we’re doing them well,” he says. “We’re going to give some exposure to some of these drinks that not a lot of people know about.” Consistency is a big part of the equation. A Manhattan ordered up on a Tuesday evening will follow the same recipe as one made during a humming Saturday night, regardless of who’s behind the bar. All good cocktail parties have food, and Jane Jane’s snacks draw inspiration from Porterfield and Brabham’s Southern roots. The space isn’t set up for a fryer, so the kitchen offers

FIRST PAGE. 4th Regiment cocktail. THIS PAGE. Jane Jane interior. Photos by Jennifer Chase.

comfort bites in other ways like pimento cheese or pickled okra. Sabatier, who grew up in Puerto Rico, pitched in with his riff on French onion dip. “We needed to still fit into that whole bar style of food, which is very crunchy and salty,” Sabatier says. “You want olives, you want nuts, you want things both textural and easy to nosh on.” Customers may recall versions of these dishes from Dot’s Spot, a Southern pop-up brunch and breakfast restaurant the trio ran several years ago inside BKK Cookshop in Shaw. “All the food we made at that pop-up was amazing Southern breakfast stuff we grew up eating,” Porterfield says. Jane Jane’s 850-square foot space, designed by Edit Lab at Streetsense, embraces a warm, vintage feel, complete with seating nooks and lots of dark greens and wood tones throughout. Wallpaper is inspired by a 1950s Fornasetti illustration, and the back bar is outfitted with a plaid mosaic tile pattern. The 32-person capacity ensures an intimate evening. Like the rest of the experience, it’s made to feel like a home away from home. “We set off to create the bar we want to go to,” Brabham says. “I think we are creating something unique and new, but also nostalgic and fun.” Jane Jane is currently open Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. - 2 a.m., with the kitchen open until 10 p.m. Expanded hours, including Mondays, are also expected. In true D.C. fashion, a weekend brunch is in the works, with quiches and baked goods from pastry chef and Buttercream Bakeshop owner Tiffany MacIsaac. Seating is walkup-only. Proof of vaccination is required for entry. Jane Jane: 1705 14th St. NW, DC; 202-481-2166; janejanedc.com // @janejanedc



THIS IS 40 The Barns at Wolf Trap celebrates a legacy of intimacy in its 40th anniversary season.


In January 1982, the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts kicked off its first musical season at The Barns, as its more than 200-year-old wooden structures filled the role of full-time music venue. The Washington Post review by Joanne Sheehy Hoover described the building as a “merite un detour,” or something worth experiencing. She described the intimacy of the less-than-400-seat venue: how the close quarters elicited a sensation of exclusivity, the welcoming atmosphere stood out as both unique yet familiar, and the sound seemed rich and whole bouncing between the warm, weathered walls. Just two years prior, the same fixtures sat in upstate New York, playing home to not much at all. Wolf Trap founder and DMV icon Catherine Filene Shouse purchased the Scottish-German barns before moving them from upstate New York to Virginia, where they have operated as an intimate space for a wide variety of genres — from indie darlings to operatic staples — for the past 40 years. “I don’t think it’s surprising,” says Arvind Manocha, president and CEO of Wolf Trap, about The Barns longevity. “It’s surviving and thriving, and it’s a very consistent venue. The reason it’s so successful is the experience of seeing an artist in a room that small with that kind of authenticity. It’s hard to replicate that in other spaces. It’s not built to feel like an old structure. It’s an old barn given new life. I’d like to think there is something in those 300-year-old beams of wood that contributes to that feeling.”

An Enduring Intimacy The Barns allows for balance at Wolf Trap. While the foundation’s Filene Center dominates the summer with captivating performances intended to create spectacles for throngs of attendees, The Barns is activated as an opposite — a subtle yin to a raucous yang. “It allows us to do things we couldn’t and wouldn’t do at the Filene Center,” Manocha says. “At The Barns, it can be a singersongwriter onstage: one musician, one instrument. In that sense, it rounds out the experience. If you’re a music fan who loves going to Wolf Trap, you can do it in a big way and do it in a very intimate way.” This balance is important for the D.C. area, too, as venues like The Barns help further establish the region as a hotbed for musicians on tour, whether they’re gearing up for a national stadium tour or want to connect with fans in a more strippeddown and raw way. “The Barns and other intimate venues are places where we learn and are reminded about connection,” says Lee Anne Myslewski, vice president of opera and classical programming. “The mood of a room, the candor of an artist, the attention of an audience — all of these things factor into this shared experience. And, while a large space might demand a different kind of showmanship, theaters like The Barns will always reward that pure exchange of artistry, focus and openness.” When talking about The Barns, aside from the adoration for its truly antique architecture, the buzzwords that bubble to the surface most frequently are versatility and diversity. The space’s appeal is universal, and its size allows for any musician from any genre a unique opportunity to connect with the few hundred people who are sharing the space on their respective nights. “[Artists] feel as if they’re reaching each individual audience member,” Myslewski says. “And the energy exchange between the stage and audience is immediate — which makes the

performance experience really special. There’s so little distance between audience and performer that you feel almost like you’re creating the performance collaboratively.”

The 40th Season The team at Wolf Trap has worked extensively on a lineup to honor the legacy of this wooden wonder for its coming 40th season. Throughout its tenure as a venue in the region, The Barns has consistently given opportunities to both classical and popular artists. Because concerts were on hold for the past year-and-a-half and are just now coming back, it is as imperative for Wolf Trap to get back to supporting musicians as it is to celebrate the venue. “It’s vital for us to continue offering a diverse selection of musical performances on our stage,” says Sara Beesley, vice president of program and production. “The Barns is such a versatile venue that we can easily present a wide variety of musical genres and artists both up and coming and legendary in their careers. We want to build out seasons that have as many returning favorites as debut artists so that there can be an exciting show for everyone in the community.” The anniversary lineup includes artists such as Kayhan Kalhor (November 10), Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center (November 12), Sharon Isbin (January 23), Nella (February 18), The Miró Quartet (February 20) and Meow Meow (April 20), to name a few. The entire lineup is on the Wolf Trap website, and the season includes a number of artists who had prior performances canceled because of the pandemic. “This whole season is about celebrating The Barns 40th Anniversary with a wide range of performances to welcome fans and artists back to this intimate and acoustically excellent setting,” Beesley says. “Diversity in programming is key to a venue’s longevity — we want everyone in the DMV to look at our calendar and find a show that speaks to them.”

For the Audience, Artists + Community When asked about their respective favorite moments from The Barns, the interviewees all offered unique reflections on past experiences. Beesly mentioned Brandi Carlile’s Pin Drop Tour, where she performed completely unamplified. Manocha harkens back to seeing David Crosby, which contrasted with his performances in larger arenas, but also mentioned how beautiful it was to observe an opera there. And Myslewski offered up a more abstract feeling, rather than a specific memory. “I get to experience my favorite moment over and over,” she says. “It’s that moment between the final note decaying into nothingness, and the audience and artist collectively exhaling before the applause beings. That fragile moment of stasis, of appreciation — it’s a gift.” With 40 years in the rearview mirror, there’s no better time to reflect on the impact The Barns has made on the region’s overall musical ecosystem, as it’s played host to operas and cabarets and artist changeups. And with additions to the reception and backstage areas completed just before Covid-19 began running rampant, there’s also no reason to think the story is near its end, either. “It’ll be emotional when we open The Barns [for the season],” Manocha says. “It’s an opportunity and a responsibility.”   DISTRICT FRAY | 27


“It’s not built to feel like an old structure. It’s an old barn given new life. I’d like to think there is something in those 300-year-old beams of wood that contributes to that feeling.” Our job is to connect audiences with artists, and in that way, we’re eager to get back to our responsibility.” Despite the excitement for this season and the future, the term “40th anniversary” can’t help but elicit a special feeling, whether pride or wonder. As The Barns prepares to open its doors again for patrons and artists of the future, Wolf Trap will undoubtedly honor how an old wooden structure built in upstate New York became an iconic DMV stage. “History is everything,” Beesly says. “There’s a different feeling when you enter The Barns both as an artist or an audience 28 | OCTOBER 2021

member. The warmth and intimacy of the space stands out and allows artists to come to The Barns to do a special acoustic performance, try out new work or revisit timeless favorites.”

For more information about Wolf Trap, The Barns or its upcoming season, visit wolftrap.org. The Barns at Wolf Trap: 1635 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; 703-255-1868; wolftrap.org // @wolf_trap FIRST + THIRD PAGE. The Barns at Wolf Trap.



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CULTURE During the pandemic shutdown, many swore they would begin writing the next great American literary work regardless of their past writing experience. The forced isolation inspired and allowed people to work on passion pieces that would otherwise remain ideas. With the increased volume of created content, this year’s Inner Loop Contest had plenty of entries to choose from and the selected winners exemplify the top local works produced during this tumultuous time. When determining the winner for the three categories — fiction, nonfiction and poetry — Inner Loop Contest Judge Jose Padua focused on similar criteria for each. “I tend to favor work that takes chances,” Padua says. “I do appreciate it when a writer is brave enough to go out there into some unknown or difficult territory.” What stands out to Padua is not necessarily the explicitly edgy or wild topics, but rather pieces that are not overly prepared or workshopped. As Padua explains, “Artists, whatever form they work in, shouldn’t be timid in what they do — that’s going to hold them back.” In the winning nonfiction entry, “The Many Afterlives,” author Amy Lynwander embraces risk by tackling the topic of death and grief in an unusual and creative way. Lynwander wanted the piece to honor her father, who passed away nine years ago from pancreatic cancer. “I wanted something on record about my father who was a quiet guy,” Lynwander says. “And [he] passed through this world without making a fuss but had some fascinating things about him.” “We Have Coyotes,” the fiction winner, also touches on death but uses it as a detail to launch the narrative. In this piece, the main character recalls a road trip as a child with his father following the recent death of his mother. Written by Len Kruger, the entry is full of palpable tension between characters and takes risks by leaving multiple open ends, which is what made it stand out to Padua.

