Page 1

ONTAP Drink. Dine. Do. November 2019













on the scene

Photos: Alan Kelly Photography


Gateway Park filled up for the annual Rosslyn Cider Fest on October 17, featuring eight different cider brands showing off their fall portfolios, a s’mores firepit, live music from Justin Trawick and The Common Good, food trucks, and more.






TABLE OF CONTENTS NOVEMBER 2019: VOL 22 NO 2 The Local Music Issue


In many ways, DC now welcomes culture shapers in every artistic medium more than ever before. Music is no exception, as the city has become to move up the ranks on a national level while cultivating and incalculable amount of local talent as well. For our Local Music Issue, we spoke with DJ Baby Alcatraz, Jack Inslee and Christine Lilyea, three people making an impact in the scene on several levels. We also highlight 15 local bands, musicians to watch and chatted with a few people off stage. Interested in other reads? We caught up with Shawn Townsend, the District's first Director of Nightlife and Culture, and Simone Eccleston, the Kennedy Center's first Director of Hip Hop Culture. Outside of music and nightlife, the National Geographic Museum is bringing an exhibit dedicated to Jane Goodall, Studio Theatre welcomes White Pearl and we recount some wild late night stories from DC bars. We also checked in on the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, and got the lowdown on the Washington Fusion.

Drink. Dine. Do. November 2019














On the cover: DJ Baby Alcatraz, Jack Inslee and Christine Lilyea

Photographer: Rich Kessler Designer: Julia Goldberg

PUBLISHER Robert Kinsler






 STAGE & SCREEN Becoming Jane Goodall at Nat Geo. . .......... 4 State & Screen Events.................................... 6 White Pearl at Studio Theatre...................... 8 Punk the Capital. . .......................................... 10



Becoming Jane

Punk the Capital

Nat Geo Shows the World Through Goodall’s Eyes

New Documentary Delves into DC’s Punk History

 LIFESTYLE Drink, Dine, Do.............................................. 12 DC's Office of Nightlife & Culture.. ............ 50 Simone Eccleston of Kennedy Center...... 52

 SPORTS Washington Fusion. . ..................................... 18 Caps Aim to Maintain Fast Start................ 22 Four Wizards to Watch................................. 24

 DINING New & Notable.. ............................................. 28




Shawn Townsend

Simone Eccleston

DC's Office of Nightlife & Culture

Kennedy Center’s Director of Hip Hop Culture

What's On Tap?.............................................. 32 Outer Space & The Outdoors.. .................... 36 Atlas Brew Works.. ......................................... 40 Behind the Bar............................................... 42 Late Night Anonymous.. .............................. 48

 MUSIC A Curated Conversation on DC Music...... 55 15 Artists To Watch....................................... 60 Behind the Scenes........................................ 64 Ladygod Reclaims "Loserdom".................. 66 Hit Shuffle on the DC Music Scene........... 68 New Artists at Strathmore.......................... 70



A Curated Conversation

Local Listens

Three Voices of DC's Music Scene

15 DC Artists To Watch






Chelsea Bailey, Lani Furbank, Joshua Goodrich, Nicole Hertvik, Jon Kaplan, Natalia Kolenko, Aparna Krishnamoorthy, Lanna Nguyen, Joyelle Ronan, Courtney Sexton, Chris Silva


Chelsea Bailey, Alan Kelly, Rich Kessler, Kimchi Photography, Natalia Kolenko, Devin Overbey, Mark Raker Photography On Tap Magazine is published 11 times per year. ©2019 by United Fray. All rights reserved. Use or reproduction of any materials contained herein is strictly prohibited without express prior written consent. Go to for more information.


951 V St. NE, Washington DC 20018 Tel: 703-465-0500 Fax: 703-465-0400 CALENDAR SUBMISSIONS

November 15 – December 30, 2019 ICE! Featuring Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas™ is Washington, D.C. Region’s Must-See indoor winter wonderland featuring: • A colorful walk-through holiday attraction with larger than life sized ice sculptures carved from over two million pounds of ice • Kept at a chilly 9 degrees • Hand-crafted by 40 artisans from Harbin, China • Enjoy four two-story tall colorful ice slides and a full Nativity in stunning crystal clear ice A PART OF

Tickets and Packages on Sale Now! |

(301) 965-4000

Located in National Harbor, MD – Conveniently located minutes from Washington, D.C. and across the river from Old Town Alexandria. PEPSI, PEPSI-COLA and the Pepsi Globe are registered trademarks of PepsiCo, Inc. TM & © 2019 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All Rights Reserved. All rights reserved.

Ja n e B e c oming




Photo: Michael Nichols

National Geographic Explorers – scientists, conservationists, educators and storytellers – have been responsible for unearthing and communicating some of the world’s greatest discoveries for more than 130 years. Among the most famous and beloved of these explorers is Jane Goodall, whose legacy is close to unrivaled when it comes to both scientific discovery and ongoing activism. This year, while the 85-year-old Goodall continues to travel the world urging people to join the conservation movement, the National Geographic Society is partnering with the Jane Goodall Institute to honor her legacy and provide public engagement opportunities that align with Goodall’s mission. “Becoming Jane,” which tells the story of the primatologist’s early years as an explorer, opens at the National Geographic Museum on November 22. The immersive exhibition will remain installed for 10 months before touring up to five additional cities around the country and then going international. “Jane is such a beautiful example of a scientist who has made great contributions to knowledge, but is also so inspirational and impactful,” said Kathryn Keane, vice president of public experiences for the National Geographic Society and executive director of the National Geographic Museum. “She is really in some ways the perfect example of a National Geographic Explorer.” Many people are familiar with Goodall’s work once she established herself as a primatologist and champion of chimpanzees. But Keane said for this exhibit, it was important to chronicle the whole journey from girlhood, animal-loving Goodall to the world-class researcher who changed our understanding of our closest living relatives to the activist she is today.

DON’T ACCEPT ME BECAUSE I’M A WOMAN. ACCEPT ME BECAUSE OF THE VALUE OF WHAT I’VE DONE. Visitors will enter the exhibit to a short overview film, then move through Goodall’s war-torn childhood and her 20s, when she wanted to move to Africa. “For a 20-year-old woman in the late 1950s to be thinking about that was a radical idea – particularly a woman who didn’t have money or a lot of education,” Keane noted. Items and images from the Jane Goodall Institute archives that have never been featured in films or books about Goodall will be on display. There will be a replica of the research tent complete with cots that Goodall spent her first intrepid months in – shared with her mother, who chaperoned the burgeoning scientist’s first expedition. From there, visitors can interact with a hologram of Goodall before entering a 270-degree, 3-D immersive theater that will take them on a journey through Tanzania’s Gombe National Park. Entries from her journal reveal the story of her discovery of animal intelligence in real time. And of course, no Goodall exhibit would be complete without an opportunity to practice chimpanzee vocalizations. “The following section is a bit darker,” Keane elaborated. “It brings us through the time when Jane realizes the world – and chimps – are in trouble. There is tension between what humans need and what animals need, and a big part of the mission at National Geographic is about finding ways to [reconcile this].” Goodall made a stop in the District this September and spoke with urgency to two sold-out audiences at The Anthem. “I’m trying to tell people what’s happening in the world and the

THE ONLY WAY TO GET TO ANYBODY ISN’T BY SHOUTING AT THEM OR GETTING ANGRY. IT’S BY SOMEHOW FINDING A WAY TO REACH THE HEART. mess we’ve made, and the fact that unless we all get together and take action soon, it may be too late,” she said. “The window of time is closing, and it’s not enough just to wave placards. We must take action.” Fittingly, “Becoming Jane” ends with a call to action and pledge station. Keane says that this is an integral part of the exhibit because National Geographic’s goal is for people to come away from the experience not feeling overwhelmed by crisis, but rather empowered and encouraged to follow in Goodall’s footsteps. When the primatologist spoke to DC audiences this fall, she humbly reinforced the power of teaching by doing and leading by example. “There are some world leaders who are so caught up in feathering their own nests and pandering to big business [and] shareholders [that] we’re caught up in a vicious cycle of corruption and materialistic distance from the natural world,” Goodall explained. “The only way to get to anybody isn’t by shouting at them [or] getting angry. It’s by somehow finding a way to reach the heart.” She also spoke to the simple path she took in her career: she was once just a young woman with a desire to learn about animals who became an icon by vehemently following her passion. “I don’t think it’s that difficult if you know exactly what you want to do and you go ahead and do it – and you have the facts to back it up,” Goodall told the audience. “There’s a growing number of women who are doing things that were never done before, and those who succeed seem to be the ones who are really passionate about what they do. They’re not aggressive. They’re just gentle about it and prove by their actions and what they’ve done that they can do it. Don’t accept me because I’m a woman. Accept me because of the value of what I’ve done.” But perhaps the most encouraging thing about Goodall is her capacity for hope. When asked how she maintains that hope in the face of all she has seen, she pointed to the individuals and communities who have taken their own personal pledges seriously – altering their own actions and taking advantage of programs and projects like those Goodall now sponsors to make broader impact. The National Geographic exhibition will be augmented by educational programming, including dissemination of a weeklong science and conservation-oriented curriculum for teachers who are then invited to bring their students to the museum. “One of our goals is to inspire the next Jane Goodall, to get people to understand these are fields that people can actually go into and we want to give kids an idea of the kind of careers that are possible,” Keane said. “That’s the kind of grassroots, viral approach to conservation that is ultimately going to work best.” “Becoming Jane” opens at the National Geographic Museum on November 22. Tickets are $15. Learn more about the exhibit at and the Jane Goodall Institute at National Geographic Museum: 1145 17th St. NW, DC 202-857-7700; | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


STAGE & SCREEN By Joyelle Ronan

THROUGH SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22 Disney’s Newsies Seize the day and see Newsies at Arena Stage. The musical, based on the popular Disney film, follows the charismatic Jack Kelly and his fellow newsboys. When newspaper tycoon Joesph Pulitzer decides to raise the price of papers, Jack and the newsies decide to go on strike. Teaming up with enthusiastic reporter Katherine, this ragtag group shows standing up for what you believe in can prove victorious. Various dates and times. Tickets $66-$115. Arena Stage: 1101 Sixth St. SW, DC;

THROUGH SUNDAY, JANUARY 5 A Chorus Line Signature Theatre is known for bringing big, dazzling musicals to the DMV and this production is no exception. A Chorus Line is the story of the talent and passion it takes to make it in the world of professional dancing. Step inside the audition room as 17 hopeful dancers put their dreams on the line through elaborate displays of jazz, ballet and tap. Featuring classics such as “What I Did for Love” and “At the Ballet.” Various dates and times. Tickets start at $66. Signature Theatre: 4200 Campbell Ave. Arlington, VA;

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5 - SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22 Amadeus How does friendship between two esteemed composers end in murder? In Peter Schaffer’s Amadeus, Antonio Salieri cannot let the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart outshine him. Because of this internal drive, Salieri’s mission in life becomes ruining Mozart’s career. Now in 1823 Italy, Salieri tells the tale of how he murdered Mozart 32 years prior. Various dates and times. Tickets $27-$85. Folger Shakespeare Library: 201 E. Capitol St. SE, DC;

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7 - SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10 2019 Alexandria Film Festival The Alexandria Film Festival is back for its 13th year. Come and check out films from both local and regional filmmakers. This four-day fest will feature more than 50 free and ticketed films. Several films will be premiering



John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons

including Daddio from Alexandria native and Saturday Night Live alum Casey Wilson. A special “veteran’s showcase” will include films such as Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn? Various prices, dates and times. AMC Hoffman Center 22: 206 Swamp Fox Rd. Alexandria, VA and Charles E. Beatley, Jr. Central Library: 5005 Duke St. Alexandria, VA;

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8 The NPR Politics Podcast Live: The Road To 2020 Looking for a fun way to be informed on all thing elections 2020? NPR has you covered. Join their live podcast and gain political insight from Tamara Keith, Scott Detrow, Asma Khalid, Ayesha Rascoe and Domenico Montanaro. This is an opportunity to get an up-close view of the nation’s top political podcast and ask the burning questions you have for the pundits. Doors open at 7 p.m. Podcast at 8 p.m. Tickets $34-$54. Warner Theatre: 513 13th St. NW, DC;

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8 - SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30 Airness You don’t need an instrument to be a rock star. For instance, Nina intends to become one by entering an air guitar contest. After meeting a group of nerdy air guitar enthusiasts, she realizes this childish activity may not be as easy as it seems. Does Nina have what it takes to rock the competition? Find out in the 2017 Humana Festival favorite. Various dates and times. Tickets $41-$51. Keegan Theatre: 1742 Church St. NW, DC;

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12 - SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17 Rent La Vie Bohème! Johnathan Larson’s Rent has been inspiring audiences for 20 years. Don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate one of Broadway’s most beloved musicals. The National Theatre is bringing this story of struggle, loss and “Seasons of Love” to DC. Join Mark, a filmmaker capturing his friends as they navigate life in the late 90s, New York City under the AIDS epidemic. Various dates and times. Tickets start at $54. The National Theatre: 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC;

Disney’s Newsies

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20 - FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Step inside the mind of Christopher John Francis Booth. Christopher is a 15-year-old boy who sees the world in math and puzzles. He might have some “behavior problems” but his brilliant mind is just what’s needed to solve a neighborhood mystery. Playwright Simon Stephens brings the awarding-winning book by Mark Haddon to life with stunning visuals and projections. Various dates and times. Tickets start at $32. Round House Theatre: 4545 East-West Hwy. Bethesda, MD;

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21 - SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23 John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons If you’ve noticed the lack of diversity in American history textbooks, you’re not alone. If you’ve created a one man show about Latin History for morons, you’re probably John Leguizamo. Prepare to get educated in the most entertaining way. This performance was Tonynominated for Best Play in 2018, Leguizamo will hilariously take you through Latin History all the way from the Mayans to Pitbull. Various Times. Tickets start at $59. The National Theatre: 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC;

Venus and Adonis at The Corcoran Opera Lafayette takes opera to the next level. As the only periodinstrument opera in America, the orchestra uses old or modern replicas to pay homage to composers from the 17th-19th century. For more than 20 years, Opera Lafayette has been bringing its new take on old compositions to DC, New York and France. For only two performances, they are bringing John Blow’s tale of Roman Gods and mortals, Venus and Adonis, to the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University. Times TBA. Tickets $60-$105. Flagg Building at The Corcoran Gallery of Art: 500 17th St. NW, DC;

Photos: Mark Raker Photography


Acoustic duo November Morning played a unique blend of soul at the Hyatt Centric Arlington’s acoustic concert series on October 3 while guests enjoyed happy hour specials on the hotel’s Key Bridge Terrace. | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP




RACISM By Nicole Hertvik

Anchuli Felicia King // Photo: Benita de Wit

2019 has been a big year for playwright Anchuli Felicia King. The 25-year-old Thai-Australian will make her professional playwrighting debut not once, not twice, but three times this year with White Pearl. The corporate satire about the beauty industry is premiering in England and Australia before making its American debut at Studio Theatre this November. To launch a professional career nearly simultaneously on three continents would be unusual for most playwrights, but for King, who grew up between Thailand, the Philippines and Australia and now divides her time between New York, London and Sydney, globalism is the name of the game. “I’m basically a global citizen,” King told me last week. We chatted by Skype as King rode a train to the Sydney Theatre Company, where the Australian production of her new play was in rehearsals. White Pearl, which launched King’s international career, is set in the cultural melting pot of Singapore and features six characters of different Asian backgrounds who work for the fictional beauty startup Clearday. When someone leaks an ad for their skin-whitening cream, the Internet pounces, pronouncing the ad racist and prompting finger pointing among the six very different – but all Asian – women who lead the company. Someone’s getting fired, but who?



King started writing the play in 2016 while she was pursuing an MFA in dramaturgy at Columbia University. “Ads started coming up on my newsfeed for skin-whitening products that were deemed to be racially insensitive,” she said. “Products like this were ubiquitous when I was growing up in Thailand and the Philippines, so it was fascinating to me that suddenly they were being held accountable to a global discourse around race.” King asked her friends in Columbia’s Women of Color Collective about their experiences with whitening cream and discovered that the topic hit a nerve with women from all different backgrounds. “It doesn’t matter what country you come from. You are being sold an idea of what beauty looks like that is so entrenched in your cultural ideology.” In crafting a dark comedy about the beauty industry, King found the perfect backdrop in corporations – particularly millennial startup culture and the disconnect between the glossy, utopian ideals and the reality of the practices and what they are selling. “There is this disjunct between surface and substance,” she said of startup companies. “Cosmetics companies specifically prey on and monetize women’s shame and insecurity.”

