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Part vision board, part predictions, 19 for 2019: BYT’s Picks and Hopes for the New Year encompasses most everything we think will happen and what we hope will happen. From hesitant hopefulness to extreme enthusiasm with some wishes for our own festival, the following contains 19 things making us happy it’s 2019.

Tea Shops > Coffee Shops

I’m not talking about the shrink-your-stomach tummy tea that every Instagram influencer starts hawking around the first of the month. I’m talking about that Earl Grey. That English Breakfast. That Constant Comment. I’m talking about the kind of tea your grandmother drinks. High end, minimal, carbon copy coffee shops have been the hotness for the last few years, but with the rise of fitness culture and our constant need to transform simple pleasures into intricate, highly-stylized rituals, tea is finally going to get the attention it deserves. Local gems like Calabash Tea & Tonic will continue to get it right (and offer much more than a hot cup of Oolong), but I suspect we’ll start to see snobby Blue Bottle-ish shops dedicated to making you feel guilty about liking the occasional Lipton (it’s got a time and a place). Who knows, maybe we’ll even get some CBD enhanced teas? Until then, there’s always chamomile. -Kaylee Dugan

More New Breweries

BYT recently ran a piece called 19 DC Bars & Restaurants to Look Forward to Opening in 2019. Do you know what wasn’t included in that delightful and succinct feature? Breweries. #rude. Well, the resident beer guy is here is to tell you that more local breweries are coming in 2019.

Within the District, Red Bear Brewing is on track to open this February. According to a DCist post, the Northeast brewery (located next to the REI) will have 24 taps (!) and produce West Coast-style IPAs and pale ales, along with a hoppy red, a hoppy Wit, a rosemary saison, and a cherry almond sour. Founded by three Seattle transplants (hence the West Coast love), Red Bear will be the first new production brewery to open in D.C. in over in over four years, which is bonkers.

One of the reasons we haven’t seen a new D.C. brewery in a while is that Virginia has made it very attractive for breweries to set up shop in the Commonwealth. Perhaps the biggest brewery opening of 2019 isn’t really an opening – more of a relocation. Or maybe it’s an expansion? Whatever the situation, Aslin Beer Co. – the area’s resident hype monster – will debut (what appears to be) a very big space in Alexandria this year. According to the brewery, the “new site will house a larger brew house, barrel program, 3500 sqft tasting room, private event space, and become Aslin HQ.” Hot damn. Brace yourself for more Aslin juice bombs, pastry stouts, fruited stouts, and underrated lagers around town. Also, revisit our 2016 profile of the brash operation.

But the brewery opening I’m most looking forward is Vibrissa Beer. Located out in Winchester, Vibrissa is the new project of Mike McCarthy, the head brewer at Ocelot for over three years, in addition to a veteran of DC Brau and Cap City. I checked in with McCarthy last week and he relayed that he’s in possession of a new German brewhouse and hopes to have the space built out for an early summer opening. Things change, but when I chatted with him last summer, his vision included a Grisette, a sessionable IPA, a relatively sessionable double IPA, a Pilsner, and a Helles. Wherever the tap list settles, McCarthy’s track record is impeccable, and there are many discerning palates in the D.C. beer community who can’t wait to taste his new beers. -Phil Runco

Bentzen Ball 10th anniversary

This year, October 24-27, Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival, a little project we started out a while back with our friend Tig (and BYT’s first ever real event) will turn ten. That’s ten year’s of comedy perfection, good vibes, AND FRIENDSHIP. The line-up has always been great – from Jim Gaffigan and Weird Al to the first ever live show of 2 Dope Queens to Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally to JVN and Antoni from Queer Eye to Ira Glass (TWICE), we say every year: this year is the best it can be. For the 10th anniversary, let’s aim big. Everyone has their favorites, but let me throw some names out, and see what happens (you know what they say, if you can VISUALIZE IT, it can happen): Ellen, Constance Wu, Cast of VEEP, Cast of The Good Place, Tiffanny Haddish, Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, Abbi and Ilana, ALL FIVE QUEER EYE GUYS, Jennifer Aniston, José Andrés, Ira for the 3rd time, Conan, Stephen Colbert, Busy Phillips, Malcolm Gladwell and more. Too much? Or just enough. Regardless, of what happens, save the dates, check out the photos + video from last year, and get in touch if you are interested in being part of the best four days of any year. Big hugs. -Svetlana Legetic