“The narrative hints at other directions and possibilities to the point where some seemingly trivial action feels like it could change the characters’ lives,” Padua says. Kruger originally wrote a longer story that this entry is based on, but after receiving some feedback, he decided the story was better suited for a flash fiction piece that (successfully) keeps the reader guessing. He wanted to capture the unfolding of a child’s understanding of family secrets. As Kruger notes, “When you’re a kid, things are happening around you that you don’t fully understand. Then there comes that moment when everything clicks into place.” Padua found poetry to be the most difficult category to select a winner, but ultimately chose “Water Lilies Do Not Have Surface Leaves During Winter” by Alyson Gold Weinberg. Explaining his ethos behind the decision, Padua says, “[The poetry] category was close. The winner is a brief, beautiful and complex poem [demonstrating] the power of the lyric poem.” Gold Weinberg wrote her poem as a commentary on the romanticization of iconic Shakespearean character Ophelia’s death. Weinberg wanted to express her anger toward this literature norm and fixation. “I wanted to reject the romantic idealization of pain,” Gold Weinberg says, “and the notion that girls and women are somehow the inevitable and rightful containers for it. While suffering in life is necessary, unnecessary suffering is not. You’ve got to fight for your life.” For all three authors, taking chances and deviating from standard perspectives paid off. Each winning entry takes you on unexpected journeys, which sit with you long after reading. Read on to explore all of the winning entries.

theinnerlooplit.org // @theinnerlooplit



WE HAVE COYOTES WORDS BY FICTION WINNER LEN KRUGER My father called himself an entrepreneur, always chasing the million-dollar idea. He wouldn’t tell me what it was. I used to think a time machine would be nice. Or a pill that cured cancer. He would travel to California for week-long meetings with investors, leaving me a stack of twenties for pizza delivery and the same 213 area code number where he could be reached in an emergency. I never had to use it. When I was 13, he took me to California for the first time. “Are we staying at a hotel or a motel?” I asked, as we pulled out of LAX in a rental car. “Neither,” he said, eyes on the road, gripping the steering wheel tightly. We drove for a couple of hours. First freeways, then straight two-lane highways across the desert. We turned down a long gravel driveway and stopped in front of a house with jagged rocky hills looming behind it. On the porch were wind chimes hanging and a wicker mat at the front door that said, “Welcome. Please remove your shoes.” “Shoes,” my father snapped at me. He ran his hand — like it was a comb — across his hair. I took off my sneakers. The door opened. It was a woman smiling at me. “Hi Brian,” she said to me. “I’m Janice. It’s wonderful to meet you.” We went inside and stood in a living room with white shag carpeting. My father walked over to a television set perched in the corner. “How’s this piece of junk holding up?” he said, smacking it on its side. “We need a new one,” said a kid lurking at the edge of the living room. He looked about my age. Skinny, glasses, a flat top haircut. “Ernie, meet Brian,” the woman said. “Ernie, why don’t you take Brian into the backyard and get acquainted?” Ernie stared at the socks on his feet. They were the same as mine. White with red and blue stripes ringing the top.

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“Now,” my father said. “I’ll fix us some lemonade,” the woman said. “Maybe something stronger for the adults.” “Definitely,” my father said. Ernie and I slipped into our shoes on the front porch, and I followed him around the house to a metal gate that opened to the backyard. He lifted the latch. “Make sure this gate is always closed,” he said. This was the first thing he said to me. The backyard was manicured and landscaped, a plush green lawn ringed with trees. A little brown Shih Tzu dog ran up to me. I bent over to pet him, and he licked my hand. “Do you have coyotes in Maryland?” Ernie asked. “I don’t think so.” “We do. Do you know what a coyote would do to a little dog like this?” “No.” “Kill him and eat him. That’s why the gate always has to be closed.” Through the back window of the house, I could see into the kitchen. My father and Janice were talking and laughing. They drank a bright pink liquid out of tall skinny glasses. “But couldn’t the coyote just jump over your fence?” I asked. “What are you, a coyote expert?” Ernie said. Behind him, I could see a tree with lemons hanging off the branches. “Is that a lemon tree?” I asked. “Duh,” he said. “Haven’t you ever seen a lemon tree before?” “No.” Ernie smiled. He pushed his glasses up his nose. “If you can eat a whole lemon off that tree in one minute, I’ll give you a quarter.” “Okay,” I said. Ernie plucked the biggest lemon he could find and tossed it to me. He pushed a button on his watch. It made a beep. “Go,” he said. I tore the lemon apart, stuffing section after section into my mouth. The juice ran down my chin. I was squinting, it was so sour. I kept going. “Done!” I said. Fifty-seven seconds. “Shit,” he said. “Shit.” His head hung. His mouth twitched. “Where’s my quarter?” I said. “Nobody’s ever eaten the whole lemon before. You must have cheated.” “Give me my quarter.” Ernie’s face scrunched up. “I hate my mom,” he said. He started to cry. “My mom died two years ago,” I said. “She had cancer.” Ernie nodded. He stopped crying and sat down on the grass and petted his dog. I sat down next to them and scratched behind the dog’s ears. His fur was soft. “Never mind about the quarter,” I said. “How often do you see my father?” “Lots of times. Since like forever.” “Has he ever told you his million-dollar idea?” “What million-dollar idea?” Ernie said. “What are you talking about?” Through the back window, we could see that the kitchen was now empty. We were on our own. Follow Kruger at fb.com/len.kruger.5.


Adolescent girls root for you, extend scarred arms toward cloying curls, angling for ankles. Ungently you lay un-resting on the surface, always about to drown, a daisy for every nosegay, half in love with death. Madness is all we get from you, Ophelia. Our ragged fingernails dog-ear your pages, hearts assailed by crushes, rashes, braces. We wish to disappear into wisps of verse like you. Instead we grow up, gasping for living things. Follow Gold Weinberg @AlysonGWeinberg on Twitter + @alyson_gold_weinberg on Instagram.

THE MANY AFTERLIVES WORDS BY NONFICTION WINNER AMY LYNWANDER As it turns out, my father didn’t actually die of pancreatic cancer. He faked his death and joined a funk band. I caught him playing trumpet at a fiftieth birthday party. Before his return, I pictured my father’s afterlife as a neverending game of baseball with his friends, other refugees whose families also fled the Nazis and found their way to the Bronx. They’d wake up the drunks sleeping on the infield to be their referees. My kids’ sanitized soccer games always made him smile. Sometimes my younger daughter plays my father’s keyboard, employing the same prerecorded background music he favored. Samba! That’s when I pretend that he is upstairs. When they first got to this country, my grandmother woke before dawn and made Austrian tarts to sell to

bakeries. They escaped from Vienna by taking a bus to the border of France and running across, dodging bullets. My grandfather was held in a French labor camp until three years later when their visa, sponsored by cousins, came through and they immigrated to the United States. My father played tennis and golf, the picture of senior vitality, when he got his diagnosis. He’d dropped weight and took on a yellowish tinge. What really got him was that he would not live longer than his father, a smoker, who lived until 79. Twenty-four hours now, the hospice workers would tell us in hushed voices after leaving my father lying on a hospital bed in the living room. He’d start the day angry when he realized he was still alive. I surprise myself with how much pleasure I get

from picturing my father in his hereafter scenarios. Some think you spend it with family, possibly on a cloud, but I know better. He passed two and a half years in and out of hospitals, lounging on the couch in his thick sweatshirt with the hood pulled up, like the Unabomber’s suburban cousin. Now he’s young and spry and fielding line drives on neglected baseball fields.

My sister says the trumpet player looks nothing like my father when I text her his picture. He’s at least thirty years younger for one thing, she points out, but I say who knows what shedding us as a family could do for a man. There he is, my father, taking a solo. Not dead at all. Follow Lynwander @amylynwander on Twitter + @lynwander on Instagram.   DISTRICT FRAY | 33


OCTOBER 2021 COVER SHOOT. Check out some moments from our shoot in Capitol Hill with cover subjects Pierre Edwards and Eliud Arbelo II of Studio Sonic. Our hidden gem of a backdrop and a curated playlist from Edwards and Arbelo provided the perfect vibes for photographer Shaughn Cooper to do his thing. Photos by Andrew J. Williams III.

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LIFE Iconoclastic Entrepreneurs


STUDIO SONIC Forge New Path for Creatives



Studio Sonic, the new D.C. creative studio led by cofounders Pierre Edwards and Eliud Arbelo II, is iconoclastic, breaking the rules and expectations for a creative studio and forging a new image of how commerce and arts can work together. And they are serious about not taking themselves too seriously.

Studio + Lab = Art “Just get ready for weirdness when it comes to us,” Edwards says. “That’s just how we are.” The concept for Studio Sonic was developed in 2018 — even printing merch with their logo — but formally launched in June 2020. Located in the Brentwood neighborhood of Northeast D.C. and sharing space with frequent collaborators District Fray Magazine and creative production brand No Kings Collective, their office space is painted like a black box theater, adorned with a set of airplane seats (safety equipment still hanging beneath), a wall of computers and monitors, a series of Arbelo’s multimedia paintings (which he slowly assembles in stolen moments), and Studio Sonic hoodies emblazoned with their motto on garment racks and in cardboard boxes. Centrally located in this square office is a large, white working table adorned with an exotic peacock-strewn bouquet designed by florist Kelanda Dickerson, Edwards’ fiancé, and an assortment of books showing the depth and breadth of their interests and influences. Among them are a small book about Soviet bus stops rendered in the Brutalist style; an elephant folio chronicling fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent; a scattering 36 | OCTOBER 2021

of books about interior design, architecture and color selection; a massive tome about auteur filmmaker Stanley Kubrick; and a collection of singer Florence Welch’s poetry. The inspired weirdness of these creative, artistic and marketing moguls came together as part of a campaign for the John Geiger Co, an independent apparel and sneaker designer. In one clip, a steel worker forges metal in an empty warehouse while a male model wears a series of outfits from the brand, confronting the camera’s gaze with determination and poise. This commercial stands on its own by contrasting high-end streetwear and blue collar ruggedness. It develops another layer when viewed alongside another ad they developed for the brand: an earnest voiceover narrative about Geiger hustling and overcoming adversity overlaid onto images of working-class Pittsburgh. But, in another commercial for the John Geiger collaboration with nightclub E11EVEN Miami, the action replicates a “Miami Vice” episode complete with yachts speeding across cerulean waters, fast cars and bikini-clad models. The sleek commercial’s denouement exposes the joke: This isn’t a cocaine deal gone right but rather a reveal of a stunning new shoe that everyone at the club is fawning over. The juxtaposing commercials for the same brand — two all about grit and keeping it real, and the other all flashiness, sexiness and humor — tell us a lot about D.C.’s new creative studio. Their DNA, their fingerprints, are all over everything they create, grounded in a model of authenticity. Like the campaign for John Geiger, so much of their work is imbued FIRST PAGE. (From L to R) Eliud Arbelo II and Pierre Edwards.

in their DIY attitude, hardworking backgrounds and insatiable curiosity for what makes the world beautiful. “Even when we’re doing client work, we’re never bending to meet them,” says Joe Marshall, Studio Sonic’s freelance copywriter/storyteller and multihyphenate creative (actor, standup comic, model and more). “We present who we are and try and filter their needs through our lens. That keeps us true to ourselves and our mission.” Studio Sonic has worked with major clients including The Atlantic Festival, Smithsonian, ViaComCBS, Motion Picture Association and the Hirshhorn Museum — as well as many independent innovators like John Geiger, No Kings Collective, Just Us Girls and many more. Through graphic design, videography, web design and digital media, they bring their signature style — cool, sleek and hyperpigmented with dashes of humor or weirdness — to every professional project.

bought a cheap camera, getting off at different Metro stops and snapping pictures. He quickly learned his first lesson. “No one wants to pay photographers, so then I taught myself videography.” Through YouTube videos and Skillshare, the self-taught Edwards moved into abstract visuals and self-funded his first exhibit of digital and light-based works “In Real Life” at Union Market in January 2019. “I think we have an MBA in the streets,” Edwards jokes. “We are naturally artists against all odds. There is nothing in either of our paths that would lead to us being artists — no art school experience, no this or that.”