White Pearl brings the issue to life through six characters: all of them Asian women, but each from very distinct backgrounds and cultures. The Clearday CEO is a British Indian woman, while the other characters have roots in Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand and Singapore. “My goal with that was to poke holes at the idea that Asia is a monoculture and to explore the specificity of different places in Asia,” King said. “But the play also explores the ongoing cultural traumas and legacies that lead to tension between different Asian cultures and the racism that still happens in Asia.” In choosing a director for this production, Studio tapped Desdemona Chiang. Born in Taiwan and raised in L.A., Chiang known for taking on projects that illuminate marginalized populations and challenge perceptions of the status quo. “When I first read the script, it hit me really hard – especially when it discussed the racism of East Asian people,” Chiang told me in a recent conversation. “That hit a very raw spot for me because it was something I recognize sometimes within myself and sometimes in where I come from. I found that really discomforting so I said, ‘Great, that means I have to do this play.’” I asked Chiang how she thought White Pearl would be perceived by American audiences – Asian and non-Asian – who are geographically and often psychologically further away from Singapore than a London or Sydney audience. “What’s interesting about this story is that it deals with the same issues we have in America but through a different lens,” she explained. “We talk about racism, classism, beauty standards and implicit bias here, but usually through a black/white lens. To tackle the same issues through a different perspective is interesting.” King agrees: “It’s fascinating to see how this play resonates differently with different audiences and specifically, different Asian communities in different countries.” King hopes that the exploration of intra-Asian racism will be eyeopening for non-Asian audiences in America. “There are also things in the play that are so true of the time we are living in and so universal that will resonate with any audience. At its heart, it’s an old-school black comedy and a satire so I hope the audience laughs a lot and through that, interrogates why they are laughing.” White Pearl runs from November 6 to December 8 at Studio Theatre’s Milton Theatre. Tickets start at $20. Learn more at

Photos: Mark Raker Photography

We talk about racism, classism, beauty standards and implicit bias, but usually through a black/white lens. To tackle the same issues through a different perspective is interesting.

Acoustic duo November Morning played a unique blend of soul at the Hyatt Centric Arlington’s acoustic concert series on October 3 while guests enjoyed happy hour specials on the hotel’s Key Bridge Terrace.

Studio Theatre: 1501 14th St. NW, DC; 202-332-3300; | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


Punk the Capital still // Photo: courtesy of James June Schneider


New Documentary Delves into DC’s Punk History By Trent Johnson

You always hear how difficult touring is for bands. I’m not talking about large-scale tour buses rivaling the comforts of first-class flights you read about in Rolling Stone profiles. I’m thinking of the little guy: the DIY band making their first sojourn through the Midwest or a five-piece indie outfit huddled together in a minivan with a shaky air conditioner on an adventure through the South. Over the past two months, DC filmmaker James June Schneider experienced a similar cross-country trip while showcasing his documentary Punk the Capital: Building a Sound Movement. Following the film’s world premiere at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center this summer, the documentarian packed up his car with film in tow and drove across the country, hitting spots along the East Coast before venturing through the Midwest to California. He wrapped up his road tour last month, looping through the Southwest on his way back to the District. In a sense, he mimicked his very subjects by touring art on a shoestring budget. Though he’s not in a band or a traveling musician, his mission to showcase the spirit of DC’s punk scene has taken him on somewhat of a journey. “A film about DC punk done the way we do it really celebrates an American subculture that is a great chapter in American history,” Schneider says. “One that is still being discovered – an active history. This is a chance to celebrate a thread of American history.” The film is set to return to the AFI in Silver Spring, Maryland for a three-night screening from November 9-11, including Q&A’s with Schneider, his co-directors Paul Bishow and Sam Lavine, and special



guests like the Slickee Boys, Boyd Farrell, Anne Bonafede and others. “I do think that people will be moved, whether they’re new to DC or grew up here,” he says. “They’ll get where it came from and hopefully be inspired by what’s happened. The great thing about DC punk is when you learn the ideas behind the scenes and the approaches to creativity, it can be applied not only to DC musicians but musicians anywhere.” The film focuses on the early days of the capital’s punk scene, specifically from 1976 to 1983, and took more than a decade to produce. In the early development stages, the trio archived countless hours of interviews and gathered materials ranging from memorabilia to videos to photos. Combined with Bishow’s already extensive collection, the materials were so plentiful in volume that the team decided to narrow its focus to DC punk’s humble beginnings. “It’s definitely an origin story,” he says. “As we were making the film, we discovered that there was a real need to investigate the earlier time period. It hadn’t been discussed in any great degree, the pre-hardcore scene. The history means a lot to a lot of people – not just in DC, but to people around the world.” For a local like Schneider, the subject matter of the genre’s historic rise in the late 70s and early 80s hits extremely close to home. Ever since purchasing a Minor Threat album at 12 years old, the music has served as a soundtrack to his life, helping him remember a community that has remained important to him through adulthood.

L to R: Paul Bishow, Sam Levine and James June Schneider // Photo : Nalinee Darmrong

“This is the music I grew up with. I had been in a bunch of bands and started making films in the 90s. When I discovered my friend Paul had all this great [footage] from the late 70s, it became evident that we should team up and do a film about it.” Because of the uncharted territory and mostly forgotten material, Schneider says 95 percent of the people they approached about the film were enthusiastic about participation. Most interviews proved long and fruitful, which made editing the film down to its 88-minute runtime a difficult task. Like any labor of love, the filmmakers logged long hours piecing the documentary together, and watched various cuts several times before finally deeming it ready for public consumption. “All three of us watched the film every few weeks, usually with other people in Paul’s apartment,” Schneider says. “Those were amazing screenings with hours-long discussions afterwards about the film and the community.” Whether in their living rooms, at small-scale showings or at the bigger tentpole events like the three coming up at AFI, the resounding impact on viewers has been palpable.

“It is a music scene, so we have to say first and foremost that the music for the size of the scene is amazing,” Schneider continues. “What’s given it more longevity is the ideas behind it. The lyrics are fairly timeless. People weren’t just singing about [President] Reagan and current events. They were singing about their own trials and tribulations.” The sentiment behind punk music will forever remain relevant to DC’s larger culture, as much as go-go and any other musical genre thrown into the mix. With the federal government sitting on most corners of the city, there will always be a need to protest – and no music has a reputation for antagonizing Big Brother quite like DC punk. “It’s definitely continuing to this day,” Schneider adds. “There are a lot of great bands that have carried on from back then, and even musicians from back then that are playing today. It’s continued, but it’s transformed. Other people are just continuing to make music great music like they’ve been doing for 40 years.” Don’t miss screenings of Punk the Capital from November 9-11 at AFI Silver. Showtimes and tickets are available at Learn more about the documentary at

No music has a reputation for antagonizing Big Brother quite like DC punk.

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center: 8633 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; 301-495-6700; | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


Drink. Dine. Do. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4


The Comedy Shuffle Mondays suck, and this is the anti-Monday show. It’s craziness. It’s hilarious. It’s chaos. This is a free-for-all comedy show open to anyone who wants to sign up. To keep these comics honest, they’ll also have a seasoned comic interrupting them. It’s a way to make sure comics bring it and a way to give you an incredibly enjoyable and unique entertainment experience. Multiple dates. Free to attend. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. The Bier Baron Tavern and DC Comedy Loft: 1523 22nd St. NW, DC;

Disney Villains Trivia Mirror, mirror on the wall, who knows Disney villains best of all? Pinstripes is taking a night to focus on all the Disney bad guys and girls. So get out your spell book, grab an evil sidekick, and see how well you know some of the spookiest, scariest, and baddest guys – and girls – in the kingdom. 7 p.m. Free to attend. Pinstripes: 1064 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; Films Across Borders: High Tide in Dorchester High Tide in Dorchester is a film that encourages discussions and actions concerning sea level rise, erosion, and climate change in Dorchester County, MD. The

film creates a powerful, intimate story that looks at a worsening global threat through the lens of Chesapeake Bay’s most vulnerable county. Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion. 6:30-9 p.m. Free to attend. American University’s School of Communication: 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC; Women in Wine: Wine Tasting 101 Join SommStock founder Veronica Kunkel and other women in the DC wine industry for a wine tasting where you can learn about the beautiful wines available to you right here in the District and how to support local women winemakers, sommeliers and businesses. You’ll hear from Marcelle Folk,

owner of Wine Key Experience, Emily Zeigenfuse, founder of She Collective and more. 6-8 p.m. Tickets $35. Shop Made in DC: 10 District Sq. SW, DC

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 6 Capital Food Fight DC Central Kitchen is proud to present its signature fundraising event, the Capital Food Fight. The event draws over 1,000 guests to taste offerings from over 80 of DC’s best restaurants while watching four local top chefs compete in a live onstage battle hosted and judged by the biggest names in the culinary world. 6-10 p.m. Tickets start at $325. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC;

A menu for every craving happymenu hour


all appetizers half price







late night














3125 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007 | | (202) 751-2111



Beer + Wine and complimentary bites from local restaurants. Raffles to win gift cards to local restaurants. Plus tours of the property!

RSVP @ 2101 Wisconsin Ave. NW | Washington, DC 20007 (844) 213-2244

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7 Champagne Tasting and Mixer At his private residence, the Ambassador of France to the United States will host the fourth French-American Business Week exclusive reception. This prestigious French gourmet reception is the perfect occasion to enjoy a rare opportunity to taste a varied selection of exquisite champagne while savoring delicious petits fours specially prepared by the chef of the residence. 6:30- 8:30 p.m. Tickets $249. Residence of the French Ambassador: 2221 Kalorama Rd. NW, DC; Harry Potter and The Sacred Text What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? What would we learn and how might they change us? “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text” is a podcast the reads Harry Potter, the best-selling series of all time, as if it was a sacred text. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets $28. Sixth & I: 600 I St. NW, DC

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8 Death Becomes Us True Crime Festival Podcasts, experts, maybe some screenings, authors, weird stuff and more – this festival has it all. All shows are general admission so get there early! Death Becomes Us is a true crime pop culture festival curated by Brightest Young Things. Lisner Auditorium: 730 21st St. NW, DC; Film and Discussion: Priced Out Exploring the complexities and contradictions of gentrification, this insightful documentary is a heartbreaking vision of the history of housing discrimination in Portland, Oregon (one of the nation’s “whitest” cities), and the personal impact this factor has had on community residents. Matt Birkhold of Visionary Organizing Lab will lead the post film discussion. The film is a sequel to the 2002 documentary NorthEast Passage: The Inner


City and the American Dream. 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Free to attend. Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum: 1901 Fort Pl. SE, DC;

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8 SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9 Capitol Rowing Yule Ball Get ready to head on over to Hogwarts to the Harry Potter Yule Ball inspired gala and fundraiser. This year the Capital Rowing Club will be taking a cue from The Boy Who Lived and celebrating in magical fashion. There will be plenty of snacks and treats for all, and a limited open bar. Expect some fun activities, sorting into houses and a silent auction. 7-11:59 p.m. Tickets $65. Smith Public Trust: 3514 12th St. NE, DC Food History Weekend With cooking demonstrations, hands-on learning, dynamic conversations, Smithsonian collections and beer history, there’s something for everyone at the fifth annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend. With a special focus on migrant and refugee women and organizations, this year’s festival will explore how their foodrelated enterprises are helping create sustainable livelihoods and stronger communities. 10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Free to attend. National Museum of American History: 1300 Constitution Ave. NW, DC; Nerd Nite Welcome to the monthly Nerd Nite, where nerds can share their passions and unusual research with a room full of people eager to spend a weekend night in a bar learning. Nerd Nite DC is DC’s original science, nerd and drinking event. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets $10. DC9 Nightclub: 1940 9th St. NW, DC;




After Hours Adventure Park Adult Take Over Get ready for an adults-only take over at Sandy Spring Adventure Park. Fly around the treetops, zip between platforms, and explore illuminated trails as Fray takes you on a kid-free aerial expedition deep in the woods. Featuring live music, hundreds of challenges, over a dozen trails, and more disco lighting than a Bee Gees stadium tour. You will develop skills, endurance, and confidence during your time in the Park. Plus, you’ll have a really, really good time! 18-plus. 6 p.m. $34. Sandy Spring Adventure Park: 16701 Norwood Rd. Sandy Spring, MD;

12th Annual Charity Wine Tasting Wine, vino, vinho, vin, wein: no matter how you say it, you’re invited to join the Embassy of Argentina to enjoy the best wines of Argentina. The Embassy of Argentina is delighted to announce the 12th edition of their flagship event. Enjoy the best Argentine wines paired with delicious hors d’oeuvres, and help fund an education project in Argentina, one sip at a time. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets begin at $50. Embassy of Argentina: 1600 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10 Drunk in China Drunk in China: Baijiu and the World’s Oldest Drinking Culture is a book that follows Derek Sandhaus’ journey of discovery into the world’s oldest drinking culture. He travels throughout the country and around the globe to meet with distillers, brewers, snake-oil salesmen, archaeologists and ordinary drinkers. He examines the many ways in which alcohol has shaped Chinese society and its rituals. 1-2 p.m. Free to attend. Politics and Prose Bookstore: 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC;

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14 Year of Beer Sampling Event Join On Tap and DC Fray for a fall beer sampling event at The Auld Shebeen. Enjoy six-eight craft breweries sampling off their best fall brews, plus enjoy complimentary light fare, live music, a gift card raffle and more. Free to attend with registration. 6-8 pm. The Auld Shebeen: 3971 Chain Bridge Rd. Fairfax, VA;

Shaken Not Slurred DC nightlife doesn’t cater to those who don’t drink alcohol... until now. Engine Company 12 is here to change that. Those who stay sober no longer have to miss a night out because bars and restaurants offer little to no alcohol-free beer, wine and cocktails. Bring your friends and join us for an evening of alcohol-free beer, bubbly and a couple craft mocktails. New Gourmet Delight food truck will be pulling up on our patio to offer their delicious gourmet paninis. Tickets must be purchased in advance. 7-10 p.m. Tickets $5. Engine Company 12: 1626 North Capitol St. NW, DC; A Viennese Ball For a lesson in Viennese Waltz, join local teachers Tanzmeisters Herbert and Carol Traxler. Dancers will learn essential Viennese Waltz steps, posture, and etiquette, as well as gain an introduction to the Viennese ball culture and traditional music of the Strauss dynasty. They will be serving up a signature cocktail and some sweet treats to keep things moving. Couples and individuals are welcome. No prior experience is necessary. You only comfortable shoes, and the desire to put your best foot forward. 6-8 p.m. Tickets $20. Folger Shakespeare Theater: 201 E Capitol St. SE, DC;



SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 DC Wine Walk 2019 Stop and smell the rosé. It’s the second annual #DCWineWalk. This year, there will be new neighborhood options and more stops along the way. You know what that means...more wine samples. Because wine not? Every wine walker receives a souvenir wine glass. Showing the glass at each location gets you a minimum of two wine samples plus exclusive full pour specials. Explore your neighborhood one wine at a time. 2-6 p.m. Tickets $15-$80. DC Wine Walk: 1550 7th St. NW, DC;

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 Safe at Home Charity Kickball Tournament Get ready to kick for a great cause at the 14th Annual Safe at Home Kickball Tournament to benefit Bridges to Independence. All teams will play three round-robin games in the morning, and the top teams will advance to the afternoon rounds. All players will get a team T-shirt and the chance to win the Safe at Home Championship trophy. $825 per team of 15 players. 9 a.m. Long Bridge Park: 475 Long Bridge Dr. Arlington, VA;

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16 The Feminist Handbook Book Launch Join Kintsugi and toast to the much-anticipated book launch of The Feminist Handbook: Practical Tools to Resist Sexism and Dismantle the Patriarchy by Dr. Joanne Bagshaw. The energizing evening will feature a book reading and live interview of Dr. Bagshaw hosted by an exciting special guest, a Q & A and fun interactive bits, tasty hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. 7-9 p.m. Various prices. Kintsugi Cafe: 1201 K St. NW, DC;




Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show 2019 Head to the 14th annual MetroCooking DC Show! Enjoy celebrity chef cooking demos by Martha Stewart & Wolfgang Puck, shopping from 200-plus specialty food vendors, unlimited samples from DC’s hottest restaurants in the Grand Tasting, hands-on cooking classes and workshops, meaty tastings in the BBQ Bash and local sips in the Beer, Wine and Spirits Garden. Various times and prices. Walter E. Washington Convention Center: 801 Mt. Vernon Pl. NW, DC;

Learn to Roll Sushi Come join Chef Darren Hendry and learn the finer points on how to roll your own sushi like a pro. You will make two rolls while sipping a glass of wine or beer at beautiful Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill. Great for a group ice breaker, friends’ night out or date night. Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill: 1054 31st St. NW, DC;

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18 Demystifying Amaro Join DC’s master of amari, Jonathan Fasano of Don Ciccio & Figli for an intro into the diverse styles and flavors of amaro. You’ll learn the rich history of and sample a variety of amari. Then, using an array of botanicals, you’ll blend and take home your own creation. There will be a pairing of cheese, charcuterie and other treats and bonus: you’ll learn to impress bartenders, show off at dinner parties and pronounce amaro with a thick Italian accent. 6:308:30 p.m. Tickets start at $65. Mess Hall: 703 Edgewood St. NE, DC;

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19 Sharks: A Virtual Reality Exploration Take an awe-inspiring 3D journey to the world’s shark hotspots in Costa Rica, Mexico and the Bahamas with National Geographic Explorer and Emmy-winning director of photography Filipe DeAndrade. Get daringly close to these important apex predators – and experience the unnerving contrast between flourishing habitats where they’re present and unhealthy ecosystems where they’re not. 7:30-9 p.m. Tickets $40. National Geographic Museum: 1145 17 St. NW, DC


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21 100 Years of Women Voting Assistant Deputy Librarian Colleen Shogan will lead a panel discussion featuring two leading scholars on women and voting, University of Southern California’s Jane Junn, and University of Notre Dame’s Christina Wolbrecht. The conversation will focus on the 100 years of women voting in the United States since the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The event will highlight the recently opened LOC exhibit “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote.” 12-1:30 p.m. Free to attend. Library of Congress: 10 First St. SE, DC; Dinner and a Story Jamise Harper is the DC bookstagrammer behind Spines & Vines who also created the #diversespines initiative to highlight literature authored by women of color. Kramerbooks & Afterwords will be discussing Ordinary Girls and is honored to be joined by the author, Jaquira Diaz, herself. Come sip, flip, read and discuss books written by women of color. 7-9 p.m. Various prices. Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe: 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC History Happy Hour Robert Wallace, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of Technical Services, returns to the Willard InterContinental for History Happy Hour. Wallace and Jim

Hewes, famed bartender at The Willard, will examine the history and complexity of U.S. intelligence efforts over the past two hundred years. As no history happy hour would be complete without a mixology lesson or two, learn as Hewes provides a hands-on lesson on the creation of two themed cocktails inspired by Wallace’s top spy sites here in the District. 6-8 p.m. Tickets $56. InterContinental The Willard Washington DC Hotel: 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.washington. Thanksgiving Entertaining Cocktail Class Learn the art of making fall cocktails from Pratt Standard Cocktail Company. The class includes three cocktails and instruction on cocktail history, distilling, and on techniques like garnishing, shaking and stirring. You’ll learn three types of cocktails critical for Thanksgiving entertaining: hot cocktails, punches, and smoked cocktails. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $50 Mess Hall: 703 Edgewood St. NE, DC;

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21 Nat Geo Nights These special monthly happy hours feature live stories from National Geographic Explorers, fun interactive activities, lively music, food, and drink specials at our cash bar. Hear from Microsoft and National Geographic AI for Earth Innovation grantees Lisa Mandle, Africa Flores and Heather J. Lynch about how they are harnessing big data, advanced computing and machine learning to help create a more sustainable future for us all. 5:30 p.m. Tickets $20. National Geographic Museum: 1145 17th St. NW, DC

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28 VSDC Thanksgiving Gala 2019 The Veg Society of DC (VSDC) vegan Thanksgiving celebration

is an annual event that brings together vegans, vegetarians and non-vegetarians to enjoy compassionate and healthy vegan food in a wonderful and warm social setting. VSDC is excited to announce that our featured speaker this year will be Erica Meier, president of Compassion Over Killing. The event programming also includes exhibitors, exciting door prizes, a silent auction fundraiser, an all-ages kids’ activity and live music. The buffet is all-vegan, with non-GMO ingredients, and many gluten-free options. 12-4 p.m. Various prices. Grand Hyatt Washington: 1000 H St. NW, DC;

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29 ZooLights Opening Night ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland complete with two dazzling laser light shows set to music. 5-9 p.m.