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Rococo themed parties

Just in time for the 2020’s, Great Gatsby parties are out and Rococo / pre-French Revolution parties are in. Think duck races a la The Favourite, pastel dresses that look more like cakes than clothes a la Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette and real live gout. It’s like the Renn Fest for people who were too cool to be theater kids. Throw away your Amazon Prime flapper dress and throw on your Amazon Prime ball gown. -Kaylee Dugan

Death Becomes Us: A True Crime Festival goes national

Just keep an eye out on deathbecomesus.com in the next week or so. No regrets. -Svetlana Legetic

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More Little Free Libraries

We (or at least the people in the BYT office) are reading more than ever. We think our friends are reading more too. It’s great. Conversations are richer and it’s only slightly affecting bank accounts. Books are very affordable and always a good investment. Free books are even better and good books in Little Free Libraries are like dependable pots of gold at the end of the literary rainbow. More, please. They make every block they reside better.  -Brandon Wetherbee

More people dressing like goth Fran Fine

And by that, I mean I’m going to dress like a goth Fran Fine. Inspired in equal parts by this Instagram post, this Instagram account and my own style circa 2010, I’m embarking on another weird fashion adventure. That means more tights, more miniskirts and way more turtlenecks. For the goth twist, I’m thinking of playing with some ripped tights, some edgier shoe options and some sassy accessories. Wouldn’t this clear choker look cool agains a black turtleneck? How about this Creepyyeha belt and this Dolls Kill skirt? What about this chunky sweater under this faux leather dress? It’s definitely a look, but I think it’s all coming together pretty nicely. Out with the Goth Jimmy Buffet and in with the Goth flashy girl from Flushing. -Kaylee Dugan

A BYT Cookbook Library and Test Kitchen

Goddamn, we talk about cooking in the office all the time. We watch the shows, we are curious about what’s on your cookbook shelf, we are trading cookbook recommendations, we’re all in on the cooking thing. So if we were to put one event out there that we want to make happen and that WE, as BYT need to happen, it is a cookbook bookstore / exchange / test-kitchen pop-up. Not sure who underwrites this, not sure who cares to be there, not sure how it would actually work, but…. let’s make it happen. -Svetlana Legetic

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Shuffleboard bars

While the high concept, pop culture referencing pop up bar trend shows no sign of slowing down any time soon, there must be something else on the horizon. Something with the large scale immersion and self-aware gimmickry of a pop up but a bit more interactive. Something like Shuffleboard. Sure, the miniaturized tabletop version of shuffleboard has been a landmark of many of the best dive bars in the country, but it’s too often treated like billiards’ ugly stepsister. It’s time for the concept to grow up, mature into something big and beautiful in 2019, upgrading in both scale and popularity. Inspired by the glory of the Brooklyn/Chicago-based retirement community-influenced Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, I expect we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of these boozy shuffleboard halls cropping up here in 2019. -Matt Byrne

Stop shitting on the Wharf

Some valuable advice for 2019: “When people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past.” Taking that to heart, I, and everyone else like me, need to stop shitting on the Wharf. Look, I get it. It’s everything most of us didn’t ask for, but it plays a role in a city where being socially relevant or “of the times” doesn’t have to mean you can spend an entire night telling someone about some DJ coming to Flash on a Tuesday. So stop shitting on the Wharf. If it means more people start enjoying the city, start to form an identity of stuff they like to do in the city or even visit the city for an evening, then that can only be praised and welcomed. -Ruben Gzirian

