a product message image
{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade

Page 1

MARCH 2020


SATURDAY, MARCH 14, 1–6PM District Pier at the Wharf | Free Admission NEW FOR 2020

VIP Ticket Option & After Party with Scythian at Union Stage


Must be 21+ to consume alcohol. please celebrate responsibly.















2 | MARCH 2020




Paola Velez. Photo by Jennifer Chase.

SEEN Glass Animals played at U Street Music Hall in February. Photos by K. Gabrielle Photography.





7 Voice

63 Varied Perspectives

9 Homespun

66 D.C. #Regram

10 Up-And-Comers

70 Inclusive Spaces

12 Calendar

72 Self-Care in 2020



21 Flavor Forcast

75 Break Free

28 Savor

78 Banners + Rebuilds


34 Brewer’s Ball

38 Beer Outlook


41 City Sounds 44 Best Coast

82 Lindsay Gibbs

FUN 84 Crossword 88 Illustration

L TO R. Trent Johnson, Robert Kinsler, Julia Goldberg, Monica Alford + M.K. Koszycki. Photo by Rich Kessler at Eaton Hotel.


48 The District’s New Muses 54 Simon Godwin

ROBERT KINSLER Publisher MONICA ALFORD Editor-in-Chief TRENT JOHNSON Deputy Editor M.K. KOSZYCKI Assistant Editor JULIA GOLDBERG Editorial Designer TOM ROTH Key Account Manager

WRITERS Kelsey Cochran Lani Furbank Nicole Hertvik Anna Jacoby Colleen Kennedy Natalia Kolenko Aparna Krishnamoorthy Jenelle Langford Mayra Mejia Reem Nadeem Lanna Nguyen Casey Pazzalia David Ross Jean Schindler Courtney Sexton Alex Thompson

PHOTOGRAPHERS Kelsey Cochran K. Gabrielle Photography Rich KessleR Kimchi Photography Ming Ma Lanna Nguyen Alex Thompson Scott Thompson ARTISTS E$ Brandon Hill Cover illustration by No Kings Collective’s Brandon Hill. Photograph of Marvin Gaye by Jim Britt. Photograph of Henry Rollins by ceedub13, vis Flickr (the photos were altered for the

4 | MARCH 2020

purposes of the cover.)


FOR THE LOVE OF DC I have a confession. I have very little experience as a publisher. Entrepreneur? Sure. Small business owner? Yep. Risk-taker? No problem. But publisher of a print and digital magazine? Definitely not. You can firmly put me in the “trial by fire” camp on this one. But the truth is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is exactly how so many great journeys, new experiences and a whole lot of fun start for each of us every day. Jumping in with little to no experience and being willing to get a little dirty is at the core of so many great joys. The willingness to embrace that small spark, listen to that faint thought in your head and dive into something totally new for yourself is at the center of play, and the core of our mission to make fun possible here at DC Fray. With that inspiration, we are excited to introduce you to District Fray Magazine, your source for all things lifestyle and entertainment for those living in and around the District. We are launching the magazine to build and to serve our community of curious, active and fun people who want to listen to that little voice encouraging them to jump in to new experiences and celebrate all of those who build those experiences for us.

We promise to work hard to uncover and share the creative, dynamic and amazing things going on around us. In return, we ask that you jump in these new waters with both feet. Embrace your curiosity and help us grow this amazing community by sharing our coverage with other curious people, sharing your tips with us and supporting the amazing partners who help us make this all possible. Today – right now – you can help us do just that by posting about your favorite District Fray article in our inaugural issue and tagging those you think might like it, too. When you are done reading this issue, consider handing it off to a friend to keep the cycle going. On behalf of all of us at District Fray Magazine and the whole DC Fray team, we are grateful for you and all the great things we get to discover and share with you each month here in the magazine and every day at www.DistrictFray.com.

ROBERT KINSLER PUBLISHER L TO R. District Fray Editor in-Chief Monica Alford + DC Fray Founder, CEO + Publisher Robert Kinsler. Photo by Rich Kessler.









NATURAL INTELLIGENCE A high-level report came out on the future of democracy a few weeks ago. My boss flagged it as important – this is Washington, after all. I carefully placed my copy on the only uncluttered corner of my desk, where it sits now. Have I read it? No. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Harvard Business Review highlighted a recent study on “The Secrets of Successful Female Networkers,” which observed that successful women know when to say no to collaboration and networking, and instead “set aside time for reflection and high-level thinking.” It might seem counterintuitive, but this intellectual cloistering made them more valuable to their networks – because they could offer better strategic insights and were more able to calibrate their own careers. So, I need to read that report. But how does anyone squeeze in a little reading on top of intense Washington workloads, volunteer commitments and happy hour? “Build the confidence to say no,” advises Bunmi Akinnusotu, deputy director of the prestigious Rangel Graduate Fellowship at Howard University and host of the podcast What in the World? “Sometimes insecurity drives our overcommitment – the fear that people won’t think you’re smart or important if you don’t step up,” she observes. “But that’s not true. Give yourself permission to engage with your priorities.” Schedule a meeting with yourself,” exclaims Bianca Hutton, an international communications expert and founder of My Mid-Career Life, a podcast launching this spring about professionals navigating hard choices. “Even if it’s just once a month, schedule an hour to read the articles you’ve bookmarked. Clear it with your boss if you have to but make it a business meeting with yourself.”   DISTRICT FRAY  | 7


A Classic Musical

March 13-May 20 music and lyrics by Frank Loesser; book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows; based on a story and characters of Damon Runyon; choreographed by Dell Howlett; directed by Peter Flynn

Generation Abe Night! May 8 at 7:30 p.m. For Ages 21-35 | Get $20 tickets with code* UNDER3520 Join us for a complimentary drink after the show. Event Media Partner: *Discount code also good for Monday-Friday 7:30 p.m. performances throughout run.


Tickets: (888) 616-0270 Photo of Maria Egler, Joe Mallon, Karen Vincent and Bueka Uwemedimo by Scott Suchman.

8 | MARCH 2020

But Hutton warns against limiting yourself to just reading articles and reports during your high-level power hour. “I was lucky to have a boss early in my career who made it mandatory once a month to take a half day to do something completely unrelated to work,” she tells me. “Go without an agenda and let your mind wander.” This could mean visiting a museum or attending a noon performance at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. “The idea was to let your mind relax,” she explains. “Let it surface all the things it’s been working on in the background and come back to the office inspired.” And setting aside time for high-level thinking doesn’t mean you have to spend it alone. “I have a group of professional peers and we try to have lunch together once a month,” Sarah Bruno tells me. Bruno is executive director of the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN), the only national organization solely focused on preparing college women for public policy leadership. “Doing that has helped me take a step back and talk through strategic developments and trends,” she adds. “That, and finding ways to collaborate with allies really leads to a high level of creativity because you are exposing yourself to other ways of thinking.” When I ask Akinnusotu where she creates space for her intellectual development, she tells me, “My podcast feeds me in a way that gives me confidence in myself. I get to be curious and ask questions.” When she was searching for a new place to record, she stumbled on the studio at Eaton Workshop. “Now I’m in a completely different place in D.C. and I’m connected with folks I would never have met working in foreign policy,” she says. “It’s allowed me to step back and put my own experiences in perspective. I never intend to be a DJ but stepping into [a] creative space makes my work better.” Soon after I first landed in D.C. and I was working on women’s issues, I was invited to meet with a respected leader in the field of women’s rights. I showed up with some ideas for events and a partnership, but that wasn’t why she was there. She wanted to understand trends and generational changes. She was carving out a space for herself to understand the big picture of women’s activism, and she was inviting me to be part of that space. At the time, I thought the meeting turned out to be pointless. It was a long time before I understood it wasn’t. It’s easy to get caught up in logistics and paperwork and making things happen in the now. Innumerable studies, including the one Harvard Business Review highlighted, indicate that women take on more collaborative demands in the workplace than their male peers do. Without the counterweight of intellectual development and some deep thought, that’s the path to professional stagnation. So go ahead – make that appointment with yourself to do a little reading, tell your brunch group about that podcast you’re listening to or visit one of D.C.’s amazing museums in the middle of the day. Maybe we’ll run into each other and I can tell you all about this democracy report I finally read. Read the “The Secrets of Successful Female Networkers” study: www.hbr.org/2019/11/the-secrets-of-successful-femalenetworkers and check out the What in the World? podcast: www.whatintheworldpodcast.com. Jean Schindler came to the District for the 16-hour work days and stayed for the happy hours. She thinks a lot about the mysteries of Washington careers.




On a recent Saturday after feeling deeply stressed, I decided to drive downtown to jog around the Mall. It may be a little cliché – like I’m a political appointee going on a jog with Martin Sheen while wearing a grey Georgetown University T-shirt – but I did it anyway. It pains me to say that as I sat on a wooden bench on the Mall, I was reminded of my love for my hometown. I grew up outside of Washington, D.C. in Silver Spring, Md. Before newly arrived Washingtonians start swinging on my regional status, please note that I’m a child and grandchild of a D.C. native. My grandfather ran an upholstery shop on H Street from 1960 to 2008, which means he survived the ‘68 riots. My mother is a retired D.C. public school teacher, my uncle was principal of Cardozo High School in Columbia Heights – I can go on. So, what’s at the heart of D.C.’s cultural scene? That’s a question I feel that people who move here are more concerned with. They want to believe in their decision to make this town their home. That’s cool, I get it. But to be real, D.C. was cool before many of these folks got here. Just like political administrations, cultural trends have come and gone. Yet some of us are still here. When asked to profile individuals in D.C. who are closely snuggled with amazing energy in the city, I consult the natives. I mean you non-natives no disrespect. You’re just going to have to wait a little bit before you hold the mic on this one. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Bisagna Suh. I first met her when I was her advisor at American University for the organization she dictated, the Student Union Board. Raised mostly in Laurel, Md., I quickly noticed her insight into the D.C. music scene. I encouraged her to ignore all of the nonsense that exists within a cultural scene and focus on the positives like, “What about D.C. culture fills her with the most joy?” “Everyone here is hungry,” Suh says. “You’ll meet so many people who sing, model, take photos, make films – all while balancing a day job. Artists are doing everything they can to be seen and get some attention.” She’s right, but not all artists have that level of discipline, or the temperament to do so. “While that hunger would probably translate to competition somewhere else – here it has resulted in community.” Suh is now the assistant manager of artist and community relations at the Kennedy Center and one of the co-founders of 4421 Productions. Remaining in the Kennedy Center family, the next individual on my list is my greatest find of 2019. We met when I was artistic director for The REACH’s opening day parade. Diana Ezerins, the Kennedy Center’s director of public programs for social impact programming, was forced to basically be my sherpa as I tried climbing Everest to make this parade something. She was warm, calming and so damn creative. One of her roles includes booking Millennium Stage and curating much of what is going on at The REACH. Considering the Bisagna Suh. Photo courtesy of Suh.

Center’s prominence as a national entity, I asked why she felt compelled to showcase what’s in our backyard. “It matters a lot to me that the Kennedy Center represents and supports artists based in the D.C. [area],” Ezerins reinforces. “That means those who grew up here, the transients flowing in and the international community. That which is local is inherently national because we are in the city where it happens. It’s critical to me that the art and artists on our stage reflect and respond to that which is happening nationally.” Last but not least, please meet Joe Lapan. He’s the co-owner of Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe on 18th Street in Adams Morgan, a venue that has shoved its way into relevancy. They cultivate regional talent. I don’t care if it’s an experimental bluegrass band or a rapper from Southeast who sounds surprisingly identical to Ghostface – they all have a home in their venue. Songbyrd aims to be eclectic, diverse and fair, and I asked Lapan his philosophy on this. “You are right that we set out with an intent to be diverse and eclectic,” Lapan says. “Most people we know that love music don’t just listen to one type or one genre. As genre boundaries continue to blur, consumers are open to many different types of music as long as it’s interesting and good.” This different era of musical acceptance is what’s unique and you can see it in this town. “We’ve always wanted to be a home for those people and a place of music discovery in D.C.,” Lapan adds. “If you love music, you’ve got a home at Songbyrd.” Follow these placemakers on Instagram: Bisagna Suh @bisagna_ or @4421productions, Joe Lapan @dcdunsun or @songbyrddc, and Diana Ezerins @dianaez or @kennedycenter.   DISTRICT FRAY  | 9



10 |  MARCH 2020


ABOVE. Molly Nizhnikov and Rachel Lubin. Photos courtesy of The Lane.

There are few places in the city that cater to the entire family, which is why from a parent’s perspective, The Lane Social Club is a welcome addition. Tailor-made for families, this Ivy City locale combines entertainment and engagement for kids with a bar offering coffee, wine and beer for adults and plenty of relaxation space for everyone. The 7,880-square-foot social club, which opened in early February, is the brainchild of Molly Nizhnikov and Rachel Lubin. The two women, both mothers, were looking to create a space with universal appeal for all members of the family. “Leisure time should be something that happens for the whole family at the same time in a space that works for everyone,” Nizhnikov explains. “This is a concept where the U.S. is far behind. It’s much more common abroad – not just space that works for the adults but where parents and kids all have fun together.” That’s exactly what The Lane does. For the kids, there’s a climbing wall, enormous ball pit, reading nook, infant area, two-story slide and net bridge. Adults can keep an eye on their children while enjoying fare and libations from the café and bar supplied by local food and drink purveyors. But it’s even more than that. It can be very challenging to socialize as a parent, and both Nizhnikov and Lubin say that was another driving factor behind opening The Lane. “As people [move to more] urban [areas], traditional networks of family and friends may not always be available,” Nizhnikov adds. At The Lane, they hope parents can strike up conversations and meet others who may be in a similar phase of life. This is especially ideal for new parents and families who’ve recently moved to the city. Other activities include story time, workout sessions and

“Leisure time should be something that happens for the whole family at the same time in a space that works for everyone.“ Parents’ Night Out, where kids can be dropped off for a few hours of creative, playful entertainment and food while parents head out for a stress-free night. Although the space is industrial, the design itself has carefully thought-out features that make it safe, practical, functional and pleasing to the eye. Every aspect of the social club has been created with the entire family in mind – its nightly cleaning, timed entries for capacity management, a nursing room for mothers and rubber mat flooring to help prevent any injuries when kids fall, just to name a few. While it’s been more than a year-and-a-half in the making, both Nizhnikov and Lubin say, “It’s been an amazing start to see parents and kids with smiles on their faces.” Memberships start at $95 per month for two parents, two children and a caregiver. Non-members can drop in for $20 per two-hour session. The Lane Social Club: 1408 Okie St. NE, DC 202-656-1105; www.thelanesocialclub.com

We want to thank our amazing national and local advertisers for trusting us to deliver their message. Learn how we can drive results for you, too. For information regarding partnerships and advertising for District Fray Magazine, please contact DC Fray Key Account Manager Tom Roth. tomroth@unitedfray.com | 202.290.1969 ext. 145




Artistic Director Simon Godwin makes his directorial debut at the Shakespeare Theatre Company with a restaging of his recent, acclaimed production of Timon of Athens, featuring Olivier Awardwinner Kathryn Hunter. Times vary. Tickets $35+. Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Michael R. Klein Theatre: 450 7th St. NW, DC; www.shakespearetheatre.org


Direct Current, the Kennedy Center’s multidisciplinary spring showcase of works new to D.C., returns for its third year, this time with a focus on female creators. As in the past, Direct Current 12 |  MARCH 2020

will include a variety of media. Musician Chris Thile will also broadcast an episode of “Live From Here,” his public radio variety show, with an all-female lineup of guests. Times and prices vary. The Kennedy Center: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org



After taking a two year hiatus following her highly praised debut album A Suitable Girl, Ali Barter is back on the scene. Barter, a native Australian, earned praise from the likes of FBi Radio, The Australian, triple j, Tone Deaf and even Rolling Stone. She took a step back from music until recently with the debut of her second album Hello, I’m Doing my Best. D.C.-based indie band Emperor Plum will open. Doors 7 p.m. Tickets $10-$12. Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe: 2477 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com


With several Colonial Athletic Association teams relevant to DMV residents, including Towson, James Madison and William & Mary, the CAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will be in D.C. for the next three years. This year’s tournament starts on March 7 and wraps up with the championship game on March 10 at 7 p.m. Tickets $45+. Entertainment and Sports Arena: 1100 Oak St. SE, DC; www.caasports.com


The Districts’ fourth full-length album You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere has arrived. Airy and understated, discordant, exuberant and earnest all at once, You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere is the culmination of The Districts’ growth and maturation through milestones and setbacks alike. Doors 7 p.m. Tickets $20. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com


Drinking Skeptically provides an opportunity for skeptics, humanists, secularists and others to talk, share ideas, and, yes, drink in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. Discuss science, history, philosophy, politics or whatever is on your mind. Hosted by the Center for Inquiry. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free. Capital City Brewing: 1100 New York Ave. NW, DC; www.capcitybrew.com


Story District is celebrating Women’s History Month with She Comes First. Featuring eight local women with stories about building a business, being a leader, standing up to injustice, and being amazing. Story District will also host a pre-show happy hour with PRX to invite those working to get women’s stories, heard, upheld, and supported to mix and mingle. Doors 6:30 p.m. Tickets $20. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.storydistrict.org



One of the most iconic hardcore punk bands of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s is coming to the 9:30 Club. With decidedly political lyrics and anti-authority themes, the Dead Kennedys should have a field day in the District. Doors 7 p.m. Tickets $30+. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com


D.C.-based band Lotion Princess, selfdescribed as a “hypnotic indie-pop” band, is debuting its newest single, “Think of Me,” March 11 at DC9. The four band members have only been playing together for a couple of years, but their cohesive relationship is obvious in their performance. Jake Sherman opens. Doors 7:30 p.m. Tickets $12. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.club


Join cookbook author and illustrator Marcella Kriebel in an evening of watercolor painting an original recipe by mixologist Gina Chersevani. Participants will enjoy a specialty seasonal cocktail prepared by Buffalo and Bergen, and each will be supplied line art of an illustrated recipe of Chersevani’s drink to paint

in watercolor. Each participant will bring home one of Chersevani’s classic cocktails as a hand colored illustrated recipe. Materials are included. This event is 21+. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets $55. Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.unionmarketdc.com


Esther and Schmuli are Satmar Hasidic Jews embarking on an arranged marriage, despite barely knowing each other. Abe and Julia are high-profile celebrities embarking on a dangerously flirtatious correspondence, despite being married to other people. On the surface, the lives of these two pairs couldn’t be more different, but the hidden connections between them draw the audience into an intriguing puzzle and a deeply sympathetic look at modern love. Times vary. Tickets $34-$64. Edlavitch DCJCC: 1529 16th St. NW, DC; www.theaterj.org


The second son of legend Bob Marley, Stephen Marley has carved out quite the career for himself. Between 2007 and 2016, all four of his albums reached No. 1 on the Billboard US Reggae chart. Doors 6:30 p.m. Tickets $38.50+. The Howard Theatre: 620 T St. NW, DC; www.thehowardtheatre.com



D.C. is hosting the largest environmental film festival in the world, presenting 100+ films to audiences of more than 20,000. With over 110 partners including museums, embassies, universities and theaters, this festival is one of the city’s leading annual cultural events, and the winner of the 2017 D.C. Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Creative Industries. Times, prices and venues vary. www.dceff.org


In the summer of 1968, liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley met for a series of debates that rocked America and redefined the genre of punditry. Now, for one evening only, Vidal and Buckley meet in the Dismal Beyond (also known as the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA) to reprise their infamous debate. What ensues is a battle for history itself, in a no-holds-barred sesquipedalian brawl and satirical battle of wits, assisted by an ever-revolving cast of characters from Aaron Burr to Ayn Rand. Times and prices vary. Mosaic Theater at the Atlas Performing Arts Center: 1333 H St. NE, DC; www.mosaictheater.org



The National Gallery of Art’s popular afterhours events return after a winter hiatus for a special Women’s History Month-themed party. Expect pop-up gallery talks about women-identifying artists, performances by female artists and enjoy a drink. 6-9 p.m. Free. National Gallery of Art East Building: 4th St. NW, DC www.nga.gov


The second annual Capital Comedy Festival is taking over D.C. and turning the city into the “District of comedy!” Featuring Sommore, Arnez J, Don D.C. Curry, George Wallace, Tommy Davidson and George Wilborn. 8 p.m. Tickets $59+. DAR Constitution Hall: 1776 D St. NW, DC; www.dar.org/constitution-hall


Every year, the D.C. German Wine Society hosts a tasting of German wines from the new vintage, with a focus on Riesling. Host Phil Bernstein, General Manager of MacArthur Beverages, will bring 10 German wines to be sampled, accompanied by a buffet of cheeses, breads, grapes, veggies and cold cuts. This is a 21+ event. 7-10 p.m. Tickets $56-$66. Harbor Square Co-op: 500 N St. SW, DC; www.germanwinesocietydc.org




Be transported to the gastronomic capital of Louisiana with Tastemaker’s cooking class. Learn how to prepare barbecue shrimp, shrimp and andouille sausage gumbo, and bananas foster. Each ticket includes a welcome snack, dinner, and wine or beer of your choice. 7-9 p.m. Tickets $75. Tastemakers: 2800 10th St. NE, DC; www.tastemakersdc.com


“Hanami: Beyond the Blooms” transports visitors into a new tale of spring. Hanami beautifully shows how technology and code can combine seamlessly with illustration and nature to breathe new life into this familiar time of year, allowing visitors to enjoy the thrills and beauty of a seasonal phenomenon beyond its limited organic time-span. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Tickets $16-$20. Artechouse DC: 1238 Maryland Ave. SW, DC; www. dc.artechouse.com


beers, including old favorites, hard-tofind rare brews and one-offs crafted just for HopFest 2020. All tickets include a complimentary DC Brewers’ Guild tasting glass with unlimited pours of craft offerings. This is a 21+ event. 12-5 p.m. Tickets $50-$75. DC Brau Brewing Company: 3178-B Bladensburg Rd. NE, DC; www.dcbg.org


Join Lost Boy Cider in Alexandria, along with a fluffle of Lionheaded Bunnies visiting from Tripple Springs Farm for Hoppy Hour, a 45-minute “bunny experience” which includes guided meditation, bunny snuggling and more. Included in your ticket is a post-practice beverage of your choice. BYO yoga mat. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Tickets $30. Lost Boy Cider: 317 Hooffs Run Dr. Alexandria, VA; www.lostboycider.com


Join the Portrait Gallery and celebrated author and illustrator Vashti Harrison to recognize bold women in history. Enjoy artist workshops, tours and activities highlighting remarkable stories of women in the museum’s collection. 11:30 a.m to 3 p.m. Free. Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery: 8th St. NW, DC; www.npg.si.edu


U Street Music Hall has managed to be one of D.C.’s most vital destinations for the past decade, no matter your taste in music. The club’s 10-day 10th anniversary celebration covers a broad spectrum, from futuristic to reggaeton to local go-go acts. Times and prices vary. U Street Music Hall: 1115A U St. NW, DC; www.ustreetmusichall.com

Chef Vic of OneRoute Catering will instruct and teach classic craft cocktails that will be tasted by students. Students will be hands on, so come prepared to mix and mingle. Lastly, end the class with a friendly cocktail competition, winners get trophies. 2-4 p.m. Tickets $40. Bin 1301 Wine Bar: 1301 U St. NW, DC; www.bin1301dc.com




The only D.C. beer festival by local brewers, for local brewers, is back to support the D.C. Brewers’ Guild. Dozens of your favorite breweries will come together at DC Brau Brewing Company for an afternoon of hoppy 14 |  MARCH 2020

Join The Sovereign as they celebrate their fourth anniversary! To mark the occasion, 25 world-renowned beers will be featured from brewers including Cantillon, Hill Farmstead, Jester King and more. This event is 21+. 11 a.m. Free. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com



Join Capitol Cider House for the Boozy Bee, a weekly spelling game. Try and spell without spellcheck and while drinking - no easy feat. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Winners get an invite to compete for the grand prize at a later date. 6 p.m. Free event. Capitol Cider House: 3930 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.capitolciderhouse.com


Join REI for a guided hike up the cascades and canyons of Little Devils Stairs. After returning to the trailhead, hikers will drive to Pen Druid Brewing. REI will provide transportation and a hiking guide, as well as buy your first beer at Pen Druid after the hike. Plan on packing your own lunch and snacks for this trip. 7:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Tickets $80. Washington DC REI: 201 M St. NE, DC; www.rei.com



