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Photo: Courtesy of Adams Morgan Day

Festival Makers: The Creative Minds Behind DC’s Iconic Events

Festivals can often be sensory overload for attendees. With food, drinks, art and whatever else you can think of all interlinking to create a vibrant atmosphere for those who participate, it’s no doubt that putting all these moving pieces in place takes a ton of work. Who are the masterminds behind are favorite local events? We caught up with a few of the creatives behind the scenes at some of the most iconic DC festivities.

Funk Parade
David Ross, Festival Organizer
Jeffery Tribble Jr., The MusicianShip Executive Director

On Tap: Why did the MusicianShip decide to start running Funk Parade?
Jeffery Tribble Jr.:
I’ve been a volunteer for a couple years so I was already promoting it and knew how effective it was. With our organization being all about creating musical experiences to benefit young people in underserved communities, it seemed like another great way to bring exposure to our cause.
David Ross: I was legacy. I was with Funk Parade last year. I was the third person. I was the first official hire. [Founders] Justin [Rood] and Chris [Naoum] had done it so long. When they wanted to take a step back, the MusicianShip seemed like an amazing opportunity to continue the tradition.

OT: What new things did you all want to implement and what was the festival already doing well that are you looking to accentuate?
JT:
As an educational organization, our emphasis is more on education this year. We’ll have a conference and an extension on the academy of funk, and we’re also going to have a marching band exhibition. We don’t only want to entertain and have a good time; we want to educate and for people to be better than they were when they first came. There have been some talks of Funk Parade East [at entertainment and sports arena St. Elizabeths East], but it’s more likely to be a 2020 effort if it happens based on conversations we’ve had with other interested parties and sponsors.
DR: There’s some interesting activations we haven’t done before. I’m most proud in the way we’ve creatively used U Street. We’re not using the big theatre settings for our showcase. We’re using the environment. We’ve adjusted because we’re using smaller venues like SXSW.

OT: How did the collaboration beer with Aslin Beer Company come to be?
JT: We brainstormed different ideas to raise the profile of the festival and by extension, raise the profile of Aslin. Because we are attached to so many venues, it made a lot of sense to offer the Funk Parade beer in said venues, and we are also using it as a fundraiser.

OT: Is this year more about sustaining the momentum of festivals past as opposed to putting a new stamp on Funk Parade?
JT:
You hit the nail on the head. This year is about sustainability and [maintaining] what has been done historically. After we do it successfully, then we can look at how to grow it. To be honest, I don’t have substantial thoughts on what we might do differently in the future. We’re so focused on making this Funk Parade [that] given the ecosystem of the parade and all of the [participating] venues both big and small, it fosters opportunities for growth.
DR: From having worked on it last year, the MusicianShip asked the right questions immediately. Any hiccups that came along the way, we were able to adjust them. This year, what I’ve seen is stronger preparedness and because of that, you’re allowed to grow.

OT: Why do you think the Funk Parade is so impactful for the local community?
JT:
Music changes lives and is a powerful platform, drawing young people to achieve in all areas in life. Music is a way to advance conversations about social justice and any other movement across time. It also doesn’t hurt that it facilitates a good time. We bring a lot of the city’s and the nation’s best musical acts to perform on this day. When people come out and experience it, it’s always new and friendly and the spirit of it is all about unification – which we need, especially now.
DR: I think this is a festival where DC allows itself to let loose. So often as a city, our identity is tied to what happens at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. People don’t know about the rich culture we have here. People really want to celebrate the city they live in, and this is a great place to do so – maybe more than any other event we have.

The sixth annual Funk Parade takes place on Saturday, May 11. The festival is free to attend and features music from 1-7 p.m.,a parade from 5-6 p.m. and a featured showcase at 8 p.m. Various locations on U Street in NW, DC; www.funkparade.com

AFI Silver Film Festivals
Todd Hitchcock, AFI Silver Theatre Director of Programming

On Tap: How does the AFI balance so many festivals? What goes into planning each?
Todd Hitchcock: We’re mindful of what we’re going to do throughout the year. [They’re] what we call curated festivals. [Our staff] attends major festivals throughout the year beginning with Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and Toronto; at least two of us are attending and seeing as many films as we can, which is typically 50-plus. In all of these cases, you have to whittle it down and make a decision on what we’re going to include.

