By Alex Tebeleff
Hey everyone, my name is Alex and this column is called DC DIT. I find the DIT mantra of Do It Together exemplifies more of what I hope my participation in the DC music scene will contribute as opposed to Do it Yourself. My goal is to connect people with creative ideas and interests and help grow a scene that features a remarkable amount of intelligent and talented musicians.
First off, I want to start off by thanking all of you for the feedback from last weeks’ column. Besides forgetting to mention the BYS show in Bethesda with The Black Sparks, I felt good looking back on my first column after getting all of your thoughts. Please continue to let me know what you think.
You can probably see there is a common theme of what I’m interested in featuring in this column. I want to spotlight events that showcase the fantastic and rapidly growing music scene in DC (preferably All Ages shows of course), that also promote creative thinking, growing social awareness, and contributing to the community in general in DC at a serious crossroads in our city’s cultural history.
I think the arts are the most obvious way we can help make this a city we want to live in for an open, thoughtful, and fun cultural community. I’m actually from the DC area, so maybe that’s a part of the reason why I take so much pride in growing this culture, but I think there’s a tremendous amount of intelligent and socially conscious people in this city, so I’m optimistic that we can continue to make this the kind of place that all of us are excited to live in, as an artist, a lover of the arts, or someone who just appreciates a healthy, vibrant culture. This is a really eclectic week with a lot of interesting options to check out live music and art. Hope to see you all there at some of these shows!
Wednesday, March 12th: Church Night at Wonderland Ballroom
Church Night is an incredibly strange and fun event that’s hosted over at Wonderland Ballroom. It’s a variety show with hilarious skits, and the way that the two hosts stay in character I find particularly impressive. Johnny Fantastic is a great addition as a musical guest, he’s one of the best performers out there in DC, and his album “Bluebirds, Bluebirds, Bluebirds” was one of the most original albums released in 2013.
Friday March, 14th: Spoonboy, Theo Grizil, Hot Tears, and Art Sorority for Girls @ SpaceJam
Spoonboy, aka David Combs, also of the fantastic Pop-Punk band The Max Levine Ensemble, is one of DC’s best songwriters and an essential part of the music community in DC. I’d recommend going to any show that he’s involved in; he makes thoughtful, engaging, and ridiculously catchy music, with songwriting that displays a self-awareness and social understanding that is pretty damn rare in my experience. This show in general is for people who really like to focus on songwriting, I was also pretty impressed listening to the songs from the touring acts, Theo Grizil from New York, and Hot Tears from Olympia, Washington.
This is a really great event at one of the most unique spaces to see a show in DC. If you aren’t familiar with Union Arts, it’s a visual arts warehouse space that picked up where Gold Leaf Studios left off, and it also features some of the best music programming in the city, including the DC Jazz Loft that Capitol Bop hosts every Sunday evening. This event in particular is interesting, with a wonderfully diverse bill that includes a 20-person electric guitar ensemble (for fans of Glenn Branca, Gregorian harmony, and really loud guitars), the marvelously musically gifted Les Rhino, and one of my favorite punk bands in the city, The Fordists. I love eclectic bills like this!
Saturday March 15th: (Re)activate at 1932 9th Street NW
I’m going to do my best to highlight some non-music events worth checking out, and this one definitely perks my personal interest. I love the idea behind this project. Urban environments in general, and DC in particular, are entering a very confusing and complicated period of time, where the ethical concerns of gentrification, race, class, and the crazy overdevelopment of projects for fast cash (I’m looking at you cheaply made expensive condos) are becoming unavoidable to think about if you care about your community. While this event won’t directly solve any problems in a night, it’s using a public environment in a creative way to celebrate the arts, which are one of the only tools we really have to grow our culture in DC in a positive and healthy way. I hope we see more people being creative in this way with arts events.
Hierarchy is a new arts space in Adams Morgan that will also be hosting the occasional music event, brought to you by the guys in The No Kings Collective (you’ve most likely been to or heard about their DIY arts events like Submerge). This is an event I’d like to particularly highlight because of the involvement of Raise Your City. They are a non-profit organization that promotes positive social change in DC by organizing local music and arts events that raise funds for local charities. If we are going to continue to grow the culture of this city and the arts in DC in the right way, I think organizations like Raise Your City must play an essential role. This particular event will help raise proceeds for the Sitar Arts Center, an organization that provides youth classes in the arts for kids from low-income households. As far as the music is concerned, Wanted Man, Pleasure Curses, and The Walking Sticks are three of the most fun bands in the city to see live, so this is a great show to see high quality live music and support a good cause in our community.