There will be lightning sticks for everyone to use while rocking out with Sex Bob-omb or fighting off an evil ex, bubbles to make the theater a dreamy lovenest during super-cute romantic scenes, and gold coins to shower the theater anytime an evil ex is destroyed. 7:20 p.m. Alamo Drafthouse: 15200 Potomac Town Pl. #100, Woodbridge, VA; www.drafthouse.com



Pizza and wine: one of the best pairings since the creation of taste buds. Discuss wine tasting techniques, the main principles of food and wine pairing and pair five natural wines with some of the best pizza slices. 21+. 6:30-8 p.m. $65. 2 Amys Pizzeria: 3715 Macomb St. NW, DC; www.2amyspizza.com


7 Locks will be hiding 4 leaf clovers around their taproom. Find one and bring it to the bar for a pint on them. Pike District will be there from 5-7 p.m. with info, giveaways and a raffle for the chance to win a $100 gift card to 7 Locks. There will be three drawings, three chances to win. Event is 21+. 4-9:30 p.m. Free. 7 Locks Brewing: 12227 Wilkins Ave. Rockville, MD; www.7locksbrewing.com





Enjoy stand-up comedy, original comedy segments, and more. Arrive early for complimentary massages provided by Hands-In-Motion Mobile Massage as well as welcome shots. Hosted by Tommy Taylor Jr. This is a 21+ event. Doors 6:30 p.m. Tickets $15+. DC Comedy Loft at Bier Baron Tavern: 1523 22nd St. NW, DC; www.dccomedyloft.com

George Mason University’s Student Involvement and the Center for the Arts, in collaboration with Mason’s Computer Game Design Department, GMU Esports, and GMU Anime and Gaming Society, team up once again for GAMEmason, an engaging all-day gaming convention on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University. 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Free to GMU students. Tickets $20. George Mason University Center for the Arts: 4373 Mason Pond Dr. Fairfax, VA; www.gmu.edu



District Trivia is your neighborhood pub trivia game done right. The best hosts, the best format and the best prizes combine to give the people of the D.C. Metro area the best trivia experience anywhere in the city. 8-10 p.m. Free. Denizens Brewing Co.: 4550 Van Buren St. Riverdale Park, MD; www.denizensbrewingco.com

Join Cheesemonster Studio for an evening dedicated to whiskey and curds. Participants will be tasting through five different cheese selections, pairing them with whiskeys and discussing what makes a good pairing. Ticket price includes five whiskey tastes and five cheese pairings. Event is 21+. 7-8:30 p.m. Tickets $55. Cheesemonster Studio: 713 Kennedy St. NW, DC; www.cheesemonsterstudio.com



Join George Mason University’s Department of Criminology, Law and Society and esteemed guest Malcolm Gladwell for Talking to Strangers. Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author, journalist and speaker, will be in conversation with Steven Pearlstein and David Weisburd on Gladwell’s new book Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know. Doors 5:30 p.m. Free. Center for the Arts Concert Hall at George Mason University: 4373 Mason Pond Dr. Fairfax, VA; www.chss.gmu.edu


Known for her hit single “Put the Gun Down,” collaborations with rappers like Kendrick Lamar and Asher Roth and an inclusion on the Cars 3 soundtrack, ZZ Ward comes to D.C. as part of her Stardust 2020 Tour. She is joined on the tour by Patrick Droney. Doors 7 p.m. Tickets $30. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

Led by author Seema Reza and accomplished guest writers including poets, memoirists, novelists, and storytellers. Each workshop is designed to help participants put their personal stories on paper in a supportive environment. 7 p.m. Tickets $25. The Mansion At Strathmore: 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, MD; www.strathmore.org


Join The Sovereign as they tip-off NCAA March Madness with 68 different bottles at half price. Whether you are aiming for an old favorite or are searching for an underdog, they are sure to find the bottle for you. Event is 21+. 12 p.m. Free. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com



Join DC Fray and City Dance for a fun workshop where dance will be explored with a glass of liquid courage. Learn the choreography from Britney Spears’ iconic music video “(You Drive Me) Crazy” and make your friends crazy jealous of your dance moves. This is a 21+ event. 6-8:30 p.m. Tickets $35. City Dance at Tenleytown: 4435 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.citydance.net


Love Korean Cuisine and Soju and curious about its origin? Want to try something new? Join City Winery D.C. in exploring the joy of Soju and learn about foods that pair well with Soju. Each ticket includes tasting five different soju and small appetizers that pair with the five selected Soju. Event is 21+. Doors 6:30 p.m. Tickets $40. City Winery: 1350 Okie St. NE, DC; www.citywinery.com/ washingtondc



Head to the water to enjoy D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms from a unique vantage point. REI’s kayak tour on the Potomac River delivers unparalleled cherry blossom views away from crowds. REI will provide everything you need to reach the Potomac River’s most picturesque spots. 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tickets $70. Columbia Island Marina at Lady Bird Johnson Park: George Washington Memorial Pkwy. Arlington, VA; www.rei.com   DISTRICT FRAY  | 15




Join The Potter’s House for a game night. Bring friends and your favorite games, or just show up! Learn new games and meet new friends. 5-8 p.m. Free. The Potter’s House: 1658 Columbia St. NW, DC; www.pottershousedc.org



Enjoy wine and light refreshments while learning the basics of painting with palette knives and experience the visceral release of cutting a knife through paint and letting loose on a canvas. You will be guided in creating an emotionally expressive, abstract painting entirely unique to you and can create three paintings each to explore different styles and feelings. All supplies and refreshments will be provided. 6-8 p.m. Tickets $60. Shop Made in DC Dupont: 1710 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.shopmadeindc.com


D.C. doesn’t rank as one of the best cities for millennials for nothing! Registration for most of DC Fray’s spring social sports leagues is close. No team, no problem. Individuals, small groups and teams welcome. With 150+ leagues to choose from, you can try bocce to skeeball to soccer. Pick your social sports adventure. 21+ opportunity. Various dates and times. Registration $40-$120. Various parks and bars near you. www.dcfray.com/sports



Award-winning author, chef, television personality and Mediterranean diet 16 |  MARCH 2020

advocate Amy Riolo will share the secrets of culinary medicine while gourmet chef entrepreneur Aida Mady will introduce you to the world of Egyptian spices and cuisine. Evening includes presentation and demonstrations, pastries and cookbooks to take home, and a silent auction to benefit Baltimore Luxor Alexandria Sister City Committee. 5:30-8 p.m. Tickets $45. Middle East Institute: 1763 N St. NW, DC; www.mei.edu


Join Food Rescue US to help end hunger and food waste around the country. The evening will be filled with great food, education and inspiration. Celebrity Chef and DC Food Policy Council Chairman Spike Mendelsohn is a guest of honor. Come learn more about how you can help feed your community! All proceeds go to Food Rescue US. 7-9 p.m. Tickets $5. We, the Pizza: 303 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC; www.foodrescue.us



Quinn is a stand-up comedian from Brooklyn who spent several years as a writer and featured player on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. He’s also had an HBO special, Colin Quinn: Long Story Short, and a memorable Netflix special, Colin Quinn: The New York Story, which was directed by Jerry Seinfeld. Quinn is also known for his recent roles in the Grown Ups franchise. Doors 6:30 p.m. Tickets $35-$45. The State Theatre: 220 N Washington St. Falls Church, VA; www.thestatetheatre.com


Rising pop star Dorian Electra (pronouns: they/them/theirs) makes music that defies gender norms. In the past year, their work has gained a queer cult following and a rapidly growing global fanbase, as well as critical praise. In 2019, Electra released their debut full-length album Flamboyant, a work of experimental pop with a heavy-metal, baroque twist. Doors 7 p.m. Tickets $20. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC; www.ustreetmusichall.com


Pantsuit Politics is an award-winning and internationally recognized political podcast known for bringing nuance to tough conversations. During their live podcasts, Stewart Holland and Silvers demonstrate how to have grace-filled political discussions just like they do in each podcast episode. Doors 6 p.m. Tickets $30+. Sixth & I: 600 I St. NW, DC; www.sixthandi.org


Future Is Festival is a celebration of good people and content in 2020, brought to you by Brightest Young Things. Musicians, podcasters and filmmakers will be taking part in events popping up all over the D.C. area. Various times, prices and venues. www.brightestyoungthings.com



Enjoy D.C.’s best local artists paired with local beers, while surrounded by beautiful artworks in the Luce Foundation Center. The Women’s History month Community Showcase features the silvery harmonies of pro-womxn rock band The OSYX, and the agile soprano of D.C.-based vocalist Cecily. Free tastings (21+) will be provided by a local craft brewer. 6 p.m. Free. Smithsonian American Art Museum: 8th and F Streets, NW, DC; www.americanart. si.edu

3.27-4.5 THE LAST SHIP

Inspired by Sting’s 1991 album The Soul Cages, The Last Ship tells the story of a community amid the demise of the shipbuilding industry in Tyne and Wear, with the closure of the Swan Hunter shipyard. Sting will star as shipyard foreman Jackie White. Times vary. Tickets $69+. National Theatre: 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.thenationaldc.com



The 2020 Odyssey Brewery Tour continues with a stop at Port City on March 28. Odyssey Mobile Adventures will be rolling up their mobile axe throwing trailer at Port City. Come grab a pint and throw some axes, and you’ll be saying “bullseye” in no time. 2-6 p.m. Free. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com


The National Mall serves as the backdrop as thousands of kites take flight during the annual Blossom Kite Festival. Held on the grounds of the Washington Monument, this event is a spectacle to see and one you don’t want to miss. Professionals and novices alike showcase their skill through a variety of competitions and demonstrations. Kites are also available for purchase onsite. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free. Washington Monument Grounds: 2 15th St. NW, DC; www. nationalcherryblossomfestival.org


If you can’t stop raving about Parasite after watching it, you may want to dive into the perceptive and provocative works of director Bong Joon-ho. Enter the Bong Hive. The South Korean filmmaker doesn’t have an expansive catalogue of films, but each one plays off the other in its genre-bending way. AFI’s career retrospective begins with what some Bong buffs consider to be his masterpiece: 2003’s Memories of Murder. 7:30 p.m. Tickets $13. AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center: 8633 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; www.afisilver.afi.com


Celebrate the kickoff of D.C.’s outdoor festival season with the fourth annual Capital BrewFest Blossom Bash Beer, Wine and Music Festival. Each ticket includes your own tasting cup where you’ll get unlimited samples to try as

much beer as you’d like. There will be 65+ rare and seasonal beers from the region, 25+ wines, 10+ ciders and gluten-free options. Event is 21+. 12:30-8 p.m. Tickets $49.95+. The Bullpen: 1201 Half St. SE, DC; www.brewfestdc.com


Calling everyone who is unapologetically, head over heels, absolutely in love with the District! On Tap Magazine is relaunching as District Fray Magazine and we invite you to come celebrate with us. See a live painting of the March cover by No Kings Collective. Dance to sounds from DJs DOMO, Jerome Baker III and Mane Squeeze. Pose and show off your love for D.C. at the interactive photo shoot set. Explore the NKC curated “For the Love of DC” exhibit featuring 30+ artists. Eat, drink and fall deeper in love with D.C. This is a 21+ event. 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Free. Good Fast Cheap: 524 Rhode Island Ave. NE, DC; www.districtfray.com


Brewer’s Ball has earned its reputation as the craft beer event of the season, hosting over 40 of the best breweries and 30 popular restaurants in the D.C. area. Guests enjoy unlimited samplings of handcrafted beers and tastes of the best local cuisine. Mix, mingle and dance the night away with live entertainment, or bid on unique silent and live auction items and experiences. Cocktail attire. 7 p.m. Tickets $160. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.dcbrewersball.org


Join DC Fray in supporting D.C.’s own XFL team, the Defenders. Make some noise in the stands on March 28 at the Defenders’ final home game in the regular season. 2 p.m. Tickets $15+. Audi Field: 100 Potomac Ave. SW, DC; www.xfl.com




Think fast as host Ophira Eisenberg throws trivia questions, puzzles and brainteasers at special guests. Featuring witty banter and guitar riffs from oneman house band Jonathan Coulton, it’s the mind-bending live show you’ve come to love, only live-er. Ask Me Another is a co-production of NPR and WNYC. Doors 7 p.m. Tickets $45. Lincoln Theatre: 1215 U St. NW, DC; www.thelincolndc.com


Run a landmark-lined course that provides runners views of the Capitol Building, White House, Lincoln Monument and more. Choose between a marathon, half marathon or 5K. 7 a.m. Registration fees vary. Starting line at Constitution Avenue and 14th Street in NW, DC; www.runrocknroll.com



Trivia is hard, bingo is fun. Join DC Fray in the Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown gameroom every Monday. Free to enter, free to play, free beer and there’s always swag up for grabs. 7 p.m. Free. Pizzeria Paradiso: 3282 M St. NW, DC; www.dcfray.com



Bisnow’s inaugural D.C. Sports and Entertainment Summit will feature both the founder and CEO of Monumental Sports, who doubles as the juggernaut behind six of D.C.’s biggest sports teams including the Capitals, Mystics, Kastles and D.C. United. They will be joined by developers, owners, investors and strategists - including DC Fray’s

own Robert Kinsler - and discussing opportunities for other members of the CRE community to get in the action. Network with us, and use code DCFRAYVIP for 20% off ticket prices. 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tickets $99. Audi Field: 100 Potomac Ave. SW, DC; www.bisnow.com



Ever wanted to try pole vaulting? Join DC Fray and DC Vault for a fun and private lesson with expert vaulters. This is an adult beginner pole vaulting lesson. You’ll be shown the basic fundamentals of pole vaulting while learning how to carry, run, and plant a vaulting pole, how to swing and turn using high rings and ropes, and finally, how to jump into a vault mat and clear a low bar. 21+ event. 6:30 p.m. $25. DC Vault: 2200 East Capitol St. NE, DC; www.dcfray.com

FROM FIRST PG. Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez


GREATER DC SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT SUMMIT Discover How Sports & Entertainment Impact DC’s Landscape and Neighborhoods Level up your game and network with the big names in local sports and entertainment.







EAT FLAVOR FORCAST: NEW CONCEPTS, GLOBAL REPRESENTATION + PROMISING COLLABORATIONS In the first two months of the year, we’ve already seen dozens of delicious restaurants open. But 2020 is far from over. Our mouths are already watering at the thought of what’s to come: even more global representation, new concepts from star chefs and promising collaborations. Here are the most exciting restaurants opening in 2020. WORDS BY LANI FURBANK   DISTRICT FRAY  | 21



Projected opening: spring Andrew Dana and Daniela Moreira – the team behind Call Your Mother and Timber Pizza Company – have tapped chef Johanna Hellrigl to lead their newest venture. Mercy Me will be an all-day café, restaurant and bar serving “sorta South American” fare. This means the menu will be influenced by the traditions and ingredients of South America, but the overarching theme is simply food the team loves to eat. Think various empanadas, bagels and bagel sandwiches, Roman-style pizza, and grilled meat butchered in-house and paired with chimichurris and salsas. 1143 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC; follow on Instagram @mercyme.dc


Projected opening: spring A taste of the Big Easy is coming to D.C. thanks to Chef Kyle Bailey and Long Shot Hospitality, known for their sustainable seafood spot The Salt Line. Dauphine’s is a partnership between Long Shot and Neal Bodenheimer, owner of the esteemed Cane & Table and Cure in New Orleans, who will develop the beverage program. Bailey will oversee the charcuterie bar, raw bar and kitchen, serving his takes on New Orleans classics. The space will evoke the charm of the city, referencing its colorful architecture and wrought iron. 1100 15th St. NW, DC; www.dauphinesdc.com


Projected opening: spring Above the Michelin-starred Bresca on 14th Street, Chef Ryan Ratino is opening a second restaurant. The 18-seat Jônt will offer up to an 11-course progressive menu focusing on the principle of time. Chefs will act as servers in the intimate space, presenting dishes that explore the impact of time in cooking like dry-aged meats, vinegars, lacto-fermented fruits and vegetables, misos, and more. Adjacent to the dining room, guests can relax in Bar Jônt, a lounge space with affordable caviar service. Like Bresca, Jônt will also prioritize sustainability. 1904 14th St. NW, DC; www.jontdc.com


Projected opening: spring

Known for his popular bar fare at Bar Pilar, Chef Jesse Miller – along with his partners Erin Edwards and Garrick Lumsden – is now opening his own place in a Maryland neighborhood bordering Northeast D.C. The restaurant takes inspiration from its location across from a historic trolley site in Mount Rainier, named after the Seattle landmark. Pennyroyal is an herb that grows around the mountain, and the spot is a nod to the old trolley. Miller will be cooking his take on American comfort food, with an all-day selection of locally sourced snacks, sandwiches, entrées and family-style dishes. 3310 Rhode Island Ave. Mount Rainier, MD; follow on Instagram @pennyroyalstation


Projected opening: spring

There’s always room for new bagel joints in D.C. and Pearl’s Bagels is shaping up to be a fast favorite. This one is from 22 |  MARCH 2020

FROM TOP. Jhonatan Cano + Chef Ryan Ratino in Jônt space. Photo by Rey Lopez. Uni at Shibuya. Photo by Havar Espedal. L to R: Dauphine’s Gavin Coleman, Jeremy Carman, Neal Bodenheimer, Paul Holder, Kyle Bailey. Photo by Eugenia Uhl. FROM FIRST PAGE: Shabu Shabu at Shibuya. Photo by Havar Espedal.

husband-and-wife team Allee and Oliver Cox, former media and PR professionals who saw a need for more great bagels and started making them in their own kitchen. After testing their traditional hand-rolled, brick-oven baked bagels on local fans, they’re opening their first brick-and-mortar location. Pearl’s will also serve coffee and bagel sandwiches. Fun fact: the shop is named after their beloved French Bulldog. 1017 7th St. NW, DC; www.pearlsbagels.com

Eatery will be a casual noodle bar inspired by Japanese kiosks. On the main level, Shabu Plus will offer interactive Japanese hot pot, or shabu shabu (meaning swish swish). Upstairs, Death Punch bar will serve as a neighborhood bar with DJs and a dance floor. 2321 18th St. NW, DC; follow on Facebook @shibuyaeatery


Chef Joancarlo Parkhurst’s family founded the Puerto Rican canned food company La Famosa in 1921, and it has become widely known for the key ingredient in a piña colada: Coco López. Now, Parkhurst is sharing the island flavors of his home with a new restaurant named after the company. It will be an all-day, fine-casual eatery providing an upscale atmosphere without the formality of a full-service restaurant. The menu will showcase traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, including chillo frito, guisados and of course, a piña colada. 1300 4th St. SE, DC; www.eatlafamosa.com

Projected opening: spring After mastering tacos at Taco Bamba and Poca Madre, Chef Victor Albisu is taking on eggs. Huevos will be an all-day, fast casual restaurant showcasing its namesake with Latin flair. Albisu will prove that the versatile egg is not just for breakfast, whipping up everything from creative tortas and brisket chilaquiles to souffléed pancakes at brunch and flan for dessert. Unique standouts include bacon, egg and cheese empanadas and green eggs and jamón with a 63-degree egg, jalapeño whipped potatoes and crispy ham. 4000 Wilson Blvd. Suite C, Arlington, VA; www.eathuevos.com


Projected opening: spring

Chef Jamie Leeds is replacing the former Hank’s Pasta Bar in Old Town Alexandria with a new concept helmed by Chef Will Artley. Named for Leeds’ parents, Hank & Mitzi’s Italian Kitchen will be a neighborhood restaurant and bar. The lineup will include some of the popular pasta dishes from its predecessor, as well as pizzas and shareable plates. The beverage program will also take after Italian classics with a local twist. 600 Montgomery St. Alexandria, VA; www.hankandmitzis.com


Projected opening: spring The prolific Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) is expanding their portfolio, in partnership with May Riegler, with a massive project they’re dubbing a “culinary clubhouse.” The Roost will be 12,500-square-foot food hall and gathering place on Capitol Hill, encompassing more than 10 unique concepts. The announced spots include seven by the NRG team: Show of Hands cocktail and wine bar, Shelter craft beer hall, Cameo coffee and tea shop, Hi/Fi Taco, Red Apron butcher shop, ItalianAmerican restaurant Caruso’s Grocery, and Shop Made in DC retail store. Plus, NRG will launch two collaborations: Leni all-day café (a health-conscious, retro, Eastern European café by Richmond star Brittanny Anderson) and AKO by KENAKI (sushi counter and omakase from brother-and-sister owners of KENAKI in Gaithersburg). 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC; www.theroostsedc.com


Projected opening: spring


Projected opening: spring


Projected opening: spring Dante Datta and Suresh Sundas, the partners behind the forthcoming Daru, met while working at Rasika West End. There, the idea of an Indian-inspired cocktail bar was born. Meaning hooch in Hindi, the bar and restaurant will focus on classic drinks incorporating South Asian ingredients like a gooseberry scotch and soda and a jackfruit old fashioned. The food menu includes Indian small plates like spicy duck kebabs and stuffed parathas, as well as a few larger plates like chicken tikka masala. 1451 Maryland Ave. NE, DC; follow on Instagram @daru.dc


Projected opening: summer Chef Patrick O’Connell, proprietor of the luxurious three Michelin-starred Inn at Little Washington, is branching out with a new casual eatery. PatiO’s will be located right across the street from the Inn in the small town of Washington. The sidewalk café and bakery will feature some of O’Connell’s favorite dishes at an affordable price point, plus the Inn’s croissants, breads, coffees and more. The inspiration for the café comes from the chef’s love of sidewalk café culture in France. 389 Main St. Washington, VA


Projected opening: summer Long in progress, the new Greek restaurant from Chef Nicholas Stefanelli is now targeting a summer opening this year. Philotimo will be the first outside of Stefanelli’s Italian portfolio, which currently consists of Masseria and Officina. It pays homage to his Greek heritage and aims to expand the American understanding of the cuisine by exploring the country’s lesserknown regions, ingredients and culinary history. The menu will be influenced by small towns like Naousa and Vordonia, as well as nearby countries like Turkey, Italy and North Africa. 1100 15th St. NW, DC; follow on Facebook @PhilotimoDC

Chef Darren Norris of Black Whiskey and the late Kushi Izakaya and Sushi is developing three new concepts in one three-story building in Adams Morgan. Downstairs on the basement level, Shibuya   DISTRICT FRAY  | 23


24 |  MARCH 2020

Chef Ryan Ratino. Photos by Rey Lopez.

Over the last decade, shopping at the farmers market infiltrated the mainstream, people rallied around a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck in his nose, and Burger King sold tens of thousands of plantbased Impossible Whoppers. There’s still a long way to go, but these trends signal the beginnings of progress toward a more sustainable food system. They’re signs that major movements are taking hold locally and globally, like reducing plastic waste, encouraging plant-based diets, improving traceability in seafood and preventing food waste. Bolstered by increased consumer awareness around these issues, chefs and restaurateurs are setting the pace and the agenda for the sustainable food movement in 2020. We asked four of DC’s culinary sustainability leaders to forecast the year ahead, from trends in green restaurants to their dreams for the industry. Our expert panel features Kyle Bailey, chef and partner at The Salt Line; Ellen Kassoff, co-owner of Equinox Restaurant; Ryan Ratino, chef and owner of Bresca; and Rob Rubba, chef and partner at the forthcoming Oyster Oyster.

A Sustainability Outlook for the D.C. Dining Scene WORDS BY LANI FURBANK

Alternative Sources of Protein The myriad perils of factory-farmed meat, especially beef, are widely known: massive greenhouse gas emissions, animal cruelty, pollution of natural resources, antibiotic resistance – the list goes on. To reduce our reliance on these products, chefs and consumers alike are looking for more responsible protein sources.

Poultry and fowl

Ratino’s dishes at Bresca highlight meat with a smaller carbon footprint. “I like to cook things that fly,” he says. “They’re delicious and they have a very low impact on the environment.” Raising birds like chicken, duck, squab and quail emits less carbon than beef and pork.

Lesser-known seafood

Popular species like bluefin tuna and cod are being overfished and depleted worldwide, but Bailey is showing Salt Line diners that there are plenty of other fish in the sea, like “sea robins and mackerels and the stuff that maybe you’ve never seen before or are not really used to.” His recommendation? “Let’s take some pressure off of those big commodity fish.”


Rubba’s sustainability-focused, plant-based restaurant Oyster Oyster will serve bivalves because they are exempt from many of the ethical and environmental concerns associated with eating seafood and meat. “Oyster takes 1.5 gallons [of water] to create a pound of food,” Rubba explains. “It takes almost 99.9 percent more water to create one pound of beef.”