Free to attend. National Zoo: 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC;

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30 DC Murals Walking Tour Experience DC’s breathtaking murals as never before. Join DC Murals for their monthly walking tour through the Shaw, U Street and Columbia Heights neighborhoods as they explore the origins and meanings behind some of the city’s most striking public art. 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Tickets $15. Columbia Heights Station: 3020 14th St. NW, DC; Dye Club DC Come learn about indigo and natural dye in a casual, fun and social setting! Dye Club DC is an event for those curious about dyeing with plants and who love learning with others. There will be several stations set up featuring different dyes and techniques, and you can choose to learn one, two, or all three of them. You are encouraged to bring items to dye from your closet or items you purchase. 1-4

p.m. Tickets $20-$50. The Lemon Collective: 808 Upshur St. NW, DC; Taste of the Runway Taste of the Runway is a food and fashion event, hosted by America’s Next Top Model alum Bianca Golden, this event will feature a food tasting, fashion show, vendors expo and entertainment. Featured Chefs from Washington DC and New York will provide samples of their culinary delights to guests and Fashion Designers from Washington, DC and other cities will feature their latest designs on the runway. 12 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Walter E. Washington Convention Center: 801 Mt Vernon Pl. NW, DC;

SAVE THE DATE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6 Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC)’s Young Prose Night Presents Peter Pan Bold, budding scientist Wendy Darling dreams of earning a Nobel Prize. When Peter Pan arrives at her bedroom window,

she takes a leap and leaves finishing school behind, chasing adventure among the stars. Facing down fairies, mermaids, and the dastardly Captain Hook, Wendy, Peter, and their friends discover the power of standing up together for what’s right. J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan is reimagined for a new generation of theatregoers by American Theatre’s Most Produced Playwright of 2019 Lauren Gunderson (Silent Sky, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley). With “brilliant theatrical flair” (American Theatre), STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul (Camelot) directs this beloved tale of adventure and wonder, sure to delight adults and children alike this holiday season. Featuring STC Affiliated Artist Tom Story as Smee. Purchase your $35 ticket with code 20UNDER35. Your ticket includes a complimentary beer (sponsor TBD) or wine at a post-show reception. 8 p.m. Sidney Harman Hall at STC: 610 F St. NW, DC www.shakespearetheatre. orgevents/peter-pan-19-20



Global Mixed-Gender Basketball

Washington Fusion Hits The Court By Jon Kaplan


uan Somers, co-owner of the Washington Fusion, is energized about the team’s matchup happening this month right here in the District. “November 16 will exhibit the epitome of gender equality,” Somers says. “The future of basketball is now!” The future of basketball that Somers is talking about is one in which male and female players are competing together in one league, and this future is not just a dream. It’s a reality, as the Global Mixed Gender Basketball league (GMGB) comes to the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Southeast DC later this month. Warren Morris, head publicist for the Fusion, says that the league’s CEO James Scott hatched the idea for the league after wondering why pro basketball leagues were always separated by gender. “James Scott had the vision a few years ago: seeing men and women playing together on the same team, on the same court and at the same time,” Morris says. “This had never been done before. That imagination took on reality and birthed the first original coed basketball league.” Morris says that when fans come to see GMGB games, they’ll notice that the league has some new rules that differ from standard NBA and WNBA regulations. “In GMGB,” he says, “there are three females and two males in the first and third quarters. In the second and fourth quarters, there are three males and two females. Additionally, each three-point shot made by a female counts for four points.” The league tries to extend the concept of men and women competing together to all aspects of the game, featuring both male and female referees as well as coaching staff. Coaches include WNBA icon Lisa Leslie with the New Orleans Gators and NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins with the Atlanta Heirs.



Photos: courtesy of Washington Fusion



This November you can be extra thankful for a FREE MONTH when you COME IN WITH YOUR DC FRAY T-SHIRT. Thomas Circle | Foggy Bottom | Glover Park | Capitol Hill *Offer valid for local DMV residents

It’s fitting that the Fusion will be playing at the Entertainment and Sports Arena – the home arena of DC’s WNBA team, the Washington Mystics – since the team has many links to the WNBA. The Fusion has featured Natasha Cloud, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Tiffany Bias, all players with experience playing in the WNBA. Coach Nikki Teasley played college hoops at UNC, and then went on to win a WNBA championship with the LA Sparks. As part of the GMGB league, the Fusion has its share of male players as well – including many former college and NBA standouts. They include Andre Barrett, who played for Seton Hall and several NBA teams including the Chicago Bulls and the LA Clippers; Khalid El-Amin, who played for UConn and the Chicago Bulls; and Michael Sweetney, who played for Georgetown and the New York Knicks. The Fusion is one of six teams in the league right now, with an eye on expanding to a total of eight in the near future. Morris says that in addition to featuring top former college and pro players on the court, each team has celebrities on the ownership side as well. These include actress and reality star Laura Govan with the Chicago Vikings; singer-songwriter Tameka “Tiny” Harris with the Atlanta Heirs; rapper Trick Daddy with the Miami Ballers; rapper, actor and businessman Percy “Master P” Miller with the New Orleans Gators; rapper and actor Ice-T with the New York Nights; and rapper and actor Anwan “Big G” Glover with DC’s very own Fusion. Fusion co-owner Glover, who played Slim Charles in HBO’s critically acclaimed series The Wire, is also a founding member of the Backyard Band – a DC go-go mainstay performing at the halftime show for the upcoming Fusion game. Beyond its robust celebrity roster, the GMGB league has made helping local communities a key component of each matchup. Morris says that in the past, they have made diabetes awareness the cause, providing

November 16 will exhibit the epitome of gender equality. The future of basketball is now! free health screenings along with free tickets to the games. Another recent initiative put the spotlight on the issue of domestic violence. The bottom line – from both the league side and those who have attended previous GMGB games – is that the energy, passion and excitement of the games must be seen in person to truly be understood. DC fans are lucky to have just that chance this month. Watch the Washington Fusion take on the Chicago Vikings on Saturday, November 16 at 6 p.m. at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Tickets start at $10. Learn more about the Fusion at and follow the team on social media @washingtonfusion. The Entertainment and Sports Arena: 1100 Oak St. SE, DC;




Congratulations TO THE

s l a n o i Nat 2019



By Chris Silva


hockey season is an odyssey that starts in September with training camp and concludes in June when the Stanley Cup is hoisted by the last team standing. It’s a grind that chews up every player, to a certain degree, along the way. The Washington Capitals had the distinct pleasure of raising the Cup in June 2018 after besting the Vegas Golden Knights four games to one. For an encore, the Caps were unfortunately bounced out of the first round in the 2019 playoffs by the Carolina Hurricanes. But the team realizes the importance of being prepared come playoff time and is determined to pace themselves accordingly while at the same time not snoozing on early regular season games. “At the end of the day, it’s what you do in the playoffs that matters,” says Scott Arniel, who is in his second year as an assistant coach for the Capitals. “You have to play your best hockey come April, May and June.” Ideally, teams want home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. That means winning as many early regular season games as possible to create distance between opponents. To achieve that, the players need to be ready coming out of the gate.



Nick Jensen // Photo: Washington Capitals Photography

Teams that start slowly often have a tough time catching up with the rest of the league. For example, the Dallas Stars started 1-7-1 and now have to play catch-up. “You can be knocked out of the playoffs by December 1 if you’re not up and running,” continues Arniel, whose primary duties include working with the wingers and the penalty kill. The Capitals feels they are better prepared to start this year compared to last, when they had a short summer while the city gorged on Cup mania. If there was a silver lining to the early exit last playoffs, it was that players had more time to train and prepare for this season. Early preparation involves consistency and focus – not only on hockey skills but also on everyday activities such as eating habits, gym and lifting schedules, and rest and rehabilitation during the players’ off hours. Defenseman Nick Jensen notes the importance of getting off to a good start, and how players’ personal habits play a big role in their performance. “Exhibition games definitely help, but there’s nothing that can replicate the speed and skill of the game when the regular season starts,” he says. “It’s a long season, but these games at the beginning of the season are very important.”

Whatever makes me feel good for that game, I tend to repeat over and over. It’s all about getting into that mindset on game day. We’re creatures of habit. To keep loose on game days, Jensen says he follows a light morning skate with a cold tub treatment, soft tissue massage and stretching. Players will often stick with the same routine, mainly out of comfort and sometimes out of superstition. “The majority of players, if not all, will follow a pretty similar routine on game days,” Jensen adds. The defenseman, who was traded to the Capitals from the Detroit Red Wings this February, has logged key minutes on the backline for Washington. His strong defensive play is a valued commodity. “Whatever makes me feel good for that game, I tend to repeat over and over. It’s all about getting into that mindset on game day. We’re creatures of habit.” Arniel, head coach Todd Reirden, and the rest of the coaching and training staff take great pains to ensure each player is individually cared for. During practices, Arniel will often work with the wingers at a separate part of the rink away from the centers and defensemen. “We want to make sure our players are at their max,” he says. A hockey lifer, Arniel knows the game just about as well as anyone. He played 11 seasons in the National Hockey League, mostly with the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres, and continued playing for several seasons after that in other pro leagues. He switched to coaching and served as the head coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets for a year-and-a-half, and also as an assistant for five years with the New York Rangers under head coach Alain Vigneault. The Capitals were a well-oiled machine when Arniel joined them after the Cup season, and he believes the team is geared for similar success this year. The Caps are off to a fast start, posting an 8-2-3 record and sitting in first place at of the end of October. “We changed our team a bit and have some new pieces,” Arniel says. “We had the opportunity to build our strength back up, and the coaching staff is a lot more familiar with one another.” Jensen says the team is hoping to treat fans to another long playoff run. “The fans are amazing,” he says. “We have a lot of support from them. There are adjustment periods here and there, but it feels like I’ve been here for a while.” Don’t miss nine home games this month, starting on November 1 against the Buffalo Sabres. For more information on the Washington Capitals’ current season, go to



Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC;, 202-628-3200; | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP



Like a snap of the finger from the almighty titan Thanos, rebuilds in sports are, as he’d growl, inevitable. There comes a time when every franchise must reshuffle their deck and begin planning for the future. And folks, the Washington Wizards’ time to tank is now. Does that mean losing games on purpose? No. That would be a violation of NBA rules and no team would ever tank blatantly and openly. However, it might mean letting center Thomas Bryant shoot 15 threes per game. It could mean allotting newly signed guard Isaiah Thomas the same number of field goal attempts he enjoyed before a rash of injuries depleted some of his athleticism. Despite this truth, the season doesn’t have to be an auto-skip for fans. Unlike the pre-Joel Embiid Philadelphia 76ers or the year-in, year-out rotating door that form the New York Knicks, this DC team actually has some entertaining NBA players worth watching. So while I’d love to throw a book’s worth of stats at you to try and convince you the Wizards will triumph and bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy this season, I’m too much of a realist. And as a realist and DMV resident, I’ll be embracing the tank while keeping an eye on the following four players.



BRADLEY BEAL The Real Deal Beal himself, the team’s best player from last season returns to build off his breakout campaign from 2018-2019. The team’s shooting guard was the subject of a tremendous amount of trade speculation throughout the offseason, but instead of pushing his weight around and forcing his way out of town, he re-upped with the Wizards by signing a two-year contract extension through the 2022-2023 season worth $72 million. Coming off a scintillating season where he averaged almost 26 points per game, Beal is a bright spot for the team and a genuine source of optimism among fans. For Beal, outside of the max contract obviously, this season represents a chance for him to prove he can lead a team to unexpected heights. All of Beal’s playoff appearances occurred in seasons where he played second banana to the now-injured John Wall, and while he’s achieved individual accolades like All-Star appearances, he hasn’t shown the ability to elevate an average roster to the playoffs a la James Harden or LeBron James to this point. Beal is undoubtedly a tremendous talent, but is he an MVP-level player? This season, we could find out.

Photos: Mark Raker Photography

Nationals Park hosted a crowd of several thousand people for the Game 2 watch party of the World Series in Houston, Texas on October 23. Nationals won Game 2 of the Fall Classic 12-3, giving them a 2-0 lead to start off the series.




Ladies and gentlemen, the Wizards starting center. After missing out on Kevin Durant in the 2016 offseason, the Wizards front office, then led by Ernie Grunfield, signed center Ian Mahinmi as their center of the future at a questionably high price point. That turned out to be a catastrophe as the Frenchman has failed to live up to the contract. Instead, the Wizards relied on veteran Marcin Gortat for a number of seasons, before bringing in future Hall of Famer Dwight Howard to start last season. Due to a butt injury, Howard’s reign never transpired and Bryant took the early opportunity for playing time and produced a career-best season average about 10 points and 7 rebounds per outing. At 22 years old, Bryant has showcased a ton of potential proving a solid defender with more shooting range than a typical five. Losing in the NBA isn’t fun for anyone, but low expectations provide ample opportunities for players looking to prove themselves and Bryant fits the bill.

When NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced his name, a lot of people were skeptical of the Wizards’ most recent NBA Draft lottery pick, but Rui Hachimura has so far silenced his doubters. While it’s undeniably early in his career, three games at time of writing, he’s been incredibly impressive averaging 16 points per game. As with Bryant, bad teams provide young players the opportunity to step onto the court and experience a litany of game scenarios. So far, Hachimura has made the most of his reps, whether a young international prospect at Gonzaga, the leader of the Japanese national team or as a rookie for the Wizards, and he’ll only continue to make strides as a scorer.

Unlike the players above him on this admittedly shortlist, Isaiah Thomas’ time with the Wizards is likely a temporary marriage. The diminutive guard has had a strange career journey, peaking during his time in Celtic green and bottoming out last season with a not-so-successful stint for the Denver Nuggets. This doesn’t mean that Thomas’ days won’t provide some of the “wow” from yesteryear, but it’s likely his best days are ahead of him. Despite this, Thomas, who stands at about 5’9,” is one of the most entertaining players to watch when he has it going. The point guard may not be long for the District, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy him while he’s here.



For more information about the Washington Wizards, visit





NEW & NOTABLE Photo: courtesy of Sunday Morning Bakehouse

By Lani Furbank On Tap keeps locals in the know about the hottest new food and drink spots around town and the top culinary happenings of the month. Read on to get the inside scoop on what’s new and notable in the DC area.

