Photo: John Canery

Cupid’s Undie Run Returns To Continue Fight Against NF

It all started with a crazy idea…

That’s how Cupid’s Charity, the group behind DC’s Cupid’s Undie Run on February 8, opens their story on the website. The idea of a mile(ish) run through a DC street in the winter came from co-founders Brendan Hanrahan, Chad Leathers and Bobby Gill. The trio dropped their pants in solidarity and frolicked for charity to help end neurofibromatosis (NF), a rare genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body.

The inaugural event kicked off in 2010, and has grown since. With different sister events offered all over the country, the fundraisers have helped raise almost $20 million. To learn more about the festivities, we spoke with race director Ashley Casper about the event’s mission, what people can expect from this year and why the cause is worth the chills.

On Tap: How have the races changed since 2010? Are there any plans to celebrate the 10th anniversary? 
Ashley Casper: The inaugural 2010 event took place in DC and was a trial run to determine local interest and potential fundraising levels, bringing in more than 500 participants and fundraising more than $12,000. Since our very first Cupid’s Undie Run in 2010, we have spread awareness of NF and raised more than $18,900,000, thanks to the 107,000 undie runners and 247,000 donations that have supported more than 225 events across the country. [All] of net proceeds from our programs goes specifically towards NF research through our partner, the Children’s Tumor Foundation. The event has gotten larger over the years, but the one thing that always stays the same is our mission to end NF.

OT: What are some aspects that surprise people who sign up? Are there things participants mention to you regarding things they didn’t expect? 
AC: People often are surprised to hear that we run in undies in February, but there is a really great reason for it! We run in our undies because people with NF can’t cover up their tumors. They can’t put clothes on to feel more comfortable, so why should we? Also, while the event is pants-optional, we encourage participants to wear what they are most comfortable in. Tutus, onesies, bathrobes, costumes (we even have a costume contest!) are all encouraged. The important thing is that people show up, have fun and raise money for charity!

OT: What are some of the festivities people can expect aside from the race? What kinds of activities are planned? What are the ones people respond to most?
AC: At Cupid’s Undie Run, the party is as big as the one mile(ish) run is “brief.” Thanks to the support of local sponsors like DC Fray, Hot 99.5 and DCW50. The four-hour party features a DJ, a photobooth, mascots, awards for top fundraisers and a lot of energy.

OT: Have any pointers for first timers? 
AC: First, join or start a team, Cupid’s is a lot of fun with friends! There are prizes for top team fundraisers and people are very creative with team costumes. One of my favorites from 2019 was an entire team dressed as Waldo from Find Waldo. Two, layer up! Even if you’re wearing undies, you can add knee socks, scarves, hats and gloves to stay warm. Three, if your outfit does not leave room for pockets, no problem! Cupid’s offers fun awards for fundraising for NF and if you raise $250, you earn official 2020 Cupid’s undies PLUS open bar – no need for pockets.

OT: How do you all establish the goal year by year? 
AC: Our mission is to end NF and that is what drives us every year to increase fundraising and awareness. We’re always pushing ourselves to create the best event possible for our participants and increase our fundraising.

OT: Lastly, what does it mean to you to be apart of an event like this, with a fundraising angle? 
AC: It’s very rewarding to be a volunteer Race Director for the DC Cupid’s Undie Run. I have met so many wonderful people and families affected by NF, and the money we raise has a very real impact on their lives. The Foundation’s research initiatives have generated 116 pre-clinical studies that have led to 16 clinical trials. Being a part of an event that truly puts the FUN in fundraising and has such a positive impact on those affected by NF means everything to me. Every one mile(ish) we run and every dollar we raise gets us one step closer to a cure.

For more information about the race or how to get involved, visit www.cupids.org

Photo: DC Fray

Five Reasons You Need To Pickup A #FrayLife Passport ASAP

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Get your hands on one of the best new ways to get to know everything DC has to offer from food and drink to one-of-a-kind experiences. Here are five reasons why you need a Fray Passport.

Spend a Little, Save A LOT

Why pay full price on a night out or Sunday Funday when you can save 50 percent? There are more than $250 in savings in the Fray Life Passport with BOGOs galore. You’ll find 2-for-1 flights of rare whiskey samples at RiRa, 2-for-1 margaritas at Nellie’s, and even a 2-for-1 brunch deal at Medium Rare, just to name a few deals. 