Leading by Example As chefs change their habits to eliminate single-use items, they’re demanding the same from their suppliers. “The people who generate the most boxes in our restaurant are our vendors,” Kassoff says of Equinox Restaurant. “We stopped accepting the boxes. We’ll take the fish out or the meat out and send them right back on the truck with the driver.” She has also seen vendors change their habits as a result. “They sent me a sample in a plastic-type crate, and I said, ‘You’ve got   DISTRICT FRAY  | 25


to change the packaging to corrugated cardboard or I’m not going to buy it.’ You just have to ask [yourself] if you care.” In similar fashion, Rubba’s farmers provide his produce in reusable containers, and Ratino stopped accepting plastic shrink wrap in favor of butcher paper.

predicts. “I think that’s how we’re going to have to feed cities eventually.”

A new aquaculture movement

Holistic Management Rubba believes that a restaurant’s sustainability approach must consider the whole picture. In the kitchen, little changes add up. “You waste like 10 gallons of water to blanche some asparagus. It’s silly.” His menu won’t have any blanched vegetables, and he built in other water-saving practices when designing Oyster Oyster. “Water’s a resource we’re going to run out of. I don’t think people are truly thinking about how much of that is in everything that we buy, whether it’s the clothes we wear, the linens that are on our tables every day in the restaurant [or] how much ice we use in a restaurant to cool things down.”

These days, so many restaurants claim to be farm-to-table that the phrase has lost its meaning. The next iteration of this trend will take the idea back to its roots.

Kyle Bailey: “The Dock to Dish program – I would like to see

A renewed ethos

“I think the problem with the original farm-to-table movement was it became this act of hubris,” Rubba says. “Then it was kind of marketed as this cliché.” Now, he sees more of a focus on the farmer. “What [our farmer] does is 10 times harder than what I have to do every day to run a restaurant.”

As chefs double down on local sourcing, they’re also redefining the term. “In the future, we are going to see micro-farms attached more to urban developments,” Rubba 26 |  MARCH 2020

that move forward,” he says, referring to the international, restaurant-supported fishery program that helps ensure less popular fish are reaching kitchens and plates.

Ellen Kassoff: “It would be great if we could come up with

a unified certification process like they do for LEED green buildings or certified organic. We could have a more uniform set of standards to call yourself a sustainable or green restaurant.”

Ryan Ratino: “How can we all team up to use better things in

Farmers and chefs are working much more closely, with chefs requesting certain crop species and farmers planting their fields based on these requests. Ratino has even gone as far as building a chicken coop on one of his produce farmers’ properties to guarantee a source of quality eggs. “Every week when he delivers, we’re sending him out with all of our veg scrap for the chickens,” Ratino explains.

Truly local

Dreaming Big These four visionaries have their sights set on a greener future for the restaurant industry in DC and beyond. Here’s what’s on their collective wish list.

Farm-to-Table 2.0


Modern aquaculture is dealing with some of the same problems plaguing large-scale industrial agriculture. Rubba sees 3D farming as one of the solutions – a system that grows seaweed and shellfish in symbiosis with minimal environmental impact. This practice would not only help improve water quality, but also provide multiple sources of food. “Kelp has really gained a lot of ground,” Bailey adds. “[It’s] the idea of farming the oceans for something that’s just out there and sustainable and nutritious.” We’re already seeing it enter the mainstream with Sweetgreen’s new kelp bowl, and Bailey says that’s just the beginning.

our restaurants and provide enough business to people who are willing to make them for us? It’s more incentive to the farmer. They know the money’s going to be there on the back end. There’s not as much risk.”

Rob Rubba: “Creating restaurants that really make no impact. What does that system look like? I don’t know yet.”

Bresca: 1906 14th St. NW, DC; www.brescadc.com Equinox: 818 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.equinoxrestaurant.com Oyster Oyster: 1440 8th St. NW, DC; www.oysteroysterdc.com The Salt Line: 79 Potomac Ave. SE, DC; www.thesaltline.com

L TO R: White truffle. Photos courtesy of Equinox. Oysters. Photo courtesy of Oyster Oyster.


L TO R. Charred chioggia beets. Photo courtesy of Vedge Restaurant Group. Uova con bottarga at Maialino Mare. Photo by Lanna Nguyen. Cavatelli at The Little Beet Table. Photo by Lanna Nguyen.


MUSHROOMS, ROE + SMOKY FLAVORS WORDS BY LANNA NGUYEN From plant-based alternatives to salty, savory enhancements, here’s what’s hot and trending in D.C.’s dining scene this month.

MUSHROOM MADNESS Mushrooms, as a vegetable and protein substitute, are quickly becoming a go-to for health-conscious diners. Predicted to be the most popular produce this year according to the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot Culinary Forecast, they feature prominently at gluten-free and sustainabilityfocused restaurant The Little Beet Table. Zach Bondy, chef de cuisine of the Chevy Chase-based restaurant, thinks its appeal is largely due to its flexibility as an ingredient. “[Mushrooms have] versatility and texture,” Bondy says. “The flavor profile they bring is totally unique to any sort of a root vegetable, legume or fungus.” The mushroom’s umami flavor is yet another reason the fungus has become a mainstay on the restaurant’s menu. You’ll find it in a myriad of dishes, ranging from more traditional presentations like a mushroom black bean burger to the creatively prepared: as a Bolognese in cavatelli, incorporated into a crispy spirulina rice dish and as mushroom “bacon” on Korean rice cakes. For Bondy, the mushroom bacon is “one of the things that definitely makes us unique.” To achieve the crunchy, baconlike texture, he uses maitake. “That mushroom is really unique because the edges of it are very dry. We shred it with our hands and then toss it into a blend of tamari and seasoning. Then we bake it at zero humidity, and it comes out like that glossy, beautiful bacon that crunches.” Bondy notes that mushrooms are so prevalent on the menu because they are “giving something somebody’s familiar [with], 28 |  MARCH 2020

but challenging them to experience something new” by presenting a recognizable ingredient in ways diners have never seen before. The Little Beet Table: 5471 Wisconsin Ave. Chevy Chase, MD; www.thelittlebeettable.com/chevychase

SMOKE SIGNALS The use of smoked flavor profiles is rising, from tea and cocktails to butter and more. The depth and complexity of tastes derived from this cooking technique can be found in a variety of cocktails and dishes. Vegetable-forward restaurant Fancy Radish on H Street has become known for incorporating smoked ingredients into its menu. “Smoking is one of our key flavors,” co-chef and co-owner Rich Landau says. “We’re not just trying to put out hippy-dippy vegetarian food. We’re really doing some deep-flavored cooking.” From tofu to beets to tamari, Landau works with a number of different textures and wood combinations to achieve a delicate balance of flavor. The restaurant’s eponymous dish, Fancy Radishes, incorporates braised green meat radishes, yuzu avocado, shiso and smoked tamari with the vision to “change the whole flavor profile of a dish to make it something more than that go-to reference you think of when you eat it.” With this dish, Landau not only creates a vegetable sushi but transforms the concept of it. “We tried smoking the tamari in our cold box, and it changed everything. It didn’t just give you smoked soy sauce. It changed











JUL 21 + 22










HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s20)


the flavor, even the mouthfeel, of it [and] just became something so much more incredible.” The addition of smoke doesn’t stop at the dinner menu. Kate Jacoby, Landau’s co-chef, co-owner and wife, also makes sure to incorporate it thoughtfully into the cocktail program and dessert menu. “Smoky flavors are a big part of what Rich has done. It made sense to bring them into the bar and dessert in ways that are tasteful.” Fancy Radish: 600 H St. NE, DC; www.fancyradishdc.com

ROE IS ALL THE RAGE From decadent dishes paired with uni to an unexpected dessert garnish – the intense, savory flavors of caviar and roe are being featured in less conventional ways across many D.C. restaurants. A staple in Southern Italian and Sardinian cuisine, bottarga is blended into a number of dishes at Capitol Riverfront newcomer Maialino Mare. Executive Chef Rose Noel uses the salted, cured roe as an enhancement to the Roman trattoria’s range of coastal-inspired plates. “We use it as a way to highlight other flavors, especially in dishes such as pasta, which can be so carte blanche,” she says. “Bottarga adds a good flavor to the pasta and shows that flavor really well. It’s very accessible.” In addition to dinner plates, bottarga finds a place on the breakfast and brunch menus via Noel’s uova con bottarga: soft scrambled eggs and pecorino topped with cured mullet roe. Sometimes it’s whipped in with butter and added into pastas. “Bottarga is great to work with. It has a slightly fishy flavor with a texture like butter. It melts into whatever you put it on.” So what’s the reception been like from diners so far? “For those guests who already know what bottarga is, it’s been amazing, and they are more than happy to have it whatever way they can,” Noel says excitedly. “For the guests who are trying it for the first time, it has been very eye-opening. Now they want bottarga on everything, too!” Maialino Mare: 221 Tingey St. SE, DC; www.maialinomare.com

30 |  MARCH 2020


Washington’s cocktail culture is unique, mature and truly our own, highlighting the diversity of the city. To see what’s on the horizon for cocktails in 2020, we asked local bar industry professionals what they think will define DC’s drink scene this year. WORDS BY APARNA KRISHNAMOORTHY   DISTRICT FRAY  | 31


A FOCUS ON HEALTH + MINDFUL DRINKING We saw the growth of low-ABV and zero-proof cocktails last year. Bar programs don’t just offer one or two nonalcoholic options anymore. We’re seeing more of these options on menus and some that are even entirely built on zero-proof drinks. Chris Mendenhall, lead mixologist of Quadrant Bar and Lounge in the West End, says, “One trend that continues to stay relevant is the desire for low-ABV beverages. Consumers seek balance, and while they are not willing to give up alcohol entirely, they are looking for cocktails that have a lower ABV.” Paul Taylor, beverage manager at Blagden Alley’s Columbia Room, agrees. “Low [and] no ABV has been included on trend lists for a couple of years and will continue to be, as people become more mindful of what they are consuming.” This extends to a general consciousness of health overall – not just for patrons, but also for industry professionals. Jake Kenny, bar manager of The Royal in Shaw, says, “I find bartenders taking better care of themselves and exercising more. Now, bartenders are just as likely to post pictures of them[selves] deadlifting or going for a run as they are of new cocktails they created or guest bartending promotions.”

ALTERNATIVE INGREDIENTS + FERMENTS A cocktail’s complex flavors are the result of the careful balance of its various components. Increasingly, the source of a drink’s various elements come from outside the typical ingredients usually seen. At the new Silver Lyan in Penn Quarter, head bartender Andrea Tateosian expects to see people paying closer attention to “ingredients they have been taking for granted, like sugar.” Recently, she’s seeing uses of alternative sugars in cocktails. “From raw honey to sorghum to palm sugar, people are looking to adjust the base ingredients in cocktails to learn what complements what, and what flavor they would like their syrups to add.” Will Patton, bar director of Bresca on 14th Street, thinks the utilization of culinary techniques behind the bar will also be embraced. “This is seen in how we try to use techniques to maximize flavor while maintaining a minimal amount of ingredients. Fermentation is a good example of this with D.C. bartenders employing lacto-fermentation and koji yeast to add different dimensions to their cocktails.” Chad Spangler, co-owner of Service Bar in Shaw, sees the use of all things fermented as both good and bad. “It will yield some amazing stuff by those devoted to it, and it will yield some rather nasty stuff from those less focused. I think this trend will rise and fall quickly in breadth and popularity, but the best players will hold on and utilize ferments to create the best new drinks in 2020 and beyond.” Julia Ebell, creative director of The Gibson on 14th, also sees more bars focusing on alternative ingredients for a variety of reasons. “Cocktail trends in 2020 are going to be strongly skewed by new tariffs and import laws affecting products your favorite cocktail bars already rely on. This may cause a turn back toward a more culinary style of bartending focusing on ingredients bar programs can make themselves like shrubs, tinctures and syrups.” 32 |  MARCH 2020

Benito Bermudez, founder of Café Unido – located inside Latin market La Cosecha, Union Market’s new neighbor – sees parallels between coffee and cocktails. “Just like we are big fans of acidity in coffee, many bars are really dialing the acidity in drinks with concentrated malic, citric and other acids so as to not depend on the seasonality of citric fruits.”

SUSTAINABILITY The focus on ingredients is also a key part of the move toward sustainable practices that more local bars are embracing. Tateosian says using local, seasonal ingredients to make kojis, shrubs and more will become a feature on more menus and continue to move the sustainability conversation forward. “Recently, there has been more of a focus on both local ingredients and sustainable practices,” she continues. “I believe those two practices together will lead to a new focus on food preservation techniques.” Andra “A.J.” Johnson, beverage director at Serenata – also located inside La Cosecha – concurs. “Restaurants that have solid bar programs are doing a lot of cross-utilization and figuring out ways to be more sustainable.” Joshua Scott, assistant food and beverage director at Anchovy Social in Capitol Riverfront, is an advocate for the push toward sustainable spirits. “It is important that we are representing producers and brands that are making an effort to use organic ingredients; finding purpose or innovative ways to use ingredients that were formerly considered waste’ fairly compensating the farmers for the products they are using; or even finding ways to reduce emissions. All of these I continually see more of a push for and am proud to be part of that group.”

AGAVE SPIRITS CONTINUE TO RISE 2019 saw more mezcal find its way onto menus. This year, expect a rise in mezcal and the addition of another agave-based spirit: sotol. “I love seeing how much fun bartenders are having with them, whether it be reinventing classics or even creating new and exciting tiki riffs,” Anchovy Social’s Scott says. “We are seeing agave-based spirits everywhere.” Brian Nixon, general manager at Truxton Inn in Bloomingdale, also thinks we will continue to see mezcal increase its presence as more brands hit the market. “I’m sure you’ll see a few of the outlier spirits show up on lists here or there, but I think until there’s more knowledge by the general public, they won’t become real mainstays.” For Henry Gentenaar, owner of Maximo Mezcal – a D.C.-based mezcal – this is good news as interest grows. “We see continued interest in mezcal, but now also reposado and añejo mezcals as well as other Mexican spirits like sotol. However, there still needs to be education around the newer offerings, which are still relatively hard to find.”

KEEP IT SIMPLE Nixon is also seeing a resurgence of simpler drinks, like the highball. “It’s easy to get at just about any bar, showcases the main

spirit and is lower in sugar. It also works well for those who are trying to be more mindful of alcohol consumption.” Kenny of The Royal is excited about the possibilities in highlighting different styles of a single spirit in a cocktail program – specifically rum. “Rum very much has its own terroir as you jump around between different islands and distillation and aging techniques. It’s fun seeing talented bar programs using those flavors in new and unique ways. It seems that now more than ever, bartenders are choosing few specific styles of spirits, hyper-focusing on them and really finessing some spectacular drinks out of them.” Dominik Lenikowski, bar general manager at The Doyle in Dupont Circle, likes to use unique ingredients. But he says that does not mean you need to have a mile-long ingredient list for any given cocktail. “The key is to really curate a wonderful flavor profile.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE Cocktail culture in D.C. has elevated significantly in the last few years, and while that means you can get a well-crafted cocktail almost anywhere, it also means they are no longer applauded but expected. As a result, bars need to find other ways to impress guests. Deke Dunne, bartender and manager of The Eaton Hotel’s Allegory downtown, says it’s about the complete experience. “You now have to look at the other factors that create an amazing overall experience for your guests,” he says. “You now have [to] focus on other things such as service, music, art, lighting and even entertainment. Vibe is essential. You have to create a circular experience for the guests from the moment they walk in [until] the moment they leave. We believe that 2020 will be the year where you start to see the broader D.C. cocktail community embracing that idea.” Lenikowski of The Doyle concurs about high expectations setting the tone and customers being more informed. “This means that people aren’t willing to blindly spend money on a mediocre menu and experience. Cocktail bars are responding to this and getting ever more creative.” Allegory: 1201 K St. #1 NW, DC; www.allegory-dc.com Anchovy Social: 221 Tingey St. SE, DC; www.anchovysocial.com Bresca: 1906 14th St. NW, DC; www.brescadc.com Café Unido: 1280 4th St. NE, DC; www.cafeunido.com Columbia Room: 124 Blagden Alley NW, DC; www.columbiaroomdc.com The Doyle: 1500 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC; http://doyle.bar The Gibson: 2009 14th St. NW, DC; www.thegibsondc.com Quadrant Bar and Lounge: 1150 22nd St. NW, DC; www.ritzcarlton.com The Royal: 501 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.theroyaldc.com Serenata: 1280 4th St. NE, DC; www.serenatadc.com Service Bar: 926-928 U St. NW, DC; www.servicebardc.com Silver Lyan: 900 F St. NW, DC; www.silverlyan.com Truxton Inn: 251 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.truxtoninndc.com

FROM TOP. Columbia Room’s Paul Taylor. Photo by Nick Karlin. Quadrant’s Chris Mendenhall. Photo by Ashley Cook. The Royal’s Jake Kenny. Photo courtesy of Julep PR. FROM FIRST PAGE. The Doyle’s Dominik Lenikowski. Photo by Channing Lee Foster.



Brewer’s Ball Celebrates 15 Years at The Anthem WORDS BY JENELLE LANGFORD Brewer’s Ball is back, celebrating its 15-year anniversary with a major change-up in locale. On March 28, the Metro DC Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) will host their annual event at The Anthem, I.M.P.’s massive music venue at The Wharf. The popular fundraiser, historically held at the National Building Museum, will feature more than 70 local breweries, restaurants and mixologists from the extended DMV region. With approximately 1,500 in attendance at last year’s event, Brewer’s Ball raised close to $350,000 for CFF, which is the goal for this year’s fundraiser. As the National Building Museum is currently closed for repairs, the switch to The Anthem brings new energy for those involved internally and externally. “The Anthem allows us to explore a new, vibrant location while still allowing us the room and flexibility to accommodate our tasting stations and guests,” CFF Executive Coordinator Kirsten Baier says. “It [will] also provide a great stage and sound for [DC-based 90s cover band] White Ford Bronco to perform.” Among the breweries attending this year’s event is Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria, and 2020 marks their ninth year in attendance. Founder and owner Bill Butcher expressed his excitement going into this year’s Brewer’s Ball. “The Anthem is one of the hottest venues in one of the hottest neighborhoods in D.C. It’s a very popular spot that people love to go to.” Guests can expect to find Port City’s best-selling classics like Optimal Wit and Monumental IPA, as well as their newest addition to the Port City family: Star Sailor, a white IPA and upcoming seasonal drink yet to hit the market. For guests who prefer something less hop-forward, ANXO Cidery is also joining the party. “As a D.C.-based cidery, we are passionate about giving back 34 |  MARCH 2020

to the local community and love the chance to attend events like Brewer’s Ball,” says Cooper Sheehan, ANXO co-founder and head of design and media. “We’ve previously partnered with individuals who support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, so we’re happy to have a chance to get involved through this event.” In addition to their most recent batch of District Dry, ANXO will feature their newest March release, Nevertheless Dry Cider. Fermented in stainless barrels with wild, native yeast, the cider is made in collaboration with Eden Cider for Women’s History Month and features American, Dutch and French heirloom apples from Pennsylvania and Vermont. “We’re looking forward to coming together with other local breweries to give back to a good cause, as well as connecting with the D.C. community as a whole,” Sheehan says. “The more people taste our cider, the more people like our cider.” Though the bulk of the featured vendors are from the DMV, Brewer’s Ball has proven to be a regional must-attend for the beer industry. Devils Backbone of Lexington, Va. is a longtime Brewer’s Ball partner, and is slated to feature their new release of Juicy Magic Eye-PA at this year’s rendition. “Being able to support the [CFF’s] mission to cure cystic fibrosis while having the opportunity to showcase our beer alongside so many local and national breweries just makes sense,” Devils Backbone sponsorships manager Jennifer Glickson says. “Plus, it’s a really well-organized and fun event.” Brewer’s Ball will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 28. Tickets are $160 ($105 is tax-deductible). For more information on the event visit, www.brewersball.org. For more information on the CFF, visit www.cff.org/metrodc. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC; 202-888-0020; www.theanthemdc.com Brewer’s Ball 2019. Photo by Doug Van Sant.

Enjoy Yuengling at the following select DC bars and watch the madness unfold in the NCAA Tournament! Thunder Burger Across the Pond Macintyres

Mad Hatter Board Room The Big Hunt

Lous City Bar The Irish Channel



WORDS BY ANNA JACOBY Any D.C. native will tell you how dramatically different this city was a decade ago. Admittedly, I don’t quite recognize my hometown sometimes. New real estate developments pop up left and right to meet demand for the hundreds of transplants who flock to the area faster than you can say “gentrification.” If someone told me there would be a Lululemon and a SoulCycle on 14th Street 10 years ago, I would have spit out my beer midsip. Yet, a decade ago, local beer might not have been very good by today’s artisanal standards. It wouldn’t be made locally, either. The craft beer renaissance didn’t hit the District until DC Brau opened its doors in 2011, making it the first brewery in D.C. since 1956. Dozens of brewpubs and craft breweries followed, sparking one of the most locally loved yet nationally overlooked trades in the area. District Fray spoke with various industry professionals in and around the area to get their take on why beer is such a unifying force. Read on to get the local beer industry’s take on why their love for D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia fuels their businesses and fosters local culture and camaraderie.


RED BEAR BREWING CO. TAPROOM MANAGER ON LOCAL CRAFT BREWERIES IN THE COMMUNITY Local craft beer has a substantial impact on communities across the country, and D.C. is definitely a part of that. Breweries have become notable “third places” for communities to gather outside of work and home. Red Bear definitely encompasses that role in NoMa and beyond. The brewing world is moving away from big production breweries [toward] the local, corner brewpub model centered on community. TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2020 We’re making a seltzer [called] Woof, which will be released in early March. I asked this question to our Women in Beer panel back in September and Allison Lange said she was excited for craft beer to take over hard seltzer and “make it better.” There are so many different ways to make craft beer. Collaboration brews are definitely more and more popular [and] of course, we want to hang out with our friends and brew 36 |  MARCH 2020

beer. We released a brut kolsch people could not get enough of in the warm months. I’m curious to see what happens with nitro beers as well. Red Bear Brewing Co.: 209 M St. NE, DC; www.redbear.beer


ASLIN BREWING CO. BRAND MANAGER ON ASLIN AND THE NOVA COMMUNITY We are extremely excited to focus more on our social impact within our community. We recently had the honor of making a beer with the voice of the Washington Capitals, Craig Laughlin, with proceeds benefiting The Laughlin Family Foundation. Not only were we ecstatic to work with a local legend, but to aid his foundation, which funds research and care for rare forms of cancer. We are also partnering on events and a beer release for Pride Week with Rainbow Families, a nonprofit that provides support, advocacy and education for LGBTQ+ families, prospective parents and allies. Aslin’s Alexandria location. Photo courtesy of Aslin.


FIND CORONA PREMIER AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS Agua 301 Cantina Bambina District Taco El Rey Lou’s City Bar Maddy’s Taproom

Mi Vida Public Bar Live Shaw’s Tavern Sweet Agave Bar & Grill The Bottom Line Tiki TNT

DRINK ON POPULAR 2020 VARIETALS We’re looking at more options for people whether it be lower ABVs or lagers. Health and wellness is on everyone’s radar more than ever. People are concerned about calorie intake and we’d like to offer something low in sugar, low in calorie. We’re entertaining seltzer options. We’re still going to do what we do best but we also want to have things people are obviously looking for. Aslin Brewing Company: 847 South Pickett St. Alexandria, VA; www.aslinbeer.com


CITY-STATE BREWING CO. FOUNDER ON D.C. BEER, HISTORY + CULTURE I want to bring more hometown pride. It seemed like the District was short on hometown, placemaking brands. Hometown brands like National Bohemian in Baltimore are part of the city’s identity, even though it’s not made there anymore. City-State will highlight everything from the music that’s made here to the struggle for [political] rights (we have a beer called SelfDeterminator). We take the history and culture of the District as our inspiration. One of the beers I’m developing right now is Lost Laws Pilsner, inspired by [Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital], a book about D.C.’s history from 1605 onward. It changed the way I saw the city. ON CITY-STATE BREWING’S OPENING YEAR We just signed a lease on a 13,000 square-foot facility. We’ll potentially be open late summer or early fall. We’re going to have a dual brewhouse so we can do some interesting flavor development and experiments, but also be able to make shortrun things. We can make limited releases and stuff at scale. We’re also going to have a D.C. Wall of Fame at the brewery with a rotating cast of notable people from all parts of D.C. history. We’d like to change that, and we think beer can be a great way of doing that. For updates on City-State Brewing Co.’s beers and location, visit www.citystatebrewing.com.