Corner Office


Open: September 17 Location: Downtown Lowdown: The W Hotel’s $50 million renovation brought with it brand new dining concepts, including a social convivial pizza and beer garden. Corner Office, so named for its prime location on the corner of 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue, has a spacious outdoor patio with large communal tables and a trendy underground bar indoors. The menu is overseen by chef de cuisine William Morris, who sweats the details of his pies – like the perfect dough recipe and the highest quality ingredients. There are eight different pizzas, each charred in wood-fired ovens. The combinations range from the classic artisan pepperoni to the luxe truffle hunter with buffalo mozzarella, black truffle puree and shaved truffles. The pies are the perfect companion for the extensive beer selection of nearly 50 drafts. In the warmer months, the garden is home to bocce courts and umbrellas. As the temperatures drop, the courts will turn into curling rinks and heat lamps will keep things nice and toasty. A nod to the hotel’s motto of “crossing the party line,” the patio features a mural of an elephant and a donkey enjoying pizzas and beer with their critter friends. 515 15th St. NW, DC;

Open: October 11 Location: Navy Yard Lowdown: When the Daikaya Group plans a new concept, they begin with a narrative. At Hatoba, their third Sapporo-style ramen shop, that narrative is one inspired by Kappabashi, a street in Tokyo overflowing with specialty restaurant supply stores. Picture a ship arriving from Japan and setting up a restaurant supply showroom inside the old navy boilermaker building – that’s Hatoba. (The owner is also an avid baseball fan, of both the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters and of course, the neighboring Nationals.) Soup bowls, bento boxes, sake carafes and paper lanterns line the walls and front windows, and the bathrooms broadcast the audio from Japanese baseball games. The menu is depicted in shokuhin sampuru – Japanese food models – and it’s distinct from both Daikaya and Haikan. After an intensive R&D trip in Sapporo, where there are more than 1,000 ramen shops, the team decided they wanted to showcase the breadth of the regional cuisine, while remaining true to tradition and carrying on their characteristic obsession with details. Befitting the location and the restaurant’s name (meaning dock or wharf), there are two seafood-forward bowls: the red miso clam and the spicy red miso. Along with the more common shio (with a hint of yuzu) and garlic shoyu, there is a unique vegan offering: the tomato curry. The can-centric beverage program is a playful nod to the nearby baseball stadium, offering local and Japanese beers, sake, cocktails, wine, coffees, teas and sodas. 300 Tingey St. #170, SE, DC;



PLNT Burger

Sunday Morning Bakehouse

Open: September 12 Location: Silver Spring Lowdown: “Eat the change you wish to see in the world” is printed on signs, food wrappers and menus in the Whole Foods restaurant kiosk that houses PLNT Burger. This phrase embodies the ethos of the plant-based fast casual concept by celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn and his partners, Julie Farkas and Benjamin Kaplan. They’re endeavoring to democratize the plant-based movement by making meatless burgers available to diners from any background. The food is kosher; the registers accept cash; and the prices start at $6.95 for a burger. The team is passionate about plants because of their potential to feed people in an energy-efficient manner that’s better for people and the environment. But beyond that, their goal is to make indulgent, craveable satisfying burgers – without meat, and without sacrificing flavor. The menu is succinct, with four burgers starring hand-formed patties made from Beyond Meat. One of the most popular selections is a mushroom bacon BBQ burger, stacked with vegan cheddar, mushroom “bacon,” bloomies and house BBQ sauce. The bloomies are one of the side options – incredibly addictive miniature fried onion blooms – along with herbed fries and sweet potato crinkle fries. A burger and fries isn’t complete without ice cream, so don’t skip the oat milk soft serve made exclusively for PLNT Burger by Dolcezza Gelato. 833 Wayne Ave. Silver Spring, MD;

Open: October 1 Location: North Bethesda Lowdown: Though she loved to bake from a young age, Caroline Yi had always written off the idea of owning a bakery as a pipe dream. She never expected to be baking around the clock to keep up with demand at her first business. Sunday Morning Bakehouse is truly a family operation, owned by Yi and her sister Alex, with help from their parents and other relatives. Yi recalls learning to bake with her aunt, and says it feels like things have come full circle for her family, as her grandfather owned a bakery where her aunt and uncle worked long before she was born. She’s named her bakery after her favorite day of the week growing up – the day when her father, a business owner, was home for breakfast and her family would spend time together. Now it’s her busiest workday. Her journey in baking has been primarily self-taught, though she also did stints at A Baked Joint and bakeries in New York before opening a farmers market stall that would routinely sell out of fan favorites like croissants with the perfect honeycomb structure. She seems to have found a recipe for success with her warm and minimalist storefront, filled with natural light, neutral hues and light wood. The menu offers breakfast all day, with sandwiches, toasts and assorted pastries paired with Ceremony Coffee. In the coming weeks, Yi plans to keep the shop open later and transition into a wine bar in the evenings, with pizzas and baguettes to accompany cheese and charcuterie boards. 11869 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda, MD;

Photo: courtesy of Corner Office Hatoba // Photo: Albert Ting

PLNT Burger // Photo: Rey Lopez

Photo: courtesy of Sunday Morning Bakehouse | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


Trummer’s // Photo: Jennifer Chase

DMV Black Restaurant Week Dates: November 3-10 Location: Restaurants in DC, MD and VA Lowdown: The second annual DMV Black Restaurant Week spotlights and supports black-owned hospitality businesses while creating pathways for future restaurant and bar entrepreneurs. Co-founders Dr. Erinn Tucker, chef Furard Tate and Andra “AJ” Johnson curate the event with more than 30 participating restaurants around the region. Diners can enjoy deals on prix-fixe menus or receive discounts on purchases at various hot spots, including Ben’s Chili Bowl, Calabash, DCity Smokehouse, Halfsmoke, Wicked Bloom and more. Throughout the week, there will also be signature events like a cocktail competition, a business conference and an awards and scholarship gala. Various locations around the DMV;

DC beer lovers sold out the eighth annual Snallygaster on Pennsylvania Avenue on October 12, featuring 400 of the craftiest craft beers and ciders from 150-plus producers against a backdrop of food trucks, live music, fun and games.



Photos: Mark Raker Photography

The New Trummer’s Open: October 1 Location: Clifton Lowdown: In just a month, Trummer’s On Main got a facelift, revamped the menu and reopened as just Trummer’s. Without erasing the restaurant’s small-town-charm-meets-fine-dining-fare appeal, the makeover has enhanced the welcoming atmosphere and brought new fire to the kitchen – literally, with an imported French rotisserie oven. Victoria and Stefan Trummer have owned the Austrian-influenced American bistro on Main Street for 10 years, and this renovation is the first since the opening. The simplified menu now stars spit-roasted meats, seafood and vegetables, as well as a few familiar favorites and of course, the signature Titanic cocktail. 7134 Main St. Clifton, VA;

Find your gameday beach at these locations and grab an ice cold Corona or Corona Light this season! Maddy’s Tap Room The Brighton Public Bar Live The Midlands Beer Garden Lou’s City Bar

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern Walters Sports Bar The Bottom Line Rocket Bar Pitchers

Nellie’s Sports Bar Cleveland Park Bar & Grill Exiles El Bebe

WHAT’S ON TAP? Greetings, beer nerds! As you know, there are a number of fantastic spots in the DMV where you can grab a pint, and their menus are always evolving and adapting to your tastes. If you’d rather avoid the guessing game, check out what’s up next at a few of these locations.

MONDAYS, NOVEMBER 4, 11, 18, 25


Geeks Who Drink Trivia Night You don’t have to hate Mondays – instead, you can enjoy Geeks Who Drink Trivia Night. There are eight rounds of audio, visual and live hosted trivia. Also, you can win awards if your team manages to answer bonus questions correctly. 8-10 p.m. Free to attend. The Bier Baron Tavern and Comedy Loft: 1523 22nd St. NW, DC;

Cider Cocktails Workshop Tory Pratt, the founder of Pratt Standard Cocktail Company, is giving you the chance to get hands-on experience and learn how to make any cider cocktail. You will learn cocktail history and techniques. At this event, you get two cider-based cocktails and a cider tasting. At the end of the event, you walk away with the ability to make classic and custom cocktails. There are full food and drink menus that are available for purchase. 7-8 p.m. Tickets $25. Capitol Cider House: 3930 Georgia Ave. NW, DC;

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5 The Beer Pantry Come and enjoy a five-course craft beer dinner. Each part of your meal will relate to a certain beer and the evening’s entertainment includes author-chef Adam Duly discussing his book The Beer Pantry. A copy is included in the ticket price. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets $80-85. The Fourth Estate Restaurant at The National Press Club: 529 14th St. 13th floor, NW, DC; Profs & Pints: Are Humans Naturally Good or Bad? Are humans naturally good or naturally bad? Rui Diogo, an evolutionary biologist, returns to talk to guests about this topic at Church Hall. He will look through sciences, anthropology, history, sociology and more. Diogo will examine empirical data to see what it says about our basic nature. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets: $12-$15. Church Hall: 1070 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC;

WEDNESDAYS, NOVEMBER 6, 13, 20, 27 The Comment Section Comedy Show Every Wednesday, you can experience a stand-up comedy show with a twist, as the event includes a comic performance, and four comic commentators who write comments cards. Upon conclusion, the host of the show reads the best of comments resulting in a full-on flame war, complete with massive trolling, among the comics. Think social media threads, only in real life. Event starts at 7 p.m. Free to attend. Capitol Cider House: 3930 Georgia Ave. NW, DC;

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8 Last Call: Brewing History After-Hours Beer tasting, brewing history and appetizers galore. You’ll get to sample brews across the spectrum of the craft beer revolution, including tastings from Dogfish Head, Anchor Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Raleigh Brewing Company. You can also enjoy a conversation with the de facto founders of craft beer: Fritz Maytag, Ken Grossman, Charlie Papazian and Michael Lewis. Come for the beer, stay for the after-hours access to the food exhibit. 6:30-9 p.m. Tickets $45. National Museum of American History: 14th Street and Constitutional Avenue in NW, DC;



SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 DC Beerathon Get ready for the eighth annual DC Beerathon. A single ticket grants you the ability to taste 26 different beers at 13 venues. After you check-in, you will get a badge that tells you the names of the participating venues. Your friendly bartenders will serve you their designated beer after they hole punch your badge. No need to rush from location to location, as you can go to any participating bar in any order. Check-in begins 12 p.m. at El Rey. Tickets $50-$55. El Rey: 919 U St. NW, DC; Rootstock: A Celebration of Mid-Atlantic Cider and Music Local cider, local music, local food! It starts with unlimited samples of more than 50 ciders made in the region. You can meet the people behind the cider. If you like what you taste, you can go to retail tables to buy your favorites. Enjoy live music from two local bands and don’t forget your favorite local food will also be available to purchase. With your ticket, you will receive a free souvenir tasting glass. 12-4 p.m. Tickets start at $46.16. Hook Hall: 3400 Georgia Ave NW, DC; Team DC Challenge Cup Competition You and your five-member team have a chance to win the first Challenge Cup ever. Compete in four exciting events: darts, beer pong, Super Mario Kart racing and team trivia. If your team makes it to the final round, you can compete in team flip cup races. The victor has their name engraved on the Challenge Cup. The winning team gets a two-hour private party at Pitchers. Every participant gets a free T-shirt. 11:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. Tickets $25 per person or $125 per team. Pitchers: 2317 18th St. NW, DC;

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17 Lost Rhino Oilers Meet Up If you are a car, truck or bike enthusiast, then this event is for you. You can swap stories and talk shop. Feel free to show off your sick ride – your original, new or restored vehicle. Free to attend. 12-4 p.m. Lost Rhino: 21730 Red Rum Dr. #142, Ashburn, VA;


SweetWater Brewing Company • Atlanta, Georgia • • Please enjoy responsibly.




Profs & Pints: Getting Down in Downton Abbey If you like Maggie Smith and think she is a treasure, this might be the event for you. Join Julie Taddeo, a professor of British history at the University of Maryland, as she talks about sex and sexuality in Downton Abbey. Taddeo will compare this costume drama to others like Poldark, Peaky Blinders and Call the Midwife. You will get insight on how accurate these TV shows represent the past. Doors open at 6 p.m. Advance Tickets: $12. Door: $15. The Bier Baron Tavern and Comedy Loft: 1523 22nd St. NW, DC;

November Brewmaster Tour Visit the 19th-century home of Christian Heurich, a historic DC brewer. Enjoy the hour-long guided tour of the museum and a local craft beer tasting. Every person will receive one beer flight that features 4-oz. pours of three local beers. After the tour, you can mingle in the conservatory and purchase full beers. 5-6:30 p.m. Tickets $30. Heurich House Museum: 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC;

7 Locks 4th Anniversary Party 7 Locks is celebrating its fourth anniversary. It is also Drinksgiving! For the celebration, 7 Locks is releasing four beers. When you attend, you can also enjoy live music from Pressing Strings. Have fun by participating in a blind taste test with the chance of getting a tin taker of choice. The celebration is complete with a free slice of La Bohemia Bakery birthday cake, commemorative rocks glass, food and a guest book for you to share. 4-11 p.m. Free to attend. 7 Locks Brewing: 12227 Wilkins Ave. Rockville, MD;

Painting & Pints: Starry Night Are you a fan of Banksy, Frida Kahlo, Vincent van Gogh or art in general? Well, this is your chance to paint and drink beer. Enjoy “wining and designing,” but with local, award-winning craft beer instead. Your ticket includes your first pint. All design levels are encouraged to participate. 6-8 p.m. Tickets $30. Fair Winds Brewing Company: 7000 Newington Rd. Lorton, VA;

Alexandria Cider Festival Did you know there are more than 10 Virginia cideries? Well, you have the opportunity to enjoy a selection of them. Your ticket includes a souvenir glass, live music and fun fall activities. Food trucks will also be present. 1-5 p.m. Tickets $45-$55. Office of Historic Alexandria: 220 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA;


Drinksgiving Come and have a drink before you cook your turkey. This Thanksgiving Eve, you can enjoy a late-night happy hour with friends. It also helps you avoid your family for a bit. Enjoy craft beers, house wines and beer-shot combos. 10:30 p.m. - 12 a.m. Free to attend. City Tap House Penn Quarter: 901 9th St. NW, DC;

ROAD TRIP: VIRGINIA CIDER WEEK EDITION Take the scenic route and enjoy a weekend getaway during Virginia Cider Week from November 15-24. Check out some of our staff picks below and learn more at

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15 Kick Off Virginia Cider Week FIREFLY is inviting you to help them preemptive kick off Virginia Cider Week. All week long, there will be more than a dozen Virginia ciders on tap or available by bottle, can or glass. Come and meet local cidermakers and get a chance to win prizes from your favorite area cideries. There will be cider-centric food pairings throughout Cider Week. 5 p.m. - 12 a.m. Free to attend. FIREFLY Restaurant and Arcade: 1304 E. Market St. Charlottesville, VA;

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 Cider Making Workshop Have you ever wanted to craft hard cider? Well, now you can. Winchester Ciderworks’ Stephen Schuurman has a workshop where you will go through small-batch processing. Participants will learn about pressing, commercial yeasts, natural fermentations and additions to cider for added flavors. 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Tickets $60. Winchester Ciderworks: 2504 N. Frederick Pike, Winchester, VA;



Cidermaker’s Dinner Have you ever wanted to enjoy a five-course dinner? Well, this is your chance to have a five-course dinner with a cidermaker. Enjoy your meal with a selection of seasonal ciders. Starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets TBA. Shagbark: 4901 Libbie Mill E. Blvd. Richmond, VA; Potter’s Tasting Room Grand Opening The brand-new tasting room is open for the public to enjoy. Join Potter’s Craft Cider Tasting Room in an all-day celebration with food, live music and lots of cider. Check the website for more details. 12-9 p.m. Free to attend. Potter’s Craft Cider: 209 Monticello Rd. Charlottesville, VA;

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17 Cider Smackdown You can be a judge for the blind tasting of single varietal Harrison ciders. Taste cider, take notes, vote on your favorite and crown the best cider as the winner! 2-4 p.m. Tickets $15. Albemarle Ciderworks: 2545 Rural Ridge Ln. North Garden, VA;

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20 Cider Pairing Dinner Zynodoa, a modern farm-to-table restaurant, is inviting you to their four-course dinner. Zynodoa is collaborating with the cidermaker, and staff of Big Fish Cider Co. Have a great meal, learn about cider styles, and learn about cider stories. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $55. Zynodoa: 115 E. Beverley St. Staunton, VA;

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23 Coastal Virginia Cider Fest Come and join Sly Clyde Ciderworks as they host Virginia craft cideries throughout the Commonwealth. There will be food trucks and a maker’s fair with local craft vendors. The tickets include Cider Fest entry, unlimited 3-oz. tastes, a souvenir tasting glass, and all the Cider Love Sly Clyde Ciderworks can share. Come on down and celebrate. 12-6 p.m. Tickets $38. Sly Clyde Ciderworks: 207 E. Mellen St. Hampton, VA;

Imperial Stout Aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels

Every batch of Dark Hollow is patiently aged in charred American oak bourbon barrels, absorbing the deep characteristics of both whiskey and wood. The result is our ever-popular imperial stout—rich with notes of bourbon, caramel and vanilla, and uniquely satisfying every time.





By Chelsea Bailey

Photos: Chelsea Bailey

Lately, it seems like there is a new beer hall or garden opening up every day in the DMV. But what makes these new locations different from all the rest? How does each plan to stand apart when consumers have so many options? The people behind Astro Beer Hall downtown and The Garden in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood have each found creative ways to answer those questions. From crafting an out-of-thisworld food and beverage menu to constructing a beer garden dedicated to community, each location brings personality and passion to an already burgeoning scene.