You can even get savings on savings. Passports are $30, but you can save 20 percent by entering promo code FRAYPASSPORT20. Each offer is valued at $15-$20, so the passport basically pays for itself after one or two uses! Make memories. Save money. 

More Than Just Drinks!

Most city passport-type programs only offer deals at bars for beverages. While we love a good cocktail or brew, the #FrayLife Passport includes deals and exclusive offers on food, drinks, activities and even gym memberships. Not just your typical happy hour. 

#FrayLife wants you to see more of DC than a bar’s liquor shelf. We want you to hook you up with a discount at Topgolf and Arlington Escape Room, or help you save on workouts at Balance Gym, F45, and Pacers Run Club. Eat, drink and explore DC. 

Get to Know the DMV, Not Just DC

A #FrayLife Passport gives you the perfect opportunity to try a cuisine you’ve never had, visit a neighborhood you’ve never been to, or give that new exercise fad a try. If for some reason it wasn’t what you expected, you can at least feel good about the fact that you didn’t have to pay full price! With deals in Maryland and Northern Virginia, in addition to DC, you can get out and explore everything the DMV has to offer.

Rotating Deals, Year Round

New deals each season! There will be a summer/fall Passport as well with new offers on things to eat, drink and do in the DMV so you’ll never get bored. 

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Shake up your routine and use this opportunity to try something new with your friends. It’s an ideal way to impress your special someone on your next date night, and is a fantastic way to explore the city if you happen to be new here…or even if you’ve lived here for years. 

Sold on it yet? Get your Fray Life Passport now! Over $250 in savings for just $30. Did we say $30? Not so fast! Enter the promo code FRAYPASSPORT20 for 20 percent off your order. 

All orders include free shipping. Passports offers will be valid until June 30. For more information, visit www.fraylifepassport.com.

Sponsored Content

Iron Cages // Photo: Farrah Skeiky

With “Present Tense,” Photographer Farrah Skeiky Brings DC’s Vibrant Music Scene To The Front

If you’ve been to a punk, DIY, or house show recently, you might have been in the midst of local creative and photographer Farrah Skeiky. Her list of accomplishments runs long, and the common thread between them all is a devotion and dedication to DC’s famed music scene as it currently exists. Born of a desire to share that this city is as vibrant as ever when it comes to music and creativity, Skeiky’s first solo exhibition, Present Tense, opens at Transformer on January 18. To get to the heart of her work, which is at once a celebration and a call to action, On Tap spoke to Skeiky about her process and the progress she hopes drawing attention to live music in the District will bring.

On Tap: Present Tense is your first solo exhibition, and on your site it said the exhibition aims to “fight… the notion that this section of DC counterculture exists solely in the past.” As a music photographer, when did you first catch wind that there was an idea that counterculture was a thing of the past?
Farrah Skeiky: I love shooting all kinds of music. One of my favorite shows I shot this year was Lizzo. In 2018 I shot Blood Orange – obviously there’s a lot of national acts that I really, really love. But people kind of know and herald DC as a very important place to when it comes to music, but people really talk about it in the past tense, right? They talked about Minor Threat, Fugazi, and Bad Brains – all important bands. I’m never going to disagree about that.

And their contribution to music is obviously great, especially in punk music and the culture around it. Conversations about straight edge, veganism, benefit shows – all that stuff is really important, but it’s still going and it never really stopped. So for me, highlighting the bands and the people that are part of the present tense, where it gets its name from – this concept of people talking about DC as a place that used to have really cool bands and used to have really cool shows. And I was standing there talking to people who are saying these things, and I’m thinking, “But I was just at a great show last night, where three out of the four bands were local bands that are currently active or are in all these big bands currently playing reunions.”

I hate when people talk about this place in the past tense, when I’m in the middle of it and it’s active and it’s vibrant and people from all over the city bring all sorts of different stuff to the table. 

OT: What proved, to you personally, that it was alive and well? Was it a specific moment or a culmination of your experiences?
FS: [It] as kind of just a culmination [of everything]. I moved from Seattle to the Maryland suburbs [when] I was 15 and that’s not a fun move, to go from a very cool city to the suburbs. You’re kind of just getting into who you are and how you can use the world around you at that age. [So I] moved across the country, from one Washington to another. I really was not excited, but knowing that DC had this rich history that was still very much active, with really great independent music shows, all ages [and] culture, which is not common in a lot of cities – that was really important to me.