SILVER BRANCH BREWING COMPANY ON WHAT’S NEW WITH SILVER BRANCH THIS YEAR We’re not even a year old, and we have additional tanks arriving [and] we are expanding our capacity. The fact we are having success and growing as fast as we are is a pleasant surprise. Beyond that we’re getting ready to re-release stuff we put out last year. We’re going to bring back our kolsch in the summertime and our weizenbach. ON THE POTENTIAL OF COFFEE We’re interested in exploring other beverages. We rolled out a morning coffee program, which is pretty unique for a brewery. We’re experimenting with this whole pop-up coffee shop inside the brewery, Black & Silver Coffee Company. We’ve always viewed ourselves as a brewery first but also as a beverage company.


DC METRO GIRLS PINT OUT CHAPTER HEAD ON THE DMV AS A BEER DESTINATION D.C. is awesome. We’re really lucky to have a lot of great breweries that do different things, yet work with each other. Whenever there are competitions between breweries it’s always really friendly. I don’t know another beer market like D.C. But I also don’t think that a lot of people in other “beer areas,” like Boston or Colorado, understand that we have that type of thing. We get a sampling of the entire country without having to leave. GIRL SCOUT COOKIE BEER PAIRING We have our Girl Scout Cookie and beer pairing with Roofer’s Union on March 24. I’m super excited because the beer director [Dave Delaplaine] at Roofer’s is awesome. He’s the biggest beer geek I know. He came up with this idea of asking breweries to create a new beer for our pairing. We know the breweries and we know the cookies they selected to work with, but we have no idea what the beers are. DC Brau, Manor Hill Brewing and Union Craft Brewing are participating. To learn more about DMV Girls Pint Out at www.girlspintout.org or on Twitter @dmvgirlspintout.


DENIZENS BREWING CO. CO-FOUNDER ON 2020 BEER TRENDS While the scene that flocks to limited releases still exists, there is a broader scene of craft beer drinkers who are starting to lock in on their go-tos when it comes to on-the-shelf beers. Brands they know, love and can trust, both in taste and quality. We’ll likely see less gambling on a pricey DIPA (double IPA) that looks good on the shelf. For us, it has been important to develop our flagship beers and we put a ton of effort and care into those. WHAT’S NEW WITH DENIZENS This will be a busy and exciting year for us. First is our incredibly popular Animal Hazy IPA hitting cans in March, joining our year-round lineup, on shelves throughout Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia. We’ve begun bottling some of our most in-demand beers, Chapless Horseman and Call Waiting. This marks the start of the bottling program at Denizens and fans can expect a number of beers [including] barrel-aged to mixedfermentation sours. We recently released a Suffragette Stout in collaboration with the Brewer’s Association and women representing 10 Maryland breweries. We have a super tasty Brut IPA in collaboration with ANXO that is on tap starting in March, and our Pink Boots collaboration is due in April. Denizens Brewing Co.: 1115 E W Hwy. Silver Spring, MD; www.denizensbrewingco.com | Riverdale Park: 4550 Van Buren St. Riverdale Park, MD; www.denizensbrewingco.com

Silver Branch Brewing Company: 8401 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; www.silverbranchbrewing.com 38 |  MARCH 2020

Aslin’s Alexandria location. Photo courtesy of Aslin.


D.C.’S MOST WORDLY M.C., CHRISTYLEZ BACON On a rainy afternoon in mid-February, Christylez Bacon strolls through Adams Morgan’s LINE Hotel lobby with an elegance reserved for men with style. The clothes aren’t vintage, but admirers always assume he’s wearing old garments from yesteryear. Despite looking like a man who time traveled from the Jazz Age – all the fabrics are new(ish). WORDS + PHOTO BY TRENT JOHNSON


MUSIC “Forget about what everyone else thinks,” Bacon says about style. “You put an afro with the suit, and I automatically look ‘70s or vintage. I never wear anything that is vintage, ever.” They say clothes maketh the man, but sartorial style represents only a sliver of Christylez’ creative whole. Before he wrapped himself in cardigans, herringbone suits and top hats, he wore baggy jeans, tall T’s and Nike Air Force Ones: “A Southeast uniform.” Even then, his ability and provincity to produce art was unquestioned. From a middle schooler rhyming about conquering obstacles to a high schooler studying visual art by day and absorbing music textbooks by night, Bacon has eternally been obsessed with reflecting his reality through a collection of outlets. “It was a prophetic piece: I could do anything,” Bacon says about a middle school performance, which more or less launched his career. “I could do anything yo. Whatever I put my mind to, I’mma knock it out.” A self-described “cat from Southeast,” Bacon has accomplished some of the anything he mentioned as a kid. In 2009, he released Advanced Artistry, an album with a song solely dedicated to mumbo sauce and others stuffed with D.C. references; in 2010, he was nominated for a Grammy for the children’s album Banjo to Beatbox; in 2011, he founded a concert series focused on exposing audiences to worldly sounds titled Washington Sound Museum; and now, he’s producing a web series titled Beatbox Remix, where every week brings a new collaboration with an international musician. Bacon has performed at heralded venues like the Kennedy Center and Strathmore, given a TEDx talk, and been featured on NPR and in the Washington Post. He went from lyrics exclaiming he could do anything to literally doing some of everything. “I was like boom. It was like breaking out of the earth’s atmosphere,” Bacon says, referencing the pre-teen realization. “Now that I’m up there in space I was like ‘yeah I got some options here. Let’s see where we gon’ go next.’” Bacon’s style is self-described as “progressive hip-hop,” with a focus on global sound. Growing up with two visual artists as parents, and a DJ for a mother, he heard a lot of rap early. Bacon rattles off Busta Rhymes’ stacking lyrics and A Tribe Called Quest’s penchant for using jazz-based instrumentation as early memories. These sounds inspired him to the point he’d jot down their lyrics in an attempt to learn from masters. To feel the words, verse and flow pass through his own pen, “I wanted to see how it worked.” For some, hip-hop’s artistry is purely lyrical, but to Bacon the poetry wasn’t endgame. Despite no formal training with a traditional instrument, the young M.C. couldn’t help but stretch his imagined sound to include grand orchestral backgrounds, with horns and strings and drums. “I always heard orchestration in my head,” he says. “[So] I started making beats. It seemed like an unfortunate thing to be a rapper only to be confined to the beats available. I always had the auditory vision. I wanted to craft things sonically as well.” The tracks on Bacon’s playlists are likely different than most contemporaries. There’s music from Brazil, Africa and India. He doesn’t listen to much hip-hop, but this isn’t a surprise. “I’ve always been fascinated by the world, different cultures,” Bacon says. “I never really had the resources [to find that music]. You’d have to go in the world music section, but even that is an American curation of another culture, which might not match their sensibilities.” Bacon says his curiosity in the world, in people, began in high school at Duke Ellington. Before the music or the style, people would come up to him and talk about the innocuous, about whatever. 40 |  MARCH 2020

“I was open,” Bacon says. “These conversations were fascinating. I wished all the people in my hood could have these conversations with people from different walks of life, different races and different communities. It would help them grow and open up, and expand their concept of the world.” This series of exchanges led a mission statement Bacon still champions today: culture acceptance and unification through music. From there, his own offerings weren’t only slices of life, but an opportunity to collaborate and introduce listeners to experiences, sounds and instruments that might otherwise fall on deaf ears. “All of these encounters, I want to give it to the people.” Over the years, his influences have morphed. At the moment he’s entranced by Brazilian music, which he says provides a tremendous amount of his sonic foundation. Several times he recognizes the Portuguese lyrics with excitement during our conversation. He loves it, which is why he constantly familiarizes himself with alien genres on a regular basis to pick up tempos and rhythms. In the past, Bacon showcased these musical intersections with Washington Sound Museum, a quarterly concert series he founded in 2011, but is currently on hiatus. He’s hopeful it lands at the Kennedy Center’s The REACH, but this isn’t finalized, and he’s “waiting patiently.” In the meantime, Beatbox Remix has been the harvest from his perpetual exploration. The web series on Bacon’s YouTube page provides a showcase for his prowess in collaboration and curation, featuring artists who specialize in unique instruments from different cultures, such as Amadou Kouyate on the Kora, a string instrument, and Uasuf Gueye on the balafon, a xylophone. “The difference between Washington Sound Museum and Beatbox Remix, is for [Museum] I could only work with like three or four artists per year,” he says. “But the Beatbox Remix is weekly, so I’m working with everybody. Let’s get it.” He’s also been working on a concept album titled En Route, tentatively set to come out in 2021, which includes lyrics written entirely during treks aboard D.C.’s public transportation system. That’s the thing with Bacon. Yes, he invites an international flair to his music, and his interests and aspirations reach far beyond the District’s borders, but he always knows when and how to bring it back. When he’s tinkering with Brazilian drum beats or lost in Chinese wind instruments, he’s also penning lyrics about the X2 bus route. D.C. is never far from his heart. It’s where he carried around a karaoke machine and where he banged out a drum beat on a garbage can. In the same District, he’s dipped his toes into everything: albums, concerts, plays, commercials, documentaries, web series, etc. D.C. is in all of them, because it’s firmly entrenched in him. “It’s a part of who I am,” he says. “My experiences, my skillsets, my culture and sensibilities come from D.C. When I’m doing cultural exchange things abroad or with people from different kinds of music, I offer [D.C.]. They offer all their culture and musical vocabulary, and I’m like ‘alright, let me bring this flavor to it.” See the progressive hip-hop artist with violinist Nistha Raj at the Mansion at Strathmore on March 19. Show at 7:30 p.m., tickets $24. For more information about all things Christylez Bacon, check out his website www.christylez.com and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ChristylezBacon. The Mansion at Strathmore: 10701 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD; 301-581-5100; www.strathmore.org




D.C. is a music town just as much as it is a political town, a culinary town or a sports town. Music in the District is, at its heart, the thread that weaves our communities, histories and spaces together. We’ve seen Black Broadway, go-go, hardcore and its accompanying straight-edge movement blossom. We have world-class, thousand-seat venues and DIY spaces paving the way for the most marginalized voices in music to not only be heard, but honored. To celebrate all that’s still to come in our city’s music scene, we spoke to three people who are still breathing life into D.C. music through their varied work.

The Icon: Mark Cisneros Local music icon Mark Cisneros came to D.C. by way of L.A. years ago, chasing the magic that the District was creating. In 2020, Cisneros is still hard at work making sonic magic with contributions to bands in D.C. and beyond. His work led him to something of a supergroup, Hammered Hulls, with fellow D.C. musicians Mary Timony, Alec MacKaye and Chris Wilson. Cisneros describes the band as having a very D.C. sound, drawing from musicians who are close to heart, but is quick to point out, “that term always seemed a little off. Even in the classic ‘harDCore’ days the sounds and bands were incredibly varied. D.C. has such a rich and diverse musical history. Still, Cisneros says he “hope[s] [Hammered Hulls] sound[s] like that, with spirited intent.” Before you catch the band live alongside Light Beams and Algiers, we picked Cisneros’ brain about all things D.C. music. District Fray: You’ve been a fixture in the D.C. music scene for quite some time now. Can you sum up what makes D.C.’s music scene great to you? Mark Cisneros: The D.C. music scene I’ve experienced has been pretty much exactly how I imagined and hoped it would be: a very supportive and open environment for creating. Honest work

toward the art, and an ethical and socially/politically aware approach. Musicians don’t come here to “make it.” If anyone has those types of inclinations they inevitably leave for a place where that can maybe happen for them. There’s a lot of integrity in the D.C. music scene that has become a real statement about what is done here. How has the scene changed in the years you’ve been active? How do you see it evolving? It ebbs and flows with young musicians making new bands, house shows and DIY spaces coming and going – varying degrees of activity and inactivity of older bands and older musicians, etc. We just came out of a very busy and fruitful period that happened over the last five years or so. Fortunately, there are some new releases on the way and new bands playing their first shows. I’m very excited for this year in D.C. music, and it’s off to an amazing start with new records by Too Free, Time Is Fire and Coriky. What are some quintessential D.C. music-related hangouts you’ve frequented over the years? How have those spaces changed and evolved? The Black Cat is the place. I’ve played there and hung out there more times than any other place in the world. I love everyone there and it’s been a home to D.C. punk for almost 30 years.

Hammered Hulls’ Chris Wilson, Mary timony, Mark Cisneros + Alec Mackaye. Photo: Claire Packer.


MUSIC My wife, Alyssa Bell (aka DJ Baby Alcatraz), and I even got married there last year. Comet Ping Pong has also been a great and very supportive venue for the D.C. music scene. The incredible church shows at St. Stephen and Sacred Heart. The 9:30 Club. U Street Music Hall has welcomed smaller shows that help the scene. DC9 has also really stepped up to fill the gap left by the Black Cat closing its smaller Backstage room. Very special mention needs to go to the art and community center Rhizome whose programming has created a wonderful home for more fringe acts including avant-garde electronic music, noise, free jazz, improvisational music and experimental artists of all mediums.

just all straight white dudes. I’d love to push the scene to a place that’s more queer, more accessible to all – and also foster a culture of paying bands appropriately.

Do you have any other shows or releases, with Hammered Hulls or other projects, on the horizon this year? I’m very happy to say that Hammered Hulls will be going into fabled Inner Ear studios again this month to record our fulllength LP for Dischord Records. Des Demonas will soon be releasing a new 12” EP for In The Red Records. Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds also just recorded a new 12” EP for In The Red Records that should hopefully be out this summer. Low Ways Quartet will be heading to the studio soon as well. There are a couple of other little surprises planned for this year.

As the needs of music studio 7DrumCity evolved, owner and founder Miles Ryan saw a new opportunity to further not only the fostered community, but to open doors by transforming the space’s top floor into a venue. With a 70 person capacity, Ryan hopes the space, dubbed The Pocket in reference to the studio’s percussive roots, can serve as a launchpad for smaller artists to kick their careers into high gear.

Catch Hammered Hulls live on March 12 with Light Beams and Algiers at the Black Cat. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $15. For more on Hammered Hulls, visit hammeredhulls.bandcamp.com. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com.

The Changemakers: Concert Moms Concert Moms, a booking and management group with roots in D.C., but a reach that stretches to Alaska, was born from a group of young women wanting to see themselves and their friends better represented in DIY, local and national music scenes. A year in, Hannah Swearman and the other “moms” book D.C. shows everywhere from houses in Park View to well-established venues like DC9 Nightclub and Songbyrd’s Vinyl Lounge. District Fray: What gap in the music industry were trying to fill? Hannah Swearman: At the most basic level, we wanted to prioritize bills that weren’t all straight white dudes with guitars – you’d think that’s a low bar, but honestly, there’s still so much work that needs to be done, especially if you think of DIY as the training ground for bands who break into the industry at large. How would you sum up everything you all offer? The primary two halves of Concert Moms are show promotion and artist management. As promoters we book artists at venues around D.C., and occasionally N.Y.C., L.A. and Detroit under the “Concert Moms” name. For management, we work with a small roster of artists to grow their careers through booking tours, fielding PR, marketing strategy – pretty much anything they want help with. How do you hope to positively influence the D.C. scene, and the overall music world? I hope we can be part of creating spaces for artists who have been traditionally underrepresented and leave our own small mark on D.C. music history. I’d love to create a D.C. scene that’s more diverse, more integrated – one where it’s not acceptable to have a bill that’s 42 |  MARCH 2020

You can check out Concert Moms and their roster, upcoming events and more by visiting www.concertmoms.com. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter @concertmoms.

The Innovators: The Pocket at 7DrumCity

District Fray: What led you to opening this space within 7DrumCity? Miles Ryan: [7DrumCity] is a central hub for bands in D.C. We function as an incubator, or a way to enable young musicians and bands to find a path into bigger venues. We have this existing community and we have all these great artists come through the space, and before, we always had to send them to the outside world to perform. As an appointment-based business, the barrier to entry for participating in the 7DrumCity community was high. Having the venue gets a lot of people in the door and they know it works the other way, where the people who are already here can be celebrated. What does a small, 70-person capacity venue like The Pocket bring to the 7DrumCity community? It provides more meaning in people’s lives. You feel more in touch with the artists. It’s like when you’re at a house party. You end up talking to most of the people at the party because there’s nowhere else to go. Here, there isn’t really a backstage. Artists come up stage and go past you. How else do you see The Pocket providing something different? We’re not a bar or a restaurant [with] a venue. We make most of our money from the other businesses we run, so we have a unique situation where if The Pocket has a crappy month, it won’t kill us. But, if this model where you have lessons [and] rehearsal space in the same place as a venue works, that could be a cool breakthrough. For a full list of The Pocket’s upcoming shows, visit www.7drumcity.com. The Pocket at 7DrumCity: 1506 N. Capitol St. NW, DC; www.7drumcity.com/the-pocket.


Tove Lo at Fillmore Silver Spring in February. Photos by K. Gabrielle Photography.





Best Best Coast Coast Comes Comes of of Age Age


Nearly 10 years into her storied indie rock career, Best Coast singer, songwriter and guitarist Bethany Cosentino has finally found her stride. It’s not like she ever really lost it, though. But coming of age in the early aughts of the music blogosphere when critics’ evaluations of music like Cosentino’s – read, certifiable earworms of California rock goodness – was often unfriendly and presumptuous, it’s easy to see why it would take some time to fully come into your own creative voice. She’s always been honest and confessional in her writing, but after returning to the recording studio with five years in-between the band’s efforts, Cosentino found herself sober, confident and ready to put out a true rock record that fully spoke her truth. Before Cosentino takes the stage in D.C. later this month with Best Coast’s other member Bobb Bruno, we spoke to her about the record, its inspirations and why she’s excited to get back on the road. 44 |  MARCH 2020

Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino + Bobb Bruno. Photo by Kevin Hayes.

MUSIC District Fray: It’s been five years between your last album and Always Tomorrow, your new record. It seems like you’ve been through a lot in terms of personal growth, your health and your sobriety. How did those experiences factor into the album lyrically? Bethany Cosentino: I’ve always written from the place of what I know, what I’m experiencing and the life I’m living. This record is really a cumulative story of all of the experiences I’ve had since the beginning of my career. I feel like it’s the first piece of work I’ve really ever done that feels like it has a bit of resolution to it. Where are you now versus with previous Best Coast albums? All my past records have been me struggling with a lot of the same feelings and emotions, and living in this place where I’m like, “Yeah, f—k. I don’t know how to be. I don’t know how to deal with this.” This record has a lot more hope to it, where it’s like, “Okay, life is hard because that’s literally what life is. It’s hard!” But I’ve gotten to a place where I’m able to just accept it for what it is. I think it’s a relatable story. I don’t think you have to be a professional musician or even a sober person to understand the things that I’m talking about on this record. It’s just about learning to accept life for what it is. You’re close to sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin of the band Bleached, who have also been on a similar journey of growth and sobriety. What has your experience been like surrounding yourself with people like them, and other musicians like yourself who seem to be ushering in a sea change in the music world? I think we live in an era now where things are just coming at us in full force constantly. You can’t even keep up with the news because it’s just nonstop. I think a lot of people have these rock bottoms where they’ve realized like, “Oh God, I can’t keep doing things this way.” And then they crawl their way back to the top and whatever that journey looks like for that [person] is different. I do think it’s cool that a lot more [musicians] are talking about taking care of their mental health and sobriety and advocating for themselves, because this job is really hard and it requires you to give so much of yourself. It is very easy to forget to take care of yourself when you’re just all, “Go, go, go, go, go,” and not even just for musicians. With life in general, there’s so much content coming at us constantly that I think it becomes very easy to forget, “Oh yeah, I’m a human being. I have to take care of myself to survive.” Your signature California rock sound is really present on your new album, but there are also some new evolutions and sounds. Can you tell me about who you were looking toward for inspiration while working on the new record? We had a lot of references for this record that were super different than things we’ve had in the past. A lot of it was classic rock: Joan Jett and The Runaways, Thin Lizzy and Def Leppard. We talked a lot about The Cars. Fleetwood Mac is a constant influence for us, but I feel like we tapped into that in certain songs and in certain ways. We unintentionally made a rock record. We didn’t ever say, “Oh, we’re going to make a f—king rock record.” But it just had to happen. I think energetically, the story I’m telling in this record is an intense story, so some of these songs are [also] intense, heavy and different. I think it will grab people’s attention in a way in which previous records haven’t necessarily done. 46 |  MARCH 2020

“I don’t think you have to be a professional musician or even a sober person to understand the things that I’m talking about on this record. It’s just about learning to accept life for what it is.” What are you hoping that fans, both new and old, gain from or appreciate about Always Tomorrow? I just hope that people can relate to it. I’m happy with it. I’m confident. I am proud of the things I’ve had to go through and the journey I’ve gone on. Your goal as an artist is to create something you’re proud of, and that people can listen to and relate to. I hope people walk away from hearing the songs [feeling] like the record affected [them]. Also, I’m finally in a place to be able to understand that it’s not for everyone, and that’s fine. I don’t base my worth on whether you like my record or not. I’ve made something that I’m very proud of, while telling a story I’m very proud of. At the end of the day, all I can do is be proud of what I’m putting out and just hope that other people can relate. As far as getting back on the road, I hear touring can be very daunting. Are you looking forward to being on the road with this new mindset? Yes, touring is very hard. It’s daunting. It is what it is. But having taken a big break from it, I think it’ll be really fun. And I think that with me being in a healthier place, I know now to [say], “This is my job.” When I get up onstage, I’m thinking, “That’s me, doing my job and performing,” and then when I get offstage, I can go back to just being me and doing my thing. I’m actually excited to go out [with] these new tools – these actual healthy coping mechanisms to come down from the actual show. I think it will be nice to do it and then go back to the bus and just get to be on my computer watching Netflix with my aromatherapy diffuser and be like, “Okay, cool.” How do you feel about your back catalog now that you’ve created a more conclusive, cathartic record you could really put extra time and care into? Are there any songs you feel strongly about not playing or moving away from? Because my music is so personal and I write lyrics that are so true to who I am and what I’ve been through, there’s certain stuff that when I sing it, I’m like, “Ugh, I don’t want to have to think about this.” But I remember that feeling, you know? A perfect example is the song “Boyfriend.” I can’t stand that song. I make a speech about it every time before we play it where I’m like, “This is my most hated Best Coast song.” But I have a love for it, because I see how excited people get when we play it and they act like it’s the first time they’ve ever heard it. The response is very sweet, so it allows me to step outside of it and think about how, as the person who wrote it, I’m very sick of it. But I see the way people react to it, and that makes me feel really happy. Best Coast plays 9:30 Club on Thursday, March 19 with Mannequin Pussy. Tickets are $30, and doors open at 7 p.m. For more on the band and Always Tomorrow, visit www.bestcoast.net. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; 202-265-0930; www.930.com



1 2 X 1 2 OZ C A N S | B O L D R O C K .CO M / H A R D - S E LTZ E R | 4 % A LC BY VO L


THE DISTRICT’S NEW MUSES: WOMEN LEADERS OF D.C. ART SPACES The Muses were the Greek goddesses of the arts, literature, sciences and humanities. Their home: the museum. The Muses were abstract personifications, idealized gods – not creating art themselves, but rather inspiring male poets, scientists and historians. But not anymore, and definitely not in D.C. WORDS BY COLLEEN KENNEDY 48 |  MARCH 2020

“There’s a shake-up happening,” says Kristi Maiselman, executive director of CulturalDC. “Exciting things are happening.” In a recent Washington Post article, Peggy McGlone pointed out the recent “flurry of landmark appointments” within the Smithsonian Institution as women became the directors of some of the world’s most renowned museums for the first time: Ellan Stofan at Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Anthea Hartig at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and Kim Sajet at Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Kaywin Feldman was appointed the first female director of the National Gallery of Art in March 2019, and Heran Sereke-Brhan is the acting executive director of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. They are the latest in an already robust representation of women leaders in the District’s art scene. “D.C. is unique,” explains Allison Nance, director of International Arts & Artists (IA&A) at Hillyer. “This is not the norm. It’s empowering looking at the leadership landscape of D.C. It’s so important to have women in these positions to show their capabilities.” These capabilities extend to many regional arts organizations, collectives and galleries helmed by women leaders, too. Speaking with several of these trailblazers, we see there is a strong sense of collaborations – often with other women-run organizations and businesses – and a focus on women working together to not only create art but to forge space for arts and artists, and to reflect their communities.