Astro Beer Hall opened in early October in the former Mackey’s Public House location. The new space-themed spot is the brainchild of the teams behind Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, with locations downtown and in Falls Church, and bar and restaurant development group Tin Shop, known for Penn Social in Penn Quarter, Georgetown’s Church Hall and Ivy City’s Big Chief, among others. We sat down with Elliot Spaisman of Astro and Peter Bayne of Tin Shop to chat about how they came up with the concept for their beer hall, their selection of brews and what plans they have for the future. On Tap: What was the inspiration for Astro Beer Hall’s concept? Peter Bayne: We had all met about six years ago and kept in touch. When this spot became available, everything fell into place. They had doughnuts and we had beer. Beer pairs so well with fried chicken. It felt like the perfect fit.



OT: Was the plan always to make the beer hall space-themed? PB: We wanted to make sure that the design was in line with Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken’s branding. We wanted something that was warm, vibrant and captured the Astro brand. OT: What makes Astro unique to other beer halls? PB: No one else is doing a full coffee shop that then converts to a bar in the evening and is making fresh fried chicken and doughnuts. OT: If you could turn any of your doughnuts into a beer, which would it be? Elliot Spaisman: Crème brûlée for sure, or maybe the maple bacon. Both would make a delicious stout. OT: How many taps do you have? PB: We have 19 taps upstairs and 20 downstairs, including a nitro cold brew coffee tap. OT: How many local beers are on tap? PB: We have six lines that are dedicated to local beers. We have tourists and a lot of people coming through looking for local products, so we wanted to make sure that we were celebrating the local beers on our draft list.

Astro Beer Hall

The Garden | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


OT: Will you be doing beer and doughnut pairings in the future? PB: We want to figure it out. It’s too much fun not to do. Right now, we are focused on getting started, but [we] intend to have fun with the food Astro offers. Astro Beer Hall is open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m. and Sundays 12-8 p.m. Stop by 4-7 p.m. on Monday through Friday for happy hour specials. For more info, visit and follow the beer hall on social media @astrobeerhall. Astro Beer Hall: 1306 G St. NW, DC;


OWNERS JEREMY BARBER + JUSTUS FRANK On the other side of the river in Alexandria, Justus Frank and Jeremy Barber – who own Del Ray staples Live Oak and Charlie’s on the Avenue – are settling into their latest venture, The Garden. Formerly a garden center, the full-blown beer garden opened in Del Ray this summer next door to Charlie’s. We caught up with the owners about their newest addition to Alexandria’s food and drink scene. On Tap: What is unique about The Garden? Justus Frank: Each of our locations has a different focus. Live Oak is more of a craft cocktail and wine-centric restaurant. Charlie’s is a sports bar, so it has a fair amount of beer. But we wanted The Garden to be different. We wanted to create something that was beer-centric but not German beer-focused – an American beer garden, if you will. The majority of our beer is locally sourced. We try to support local craft beer places such as Ocelot, Aslin and Port City. OT: Who curates The Garden’s beer list? JF: Will Witherow is our beverage director. He’s the essential ingredient for making this all happen. He has ties with local breweries and has built great relationships that have helped him curate our drink list. We currently have 16 draft beers and three cocktails on tap. OT: What is your most popular beer right now? Jeremy Barber: Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat is selling like crazy. We also have two Oktoberfest beers on draft that are popular.

Photos: Alan Kelly Photography

OT: As the weather gets colder, do you have any beer alternatives for guests? JF: We are offering hot liquor drinks, spiked ciders, spiked Manhattans [and] hot cocoa, which can become a Belle Isle coffee moonshine drink.

Rosslyn Cider Fest on October 17 featured eight different cideries serving samples of their best stuff, a s’mores fire pit, live music from Justin Trawick and The Common Good, food trucks and more.



OT: What has been the best beer moment for you since opening? JF: The best beer moment for us was looking at how many spent barrels were in the “keg graveyard” after week one. We had like 31 empty kegs. We couldn’t have imagined that that much beer could’ve been consumed over a week. The Garden is open Monday through Sunday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. The spot opens at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and will also be open throughout the fall. Follow The Garden on social media @thegardendelray. The Garden: 1503 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA;

L to R: Blake Peterson, Dan Vilarrubi, Hasan Ali and Will Cook // Photo: Natalia Kolenko

Evoken // Photo: Melissa Suarez-Skinner

ADCsLongNeededMetalVenue tlasBrewWorks By Natalia Kolenko



DC is home to some of the best concert venues in the country, hosting musicians from a variety of genres who play to crowds big and small. Even still, the city’s metal community has often struggled to find a locale that regularly books metal shows – that is, until a few years ago when Ivy City’s Atlas Brew Works expanded beyond beer to support the genre. “There was no venue where you could just go hang out, have a beer and listen to metal,” explains Will Cook, brewer emeritus and director of heavy metal operations at Atlas, which opened its doors in 2013. Hasan Ali, who books shows for Atlas and runs Ripping Headache Promotions, agrees with Cook. “People would either have to go to Baltimore or Richmond to see a [metal] band,” he says. But soon after Ali began booking for the brewery, “Atlas became recognizable as a legit venue [and] DC [became] a notable spot for metal on the East Coast.” It all began in 2016 when Atlas – which has several metalheads on staff – agreed to host the holiday party for local blog DC Heavy Metal. When the event proved successful, the brewery began hosting more and more metal shows until eventually, it became a permanent fixture on the scene. Since then, Ali says Atlas has hosted more than 100 shows with people coming from as far as Pennsylvania, North Carolina and even L.A. to catch the bands. But this isn’t to say that the Atlas team ever expected to host this many shows when they started. The brewery had no stage or music equipment to speak of, according to Cook, so artists brought in their own PA systems and light fixtures. But when the shows kept coming, Cook and his team bought the supplies necessary to become a more viable music venue. Now, the stage is set up in the beer production area and taken down postshow so brewing operations can resume the next day. While balancing operations as both a music venue and a brewery has proven challenging at times, the Atlas team agrees that it’s helped give the brewery an edge – and brought people to their space who might not have stopped by otherwise. “The fact that we have live music here definitely adds a lot to the atmosphere of the brewery and gives us some amount of identity that we wouldn’t have had otherwise,” says Blake Peterson, tap room general manager and singer/guitarist for extreme metal band Lyceum. “It’s something that sets us apart from other breweries in the area.”

I never knew how special this place was until I heard bands from outside the country say this is the coolest venue theyve ever seen It’s also fun to have the chance to hang around the brewery after work and catch a show, adds head brewer Dan Vilarrubi. Plus, Cook says they’ve had the opportunity to meet some of their favorite bands. The team agrees that putting on shows has been a great experience for Atlas, but just as rewarding is the feedback they get from the bands who come through. “I’ve heard when other venues host metal shows, attendance will be poor,” Ali says. “Or I’ll hear bands say the staff isn’t really pleasant or accommodating. And they’ll tell me, ‘I really wish you did the show and we played at Atlas instead.’” Cook has also heard stories of bands who’ve had bad experiences at other DC venues. “We didn’t want that here at Atlas,” he says. “We wanted to be as friendly to bands as possible.” That includes not taking a cut of the ticket sales or taking money from the band in any way. Musicians are also offered beer and food on the house. And the brewery’s noteworthy reputation isn’t just recognized in the States. Bands from across the world have looked to play at Atlas, including Conan from the U.K., Pseudogod from Russia and Sinmara from Iceland, to name a few. Notable DC bands like Genocide Pact and Ilsa and Richmond’s Inter Arma round out the brewery’s sterling reputation in the world of metal. “Pretty much every band is so stoked to play here, and they love the beer – including bands from other countries,” Peterson says. “I never knew how special this place was until I heard bands from outside the country say this is the coolest venue they’ve ever seen.” Some of the bands who’ve played Atlas have even had beer brewed specifically for their show. Ali mentions they had Batch 666 on tap for Chicago-based instrumental doom band Bongripper. Other beers, like Temple of Void and Evoken, have been named after some of the team’s favorite bands. When it comes to their individual go-to

Crypt Sermon // Photo: Melissa Suarez-Skinner

brews during metal shows, Peterson goes for NSFW, Cook enjoys Silent Neighbor or Ponzi, Ali likes Ponzi, and Vilarrubi drinks Batch 666. As for the future of Atlas as a music venue, the team just hopes to keep improving the quality of shows and continue booking great bands to play the brewery. “It’s kind of selfish because we get to have all these bands play at our brewery and we get to meet them,” Cook says. “I’m talking about the underground bands that you just love and want to meet. It’s cool to hang out with them, but also to hear they really enjoyed their time playing here.” Catch metal shows at Atlas on November 2, 7, 14, 22, 23 and 29. For the full lineup and more info, visit Follow Atlas on social media @atlasbrewworks. Atlas Brew Works: 2052 West Virginia Ave. NE, DC 202-832-0420; | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


Last Call’s Aperol Schlitz // Photo: Rey Lopez


Bar the

Inside Union Market’s Thriving Cocktail Scene By Lanna Nguyen Neighborhoods grow, dynamics shift, and restaurants and bars find their groove among these transitions. For Union Market, a neighborhood that’s recently seen dramatic change, there’s plenty of room for everyone to enjoy a drink. Whether a dive bar or a sophisticated sushi spot, the message is clear: all guests are welcome to take part in the conviviality that only comes from a shared drinking experience.



Gina Chersevani’s Union Market footprint continues to grow this fall with her love letter to dive bars, Last Call, which opened in late October. The proprietor of bagel, soda shop classics, and cocktail-themed Buffalo & Bergen and nostalgic, cocktail-slinging airstream Suburbia is setting up shop just steps from Union Market. This new spot pays homage to watering holes from a bygone era when quality drinks and affordable price tags were the standard. Amid the new high-rises and shiny eateries, Chersevani identifies a missing Union Market element: a corner bar, a neighborhood pub, a local gathering spot – all things that once dominated the scene. Chersevani’s vision for bringing back that culture and creating a space where “you can be in and out of there for $15 bucks” comes to life at Last Call. “I want to refresh what your vision of your local watering hole is,” she says. “I want to refresh what a dive really is. A dive is a place to hang out, have great conversation [and] chill with your friends.” Upon entry, guests are greeted by a long bar. The bones of the space haven’t seen much change from the building’s past life as a retro cafeteria, other than the removal of decades worth of grime and buildup. Blue, green and white-colored facades were revealed after weeks of scrubbing the walls, and the team decided to keep them as a nod to the past. Another design quirk is the alley door painted green – perhaps a vestige from the days of Prohibition marking the spot as a booze-friendly locale, with stories from neighbors strengthening the myth. From the history to the innate charm, everything about the space seemed to be the “right fit for me,” according to Chersevani. “It spoke to my soul,” she says of the space. Cocktails are inspired by old-school favorites, travels and drinks from past haunts. A frozen Irish coffee comes by way of Chersevani’s penchant for the version served up at New Orleans’ bar Erin Rose, a must-stop for her when visiting the Big Easy. Another drink dubbed the 169 Bar, a carbonated old fashioned, gives a nod to the historic New York City bar of the same name. And there’s even a divey take on the Aperol spritz: an Aperol Schlitz. The food menu is influenced by staff favorites, featuring “a rotation of sandwiches inspired by dive bars we love from across the country.” Whether you’re a local or someone stopping in for the first time, Chersevani wants all guests to feel at home. A visit to Last Call “should be fun, and you should want to be a little dancy.” When Queen comes on and the familiar sounds of “Another One Bites the Dust” signal the end of the night at Last Call, what will you find Chersevani drinking? Miller High Life. “Ice-cold beer [and the] ‘dun dun dun’ of Queen always remind me of pure fun.” 1301-A Fourth St. NE, DC

APEROL SCHLITZ 1.5 oz. Aperol 5 oz. Schlitz beer Orange slice to garnish



Gina Chersevani // Photo: Rey Lopez



Alvaro Umaña // Photos: courtesy of O-Ku O-Ku Martini

O-KU As one of the first standalone restaurants to open outside of Union Market, this DC offshoot of the Southern-based Japanese eatery focuses heavily on fresh ingredients and elevating customer experiences. O-Ku Beverage Director Alvaro Umaña weaves seasonal flavors into his cocktail menu, playing off of what the kitchen works on to “enhance the experience and the food.” For example, a carpaccio dish featuring green apples is hitting the menu soon, an apt pairing for a highball Umaña is finalizing that will include a green apple shrub. “We switch the menu at the same time the kitchen does,” he says. “I want to put items on the menu that really go with the food we’re serving and really enhance it.” What makes the Union Market locale stand out from other O-Ku locations? With the exception of a few staples on the menu that remain constant across all locations, the spot offers a larger variety of products. “Other than [a] couple of items, we really run free,” Umaña continues. “We’re empowered to do what we feel is best, and I think that’s really been one of the keys to [our] success.” The O-Ku team has seen their fair share of locals come through the doors, in addition to out-of-towners who recognize the brand from its Southern counterparts. With an eclectic customer base, it can be challenging to curate a drink list that appeals to regulars and newcomers alike. “One thing we like to do is change our menu regularly,” Umaña notes. “But if there are select seasonal items, let’s not shy away from them because they’re not on the menu. The flexibility to add and build [upon] the menu is what helps keep everyone excited.” Boasting a lineup of stellar whisky and gin, O-Ku’s cocktail offerings are also impressive. “We have a lot of great cocktails,” the beverage director adds. “The one that O-Ku is known the most for is the Sugar and Spice.” The mix of habanero-infused vodka with passion fruit is “wildly popular” among guests, but the most impactful drink on the menu for Umaña is a simple martini. Guests choose a base of Japanese rice vodka or Japanese botanical gin, which gets mixed with one part sake for an effervescent take on the classic cocktail. As a gateway sake drink for a lot of his guests, he notes that the soft introduction to the spirit is appealing to those who may have preconceived notions about it. It’s rewarding for Umaña to see the genuine experience when guests opt in for trying something out of their comfort zone and are pleasantly surprised. “It’s nice to see someone veer away from what they traditionally have. It changes their perspective when people are willing to give it a chance.” Umaña’s martini is the embodiment of the restaurant’s aesthetic: “simple yet flavorful, which is what we strive to do at O-Ku.” 1274 5th St. NE, DC;

O-KU MARTINI 1 1/2 oz. Roku Gin or Haku Vodka 3/4 oz. Spring Snow Sake Stir cocktail + garnish with lemon twist






Rowdy parties, annoying drunks, terrible tips, bad decisions, strange drink orders – these are just some of what bartenders and bar employees must deal with, especially later in the night. And they have to be equipped to handle it well. They are also the folks who have seen it all. In this light look at funny stories from around town, we asked some of DC’s bar employees what their most memorable late-night customer memories were. This just-for-fun piece showcases some anonymous drink industry memories of late-night shenanigans that have left their mark.




a Kris Aparn


Extra Hot, Please! This beverage director at a trendy local hotel bar is accustomed to helping guests stumble back to their rooms after last call and is therefore used to some unusual asks. But this harmless one really brought the heat. “We get a fair amount of weird orders, especially later in the night. For a week, we had an elderly hotel guest come down after dinner and ask for warm London dry gin, neat. We actually had to put it under the espresso steamer until it was hot.”

Avant-Garde or Bizarre? Taste buds can work in strange ways, and we all have our own idiosyncrasies. But at what point do they go beyond being “interesting” to just weird? “We once had a guy, a regular at the time, who would add hot sauce to his glass of water. No kidding. As a Mexican spot, we have a range of salsas and house-made, bottled hot sauces, and he would try a different one each time – in his water, that is. His favorite was the green chili salsa, medium hot.”

Boom, It’s a Magnum! Another beverage manager proceeded to tell us about this episode. We can’t tell you where this happened, but we can tell you this is an upscale bar in DC with a great – and expensive – wine list. “It was a busy night at the bar, as we had multiple large parties seated and bottles of wine were flying off the shelf. There was one group celebrating a friend’s recent engagement, and they were going all out on some really nice, expensive bottles of wine. About two hours in, one of the guys came up to the bar and asked for a magnum bottle (1.5 liters) on his tab to toast his friends. Great idea, right? So far, yes. I said I would bring it right over, but he insisted that he would take it back to the table. Now, this was a pricey bottle, so I said, “I need to go and retrieve it and will bring it to the table with glasses.” But he was persistent and said he would wait. I brought it back and opened it and handed it to him, and he started to walk away while I got the glasses ready on a tray to take to them. The next thing I heard was a huge shattering sound and a collective gasp. He had dropped the bottle.”

Loaded Tots Sometimes there’s nothing better than a plate of fried food at 2 a.m. to soak up the evening’s indulgences, right? But literally soaking it up might be just a tad much. “By far the oddest combination I have seen is a customer who ordered tater tots and then added on – I should say really doused them – with a shot of Jägermeister. I don’t know if the guy was drunk and mistook the shot for ketchup (he did ask for that too and it was right next to the shot), or if it was intentional. He did finish up the tots, so I guess it was good. I don’t know. I don’t think I could do it. I don’t think I want to do it.”

No order-shaming here, but he probably didn’t wake up with a hangover the next morning… “We have specials at the bar every night, and on this particular night, it happened to be a pickleback: a shot of Jameson chased by a shot of pickle juice. It’s pretty popular and we were selling a lot of them that night. This guy came up to the bar with a couple of his friends, and they all ordered picklebacks. But then he wanted to customize the order [with] an entire glass of pickle juice instead of just the shot. I wasn’t sure how much or how big of a glass he wanted, but he told me that instead of a beer chaser, he wanted a pickle chaser. So, I gave him a pint of pickle juice. But here’s the best part: the three of them did another two picklebacks that night, and he had a pint of it each time!”