I feel like I watched it from afar, just like a lot of other people do in this country who are excited about punk music, but you don’t always realize it when you get there and [can] be part of it. So it wasn’t one specific [moment]. I think it was just, I realized I was going to more and more local shows and I was really excited about all of these local bands and what they were doing and I’m like, “well these are the bands I want to be taking more photos of.”

OT: Did you get exposed to photography and the local scene as a teenager in the suburbs of Maryland or was that something that happened as your career progressed?
FS: I never really thought that photography would play such a large part in my life. I got a camera when I was 16. I got my Canon Rebel XS. I was already engaged with art in school and playing music. I’ve played in jazz band and orchestra, and I thought that that was going to be how I engaged with music, by playing it in that class. It wasn’t really until my friends’ bands were playing something like the rec center or in a battle the bands [where] I was like, “I’ll bring my camera,” and or my friends said, “It would be cool if you brought your camera.” Live photos were always more interesting to me than any still one. I can capture people in that emotion and kind of show you how it felt to be there, rather than just tell you – I’m not good at words. I would rather show you how it felt to be there than tell you. That’s what I got really excited about. So it was probably 17 or 18 when I really started becoming excited about music photography.

OT: I’m guessing you had a rather large amount of photos to sift through for inclusion in this exhibition what criteria did you apply to capture this goal?
FS: It’s really hard because there’s a Present Tense book that’s coming out in February and that’s a couple photos of…almost every DC the band I’ve captured over the last five or six years. And that’s that book. The show was really hard, because it’s 16 pieces, I didn’t want to repeat bands and I wanted to get kind of a wide range. There are some from 2015 and 2017, and the most recent photo is from about three months ago. 

I didn’t want it to just be hardcore bands, and didn’t want it to just be photos of singers, because it’s very easy to catch [them] because they’re moving around the most. I tried to shoot photos of every member of the band when I’m shooting a show, so everybody has a photo of themselves. There’s also like, not just straight forward hardcore punk bands in there, but also bands that are more DIY or indie rock as well.

I wanted a little bit of genre diversity and having a kind of range. This isn’t just photos from 2019, there are photos from like 2015, when I really started shooting punk in DC more seriously. Before I was doing that, I was on and off the house photographer rotation for IMP for a long time and I kind of consciously made the decision to say, “Okay, I’m going to step back from that a little bit and focus more on local bands.” 

OT: Any particular favorites that are part of the exhibition you’d like to share?
FS: There’s kind of a lead photo that I have as part of this show. I think it was at Damaged City Fest, of this band called Sem Hastro. So in the photo, the one guy is choking the other guy. I love that photo because I feel like it’s a great little encapsulation of what DC punk and DIY has been in the past few years. Both of those people in the photo came to DC from other countries and participated in the punk culture here. 

Sem Hastro // Photo: Farrah Skeiky

So [in the photo,] the one doing the choking came from Japan was studying art at the Corcoran for four years. His band is still active, on and off, where he still lives in Japan, but he comes back to DC when they tour the States. The person singing came to DC because DC punk bands were playing in Brazil, and kind of made this super group of some of the Brazilian punks and some of the DC punks. The transient nature of DC is sometimes not the worst thing in the world. All these bands still have an impact here, these people still have an impact here. They’re still part of it, even though they’ve gone back to Brazil to Japan. They still made their mark and their contribution to it, so that’s one of my favorites. 

There’s also one crowd photo in there that I really love. My roommate is in it, and everybody’s expressions were just very sincere. Some of them are a little bit goofy. We’ve all had photos where we’re like,  “Damn, that’s what I looked like at that show? That’s the face I was making?” and there’s humor in it. Like you can’t take yourself super seriously in that moment when you look ridiculous.

OT: What do you hope those who view your exhibition gain from it?
FS: I want people to know that this is something happening right now. When people have this idea that punk and DIY is something that used to happen here, [and] when people were making important decisions about development and changing neighborhoods and changing venues and people access spaces and content, what your barrier of entry is, they’re not considering [music] because they’ve got it in their heads that it used to happen here. If it doesn’t happen anymore, they’re not making room for it. The reason that scenes and communities – two different things – can struggle in a city like DC is because they’re not getting enough support because they’re not being taken seriously.