Working Together Creatively “You put two artists in a room, and either it’s going to be a great connection or there’s probably going to be a UFC fight,” Edwards opines. “There’s no inbetween.” In person, the synergy between these two artists is obvious. Edwards is gregarious, speaks quickly, laughs often and almost always speaks first. Arbelo is more reserved, but his eventual additions are expletive-filled philosophical inquiries. But then something clicks. They soon begin to finish each other’s sentences, alluding to movies and songs they’ve shared with each other, making inside jokes, becoming more contemplative and irreverent. In other words, you know there’s never going to be a UFC-style showdown between these two. Both grew up in working class families and credit their determination and work ethic to their parents. Born in New Jersey and raised in Florida, Arbelo’s mother is a nurse originally from Santurce, Puerto Rico and his father is a truck driver from Manatí. Edwards, who grew up in Prince George County, was raised by his father, the owner of a construction company, and his mother, a hairstylist. They are also autodidacts, well-versed in DIY culture and lifelong learning. Shortly after beginning his first semester at Prince George’s Community College, Edwards dropped out. At 19, he   DISTRICT FRAY | 37


Likewise, Arbelo started to find his footing when he took courses in computer-aided drafting at Indian River Community College while working on his GED in Port St. Lucie. He was eager to leave southern Florida, so he applied to jobs in every big city he could think of. When a political marketing firm in D.C. extended an interview invitation, he drove straight up in his 1989 Nissan Maxima. He changed into his interview clothes in a truck stop, nailed the interview, dined at Ben’s Chili Bowl and headed back down to pack up for good. He stayed at the firm for eight years. Later, he was hired at The Atlantic as a senior designer, but his undeniable skills led to his promotion to design director before he left in 2019. Edwards and Arbelo were both sought-after freelancers around the District, and eventually found themselves hired as creative directors for the same agency. “It was terrible,” Arbelo says. Dissatisfied with their working conditions, they discussed several survival strategies — from working their way up to partner and changing the industry from the inside, or having the 38 | OCTOBER 2021

agency buy them out to get the funds to start their own studio. But they ended up leaving after just a few months. “It was a very big gamble, especially at the height of Covid, but we did it,” Arbelo says of starting Studio Sonic. They pooled their resources, forgoing loans and going deep into credit debt. That’s another thing about Edwards and Arbelo’s upbringing, ethos and hustle. They are weirdo dreamers, but they are also practical business partners. They acknowledge their art pays the bills. The pair spends a lot of time preplanning projects so they won’t fall into the trap of perpetual perfecting. At the end of the day, they finish their project and move on. They may reflect on a previous project to change their approach next time, but they don’t have a could’ve, should’ve, would’ve mentality. When you’re hustling, you don’t have time for second-guessing. “We both come from blue collar backgrounds, and we’re very much about working and working super hard,” Edwards explains. “But we need to enjoy what we do, and I think we both have been in scenarios where it wasn’t the funnest to work.”

Frequent collaborators Aaron Tucker and Joe Marshall have known Edwards for years. Both say working feels like play, and the vibe is more hanging out with old friends than breaking stones, even when the hours are long and they’ve been going at a project all day and night. “We work so many hours,” Arbelo adds. “I don’t want to make anybody feel like this is a drag. Let’s have fun, make jokes and laugh, and listen to good music.”

The Future + The Past Tucker, who is a freelance cinematographer for Studio Sonic, says they are “constantly exploring, seeking new information and applying what they learn into their crafts.” Their motto is “the future and the past” because while so much of their creative composition is technologically advanced, their style is infused with an analog nostalgia for pre-cable television, AM radio hits and classic films. During our roaming conversations, we discuss surrealist Marcel Duchamp, their love for ‘70s songsters The Carpenters, and the belated recognition of graffiti artist Futura 2000. It’s apparent these creatives have an omnivorous appetite for learning and experiencing art and beauty in all its forms. For Arbelo, the only limit is country music after 1997. Edwards gives a special shout-out to No Kings Collective, likening their impact on D.C.’s arts and culture scene to Michael Jordan’s impact on the NBA. “I personally think they’re the most prolific mural artists to ever exist in D.C. But, bar none, they opened my mind to what art can be, how fun it could be — and that people like me, that look like me, can do it.” For artist Brandon Hill, for whom they filmed a series of videos in Nashville highlighting No Kings’ collaboration with Audi, the respect is mutual. “There’s always something unexpected,” Hill says of Studio Sonic’s work. “At first glance, aesthetically, they’re making really sharp, pretty stuff. When pressed, they go down a rabbit hole, pulling back layers and layers and layers like an onion. I love the crispness of it. I love the depth of it.” All of this — the research, the multiple interviews with clients, the sampling of the campaign’s products, the allusions and references to their media consumption — goes into their painstaking pre-planning process. “Constant, relentless research,” Arbelo calls it. Edwards quips, “I think we’re just nerds about the shit we’re into.”

No Sleep Till Brentwood They don’t just work long hours together in the studio and on shoots. Edwards and Arbelo are chosen family at this point. After leaving their studio, they continue to send texts or call each other late into the night to share ideas or reframe a concept. And their family is now an integral part of Studio Sonic, acting as a sounding board for new ideas, offering inspiration and support, decorating their office, and directing operations. They all regularly spend so much time together that Edwards’ 2-year-old daughter refers to the Arbelos as her aunt and uncle. “They’re here for dinner all the time, and it’s just a constant feed of ideas and creative conversations,” says Dickerson. “We’re both very into hosting — that’s one thing about Pierre

and El, they do everything with a high level of taste. Even if it’s just a quick dinner together, it’s going to look nice, have the best alcohol, just be the best. It’s just how they do anything. The conversations definitely bounce around from work stuff to art shows to new random bands they just discovered.” A recent trip to Palm Springs combined a family-friendly vacation, client meeting in Los Angeles, creative retreat for the extended team of Studio Sonic and, as always, an opportunity to create some new art. “They filmed a bunch of shit,” Arbelo’s wife Allie, who works full-time at a political communications firm and directs Studio Sonic’s operations, says with a laugh. “They made shirts. They filmed us playing bocce and they put it out there, turning that moment into these beautiful lasting pieces that are now becoming the brand and the identity of Studio Sonic. It’s incredible.” The video “Muses in the Abstract” documents that trip, complete with throwback opening credits. It’s decidedly low-fi tropical, pastel-colored vacation footage intercut with images of food and drinks, pleasure and work, an acid trip bocce game with a killer score. It marries nostalgia for old family vacation slide shows with some je ne sais quoi to create something futuristic, funky and fresh.

A Meta Cover Shoot Observing Edwards and Arbelo working together on the cover shoot for this month’s issue, you can observe their complementary nature, their yin and yang, their ebb and flow. Arbelo opens a playlist starting with Alice Coltrane’s fitting “Blue Nile” while unloading their gear. Edwards checks shutter speeds, aperture and lighting options, with Arbelo stepping into model for shots before they meet to look over everything, readjust and try again. Their visions and aesthetics are aligned, but it’s easy to see where they differ in their temperaments and approaches. Edwards is tall and stately, wearing a vintage Fred Perry track jacket with distressed jeans, a textured bucket hat and a fistful of rings — giving off the vibe of an old-school DJ. He breaks into dance between setups to their “The Tail End of Summer” Spotify playlist and cracks jokes to anyone nearby. But he snaps back to professional mode in a heartbeat — adjusting lights, looking through footage or discussing a shot. Arbelo has the compact build of a kickboxer (he’s been training for years) and is enigmatic, wearing a dark ensemble, green beret, Elton John-worthy sunglasses purchased from a Californian gas station, and his face mask throughout the shoot. Even in Studio Sonic promotional materials, Arbelo’s face is often pixilated or otherwise obscured. Arbelo stays focused and serene during the shoot. The metatheatrical concept is a multilayered final photo with the two members of Studio Sonic multiplied into their own doppelgängers prepping on set and shooting themselves as the cover stars. It’s apparent how much they trust their concept will come together by their choice of Shaughn Cooper, a photographer with whom they have worked previously, even conceding control when he recommends more closeup portraits. Arbelo takes the opportunity to grab his phone and film Cooper taking Edwards’ photo to add more meta layers of self-documenting and art-as-life visual metaphors. The setting for the cover shoot captures their spirit: a bit oddball, well-researched, unexpected. The top floor of the Naval Lodge in Capitol Hill is saturated with arcane Masonic symbolism.   DISTRICT FRAY | 39

A mural depicting ancient Egypt and hieroglyphics covers the walls, all the way up to the decorated ceiling. “I feel like the colors, the brightness and the space — it’s me,” Edwards explains. “But the contrast and the texture is more El.”

“Please Bring” As I am visiting in their studio, they are busy designing three different websites and editing videos and graphic designs for several new clients. One of their current big projects is filming and editing “Please Bring,” a new 10-episode series developed with GATHER by Events DC, No Kings Collective and catering and event services company Please Bring Chips celebrating the District’s culinary cultures. This is an opportunity to bring together all of their talents while amplifying other creatives in D.C. They just had a video installation at the No Kings Collective-led Franklin Block Party x Art All Night on September 25 and will have another at No Kings’ threeday pop-up, UMBRELLA, on November 12-14. We also discuss some top-secret projects and soon-to-be-divulged collaboration plans. But for now, living this artful life where work and family, business and beauty blend together is enough. “At the end of the day, we’re just making stuff that goes into the ether,” Arbelo says with a grain of salt. Edwards asks, “Do you know who the richest man in the world was in 1937? No? Exactly. It sounds grim, but it’s empowering. Anything we feel is a big deal is really not. Let’s just have fun in the process of this, and then move on to the next thing and try to have fun with that. Just keep on rolling and see where it goes.”

Learn more about Studio Sonic at studiosonic.co and follow them on Instagram @studiosonic.co. 40 | OCTOBER 2021




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t’s past time we remixed the entrepreneur archetype. The tried-and-true definition of an emerging or aspiring business owner feels tired. The modern entrepreneur is a mover, shaker and doer who’s not content with simply breaking all the rules. Our 52 trailblazers are rewriting the rules, tearing them up and doing it all over again. It’s creation at its purest, because the fruits of one’s hustle are not actualized overnight or by following one jet-lagged recipe. It’s no longer adequate to measure entrepreneurs by the brick-and-mortar spaces they manifest or the jobs they create. Those are all important elements but fall short of what it truly means to build something — often with blood, sweat and tears. Whether you’re revamping the vintage clothing industry, introducing a fresh dining concept, cultivating an advocacy-focused creative agency or advancing the cause of equality for the LGBTQ+ community, the only thing that matters is freedom — the freedom to march to the beat of your own badass drum.


Fine Art Photographer | Co-owner of Bad Candy Art Gallery Advice that keeps you hungry Memento mori. It’s Latin for “Remember you’re going to die.” If you keep that in mind, you might just answer one more email or go out of your way to leave a lasting impression on someone. What your day is incomplete without Coffee and working out. Your power outfit remix A power outfit is when you feel the most authentic you. It doesn’t have to be formal wear. It could be cutoff jean shorts. It could be overalls. What every entrepreneur needs Grit. Anything worthwhile is not easy, especially when you are starting. At some point you’re going to feel like an ant at the bottom of a mountain looking up. Most people will quit at that point. [Just] put one foot in front of the other and start walking up the mountain of entrepreneurship. Don’t look back, and hopefully you find people who make the journey easier. You learn things that help you find faster routes up the mountain. Eventually your head is in the clouds on top of a mountain of success. I’m still going up the mountain. @thebruceallen; thebruceallen.com // @badcandyshopdc; badcandy.us


Co-founder of DUNN LEWIS

The current soundtrack to your life Anything Twin Shadow. @dunnlewismc // dunnlewismc.com


Co-founder + COO of Electo Analytics


Co-founder + CEO of Electo Analytics

Advice that keeps you hungry SB: The question to ask an early-stage startup is not “Is this company taking over the world?” but “How big could this company get if the founders did the right things?” NK: “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” -Simon Sinek What your day is incomplete without SB: Reading the news from multiple sources. I like to be in-theknow each day, and usually read from 6-7:45 a.m. NK: Keeping up with updates from other entrepreneurs on Twitter and LinkedIn. I’m always looking to learn from my peers. Your power outfit remix SB: Styling a power outfit is an art, and much more than just picking what looks nice. Stylists are masters of dressing methodically to send a message. It’s especially true beyond a one-off event, when [you’re] using a progression of looks to build a personal brand.