OT: How important is the balance of countries included to the authenticity of the festivals, particularly the Latin American Film Festival and the European Union Film Showcase?
TH:
When you embrace that identity and focus, that means that films from smaller countries are going to have an opportunity for inclusion and to get screened. It’s wonderful when you find a film from say the Baltic countries or in Eastern Europe; for instance, we’ve had a lot of success with Hungarian films. In Latin America, you could say that the region as a whole doesn’t get enough representation in the film world. We’re going to push to include Ecuador and Paraguay. We’ve had some terrific films from those countries.

OT: How do you approach the festivals in fresh ways?
TH:
I think our audience has a strong association with these festivals. If you graph it out, there’s been a growth spurt. These are new films from these countries, and in many cases, this is the only chance [the audience will] have to see them. The DC area has people from all these countries living here because of its diversity; it works out for everyone.

OT: Why do you think film is a medium that lends itself well to a festival setting?
TH:
I would say year in and year out, we find exciting films. There’s more than enough to be excited about as far as quality and exciting, innovative films. It’s an opportunity to see something that they might not otherwise see. The newness factor: that’s the huge reality of the film business. It’s exciting.

Upcoming Film Festivals at AFI Silver Theatre include the DC Caribbean FilmFest from June 6-12, the Latin American Film Festival from September 12 to October 2 and the European Union Film Showcase from December 4-22. For more information on these and other festivals screened at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, visit www.afi.com/silver. 8633 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; www.afi.com/silver

By the People Festival
Nicole Dowd, Program Director of the Halcyon Arts Lab

On Tap: There are a lot of moving parts with the By the People Festival. How do you select a curator and then work with them on the theme?
Nicole Dowd: We identify a curator a year in advance of the festival. We ended up with Jessica Stafford Davis [this year] because her focus hasn’t really been present in the art world over the last decade. I think that we definitely knew that we wanted to work with her in some capacity and some of the qualities other than her own amazingness are finding people with a strong vision.

OT: How far out do you plan?
ND:
We move pretty quickly. We’re quite nimble in the way we produce programs and events. In two to three months, we were pretty set on who we wanted to showcase. For myself, coming from the art and museum world, it’s a very quick timeline. Artists are very excited to be part of it and we work heavily with them to make something impactful in a relatively short amount of time.

OT: How do you balance the mediums of the work presented? 
ND:
A lot of it is dictated by the specific site. There are two roads working together. One is thinking about what would be most appropriate for the site: is it going to be performative or a painting? And then we think about who is going to look at the artwork: what’s most accessible and impactful?

OT: Tell us a little bit about this year’s new gallery feature.
ND:
People asked us last year where they could buy the art, so we’re trying to create an environment for artists who identify with the DMV to exhibit and sell their work to new [or local] collectors. That will take place at a location in Georgetown, and it’ll be open from June 8-23. It extends the festival and makes it more inclusive for some of the artists in the location.

OT: Why do you think a festival is such an effective way to deliver art, and what has the response been from attendees?
ND:
There are so many people [who view museums as] a barrier to appreciating art. So for us to meet people where they’re at – whether they’re in a public square or on the river or in their neighborhood – it’s a good way to get people engaged with art.

The 2019 By the People Festival takes place in various locations around DC from June 15-23. For information about the participating artists and locations, visit www.bythepeople.org.

Adams Morgan Day
A. Tianna Scozzaro, Festival Organizer

On Tap: When you took the reins of the festival four years ago, did you think it would be where it is now?
A. Tianna Scozzaro:
I knew that the festival and the community were too strong for it to die. I’m so proud of what’s grown out of that really desperate place. We had two years where it was on the sidewalks and it was pretty lean, but last year was our 40th anniversary and this year, we have committees ready to go for September.

OT: Why did you feel so strongly about Adams Morgan Day continuing, and what are some of your favorite aspects?
ATS:
I think it’s eclectic and diverse in a way that is [true] to its identity. It was one of the [first] few neighborhood festivals in DC. In the past few years, we’ve seen the demographics of the city change [and] a lot of other great festivals have risen up. There’s a history of Adams Morgan Day that’s really special.