That’s a big part of it. Smaller venues close, bigger developers come in, and the nature of it changes who’s controlling the booking of bands in the city. A lot of stuff is happening. Even smaller venues will book through Live Nation, which is so trippy to me. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but in the context of this, that means that a lot of local folks who have been here and are actively doing this thing [and] are left out of the conversation, because people are not doing their homework and realizing these people exist.

It’s hard, and we kind of need to shout our existence a little bit more so that we can maybe be part of this conversation, so we’re not constantly looking for a space and not having space to make things happen. We’re also like resilient folks. So if the show needs to happen in a house, our show needs to happen in a house. We’ll figure it out. We’re not gonna stop doing what we’re doing just because the new development and new DC isn’t making way for us. We’ll find a way. But wouldn’t it be cool if people knew we were here and supported our existence?

Present Tense runs through February 29 at Transformer, Wednesday through Saturday from 12-6 p.m. and by appointment. Skeiky’s work featured in the show is also up for sale. Her book Present Tense: DC Punk and DIY, Right Now will be released on February 22. For more on the exhibition and its programming, visit here.

Transformer: 1404 P St. NW, DC; www.transformerdc.org

Photo: Drew Xeron

Squats and Margaritas: Fitness Blogger Erin Washington Finds Balance

Life is all about choices. Be a mom or be a writer. Do squats or drink margaritas.

But Northern Virginia based writer and fitness blogger Erin Washington has come to the conclusion that it’s not the either/or that makes life worth living; it’s having both things and finding the right balance that’s the key. 

Her first book, “Squats and Margaritas: A Journey to Finding Balance,” was released this month, and in it, Washington details her more than 20 year struggle to find that sweet spot between discipline and indulgence in her own life. She hopes that talking about her hard times will help others through their own rough patches.

“This book shares my journey through overcoming a serious eating disorder,” Washington says. “[I was] finding true happiness by living my life with balance. And it shows the reader exactly how they can do it too.”

Washington grew up in Ohio, played Division 1 soccer at the University of Dayton, and ended up in DC working for the Redskins. There, she met her future husband, former Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington. They married and have two young children.

These days, Washington juggles her roles as mom, writer and fitness blogger. Her more than 15,000 followers on Instagram look to her for inspiration.

“So many women are turning to social media to follow fitness influencers for motivation, and it’s exciting to be able to provide daily content to my followers and be able to motivate them in real time.”

She shares what works for her, and offers tips for getting back in shape after the holidays. Washington says it starts with what you’re eating.

“You can start by eating small meals more often versus having three large meals per day, and increasing your water intake. Nutrition is a big part of losing weight. Tackle that first by eating clean – no processed foods – every couple of hours, and drinking eight glasses of water each day, even when you’re not thirsty. When you start seeing results on the scale, you’ll feel more confident about getting in the gym and starting an exercise program.”

So why did she pick that title, “Squats and Margaritas?” For her, margaritas symbolize the balance she’s constantly working towards.

“A margarita, for me, is the indulgence I can’t live without. For someone else, it may be a beer or red wine. You have to allow for the thing that you can’t live without because if you know you can have that, you won’t quit on your healthy eating plan. If you cut something out of your diet that you love, you will eventually fail because you’ll be miserable. Restriction isn’t sustainable, balance is.”

Instead of restricting yourself, Washington says, you can have your indulgence as long as you find somewhere else in your diet and exercise plan to balance it out.

“Skip the bun on your chicken sandwich,” she says. “Don’t have a beer at happy hour if you’re having a margarita at dinner.”

And she offers one last tip for readers.

“The best margarita I’ve ever had is the jalapeno cucumber margarita at Matchbox. It’s the best. Trust me. I’ve done the research.”

For more on Erin Washington, visit her website www.squatsandmargaritas.com and follow her on Instagram @squatsandmargaritas. Find her new book on Amazon.