NK: The right power outfit is one that gives off your intended energy. So, if you’re attending a conference and want to appear both savvy and approachable, consider how your outfit reflects that.

Advice that keeps you hungry “I got it on Amazon.” We hate hearing this so much. It keeps us salty and hungry. Jeff Bezos doesn’t care about you or your community. Most small businesses do.

What every entrepreneur needs SB: A list of what’s blocking growth. As an entrepreneur, if you know what the limiters are, you’ll naturally think about how to address them.

Co-founder of DUNN LEWIS

Early bird, night owl or in-between Day people. We get eight hours of sleep. It’s been our only consistent luxury of entrepreneurship. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer Gordon Ramsay: “Chef, what could we do better?” It would be amazing to have him point out all our fuck ups and successes.

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NK: Caring for your team. I cannot stress this enough. Startups experience a lot of twists and turns in their early stages, and it’s crucial to create a supportive and encouraging environment for your team. Even in high stress situations, everyone needs to feel supported and valued in their work. All entrepreneurs must cultivate caring team cultures. @electoanalytics // electoanalytics.com

FIRST PAGE FROM LEFT. Tamon George. Photo courtesy of subject. Grace Yeboah Ofori. Photo by Interstellar Studio.


COO of Wellfound Foods

Advice that keeps you hungry My college coach would always remind us, “You said you wanted to be one. This is what being one means.” Early bird, night owl or in-between Early bird. My kids, my dog and our business make sure of that. No alarm needed. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer Chef José Andrés: “When do you sleep?” The current soundtrack to your life “Boys and Girls” by Alabama Shakes. @eatwellfound // wellfoundfoods.com


Owner + Creative Director of Lo Bessette Co.

Advice that keeps you hungry Never forget, they need you more than you need them. Early bird, night owl or in-between Night owl. I get my best work done sitting at a bar over a glass of wine. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer To Kanye, for the artist in us both: “How do you maintain consistent creative flow and get past your creative blocks?” The current soundtrack to your life Anyone who knows me knows it’s anything Bad Bunny. @LoBeanie + @Lobessetteco // LoBessette.Co (going live soon)


Founder of Homme

Advice that keeps you hungry It takes five to 10 years to become an overnight success. Never be too big to take advice, no matter where it comes from. What your day is incomplete without Music from my favorite international radio station. Your power outfit remix The best way is to wear what you have: timeless essentials. What every entrepreneur needs A “What rules?” [mindset]. Early bird, night owl or in-between I’m in-between, but I like getting up when the sun is down. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer “When do you know you made it?”


Executive Producer + Owner of BeMo Productions | Culture Analyst for Creative Theory Agency | Network President of the Bridge Podcast Network

Advice that keeps you hungry I don’t have advice or a quote from someone else to inspire me. I’m driven because time is violent, and attention is intentional. I don’t depend on outside expectations, or comparison or the rent because my hunger is neither generated nor maintained. Hunger subsides. My hunger and I are synonymous. What your day is incomplete without A daydream. The perfect place is a park bench with a cup of coffee — no book, no phone, no music. My business is to involve myself in the business of other people [and] assuming a perspective can be draining, regardless how fruitful the results. In order to refresh, I need a few disconnected moments. Your power outfit remix I’m a product of the Gordon Gekko products who believed a suit was the pentacle of business attire. I have come to understand the power in that suit was the white guy wearing it — and not the suit. I’ve worn that suit and still witness clutched purses, get requests to valet or even clean up spills. It doesn’t matter what I wear: My value is in my business. I quit code-switching when I became an entrepreneur five years ago. You [gon'] get my culture’s business formal. What every entrepreneur needs Know when you fail and know how to fail. You are going to fail, and I don’t mean typos and payroll oversights. You are going to make the wrong investment. You are going to trust the wrong source. You are going to miss opportunities. Only a fool can convince themselves that a loss is a gain. Accept failure and then adjust. @BeMoBrown, @WakeNBakeWithBeMo + @erbayne // BeMoAuthentic.com


Advice that keeps you hungry Let go and pack light. At Pack Light DC, our motto is letting go of what no longer serves you so you can welcome in more abundance. And remember to pack your own light and shine bright. If we all pack our individual light, then together, we can balance the darkness. What your day is incomplete without Giving thanks to the creator for all I have accomplished, and the courage to complete or handle what I have not. Your power outfit remix I think remixing the power outfit begins with confidence. If you believe in and love yourself, any outfit is a power outfit.

The current soundtrack to your life Keni Burke’s “Risin’ To The Top.”

What every entrepreneur needs Honesty. Be really honest with yourself about your goals and expectations.

@hommedc // hommedc.com

@pack_light_dc   DISTRICT FRAY | 45

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT. Bruce Allen. Photo by Jerome Thomas // mural by Sarah Jamison. (From L to R) Laurel Brey + Mason Anderson-Sweet. Brian Becker. Photos courtesy of subjects. Elizabeth Carberry. Photo by Laura Metzler Photography. Amir Browder. (From L to R) Soraya Bagheri + Naiem Khanjani. Lauren Bessette. Sydney Rameé Buffalow. Photos courtesy of subjects. Bryant “BeMo” Brown. Photo by Gary Williams // @masterwilliams.




Creative Director + Wedding Planner at Elizabeth Carberry Creative | Co-founder of Fostr Collaborative

The current soundtrack to your life My EP “Planet 26.” @zawadicarroll + @etherealrealness // zawadicarroll.com

Advice that keeps you hungry Stay in [the] game. My dad has been repeating this mantra to me since I can remember. No matter what is thrown at you, stay in the game.

Co-founder of Type Punch Matrix

Early bird, night owl or in-between Depends, are my children around? Night owl usually — I do my best work in the evening hours. It’s probably what makes being a wedding planner so fun.

Advice that keeps you hungry As Larry McMurtry’s character, the antiques and rare book scout Zack Jenks says in the novel “Cadillac Jack” — “Anything can be anywhere.”

Burning question for an iconic trailblazer Sara Blakley: “What is your daily habit that helps maintain a healthy work/life balance?”

What your day is incomplete without My day is incomplete without learning something new. It’s perhaps what both I and my co-founder Rebecca Romney love most about this job. Every item that crosses our desks is another opportunity to discover something we didn’t know before.

The current soundtrack to your life Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” or the latest Spotify EDM mix to get pumped and ready. @elizabeth_carberry; elizabethcarberry.com // @fostrcollaborative; fostrcollaborative.com


Co-founder of House of Ethereal Realness (HER)

Advice that keeps you hungry Every single desire and wish inside of you is there for a reason. It is there because it’s a part of your birth right. What your day is incomplete without A “Black Girls Heal” podcast episode, Earl Grey tea, a good Twitter scroll, time in nature without electronics and a Whole Foods run. Your power outfit remix We need to consider the power outfit dead [laughs]. If people want to wear it or remix it, that’s cool, but it’s so embedded in this corporate capital aesthetic of “power.” I feel most powerful in a well-tailored mini dress made out of sustainable and breathable fabric paired with a cute cardigan or leggings and a crop top — there is no in-between. What every entrepreneur needs You need to have initiative paired with a deep understanding of self. It can be extremely uncomfortable [when] so much of your success is driven by sacrifice. But with a deep knowledge of self, one can reap tailored rewards, which are the best kind. Early bird, night owl, or in-between Definitely a night owl, but I’m becoming an early bird as I get older. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer The entrepreneur that inspires me the most is Emily Weiss, the founder of Glossier. She studied art history like me, and I love how she’s been able to integrate herself into the business and digital world. I would ask her about the art of initiating a cultural shift.

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Your power outfit remix I have often joked that after nearly two decades of working for myself as a rare book dealer, I am ruined for any other kind of employment. The fact that I literally don’t understand this question strikes me as further evidence of this. What every entrepreneur needs Every business is in essence a hypothesis. Real entrepreneurs enjoy proving the hypothesis of their business true. Or if proven demonstrably false, in finding new ones and starting again. @typepunchmatrix // typepunchmatrix.com


Co-founder + CEO of Politicking


Co-founder of Politicking

Advice that keeps you hungry WC: “There is that great proverb — that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” - Chinua Achebe JW: Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Always do what you are afraid to do.” The more I face challenges head on, the less scary they are. Fear is the last thing that we should submit to during our journeys — no matter what our final destination is. What your day is incomplete without WC: A workout. JW: Prayer and a good laugh with my mom. Both have special healing powers. Your power outfit remix WC: A power outfit is anything that makes you feel your best — there should not be any particular outfit that a person needs to have on to win. Make every outfit a power outfit. JW: Power dressing means presenting yourself in your most confident form. I don’t think we should kill the term at all. However, we must recognize that we cannot define how a

person expresses themselves confidently. What works well for someone else might not work well for us, and that’s okay. What every entrepreneur needs WC: To succeed as an entrepreneur you must have the three D’s: driven, direction and discipline. JW: Embrace the possibility of having to take the road less traveled. Having confidence in the path that was specifically designed for you is the most critical prerequisite for being an entrepreneur. @politicking + @winnietheish // politickingapp.com


COO of Deviant, LLC


Founder of Deviant, LLC

Advice that keeps you hungry MR: “Darling, faith and fear cannot coexist. You must choose one, and whichever one you choose, it will be true.” My amazingly successful friend and mentor, Gia, offered me those words of encouragement on the plane, as I faced a romantic and professional dilemma in my life. I’ve known her since I first came out years ago, as a teenager in Atlanta, Georgia. I’ll never forget that wisdom she shared with me. MS: “I think, therefore I am.” - René Descartes. This quote speaks to me because I consciously focus on my destiny instead of allowing the immediate obstacles in front of me to dissuade me. When I think of this quote, it propels me to work harder each day and walk boldly toward my destiny. What your day is incomplete without MR: A warm cup of Yogi tea or a chilled glass of chardonnay. The tea bags have uplifting quotes and inspirational phrases that always help me to recenter, and the wine does all that work on its own. MS: Music is my therapy. I start every morning with music. Most times, it’s inspirational/spiritual, but it does change from time to time. Starting my day off like this allows me to put my spirit in a grateful space and think of the strides I’ve made in life toward happiness and reaching my goals. Your power outfit remix MR: I’ve learned pride in both my racial and sexual identities, and I have found there’s power in expressing that pride. I also often wear clothing that pays homage to the Black and brown human rights struggle that’s historic and still taking place today. Any outfitting that boldly proclaims pride in what makes us different is what I’d consider a power outfit. MS: A power outfit is only as good as the confidence of the person wearing it. It may sound cliché, but it starts from what’s inside. You are your power. Therefore, you make the outfit. Today, my power outfit may be sweatpants and a hoodie because it’s comfortable and relaxing. Tomorrow, I might throw on my Lavin khaki slacks, a black Prada bucket hat and Celine Luco loafers.