CREATING COMMUNITIES IA&A at Hillyer is a nonprofit arts organization that creates global communities by exhibiting local and regional artists alongside international talents in its three-room gallery. Partnering with embassies and international arts organizations, IA&A provides visa application help for international artists for travel exhibitions and programming throughout several major U.S. cities in addition to D.C. This includes sending several artists to Seoul before a May exhibit featuring contemporary Korean films in partnership with the Korean Cultural Center and the Smithsonian’s Korean Film Festival. But it’s important to make the global local, too. IA&A produces over 80 public programs a year based on current exhibitions and topical themes, working with a wide range of organizations throughout the District such as the DC Public Library, the Middle East Institute, and MAP: Media & Arts for Peace (founded by Honey Al Sayed). Programming reflects the diversity of D.C., including a recent Spanish-language mixer cohosted with Conversational D.C. to celebrate the art of Barcelona arts duo Amarist. Nance hopes to offer future nonAnglophone events, including an Arabic-language event during the exhibit of Lebanese artist Yasmine Dabbous. Amy Moore, executive director of Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW), knows all about building community through the arts. CHAW makes sure that social and economic barriers do not keep people from engaging in the arts. Moore has seen firsthand the power of communal artmaking: afterschool arts programs, affordable – and often free – art workshops and classes, performing arts spaces such as Taffety Punk Theatre Company and Light Switch Dance Company, creative partnerships to reach community members as underserved as women in correctional facilities, to name a few. Moore explains, “When you make art with other people, you Allison Nance. Photo courtesy of Nance.

are open, taking risks. It engenders us to really listen, to become closer to a community. We learn compassion and about complex issues, and by working together creatively, we make sure we are all uplifted.” Nance notes the amount of different cultures within our D.C. community: “Art has a soft power, creating an opportunity to learn about and from other cultures in a nonconfrontational way.” Check out three solo exhibitions celebrating Women’s History Month at Hillyer throughout March: 9 Hillyer Ct. NW, DC; www.athillyer.org. Don’t miss “Mother’s Aguayo,” a photographic exploration of motherhood, womanhood and the aguayo (a traditional Bolivian carrying cloth) from March 9- 28 at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop: 545 7th St SE, DC; www.chaw.org.

THE POWER OF ART The “power” of art includes the ability to heal. Lindsey Yancich, gallery manager for the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, plans the exhibits and programming for the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. “All of the exhibitions have to do with the process of healing through making and seeing art,” Yancich explains. This includes an annual exhibit of artists who have made the journey through their cancer. Programming includes workshops as simple but as therapeutic and meditative as knitting for patients in hospitals around the District. “Making art is a gift. To utilize that tool for healing is something everyone is capable of. Everyone has the ability to create – that’s where healing comes in.” Running until March 14, see “Material Woman: The Power of the Feminine Hand” featuring many pieces of tactile works   DISTRICT FRAY  | 49

CULTURE created in a circle of women at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery: 1632 U St. NW, DC; www.joanhisaokagallery.org.

MAKING SPACE FOR ART Hen House, a collective exhibiting the works of women, trans and nonbinary artists cofounded by Tiffany Evans, Kathrine Campagna and Beth Hansen, creatively collaborates for exhibition space. Currently teaming up with ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar for two Women’s History Month exhibits, Campagna explains that the partnership came together naturally. “I’ve known Rachel [Fitz, co-owner of ANXO] from bartending when I still worked at Red Derby.” Their third exhibit “DUALITY,” showcasing 23 artists with related events and workshops, is at Union Market through April 15. The artists of “DUALITY” were challenged to consider this theme in respect to femininity, race, religion, science and the banal. This show offers women, trans and nonbinary artists the opportunity to explore their own dual nature through visual art. CulturalDC has been making space for art for two decades, facilitating between developers and artists and making sure that cultural connections are an important aspect of new properties. Maiselman notes, “It’s always been women. For 20 years, it’s been an organization run by women. The world of developers is still primarily male.” Atlas Performing Arts Center, Brookland Artspace Lofts and the artist studios at Monroe Street Market in Brookland are all examples of their Artspace Development programming, linking community-minded real estate developers to the arts. In addition, Source Theatre on 14th Street and the Mobile Art Gallery are two of the organization’s successes in making art accessible, showing what investments in the arts means to D.C.’s different neighborhoods. “The Mobile Art Gallery takes the art to the people. We present a diverse group of regional and national artists that reflect the community we live in to create dialogues,” Maiselman says. The Mobile Art Gallery will be at Union Market through March 22 for “Rendition” by Zoë Charlton, a multimedia exhibit of “mass-produced” collectible African masks and statues that humorously engages with commodification and cultural tokenism. All of these vanguards of D.C.’s art scene explain that their leadership is bolstered by women working together through women-led boards, bouncing ideas around with each other, offering much-needed checks and balances, or pushing for newer, bigger, bolder projects. Hen House, for example, is dreaming up a Fine Arts Carnival for the summer. Campagna explains, “It’s a carnival for the whole community: a big daytime festival with music, paintings, sculptures and [engagement] with the arts.” Yancich concludes, “There is something special about coming together with other women. It’s safe. And we lift each other up. I learn something new every day, and every day, I can give something back.” Don’t miss Hen House’s two exhibits in celebration of Women’s History Month throughout March at ANXO Restaurant & Pintxos Bar: 300 Florida Ave. NW, DC and ANXO Cidery & Tasting Room: 711 Kennedy St. NW, DC. Follow them on Instagram @henhousedc. Learn more about CulturalDC’s Mobile Arts Gallery at www.culturaldc.org.mobile-arts.

50 |  MARCH 2020


Head to the National Museum of Natural History through April 19 for this traveling exhibition of black-and-white portraits taken by Kelsey Vance of female paleontologists sporting fake beards to challenge public perception of what a scientist looks like. Through April 19. 10th Street & Constitution Avenue in NW, DC; www.naturalhistory.si.edu


Renwick Gallery is hosting this landmark exhibition, the first major thematic exhibition to explore the artistic achievements of Native women, with 82 artworks from antiquity to the present focusing on the power of the collaborative spirit. Through May 17. 1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.americanart.si.edu/visit/renwick


The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art’s permanent collection will showcase 27 featured artists in a variety of media. Through July 5. 950 Independence Ave. SW, DC; https://africa.si.edu


The National Portrait Gallery will highlight over 20 noted women writers from the last 100 years who are represented in the gallery’s collection. The authors featured have collectively won every literary award there is, and many of their titles have become classics of American literature. Opens July 10. 8th & F Streets in NW, DC; www.npg.si.edu

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS Women to Watch “By looking at both emerging artists who are early in their career as well as those who may have been working artists for a long time but have not received more national attention, these exhibitions are a unique mix of artists who all work in the same medium,” says associate curator Virginia Treanor. “By organizing the exhibition around a particular medium – in this case paper – the works inherently have something in common. Beyond that, however, their wide variety of differences in size, shape and color is what makes an exhibition like this so visually interesting.” #5WomenArtists “Each March, during Women’s History Month, we have an even bigger platform for celebrating women artists and influencing fellow museums to think about gender equity in their institutions,” says Amy Mannarino, director of communications and marketing. “Starting in 2016, we decided to use this platform to launch the #5WomenArtists campaign, encouraging cultural organizations and interested individuals to share information and art by women. This year, #5WomenArtists is recognizing how women are using art to make change and drive awareness about globally relevant issues. We are asking museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions to share art and information about artists who explore key social issues, including gender equity, immigration, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, and climate change.” From June 26 to September 7. 1250 New York Ave. NW, DC; www.nmwa.org

The District’s Evolving Culture Scene BY COURTNEY SEXTON

WORDS BY COURTNEY SEXTON The past 10 years have brought a wellspring of change to D.C. in almost every arena imaginable, and that change has been reflected in our city’s evolving culture. 2020 has brought us to a precipice. Those who have been working behind the scenes to build “the scene” are wondering: with all of this growth, what will survive and what won’t? In 2005, Julianne Brienza co-founded Capital Fringe in a Columbia Heights group house. The next year, she and fellow members launched the first Capital Fringe Festival – an opportunity for performing artists to gather over the course of 10 days in theaters, vacant buildings and other unconventional “fringe” locations, to create 96 productions in a “stripped down, Each for Equal Art Party setup. Photo courtesy of Pakke + Cheshire.

unprocessed organic social environment.” “The whole reason I started the festival was to have a community hangout,” says Brienza, who moved to D.C. 18 years ago. “It was so hard to meet people and it was all business-casual happy hours.” This July will mark the 15th anniversary of the Capital Fringe Festival, with more than 100 productions featuring more than 600 artists in Southwest D.C. “It really gets down to freedom of expression. It’s about taking someone who might have no experience, and letting them think maybe they can create something.” Despite her excitement to celebrate the achievement and   DISTRICT FRAY  | 51

CULTURE services Fringe has provided to artists over the years – including arts education and arts management workshops – Brienza can’t help but ask, “Does D.C. even need a Fringe Festival anymore?” Brienza worries there may not be room for the gritty kind of bootstraps art that Fringe has championed. “I have been thinking about how the city has really changed a lot in rolling waves,” she says. “With the last wave came opportunities for a large number of people. But there are also missed opportunities for a large number of people. Which of those camps you fall into and how to move between them is becoming harder to navigate.” Brienza points to D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities grants as an example. The process to obtain artistic funding is challenging, and the commission’s structure and services completely changed this year, and will likely do so again. “The city is less livable and when the services are changing all the time, it makes it harder.” She isn’t the only one to recognize the impact a dynamic populace and local economy has on the arts and on community building, in general. Amy Morse has spent the past 12 years in D.C. working for the Environmental Defense Fund. She doesn’t think we are losing physical space for the arts; rather, that it is expanding and contracting, so we must work to find and curate it. “You send out a signal and you start building a community,” says Morse, who last year co-founded PAKKE, a platform to curate and organize collaborative, multimedia arts and cultural events. “I basically had to design events for myself. I want to talk about art, shit that’s awesome, things people are reading – it’s about living a multisensory experience.” Morse takes the helm of many creative happenings hosted at The Cheshire, a former auto garage in Adams Morgan that was transformed into an events space for local artists in 2018. There, creators and residents gather to learn and collaborate. “When I build events, it’s around curiosity and it starts there,” Morse says. “It’s not about commercial space. I see new people over and over. You have more art on the walls, you have more communities coming together. It’s an organic connecting. If you’re curating a good show, you’re bringing different people in.” Morse is the assistant curator to Shamini Selvaratnam, founder of Recipes for Resilience. She describes Selvaratnam as an inspired activist who “in the Trump era, looks at stories of resilience as being stories for all of us.” A portion of the proceeds from Morse’s Each for Equal Garage Art Party at The Cheshire on March 7 will go to local groups protecting refugee and migrant communities. “There are vibrant rivers of secret lives in D.C. just below the surface,” Morse adds. “I think there are a lot of people here who want to change the world.” Morse is among a set of contemporary curators, artists and cultural placemakers in D.C. who Teddy Rodger describes as “a rising tide of people hitting their stride [and] doing creative work in a new context.” Rodger, the public engagement and events manager of International Arts and Artists (IA&A) at Hillyer, says that in addition to new cultural startups like PAKKE, it’s the individuals at “foundational D.C. cultural institutions [who] are doing some of the most important work available to us right now.” Combined with the presence and perseverance of such individuals, Rodger believes gaining global perspective in the arts is key to developing the next stage of the city’s cultural identity. 52 |  MARCH 2020

The international community in D.C. is often taken for granted, and its mere presence doesn’t guarantee that it’s properly weaved into local culture. Creating art in and of D.C. is one thing but using said art to engage in conversation with people and cities across the world is another. Rodger asks of 2020, “How do we lean into something different from the comfort of the built-in ‘worldliness’ of D.C.?” Rodger’s previous role as programs manager for Georgetown University’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (The Lab) showed her a, “sad reality of our limited perspective” due to systems that keep artists from coming to the U.S. Like Brienza, Rodger agrees that circumstance, let alone finance, isn’t a barrier that should keep people from participating in the arts, at any level. “They’re doing more interesting, creative avant-garde things elsewhere and they’re all talking to each other and we cut ourselves off from that fountain,” Rodger says. “Even in the nation’s capital, it’s really hard to bring artists from other countries here, so we lose out. Only the most privileged can leave and only the most privileged can exchange.” The IA&A at Hillyer team is finding ways to engender a “more prismatic look at the way arts relate to our lives.” Through intentional curation and public programming, they are celebrating artists who make work in response to D.C., artists living in and around the District who don’t fall into traditional cultural categories, and those who harness a cross-cultural understanding of the arts. Among this year’s roster, Hillyer will show work from Media and Arts for Peace artists Yasmine Dabbous and Manaf Azzam; classically trained dancer Lindsay Doyle; and figurative artist Lee Nowell-Wilson, whose work focuses on maternal creativity. The common thread is elevating voices that bring together broader understanding and peace. “Very few people outside of the U.S. are in one lane and we’re really excited to have a space that is more reflective of the rest of the world, where the arts aren’t segregated – visual versus auditory. We have a center that is more aligned with the reality of practicing artwork that is more multidimensional.” Rodger is hopeful for D.C.’s ability to be innovative in the face of change – climate, political and economic – especially when it comes to the arts. “I would love to see the city rally behind those who are creating safe spaces [like Brienza and Morse], as well as spaces where people can be risky and have a reason for real criticism that isn’t competitive, but collaborative to the core,” she says, pointing to Amir Bowter and Homme DC at the 52 O St. Studios, The Inner Loop, Halcyon Arts Lab and A Seed is Growing, as exemplars. This innovation will ultimately determine what shapes our culture, or what survives and what doesn’t. It’s clear that whatever does survive will be fueled by genuine curiosity and a desire to bring people together. Our city is being watched the world over and it’s imperative to be aware of that spotlight, especially at a local level, where we can shine it into corners worthy of exposure. For information about Capital Fringe, visit www.capitalfringe.org. To learn more about PAKKE visit www.pakkesocial.com. To read more about the cultural offerings by IA&A at the Hillyer visit www.athillyer.org.

FORMAL GETS FUNKY IN 2020 As D.C. local culture continues to evolve, the city’s internationally facing mainstays are also shaking things up to be more accessible and culturally inclusive.

Open Access to SI Archives

It’s 2020 and for the first time in 174 years in operation, the Smithsonian has created an open access digital platform comprising 2.8 million high-resolution 2-D and 3-D images from across its collections. Now, users throughout America and around the world can view and download content free of charge. So, go ahead, 3-D print yourself the Hope Diamond. For more information, visit www.si.edu/openaccess.

What’s the Word?

Adding to the plethora of institutions celebrating various aspects of human culture, 2020 will see the opening of Planet Word – a museum dedicated solely to language. The museum, set to open May 31, is fittingly housed in the historic Franklin School, where Alexander Graham Bell once tested his “photophone.” Planet Word will offer immersive learning experiences for visitors to “explore the power of words,” championing literacy as an integral part

of individual success and self-expression. Planet World: 963 13th St. NW, DC; www.planetwordmuseum.org

The Club at Studio K

Last spring, The Kennedy Center opened The REACH, creating physical space and opportunities for local community members and international artists alike to use much-needed practice rooms, access free arts programming and engage with experimental projects. This year, The Club at Studio K is offering culture talks with artists and musicians and live podcast shows (including everyone’s favorite, Mortified). The programming also includes experimental jazz and comedy, and hip-hop and R&B events, like a multimedia/dance party that reimagines famed Harlem pianist Fats Waller’s hits as “afrobeat, funk, house music and more modern grooves.” The Reach at The Kennedy Center: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org.

Go-Go Museum

As anyone who’s ever stood out front of the 7th Street Metro PCS knows, there are few things more D.C. than go-go music. Thus, it’s high time we bring the funk to a museum. Fundraising efforts that began in 2008 are finally paying off this year as D.C.’s first-ever museum dedicated to go-go music will open doors in Check It Enterprises Culture Center on Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. in Anacostia. The museum will pay homage to the musical genre and its iconic artists, feature indoor and outdoor performance spaces and includes cafe with food items named after the aforementioned icons. For more information about the Go-Go Music Museum, visit www.checkitenterprises.com.









SIMON GODWIN Talks Diversity,


+Boundary Pushing


One question loomed large when Shakespeare Theatre used for more than just buying tickets: a place where people of Company (STC) leader Michael Kahn announced his retirement all backgrounds can gather for a cup of coffee, attend audience in 2018. Who would replace the venerated artistic director who enrichment programs or observe art displays like the one grew STC from a fledgling company into one of the world’s currently up for James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner. leading producers of classical theater? “We all want to see theater about ourselves and if you want to To answer this question, STC looked across the pond to bring in different people, you have to do plays about them,” he esteemed British director Simon Godwin. Known for his reflects. “But it’s also about making our spaces feel welcoming innovative direction of Shakespeare plays at renowned and connecting the theater to daily life so that it’s a natural institutions including the Royal Shakespeare Company and the environment to spend time in rather than just an expensive trip National Theatre, the sprightly, Cambridge-educated 42-yearto the theater.” old embodied the characteristics STC was looking for in Kahn’s One issue on people’s minds prior to Godwin’s hiring successor: a recognized mastery of the classics and an eagerness was the issue of diversity in theater leadership, with many to open the theater to diverse voices. people rooting for STC to hire a woman or a person of color “Simon has an exciting perspective on what constitutes a to fill the vacancy. Godwin was aware of this issue during the classic,” observes STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul, hiring process. who worked closely with Michael Kahn and now with Godwin. “When I got the job and there was debate, I welcomed it “He had a lot of curiosity about the theater’s past successes but because I think that is part of the conversation we all need to was unafraid to make some bold moves early on.” have. I am a white man and there is no point pretending that I’m Godwin has been on the job for six months now. I recently sat not, but my work can be reflective of all backgrounds even if I in down with him at STC’s Sidney Harman Hall to discuss his goals my skin cannot.” as artistic director. A few things became clear in the course of our A charming tradition that Godwin brought from England is conversation. Godwin’s vision includes a notable expansion of the annual family holiday show, a project that came to fruition what can be defined as a classic and an eagerness to think outside last December with Peter Pan and Wendy, a retelling of the Peter the box in terms of diversity, inclusivity and boundary pushing. Pan story that Godwin commissioned playwright Lauren “It’s classics with a twist,” Godwin observes of the seven Gunderson to write. shows he programmed for STC’s 2019-2020 season. “England has great success with family holiday shows,” One look at the season Godwin says, observing that lineup will tell you this War Horse and Matilda – which is not your grandma’s achieved great commercial The sprightly, Cambridge-educated Shakespearean theater. Only success – both started as 42-year-old embodied the characteristics two of the seven shows are family holiday shows. “It’s STC was looking for in Kahn’s successor Shakespeare plays. Of the really a lovely tradition other five, two were written a recognized mastery of the classics and and a way to bring multiple by contemporary women generations to the theater.” an eagerness to open the theater known for their feminist And Shakespeare lovers to diverse voices. roar, Lauren Gunderson and need not worry that the Bard Emma Rice, and two were will be completely absent from written by African American literary giants James Baldwin and STC’s future programming. Godwin himself is directing Timon of Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins. Athens and Much Ado About Nothing, the two Shakespeare plays “This is the first time STC has produced work by an African programmed this season, and he brings a lifetime of experience American, which is a very surprising statistic and one that with the Shakespeare canon. obviously needed to be remedied immediately,” Godwin says. “I “They say you don’t read Shakespeare, Shakespeare reads you. was very happy and proud to do that.” And the more you change, he changes with you. It becomes a Perhaps the most obvious departure from the traditional dialogue over decades, which is very enriching and satisfying.” classic canon is Godwin’s recently announced partnership with In directing Shakespeare, Godwin is constantly exploring Woolly Mammoth Theatre’s Maria Goyanes – the other artistic ways to connect with current audiences. director new kid on the block – to produce The Jungle in the fall “Shakespeare chose stories that he felt would speak urgently of 2020. The Jungle – which has enjoyed successful recent runs to his own Elizabethan present. So, to stage Shakespeare today, in the West End and Off-Broadway – tells the very contemporary we need to stage the plays so they feel like they were written story of numerous characters waylaid in a migrant camp in yesterday.” Calais, France. Godwin looks forward to learning more about his newly “People may ask why a Shakespearean theater is doing a new adopted city in the coming years. play about the migrant crisis,” Godwin muses, “but one of the “To be honest, I’m still such a newbie to America and there is values that we can take from Shakespeare is his magnitude and still so much to learn.” the size of his vision.” Learn more about Godwin’s upcoming season at Godwin also embraced the opportunity to partner with www.shakespearetheatre.org. The Amen Corner runs at Sidney another DC theater. Harman Hall through March 15 and Timon of Athens runs at the “Producing The Jungle with Woolly Mammoth feels very much Michael R. Klein Theatre through March 22. how I want to work, which is in harmony and active partnership with other theaters and cultural institutions.” Michael R. Klein Theatre: 450 7th St. NW, DC A larger goal for the artistic director is to dispel the notion Sidney Harman Hall: 610 F St. NW, DC that theater is only for a certain segment of the population (i.e., Box office: 202-547-1122 wealthy white patrons). He envisions a lobby area that can be Simon Godwin. Photo by Johan Persson.



GIRLS TO THE FRONT: 13 BADASS WOMEN CHANGING DC’S CULTURAL LANDSCAPE From art gallery directors to pastry chefs, D.C. is home to countless powerhouse women dominating their career fields. But these women are doing more than just winning awards and climbing the career ladder – they’re giving back to their local communities and helping others find success along the way. District Fray sat down with several of these professionals across the industry spectrum to talk about everything from working in D.C. to self-care. While Women’s History Month is a great time to celebrate those on this roundup, we also hope these women inspire you long past the end of March. WORDS BY NATALIA KOLENKO, M.K. KOSZYCKI + JENELLE LANGFORD 56 |  MARCH 2020

Cherise Rhyns GENERAL MANAGER, LINCOLN THEATRE Before Cherise Rhyns was named general manager of the iconic I.M.P. venue Lincoln Theatre, she worked her way up from door staff. In her new role, she’ll oversee the operations of the historic theatre and its incredibly diverse livemusic offerings. District Fray: Congratulations on your new role! What excites you most about being the general manager of the storied Lincoln Theatre? Cherise Rhyns: I’m most excited for the opportunity to be a part of the theater’s legacy. I’m still doing research, but I suspect there is a very short list of venues in this country that have been in operation for almost 100 years. The Lincoln Theatre hits 100 in 2022! I walk in the building every day and think about the history that has occurred within these walls and it blows my mind that I have the opportunity to be a part of its history. What makes Lincoln Theatre unique compared to the other wonderful I.M.P. venues, and other venues in general, in the District? The Lincoln Theatre is unique in many ways. As I mentioned before, we’re on the cusp of celebrating Lincoln’s centennial. Additionally, this theater played a huge role in the fabric of the District’s history, in that it was a nexus for the city’s “Black Broadway.” It was built in order to give black people a place to perform and patronize the arts without the stigma of segregation. People are very familiar with the Harlem Renaissance, but there was a surge of artistic expression occurring in D.C. around the same time, and the Lincoln Theatre was central for black performing artists. What advice would you give to other young women seeking a career in the music world? 1) Have a strong work ethic. Work hard at everything you do. There aren’t any tasks that are too small to give less than your all. If your assignment is to take out the trash, make sure the bag is tied tightly and it’s in the proper place. If your assignment is to order lunch, make sure the order is correct and on time. Work as if every single task that you do is meaningful – because it truly is. 2) Be kind – smile at people, try to find joy in everything and treat everyone the way you want to be treated. 3) Listen and observe – there is always something for

you to learn and details are important. Learn more about all the amazing shows the Lincoln Theatre has to offer this year at www.thelincolndc.com.

Farrah Skeiky CREATIVE/CULTURE DIRECTOR AT THE LINE DC + MUSIC PHOTOGRAPHER Self-described as a jack-of-all-trades, Farrah Skeiky has pursued myriad of creative outlets including music photography, event planning and writing, to name a few. She often combines her numerous skills for her work with The LINE DC, a hotel and creative hub where she does a variety of creative work ranging from organizing photo shoots to creating accessible cultural programming. District Fray: What is one of the most exciting things about working at The LINE DC? Farrah Skeiky: My favorite thing to do, especially as an artist, is to be able to support other artists and not just give them one gig, but give them continuing support and resources. Also being a part of their network and helping them grow that network. As someone who makes a living with a creative career, what advice do you have for people looking to do the same? I don’t wait for the opportunity – see what network you have and what resources you have. The other part of it is that you can make a career out of being creative, but you have to get creative with it. Developing as many skills as you can and being that jack-of-all-trades is going to take you really far because you have more of a perspective. In what ways do you practice selfcare after a long workday? This year the word gratitude has been really big for me, and kind of using gratitude as a form of self-care. It’s not just about knowing in your heart that you’re grateful, but how you make that a practice. Visit www.farrahskeiky.com and follow her @reallyfarrah. You can find out more about The LINE DC’s programming at www.thelinehotel.com/dc.