DC Tattoo Expo #10

DC Tattoo Expo hosted it’s 10th annual three-day event at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. Tattoo enthusiasts saw over 400 tattoo artists, including stars of “Ink Master,” live entertainment and more. Photos: Kimchi Photography

Photos: Ashley Habeck

Pilates Studio Empowers DC Residents For 21 Years

For 21 years, Excel Pilates DC has been a cornerstone business in DC’s Brookland neighborhood. 

What was just an empty space in 1998 transformed into a full blown Pilates studio when Lesa McLaughlin and former business partner Kerry De Vivo, talked the owner of the space into renting it to them. The two women built out the entire studio themselves, painting the walls and floors, and filling the space with reformers, wall units, chairs, barrels and more. McLaughlin calls the process “a labor of love.”

The term “Pilates” comes from Joseph Pilates, the founder of robust exercises centered around coordination, balance, strength and flexibility. 

“Empower Your Body, Empower Your Mind,” is the Excel Pilates DC motto. With a strong commitment to following the original teachings of Joseph Pilates, McLaughlin says that what makes her studio unique is that its teachings are “authentic.”

Lesa McLaughlin

McLaughlin grew up as a multi-sport athlete and pursued a dance degree at George Mason University. She went on to dance professionally, but was injured in a car accident toward the later part of her career, inspiring her to go to New York to practice and study Pilates. She then became certified in The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning in 1995, under the instruction of Joseph Pilates’ own student, Romana Kryzanowska.

Pilates was a natural transition for McLaughlin, and helped her find her way back to dance in a pain-free way. 

That is the intriguing part about the exercise method to many people. Regardless of fitness experience, McLaughlin said Pilates is for everyone.

“Pilates isn’t physical therapy, it’s exercise. It can be taught in a way that it’s for everybody,” McLaughlin says. “You don’t have to be an elite athlete or dancer to experience the work in a meaningful way.”

Having a meaningful experience with Pilates is one requirement candidates must have to go through McLaughlin’s teacher training program, along with several others. All of her teachings are classical, rooting from the original teachings of Joseph Pilates, which is one reason why Jaqueline Emanuel, an Excel Pilates DC instructor, fell in love with the studio. 

Emanuel joined the studio as a student in 2000, and knew she had the passion necessary to eventually become an instructor.

“What I like most about Pilates, and why I wanted to be a teacher, is because I believe in it so much. Anybody can do it,” Emanuel says. “It’s complete coordination of mind, body, spirit and I find that to be a unique quality in the movement.”

As the Pilates movement has grown over the years, so has Excel Pilates. In 2002, a second location opened in Annapolis Maryland, which is now owned and operated by De Vivo. Just five years ago, Alexandra Adams, a former student of Excel Pilates DC, opened another location in McLean, Virginia. These are the “sister” studios to the DC location.

Over the past 21 years of owning her own business, seeing the community that the studio has created is extremely satisfying to McLaughlin. Clients who frequented the studio when it first opened still travel today from other areas in DC to take classes, and there is something to be said for that.

“To know people are dedicated not only to the work, but to our studio, and to see people experience the work and do things they wouldn’t be able to do, that’s rewarding for me,” McLaughlin says. “That’s why I do it.”

To learn more about Excel Pilates DC and class offerings, visit www.excelpilates.com.

Excel Pilates DC: 3407 8th St. NE, DC; 202-269-3020; www.excelpilates.com

Wanda Hernandez, Catherine Lopez, Ingrid Ortega and Vanessa Fuentes // Photo: courtesy of Creating Casa

Placing Latinxs On The Marquee: Creating Casa Celebrates Diversity In DC Art

DC has an incredibly vibrant art scene, from the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall, to the small independent galleries and pop up shows, art is seemingly everywhere. Yet despite that, the women of Creating Casa couldn’t help but notice that there was a strong lack of representation of Central American, Latinx art in DC.

They were determined to change that.

Together, the group has organized pop up art shows and art exhibitions featuring up and coming Latinx artists, as well as spoken at numerous panels about being Latinx creatives in the District, ensuring that the Central American Latinx perspective is both seen and heard. Their latest project takes things even further by making it a truly collaborative community effort. The project “Siempre Aqui,” asks for photo submissions of everyday life memories of growing up in the DMV. These photos will then be considered for a two-fold project, including wheatpasting, and an immersive gallery experience.

Read on to learn more about the brilliant women of Creating Casa, and their mission to highlight and celebrate the Latinx diaspora in DC!