OT: What is surprising to people that may not know AdMo very well? Why is it important to introduce it to people who may be less familiar?
ATS:
I think the number of locally owned businesses that have been around for decades. Some people go to Adams Morgan for dancing and a jumbo slice but may not know of the great bookstores and the most delicious churros in town. It’s important for these local businesses to have an outlet that spotlights them. The funkiness as a whole is great: there’s been graffiti arts and hula hoop contests and [other] interactive, creative opportunities for people to participate in. We always need more of those activities in DC.

OT: Where do you think it’s going in the future? How do you see the festival evolving?
ATS:
The festival started as a park potluck [and] grew to its heyday in the 80s. That’s when DC was less safe, but this provided an opportunity for people to get out, celebrate and listen to go-go music. My desire would be to see the festival become sustainable with sponsors that support the festival as an intrinsic part of the neighborhood business and community cohesion.

Adams Morgan Day takes place Sunday, September 8. 18th Street in NW, DC; www.admoday.com

Photos: Courtesy of 10 creatives // Illustration: Trent Johnson

The Artistic, The Inspiring and The Fashionable: 10 Creative Female Forces in the District

With a record number of women running for president in 2020 and the largest number of women in a congressional freshman class yet, 2019 is shaping up to be the Year of the Woman in politics. Much less hyped in DC’s media, however, are the strides made by women in the arts. That’s why for our Women’s Issue, On Tap chose to highlight 10 outstanding women from the areas of performing arts, fine arts, wellness and empowerment, and style. From Strathmore’s CEO to one of Rihanna’s stylists, meet the badass ladies responsible for expanding a culture of inclusivity and women empowerment in the city.

PERFORMING ARTS

Photo: Margot Schulman

Photo: Margot Schulman

Monica Jeffries Hazangeles
President and CEO, Strathmore

Monica Jeffries Hazangles began her artistic journey when she first joined choir in elementary school, but focused her vision after falling in love with arts management as a graduate student during her time with the Friends of Chamber Music in Kansas City, Missouri.

From there, she joined American University’s Arts Management program in DC then Strathmore, where she’s served as president since 2011. In September 2018, she added the title and responsibilities of CEO to her repertoire. While serving as the Strathmore’s president over the years, Hazangles formed her personal worldview on the importance of the arts, believing they are “elemental to who we are as people.”

“[The arts] give us expanded ways to express ourselves,” she says. “They elevate, enrich and transform us. It is our job to make them as accessible as possible to the residents of this region and state. If arts are within reach of everyone who wants to access them, we will ensure that generations grow up believing the arts are essential.”

Her advice for finding authority and voice as a woman in the arts is “to demonstrate that there are many ways to lead and to be creative.”

“Women can be extremely effective in demystifying leadership.”

Strathmore: 5301 Tuckerman Ln. North Bethesda, MD; www.strathmore.org

Photo: DJ Corey Photography

Photo: DJ Corey Photography

Rebecca Ende Lichtenberg
Managing Director, Studio Theatre

Rebecca Ende Lichtenberg left Theatre J last October to join Studio Theatre as its new managing director. Although she is only 37, Lichtenberg has already made a splash in DC’s performing arts scene over the past eight years; moving to Studio Theatre gives her the chance to shine on a bigger stage, so to speak.

Studio Theatre’s Queen of Basel, showing from March 6 to April 7, focuses on empowering women by flipping the script on a play rooted in misogyny. The play is a modern, Latinx-focused retelling of Miss Julie, which tells the story of a woman who kills herself because a man told her that was the only way to escape the burden of their premarital rendezvous. Playwright Hilary Bettis’ version, complete with actual female character development, is sure to be devoid of the outdated, sexist themes of the original.

“Hilary’s take on [the play] is born from how sick the misogyny of his original made her feel, so she actively counters that with a production that is a Miss Julie without unexamined misogyny,” Lichtenberg says. “That’s why we’re proud to present Queen of Basel. It’s a take on Miss Julie that is empowering, told from a prismatic Latinx perspective, and most importantly, is unexpected.”

For dates and tickets to Queen of Basel, visit www.studiotheatre.org.