Paola Velez EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF AT KITH/KIN A rising star in the culinary world, Velez has accomplished much in her short career: working under master chocolatier Jacques Torres and Christina Tosi at Milk

Bar, and recently becoming a semifinalist in the Rising Star Chef of the Year category of the 2020 James Beard Awards, to name a few. District Fray: How does Kith/Kin compare to other restaurants you’ve worked at? Paola Velez: There’s a lot of team building and community building. We’re able to partner with our local elementary school. We’re able to give back. Honestly, the biggest goals in my career have been to become sustainable and impact the community. With Kith/Kin and InterContinental Hotels Group, I’ve been able to accomplish that. What do you love about being a pastry chef? I basically found a niche within pastry – chocolate work – and realized I had a knack for it. That opened up my eyes to see how far I could push it. I just wanted to tell a story with food. Every day, we take experiences from people’s upbringing and turn them into desserts. It’s not just my story I’m telling. I’m telling everybody else’s story that works here. What advice would you give to an upand-coming pastry chef? Work as if today is your last day on earth. Work with no reservations. Make sure you give your 100 percent every day. If you do not work as if you’re not already in that space, you’ll never get to that space. Keep your head up, be kind and make sure you put out as much positive energy into the world, and it will ultimately always circle back and give it to you in return. Follow Velez on Instagram @smallorchids to see all her culinary creations. For more information on Kith/Kin, visit www.kithandkindc.com.

Isabelle De Leon DRUMMER AND MUSIC INSTRUCTOR From a young age, Isabelle De Leon thrived in creating music. Now she leads a busy life, including touring with Oprah and constantly making waves in the D.C. music industry. Whether rocking out with her band Prinze George or molding the music creativity of others through drum lessons, De Leon knows how to put on a show. District Fray: What are the challenges and advantages of being a Filipina woman in the D.C. music industry? Isabelle De Leon: In a lot of ways, I end up in certain spaces where I might   DISTRICT FRAY  | 57


FIRST PAGE. Isabelle De Leon. Photo by Eman El Said. L TO R. Jessica Dallessase. Photo by Channing Foster. Lauren Paylor. Photo by Shannon Sturgis. Rose Previte. Photo by Jennifer Chase. Amanda McClements. Photo by Sally DeNapoli. Svetlana Legetic. Photo by Brady Robinson. Marta Staudinger. Photo by Kelsey Cochran.

58 |  MARCH 2020

be the only person who looks like me, and people can either misconstrue the intention or wonder why I’m there. When it comes to the music, that speaks for itself. On the other end, it’s what makes me unique. For people to see someone different doing something different, [there’s] that spectacle element. It’s [also] advantageous as far as doing any kind of outreach to the community to help influence younger generations of people who need role models who look like them. Do you have a favorite venue in the DMV area? 9:30 Club is just so iconic. It’s one of the things that makes me proud about being a D.C. resident. Everyone around the U.S., even around the world, knows the 9:30 Club. Even when I’m on the road, I’ll always see someone wearing that iconic 9:30 T-shirt and it makes me so proud. Are you currently working on any projects or future projects for the year? Right now I’m touring with Oprah, and [after] I’m touring with another artist, so I will be traveling a lot in the next several weeks. One of my groups, Prinze George, just released a single and we have a whole album of work that will hopefully be released this year. I’ve also been doing selfproduction pieces, hoping to release a single – that’s new territory for me, but it’s exciting. For more information or to see her work, visit De Leon’s website at www.isabelledeleon.com and follow her on Instagram @isabelledeleon_ and Twitter @isabelle_deleon.

Rose Previte OWNER, COMPASS ROSE AND MAYDAN Though restaurateur Rose Previte has brought her love of travel and culture to both of her award-winning restaurants, they are still distinctly D.C., and play a huge part in the amazing culinary culture the city offers its hungry residents. Previte’s dedication to connecting people to each other and the world around them through food is unmatched, as is her team’s ability to serve you a dish you’ll keep coming back for. District Fray: You’ve spent a lot of time abroad exploring other cultures and cuisines. How does traveling, and having a general curiosity for other cultures, keep you inspired and creative? Rose Previte: Traveling is the thing that

keeps me inspired and creative. Just about everything – especially the menu and the design – at both restaurants derives from a memory or experience I had somewhere in the world. Nothing opens your eyes more or makes you think outside the box more than traveling. Without realizing it, you change the way you think and automatically that changes how you see everything. When I get back from someplace I’m always amazed at how much I learned. My endless curiosity is what keeps me traveling and it’s what I hope keeps the restaurants dynamic and interesting. What makes D.C. such a great city for creative people, specifically those in the food and beverage industry? What would you like to see improve? So many of us have been able to open our own businesses independently in a major city. Lots of us have known each other since we were kids serving, cooking and bartending at places well before D.C. was “cool” to the rest of the country. I was in Chicago recently for a conference and was shocked at how just about every restaurant I liked was part of a bigger group. I like that the majority of D.C. restaurants are independently owned. I hope it can stay that way because everything is so much more unique. That’s where my improvement comes in. I would hope (but don’t expect) the price of rents to go down. I know that’s unrealistic but if the trend continues, that independent ownership we love will have to go away. It’s getting too expensive for young entrepreneurs like me to keep opening full service restaurant. The margins just aren’t enough to sustain the cost of doing business. Follow Previte and her travels @roseprevite on Instagram. For more information on her restaurants, check out www.compassrosedc.com and www.maydandc.com.

Marta Staudinger FOUNDER & DIRECTOR OF LATELA CURATORIAL Art consultant, curator, artists, art historian – you name it, Staudinger has done it. When she’s not busy setting up a new exhibit in the Latela Art Gallery or consulting with private collectors, Staudinger can be found in the studio creating her own works of art. District Fray: What is going on in the D.C. art scene right now? What are some new and exciting works and

artists you’ve come across lately? Marta Staudinger: I think the influx of galleries and nontraditional art spaces is super exciting. We’ve got the Hirshhorn, who has been doing more with local artists, the National Museum of Women in the Arts does stuff with local artists, and so does the Phillips. More galleries popping up provides an ecosystem and infrastructure that didn’t really exist here before. How would you describe your artistic style and what is your favorite medium? My voice [in my art] is usually soft and tender. It’s feminine, and I usually try to dig into some of the vulnerabilities of being a woman in today’s society. I do that by creating conversations with past male artists who are in my ancestral tree stylistically. In what ways do you explore feminism with your art? I like archetyping Venus, because I think when women are given permission to explore or connect with their own feeling of rapture, there’s a fraying element there that I’m not too sure our society fully allows. I like to create work that embodies that feeling: allowing ourselves to feel beautiful and pat [ourselves] on the back and not really shy away or worry about vanity, for example. Visit www.martastaudinger.com or follow her on Instagram @martastaudinger. For more on the Latela Art Gallery, visit www.latelacuratorial.com.

Rachel Fitz CO-OWNER OF ANXO CIDERY & PINTXOS BAR When Rachel Fitz first started her career in social work and public health, she never expected that one day she would be co-owner of a cider bar. But following a trip to Europe on a cider tour, the idea for ANXO was born, leading to its establishment in 2016. Fortunately Fitz is happy to say her social work skills haven’t gone to waste in the beverage industry. District Fray: What do you all have lined up for this year’s International Women’s Day? How is ANXO celebrating women in 2020? Rachel Fitz: For the whole month of March, we only pour products made or owned by women – that means 24 draft lines of cider, 12 of beer, wine by the glass, liquor, non-alcoholic, coffee – all of it. We also highlight women in food, and   DISTRICT FRAY  | 59

LIFE have an art installation by Hen House. We do a ton of events and raise money. It’s weird how not being in the spotlight limits opportunities, which is why I think it’s important to highlight these women and say, “they are the faces behind the product that you love and enjoy.” Aside from ANXO, what is your go-to DC spot for a drink? My fiancé and I go to the basement of Reliable [Tavern] a lot, Lyman’s [Tavern] and [Red] Derby are our neighborhood spots. And The Dabney is a favorite for a celebratory meal. What advice would you give to someone who wants to open their own business? I think a lot of times people worry about faking it till they make it, but isn’t that what entrepreneurship is? A vision for something that no one’s done, and you figuring out how to create that? I think believing in what you’re doing [is important]. Follow Fitz’s work at ANXO on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ANXOcider.

Lauren Paylor BARTENDER AT SILVER LYAN From The Dabney to Colony Club, Lauren Paylor has been a bartender and manager for several bars and restaurants across the District since 2013. Currently whipping up cocktails at Silver Lyan within the Riggs Hotel, Paylor is also the founder and owner of consulting agency LP Drinks. You can catch her in her free time enjoying a classic old fashioned at Service Bar or Allegory. District Fray: How is working at Silver Lyan different from other bars? Lauren Paylor: What’s truly unique about Silver Lyan being in the D.C. community is that it’s really important for us to have this sense of cultural exchange where we’re incorporating some new practices and unfamiliar twists, while still paying homage to D.C. and D.C.’s culture. How did you get to where you are today? What makes you so passionate about cocktails and spirits? I don’t know that I would be where I am today if a lot of people didn’t take a lot of time to ensure that I became wellrounded. Thinking back, it’s actually 60 |  MARCH 2020

probably one of the greatest things that D.C. has to offer – there are so many people who are always willing to give back. What are some goals you have for yourself that you hope to accomplish in the future? I really want to take this opportunity with LP Drinks and hopefully partner with a few other individuals in the industry who are making strides to make [the beverage industry] accessible to other individuals, and to provide them with the tools they need to do this. You can find Paylor on Instagram @lpdrinksdc. For more information on Silver Lyan, visit www.silverlyan.com.

Amanda McClements SALT & SUNDRY, LITTLE LEAF + THE SUN ROOM Amanda McClements, a former journalist, arrived in D.C. by way of North Carolina 20 years ago and has since pioneered some of the city’s most beautiful and carefully curated shops. Salt & Sundry and Little Leaf feature elegant homewares, jewelry, bar accessories, plants, and so much more. She recently launched The Sun Room, an events space where McClements and her team can elevate D.C.’s creative voices through special programming in addition to her successful storefronts. District Fray: How do you go about curating the products that you sell in your stores? Amanda McClements: Scouting is one of my favorite parts of the job. My team and I are constantly on the hunt for new goods – both locally and abroad. We’re looking for pieces we want to own ourselves that have a great story behind them and a strong point of view. Why is D.C. such a wonderful place for creatives? What could the city or community do to better support creative careers and people in the District? In some ways, D.C. is kind of an underdog when it comes to having a creative reputation. Which to me makes it all the more fun to watch people discover how vibrant the creative scene is. It’s less competitive and more supportive and there are so many opportunities to make your mark. And when it comes to support, if you value creative diversity in

your community, get out there, show up and better yet, financially support crafts, art and local business whenever you can. What excites you the most about your job? Watching small makers and artists grow with us is truly one of the most exciting parts of having shops. When we place a big order with an artist and showcase their goods, and then you come in, fall in love and take something home with you, we’re all growing. I’m also continuously excited by the opportunity to empower young women. I started with a couple employees in 2012 and now have a team of about 40, mostly women, and watching them grow into amazing leaders is incredible. Follow McClements on Instagram @amandamc116, and find out more about her shops and event spaces at www.shopsaltandsundry.com and www.littleleafshop.com.

Svetlana Legetic FOUNDER OF BRIGHTEST YOUNG THINGS AND EXACTLY AGENCY With a hand in some of D.C.’s most loved festivals and events such as Bentzen Ball and Death Becomes Us, Svetlana Legetic knows how D.C.’s discerning millennials want to spend their time and hard earned money. When she’s not planning your next favorite event, she’s coaching her team at Brightest Young Things on the best of pop culture and hip happenings throughout the city so they can bring that to the masses through their eponymous blog. District Fray: Since you’ve been part of D.C.’s creative world, how have you seen it change? Svetlana Legetic: There is inevitably an evolution to everything – I would say 15 years ago, before BYT existed, there was not as many opportunities for creative people to strike out on their own, not as many opportunities for their work to be seen by the general public, which is great. The political climate also plays a role in everything, obviously, but I think the past few years have actually been GOOD for the creative culture: forging an identity for the city beyond the White House, tapping into the amazing intellectual and culturally diverse resources in the city to tell the stories that need to be told.

L TO R. Rachel Fitz. Photo courtesy of ANXO. Theresa Converse. Photo courtesy of Converse. Cherise Rhyns. Photo by Jordan Grobe. Paola Velez. Photo by Hector Velez. Ginger Flesher-Sonnier. Photo by Sally DeNapoli. Farrah Skeiky. Photo by Slodak Photography.


LIFE What improvements do you think are still to be made? We, as a cultural hub, need to always be thinking BIGGER and more inclusively at the same time. As a city, N.Y. and L.A. creatives and brands still parachute often into our backyard (and election year is a prime example of that happening) and we still act so thrilled and delighted that the popular kids are paying attention to us instead of questioning it, pushing for our own voices to be heard more nationally, demanding attention. We need to own our creativity as a city more. When you’re not on the clock, where do you like to hang out? What makes those spots worth spending your precious free time? I am actually the deepest introvert you’ve ever met and while it is thrilling and exciting to share ideas and talk to people and get myself and others excited about projects all day, it is incredibly exhausting. So, in my spare time, I gravitate toward smaller, more intimate situations: Suns Cinema, The Rothko Room at the Phillips, bookstore rounds, Iron Gate, a good seated show at Lincoln Theatre...a lot of books, movies, quiet corners. Plus, I’ll go see comedy any chance I get. Laughter heals. Follow Legetic on Instagram @svetlanabyt and @brightestyoungthings. Visit www.brightestyoungthings.com for happenings, festivals and more around the District. For more on BYT’s newest addition to their event roster, Future is Festival from March 26-29, check out www.brightestyoungthings.com.

Ginger Flesher-Sonnier FOUNDER AND CEO, THE GINGER COMPANIES Being founder and CEO of some of the most buzzworthy hangouts in D.C. is no small deal. Once a math teacher, Ginger Flesher-Sonnier finds inspiration in the extraordinary and seems to have hit the sweet spot between working hard and playing harder with her portfolio of creative businesses: Kick Axe Throwing, Escape Room Live and most recently, THRōW Social. District Fray: What keeps your creativity going as you continue to grow your businesses? Ginger Flesher-Sonnier: I think it’s my team. They have taken a lot off my plate because I was handling everything before. 62 |  MARCH 2020

I have a lot of talented people, which frees me up to think and be creative and get back to my fun self. How do you feel your experiences in the business world are shaped by the fact that you’re not only a CEO, but also a woman? That’s a good question. Some challenges are still [gender] based. Whenever I meet people, they often look to my husband and address him more than me. It’s funny that still exists, but as soon as I start to talk and explain I’m the owner, they come right around. I’m casual, so people mistake that for being unintelligent or not business minded. What I love is the relationships I’m building with females in the whole community. They are doers and creators, and I’m loving that. How do you unwind from the stress of a typical work day? I love decorating houses. I love looking at ideas and homes, I know that sounds weird [laughs], or binge watching something with my husband. Find out more about what Ginger Companies has to offer at www.thegingercompanies.com.

Theresa Converse OWNER & EVENTS DIRECTOR OF CONVATTA EVENTS & PRODUCTIONS For Theresa Converse, there’s never a dull moment when planning events in D.C. From organizing transportation for senators to the Washington Kastles congressional tennis match to driving a forklift at festivals, event planning always keeps her on her toes. And while she does get the chance to take an occasional glamour shot, she’s quick to point out that event coordination is just as challenging as it is rewarding. District Fray: How is event planning in D.C. unique from other cities? Theresa Converse: Every event I do is different because there’s so many businesses, there’s so many types of people, and there’s so many different neighborhoods and communities [in the District]. Is there anything people would be surprised to learn about event planning? It’s not as glamorous as social media makes it look. We are always talking about the fun parts and obviously it’s very rewarding, but [for example] when everyone else is leaving an event at 10 or

11 at night, me and my team are staying there till midnight or 1 a.m. cleaning up. Do you have any words of wisdom for future event planners? Don’t get discouraged when you don’t get jobs you think you’d be a perfect fit for. Not getting some of my dream jobs was actually dodging several bullets. If you pick up part-time work, show up. So many people commit to part-time roles and then put them low on their priority list. Two of my first full-time jobs came from my part-time supervisors believing in me and trusting me. Converse can be found on Instagram @theresaconverse and on Convatta’s website www.convatta.com.

Jessica Dallesasse GENERAL MANAGER, 12 STORIES Jessica Dallesasse went from working at her local Jamba Juice to tending bar at a spot with one of the prettiest views on The Wharf. Between cuddles with her dog and bringing her own touch to 12 Stories, Dallesasse finds her rhythm in the service industry one conversation at a time. District Fray: What would you say directed you toward the hospitality field? Jessica Dallesasse: One of my first jobs in high school was making smoothies at Jamba Juice in suburban Chicago. It wasn’t till I moved to D.C. that I got into food and beverage. Soon enough, I realized I had a talent behind the bar, and it turns out nothing prepares you for bartending better than making 600 smoothies a day while there’s a perpetual line out the door. Does being a female general manager bring challenges or unknown experiences that others may not see? You’d be surprised how often people go to a male employee with questions. It’s always frustrating but I’ve learned to not let it bother me. Being a woman, I bring a real empathy to the job. I organize yoga, exercise and similar events at 12 Stories, and encourage my employees to participate. The industry is hard, and so I embrace wellness for [myself] and for them. Find out more about 12 Stories by visiting www.12storiesdc.com and follow them on Instagram @12storiesdc.


Everyone has a favorite spot in D.C. Whether you grew up here or flew into DCA or took the Megabus, every person who’s passed through the nation’s capital likely has a warm and fuzzy feeling about a particular neighborhood, restaurant or street here in the city. If you close your eyes, what place comes to mind for you? Is it something national steeped in American tradition, like the monuments or the Capitol Building? Is it a local institution like Ben’s Chili Bowl, home of the half-smoke, or the vaunted 9:30 Club, where acts big and small have eagerly climbed onstage? There’s no wrong answer here, because D.C. is home to a number of iconic buildings and legendary venues. Need more examples? Well, how about pictures? We asked some of the District’s most active Instagrammers about the places that make them think of the city and why.

ALBERT TING | @POOTIE_TING “This is a tough question because D.C. has so many exciting places to eat, drink and have fun. The Wharf would probably best represent my first year as a full-time freelance event photographer and social media strategist. Its diverse range of beautiful new event venues, local retailers, stunning waterfront views, and award-winning hotels and restaurants have made The Wharf a frequent locale for my recent photography gigs. [This] includes a citywide, Pride-themed floral art installation, a Qatar-America Institute photography exhibition, and numerous fashion and lifestyle photo sessions. If you’re looking for a place to unwind, enjoy an evening sunset, sip a refreshing Moscow mule, or share a light snack with friends in a sophisticated but laidback atmosphere at The Wharf, Whiskey Charlie – shown here [and] located on the rooftop of D.C.’s first Canopy by Hilton – is just the spot.”   DISTRICT FRAY  | 63




“Located in Bloomingdale, Truxton Inn is a really cool place to hang in the District. It’s a classy but lowkey neighborhood bar with a chill, speakeasy vibe. It caters to D.C.’s literary and film aficionados, with themed cocktail menus that pay homage to famous authors and filmmakers. Expect killer drinks, great conversation and intimate ambiance.”

“The Library of Congress is a gorgeous, must-visit landmark in D.C. that holds so much knowledge and wisdom as well as magic, mystery, beauty, history, [etc.] There are so many hidden treasures to be found. As a D.C. native who loves to socialize and bring people together, it’s an amazing place to people-watch and chat with visitors from all over the world.”



“The Library of Congress is one of our favorite places in D.C. Not only is the architecture beyond impressive, the building itself has a warm and inviting way of drawing you in. As two total book nerds, we love wandering through the book stacks and really taking in the incredible amount of information housed in this gorgeous building.”

“This specific Dolcezza location on 14th Street is the first coffee shop that I went to when I moved to D.C. three years ago, and ever since then, I have truly felt at home here. The tiles, the brick, the white marble tables, the ambiance – it’s just everything I need to get a stunning photo every time.”

64 |  MARCH 2020



“What really makes this city special for me are the people who live here. There’s a really supportive food community and a fantastic creative community. As a freelance photographer and creative director at Edible DC, I’m lucky to be at the intersection of both. I love watching women in the food and beverage world support each other. There [are] so many women I could name like [...] Rose Previte of Maydan who are really fantastic at this. Maydan has amazing food and an interesting wine list from less well-known regions. “

“I picked this shot because it’s in the LINE Hotel in Adams Morgan, [which] represents D.C. to me because it’s such a diverse area. If you’re looking for a hangout spot and can’t decide between local or worldwide flavors, this is the neighborhood you’ll find both in. I’d definitely say the area [is] more local than touristdriven, which is also true D.C. We’re more than monuments! The LINE is housed in a 110-year-old church, so you still get some of the historic aspect that’s iconic to the District.”

ALICIA T. CHEW | @ALICIATENISE “My favorite neighborhood in the District is Bloomingdale. It’s kept a lot of its original charm and character, and it’s packed with some incredible restaurants and bars, which makes it one of the perfect places in town for locals. The Red Hen and Boundary Stone in particular are two of my favorite places to hang out and catch up with friends. I think it’s very underrated and isn’t overly developed, and it is a hidden gem. Union Market, which is right around the corner from Bloomingdale, is also another spot that I frequent in town. It’s jam-packed full of small local businesses that all have incredible products and/or food to offer.” FIRST PAGE. Albert Ting. Photo courtesy of @pootie_ting. SECOND PAGE. Kimberly Kong. Photo courtesy of @sensiblestylista. Liz Strom. Photo by Pablo Raya. Cassie + Alexa. Photo courtesy of @twofemmegems. Austin Rutland. Photo courtesy of @austinrutland. THIRD PAGE. Jennifer Chase. Photo by David Santori // @frenchieyankee. Nicole Santa. Photo courtesy of @narrativeofnic. Alicia T. Chew. Photo by Tom McGovern.





eyes in search all with wandering s, er ph ra og ot ph ul gs, vy of wonderf zoom in on buildin rs he ot , od fo D.C. is home to a be on s e focu ld have seen e optimal time. Som n from what we wou of the best shot at th ow et m ho r ou at ict, a different look n parts of the Distr w no -k er ss le e but they all provide or pl e to ex es agram is a great plac eir visual perspectiv th e ar sh to s out on our own. Inst an ni ashingto t notable ible platform for W me of the city’s mos providing an incred so d ke as e w ., .C D apshots. For the love of their favorite IG sn at any time of day. of e on e ar sh to ts curated accoun photographers and WORDS BY



DAVID SANTORI | @FRENCHIEYANKEE “I’ve been in the city for four years, and I still take great pleasure [in] discovering D.C. when I walk and explore new neighborhoods. I really enjoy the unexpected side of D.C., or what I like to call The Other D.C. – the colorful and quaint streets, the charming and European façades, the eclectic side with character that tends to go unnoticed, or the details, streets and houses that get overlooked. People who don’t live in the city tend to forget there is a lot more to Washington than the White House, the Capitol and the monuments. I try to show a side of D.C. from a different perspective. The city begs to be photographed more and discovered outside of traditional tourist spots, and this photo is exactly that for me: quintessential D.C. I look forward to seeing your pictures on Instagram when you tag #theotherdc while exploring beyond the National Mall.” 66 |  MARCH 2020

FIRST PAGE. David Santori. Photo by @lukasnorth. L TO R. Adam Brockett. Photo by @adam_brockett. Laurie Collins. Photo by @dccitygirl. Holly Garner. Photo by @golightly. Rama George. Photo by @korofina.

ADAM BROCKETT | @ADAM_BROCKETT “As a D.C. photographer, I spend a lot of time watching people walk up to one giant monument only to then watch them immediately turn around to take a picture of a completely different yet equally huge monument. That’s something you can’t do anywhere else in the world. That’s what makes D.C. unique. This picture captures that spirit: the diminutive size of the person relative to both the Washington Monument and the Capitol, standing at one monument while looking out toward the other.”