On Tap: Who are the faces behind Creating Casa? Do you each have a specific role, if so, what are they?
Catherine Lopez: I am a first generation Salvadoran-American born in Falls Church, VA. My professional background is in public health, but at the center of what I do is the role of community. From translating documents for my parents or family members [at] a young age to working with vulnerable immigrants or teaching children of immigrants, I have seen the need to create space and give voices to those who feel they do not have one. My interest in the arts has a very similar core and I find my role in Creating Casa aligns nicely with this. My role includes that of supporting and coordinating our programs, fundraisers and continuously searching for funding along with supporting the rest of the team in our endeavors. 

Wanda Hernández: Similar to many of my colegas from Creating Casa, I was born in Arlington, VA to Guatemalan immigrants – shoutout to my beloved parents Elda and Julio – and grew up in the neighboring Falls Church. My professional background is in museums and I am currently pursuing a PhD in American Studies at the University of Maryland. I have found that my lived experiences shape all of what I do professionally as an educator, curator, scholar and cultural organizer. Creating Casa allows me to artistically explore questions that formulate about identity and belonging, which often leads me to be the one that researches and connects with artists, galleries and other like-minded organizers. 

Ingrid Ortega: I create our graphics, event flyers and post to our Instagram (@creatingcasa). As a team, we are committed to expand Latinx dialogue through all art mediums by representing and empowering emerging underrepresented artists in the DMV area. That is a passion we all share. We, as a team, work very collaboratively and we’ve never defined roles. We all have our strengths and we utilize all our strengths to make our events a reality!

Vanessa Fuentes: I am a second-generation Salvadoran-American born in Arlington, VA. I am passionate about my involvement in the Latinx community. 

OT: What made you come together to create ‘Creating Casa’?
IO: It came out of frustration, really. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed a lack of Latinx representation, specifically Central American in the DMV area. Since 2018, I’ve seen a positive change. I knew something had to be done about the lack of representation of Latinx people, but I didn’t know what. I always dreamt of curating an art show featuring Central American artists in the DMV area. I had no idea where to even start, but I knew who to call – Wanda Hernandez. Wanda listened to this idea, provided input and ended the conversation saying, “I’m 110 percent in.” A week or two later, I told Catherine Lopez and Vanessa Fuentes about this idea, and without any hesitation – they wanted to be apart of it, too.

For almost a year, we had meetings at NorthSide Social, countless phone calls and a very “poppin” group chat. We came to be because of the passion and love we have for our community. Our first self-titled art show, “Creating Casa,” was so special to us, our guests, the artists, etc. 

OT: I love how passionate you are about highlighting and bringing focus to the Latinx creatives in the DMV! Do you think that DC area Latinx artists are under-represented?
WH: Absolutely. In high school I wanted to be a fashion designer. However, I thought, “What are the odds that I’ll make it as a fashion designer?” So, in college I decided to pursue fashion merchandising, which I saw as much more practical but I ultimately dropped that major because it did not fuel me. I think that growing up in a working-class, immigrant family, as well as a first-generation Latina in college, I was looking to pursue something that was likely to give me a job. I think this strays Latinxs and other people of color away from pursuing a career they are truly passionate about, which leads to the overall underrepresentation of Latinxs in the industry. 

OT: Who are your current fave local Latinx creatives?
CL: Luis Peralta del Valle is at the top of my list. I was introduced to him as we were planning our first show. I think he has paved a way for himself and has created avenues to showcase his work throughout the DMV area.

IO: I believe we’re all fans of Luis Peralta del Valle! C’mon! His art alone is so breathtaking, but if you’re fortunate enough to talk about his art with him – you’ll seriously be blown away. We [Creating Casa] were very fortunate to have him featured in our first show back in March 2019. 

WH: I cannot disagree with Catherine or Ingrid. Luis is amazing. He’s been such a guiding light for me as I entered the DC art world. To mix it up a bit, however, I am really excited about Cielo Félix-Hernández. They’re currently in school in Richmond, VA, however, I hope they make their way back to the DMV after graduation. Also, I have to shoutout two amazing women: DJ Beleza and J’Nae Morrae.