Studio Theatre: 1501 14th St. NW, DC; www.studiotheatre.org

Photo: Courtesy of Arena Stage

Photo: Courtesy of Arena Stage

Seema Sueko
Deputy Artistic Director, Arena Stage

Seema Sueko says in the grand scheme of things, she does theatre to build successful communities; but there is a deeper, underlying layer of her passion.

“Nothing beats the excitement and electricity of being in a rehearsal room with fellow artists and discovering the truths of a character’s arc or the truth of a piece of text,” she says. “We are discovering what it means to be human. It is powerful and it is humbling.”

Sueko’s current production, The Heiress, runs until March 10 and has some juicy bits of truth in store for the audience. Playwrights Ruth and Augustus Goetz based The Heiress on Henry James’ novella Washington Square, the inspiration for which he found through a piece of gossip. After Sueko finished assembling the design team for the play, she noticed she had unintentionally hired a cast of people who all identified as women, which she thought fit perfectly.

“Once I realized that, I could see how all-female design team allows us to build on the legacy of growing empowerment of this story from gossip to stage.”

The Heiress runs through March 10. For information regarding showtimes and tickets, visit www.arenastage.org.

Arena Stage: 1101 Sixth St. SW, DC; www.arenastage.org

FINE ARTS

Photo: Courtesy of Marcella Stanieri

Photo: Courtesy of Marcella Stanieri

Marcella Stranieri
Illustrator

Marcella Stranieri has always loved to draw. She’s kept a journal of her thoughts, ideas and drawings ever since she was little, and often finds loose scraps of paper covered in doodles and observations in her pockets and bags.

“These two idiosyncrasies, drawing and writing, collided with each other a few years ago when I quit smoking,” the DC-based illustrator says. “My hands were itching for cigarettes all the time. It was driving me nuts, so I started drawing out my ideas instead of writing them to keep my hands busy. I loved it so much, so I decided to start an Instagram for them.”

Now, her Instagram page @marcella.draws has more than 46,000 followers and is still growing. She finds inspiration for her sarcastic pen and paper line drawings in her daily experiences with friends, family and strangers alike. She’s found a lot of support from both men and women on Instagram and has noticed men commenting that they relate with her drawings, even the particularly “girly” ones.

“I like that people are slowly realizing that the default relatable thing does not have to be masculine. Men can relate to women the same way that women have been relating to men for the past few millennia.”

To see the latest artwork from Stranieri, follow her on Instagram @marcella.draws, and visit her website www.marcelladraws.com.

Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Brown

Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Brown

Lauren Melanie Brown
Founder, Fashion Grunge

Freelance photographer Lauren Melanie Brown created Fashion Grunge, an online platform dedicated to art, fashion and music of the 90s grunge era, in 2008 when she was living in New York City.

“The era of blogs was starting, and I was uninspired in my day job and wanted a place to talk about my favorite era of music and fashion,” Brown says. “Now Fashion Grunge has become an international platform for artists to contribute work and music related to the grunge aesthetic as they see fit. It’s great to get so many global perspectives while also tying in nostalgic culture.”

As a woman of color, Brown says she’s always trying to uplift marginalized voices and experiences on her platform.

“I always encourage people of all identities to contribute to the Fashion Grunge platform, whether it’s in traditional images or essays to express inner thoughts. I think visibility is the key for appreciating and educating about minorities. I consciously use my reach online to show not just a singular notion of what you can be and express.”

To read Fashion Grunge, visit www.fashiongrunge.com. For more information about Brown, visit www.laurenmelaniebrown.com.

Photo: Courtesy of Tati Pastukhova

Photo: Courtesy of Tati Pastukhova

Tati Pastukhova
Co-founder + Managing Director, ARTECHOUSE

Nearly a decade ago, Tati Pastukhova and Sandro Kereselidze created Art Soiree, a DC-based organization dedicated to uplifting and curating contemporary artists and their work. As technology advanced, the pair quickly realized the lack of space for artists who work with new wave digital mediums. That’s where ARTECHOUSE comes in. The “art space dedicated to showcasing experiential and technology driven works” also houses the first augmented reality bar in the U.S.