What every entrepreneur needs MR: Entrepreneurs must have amazing grit, because not every day will be easy and not everyone will agree. Lord knows that if you don’t believe in yourself or the vision you’re working toward, then you will give up when the going gets too tough. Grit [is] that stubborn belief that what you are working on and for is much bigger than your pride. MS: Being a self-motivator is extremely important as an entrepreneur. You have to pick yourself up when you fail (because you will fail), high-five yourself when you do well, and be honest about expectations you’re placing on yourself and those around you. Nothing can stop you once you master self-motivation and grace. @deviantevents // deviant.live


Founder of StreetMeetDC

Advice that keeps you hungry Always try to help others if you’re in the position. That’s how you get real friendships and relationships. Early bird, night owl or in-between I’m definitely a night owl. Around 1-4 a.m. is when I get most inspired since everything is asleep and it’s unapologetically quiet. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer I don’t really look up to any “iconic” entrepreneurs since a lot of the times they get their success from exploiting others which is the world we live in unfortunately. If there was a question I would ask, it would be, “What was the turning point you realized you are straying from your original idea? Did you make the conscious decision to value profit over the change you thought you were going to make?” The current soundtrack to your life Without hesitation Daft Punk’s “Alive 2007.” It’s an album I can listen to back-to-back. @pierre_funes; pierrefunes.com // @streetmeetdc; streetmeet.com


Director + Manager of Common Thread Advice that keeps you hungry A piece of advice I have received is that it is always worth trying a concept or an idea out, because you never know what lessons you will learn that will help you become more successful the second time around. Early bird, night owl or something in-between I am an early bird all the way. [I] become a night owl for people I care about or support if they have events, celebrations, or special occasions that cause me to be a night owl. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer The CEO of Fashion Bomb Daily, Claire Sulmers. She inspired me [with] her hustle [and the] way she started with an idea [when] talking about fashion, celebrities and her experience. I think I would ask [her] how she builds a concept into a tangible platform, brand [or] item that will produce income.   DISTRICT FRAY | 49


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT. Brian Cassidy. (From L to R) Wen-Kuni Ceant + Jordan Wilson. Photos courtesy of subjects. (From L to R) Micah Roseboro + Montell Stansberry. Photo by Shawn Michael Craig. Pierre Funes. Lauren Gay. Sylvia Guiterrez. Photos courtesy of subjects. Kate Goodall. Photo by Kate Warren. Zawadi Carroll. Photo by Ken Mbale of Gold Hat Media Groupn // @iammbale. Danielle Glosser. Tamon George. Photos courtesy of subjects.

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LIFE I feel it would be nice to converse about the hustle from one Black woman to another. The current soundtrack of your life Any Janet Jackson album, because [it's] Janet. I refuse to pick one song or album. I jam to a different album depending on my mood that month. @littlehustler83


Co-founder + CEO at Creative Theory Agency Advice that keeps your hungry The quote that has been the background on my cell phone for over a year now is, “The humble don’t stumble,” and I think, “Wow, so that’s the actual answer.” [It’s about] reminding ourselves how important it is for us to take our community with us wherever we’re going. That’s the key to the mission. What your day is incomplete without Starting off in the gym. That’s my safe zone, my relaxation time, my quiet time, my personal time. Your power outfit remix In our world, you don’t really have to remix it. We stick with the tried and true all-black when we’re going into pretty big meetings. In a creative space, in an intellectual space, we like to keep it as minimal as possible so that our work shines through. What every entrepreneur needs I think commitment is the part that sets people on the path to success or not. I think a lot of people get stuck on inspiration, and inspiration really doesn’t get you very far but out of bed. The rest of the work is, can you commit to this idea, day in and day out — when you don’t want to be here, when you don’t want to do it, when there’s more exciting things to do in the day. Early bird, night owl or in-between Unfortunately, I have to be both. My best hours typically come in the morning, before my email and my Slack start blowing up. And then, when I need to, I can get a pretty solid couple of hours in the evening. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer I want to have a conversation with Tony Dungy — who was the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts for a very long time — not about business, but about leadership. He was one of the first head coaches in the NFL to be a very, very successful Black man, and also not be the yell-in-your-face type of coach. I would love to have a conversation with him about what he keyed in on as a leader. The current soundtrack to your life I’ve been listening to a lot of Tracy Chapman. I feel like she is an underappreciated rebel of her time, and that has been the message that I’ve been taking from her music. Her music is really committed to what it is, and it doesn’t waver. It’s really been letting me focus on the work that I’m doing, and how impactful it can be. @Tamon_ // creativetheory.agency

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Principal at Client Raiser

Advice that keeps you hungry Both of my parents were entrepreneurs. My mother was a diversity trainer for law enforcement across the country, and my father sold amusement park rides around the world. They instilled in me the notion that your professional dreams will never be realized if you know what your paycheck is going to be every week. What your day is incomplete without Chocolate. It is a food group. Your power outfit remix Clothing unto itself is powerful as it can influence your selfesteem. Therefore, anything that makes you feel comfortable and confident is the most solid choice. What every entrepreneur needs While entrepreneurs need to be risk takers, flexible, and driven, the most important skill for them to hone is honesty. Honest with themselves and others about their aspirations, skill set, and boundaries. @clientraiser // clientraiser.com


Co-founder + CEO of Halcyon

Advice that keeps you hungry If the door is closed, look for a window. What your day is incomplete without Coffee, and I hope you don’t mind if I plug one of our amazing Halcyon Fellows, because my coffee of choice is the Ethiopian blend from Southeastern Roastery, a fantastic local impactdriven business founded by Candy Schibli, who was a fellow in 2020. Your power outfit remix At risk of sounding trite, a power outfit is whatever makes you feel authentic and confident – for some this means a crisp blazer and for others it’s a T-shirt and jeans. Personally, I’m glad these rules are getting rewritten, because when more people can wear what they want, more people can feel powerful, and that’s a good thing. What every entrepreneur needs Entrepreneurship has a great deal to do with luck — a factor that some don’t like to acknowledge. But what distinguishes a great entrepreneur is that they will make that luck. They control their responses to things by shaking off the bad rolls of the dice, figuring out how to improve their odds and focusing on circumstances they can turn to their advantage. Early bird, night owl, or in-between I wish I could answer that I’m an early bird. But Halcyon fellows have shown me that it’s okay to be any of these things or all of them at different times — as long as you find the space to be focused and productive, and also the space to recharge — it’s okay not always to be “on” at the same time.

Burning question for an iconic trailblazer I’d ask some of the most highly visible leaders — people like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs or Richard Branson — if they would have been anything at all without an incredible team. We’ve got to bust the myth of the solo genius entrepreneur or the hero CEO and elevate the voices up and down the org chart that bring vision to life. It’s all about the team. The current soundtrack to your life Listening to the same album on repeat is a torture technique — variety is the spice of life. @halcyoninspires // halcyonhouse.org


Vice President of Programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the National Capital Area Advice that keeps you hungry Our vision is what keeps me hungry to continue the important work we do. Our agency’s vision is that all youth achieve their full potential. This resonates with me and keeps me motivated. Early bird, night owl or in-between It depends on the day. I can be someone who is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning or someone who burns the midnight oil. Our agency works with families and volunteers, so we adapt our schedule to better meet their needs. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer I wouldn’t choose a specific person. This is a tough question, but I think I would ask, “What are you doing to help our community?” I think we as a community need to band together and have ownership to make our community a better place. The current soundtrack of your life Anything old-school ‘90s R&B. @bbbsnca // bbbsnca.org


Co-founder + Platform Curator of Chocolate City’s Best | Managing Partner at 600t cocktail bar Advice that keeps you hungry I remember being in little league and my father telling me, “Play the ball. Don’t let the ball play you.” He was referring to attacking the ball in order to put yourself in the best position to help the team be successful. Early bird, night owl or in-between I’m both a night owl and early bird. After putting in long hours, I must wake up early in order to set my son and daughter up for a successful school day. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, grew Starbucks to over 27,000 stores. I would ask a question in regards to his ability to scale a product/brand efficiently and to such magnitude.

The current soundtrack to your life “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson is a piece that motivates me to navigate with introspection and mindfulness. @chocolat.citys.best; chocolatecitysbest.com // @600tcocktails; 600tdc.com // @holidaythethankful


Executive Director + Founder of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue Advice that keeps you hungry “If you wake up in the morning excited to get out of bed, you know you’re doing the right things.” Early bird, night owl or in-between In-between — depends on the time zone I’m working in. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer What was the biggest mistake you made and what would you do differently if you could? The current soundtrack to your life “Folklore” by Taylor Swift. @dcluckydog + @mirahanne // luckydoganimalrescue.org


Founder of Nü Androids

Advice that keeps your hungry "Treat everyone the same exact way regardless of who they are or where they come from" - from Mama Issa What your day is incomplete without Eating. Your power outfit remix Dead. I don’t believe in a power outfit. I think that’s some old school basic mentality. I do believe in having a sense of fashion which allows you to show off your personality through your choices of clothing. Having some kind of [fas can really translate to a lot of things in the art and creative world. What every entrepreneur needs There is no such thing as a vacation. I legit cannot remember a time when I went on a trip in the past 10-15 years where I didn’t do some work. Early bird, night owl or in-between Honestly, I’m a little bit of both. As long as I get about five hours or so of sleep, I am good to go and I don’t drink coffee in the a.m. Thankfully, I can still get through most days without it, but a couple times a week in the afternoon time, I will drink a latte or something. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer If I am being honest, I don’t really have one. I respect their hard work and their success immensely. Everyone needs to take their own road to success because everyone doesn’t start at the same starting line. There isn’t only one path, so you have to figure out which is the right path for you based on the variables in your life and run with it. My mom is my icon for all things in life. She instilled the correct morals and values in me and allowed me to become who I am.   DISTRICT FRAY | 53


THIS PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT. Michael Holiday Jr. Photo by Naku Mayo. Arion Long. Brent Kroll. Nayef Issa. Photos courtesy of subjects.. NEXT PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT. Joy Kingsley-Ibeh. Photo by Drew Xeron. Aba Kwawu. Photo by Violetta Markelou. Mirah Horowitz. Photo by Shelley Castle Photography. Michelle King. Jasmine Jones. Photos courtesy of subjects.

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LIFE The current soundtrack to your life Honestly, anything by Majid Jordan will do. @nuandroidsmusic + @nayeftissa // nuandroids.com


Founder + CEO of Cherry Blossom Intimates Advice that keeps you hungry “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style,” - Maya Angelou. [This] quote drives me each and every day and inspired me to build my company Myya, which I am launching on October 10 and is the first DTC, insurance-billable intimates, and prosthetics brand for women post-mastectomy. What your day is incomplete without. A great bra. But really, as I build Myya, my days are consumed with bras and prosthetics, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your power outfit remix A power outfit is all about feeling powerful in your skin before you put any clothes on. The first step in creating your power outfit is feeling confident in who you are [and] what are you setting out to accomplish, and I believe that a great bra is the start to a powerful look. After that, you can conquer anything. What every entrepreneur needs Don’t be afraid to break into an industry that isn’t sexy. Durable medical equipment isn’t the hottest venture on the block, I get it. But when I took a look at how I could add to the industry, I knew it was perfect for me. Believing in your perspective and entering into a space you may not see yourself represented, much like I am doing with Myya in the world of durable medical equipment, is where resonating brands are built. @cherryblossomintimates // cherryblossomintimates.com


Founder of Local Angel Co.