DC Fray hosted an open-bar Halloween Bash at Grand Central DC on October 25 with a live DJ, costume contest and open bar. Participants got in the spooky spirit and showed off their best costumes while celebrating with friends. | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP

Photos: Kimchi Photography

Pickle Juice, Pickle Juice, Pickle Juice


DC’s Director of

Reflects on First Year

By M.K. Koszycki

Shawn Townsend // Photo: Trent Johnson


o embark on any new endeavor – creative, personal or professional – can be a daunting hill to climb for anyone, and DC government is no exception. Even with the support of Mayor Muriel Bowser and others, Shawn Townsend, who became the first-ever director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture (MONC) early this year, has a lot on his plate. His energy and excitement to be first in this role is apparent as is his mission: to make nightlife accessible to everyone. In addition to helping shape the position for the first time in the District’s history, Townsend’s tenure has been greeted with skepticism of which he’s well-aware. After a four-year stint at DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (also known as ABRA), he knew he could offer a unique perspective and wealth of experience to the city, but worried constituents would see him as another enforcer of the law. However, some of the public’s concerns were born from a simple misunderstanding of Townsend’s role. “Critics will say, ‘He comes from enforcement, so he’s going to be looking to write folks up and get people in trouble,’” he says. “But we don’t have any regulatory authority or enforcement authority. We’re simply here to connect the dots between stakeholders, businesses, residents and agencies. All of that helps make nightlife better.” Townsend’s role involves more listening and creative conflict resolution than anything else. He says his team hit the ground running on a wide array of issues since Mayor Bowser appointed him to the new position in November 2018, and they’ve resolved 98 percent of the 63 issues under their purview. He notes that one of his proudest moments so far involved helping a local music venue apply for a grant to receive funds for better noise abatement technology after receiving constant complaints. With a MONC letter of support and a grant application through the DC Department of Small & Local Business Development, the venue was able to make the necessary improvements to mitigate the noise and continue business. According to Townsend, it’s evidence that slowly but surely, he and his team are seeing the fruits of their labor. “The idea is to have someone on the government side serve as a liaison to the nightlife economy – to really put an emphasis on changing the dialogue from the city government thinking about life in the daytime to thinking about [and] allocating more resources to our life at night, because the cities have generated so much

revenue from [it]. It’s a catalyst for revenue and a catalyst for jobs, [and] for social inclusion [and] cultural diversity.” While this misunderstood territory is uncharted for DC, it’s not for other cities. They look to, and follow, the best practices of other locations with similar roles. Still, the District’s unique music history – Black Broadway, renowned venues, and iconic genres like go-go and hardcore, to name a few standouts – makes it a different beast to tackle altogether from a bureaucratic standpoint. With the added elements of nightlife safety and respecting the city’s creative legacies, Townsend must take into account the many intersections that exist within what happens on DC streets when the sun goes down. “When it comes to the culture piece, we’ve sat down with festival organizers,” he continues. “We’ve discussed the #Don’tMuteDC movement with artists and creatives. We have some artists and folks in the performing arts and creative industries on our nightlife and culture commission. So [we are] really having those conversations to figure out what the agenda is of the creatives, and how we can help push that agenda forward to other agencies and to the Mayor and say, ‘This is what we’re hearing on the ground.’” And while Townsend is quick to say he’s a fan of all nightlife in DC, he’s certainly taken office during a time both challenging and exciting to be at the helm of such a project. When asked about any standout moments that reflect how DC nightlife is changing, he mentions the poignancy of watching the Washington Mystics take home the WNBA championship trophy last month. “[At the] Entertainment and Sports Arena, standing there and seeing the clock wind down to a sold-out crowd and [the Mystics] bringing a championship trophy to Southeast was an experience for me,” he recalls. “I’ve been in the region since the early 90s, and I remember what that area used to be.” He says it touched him to see Monumental Sports and the Leonsis Family collaborate with local government and Events DC to help boost the economy in that quadrant of the nation’s capital. “It’s an example of us investing in parts of the city that don’t necessarily have nightlife amenities, including sports. I look forward to the expansion of the St. Elizabeths campus to have more nightlife.” The office has made great strides, and Townsend and his team hope to continue bridging creative and commercial gaps for years to come.

For more on MONC, visit and follow the office on social media @DCMONC. | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


A Day

Life in the






Photo: Trent Johnson


hen you think of hip-hop venues in DC, it’s probably fair to say that the Kennedy Center isn’t the first that comes to mind – but perhaps this sentiment is beginning to shift. In recent years, the nationally renowned institution has made exceptionally large steps toward taking hip-hop more seriously as a conduit for culture, including several festivals and concerts featuring performances by legendary stalwart Nas and Pulitzer Prize winner Kendrick Lamar. In 2016, A Tribe Called Quest co-founder Q-Tip became the Kennedy Center’s first artistic director for hip hop culture, and less than a year later, the center announced the appointment of Simone Eccleston as its first-ever director of hip hop culture and contemporary music. Since then, Eccleston has worked with Q-Tip and other members of the center’s hip hop culture council, which includes an impressive amount of star power and influence such as Questlove, LL Cool J, Big Boi, Common, MC Lyte and a score of others. Though Eccleston’s name may not evoke the same kind of awe from hip-hop heads as Q-Tip or Common, this doesn’t diminish her impact. Since taking on the mantle of director in this brand-new initiative, there’s undoubtedly been an uptick in programming investigating the cultural impacts of hip-hop, from workshops to film screenings and other intersectional events in-between. To learn more about her inaugural position at the helm of hip-hop culture, we spoke to Eccleston about her affinity for hip-hop, her ongoing mission and what she’s learned in the role.

On Tap: What are your earliest memories of hip-hop? Simone Eccleston: I think the first song that I remember knowing word for word was actually LL Cool J’s “Around the Way Girl.” I was 10 at that point. I think about the imagery of the video. It was so New York. It felt like these are the folks you see in your neighborhood. I felt like it reflected the women in my neighborhood and gave me a sense of pride in being a young black woman. OT: Are there other artists who stuck out to you in your formative years? SE: I think the people that really helped me fall in love with it and see myself reflected early on were MC Lyte and Queen Latifah. They were strong women who were incredible in terms of their lyricism [and] their stance on self-possession and ownership. I remember seeing them and having that inspiration and aspiration to be a woman of strength. OT: If you could’ve told that 10-year-old girl in the Bronx listening to LL Cool J, Queen Latifah and MC Lyte that in the future you’d be on the phone or FaceTiming these people, what would she have said? SE: My 10-year-old self would bust out with The Running Man [Laughs]. I will say this: not necessarily when I was 10, but when I was 16 [to] 25 through now, there was a part of me that always knew I would be working in service of the culture. I knew my life’s work and purpose would be tied to celebrating the genius of people of color. OT: Did you ever think you’d be in a role like this, focusing on the culture of hip-hop? SE: I remember when [the Kennedy Center] announced their commitment to hip-hop culture as a program in 2016, in the back of my mind I was thinking, “I want to be there.” Who would have thought I would be the inaugural director, working with Q-Tip and our incredible council? And yes, they may be star-studded, but they’re actually an incredible community who are so committed to being of service to the culture. They reflect the very best of who we are. OT: Is it ever surreal for you to be working with some of the people you credit with your love of the genre? SE: Yes, it can be surreal. But more than surreal, it’s incredibly humbling and gratifying. Being able to partner and collaborate with them to do this work is a gift and a blessing, and I don’t take it for granted. To be able to partner with someone like Q-Tip, who has deeply inspired my love of hip-hop and [A] Tribe [Called Quest] as a group – he’s such a visionary. He’s someone who’s so committed to ensuring that it’s never about him. It’s about the culture. You’ll never really see him trying to insert himself in particular ways. Instead, he’s like, “Use me so that way we can create space for others.” OT: Why has hip-hop resonated with you in such a profound way, to the point that you’d dedicate at least this part of your career to it? SE: There isn’t a place where hip-hop isn’t. Part of [the Kennedy Center’s] charge as an institution is not only to celebrate the tenets of the culture, but its intersections. You think about how hip-hop has informed fashion and film – it’s in practically all media content. Our role as an institution is to be able to create a space for all of that to be seen. Even if you think you don’t have a connection, you’re connected. Hip-hop not only shapes culture, it creates culture. | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


Hip-hop not only shapes culture, it creates culture.











NOV 22












OT: Why do you think it was so important for the Kennedy Center to make such a large commitment to hip-hop? SE: When you think about America’s art forms and when you think about hip-hop as a culture – not just about the music – I think that adds nuance, complexity and dynamism. It’s one mode of our ability to tell our stories and make ourselves visible. I think it was a platform for us to resist, even if the resistance was just us saying, “Hey, I’m here.” When you think about historically how we’ve been marginalized and the dismantling of our communities, hip-hop was a form of resistance. It was an opportunity to declare our presence amidst a society that was trying to erase us. OT: That being said, how have you approached the integration of hip-hop into the Kennedy Center’s programming? SE: Part of the impetus for us here is a celebration of hip-hop culture. For us, it’s about celebrating the genius of the culture and the genius of the communities that created it. This is about a centering of community and in ensuring that in this space, known as the nation’s performing arts center, we are truly reflective of the nation. You think about jazz being one of our greatest ambassadors, but hip-hop is equal if not greater when you think about the way it provides space on a national, [even] global level. You can see it when you go to different communities across the globe. People are using it as an opportunity to provide voice and visibility for themselves, but also to resist. OT: How have things grown at the Kennedy Center over the past two years? SE: At every show, there’s always a handful of people that come up and say, “Thank you.” [They’re] people who had never come to the Kennedy Center that now do. The institutional commitment to hip-hop culture as an anchor program came in 2016, but that wasn’t without years of groundwork being laid. What I’m seeing is clearly a growth in programming, but [also] a presence across the institution. You’ll have intersections with our special events. You’ll have intersections with our education department. You’ll see all of these different ways in which hip-hop is continuing to undergird the imprint and transform the work of the institution. OT: What are some things you’ve learned that you didn’t expect? SE: Just the lesson that transformation takes time. None of us will truly know the real results of our work until 10 or 20 years after it’s done. It’s about being patient and understanding the work isn’t about us. It’s about the people we’re trying to serve and the change we’re trying to make. We’re here and we have an ambitious goal of being a 21st-century performing arts organization. It’s teaching us the ways we need to evolve our work and our processes in accordance with that. It’s a formidable challenge, but I think we’re up to the task. For more about the Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Culture and Contemporary Music programming, visit The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC; 202-467-4600;



Jack Inslee and Christine Lilyea // Photo: Rich Kessler

Local Sound Inside the

Our Local Music Issue takes you behind the scenes of the best and brightest of DC’s ever-growing music world. Three strongholds from vastly different corners of the local landscape share their views on the state of the DC music scene of the past, present and future. District bands new and old drop music frequently, and we picked the artists on our radar that you’ll want to add to your playlists ASAP. It takes tons of people to galvanize and make music happen, both on the stage and in the background, and we let some of these local music industry professionals tell us all about their roles and responsibilities when set time rolls around. The DMV is a great place to be a new artist too, as exemplified in our conversations with several Strathmore Artists in Residence. And if your ear drums and/or feet need a break from concertgoing but you don’t want to miss a music-themed outing, we’ve got you covered with a list of dance nights, themed parties, music nerd talks and much more. | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


The Local Sound L to R: Christine Lilyea, Alyssa Bell and Jack Inslee // Photo: Rich Kessler

A Curated

Conversation Three Voices of The DC Music Scene By Alyssa Bell, Jack Inslee and Christine Lilyea as told to Monica Alford



It’s no secret that DC’s music scene is growing, putting us on the map with the likes of L.A. and NYC. What once was a buttoned-up city that musicians departed from to pursue careers in the big leagues is now a draw to artists looking to tap into our creative community. In other words, we’re proud of our town and for this year’s Local Music Issue, we decided to pick the brains of three stalwarts of the industry – or rather, to let them pick each other’s brains. Full Service Radio’s founder and executive producer, Jack Inslee, welcomed us into his studio at the LINE Hotel in AdMo for a conversation on all things music in the District. We were joined by Christine Lilyea, the badass owner of Petworth darling Slash Run – a hybrid music venue, bar and community hub – and vinyl queen Alyssa Bell, who goes by the name Baby Alcatraz when she’s spinning at Showtime and pop-up art parties around the city, just to name a few of her locales. The mics turned on and the words flowed from three very different voices all equally committed to the sounds of our city. Read on for the inside scoop on all things DC music – from why our artists have earned national recognition to the best spots to get sloppy while dancing to anything but Top 40.


On Tap: What do you think sets the DC music scene apart from other cities? What drew you to the scene and why did you choose to stay here? Jack: What excited me and ultimately convinced me to move here was the diversity in the underground music scene. I don’t know if that rings true for both of you, but DC is like – there’s DC music. Alyssa: Absolutely. Jack: I find that really interesting and still somehow overlooked in the national conversation even though every now and then, you get the go-go mention and punk mention, but it feels deeper than that. Alyssa: Definitely. It’s a very special alchemy of things that happens here that seems [in] part [because of the] high cost of living and people having to work even harder to get through and create things. I think that adds to an interesting mix. It seems like a great mix of people. Christine: Yeah, absolutely. The biggest draw for DC for me was that Black Cat would have every band that I grew up listening to playing all the time. That’s what kept me here. Having the opportunity to see the bands that I grew up listening to and then learning about new bands and DC bands, you know? Obviously, DC [is known for] hardcore punk. Not only that, but then there’s the post-punk stuff [and the] house shows. Jack: So you grew up listening to hardcore? Christine: I was not a hardcore kid, no. But that’s what I learned when I first moved here, like, “Oh, okay. There’s Fugazi and there’s all this other stuff.” So [I grew up on] punk, rock ‘n’ roll, The Ramones. OT: Didn’t Richie Ramone play a set at Slash Run in September? Jack: Oh! Christine: Yeah, that was a really awesome show. He ended up being a super great performer and it felt like The Ramones were playing. He was so genuine and nice to everyone. I think a lot of people appreciated having it in a smaller venue like Slash because it’s intimate and you can hang out with the performer. And they’re like totally open to it. Maybe it feels like their home too, in a sense. I want people to feel like that at Slash. Mi casa es su casa, that sort of thing.



Jack: Where do you play here? Alyssa: Right now, I have a monthly [residency] at Showtime [in Northwest DC’s Bloomingdale neighborhood]. That’s all vinyl, always. They have a rotating schedule of people that’s mostly in the same wheelhouse of stuff that I play. Strangely enough, you can walk in on Saturday at 12:30 a.m. and someone will be playing some obscure 60s R&B record, and people will be dancing. It’s amazing. Jack: See? That’s awesome. I think a lot of people, or at least DJs I know, are like, “Oh, it must be hard not to play Top 40 in DC.” I think that’s a huge misconception. Maybe talk a little bit about how special Showtime is, too. Alyssa: Yeah, it’s a special place. I think it benefits from maintaining that consistency […] where when people go there, they’re not walking in and expecting Top 40, which is incredible. Jack: There’s those little secret gem spots in DC. Alyssa: Almost all the nights I do are rarely playing anything made after 1970. I’ll mix it up sometimes but if it’s a dance night, it’s almost always going to be something [from that era]. So, it’s amazing to have people who will write to me and be like, “I’m in town for one weekend.” And I’m like, “You’re in town for one weekend and you want to go to this special place?” Jack: I remember when I moved here, my “What the f—k?” moment was when I went to Jimmy Valentine’s [Lonely Hearts Club in Northeast DC] and I was just like, “This is not what I thought DC was – woahhh.” [All laugh] Jack: It was like two thirty in the morning.. Christine: …at least [Laughs] Jack: …and it was sloppy as f—k and people were playing weird like jungle, I think? I don’t even know.


OT: Where do you go to hear live music or DJ sets? Jack: I follow people more than venues. Like Flash is a perfect example. That place might f—king suck on any given night. But there are some nights where it’s like more eclectic and artsy, so I love to go there. It’s a great sound system, if the right people are there. Same thing with Velvet [Lounge on U Street]: Velvet can be awesome, [and] Velvet can be Velvet. [All laugh] | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


The Local Sound

“WHAT EXCITES ME THE MOST IS HOPING THAT SOME OF THESE UNDERGROUND CULTURAL LEADERS KEEP GETTING BIGGER STAGES AND PLATFORMS ON NATIONAL LEVELS SO THAT THE THOUGHT OF WHAT THE DC SOUND IS CONTINUES TO CHANGE NATIONALLY.” Jack: What’s cool about seeing shows in DC for me [is] you can get decision fatigue [in other cities]. I think in New York you’re like, “I don’t know.” There’s so many venues with small bands. DC is easier to navigate. On any given night, you may have four or five things. When something really cool is happening, the community seems to really come around it in a really dope way. OT: Coming from such a big city like New York, do you like that it seems like everybody knows everybody in DC? Does that feel weird? Jack: There’s a honeymoon period where I [was] like, “This is the best thing ever. I love it. Everybody supports each other here. It’s like the size of a high school, the creative people here.” And then that started to feel claustrophobic maybe a little bit, but I still think there’s a lot of strength to it. In the rap scene here, it’s like everybody’s one degree away from each other in a cool way. That’s kind of how a communal sound comes to be. I think that’s what New York was in the early days of the rap scene where you hear stories about what the Bronx was like. Everybody knew everybody and collaborated with each other, and then all boats rose with that tide. The rap scene here feels like it’s in a moment like that, interestingly. I think it’s still good, the size, especially for me and what I do because I’m just here to amplify and give people this space. OT: What local artists are on your wish list to interview? Jack: My job here is to follow what the city’s doing, what the city wants, what the kids are into. I think there’s a lot of energy around Rico Nasty. I think a lot of people are really proud of her being from here, and she’s just doing so much cool shit. I’d love to have Rico Nasty in here. That star is shooting quickly. The [FSR] space is open. We get pitched all the time. [We’re] always trying to bring new shows in. OT: Who is on your wish list to book at Slash Run? Christine: I got Richie Ramone. [Laughs] My first two years at Slash Run has sort of been like, “Man, I got everybody. I think I’m done.”