LAURIE COLLINS |@DCCITYGIRL “The Tidal Basin is where so many D.C. natives and visitors from all over the world convene to see the magic that is cherry blossom season. It is ethereal and fleeting. A good gust of wind can render the branches bare in a snap, so it is definitely a seize the moment kind of place. It is also near so many of D.C.’s iconic landmarks, monuments and museums that I find myself returning to that area all year long, year after year. It’s one of my happy places!”

HOLLY GARNER | @GOLIGHTLY “This town is so rich with inspiration and there’s never a dull moment, so you can have confidence that if you get out and explore, you will find beauty in unexpected places. One of my favorite events in D.C. is the [Blossom] Kite Festival at the Washington Monument. Last year, I was focused on capturing the crowds with their kites. This determined kid with his flamingo kite gave me the perfect frame.”

RAMA GEORGE | @KOROFINA “Art and culture go hand in hand. The East Building of the National Gallery of Art is one of my favorite museums in town. Not only can you enjoy the incredible collection of contemporary and modern art throughout, but there is also the space [itself] to admire. Whenever I visit, I like to take a minute or two to enjoy the stunning architecture by the late I.M. Pei. Here, everything comes together beautifully and in perfect harmony.”   DISTRICT FRAY  | 67

CAROLINE PONSETI | @THETHRIFTYSPOON “From Blagden Alley-Naylor Court to the alleys through Capitol Hill and Dupont, there’s no doubt D.C.’s alleys are some of the best, embedded with so much history and culture. I love that CityCenterDC embraced this tradition with Palmer Alley. The seasonal decorations make for a festive walk and an excellent backdrop for food pictures.”

ZACK LEWKOWICZ | @ZACKOWICZ “Recently, I had the chance to take photos from atop the Washington Monument at sunset. I loved experiencing golden hour from the highest vantage point in the city. Seeing everything from a fresh perspective really just made me fall in love with the city even more.”

CK + DIANA | @HYPEFOODIES “[The] honey butter fried chicken sandwich. This is our favorite fried chicken sandwich from Roaming Rooster, which won Best Fried Chicken of 2019 [courtesy of] the Washington City Paper. We’ve met the owner [Michael Habtemariam], and he truly represents D.C. with his hard work and determination as a local restaurateur. For us, being able to eat great food from a local restaurateur reminds us how D.C. is greatly connected by the love for food.”

WE THE PEOPLE DC | @WETHEPEOPLEDC “The beauty of the account is that every day, we get to see the nation’s capital from the perspective of a different person. The first [or second] post of the day has turned into an obligatory [photo] of “this is my morning caffeine routine,” which of course involves some sort of coffee. This photo from @imwithherm [in] September 2019 captures our need for morning caffeine, creativity, and love (or hate) of politics: three things that are very WTPDC and D.C. #muppettakeover.”

68 |  MARCH 2020

L TO R. Caroline Ponseti. Photo by @thethriftyspoon. Zach Lewkowicz. Photo by @zackowicz. C.K. + Diana. Photo by @hypefoodies. We The People DC. Photo by @imwithherm.




INCLUSIVE CULTURAL + CREATIVE HUBS IN THE CITY WORDS BY MAYRA MEJIA As the District’s landscape continues to change, residents are increasingly on the lookout for places that make them feel at home in this fast-paced city. Whether home has always been D.C. or you’re new to the area, D.C. is full of inclusive community hubs and artistic spaces. One such space is the Eaton DC. When asked how local activists and artists use the Eaton as a hub for community activism and engagement, Sheldon Scott, Eaton’s director of culture notes that artists and activists have taken advantage of the space for organization and activism in response to political changes. Examples of this include the 2020 D.C. Arts Forum, coming up in late April, which aims to address the proposed changes to the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “We’ve also hosted the National Women’s March, Zero Hour, D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, Black Lives Matter Week In Action, as well as local organizations that use our Impact Lab like Movement Matters, Catharsis On The Mall, Service 2 Justice, Diverse City Fund,” Sheldon continues, painting a picture of the hotel’s history of diverse programming. Another inclusive hub is the planned farm and community wellness space in Ward 8: The Well at Oxon Run, operated by DC Greens, in partnership with D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, The Green Scheme and Friends of Oxon Run. DC Greens previously ran a farm on K Street until its closure in 2018. This project promises to be much larger in scale and programming. The group hopes for their first planting session to take place later this fall. “This space will be a dynamic and thriving hub for cultural events and for health and wellness. We’ve also talked about bringing in artists in residence, and hosting fitness classes 70 |  MARCH 2020

and theater performances in coordination with community members who live around the farm,” says Aparna Raj, DC Greens communication and marketing director. If performance art and music are more your speed, The Club at Studio K at the Kennedy Center’s new addition, The REACH has you covered. The Club at Studio K offers an eclectic mix of contemporary music and culture. Simone Eccleston, the Kennedy Center’s director of hip-hop culture and contemporary music, advises that when it comes to The REACH, expect a more relaxed, informal setting. “I think The REACH provides us with an opportunity to break down the boundaries between artist and audiences,” Eccleston says. When it comes to differentiating between the abundant art scenes in the city, the Kennedy Center’s VP and artistic director of social impact, Marc Bamuthi Joseph doesn’t like dividing lines. Instead, he asks, “What are the collaborative ways that we can move forward together, in terms of communicating and codifying an expansive, inspired culture?” When it comes to balancing the needs of locals and transplants alike, he acknowledges the importance of respecting and honoring local culture, but emphasizes that his goal is to unite, not divide. “If you live here, you are home.” Eaton DC: 1201 K St. NW, DC; www.eatonworkshop.com The REACH at the Kennedy Center: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org/reach The Well at Oxon Run: 300 Valley Ave. SE, DC; www.dcgreens.org/the-well-at-oxon-run

COMMUNITY-FOCUSED SPACES IN THE DISTRICT No matter your interests, identities or location in the District, you can find somewhere to truly belong. Check out these other innovative spaces for more ways to create a community in D.C.




Inside this 9,300-square-foot center is a black box theater, and various galleries for artists to showcase. The center also houses Mahogany Books, which offers a wide variety of literature about and for people of the African Diaspora. The space also hosts a variety of events, and even has a vegan restaurant and food market. 1231 Good Hope Rd. SE, DC: www. anacostiaartscenter.com

Zine Lab is a monthly zine workshop, where zine enthusiasts come together and learn the art of zine making, share their work and get feedback. It’s supported by DC Zinefest, an independent event held yearly, where local zine makers can come together, display their work and give the local community a chance to view and purchase zines all in one space. Check out www.dczinefest.com for locations and programming.

A chapter of TransLatin@ Coalition since 2009, this two-spirit led organization that centers the needs of black and Native American trans-Latinx people. They address their community’s issues and needs by working with local and national groups to help change the landscape and livelihood of transgender, intersex, gender variant Latinx folks through advocacy. For more information about Trans-Latinx DMV, visit www.translatinacoalition.org.

BLOOMBARS BloomBars is a nonprofit, volunteer run community space for artists of all kinds. Established in 2008 in Columbia Heights, this bar does not serve alcohol, choosing to serve up community focused arts and wellness events instead. BloomBars is a wonderful space for all ages. 3222 11th St. NW, DC; www.bloombars.com



The Spice Suite in D.C.’s Takoma neighborhood is a spice shop, with a strong community feel. Owner Angel Anderson opens up her shop to black female entrepreneurs, free of charge. The Spice Girls, as she affectionately calls them, sell a diverse selection of goods. 6902 4th St. NW, DC; www.thespicesuite.com

The Whitman-Walker Clinic provides health and wellness services for all, but specializes in LGBTQ and HIV care. They recently announced plans to expand and to a location at St. Elizabeth’s East Campus, bringing in a much-needed healthcare and wellness facility to Ward 8. 1525 14th St. NW, DC; www.whitman-walker.org.

Eaton House. Photo by Kait Ebinger.







72 |  MARCH 2020

L TO R: Alle Kamela. Photo by Ashley Neuman. Emily of Woven Psyche. Photo courtesy of Emily. Sense. Photo by Alicia Bruce.

Wellness and self-care are concepts that most people want to incorporate into their lives with the best of intentions. But like most things in our world, where there is money to be made, there’s exploitation to be had. Instagram models hawk dangerous products like “flat tummy teas” and Gwyneth Paltrow sells $70 vagina-scented candles – all in the name of wellness. Navigating the wellness industry (yes, it is very much an industry) safely has started to require the same skills as recognizing fake news. But this doesn’t mean that taking care of yourself needs to be scary. There are countless places in D.C. that provide ways for you to take care of yourself – physically, mentally and spiritually. They all provide an invaluable sense of community with locals looking for the same thing you are, and some of them don’t even want your money. So close out of Instagram and check out some ways to take care of yourself in D.C.

Body Positive Boot Camp Working out in a group setting can be intimidating. The trainer is yelling, the music is blasting and everyone’s leggings are so much more expensive than yours. But Bianca Russo, owner and trainer of Body Positive Boot Camp, provides an opportunity to get the blood pumping for people with a wide variety of abilities, fitness levels and sizes. “One of the things I like to highlight is the amount [or type of] modifications that I do to exercises so that people who have varying abilities are able to execute the movements in a way that’s more comfortable for them,” Russo says. “They can walk out feeling successful and celebrated.” Russo encourages clients to ask each other’s pronouns and to work at their own pace. There’s no mention of weight loss or dieting, either. Through Body Positive Boot Camp, you can get personal training, join group classes or partake in the new Chubby Runner’s Club. “That’s just the overarching theme: getting more people more active because it’s good for you.” Take group or individual training classes with Russo at Fit360DC, located at 3058 Mount Pleasant St. NW, DC. Visit www.bodypositivebootcamp.com for more about virtual sessions or to purchase Russo’s guided workouts.

LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Yoga Yoga has a multitude of health benefits, and there are so many options. You can physically challenge yourself, work on your flexibility, or find classes with a more mental and meditative focus. But the truth is a lot of classes can leave people feeling left out. Alle Kamela leads non-binary, trans and queer-inclusive yoga classes that are weight neutral and pay-what-you-can. Kamela notes, “I think having a space specifically designated for queer, trans and nonbinary people or gender nonconforming folks to go and be together – and have it be a safe space – is really fundamental.” Their classes allow each yogi to share their preferred pronouns in an accepting space, and each class is body positive – meaning no talk about diets. Kamela is certified in Dharma yoga and describes their classes as being on the gentler side. The focus is on taking time away from modern day’s endless obligations and looking inward. “I like to joke in the queer classes that there was something inside of us we listened to that told us we were not straight, we

were queer. We can find that voice, and it can lead and guide us to other revelations or understanding about ourselves.” 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays at Lamont Dharma House: 1719 Lamont St. NW, DC; follow on Facebook @nonbinaryyogi

Tarot Readings Everyone who practices tarot has a different philosophy. Traditionally, the practice meant telling the future. But much like the recent popularity in horoscopes, tarot offers a way to understand and validate thoughts and feelings. For Emily of Woven Psyche, the intent is to provide clients with clarity and a plan to move forward. “Tarot can be a really enlightening practice for helping people organize their thoughts and emotions, [to] recognize and validate whatever nagging feelings they might be experiencing but have been telling themselves they’re too silly to be feeling,” she says. “I think that empowers people to gain clarity and develop a plan of action they can move forward with.” Through Woven Psyche, she gives clients options for selfcare sessions, tarot readings, and even classes and workshops to learn how to read tarot cards. Sessions can include free writing, meditation, mindfulness and a variety of other practices depending on what the client seeks. Emily stressed that what she provides through tarot is not a mystical look into the future, but objectivity from a situation that can help make decisions. “I don’t think there’s anything mystical about it. You can buy all these tarot decks on Amazon and they come from a publishing company or a printer. You’re basically using them as a tool to take whatever internalized hidden thoughts and emotions are going on inside of you and externalize [them]. It creates a sense of objectivity and distance.” For a full list of tarot services provided by Emily, visit www.wovenpsyche.com.

Sense Getting your hair done and bonding with your stylist can be a rejuvenating experience. Erin Derosa explores that connection with her Park View-based business Sense, a hair salon that also offers a variety of healing sessions and workshops for clients. In addition to haircuts and coloring, clients can get private sessions in breathwork, reiki, astrology and more. “Hair services are deeply personal in the actual act of touching someone’s head and also in the conversation that often   DISTRICT FRAY  | 73

LIFE happens,” Derosa says. “It seemed very natural to combine both worlds when I opened my own place.” In addition to private sessions at Sense, the salon hosts workshops on topics like body positivity, financial health and positive financial mindset, herbalism, sex-related topics, women’s circles, and more. Practitioners are urged to be open and mindful, especially when their practice comes from a historically oppressed community. “Sense strives to be a place of authenticity, conversation and education. We are truly interested in this work and want to share because individual healing is important – it’s not just trendy.” Sense: 3111 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.sensestudios.co

Counseling When it comes to well-being, we would be remiss not to mention the importance of health care through licensed mental health professionals. Although this can be a costly option, OpenCounseling lists affordable options by geographical area – including the D.C. area. Its creator, Mark Pines, discusses the importance of practicing mental well-being as you would physical. “People who are physically healthy still need to do many things to remain healthy, such as eating right and exercising,” Pines says. “In the mental world, seeing a counselor can be an important part of maintaining and growing your well-being.” While seeking help from a counselor or therapist is less stigmatized than it used to be, the stigma still exists. We can’t erase generations of that dangerous and damaging mindset

74 |  MARCH 2020

from existence in one article, but if money has been a barrier to seeking mental help, open counseling is an option. To look for free or low-cost counseling in D.C., check out www.opencounseling.com/district-of-columbia/washington.

Libraries Your local public library is priceless. Everyone knows this, but how do libraries provide well-being opportunities? The answer: in countless ways. The most important, however, may be the sense of community the library offers – regardless of what you’re looking for from your local branch. As DC Public Library (DCPL) Executive Director Richard Reyes-Gavilan notes, the act of reading itself has countless benefits. But branches often host book clubs for those who want to discuss what they’re reading, and community story times, which can be a great way for parents to connect. And DCPL branches host regular classes to get people moving, too – including Zumba and yoga. “Ultimately, the benefit we’re talking about is, [the library is] that sort of classic third space,” he says. “It’s not your home. It’s not your place of work. It encourages people to get out of their house, flex their legs, [and] participate in civic engagement, culture [and] debate. It’s a healthy lifestyle option for people to find that physical space outside of our home that allows people to connect to each other.” For a full calendar of wellness programming at various locations, visit www.dclibrary.org.


Remember sitting in grade school on that unfairly perfect spring day, staring out the window, just waiting for the teacher to tell you it’s time for recess? Or wishing your class could take their lesson outside under that flowering tree you’ve been longingly gazing at for the last two hours? Well, you were onto something when you were seeking the oasis of the great outdoors. WORDS BY ALEX THOMPSON   DISTRICT FRAY  | 75


Scientific studies show that spending time outdoors not only helps your immune system and physical well-being but can also help fight depression and anxiety, while improving your creativity and focus. Add in some exercise to the outdoor activity – like a hike, trail run or stand-up paddleboard session – and you just gave all these previously discussed benefits an added power boost. No place on Earth is more intense or busier than the D.C. area, exemplified by that ever-popular first meeting question: “So what do you do?” Thankfully, there are some pretty incredible spots in and around the DMV where you can take in the epic scenery of the outdoors, break a sweat and press that mental reset button.



Theodore Roosevelt Island

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve

Designed by landscape architects in the 1930s as a memorial to our 26th president – one of the nation’s most powerful conservation voices – this island forest will have you completely forgetting you’re in a busy metropolitan city. This area is one of my favorites to run through, with several trails that give you a break from the hard concrete of the D.C. streets as you surround yourself with lush greenery. A full loop around the island on the Swamp Trail is 1.5 miles, while the 1/3 mile Woods Trail takes you through the memorial plaza where you see the statues and fountains dedicated to Roosevelt complete with some very inspirational quotes. The island is easiest to access via the Rosslyn Metro: at the N Lynn Street and Lee Highway intersection, take the trail entrance to your right just before the Key Bridge and follow the trail through the parking lot until you get to the bridge crossing into the island on the left. If you are driving, this lot is only accessible via the northbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway – but just a warning, it gets crowded quickly.

This is a popular one in my household, as it’s the closest hike with a waterfall view (my husband Scott and I are big fans of waterfalls). The park is easy to access from the two parking lots along Georgetown Pike (pro tip: if they are full, you can likely park nearby on the street). We like taking a 3-mile loop that starts at the smaller parking lot and takes you up the Stubblefield Falls Overlook Trail. Then make a right at the Oak Trail and meet up with the connector to the Potomac Heritage Trail, which you’ll stay on as you climb the rocky terrain toward the Potomac River. You’ll get amazing views of the river, hit the Stubblefield Falls Overlook and eventually make it to the Scott’s Run Waterfall, where it’s great to just sit for a second and take in the scenery. Continue down the Potomac Heritage Trail and then use the Parking Lot Connector Trail to cross back to the lot. 7400 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA | 13.1 miles from D.C.

Stand-Up Paddleboard on the Potomac River When I first got to the District, the initial “tour” I took was via the water on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP), and since then, I’ve been hooked. As the weather heats up, you’ll see loads of people out on the water taking advantage of the gorgeous Potomac views and solid core workout. If you think you’ll be doing this a few times, then it is definitely worth grabbing a season pass for $249 per person, where you get unlimited paddling at any of the boat houses around D.C. I’m a big fan of the Key Bridge Boathouse, where you can take in the monuments and sites from the water, then hop off and venture to Georgetown for a postpaddle beverage. Warning: as the weather gets nicer, this will become popular. I recommend getting to the boathouse no later than 10:30 a.m. to avoid long lines, and to take advantage of the weather. 3500 Water St. NW, DC; www.boatingindc.com

76 |  MARCH 2020

Dark Hollow Falls Start at mile post 50.7 on Skyline Drive and take the short, halfmile hike downhill until you reach Dark Hollow Falls. Ample time is generally spent on our visits at the waterfall – especially if the weather is warm. The trip back up to the parking lot is steep, so you’ll definitely get in that glute workout. If you are looking to rack up some mileage, you can instead do the 3.7-mile Rose River Loop Trail that takes you to the smaller but still beautiful Rose River Falls, with some added smaller waterfalls and plunge pools to explore before you reach the Dark Hollow Falls. Skyline Drive, Milepost 50.7, Stanley, VA | 101 miles from D.C.

Raven Rocks Trailhead This is one of my favorites to get in some mileage and a solid workout. The start of the hike is accessible via Pine Grove Road off Route 7, where there is a small parking lot. If the lot is full, there is a larger lot nearby at the base of Blue Ridge Mountain Road. This stretch of the Appalachian Trail is a solid 5.5-mile hike out and back, with three ascents that reward you with a gorgeous view of the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains. Since you put in all that work to get to the top and come back down, reward yourself at nearby Bluemont Vineyard, which sits 951 feet above sea level and gives you an incredible panoramic view of the area. Bluemont, VA | 57 miles from D.C. FIRST PAGE. Raven Rocks. THIRD PAGE. Cascade Falls. Photos by Scott Thompson.



Billy Goat Trail

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

This is a popular trail year-round and for good reason, so aim to get to the parking lot (Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center) by 8:30 a.m. to beat the crowds – especially on the weekend. The trail is made up of three sections: A, B and C. We tend to gravitate toward doing a combo of the Billy Goat A and B Trails (about a 4.5-mile hike), which offer great scenery and some added excitement with the rock hopping and climbing. This is by no means a casual stroll, but the views are incredible and worth the effort. I highly advise wearing hiking boots and bringing some water. 1710 Macarthur Blvd. Potomac, MD | 17 miles from D.C.

Cascade Falls Yes, you are a bit further out from D.C., and this may warrant a camping trip at White Rocks Campground, but I promise you this is worth it. The 4-mile loop on the Cascade Falls Trail takes you through rocky streams and serene ambiance to reach an incredible 69-foot waterfall. Choose between taking the steep route, the Upper Trail, or the scenic route, the Lower Trail, to the waterfalls and then take either route to head back to the parking lot. Come summertime, bring your bathing suit for a swim in the pool at the base of the falls. Note: you do have to register your vehicle and pay $3 to access the day use area of the park. 2068 Cascade Dr. Pembroke, VA | 292 miles from D.C.

The view from the main overlook of this hike is out of this world, but equally impressive is the incredible history of this area. A Civil War battle town, Harpers Ferry is home to the nation’s second armory responsible for shipping manufactured weapons and materials throughout the U.S. We made a weekend of this hike, camping out under the railroad tracks at the nearby grounds, but have since come back for daytrips. It’s recommended to park at the visitor center and grab a shuttle to the Lower Town to access the trails, but so far, we’ve had luck parking in the limited lots of Lower Town (get there early). Definitely take some time to explore Lower Town, which is a step into the past with exhibits, museums and historic buildings. There are 22 miles of hiking trails in the park, but we favor the Maryland Heights Trail. The 4.5-mile roundtrip from Lower Town takes you by some impressive historical and scenic spots, while traversing steep terrain up to the picturesque Maryland Heights Overlook. Once up top, you really are in sheer awe of the view, and deserve taking the time to sit and take it all in. Head over to nearby Harpers Ferry Brewing post-hike for a flight or two – you earned it. Note: there is a $20 per vehicle fee to enter the park. If you enter on foot or by bike, it’s $10 per person. 171 Shoreline Dr. Harpers Ferry, WV | 61.7 miles from D.C.

Follow Thompson and her husband Scott’s adventures on Instagram and YouTube @myadventurehat.   DISTRICT FRAY  | 77



Lately, the District has made a habit of hanging banners and flooding streets for championship parades. In two short years, D.C. erased decades of disappointing memories with championships in professional baseball, basketball and hockey to engrain itself as a legitimate sports town. Move over Boston, New York and Philly, there’s a new member of the East Coast sports elite.While D.C. has achieved big success, there is still room to grow. Players, coaches and organizations want to be here; for proof, look no further than the likes of Elena Delle Donne, Ron Rivera or even Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira. Fledgling venues like Audi Field and Events DC’s Entertainment and Sports Arena are thriving, and new teams are buying up market share left and right, such as the DC Defenders and Old Glory DC. As we dig a little deeper with a team by team breakdown, it’s safe to say that there’s no better time to don a jersey from your local team of choice and make the most of what’s sure to be another riveting year for sports in the District.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS As a fly on the wall inside the Caps locker room recently, I’m happy to report the team’s recent struggles haven’t hurt morale. “We’re not panicking or anything,” Caps defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler said. “We will find solutions.” The Caps lost seven of their first nine games to start February, including four of their first five games at Capital One Arena. “In the end, we just have to get back to the way we were playing in the first half of the season,” Siegenthaler added, one day after losing to Montreal 4-3 in overtime on their home ice. Because of their past success, the team isn’t acting as if the walls are crumbling around them. Never forget, the bulk of this team experienced a 4-7 start to February in 2017-18, and we know how that season ended (cough, cough, Stanley Cup, cough). 78 |  MARCH 2020

Washington still leads the Metropolitan Division, but the gap too close for comfort. Luckily, their schedule lightens up down the stretch (third-easiest per NHL.com) and the second-place Philadelphia Flyers experience the opposite (eighth-hardest per NHL.com). Luckily, the Caps won’t be carrying around the “700” monkey on their collective backs any longer. Legendary winger Alex Ovechkin finally got the magical goal, a beautiful strike to beat Devils’ goalie Mackenzie Blackwood on February 22. But between Ovi’s 698th and 700th goals, the team lost six of seven. With the legacy goal in the rearview, the group can finally narrow their focus and concentrate on playing playoff hockey. “I do believe in this team,” head coach Todd Reirden said. “I have seen it before. It’s just something we’re finding our way through right now.”

The next Capitals game in D.C. is on March 12 at 7 p.m. For more information on the Capitals, visit www.washingtoncapitals.com or follow them on Twitter @Capitals. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.washingtoncapitals.com.