Advice that keeps you hungry My mom always says to not be distracted by what other people are doing: Stay focused, work hard and it will pay off. She hasn’t been wrong yet. Early bird, night owl or in-between Depends. I am great at sleeping when I need to, but if there is an idea or task that needs to get done, I get it done so my sleep is sound. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer Mellody Hobson: “How might organizations approach rethinking long-term impact strategies for positive growth and investment in communities?” The current soundtrack to your life “The Temptations Greatest Hits.” There is not a more uplifting, feel-good album out there. Who doesn’t love The Temptations? @localangelco // localangelco.com 56 | OCTOBER 2021


CEO + Founder of Kingsley Model + Talent Management Advice that keeps you hungry “Be thankful. And don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” - Jimmy V. As an athlete, sports gave me the drive and confidence to keep pushing through even when I wanted to quit. So, I channel that inner strength and when the going gets tough, I never give up. I keep going. What your day is incomplete without My workout. I do my best to work out first thing in the morning before starting my workday because it gives me a sense of accomplishment and the energy and competitive drive to tackle whatever comes my way. Your power outfit remix I say we consider the “traditional” power suit dead. But power dressing to me means having the confidence to express who you are through your clothes. It’s about being honest and comfortable and showing your personality through your sense of style. All eyes should be on you, but the focus should be on what you are saying — not what you are wearing. What every entrepreneur needs I say two prerequisites: discipline and consistency. Being consistent means repeating what you are doing each day, and with each repetition, you establish awareness, build trust and deliver your services effectively. Discipline provides you the power to stick to your decisions, set goals and grow your business. @kingsleymodels + @stylebykingsley // kingsleymanagement.com


Proprietor at Maxwell Park Wine Bar Advice that keeps you hungry Don’t assemble your days for where you are, assemble them up for where you want to be. What your day is incomplete without. Saying something nice to someone. Your power outfit remix My buddy Max crushes this. I think whatever a power outfit is, you walk it, talk it or don’t try it. My power outfit has shifted to wine T-shirts, sneakers and not wearing a sommelier pin. My background is mostly suits. Now, I feel great about wearing tees and talking about wine, so I think it still fits. What every entrepreneur needs I see the best rule of thumb as being able to accomplish and/or teach anything you ask of others. This is something I will forever try to be better at. The most important part of it is to understand that people work and are motivated differently. I can’t coach everyone the same and it’s on me to communicate and try to set people up to succeed. It’s a big part of why I wait on guests at the bars. @maxwellpark_shaw + @maxwellpark_navyyard + @b2kroll // maxwelldcwine.com



Founder + President of TAA PR

Founder + CEO of Branded

Advice that keeps your hungry “What got you here will not get you there.” [This] keeps me always learning and growing at each stage of my career.

Advice that keeps you hungry “You are exactly where you are meant to be” is something that I love to remind myself. When things get hard or even when things are going well, this ringing in the back of my head keeps me cognizant that things happen for a reason and to keep on keeping on.

Early bird, night owl or in-between I am a natural night owl, but with more international business these days, I’ve turned into something in-between in order to manage. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer I have a business and style crush on Mellody Hobson, president and co-CEO of Ariel Investments, chairwoman of Starbucks Corporation [and] former chair of DreamWorks. I’d ask her how she stays true to herself and manages to grow and evolve so gracefully. If I were lucky enough to get a second question, it would surely have to be about “Star Wars” secrets. The current soundtrack to your life That’s a tough one because I love all types of music, from afrobeat to country to classical. Right now, I’m playing Tiwa Savage and Brandy’s “Somebody’s Son,” perhaps too much. @taa_pr // taapr.com


Founder + CEO of Femly

Advice that keeps your hungry When I was younger, my grandmother always told me to “Keep things close until they came to fruition.” As an adult, I realized she was teaching me to keep my goals, aspirations and dreams to myself in order to protect them from the limiting beliefs of others. The ability to make an impact and dream without fear keeps me hungry. I’m not settling for crumbs when I deserve the entire cake. What your day is incomplete without A moment of gratitude and prayer. Your power outfit remix I personally believe anything I put on is a power outfit. I’ve closed deals in pajamas, raised funding in a messy bun while breastfeeding and made power moves in a pandemic while pantsless on Zoom. Society would be better off if we got rid of respectability politics associated with clothing. What every entrepreneur needs I thought leaving my 40-hour work week was an accomplishment until I was putting 80-hours into entrepreneurship. If you want to be an entrepreneur, be prepared to eat “no” for breakfast, work twice as hard as you’ll do for someone else and make noise so that your network can find you. @femly + @arionklong // femly.com

Early bird, night owl or in-between Oh man. Currently my morning routine starts at about 5:45 a.m., and I like to be productive in the morning. However, I certainly catch a second wind sometimes at night that allows me to keep moving. So probably somewhere in the middle — depending on the situation. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer Sara Blakely: “When entrepreneurship and running the business is lonely, how did you become unlonely?” The current soundtrack to your life As my personal soundtrack, I think I would have “Jock Jams: Volume 4” (or maybe all of the “Jock Jams” volumes) on repeat. I had that CD when I was 12 or 13 years old, and it reminds me of childhood. It would remind people of good times, happy times — and get people up to dance and sing along. @thebranded.company // thebranded.company


Chef + Owner of Beuchert’s Saloon, Fight Club + Newland


Restaurateur of Beuchert’s Saloon, Fight Club + Newland Advice that keeps you hungry AM: My favorite quote was actually given to me by [Brendan McMahon] when I was having a rough time long ago. “For what it’s worth: It’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald BM: “They’re not the geniuses you think they are.” Early bird, night owl or in-between AM: I used to be a huge night owl, but the older I get and the longer I have been working in restaurants, I have become something in-between. I still enjoy sleeping in when I can, but that happens much less than when I was a young cook. BM: I was a night owl my whole life, but now I have three kids under five years old, so things change. If you want any “alone” time, you’re going to need to get up at 4:30-5 a.m. to get it. I can go either way at this point, but I do love the feeling of getting things done before most are awake.



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LEFT PAGE FROM TOP LEFT. Cory Luckett. Photo courtesy of subject. (From L to R) Erin Potter Melnyk + Amanda Santoro. Photo by Clarissa Villondo // Karlin Villondo Photography. Andrew Markert. Torie Patridge. MITCH. Photos courtesy of subjects. THIS PAGE FROM TOP LEFT. Amir Mostafavi. Photo by Anna Meyer // @annameyerphoto. Grace Yeboah Ofori. Photo by Interstellar Studio. Chela Mitchell. Photo courtesy of subject. Brendan McMahon with daughter. Photo courtesy of subject. Sommer Moore. Photo by Jennifer Chase Photography.


LIFE Burning question for an iconic trailblazer AM: “What was the hardest part of scaling up your businesses while still holding on to the quality and style you had developed over many years of success?” I would ask [chef] Thomas Keller. As a young cook, he was always someone I looked up to, as many others in the industry did and still do. BM: I’m not sure who I would ask, but I often wonder if the thoughts of the next thing ever stop. I always have multiple ventures in my brain for the future, which needs to stop at some point, I would think. The current soundtrack to your life AM: Pearl Jam’s album “Vs.” It’s one of my all-time favorites and has a great mix of amped-up, energetic songs like “Go” and amazing mood changers like “Indifference.” I love every song on that album. BM: Sly and the Family Stone’s “Fresh” album. @beuchertssaloon; beuchertssaloon.com // @fightclubdc; fightclub.com // @newlanddc; newlanddc.com


Co-founder of Underground Goods


Co-founder of Underground Goods

Advice that keeps you hungry “Everything you can imagine is real.” - Picasso Early bird, night owl or in-between We both are significantly more productive early in the morning, especially on baking days. Though, at times we’re also night owls because the work is never done. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer We’d jump at the chance to talk with Rihanna about shifting focus in her career and running her Fenty brands. The current soundtrack to your life Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” always brings the chill vibes and only gets better with age. @underground.goods // undergroundgoods.com


Visual Artist | Creator of Color University Advice that keeps you hungry My dad always told me to forever be a student to the game of life. You can never learn too much. Early bird, night owl or in-between Definitely something in-between [laughs], but most certainly not an early bird. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer I don’t have a specific person, but my question would be, “How much (if any at all) of your personal life did you have to sacrifice before you came successful enough to your liking?” 60 | OCTOBER 2021

The current soundtrack to your life As of now, I would definitely say “Bubba” by Kaytranada. I don’t think I’ve stop listening to that album since its release date. @mmmitch.jp + @color.university // tcu.academy


Founder + Dealer at Chela Mitchell Gallery | Founder at Komuna | Art Advisor Advice that keeps you hungry The best advice I’ve ever received is to only worry about what I can control. It changed my life. What your day is incomplete without My day is incomplete without my laptop, Notion [app] and voice notes with my friends/family. My life mustn’t revolve solely around work. My family and friends keep me grounded. Your power outfit remix A power outfit is anything that makes one feel glorious. I personally like clean, sharp lines and anything architectural. Blazers, skirts, pants and texture are my go-tos. I always feel good when I’m wearing anything navy. It’s such an intense color. I look to brands like Pyer Moss, JW Anderson, Proenza Schouler, Monse and Attico to make me feel my very best. When you look good, you feel good and do good. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. What every entrepreneur needs Oh, I love breaking the rules. Yoko Ono once said, “My religion is to trust myself,” which has always resonated with me. You have to trust your vision even when others aren’t ready or can’t see it. Trusting yourself is no easy feat, but once you fully grasp how best to do it for you and your business, you’ll be unstoppable. @chelamitchellar; chelamitchellart.com // @chelamitchellgallery; chelamitchellgallery.com // @komunahouse; komunahouse.com


Interior Designer at DesignCase

Advice that keeps you hungry I think about the saying, “We all have the same 24 hours as Beyoncé” a lot. I don’t think the literal saying is true because of the obvious, she’s a mega superstar with plenty of resources — but the saying to me is about her work ethic. I apply this thinking to my professional career as well as motivation for getting up for a workout, setting personal goals [and] choosing to make the effort to work toward them. Mixed with some grace, [this] is what I imagine she does to achieve success, so I’m doing the same. Early bird, night owl or in-between I’m definitely a night owl. The evenings, particularly after midnight, when the city is usually quiet [is] a time where I can hear my thoughts the clearest. I think the evenings for me stem back to my childhood: staying up late hanging out with my dad on the porch talking through a wide range of subjects. It’s just always great personal time for me.