No, I’m kidding. [Laughs] There’s definitely a lot more, but [I’ve had] bigger ones than I ever anticipated so far, so I’m pleased right now. Jack: I guess the Mos Defs of the world. I think a lot of the older legacy acts would be energized to see what the young kids are doing here in rap, and it’s hard to find places for them to interact.


OT: What’s next? What are you excited about? Any parting thoughts on the DC music scene? Jack: There are all these initiatives that I think are good and wellintended. I hope [these organizations and government initiatives] continue to listen to the actual people with their feet on the ground doing the work and what their concerns are. I hope […] locals continue to be engaged in a real way and listened to. Alyssa: Yeah, there’s some changes happening with the grants in the city now. I’m concerned about it and I hope it goes well. I hope it changes in a way that is positive for the people who are here that need it desperately. We all know about cost of living here, and it’s so important to have those programs and to help people do what we do here. Jack: What excites me the most is hoping that some of these underground cultural leaders keep getting bigger stages and platforms on national levels so that the thought of what the DC sound is continues to change nationally. When I talk to people in other cities, they’re like “DC – go-go,” which of course is legacy [and] amazing. But there are these new sounds and new things that I hope pick up nationally. OT: I feel like a lot of people say that about Fugazi, and the hardcore and punk scenes in DC, too. Christine: Yeah, that’s true. It’s one of those things where we’re so diverse now that I don’t have to worry about putting on a certain show and nobody’s going to come, because this is going to bring a totally different crowd and I’m happy about that. I’m glad that it’s not just always hardcore punk, or always just this or that. Jack: Stay weird, DC.

Baby Alcatraz // Alyssa Bell Catch her monthly vinyl DJ sets at Showtime and follow her on Instagram @babyalcatraz to find out where she’s popping up around town. Showtime: 113 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC Full Service Radio // Jack Inslee Go to to learn more about the station’s offerings, and don’t miss Uptown Cypher hosted monthly by Jamal Gray and The Uptown Art House for the opportunity to freestyle with local rappers. Follow FSR on Instagram @fullserviceradio. Full Service Radio at The LINE: 1770 Euclid St. NW, DC; Slash Run // Christine Lilyea Go to for the rock ‘n’ roll joints’ full band and event lineup, and follow Slash Run on Instagram @slashrundc. Slash Run: 201 Upshur St. NW, DC;

The Local Sound

Angelie Benn

Founder of Capitol Sound DC By Trent Johnson

For a high school audiophile, it’s hard to rack up the cash needed for your concertgoing desires, but Angelie Benn found a loophole. To supplement her need for live music, Benn started local music blog Capitol Sound DC, a digital haven for interviews, reviews and photography. Since its inception in 2014, Benn has evolved the site and for our Local Music Issue, we spoke to Benn about blog, her role in the scene and how it’s changed. On Tap: How embedded were you in the DC music scene pre-blog? Angelie Benn: I basically started this blog in high school in 2014 because I wanted to go to concerts. I had no idea what I was doing, but eventually I ended up going to a lot of local shows. I met a lot of people who were making music too – collectives and bands. I started going to the local DIY shows and stuff. Then I got involved with the community from there. OT: What kinds of things did you learn through the blog? AB: When I started throwing shows for the blog, I was very inspired by Chicago’s garage rock DIY scene but found that DC’s [was] more experimental. DIY in DC is mostly black experimental artists ranging from jazz [and] hip-hop to electronic. OT: What did you think it would cover, and how did that change? AB: Well, at first with the writing, it was my scope. I did it because I couldn’t afford to go to concerts, so I was writing whatever I wanted to write about. It was hella fan girl stuff. When I started to grow, I realized I had a community I was committed to, so it has changed. OT: What about your own promoted shows? What kinds of things do you think about as a curator? AB: I try to include queer people and LBGTQ people. It’s important

to make that statement. Shout-out to Songbyrd because they’re very inclusive. A lot of other venues are bland, so my intention is to shed a light on people who are underrepresented. OT: How important do you think blogs like this are for the DC music community? AB: I feel like people really look forward to the things we do. We try to cover underrepresented groups of people, so they have that outlet and a place to build community. I think that’s what we hear a lot: that we cultivate a place to come and have their voices heard. OT: As a person who has a wide view of the local music scene, what do you think the state of it is? AB: Over the last two or three years booking shows, we’ve cultivated that community. To me, the DC music scene looks so much different than what it was five years ago. I don’t feel like it’s peaking, but it’s getting close.

Check out Capitol Sound DC at

Antonio hernandez documentarian and dj By Trent Johnson

You don’t necessarily need to be a musician to be an integral part of the music scene. For Antonio Hernandez, also known as Electric Llama, his main tool is his camera. From short web videos to full-blown documentaries, Hernandez uses visual storytelling to capture the essence of some of DC and Baltimore’s brightest stars. We spoke with Hernandez about his series and process. On Tap: What does your current work in the DC music scene encompass? Antonio Hernandez: The main thing is Indelible, a documentary project. It encompasses web shorts of artists [and] curators. Every time I show the film, I recut it because I’m continuously working it out. I’ve been filming a lot.

OT: What’s the decision process for who your films follow? AH: A lot of [them] are artists that I know or find through lineups. If there’s an artist I know on a show, they’ll introduce me to three or four other artists. I do everything for it. I do scheduling [and] videotaping. I try to get footage of anything the artist is comfortable with and what they want me to be present for.

OT: You also blog with interviews and reviews, right? AH: I basically started in blogging in my off time. [This] started about five or six years ago. I also had a short web series called Garnish where I interviewed artists and other performers as well.

OT: How did you get into documentaries? What’s your origin story? AH: It was mostly DIY. I started with photography when I was studying abroad. Before that, I hated taking pictures. It really opened my eyes. I got to see the shapes in nature and basic composition. From there, I did short video projects at Towson University. My last year there, I took a visual anthropology class and that introduced me to documenting things.

OT: Why do you think it’s such an interesting subject to emphasize in your projects? AH: I think because it’s so diverse. There are so many artists who are taking their artistry into their own hands. Before, there weren’t the tools like social media, Spotify [and] Bandcamp. Those weren’t prevalent 10 years ago. Now people are making music and connecting with people. Whether it be established venues like Songbyrd and 9:30 Club or house and pop-up shows at places like Dwell.

OT: You’ve received a lot of press for Indelible. What’s the next step for you creatively? AH: With Indelible, I’d like to screen it in other countries and cities. I’d like to do videos like that in other countries as well. For instance, my family is from Peru, and I’d love to do something like this there. For more information about Antonio Hernandez and Indelible, visit



Rick irby

production manager + head of sound at pie shop By M.K. Koszycki For over 10 years, Rick Irby has been performing and making records with DC bands. Throughout this time, he says his respect for those behind the scenes “making it all happen – from the sound engineers to the venue and the bar staff” grew even deeper than before. Irby talked to On Tap about how he got his start as a sound engineer, how being a musician himself helps inform his day-today, and what Pie Shop brings to the DC live music circuit.

Angelie Benn // Photo: courtesy of Antonio Hernandez // Photo: courtesy of Antonio Hernandez

On Tap: Describe a typical day in the life of your role at Pie Shop. Rick Irby: At 5 p.m., the bands show up to load and soundcheck. We take as much time as necessary to make sure every instrument is dialed in for each band and offer up some free pies before doors. Showtime is usually at 8 p.m., and it’s my job to keep all performers and equipment in mind so we can have a smooth show. Working with new artists every night will remind you that every concert is different and deserves as much respect and attention to detail as possible. OT: What do you think makes Pie Shop unique? RI: I prefer going to small concerts and usually find myself supporting up-and-coming bands to groups that have already “made it.” Pie Shop gives these emerging artists an opportunity to get great sound and grow a fanbase. I also love how Pie Shop does not stick to any particular genre. Every show is different, and there are always new people to meet and learn from. OT: You play in other local bands and projects. Can you tell us more about that aspect of your life and your current projects? RI: For the last five years or so, I’ve been drumming with Den-Mate and Wanted Man. Den-Mate is a dark-wave band led by Jules Hale and Wanted Man is straight up rock ‘n’ roll featuring Kenny Pirog, Anthony Pirog and Scoops, who also bartends at Pie Shop. I recently joined Rob Stokes and Sir E.U’s project, October ‘71, on bass and [to] assist in producing records with them. I also have soon-to-be-released record Post-Sadboi Funk under my producer moniker, Jau Ocean. Lastly, a huge shout-out to Paperhaus, which was a life-changing band for many people and gave me a home base to learn how to throw DIY shows and meet so many of the people that I work with today.

Rick Irby // Photo: Rob Stokes

OT: How do your experiences in those projects inform or influence your job at Pie Shop? RI: I try to give the Pie Shop artists what I would appreciate myself as a performer. I know how difficult it is to be on the road and/or [to] fight DC traffic to get to the gig. It is a tremendous boost when you feel like a venue or sound tech cares about you and your art. I try to hold myself to that standard as much as possible knowing that many other venues and engineers have done the same for me and my friends. Den-Mate: Jau Ocean: Wanted Man: Pie Shop: 1339 H St. NE, DC; | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP



LOCAL ACTS By Trent Johnson and M.K. Koszycki


Looking to hyper-localize your playlist? The talented members of DC’s music scene have been hard at work creating and connecting through their music this year, and we rounded up some standouts to add to your Spotify queue, catch on tour and share with your friends.

Photo: Laura Dearden

Photo: CJ Harvey

Photo: James Anderson

Child Ivory On Child Ivory’s Facebook page, there are only two influences listed: Beach House and Fleetwood Mac. While I’m sure other musicians have influenced them (and they do disclaim they rarely use the social media platform), it’s easy to hear the way both bands have inspired the DC outfit. Their witchy, dreamy instrumentation is sleek and electronic, while vocalist Caleb Darger’s clear tone is evocative of their 60s and 70s pop forbearers. The band, made up of Darger and Pica Nagano, released their Underwater EP at the end of August, a beautiful collection of five songs perfect to soundtrack the changing of the seasons. Follow @childivoryband on Instagram. Clones of Clones Clones of Clones have been making appearances on the DC music circuit for the better part of the decade. Three of their four members are DMV natives and have kept busy this year with no plans of slowing down. They kicked off a campaign to release a new single each month leading up to a new record, starting with the single “Mine,” which even landed on Spotify’s “All New Indie” playlist, exposing it to over 900,000 people who subscribe to that playlist. Since then, they’ve gifted listeners new tracks at the beginning of each month – and while the world eagerly awaits the album dropping in full, looking forward to monthly releases is a sure glimpse into another record full of indie rock gems from this beloved DC band. Visit for more, and follow @clonesofclones on Instagram for updates on new releases. The Colonies It’s been a big year for The Colonies. The band formed at George Washington University and started off playing shows in the basement of their dorm. They recently graduated (literally and figuratively) to bigger and better things – namely, opening for fellow alt rockers Judah and the Lion on the notably larger stage of The Anthem. Even while navigating post-grad life and a change in their lineup, the four-piece has been steadily releasing gems like “Potomac” and “Do Nothing With Me” while gracing stages large and small throughout the District. Follow @thecoloniesdc on Instagram for more. Color Palette This five-piece band led by DC native Jay Nemeyer is rounding out the year with a celebration - they’ll be headlining Pie Shop for an album release show on Friday, November 8, marking the synth-pop outfit’s second record being gifted to the world. One fifth of the group, Maryjo Mattea, is also performing as the opener, for an EP release set around her solo work, before rejoining the group for even more new jams. If you’re a fan of pop in the vein of the synth heavy 80s greats and chill wavers of today, you won’t want to miss this show or new album. Follow @colorpalettedc on Twitter for updates and visit for tickets to the release show at Pie Shop on November 8.

Photo: Cina Nguyen



The Local Sound

Company Calls Loud and screechy but melodic: this DC punk-pop outfit combines several genres with tremendous success, but most notably is their affinity for old fashioned fast rock. Their latest release Diabólica is a blend of all their greatest strengths, especially their affinity for a quick pace, as most songs don’t top two minutes. Longer lyrics don’t necessarily make the music more profound or meaningful, however. I think we can all agree on one thing, if all company calls were less than two minutes, society would probably be a better place, so maybe this band is on to something. For more Company Calls, visit Dior Ashley Brown Dior Ashley Brown has been enmeshed in the DC music scene since long before her career took off. A native of the city, Brown got her start making creative waves at the famed Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Now an advocate for local music, emcee, musician and poet, Brown graces the DMV with her powerful pipes and intense love for our city’s fellow musicians, making the erudite musician a threat of more than just three talents. Visit for more. The Experience I’m not going to lie or pretend I plucked The Experience’s All For You EP out of a local music bin at some version of a DC big box store. Instead, this smooth rapper found me, and through this serendipitous act, I was able to hit play, sit back and get some experience. The only way to describe his flow is easy-going and playful, and whether he’s tinkering with the volume or inflection of his voice, he’s always got a witty line and a dynamic hook. A lot of his All For You tracks stem from a stint recording in California, and that style of hip-hop (which I can only describe as sounding like palm trees look) suited the DC local’s sensibilities extremely well. So, while The Experience is early in his career, with only a few official releases under his belt, his sound is refreshing. Follow The Experience on Twitter @ItsTheEXP.

Photo: courtesy of Company Calls

Photo: courtesy of @heartcastmedia

Photo: courtesy of @itstheexp

Glue Factory From the garage to the basement, Glue Factory (a nod to The Black Keys’ Rubber Factory perhaps?) provides a DIY sound reminiscent of those early days of DC rock. Though the band doesn’t have a punk pace, it’s imagery and lyrics aren’t much dissimilar from that very aesthetic. In their two EPs from 2019, The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Lose Control, the group seems to be drawing influence from some 1980s rock vibes. Unafraid to tinker with their sound and to release it to the masses, I’d expect a ton more product from Glue Factory in the coming years. For more Glue Factory, visit

Image: courtesy of Glue Factory

Mystery Friends Mystery Friend’s debut record Past & Future Self came out this past May. The fourpiece band uses the album as a vehicle to explore relationships with themselves and with others, and to get listeners off their feet and dancing. They’re on a selfdescribed “mission to bring analog dance rock into the digital age,” and are doing a damn good job of it. If you want to see it in action, mark your calendars now - they’ll be in flesh waiting to play their new jams for you as they take the stage at Songbyrd on Friday, December 6. Visit for more, and for tickets to their December 6 show.