“Technology has expanded our abilities as humans to interact with what we are given and that includes our imagination and expression in arts,” Pastukhova says. “The new forms of art that will emerge through technology will allow viewers to be a part of the storytelling and of the creative processes, enabling them to curate their own experience of art, unique to themselves.”

In early spring, ARTECHOUSE will feature an installment titled “In Peak Bloom,” showcasing works of art based on DC’s famous cherry blossoms from an all-female cast of creators.

“We believe in treating everyone equal and part of that is not creating a differentiation or highlighting one individual or group over the other. It is important to highlight [the fewer number of women in arts and tech] in hopes of inspiring the current and future generation to enter these fields.”

To learn more about Art Soiree, visit www.artsoiree.com, and for more information about ARTECHOUSE, visit www.dc.artechouse.com.

ARTECHOUSE: 1238 Maryland Ave. SW, DC; www.dc.artechouse.com

WELLNESS + EMPOWERMENT

Photo: Wendy K. Yalom

Photo: Wendy K. Yalom

Kimberly Pendleton
Women’s Empowerment Coach

As a women’s empowerment coach and women’s studies professor at the University of Maryland, Kimberly Pendleton helps women realize their full potential through online and in-person courses, workshops and programs. She started her personal business of women’s empowerment coaching when she was finishing her PhD. Now, Pendleton helps over 200 clients from around the globe to strengthen their personal relationships, find out who they are and drop baggage.

“My premium program UNCOVER has helped women recover their relationships, find love and most importantly, feel at home in themselves,” Pendleton says.

UNCOVER, a 10-week program focusing on inner awakenings through embodied practices and coaching exercises, has a $1,237 price tag, but Pendleton says the high cost of service is supportive of the “high level of energy and training” that goes into her work.

“I do believe in paying women for their labor and valuing their knowledge, especially in areas that bring soft skills and social/emotional intelligence to the forefront. I also have seen that when women invest in themselves at an edge that makes them feel a little nervous, they show up for themselves in a different way and experience more rapid transformation.”

Pendleton also offers some complimentary services including #MeToo workshops, an e-newsletter and Roadmap to Romance, a free week of video trainings on self-love, empowerment, and relationships available at www.roadmaptoromance.com.

For more information about Pendleton and the services she provides including UNCOVER, visit www.kimberlypendleton.com.

Photo: Courtesy of Leah Beilhart

Photo: Vanessa Baioni

Leah Beilhart
Founder, Behold.Her

Leah Beilhart wanted to be a professional soccer player, but that all changed after one service trip to the Czech Republic from Germany.

“It was the first time I saw a photograph of myself and cried,” she says. “The amount of sweat, mud and joy across my face was priceless. It changed my life and made me decide that I wanted to give that same pleasure to another human being.”

Over the next several years, Beilhart built her portfolio, reputation and skills as a freelance photographer before landing in DC.

“Portraiture became my main game and eventually the catalyst for Behold.Her when I found myself in DC wanting to create an environment where women could feel carefree and less filtered.”

Behold.Her, now in its third year, began as a portraiture and conversational series, but soon blossomed into a project series captivating a community of women and celebrating its diverse racial, cultural, religious and sexual orientation backgrounds.

“The biggest things we focus on is self-worth. We want women to focus completely on listening and sharing. Self-development takes a lot of energy. Most women leave emotionally depleted, but at the same time re-energized to approach life a little differently or feel less alone.”

Beilhart says Behold.Her is working toward a Self Worth Conference at the end of the year. Each quarter of 2019 will have its own theme: self-worth, sexuality and consent, money and guilt, and finally, community and relationships. All four themes will be combined at the multi-day, self-focused conference for women.

For additional information about Beilhart, visit her website at www.leahbeilhart.com. For details about Behold.Her and its various programs and conferences, visit www.beholdher.co.

STYLE

Photo: Alison Beshai

Photo: Alison Beshai

Frederique Stephanie
Freelance Stylist + Consultant

From Belgium to the Middle East, France to Ireland and England to DC, Frederique Stephanie has trotted the globe as a freelance stylist and public relations consultant. Freddie, as her friends call her, has worked as a stylist for celebrities like Rihanna, Drew Barrymore, Alexa Chung, Lily Allen and Pixie Geldof. But the biggest highlight of Freddie’s career was working on the Adidas Originals campaign featuring David Beckham, Snoop Dogg and Noel Gallagher, among other big names. Style is important to Stephanie, and always has been. And while she is definitely stylish, she says she’s not a fashionista.