Burning question for an iconic trailblazer I’m a big fan of Elaine Welteroth. She was the second Black editorin-chief at Condé Nast within their 107-year history at the time. She’s also a fashion icon and her outfits never miss. I would ask her about her journey in successfully exploring different avenues within her career. I love interior design, specifically hospitality, which is what I’m doing now, but I would also like to explore different types of design like theater and visual motion down the road. I want to discover how they all can be connected. The current soundtrack to your life The world, especially these days, seems to be moving so fast — consistently more every day — and I feel like I’m changing right along with it. I do, however, listen to “Freudian” by Daniel Cesar probably every week still. It came out in maybe 2017, but it’s always on repeat for me. I even try to take breaks so I never get tired of it, but it’s a pretty perfect album.

all about authenticity and personal expression. Embrace your different-ness and dress to impress yourself. Originality: That is the best advice for any outfit choice. What every entrepreneur needs Resilience. You learn from mistakes and losses and never give up, and one of the main strengths of being an entrepreneur is to never stop learning and pushing forward regardless of setbacks. Early bird, night owl or in-between Night owl. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer If I could ask an iconic entrepreneur one question, the entrepreneur would be Rihanna and the question would be, “What is your philosophy of what makes a successful business and communicating that vision to your marketing, PR and branding team?”

@dear_sommer + @designcasellc // designcasellc.com

The current soundtrack to your life "It Is What It Is" by Adekunle Gold.


@trufacebygrace + @trufacemakeup // trufacebygrace.com/pages/ about-us

Founder + CEO of Southblock

Advice that keeps you hungry “Don’t sell your product, sell your vision.” What your day is incomplete without A cappuccino. It’s basically juice from coffee beans. Your power outfit remix My power outfit is simple and comfortable: jeans, white sneakers, black T-shirt and black baseball cap. I don’t like to take time to think about what to wear, so my closet is full of black T-shirts. What every entrepreneur needs You have to find purpose in what you are doing. Otherwise, your passion will die very quickly. I consider myself to be in the people business, not the smoothie business. If I made it all about smoothies, I would have lost interest years ago. But, knowing that you have the opportunity to change lives — that never gets old. @amirmost + @southblock // southblock.com


CEO + Owner of TrufacebyGrace

Advice that keeps you hungry You can do anything you want in life. No one can stop you, no one can distract you, no one can interrupt you — except you. Chase your dreams and never give up, because eventually something has to give. Don’t get discouraged when you have defeats. If you keep pushing, you will soon get pulled. So, don’t give up and always remember that success is a journey and not a destination. This quote sums up my mindset in life: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” - Goethe What your day is incomplete without Coffee. Your power outfit remix Your power outfit is derived from deep within yourself. It’s


Owner + Founder of Terratorie Maps + Goods Advice that keeps you hungry I actually try not to stay not excessively hungry. For me, I work to make my business an act of liberation, not a subscription to hustle culture. A Camus quote I’ve been loving recently is: “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” Early bird, night owl or in-between I love a leisurely morning and I try to switch off in the evenings. I’m at my best after a strong cup of coffee at 11 a.m. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer I’d love to have coffee with Elizabeth Gilbert one day and ask her how she moved from doing creative work herself to inspiring creativity in others. I want to know how to be more generous of spirit in my business as I get older. The current soundtrack to your life For the Terratorie soundtrack, I’d choose The Avalanches’ album “Since I Left You” — lush, warm, positive, energetic, classic, defying categorization, richly sampled. @terratorie // terratorie.com


Owner of Circuit Breaker Labs + Because Science Advice that keeps you hungry Knowing that there is no ceiling above [and] no limit to what I can build is what keeps me pushing forward. Early bird, night owl or in-between Have you heard this quote? “I am not an early bird or a night owl. I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.” That’s me this time of year.   DISTRICT FRAY | 61


THIS PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT. Bianca Humady Rey. Libby Rasmussen. Photos courtesy of subjects. Rayhart. Photo by A. Weir. Jade Womack. Photo by Albert Ting. NEXT PAGE FROM TOP LEFT. Chrystal Seawood. Photo by Stephen Cherry. Kathryn Wepfer. Brian Vasile. Photos courtesy of subjects. Amanda Preske Circuit Breaker Labs. Stacey Price. Photo by Kate Warren.

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LIFE Burning question for an iconic trailblazer This isn’t particularly inspiring, but I’d love to know from Jeff Bezos (or any other billionaire) at what point along the entrepreneurial path they lose their sense of duty to their employees, their country and their planet. One of the things I will not compromise on is my loyalty to and care of my team and my customers, so I am constantly reevaluating my processes to make sure I’m fair and equitable. The current soundtrack to your life I would love for that to be “Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. @BecauseScience_DC // BecauseScienceDC.com

Early bird, night owl or in-between Early bird, definitely. I’m usually up by 6:30-7 a.m. and am completely incapable of sleeping in. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer I would have loved to have met the late Ryan Gainey. He was an incredible American garden designer. I’d ask him if I could come over to his house to just talk for hours.

The current soundtrack to your life “Cool Girl” or “Disco Tits” by Tove Lo. Both make me feel alive and I love everything she does. @libbylivingcolorfully // libbyrasmussen.com


Co-Founder + CEO of Shop Made in DC + Shop Made in VA Advice that keeps you hungry “It is your story to write. Don’t like what’s on the page? Rewrite it.” [This is a] nice reminder that we are in charge of our life, our business [and] our futures, and that we should revisit that script often to make sure not only that the plot is compelling but that we are writing the right characters into our story. Early bird, night owl or in-between Early bird all the way. However, I often have a middle-of-night social media scan I call “instasomnia,” where I search for new makers. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer Define iconic? When I think about who inspires me it’s not one “iconic” person. It’s all the kick-ass entrepreneurs all over this city that have been doing it longer than I have. Because I know that passion feeds success, I want to know, “How do you continue to feed your spirit?” The current soundtrack to your life As a not-so-closeted mixtape maker, it would of course be one of our “Shop Made In” curated mixes. If I am wanting a mood, I would choose one with a little James Blake, Lana Del Rey, Bon Iver, LÉON. If I am wanting something uplifting, I would play our fave: “Stacey Loves ‘90s Hip-Hop.” @shopmadeindc; shopmadeindc.com // @sdprice + @shopmadeinva; shopmadeinva.com


Owner + Founder of Libby Living Colorfully | Marketing Director of Living Colorfully Media | Disco Ball Dealer Advice that keeps you hungry “I think it’s so foolish for people to want to be happy. Happy is so momentary — you’re happy for an instant and then you start thinking again. Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.”- Georgia O’Keefe

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Advice that keeps you hungry “Be patient. Goodness takes time, and greatness takes even more time.” [This is] a personal quote derived from personal experience. What your day is incomplete without Constant creative thought followed by creative action. Your power outfit remix A power outfit is held within, meaning one’s inner being or inner confidence determines the amount of power the intended outfit will emit. Be it a coat and tie, or blue jeans and a white tee. What every entrepreneur needs Sure, there are no rules which cannot be broken. However, always place nothing above service. As an entrepreneur, it is a gift. That gift is to be of service — a privilege in being chosen to bring forth something which is beneficial to others. @rayhartart // rayhart.com

BIANCA HUMADY REY (SHE, HER, HERS) Equity, Inclusion and Diversity (EID) Specialist Advice that keeps your hungry “Always push yourself” and “Never say never.” What your day is incomplete without Coffee. Your power outfit remix Mine is a sleek pants suit with really high stilettos. What every entrepreneur needs Be yourself, speak up and be professional. Early bird, night owl or in-between Now that I’m a little older, I’m definitely an early bird.

Burning question for an iconic trailblazer “How do you overcome criticism and what tips would you give me?” The current soundtrack to your life “Run the World (Girls)” from Beyoncé’s album “4.” @b_rey1213 + @trans_inthe_city


Visual Artist | Humanities Teacher at Kingsman Academy Public Charter School Advice that keeps you hungry

“A work of art isn’t complete until people interact with it.” Early bird, night owl or in-between Something in-between. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer Yayoi Kusama: "What have you had to eliminate from your life to make work on a consistent basis?" The current soundtrack to your life A Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight Marauders.” @chryslovesu // chrystalseawood.art


Owner of Grand Central, LLC

Advice that keeps you hungry It’s a cliché as old as time. It’s not a groundbreaking quote. Everyone knows it, a quote I tell my kids, my players on our youth football team and any business team I’ve worked with. “No matter how hard you fall, get back up.” Incredibly simple, but not easy. What your day is incomplete without Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee, and a hug from the wife and kids. Your power outfit remix The power outfit isn’t fabric: It’s your body language and how you carry yourself. What every entrepreneur needs The ability to foster and develop relationships. The answer to the meaning of life is simple: relationships. Friends, family, business, religion (if you choose to believe), and if you can initiate and nurture those relationships, the rest is relatively easy. @grandcentraldc // grandcentraldc.com


Early bird, night owl or in-between Early bird. I hate getting out of bed, but then I find the early morning to be ideal for doing the physical exercise I need to give me a boost for the day, or for getting the mental clarity and creativity I need to face my toughest challenges. Burning question for an iconic trailblazer I’d love to speak with female entrepreneurs of my generation like Jenn Hyman, Katrina Lake and Katia Beauchamp, who have built companies and families simultaneously. I would ask them what strategies and support systems they’ve relied on to integrate the professional and personal components of their lives and achieve their dreams. The current soundtrack to your life A compilation of my favorite ‘80s songs that make me want to get up and dance, like Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” and Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” I’ll always be a child of the ‘80s. @fulcrumapparel // thefulcrumapparel.com


Founder of Clockout DC

Advice that keeps you hungry My dad has always told me that it’s beautiful to know a little bit about everything because then you can talk to anyone. Everyone has such a diverse and unique set of interests, and I’ve always wanted to learn about them. I attend a wide variety of events — from sake tasting and South Asian dance performances, to film festivals to floral wreath-making to pig butchering, to mooncake festivals, to moon science lectures to art gallery exhibit openings — and I highlight them on my blog. What your day is incomplete without Picking up my dog Luna’s poop. Your power outfit remix I think the power outfit is a state of mind, and for me, it’s lifting weights at the gym in leggings in an old college T-shirt. Being sweaty and putting in work makes me powerful, and I can do anything. What every entrepreneur needs Add value. I think it’s beautiful that we wish to share our passions with the world, but unless your audience finds value, it’s difficult to get any traction or buy in. For example, sometimes adding value is in the product — “This will change your life” — or sometimes, it can be in educating the consumer — “You’re shopping local.” But I do ask myself before I post anything: “Does the Internet really need this content? Who is this post for? Am I adding any value to D.C.?” @clockoutdc // clockoutdc.com

Founder of Fulcrum Apparel

Advice that keeps you hungry “There are people less qualified than you, doing the things you want to do, simply because they decided to believe in themselves. Period.” I saw that on a friend’s social feed when I left the corporate world and began my entrepreneurial journey, and it’s been hanging on the wall above my desk ever since.




Trick or treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat. 66 | OCTOBER 2021



Follow E$ on Instagram @theedollarsign.

If you don’t care, I don’t care. Spot all 31 differences there.   DISTRICT FRAY | 67




D.C. is finally (slightly) cooling down, but that doesn’t mean outdoor fitness classes are ending. We tracked down some easily joinable and open-to-all-level outside classes around the DMV to continue (or start) your fitness journey during October. Whether it’s a rooftop HIIT class, a group to bike with or an outdoor Zumba session, there is room for you in these class offerings.

Biking with BicycleSPACE D.C.