Photo: Julia Fletcher

Nah. My editor probably thinks I’m being a petulant child typing Nah. where a band’s name is supposed to go, but it is, in fact, a DC band. The five-person indie group with the most millennial name actually began with probably the most noble mission a band has ever had: to use music as a mechanism for people to be open about the variety of complications that come with mental health, and the discussions necessary for healing. While the subject matter is serious, it can also be silly and petty. Most importantly, the band has provided an open outlet, whether it be for themselves or their followers, and it all sounds pretty good. So, while you’re chanting, “Nah, nah, nah” at their next local show, what you really mean is “Yah, yah, yah.” For more Nah., visit



Photo: courtesy of

Photo: Farrah Skieky

Photo: Sami Cola

Photo: Yusuf Kazmi

The OSYX If you’re ever feeling discouraged about the representation of women, nonbinary and transgender people in the music world, The OSYX will give you hope for better things to come. The local five-piece established This Could Go Boom!, a label to showcase those voices and give them access to resources that may not otherwise be as easily accessible to them. Outside of their own advocacy and support, the band’s own brand of indie rock is celebratory itself. The five women who make up the band are musical forces separately, and altogether make up an indelible powerhouse. Listen on and learn more at Saturday Night Who the hell doesn’t enjoy a Saturday night? It’s not a stretch to say that this might be the single most likeable band name in the history of music, perhaps only rivaled by something like Yawning Kittens (I have no idea if this an actual band, if so, congrats on your random name drop). DC’s Saturday Night is an indie rock band with a hint of power pop. However, the true beauty in this band is their use of vocals, as guitarist Cash Langdon and keyboardist Nora Button provide a melodic banter in perfect harmony. Also, I really like them because they use the word “alien” in their bio on Bandcamp. For more Saturday Night, visit The Shmoods More of a collective than a band or group, The Shmoods, formerly known as the DMV Hip-Hop Orchestra, are a large collection of musicians playing everything from string instruments to wind and brass. With a focus on hip-hop culture and how that sound is conveyed through traditional orchestral instrumentation it’s possible seeing this group live is one of the more authentic musical experiences one can encounter in the capital. The orchestra has already played venues like the Kennedy Center and been mentioned in The Washington Post, so they’re on the fast track to accomplishing local celebrity. The only catch with The Shmoods is there isn’t a ton of their music online, which means you’ll have to pay close attention to their calendar in order to hear the hip-hop magic. For more on The Shmoods, visit

Photo: Christopher Grady

Sneaks Sneaks’ music sounds like abstract art looks, which is not to say that it isn’t a pleasurable listening experience. Never one to lack energy, Sneaks can seamlessly bounce from singing to talking to chanting to singing to rapping, all at once and within the same song. Her latest album Highway Hypnosis provides a fast track to her soul at about 80 miles per hour, and on the rare moments it slows down and allows you to catch your breath, the halt can be abrupt. Though you can add her to your Spotify playlists and listen to her on a Metro commute, the true allure of her work is in the live show. For more on Sneaks, visit

Photo: Mauricio Castro

Teen Mortgage With a sound that seems equal parts informed by the spirit of DC punk and the scuzzy garage rock sensibilities of West Coast garage, Teen Mortgage has an uncanny ability to produce powerful, danceable rock with just two members at the helm. With a new EP released earlier this year, they’ve kept schedules booked this year with an east coast tour circuit and frequently pop up alongside likeminded national acts stopping through the District like Bass Drum of Death and Surf Curse, winning over new listeners with their highenergy sound and impressive musical ability. Follow @teen_mortgage on Instagram for more. | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


The Local Sound 66


Ladygod’s Skye Handler // Photo: courtesy of Ladygod

Reclaims“Loserdom” + Forges Own Path Through Rock ‘N’ Roll By M.K. Koszycki In the hour-and-a half I sit with local rock ‘n’ rollers Ladygod at Union Market, we cover a plethora of topics over iced coffee and waffle fries – most of which I did not expect to delve into, but am fascinated to hear their take on nonetheless. Such topics broached include a shared dislike of the Star Wars franchise and The Big Bang Theory (sorry, respective nerds), sexuality as a vehicle to sell records, and why they aren’t the biggest band in the world. The latter might sound like a self-important question for an artist to ask, but when guitarist and vocalist Skye Handler poses it towards the tail end of our conversation, I realize he has a point. Few bands are as connected or honest in their lifetime as these four are in the evening I spend with them. Handler, along with bassist Kate Rears Burgman, guitarist Kelly Queener and drummer Seth Petersen – whose collective roots span DC, Maryland and Richmond – make music heavily inspired by the early, free-form days of rock ‘n’ roll. When discussing influences, Richmondbased indie rockers Sparklehorse and pretty much anything rock pioneer and icon Lou Reed had a hand in come up – not just in sound, but in attitude. Though all from different backgrounds – and as I noticed during our chat, very different personalities – they are connected in their self-proclaimed “loserdom” and more importantly, a reclamation of that label through music. “You’d sit there and get beat up and tortured in f--king high school, and you’d go home and put those records on,” Handler says of their shared influences. “And you were like, ‘Alright, yeah, I’m a f--king loser right now. I get that. But one day, I’m going to keep doing the same thing and I’m going to figure out how to own being a loser.’ And that’s what I would hear in these records. There is always a way out from whatever the bro culture is at the time, which is usually dumb.” Bergman and Queener echo this sentiment through their own perspectives. Petersen nods from his seat at the table. “It’s the shared experience of being a f--king loser and listening to music and writing music as an escape from feeling like a f--king loser,” Bergman says. Queener adds: “Or an outsider, or however you want to put it. Rock ‘n’ roll gives you permission to just be who you are and not worry about anyone else. It’s like, ‘Oh, this is actually fun.’ It’s freedom.” Handler jumps back in, noting instances when he has challenged peers about who they are creating art for: “A loser or the people that were being f—king jerks to you?”

“That’s probably what your expectation is, and you need to get rid of that,” Handler continues. “If you make music like that, you’ll never be making music to your fullest potential, you know? And you just don’t know how good you can be [until] you give yourself a chance.” Petersen circles them back to their influences, adding, “There’s so much you can do with little, and I think that’s what Lou Reed did. That definitely bleeds through Ladygod’s shit, too. I definitely remember picking up The Velvet Underground & Nico [album] and being like, ‘This is so strange and f--king beautiful.’ I mean, I definitely rejected it at first. I was like, ‘The f--k is this?’ But those things grow on you.” Their collective candor and willingness to forge their own path does harken back to Handler’s question of why they aren’t the next big thing. It’s a hypothetical at best, but Ladygod seems to be at a similar intersection to Reed and The Velvet Unerground: toeing the line of grandiose popularity while not fully selling out, and connecting with audiences who see themselves in Ladygod while also reaching broader audiences who may not feel how they feel. The world could use more of that honesty, and the losers of the world could use more connectivity. The group keeps a similarly honest ethos when discussing their live performances, but also notes how a Ladygod show and a Ladygod album are two entirely separate experiences. “They’re two different things with the same core,” Handler explains. “It’s really just like anything else. Everything you do in your bedroom, you go outside and it’s different. “Well, maybe for you,” Bergman adds with a laugh. “I look at it like this,” Handler continues. “As long as everybody’s feeling good, we’re going to gracefully fall down this mountain together. Am I going to get to the bottom? I don’t know. But we know what the chords are. We know what it’s supposed to sound like. I’m sure there’ll be a left turn or a tree down that we’re not expecting, and we’ll just hop over it.” If you’re interested in gracefully falling down a mountain with them or communing with a group of losers turning to music and each other, you can catch them at Songbyrd in Adams Morgan on December 15 with Skyline Hotel and Maddie Mae. Listen to their latest album, Trash Medium, here:

Rock ‘n’ roll gives you permission to just be who you are and not worry about anyone else. It’s freedom.

Songbyrd Record Café and Music House: 2475-2477 18th St. NW, DC 202-450-2917; | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


The Local Sound

Nice and Slow 90s R&B Wine Experience

HIT SHUFFLE ON THE DC MUSIC SCENE Concert after concert, show after show, being an audiophile can be tough. It’s okay to admit that all these live bands blowing sounds through amps less than 100 feet from your eardrums takes a toll, but this doesn’t mean you have to abandon events built around a love of all things music. Instead of heading out to one of DC’s famed venues, we’ve gathered some intriguing alternatives beyond live music that will allow you to expand your sonic horizons this month.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 2019 Jazz Age Jam Tweed Ride enthusiasts and jazz music lovers have the opportunity to enjoy a vintage-style fall party featuring the music of the Foggy Bottom Whomp-Stompers, a Prohibition-era jazz band. This has been a DC tradition for the past 10 year with cocktails, dancing and the most stylish dandies and dames on this side of the Atlantic. 5:30-9 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Roofers Union: 2446 18th St. NW, DC;

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5 A Night with Janis Joplin This is your chance to watch a new portrayal of a historic singer. A Night with Janis Joplin is a musical journey celebrating Joplin and her biggest musical influences. So come on, come on and watch Tony Award nominee Mary Bridget Davies portray the queen of rock ‘n’ roll. 7-10 p.m. Tickets $15. Landmark’s E Street Cinema: 555 11th St. NW, DC;

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7 Art, Beats & Eats Art, Beats & Eats is a curated fusion of music, art and food. The focus of the series is to gather working professionals, foodies, art connoisseurs and music purists to serve as impact investors to support Wise Young Builders, a local nonprofit. Enjoy live music, food, drinks, art and the company of working creative professionals. 5:308:30 p.m. Tickets $25. Pepco Edison Place Gallery: 702 8th St. NW, DC;



Reminiscing in Tempo: Some Highlights from Nine Decades with Jazz Dan Morgenstern, the former editor of DownBeat Magazine, returns as a Library of Congress jazz scholar in the 2019-2020 season. Morgenstern has made major contributions to jazz criticism and scholarship that have set the tone for contemporary jazz studies. His talk will reflect on his lifelong fascination with jazz. 7-8:30 p.m. Free to attend. James Madison Memorial Building: 101 Independence Ave. SE, DC; TUTOES X COGNAC Battle of the Hip-Hop Cognacs You’ll blow your top when you attend this cognac, luxury chocolate and food pairing tasting event. Listen to live jazz bands that reimagine music from our generation’s hip-hop legends. Enjoy the taste of Jay-Z’s D’usse VSOP cognac and Ludacris’ Conjure cognac. 5-8 p.m. Tickets start at $50. Studio52 DC: 1508 Okie St. NW, DC;

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8 Dance Yourself Clean: An Indie Dance Party As North America’s biggest indie dance party, Dance Yourself Clean is an indie-pop dance party created by music lovers for music lovers. Listen and dance to indie songs from artists like Grimes, The Naked and Famous, Robyn, and more. While you dance all night, you can expect to see lasers, fog and more. There is even the possibility of other surprises. 9 p.m. - 2 a.m. Tickets $12. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;

will then offer a performance of works by Chopin. The event will be followed by a book signing. Books will be available for sale. 2-4:30 p.m. Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium: 101 1st St. SE, DC; Nice and Slow: 90s R&B Wine Experience Mahogany Cheers and FGM Events are having a 90s R&B wine experience. Lisa Avery will lead you through an interactive wine experience. You will learn how to sip, taste and enjoy wine. There will be a live DJ so you can work it. No diggity. Tickets $40. Serengeti Gallery: 7919 Central Ave. Capitol Heights, MD;

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19 The Korean Performance Week: 1,000 Years of Sound and Music The opening night for the fourth annual Korean Performance Week will include a traditional performance by the Namwon National Gugak Center in Korea. This performance will showcase music and dance that represent 1,000 years of sound and music. 7:30-9 p.m. Free to attend. Terrace Theater at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC;

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22 2019 Jazz Age Jam

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10 Indie Rock Karaoke Join DC9 for the 11th indie rock karaoke night. All singers will win prizes. Sing along and dance all night to your favorite tracks including R.E.M., Johnny Thunders, Sonic Youth, Liz Phair and more. 8 p.m. Free to attend. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC;

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12 AMS Lecture: Recovering the History of Immigrant Musical Theater From circa 1840 to 1940, a multitude of immigrant oriented, nonEnglish language musical theatre traditions flourished throughout the United States. This presentation will highlight and examine in detail these collections that are of inestimable value to the study of the immigrant musical theatre. 7-8:30 p.m. Free to attend. James Madison Memorial Building: 101 Independence Ave. SE, DC;

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14 NGA Nights: Throwback Let’s travel back to the 90s for an evening inspired by the decade that gave us the World Wide Web, TLC and slap bracelets. There will be heart-pounding performances by Step Afrika. Dance to tunes from DJ 2-Tone Jones. You can weave and trade friendship bracelets with your BFF. Flashback to family game nights with your favorite retro games. Drop in on pop-up talks led by gallery staff. Test your 1990s art knowledge at the NGA Nights Trivia Wheel. 6-9 p.m. Free to attend. National Gallery of Art: 6th Street and Constitution Avenue in NW, DC;

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 Chopin: The Raphael of the Piano Alan Walker, the renowned biographer of Franz Liszt, returns to the Library of Congress with a new life of Chopin. Walker will speak about his book Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times, Walker’s talk will also address the Library’s Chopin holdings, and pianist Valerie Tryon

Free Folger Friday: Mozart vs. Salieri Classical WETA’s James Jacobs explores the history of the “Mozart vs. Salieri” myth, providing historical context for the action of Peter Shaffer’s play. While these composers did and wrote much to create this historical fantasy, they were helped along by two centuries of pop culture. Their rivalry depicted in opera, film and literary adaptations. Despite all of this, a recently unearthed cantata believed to be cowritten by Mozart and Salieri hints at a professional understanding that may have existed after all. 6-7 p.m. Free to attend. Folger Shakespeare Library: 201 E. Capitol St. SE, DC; Jokes & Jazz Enjoy a night of hilarious stand-up comedy by national comedians and exceptional live entertainment. Proceeds support CTE Vision Foundation, Inc., which provides unique mentoring, educational, professional development and performance opportunities to exceptionally talented young people as well as underprivileged and at-risk youth who are interested in pursuing non-traditional careers in entertainment and the arts. 5:30-8 p.m. Tickets $20-$50. Pepco Edison Place Gallery: 702 8th St. NW, DC; Take Me Out: 2000s Dance Party Come dance and party to the perfect 2000s to early 2010s indie dance soundtrack. Dance to Arctic Monkeys, Neon Trees, Modest Mouse, The Killers and more. 9 p.m. - 2:30 a.m. Tickets $10-$12. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23 Beaujolais and Beyond Celebration 2019 Join the French-American Chamber of Commerce for a joyous and lively evening featuring a French-American DJ battle, French buffet prepared by leading DC restaurants, French food and an open bar. The night will continue with one of Washington’s top DJs spinning the best American, French, Euro and Top 40 dance hits. There will be a spectacular light display that will fill the embassy, plus an exhibition of French art. 8-11:59 p.m. Tickets start at $79. Embassy of France: 4101 Reservoir Rd. NW, DC; All listings are provided by the venues hosting them. | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP


The Local Sound

Niccolo Seligmann // Photos: courtesy of Strathmore AYO




November 20 marks the debut of six budding DC area musicians in their new roles as Strathmore Artists in Residence (AIR), taking the AMP by Strathmore stage with their mentors for a cross-genre performance. From percussionist-composer hybrids to jazz violinists, the diverse 2020 AIR were hand-selected by the North Bethesdabased arts center to provide an opportunity for them to perform, create and teach workshops, and jumpstart their professional careers. As far as AIR director Betty Scott is concerned, there is no other program like it. “A lot of organizations have artists in residence,” Scott says. “[They are] usually established artists who come in for a couple of weeks and work with a class or community. But in this case, [artists] are with us for an academic year and we give them education, nurturing and networking. It’s very different in that regard.” After working as an elementary music teacher for 40 years, Scott decided retirement wasn’t for her. Her second career began with volunteering weekly at Strathmore, and ultimately led to the development of the center’s AIR program. After 15 years and 88 participants, the program has become a revered feature of the reputable space. AIR’s 2020 class will bring a range of genres to AMP – Strathmore’s music and dining offshoot – this month, spanning pop, jazz and folk among others. Their Fresh AIR show will provide concertgoers with a hint of what’s to come at their future performances and workshops over the next 10 months. “We do a full-band cover song to start and end the concert,” Scott says of the show’s format. “Each mentor and each AIR have to choose a piece they think is indicative of what people should expect to hear from them in future concerts.” Pop vocalist Ayo, who will perform Fugees classic “Killing Me Softly” at the concert, credits several pop icons as her major influences. “I love Stevie Wonder’s songwriting style and how he tells stories,” she says. “Sarah Vaughan and Whitney Houston, as vocalists, know how to really paint a picture with their voices.” In addition to her impressive vocal range, Ayo uses her music to process difficult moments from life while empowering others to do the same. After releasing a song detailing her experience with sexual assault, men and women began reaching out to her, inspired to share their own stories. “These are people that I have known for years,” she continues. “But I wouldn’t have known that they had gone through that until they reached out to me and said, ‘I didn’t know that someone like you went through this. Thank you for sharing. Because you shared this, I want to share my story.’” During her Strathmore residency, Ayo will teach the workshop “Songs from the Heart: Storytelling through Songwriting.” She plans to continue encouraging people to share their stories. “[I know I] have a story to tell and people need to hear it, so they know they’re not alone in what they’re going through.” Her AIR classmate, early folk instrumentalist Niccolo Seligmann, has

been fascinated with unique instruments since age five. After seeing a viola da gamba played in concert, he knew it was the instrument for him. Eight years of cello lessons later and Seligmann finally got the viola de gamba he’d been waiting for. Now, the Johns Hopkins’ Peabody Institute graduate plays 20 instruments – including the medieval fiddle. In keeping with the theme of his upcoming album, Kinship, his performances at Strathmore will be inspired by climate change and the ways humans interact with the environment, nature and animals. At the Fresh AIR concert, Seligmann will perform a 15th-century Italian ballo, or dance, called “Verçeppe.” “I always think of [this dance] as the sounds of a big jungle cat prowling and pouncing,” he says. His performance will feature triangles created by his father-in-law, who is a blacksmith. Seligmann likes to create his own instruments – but not in a traditional way that might be associated with early music. During his residency, he’s looking to blend his love for medieval music with the music he creates on his computer. “Anything a computer can grab data from can be an instrument,” he notes.

WE AS ARTISTS ARE CHANGING WITH THE TIMES. Seligmann will be teaching a workshop called “Strings of Gut, Lines of Code: Early Music in Today’s World” that he hopes will “create a music environment that shows the best of both worlds.” “The last song in the Fresh AIR concert is [Bob Dylan’s] ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’ [by Bob Dylan], and I think that’s really the theme of all of our music-making,” he adds. “All of us in the AIR program are doing some kind of new thing, whether it’s new to us personally in our practice or new to the world. We as artists are changing with the times.” Don’t miss Seligmann, Ayo and their four classmates at the Fresh AIR concert on November 20 at AMP by Strathmore. Tickets are $19. Doors at 6:30 p.m. and show at 8 p.m. For more on the AIR class of 2020 and their upcoming performance schedule, go to Learn more about Ayo at and Seligmann at AMP by Strathmore: 11810 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda, MD 301-581-5100; | NOVEMBER 2019 | ON TAP



Kelly’s Irish Times

The Bottom Line Capitol Lounge

Lucky Bar Madhatter

Grand Central Hawk ‘N’ Dove

Rocket Bar

Enjoy Responsibly. ©2019 D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc., Pottsville, PA 17901

LIVE LIFE ANCHORS UP AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS: Agua 301 The Brighton Calico H Street Country Club Maddy’s Taproom

Pearl Street Warehouse Public Bar Live RedRocks H Street Tiki TNT

Profile for Ontaponline

November 2019