“Style is a better word,” she says. “It is a reflection of my unique complexity as a human being.”

Stephanie decided to move across the Atlantic when she saw the growth potential for the DC creative market. She says her success in the nation’s capital comes from her unique background and perspective.

“I’m a black girl with Caribbean roots raised in Paris, but who spent most of her life in London. The DC creative scene needs more variety and different point of views. The city is changing and so will the industry standards as people start pushing boundaries.”

Now working as a PR consultant for Eaton DC, a collective of culture, media, hospitality, wellness and progressive social change, Stephanie says it’s “one of the most significant projects [she’s] ever worked on.”

“[Eaton DC] is the perfect platform because of what it stands for and the impact it already has on the city. They are doing incredible work, which is essential in the current [social and political] climate.”

To see what’s stylish to Frederique Stephanie, follow her on Twitter @frederique_s, and check out her blog, www.thepopuphouse.com.

Photo: Matt Spivack

Photo: Matt Spivack

Jai Lescieur
Stylist + Creative Director

Jai Lescieur recently moved to DC from London where she began her career as a styling manager and creative consultant. She worked on a variety of projects that included assisting on a shoot for Vogue China, working on a documentary about David Beckham, customizing outfits for a British TV show and getting published in British Vogue. Now, Lescieur works closely with Lauren Melanie Brown at Fashion Grunge and continues to freelance as a stylist.

“I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what DC has to offer and I am excited to continue exploring the city,” she says.

Her love for fashion and art stems from a childhood spent in Mexico City, where her mother would dress up even when she wasn’t going out and her father would wear pants tailored from curtains just because he loved the fabric so much. Now that she’s grown, Lescieur finds inspiration from powerful women like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Michelle Obama who are exploring different kinds of fashion while in the public eye.

“I love how they are changing the conversation of how women are viewed by what they wear. Although some people will always unfairly criticize powerful women for what they wear, these women are showing that fashion can also be a symbol of their empowerment.”

For more information about Jai Lescieur, visit her website at www.jailescieur.com or follow her on Instagram @jai_stylefactory.

Photo: Pierre Edwards

A Day in the Life: Full Service Radio’s Jack Inslee

We could be corny and say he’s a jack of all trades, but indeed Jack Inslee is working hard to raise the bar in a variety of creative arenas in DC. After helping launch and then producing Heritage Radio out of New York City for several years, Inslee made his way to the District to team up with the masterminds behind the LINE Hotel to bring Full Service Radio to life. Inslee operates the live radio station out of the hotel’s lobby and brings guests and hosts from all cross sections of the city to a space where they can broadcast “the real DC” to the world. Inslee feels the station is starting to take on a life of its own, which is what he has hoped from the beginning. He likens himself to a traffic director, “trying to elevate what’s already happening in DC and what all the awesome hosts here do in their lives.”

When he’s not on-air at Full Service or traveling to promote DC’s creative community, Inslee can be found curating stages at Bonnaroo, DJing at Velvet Lounge, collaborating with local musicians, and hanging at Jimmy Valentine’s and Songbyrd, ever plotting new projects. And like the true DC convert he’s quickly become, he finds much-needed – though rarely gained – quiet time in the nooks and crannies of Rock Creek Park. We picked Inslee’s brain about Full Service Radio and his other ventures, and how he keeps a pulse on DC’s creative scene.

On Tap: You’re relatively new to DC from NYC. What’s the transition been like?
Jack Inslee: It’s crazy. I’m almost approaching two years in the District and I say this all the time: I’ve become like a DC evangelist. I’ve basically fallen in love with the city. It continues to surprise me constantly. It’s definitely much smaller [than New York], but there’s more room to breathe and space to think. And I think that the things happening in this creative community here in DC are wildly overlooked and underrated. It’s a special place right now, and a special moment to be in this.