On Tap: How did the concept of your current project, “Siempre Aquí” come about?
WH: The idea behind “Siempre Aqui” came about right after our first show. Upon attending the show a friend of the collective, José Centeno-Melendez, shared photographs of himself when he was young in the 90s. They depicted him visiting the national monuments for the first time and busting a piñata on the sidewalk for a birthday party in Hyattsville, MD. I thought, “Wow! How many of us have pictures just like this?” We wanted to create a huge photo album, if you will, of our experiences in the DMV. And from there, the show began to evolve. 

If you would like to submit to the “Siempre Aqui” project, click here. Creating Casa will be accepting submissions until January 18. For more information on their initiatives and future projects, follow them on Instagram @CreatingCasa.

Photo: courtesy of Dan Silverman

Prince Of Petworth Presents Different Look At DC

If you clicked the “crime” tab on the popular blog, the Prince of Petworth, and scroll down, here is what you would have seen over a one week period in December:

December 10: Update: Arrest Made. Security Guards reportedly stabbed and hit by car at the Basilica; Police in Standoff in Brightwood with Suspect

December 12: “Apparently someone was in the treeline shooting at police officers near the 7-11 not far from Catholic University”

December 16: What the Hell Went Down This Weekend? 10:20 a.m. Saturday Shooting Homicide in Brentwood; Shots Fired in Shaw; 10-11 year old sought in a robbery investigation in Columbia Heights

If you were to read the blog, perhaps better known around town as PoPville, on a regular basis, you would think we’re living in a war zone. The blog creator Dan Silverman has been blogging about DC since 2006 and notes, “Crime in DC has always been bumping up and down. It’s cyclical.”

Silverman would know. By creating a space where users can post crimes as they occur, his blog documented crime, arguably, much quicker than any mainstream news outlet in the District.

The first time I met Silverman was when I invited him to do a podcast with my then host and I in 2013. Upon greeting him in the lobby of the studio in Eckington, his curiosity for DC was palpable. Before even shaking my hand he excitedly went on about how the building across the street looked totally different years ago. He was intriguing to me for a variety of reasons. Many people I knew or heard of had talked about writing “The Blog of Washington,” as if it were the great American novel, but few actually did it. And if they did, far less found a way to make a living off of it.  There he stood: short, blonde and New York as hell, knowing more about the happenings of my city than I did.

“I started the blog because of development,” Silverman says. “You kept hearing, this is coming, that’s going to happen, and I’m like what? Where? Couldn’t find anything about it. And I’m a pretty obsessive person. If I want to know about it, I really want to know about it. I don’t want to read about it once a month or once a week. I said, yeah, what the hell, I’ll start it myself.”

He did and it became extremely popular. But one additional way it proved extremely effective is by allowing real time access to information about crimes in DC. Yes, The Washington Post covers violent crime thoroughly, but doesn’t operate with the speed of a site built to function like a social media platform.

“A lot of our crime posts are user generated,” he says. “Reports as they arrive. A shooting will occur and 60 seconds later someone is messaging me about hearing gun shots.”  

The nation’s capital is a fast growing city. Cranes decorate the sky as do homeless tents on our sidewalks.  And since this is DC, with perhaps the most opinionated demographic in the country, the response to this urban sprawl and some of its pitfalls are varied. This includes crime, which is something Silverman is acutely aware both from emails and the comment box on his blog. 

“What’s crazy is there will be a post about a beating or robbery and someone will comment or email, ‘I’m glad they got beat up.’ Now that’s f*cked up. That person just got seriously injured,” Silverman says.  

But this is the climate we live in: Anger, frustration and dissent have a home in DC.

“We’re seeing a lot more assaults, a lot more weapon use,” said Anwar Graves, former assistant U.S. attorney for the the city, now associate counsel at O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

When asked about what age groups he was seeing commit these crimes he said, “When it comes to the age groups it truly does vary. The defendants are getting younger and younger, unfortunately. We are having a lot of juveniles that we are trying as adults.”

Which begs the question, what on earth is contributing to this?

“A defense attorney said that once you get to age 8, if they haven’t found a way to make sure you are in a safe environment by [then], you are becoming more at risk to commit a crime,” Graves says.  

Through the Prince of Petworth blog, Washingtonians gain a different lens into crime in DC, more specifically in their own neighborhoods but due to the frequency of these posts, it also raises the question: Is crime in DC actually getting worse?  