BicycleSPACE hosts Cupcake Ramble rides, where you ride bikes in a group and stop for a treat after. The pace is a good mix of leisurely and challenging, and rides are about 10 miles long. Join to meet great people, burn some calories and earn a few back afterwards. Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. Free. BicycleSPACE: 1512 Okie St. NE, DC; bicyclespacedc.com // @bicyclespace

Hikyoga Events throughout the DMV

Every weekend, these yoga pop-ups take place in gardens and fields, near river views and fresh air in all corners of the DMV. In October, blend hiking and yoga to ground your senses, challenge yourself physically, and visit Constitution Gardens, Jones Point Park and Theodore Roosevelt Island. Various dates, times and locations. $16-$29. hikyoga.com // @hikyoga

HUSTLE at The Wharf

Bring your energy and enthusiasm to HUSTLE’s cycling. Sunny Miller, founder and CEO of HUSTLE, says, “We set up on the water taxi pier overlooking the water. We have umbrellas to provide some shade and overall, the view is stunning. There are no outdoor workouts like it.” HUSTLE also provides indoor classes at Union Stage, or virtual classes at home with

a stationary bike. As Miller says, “No matter where you like to work out [or] what your vibe is, we’ve got you.” HUSTLE is also running a promotion: Bring a friend for free to any 10:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. classes on the weekends. Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. $35. The Pier: 950 Wharf St. SW, DC; hustle-dc.com // @hustle_dc

Kickboxing + Barre at Capitol Riverfront

Outdoor fitness classes include 9Round and Barre3 throughout October. Barre3 offers participants a mixture of yoga, pilates and ballet — different movements which will push you to the limit in new and interesting ways. As for 9Round, get ready for some kickboxing. Both classes offer something new: not just a workout, but a full experience that will leave you wanting more. You can’t beat those riverfront views, either. 9Round is available Saturdays at 9 a.m. Barre3 is available Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:15 a.m. Free with registration. Capitol Riverfront: 200 M St. NE, DC; capitolriverfront.org // @capitolriverfront

Rooftop HIIT at the Mosaic District

Lululemon hosts weekly HIIT classes on top of the Market Garage in the Mosaic District. Bring your mat, water and towel for sweat sessions led by local fitness professionals. HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, and it’s no joke. Think burpees, jump squats and inchworms — anything to get your heart racing. The good news is HIIT workouts are usually shorter, and right after you can cool off in one of the many restaurants and shops the Mosaic District has to offer. Wednesdays at 6 p.m. Free. Bonus: Mosaic District is also hosting Fit4Mom Stroller Strides throughout October. Mosaic District: 8295 Glass Alley, Fairfax, VA; mosaicdistrict.com // @mosaicdistrict

FIRST PAGE. HUSTLE class at The Wharf. Photo courtesy of Will Nelson. SECOND PAGE. Cut Seven pop-up series. Photo courtesy of Union Market.



Running with Prince George’s Running Club

Prince George’s Running Club holds group runs four times a week — and they’re open to whatever fitness goals you may have. Lightly jog or train for a race with the different 5K, 8K, 10K and half marathon programs offered. Run, jog or walk at different locations in Prince George’s County while feeling that fall breeze. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at various times. $20 annually for individuals or $25 for families. Various locations. pgrc.org // @pgrunningclub

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga at Key Bridge Boathouse

Imagine the views: orange, yellow and red leaves reflecting off the Potomac on a fresh October morning. Now imagine striking tree pose on a paddleboard. Sound interesting? Key Bridge Boathouse offers Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga classes, and the experience is not to be missed. Challenge your balance on the open waters and enjoy some of the best nature views D.C. has to offer. Sundays at 9 a.m. $45. Key Bridge Boathouse: 3500 Water St. NW, DC; boatingindc.com // @boatingindc

Yoga at Carlyle House Historic Park

Participants gather on the Magnolia Terrace, a beautiful space lined with curtains and twinkle lights with a view into the forest, to breathe, stretch and meditate. Kerry Mitchell, historic site specialist, says, “Yoga on the Magnolia Terrace offers a unique and historic space for the community to enjoy yoga in Old Town Alexandria.” In such a whimsical space, this practice is sure to clear your mind and energize your body. Tuesdays, 70 | OCTOBER 2021

Thursdays and Saturdays at various times. $10 per class or $40 for five classes. Carlyle House Historic Park: 121 N. Fairfax St. Alexandria, VA; novaparks.com/parks // @carlylehouseva

Yoga at Flow Yoga Center

Enjoy the crisp October air while you find your center in one of Flow Yoga Center’s outdoor classes. With two outdoor locations a short walk from the brick-and-mortar studio, Flow likes to give you options. For all levels, there is a vinyasa flow class, and for advanced yogis, a class called vinyasa rocket. And if you want to continue past October, there are also online and in-person (with some vaxxed-only) events that include cardio, mind flow, and evening wind downs, among others. Teachers at Flow Yoga Center like to call their classes “recess for stressed-out, busy adults,” so expect classes to be a good break from everyday life. Pro-tip: Be sure to verify your class location when signing up. Various dates and times. $25 for two weeks, prices past that vary. Flow Yoga Center: 1450 P St. + 1508 14th St. in NW, DC; flowyogacenter.com // @flowyogacenter

Zumba at La Cosecha

Housed right next to Union Market, try a zumba class at La Cosecha. Taught by Cathy Caminero, this dance-inspired fitness style feels more like a party than a workout (until you feel it the next day, of course). Get ready to work your body to the sounds of international music and enjoy this unique and effective workout. Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. $10. Bonus: La Cosecha will also host a tango class on October 24 from 2-6 p.m. Tickets are $5-$10. La Cosecha: 1280 4th St. NE, DC; lacosechadc.com // @lacosechadc HUSTLE’S Sunny Miller. Photo courtesy of Will Nelson.


ON THE ROAD WITH LUCY DACUS WORDS BY AMANDA WEISBROD Lucy Dacus loves touring more than life. What started as a hobby has turned into a full-time career, something the downto-earth artist was not expecting but welcomed as one of the happiest accidents of her life. The indie-rock artist released her latest studio album “Home Video” in June and set off on a nationwide tour that spans until late October, concluding with three sold-out shows at the 9:30 Club. When asked what she’s looking forward to most with her final performances of the tour, she says, “My family being there. Making them proud is one of the biggest motivators of my life. That sounds corny, but when I see them smiling, I just feel like I’m doing something right.” Growing up in Richmond, Virginia as the daughter of two musicians, Dacus rooted herself in the local music scene, which she describes as small yet diverse, and extremely welcoming. Lucy Dacus. Photo by Ebru Yildiz.

She frequented house shows and local venues like The Camel, and often drove to D.C. for bigger shows. The singer-songwriter and producer never dreamed she would one day headline the 9:30 Club, much less make money off of her music. District Fray: Talk to me about your journey coming up in Richmond’s music scene. What was it like? Lucy Dacus: It was a really supportive scene. Any night of the week, you could find a fully local bill and people were going to it. People weren’t really making music to have careers. It was all passion. And people would throw a show if a band wrote a new song — very genuine motivations, because there’s not really any music industry in Richmond. Since it is a smaller place, you can’t just stick to one genre. There’s tons of different genres, and I feel lucky to have had access to that.   DISTRICT FRAY | 71

IN OTHER WORDS When did you start performing in D.C.? The first time I played D.C., I booked a show at a house called the Bathtub Republic. We played in somebody’s living room for 100 people. Then I booked a show at DC9 and opened for singer-songwriter Julien Baker in late 2015 or early 2016. That was my first sold-out show in D.C.

thought of it as a job. I also never connected making money with playing music. Honestly, it takes a long time to start making money in a way you can actually live on. I thought I would go into film because it’s such a huge industry, but instead I got a job and was touring as a hobby. It was probably the best accident of my life.

Have you performed at 9:30 Club before? Yes. The last show before lockdown was at 9:30 Club in December 2019. I never dreamed of being a musician growing up, so it was kind of unexpected. One of my far-reaching goals was to play the 9:30 Club. We opened for people, and then to headline and sell it out was just amazing. Now to do three soldout nights there, blows my mind. I think it’s one of the nation’s best venues. They treat you well, and it’s a good room. The crowds are always excited to be there. I’m glad we’re ending our tour there.

Do you have an early memory of when you fell in love with music? My mom plays piano for musical theatre. There was this actor who wanted to practice an opera song because he was auditioning for Julliard. He came to the house — I must’ve been eight or nine. I remember sneaking and sitting on the stairs and just listening. I thought, “This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.”

How does it feel to be back at it after more than a year of not playing shows? Is this your first tour out of lockdown? We opened for Bright Eyes in July and that went well — it was all outside. But this is the first headlining tour we’ve done and it’s indoors. We have Covid-19 precautions and are getting tested constantly. It feels safe so far. Playing shows is such an awesome job. Hearing people sing along, even with masks on, is the most alive I ever feel. It makes you feel so joyful. I’m happy to be back. When did you first discover your passion for music? It’s always been a passion, and for that reason, I never really

What’s next for Lucy Dacus? Well, I’m on tour for the rest of my life (laughs). No, I’m on tour until the end of October. But after that, I don’t know. I’m afraid to make plans because I don’t want them to be cursed. I want them to actually happen, so I want to wait and see what Covid has to say. I just want to be working. I want to be touring all the time. I’m still writing music, so slowly but surely, I’ll be working on a new record. I also haven’t had the chance to see people I love, so if possible, I want to travel and keep up with those relationships. Follow Dacus on Instagram and Twitter @lucydacus, and find her at fb.com/lucy.dacus. Stream her latest album “Home Video” on Spotify and Apple Music. For upcoming tour dates, merch and more, visit lucydacus.com.

What’s your favorite D.C. haunt? Busboys and Poets because they have everything I need: books, food and a comfy couch. That’s really all there needs to be. What’s your favorite song you’ve recorded? “Triple Dog Dare,” the last song on the newest album. It’s the best storytelling I’ve done so far. What instrument do you wish you could play? Bass. It’s such an underrated instrument. If the bass is bad at a show, you don’t really realize it, but you have a weird feeling something is off. But if it’s good, you’re carried through. Do you have any hobbies that aren’t music? There’s this card game called Truco — it’s kind of like poker with partners. There’s a lot of bluffing and it’s just really fun. Cards in general. If you could tour with any artist or band, who would you choose? Maybe Janelle Monáe, or Lorde? But the truth is, my friends and I are already doing that. Palehound is touring with us and I love every single one of their songs. What’s your guilty pleasure music? Jack’s Mannequin (laughs). I would say ABBA, but that’s not a guilty pleasure at all, that’s just a pleasure. What kind of music did your parents force on you growing up? Christian rock. Constantly. Who are you listening to now? I listen to a lot of Anjimile. That record came out in 2020 and it’s one of my favorites. Also, Bartees Strange, who is opening for us for one of the D.C. shows. What’s your dream vacation? I really want to go to Japan. I hear it’s an extremely beautiful place. Plus, I love fish, so eating sushi every day and looking at beautiful things sounds perfect. 72 | OCTOBER 2021





OCT 14 | 8 PM

OCT 22 + 23 | 8 PM

OCT 30 | 3 PM + 8 PM




NOV 4 | 8 PM

JAN 28 8 | 8 PM

FEB 4 | 8 PM






JAN 26 + 27

FEB 24 + 25 FEB 26 | 2 SHOWS! FEB 27


40 | APRIL 2021

APR 16 | 2 SHOWS!

APR 20


41 | APRIL 2021

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