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all words and photos: Ben Droz (full disclosure-a hemp lobbyist)

Last Friday, Adam’s Morgan’s Capitol Hemp hosted an underground art opening, with a DJ, cheese, and wine and beer. I nice way to start to the weekend.

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Capitol Hemp, located right on the corner of 18th and Columbia, is DC’s own cannabis culture hub. From books, to the biggest collection of glassware in the tri-state area, the store’s got it all; but even bigger that the variety of glassware is the variety of things made from hemp. Hemp products are among the greenest and of the highest in quality. Seriously though, hemp is legit. It’s sustainable and strong; even parts of the store, like the shelves and counters, are made of hemp fiber board.
Capitol Hemp’s got seasonal (and fashionable) apparel, soaps and lip balms (such as Dr. Bronners, found in American Apparel), journals and stationary, and even food products like power bars and hemp milk. Hemp food products, as it turns out, are a nutritional powerhouse. Now available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (among other places), hemp delivers complete proteins, Omega 3s, and actually tastes good. Definitely something to check out if you haven’t yet.

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ANYWAYS, Capitol Hemp, also hosts art shows every couple of months. The art that is featured then stays on display until the next art show, which keeps the store fresh and artists involved. The art is created by a collective known as DC 51, a group of urban artists that have displayed their work on everything from art galleries to brick buildings. Combining political activism, guerilla exhibition, and sheer creativity, DC 51 always comes through with an amazing show.

And last Friday pushed the boundaries once again. Incorporating a live collaboration, the group created a Saran Wrap canvas between two trees, which happened to garner some attention that evening, being right in front of Starbucks at one of the busiest corners as the Metro and Circulator unloads scores of young people into the abyss known as 18th street. Using somewhat conventional graffitti techniques, the group created a collage was unlike any graffitti bomb I’ve ever seen. The light from one side of the plastic wrap shone through the thin layer of translucent paint, creating a glowing mural 15 feet across.

“We’ve never tried it, but it worked out really well” commented artist known as RVLTN. “Maybe we’ll try it again sometime”.

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RVLTN uses his art to make a political statment, and is no stranger to the DC activism seen. He has designed posters and flyers, such as those used in the well attended “Powershift” last winter. He has shown his work in local venues such as “The Fridge”, and his work can be seen, if you’re looking hard enough, around Adams Morgan and around DC.

If want to see some work by DC 51, don’t bother looking online. Stop in to Capitol Hemp sometime and take a gander. Then, I guarantee, you’ll start seeing it in random nooks and crannies through the city.

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