A USWNT win at the FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup

Wow wow wow, I can’t believe it’s been FOUR WHOLE YEARS since the USWNT took home the title at the FIFA 2015 Women’s World Cup! And a lot has changed in those four years – for starters, the lineup has seen a fair bit of fluctuation, including official retirements (perhaps most notably Abby Wambach), controversial suspensions (DEFINITELY most notably Hope Solo) and the benching of several favorites (Ali Krieger, Meghan Klingenberg) to be replaced by lots of new faces (Rose Lavelle, Tierna Davidson, Mallory Pugh, Lindsay Horan…some seem more familiar than others by now, but homegirls were not on the roster in 2015). The shakeup predictably affected the team’s dynamic, and this led to some rocky patches, including a humiliating early loss to Sweden at the Rio Olympics. (Let us never speak of it again.) But as of late, it seems the team has gotten their shit together, and have taken home their fair share of recent victories. Will they be able to pull out all the stops at the World Cup? Well, that’s what I’m hoping! But the rest of the world has been catching up in fitness and tactics, and I think it’s going to be a tough road overall. And who am I most concerned about of all the qualifying teams? AUSTRALIA. Sam Kerr is a goddamn machine, and I would be willing to bet the squad is all but guaranteed a seat in the final. ONLY TIME WILL TELL! But for now, my fingers are hella crossed. -Megan Burns

Merge Records’ Born Under a Good Sign

No one celebrates their own birthday like Merge Records. Each of its quinquennial (i.e., every-five-years) releases hold a special place in my heart. The 2004 triple-disc compilation Old Enough to Know Better brought so, so many bands (and some true under-the-radar gems) (“CRYSTAL QUEEN”, PEOPLE) into my life. The subsequent 14-disc subscription mix series got points for ambition (even if I’m inclined to give the final product a JayZalright.gif), but it was the extra covers album that became an indispensable part of my record collection. (The National and St. Vincent doing “Sleep All Summer”? Be still my heart.) And what can I say about 2014’s Or Thousands of Prizes 7″ series? It might literally be my favorite compilation of all time. The quality control was outrageous. I seriously can’t believe the label took all-time tunes from Lambchop, Superchunk, East River Pipe, and The Mountain Goats (amonst others) and buried them in a treasure trove for subscribers. (No, you still can’t stream them.) (But trust me, the Spoon cover of Fiery Furnaces “Waiting to Know You” is magical.)

All of this is a long way of saying that my expectations for Born Under a Good Sign are sky fucking high. Like its predecessor, the 30th-anniversary series centers around exclusive material pressed to vinyl – more specifically four “full-length LPs of all-new music from your favorite Merge artists,” plus some “subscriber-only 7-inch vinyl releases.” Do we have any other details? Not really. Does that matter? Um, please see the previous paragraph. (OK, I have heard the first LP release, and let’s just say it’s a… heroic effort all around.) Oh, and the $99 subscription comes with a 10% discount on all 2019 Merge releases and pre-sale access to the label’s MRG30 music festival in late July. I know it may seem strange to call a $99 subscription series a steal, but when it comes to releases like these (to the degree there are even releases like these), there may be no safer return on investment. There isn’t a music release I’m more looking forward to in 2019. -Phil Runco

Cuco’s recovery

Cuco’s Songs4u was one of late 2018’s happiest surprises for me. Although the Southern California multi-instrumentalist released his second album the prior year – along with a fantastic Audiotree session – his woozy, floating synth-driven songs were the soundtrack to many long, humid summer evenings enjoying the outdoors. Cuco (real name Omar Banos) pays tribute to his Mexican-American heritage by singing in Spanish and English, switching between languages as naturally and effortlessly as so many Latinx Americans do in their day to day life. It’s a big deal precisely because he doesn’t make it a big deal, and it’s yet another small element of representation in arts and media.

Originally I wanted to single out Cuco as an artist to watch blow up in 2019, but in the process of doing research for this piece I found out he and his bandmates were in a pretty horrific car accident in October of 2018. Here’s to wishing Banos and his friends and colleagues a speedy, full recovery, both physically and mentally. Hope to see you making art again soon. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez

Goodbye, VEEP

Because in 2019, there is truly only one way to be semi-joyous when discussing the White House (fictional or the one everyone wishes was fictional), and that is VEEP. After six seasons of some of the smartest writing America has ever seen and some of the finest comedic chemistry in a comedy cast of all time, the time has come (just short of completing a solid two terms in our hearts and minds) to say goodbye to Selina Meyer and her team. As the sitcom actresses of America get ready for the Emmy to be fair game again (Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won six in a row and she deserved them all), we plan to cherish and savor every single awkward, funny, disastrous moment they have in store for us this spring. Next up? A spin-off for Richard, please? -Svetlana Legetic

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Oh no, Toy Story 4!