OT: You’ve been working on the much-anticipated – and now lauded – Full Service Radio since before the LINE opened last December. How is it growing and evolving?
JI: I have been overwhelmed by the positive response that the network has gotten in these early stages. We are lucky to have a wildly incredible roster of hosts and collaborators that we’re working with. I couldn’t be luckier than to be in the LINE Hotel too, which is such an exciting space and place in the city. The energy here is just incredible. That public interaction is everything. But frankly, I’m not happy yet. It still feels like preseason to me. I’m never really completely satisfied, but that’s kind of what keeps things moving forward. I’m trying to improve every day.

OT: Do you have people walk into the radio station off the street and ask what you’re doing?
JI: Oh yes, constantly – for better or worse. All the radio shows stream live into the [hotel] rooms as well as on the Internet, so sometimes we’ll have a guest come down just having listened to a live broadcast and they get to interact with the host and the guests. There’s this real-time response that’s really neat and exciting.

OT: How frequently do you bring new shows on board? Do you have a goal to reach a certain number per week?
JI: I get flooded with so many requests and I want to embrace that enthusiasm. I don’t want to turn people away. I want to be a person that says “Yes” and welcomes those people in, but we’re definitely at capacity. We launched with 33 shows a week and we still have all of those shows. Come fall, we’ll have a handful more that will come on. My ears are always open for new ideas. At the very least, I want to accept every pitch and idea that comes in.


Can’t Live Without
Cold brew coffee with a tiny splash of milk and simple syrup
A solid (even if messy) “to do” list
Tea Tree Therapy Toothpicks, mint-flavored
Memes, jokes, good tweets – anything that makes me genuinely laugh and smile throughout the day
Relaxing music for a stressful day, energetic music for a shamefully lazy day


OT: Outside of Full Service Radio, are you still DJing and making music?
JI: I definitely stay busy with travel, DJing and producing music. A really exciting project that I’m over the moon about is a new album I made with Odetta Hartman called Old Rockhounds Never Die, coming out August 10. Odetta is an Americana artist and I do experimental electronic production and manipulate her voice and all kinds of weird things. It’s like this f–ked up, futuristic cowboy/soul kind of thing. I’m also working with some other DC musicians, and always DJing around town here and there. And I travel around and interview people in other cities [including visits to the LINE in Austin and L.A.] as well to bring it back to Full Service Radio. [We’ll be] doing little pop-ups in those cities and then finding ways to bring DC stories to those cities to expand our reach.

OT: You are a big part of DC’s art and music communities, but you also have a history in food. How does it influence your life these days, especially being at the LINE?
JI: It’s definitely become a real passion of mine over the years, and I think DC is starting to become known as a food destination as well. [James Beard Award-winning Chef] Spike [Gjerde] brought in [legendary Chef] Alice Waters as a guest on his show, so the food programming on Full Service is actually fairly robust and exciting. It’s one of the few places where policy conversations make it into the mix. And I do generally really draw from good food. Maketto is the first [place] I really fell in love with when I moved here. It’s like okay, I can get some really spicy bone marrow broth and some designer street clothes on sale? Cool. Yeah, that’s where it’s at. I just think that space is like a beacon for the city.

OT: You’re clearly excited about the creative scene in DC, but what concerns you most?
JI: DC seems to be really concerned with DC all the time. Often times, it can end up feeling like a silo here where it’s just everybody talking to each other. I just wish people would get out more and reach out to people in other places more. That kind of goes against this whole community thing that makes DC super special, so it’s not to say abandon that. But to put it in blunt terms, there’s this weird inferiority complex or something. When people feel like they’ve hit the outer walls of DC, rather than just getting down about it, [people should] push past them. It’s something I’m always trying to fight against and help people with.

OT: Who are some of the people in DC you think we should keep an eye on?
JI: Sir E.U and Tony Kill. They just put out an album called African American Psycho, and I think they’re both geniuses and they have been doing exactly what I was just talking about. They were just in L.A. and they’re pushing past the boundaries of the city. They’re crazy experimental and waving their own flag and I can’t say enough good stuff about that album. To me, that’s the stuff that’s giving me inspiration and part of why I love this city so much.

Learn more about Inslee and Full Service Radio at www.thelinehotel.com/full-service-radio.

The LINE Hotel: 1770 Euclid St. NW, DC; 202-588-0525; www.thelinehotel.com/dc