WASHINGTON WIZARDS When Wizards head coach Scott Brooks left mid-major UC-Irvine after his senior year in 1987, teams from the NBA weren’t exactly banging his door down. The undersized guard went undrafted, then wound up in a league specifically for guys shorter than 6-foot-4. This is not the norm when talking about a guy who would eventually spend three decades in the NBA. Brooks is the exception. He hustled his way through bus rides and high school gyms of minor-league hoops, carving out a legitimate NBA niche. Fast-forward to present-day Brooks and it’s easy to understand why he gets perturbed when his team is underachieving. After the Wizards opened the NBA’s second half with multiple losses to inferior teams, Brooks let it fly in a postgame presser with a disgruntled collection of adjectives – soft, disappointing, embarrassing – to describe his team’s performance. “It’s not embarrassing to lose to an NBA team, but it is embarrassing to not compete like an NBA team,” he said after the game. The surge of strong words from Brooks, despite his mildmannered nature, is wholly understood. Bradley Beal leads the league in scoring since the All-Star break. Dāvis Bertāns shoots the lights out. Rookie Rui Hachimura does it on both sides of the court, and, surprisingly, the Wizards have more first-round picks on their roster than the defending champion Toronto Raptors. There are real pieces on this roster. When push comes to shove, they should have no trouble competing in this league. Even as of now at 22-39 [note: this article was written in late February], a postseason appearance as the eight seed isn’t out of the question, and despite their stumble out of the break, they’re going for it. “Down the stretch, we want to keep playing competitive basketball,” Brooks said during the Wizards’ Ballers and Bowling charity event in downtown D.C. “The owner, general manager, myself and our team aren’t thinking about tanking. We want to keep winning and trying to play our best basketball.” “We have a lot to work on,” he made sure to note. “Defense is definitely at the top of the list. It’s a growth mindset.” The next home game for the Wizards vs. New York Knicks is March 10 at 7 p.m. For more information on the Wizards, visit www.washingtonwizards.com or follow them on Twitter at @WashWizards. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC.

DC DEFENDERS The XFL has cleaned up. Forget the product you saw back in 2001 – the one with the cheesy gimmicks and subpar football – this new XFL has some substance to go along with the sizzle. Roughly a month in, the league is turning heads, netting real television ratings and putting people in stadium seats. One of the teams at the forefront of the league’s renaissance is none other than the DC Defenders, whose home games are at 3-year-old stadium Audi Field, also home to D.C. United. With Ohio State legend Cardale Jones as the face of the franchise, the Defenders have proved you can make an actual team out of spare parts and hard work. Even before their first minicamp started, Jones and a horde of

weapons put in extra work to familiarize themselves with the playbook and with one another. “We started a good month and a half before we got out here,” Jones told XFL Chalk Talk at minicamp in College Park, MD. “The coaches did a great job of putting us in communication with each other and we got together in Michigan and Louisiana to throw some route and go over the playbook.” “Still, every day in practice, we’re staying after to get extra throws and talking through certain concepts,” he added. Hard work pays off. The Defenders had the highest point differential through the first two weeks of the season, but over a long season there’s ups and downs. Since the hot start, the team has dropped two straight. But the team is persistent. “Cardale is a proven winner,” Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton said. “[He has] excellent credibility in the locker room.” Hamilton, a D.C. guy himself, has been key in growing the brand locally. He played quarterback right around the corner at Howard in the early ‘90s, then joined the staff upon graduation. “D.C. has been my home base for the last 20 years,” he noted. “This is a good locker room and the support from our fans at Audi Field has been a major key in our success.” The DC Defenders play the Dallas Renegades in D.C. on March 15 at 4 p.m. For more information on the Defenders, visit www.xfl.com, or follow them on Twitter @XFLDefenders. Audi Field: 100 Potomac Ave. SW, DC.

OLD GLORY DC For the first time in D.C.’s storied history, locals will have a professional rugby team to call their own. Playing right around the corner at Catholic University, Old Glory DC is in the midst of its inaugural season in Major League Rugby, a 12-team league considered as the highest level of rugby in the U.S. “We want to build excitement around the game,” co-owner and former U.S. National Team member Paul Sheehy said at the club’s first media day. “It’s all about growing the game. We want to see participation grow in our region.” “This is our hometown,” fellow owner and DMV native Chris Dunlavey added. “We want to see rugby flourish.” While fresh on the scene, Old Glory is already one of the most talked about franchises in the league. The reason? Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira. Called one of the “world’s best rugby players” by The Chronicle, Mtawarira is a bonafide icon in the rugby world and his native South Africa. Last year, he appeared in a commercial for Dove Men’s Care and led his country to a win at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Rather than retire from the sport, Mtawarira brought his talents across the pond to D.C., a move he hopes will have a lasting impact. “I just want to give more than I take,” he said at media day. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the locals, working with new people and making relationships for life.” In his first appearance with Old Glory, Mtawarira helped the club beat Seattle in front of an enthusiastic D.C. crowd for their firstever MLR victory. Moving forward, they’ll have six more home games, highlighted by their next match on March 15 at home against Denver. The majority of their games are broadcast on NBC Sports Washington or CBS Sports Network. Catch the next home game vs. the Raptors on March 15 at 3 p.m. For more information on Old Glory, visit www.oldglorydc.com, or follow them on Twitter @oldglorydc. Cardinal Stadium: Varnum St. NE, DC.



D.C. UNITED The District represents a shining example of soccer’s growth in the states. To attend a D.C. United game is to get hooked on D.C. United, as the die-hards are nationally known for their fierce loyalty and creativity. “There’s a new energy around our brand,” D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen said. “There’s an excitement about the experience that we’re putting on, not only in-stadium but also the team and the entertainment value of the actual squad.” “The area around Audi Field has embraced us in a major way,” he added. The team enters its third season at the new digs this year, fresh off back-to-back postseason appearances. And although this year represents the first in the post-Wayne Rooney era, the guys are ready to rock. “The overall attitude has been fantastic, the vibe is exactly as it should be at this point in the year,” Olsen said. “Our group now is a little different than last year,” he continued. “Guys like Julian Gressel, Edison Flores, Yamil Asad and Ola Kamara are guys who will step up to shoulder the goal scoring load.” Steve Birnbaum will captain in 2020 after giving up his band to Rooney for the past two seasons. He was first named captain in 2017. “It’s tough [to lose Rooney],” Birnbaum said. “But the front office did a great job bringing in guys who can fill that void. Our success last year came from not giving up goals. That’s the way we made the playoffs, so that’s going to be another recipe for success this year.” While the ingredients for wins may be the same, the team will undoubtedly look different, but not unfamiliar. The squad’s new kit for 2020 throws it back 25 years to the inaugural 1996 season, using a retro uniform scheme. The 96’ team won the league title, so maybe they’ll conjure up some of that magic. D.C. United’s next home game is on Friday, April 3 against the New York City FC. For more information on D.C. United, visit www.dcunited.com, or follow them on Twitter @DCUnited. Audi Field: 100 Potomac Ave. SW, DC.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS The Washington Nationals are no longer the team that couldn’t get over the hump. Nor the unit not quite ready for the big time. Instead, they have become somewhat heroic in light of the Houston Astros’ devious sign-stealing scheme. The Nats are the team that stopped those cheatin’ Astros from winning another World Series. Talk about a 180 from this time last year. Looking forward, there’s no reason the good times should stop. Besides a shiny new World Series banner that’ll hang above the home bullpen in right field, the roster coming into 2020 is again up to snuff. Everything starts with pitching, and the Nats return their entire starting rotation from a year ago. The five pitchers that started games in this past World Series make up their projected rotation. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin are the headliners at the top, with Aníbal Sánchez and Joe Ross picking up the backend. “For us, the word ‘repeat’ doesn’t mean anything except to repeat the process,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez told Nationals.com. “What made us good in 2019. Who we are. That never goes away.” The one major loss the team suffered was on offense, as third baseman Anthony Rendon signed a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels in mid-December. Despite this, the mood is upbeat about the position. Asdrúbal Cabrera, who hit .323 with the Nats last year, is back in the fold and he’ll compete with Carter Kieboom at third base. Kieboom had a memorable 11-game stint in 2019 but is expected to have his true rookie season this year. 80 |  MARCH 2020

Newcomers to this year’s team include slugger Eric Thames, who hit 25 home runs for the Milwaukee Brewers last year, and Starlin Castro, a four-time All-Star who hit .270 with 22 home runs for Miami in 2019. The Nationals open the regular season earlier than ever this year in a road game on March 26 against the New York Mets. On April 2, the Mets will be in D.C. for the team’s home opener. For more information on the Nationals, visit www.nationals.com, or follow them on Twitter @Nationals. Nationals Park: 1500 S Capitol St. SE, DC.

WASHINGTON SPIRIT If you haven’t jumped on the Washington Spirit bandwagon yet, now is the perfect time. There’s a real buzz surrounding their upcoming season, a direct result of Rose Lavelle’s rise up the women’s soccer ranks. Lavelle burst onto the scene during the 2019 Women’s World Cup, netting one of the tournament’s most memorable goals in the final against the Netherlands and by earning the Bronze Ball award for her overall performance. “She just has that something special, something different, that you can’t teach,” Megan Rapinoe told Sports Illustrated about Lavelle. “Her upside is huge. She really has it all.” The native Ohioan will begin her third season with the team, joining Spirit veteran Ashley Hatch, the team’s leading scorer each of the last two seasons, and Cheyna Matthews, who’s fresh off her own World Cup experience with Jamaica. Together, the group hopes to end a three-year postseason drought. Washington opens its season on April 18 at Audi Field against Reign FC. The team will have 12 home games spread out evenly between Audi Field, Segra Field and Maryland SoccerPlex. For more information on the Spirit and what fields to find them on, visit www.washingtonspirit.com, or follow them on Twitter @WashSpirit.

WASHINGTON MYSTICS Elena Delle Donne is a warrior. The Mystics’ star played in the 2019 WNBA Finals with three herniated discs and has lived with Lyme disease for more than a decade. Still, these ailments couldn’t hold her back from leading the Mystics to the best regular season record in team history and first WNBA championship. And she’s here to stay. The two-time WNBA MVP inked a four-year deal with the Mystics in early February. “Last year bringing a Mystics championship home to D.C. was beyond special. The fans who supported us, and the closeness we had as a team, how hard we all worked together led to an incredible outcome,” Delle Donne said in the official press release. “I’m thrilled to be returning for another four years and look forward to defending our title this season in front of the best fans in the world.” Less than a week later, Finals MVP Emma Meesseman followed suit with her own contract, making back-to-back titles completely feasible for the coming season. “It’s a great feeling for a coach to have a Finals MVP and a League MVP in Elena Delle Donne lining up opposite each other on the court,” Mystics head coach Mike Thibault told WashingtonMystics.com. “I can’t wait to get started again.” When the Mystics open their season on Saturday, May 16 against the Los Angeles Sparks, they’ll begin their second full season playing at Entertainment and Sports Arena. While smaller than their previous crib, the new digs provide a more intimate scene and home-court advantage.

Their opener (4 p.m. on ESPN) also brings former-Mystic Kristi Toliver back to town. Toliver has immense ties to the DMV, including playing a key role on their title team last year, but signed with Los Angeles this off-season. It’s going to be another special season for the WNBA and they did the right thing putting this heavyweight battle in the first national TV slot. “All I have to say is, let’s go ‘Stics,” Delle Donne said. Don’t miss the home opener on May 16 against the Los Angeles Sparks. For more information , visit www.washingtonmystics.com, or follow them on Twitter @WashMystics. Entertainment and Sports Arena: 1100 Oak St. SE, DC; www.eaontherise.com.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS When the Redskins hired Ron Rivera, the ears of an entire fanbase collectively perked up. Finally, this was a right move by a front office that had become known for doing precisely the opposite. They pulled back some fans who had given up, locked in a bunch who were teetering and flipped the narrative from gloom to hope. Rivera is a proven winner in today’s NFL, taking over a twowin Carolina team in 2011, eventually bringing them to a Super Bowl in 2015. He also brings a defensive mind, as the Panthers ranked in the top 10 in yards allowed for four straight seasons under Rivera between 2012 and 2015. Replicating past success in D.C. won’t be easy, but Rivera is getting his old gang back together to get things moving in the right direction. Of the 20 assistant coaches on Rivera’s first Redskins staff, more than half spent time with the Riveraled Panthers. Included in the group of past Rivera co-workers is Jennifer King, who’s joining the Redskins as a full-time coaching intern. King, who worked extensively with All-Pro Christian McCaffrey in Carolina, will “specifically assist Randy Jordan with the running backs,” according to the team’s official press release announcing her hiring. “Jennifer is a bright young coach and will be a great addition to our staff,” Rivera said in the release. “Her familiarity with my expectations as a coach and my firsthand knowledge of her work ethic and preparation were big factors in bringing her to the Redskins.” Adrian Peterson is among the players King will closely work with. The team made the decision to bring back the surefire Hall of Famer for a third season, a move that enables stability for such a young offense. “Adrian’s leadership and passion towards the game of football will set an example of what is expected of the players in this program moving forward,” Rivera told Redskins.com. So much of the team’s potential turnaround hinges on the growth of second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins. As a rookie, Haskins had his share of struggles, but there were also bright spots and flashes of what made him the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. With someone like Rivera manning the ship, improvement is expected. He was key in the maturation and growth of Cam Newton in Carolina, and, ideally, Haskins will be another one of his success stories. The NFL schedule will be released in April. For more information on the Redskins, visit www.redskins.com, or follow them on Twitter @Redskins. FedExField: 1600 Fedex Way, Landover, MD.

FIRST PAGE. Ben Olsen preseason. Photo courtesy of D.C. United THIRD PAGE. Washington Spirit’s Rose Lavelle. Photos by ISI Photos.




There’s nothing atypical about Lindsay Gibbs’ early relationship with sports. Growing up in the North Carolina Triangle, she consumed Blue Devils vs. Tarheels basketball games and came of age during the early days of the Carolina Panthers, of which she became a superfan after her dad used corporate tickets to feed her enthusiasm for the shiny expansion team. She fed her burgeoning obsession with teams and players with highlights on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” and news clippings from the local paper. Fast forward to her future career, and there’s nothing typical about how Gibbs evolved from NYU film student into a bonafide sports reporter. Upon graduation during 2008’s “Great Recession,” the aspiring filmmaker found steady work as a freelance writer covering professional tennis. She parlayed that platform into a full-time gig at the now defunct ThinkProgress, where she enthusiastically bucked the “stick to sports” mandate chanted by sects of the Internet. Though she’s always been adept at recaps, previews and the like, Gibbs truly shines when she’s able to explore a subject most fans turn a blind eye to: Sexism in sports. “There were people already doing this work, I was late to it,” Gibbs tells me in her Northwest apartment, which doubles as her office and recording studio. “Once I started thinking about things through that lense, I started questioning [the disparity] a lot. Once I realized how much the media is controlling our narratives, I started questioning everything I had grown up thinking.” 82 |  MARCH 2020

Now based in D.C., Gibbs is easily one of the most prominent voices in sports media covering the topic, providing a constant stream of content investigating this vast inequity. Her work has bestowed the front pages of prominent media outlets such as The Athletic and The Ringer, to name a few. Since October, Gibbs has shifted focus toward her self-published newsletter Power Plays, which delivers three times per week for paid subscribers, chalk full of original articles and essays. Gibbs describes it as a “no-bullshit newsletter,” a full-time job where she monitors other publications for women’s coverage, tackles institutions like the NCAA and asks questions such as “Remember When Billie Jean King Founded a Pro Softball League?” The newsletter is published via Substack, a popular platform for independent writers. “There’s a lot of work that individual people are doing that makes me hopeful, but overall I’m concerned,” Gibbs says. “People seem to care only about shareholders and profit, and that’s not a way to do any good journalism. I want businesses to be healthy, but that can’t be the only thing.” According to Gibbs’ About Page, women only account for 4 percent of all sports media coverage. The title comes from this mission to look analyze this issue from a systemic view, with an overall goal to explore how decisions are made when covering and talking about women in sports on a daily basis. To no surprise, people were hungry for the content, especially because of a lack of coverage when compared to male athletes. “This point of view is open about the fact that the place that women have in sports didn’t happen by accident,” Gibbs says. “Decisions [are] made all the way up the line on a daily basis by people in power to keep them marginalized. It’s intentional to undo this.” Gibbs is also one of the rotating hosts on the “Burn It All Down” podcast, a feminist sports program that includes voices from Brenda Elsey, Jessica Luther, Shireen Ahmed and Amira Rose Davis.

With each touting a different background, the conversations are often multifaceted in a way that most sports podcasts simply aren’t, making it a unique experience for listeners. “It started as a support group,” Gibbs says. “We just kind of became each other’s daily check-in and daily discussion thread. The lack of diversity in sports radio and sports podcasting is excruciating, so we thought it would be important to not have any cisgender men on the show.” With nearly 150 episodes worth of content, the show is an example of the point of view Gibbs champions: There aren’t more women in sports media because it’s not a point of emphasis for the goliaths in the industry. And while Gibbs is doing her part to use her voice and platform to tell these stories, she’s concerned about the overall landscape. “It’s great that individuals can make a name for themselves on Twitter and that places like Substack support work [similar to mine], but this needs to be supplemental work. We need newsrooms and lawyers, and infrastructure. You used to have Vice Sports covering these issues, you used to have Deadspin and Sports on Earth. There used to be more of an ecosystem.” By switching to a paid subscription model, Gibbs is now completely reliant on readers to pay her bills. She needs what every other media outlet strives for: clicks, shares and reposts. She mentions rent and travel expenses, but she also wants to use her newsletter as a proving ground . “It makes me feel pressure to succeed not just for me, but for other people. I need other people to see it and read this work, I need to lift up other voices. It makes it feel much more vital.” Visit www.lindsaygibbs.com and follow her on Twitter @linzsports. To sign up for Power Plays visit www.powerplays.news. Free for one weekly newsletter on Monday, $8 per month for weekly newsletters on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.




FOR THE LOVE OF D.C. WORDS BY KELSEY COCHRAN What does D.C. mean to you? Home to some of the most recognizable national landmarks and monuments, and lesser-known local hubs, this melting pot of a city has numerous conflicting personalities, and therefore innumerous quirks about it. District Fray’s inaugural crossword puzzle will put your local knowledge to the test. In other words, here’s your chance to prove that you’re a true Washingtonian.

ACROSS 1. Multicultural neighborhood near 18th Street 5. Old Glory rugby player from South Africa (2 words) 9. Built in 1961, to be demolished by 2021 12. D.C.-original condiment (2 words) 15. D.C. native who shaped motown* (2 words) 17. Where bilingual signs are mandatory

35. K Street collaborative workspace (2 words)

18. Named a best live venue by Rolling Stone in 2018* (2 words)

37. Held during the fourth inning (2 words)

2. Craft brewery on Bladensburg Road (2 words)

38 Tri-level hipster hangout and music venue

3. Sculpture designed by Bassett Furniture*

40. Local punk rock musician and activist* (2 words)

4. You won’t find this on a D.C. map* (2 words)

19. Home to Embassy Row, eclectic coffee shops, and dive bars* (2 words) 21. Area of recreation and historic Patowmack Canal site (2 words) 22. Music venue in the Southwest waterfront (2 words) 23. Women-owned local cidery 27. Previously known as On Tap* (2 words) 30. Ben’s Chili Bowl delicacy* (2 words) 32. DJ-owned basement dance club and music venue (2 words)

42. Founder of World Central Kitchen (2 words) 43. Industrial neighborhood in Northeast D.C. (2 words) 44. Perched on rooftop at the National Gallery of Art* (2 words) 45. WNBA champions 46. Occasionally called “the grand old ditch” (2 words)


6. Neighborhood in Northeast D.C. home to District Fray* 7. Emblem of the U.S.A.* (2 words) 8. Southern comfort food truck 10. Iconic hardcore band formed in the District 11. One of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods (2 words) 13. Houses the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum

14. Only one D.C. restaurant has a perfect 3* (2 words) 16. Local professional soccer team* (2 words) 20. March festival is dedicated to these trees* (2 words)

31. Known for its chili dogs, half-smokes, and milkshakes* (3 words) 33. 2019 hit featured Zayn, charted on Billboard 34. Vezina Trophy award-winner 2016

21. D.C.’s native cocktail (2 words)

36. “Childish Bambino” (2 words)

24. Newest professional football league

39. The official music of D.C.*

25. Brightly-painted former church building (2 words)

41. Music house and record store on 18th Street

26. Kennedy Center expansion (2 words)

NOTE: Any clue with an asterisk after it is correlated to a symbol hidden on the cover of our March issue designed by No Kings Collective’s Brandon Hill. Check www.districtfray.com for the answer key.

28. Brandon Hill and Peter Chang make up this collective* (2 words) 29. 2019 MLB World Champions*

Capture Dragons. Save the Kingdom. Win Real Cash! Love game nights with friends? Ask your bartender for the newest game, Dragon’s Ascent!

To find a location to play or sign up your location, visit paceomatic.com/ontap . Call 1-833-DCSKILL with questions.


86 |  MARCH 2020

Self-portrait of Pierre Edwards



What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you hear D.C.? Home, fried chicken and mumbo sauce. Favorite parts of the city? The Hirshhorn. I love everyone over there. I can’t draw or paint, so that was my first interaction with art outside of those traditional mediums. How would your perfect day in D.C. go? Where would it take you? I’d start off with brunch at Maketto, go to the Botanic Garden, obviously with my daughter and fiancé. From there, we’d go to [boutique and café concept] Somewhere and spend money we shouldn’t be spending. In transit, we’d pass like seven No Kings murals, and those bring me to light. Last, we’d catch a show at the Kennedy Center, and then a nightcap with Rock Creek Social Club. When your friends come to D.C., where do you take them? If they’re into art, I’d double down and take them by the Hirshhorn. And any of Erik Bruner-Yang’s restaurants: Maketto, Brothers and Sisters, any of them. What aspect of D.C. is underrated? It’s the scene. It’s the culture and people. The diversity of minds and creators. The creators are underrated. Overrated? We’re not all into politics. I try not to talk about it at all. Best career advice you’ve gotten? Don’t stand in the corner and limit yourself. If you want to change your career seven times, do it. If you’re being honest with your passion and operating from inward to outward, there’s no limit. What kind of work would you do for free? Everything. Everything I do. I’d create for free. It’s the most incredible thing that you can do – just facilitate existence. Favorite aspect of your job? To be able to gain insight to push my own perspective and live vicariously [through] those experiences without having to go through them. Least favorite? I take it all. Life is like a Jenga game: you can’t adjust anything without it affecting other things. Which living person do you most look up to? My parents: definitely my mom and her ability to be resilient and figure it out, and my dad, who came to this country from Guyana in South America. What is your most treasured possession? I think my mind, honestly. I feel very, very into the fact that I can think and use my brain. No Kings Collective’s Brandon Hill illustrated this month’s cover, giving a unique perspective to how he sees D.C. How would you approach a creative project like that? How would your art reflect your feelings for the city? Pierre Edwards: [I’d try to] highlight some of the unknown in D.C. I’d try to walk it with a linear timeline: the experience of D.C., what it used to be and what it is now. As I approach the now, I would focus on the subsets that people don’t know: the arts scene, the music scene. The concept would be to display those correlated lines between what people know of D.C. and the D.C. that natives really love. It wouldn’t be limited to video. I would collaborate on a number of different mediums. Who are some women doing cool things that have caught your attention or even inspire you? I have to start with my personal story. My mom, sister, fiancé and daughter – they’re all my rocks – including my grandma and soon to be mother-in-law. To be able to do so much and operate in a world that isn’t as nice as it needs to be – it taught me resilience. The sheer amount of tenacity my mom brought is something I try to replicate. Seeing [my fiancé] going through pregnancy and giving birth and seamlessly switching roles to make sure we’re good [is amazing].

What about the women in the city, your artistic contemporaries? There’s the whole GIRLAAA crew. They’re pushing forward women experiences, which we all can take part in. It’s hard to create an experience that’s catered toward a subset but is still a place for everyone. Tahrook [artist Maryann Taruc] – her paintings are incredible. There’s also my homegirls at Hen House. Their shit is fire. They’re so interesting. There are a lot, man. I’m blessed I get to interact with quite a few of them. It’s an extension of how I grew up. Women are f—king dope, bro. What changes has the city gone through, whether it be a new restaurant group, cultural institution or museum, that are exciting to you? I think the energy in general. There’s people trying to push the culture forward, and I don’t mean that in an empty way. It’s a culture of food, a culture of fashion and art. I think the inspiring part is soon we’ll be known for our culture and creators. I love the camaraderie in the city. I feel like I can do anything from the amount of support.

For more information about Edwards and his artistic endeavors, visit www district-dodger.com. Follow him on Instagram @districtdodger.   DISTRICT FRAY  | 87

ILLUSTRATION BY E$. Follow E$ on Instagram @theEdollarsign.


Profile for DistrictFray

District Fray Magazine // March 2020  

District Fray Magazine // March 2020