Pixar is really rolling the dice with what is perhaps their most beloved franchise. Rather than leaving the legacy of three incredibly enjoyable, emotionally resonant pieces of filmmaking, they’re cranking out a fourth installment that nobody expected/asked for. I hope Toy Story 4 is good! I really do! I’m just sort of worried, is all! -Matt Byrne

Fanboys rage so hard they finally become obsolete

Star Wars: Episode IX comes out in 2019. We don’t know anything about it, not even its title, but we do know that The Last Jedi made a small, vocal cohort of fans so angry that they still cannot get over how Rian Johnson permanently ruined the franchise, forever. They’re completely wrong, of course: The Last Jedi is a pop cinema masterpiece, a financial success, and a critical/audience hit. I hope that Episode IX leans into what made these nerds so angry in the first place: a culture that’s more inclusive and diverse. Let’s make that that Poe/Finn romance a reality. Let’s make Luke and Kylo look even more pathetic, while making Rey so powerful that “Mary Sue” cannot even begin to describe the influence/balance she has over the galaxy. These nerds will have no choice but to see the movie, of course, and in their white-hot rage, maybe JUST MAYBE get kicked off all social media platforms until they’re forced to congregate in some small corner in the internet, while the rest of the fans rejoice in celebration. May the force be with most of us. Just not them. -Alan Zilberman

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Taking the edge off fun hangovers

The faster the world speeds up, the harder it feels to stay in the moment, particularly when one is enjoying oneself. Happiness is a chaotic system in a brief moment of stability. All it takes is one nudge and you’re out of fun-stasis and cascading towards reminders of how much tomorrow will suck, or at best, won’t live up to the fun you were, just moments ago, experiencing. So the goal this year is to find smaller happinesses that bleed out slower- low glycemic fun if you will, and build on them so that spectacular nights don’t result in the next day feeling like you took a nosedive from cruising altitude and wound up at Challenger Deep.

This is going to require more prep than I’m used to. I suspect it has something to do with making better plans, but I haven’t cracked it yet. It can’t be all anticipation for big nights, nor a lack of planning after the fact. Just as I’ve come to look at New Year’s Eve as a chance to chill, and New Year’s Day as a chance to cook a ridiculous breakfast and get things done while everyone else is hungover, you’ll have to step up to ecstasy (the emotion,) and then step back down again. No more waiting months for that one amazing concert. It means enjoying little things more frequently, and not dwelling on the mundanities. It means cutting off that little voice in my head mid-sentence, the one that perks up about two songs before the encore, that starts to worry about making it in to work the next day, how bad traffic will be, how long the week will feel with nothing to look forward to. I’m going to engineer that sense of possibility that came from driving home at dawn, foolhardy and heart full, fully expecting the next day brimming with wonder. -Jeb Gavin

D.C. finally sheds the “transient” description it’s had since forever

Since its founding in 1791, D.C. has always been thought of a transient city by people not born here. 2019 will continue to dispel that once accurate but no longer relevant characterization. D.C. is no longer transient. Sure, rent and cost of living are still way too high, but more people are staying for many of the same reasons people used to look down on our city. In 2019, D.C. is a city unlike any other in the country; to many outsiders, we’re the embodiment of political elitism (really?), and to many others, we’re trying too hard to be New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, whatever. But that’s cool because whatever anyone thinks D.C. is, in 2019 it’s home. -Ruben Gzirian

A social media network that doesn’t allow Nazis

It’s not Facebook. Instagram is owned by Facebook so it’s not Instagram. Twitter’s biggest fans are cool with Nazis. There are regular efforts to delete Facebook and Twitter but it’s not going to happen. Whether it’s addiction or joy or a sense of belonging, we’re not going to delete social media. But we need a place for friends that doesn’t allow Nazis. So we need a new social media network that has a bias against Nazis. That’s a requirement. No Nazis.

All I want is a social media network that has the same rules as a neighborhood bar: no Nazis, no creeps doing creepy things, no kids. That’s it. I’m fine with the constant monitoring, I expect that, but I am not fine with Nazis. No Nazis. -Brandon Wetherbee

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