Silverman’s blog was intended to be upbeat and positive, and should absolutely be celebrated for being a go to for all of the curiosities of DC, but since its inception, the site also unfortunately provides an aperture into a city in pain.

For more information about Prince of Petworth, visit Popville.com.

Best of 2019: Our Staff’s Favorite Music, Memes, Sports Moments and More

2019 was a long year. So many things happened. TOO many things happened, if you ask me. Let’s all slow down in 2020. With new memes taking over the Twittersphere every day, history-making sports moments, and more binge watchable shows than ever, it can be hard to round up your year in retrospect. To help jog our collective memories, On Tap and Fray staff reflected on their favorite things that happened this year, so you can come with us on this journey of reflection on this wild ride of a year.


Monica Alford, Managing Editor

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
I like old things.

What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
See above.

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
There’s too many to name but at this moment, the two that stand out are Bloc Party at The Anthem (nostalgic vibes and adorable concertgoers) and Beck // Cage The Elephant at Merriweather (high production value, insane amount of talent onstage, epic thunderstorm).

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Favorite 2019 sports moment?
I don’t know much about sport ball but I was very proud of the USWNT win.

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Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
Thamee and Kith/Kin for incredible meals // experiences (Thamee for authentic cuisine and mom-and-pop feel, Kith/Kin for insanely good flavors and the personal touch of Chef Kwame chatting with and checking on his guests).

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Too many to name but off of the top of my head, Mrs. Fletcher (mini-series) on HBO was phenomenal.

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Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
Jojo Rabbit because it was surprising, delightful and so tastefully done.

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
The OT team joining the Fray family and continuing to kick ass in media and across departments.

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
Being acquired by and becoming part of the Fray family (weird = fantastic in this instance!)

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
Anything M.K. sends me (help me, I’m old!)

Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
The new look and vibe of our print and digital media, coming in hot in 2020 and continuing to kick ass!


Maggie Awad, Marketing Director

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
“Freaking Out,” by ARIZONA and then every remix since, including Matoma.

What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?

IDK, I definitely didn’t have a big music year in 2019.

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?

ARIZONA at 9:30 Club, while the venue is always perfect, the band just gave the performance of their life. They went hard in the paint and it was hands down the best gig of 2019 for me.

Favorite 2019 sports moment?

Nationals winning the World Series!

Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
Ugh, I’m hesitant to share this gem, but then also feel obligated to support this business. I love Benitos Place in Shaw. It’s not new, it’s not fancy, but damn is it good. It’s a little Honduran spot with the best pupusas, tacos and carne asada platter. In the summer, you can sit outside on their picnic table and sip margs in cactus glasses. CACTUS GLASSES. Need I say more?

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What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Schitt’s Creek or Kim’s Convenience – those Canadians kill it.

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Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
Does every Lifetime, Hulu, Netflix, Hallmark Christmas movie count?

Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
I MET KANYE WEST AND NEVER GONNA FAIL! I also joined the Fray team AND I hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc!

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Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
Can’t think of anything weird, but would like to shout out the best book of 2019 for me was a tie between Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl and American Royals by Katharine McGee. Entirely different genres and love them for different reasons.

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
Nancy Pelosi clapping, Ok Boomer, I don’t know who needs to hear this but, I’m gonna tell my kids, Kombucha Girl.

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Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
More traveling, more reading, more of everything. Oh and The Killers on tour again with a new album.


Sandrika Berthias, Event Manager

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
“Sexy Tropicale” by Claudio Capeo. I discovered this new artist from a podcast and I really love his style.

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
Mana at Eagle Bank Arena. Always a great show, great songs, great ambiance.

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
U.S. won the women’s soccer World Cup.

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What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Money Heist.

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Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
I need to catch up on the movies but I went to see Abominable with my son. It was a very cute movie [for] kids and adults. We both cried.

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Climbed Acatenango Volcano in Guatemala, its elevation is 13,045 feet.

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
Realizing I am an empath. I physically feel people’s emotions. Not easy, but the realization of it changed my life.

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Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
Make sure to be 100 percent present with my family and friends. Continue my personal and professional development to be the best person I can be.


Rhiannon Bunek, Permit Administrator

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
“Tebrikler” by Merve Özbey

What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
Manga by Mayra Andrade – Chill and unique vibe that’s perfect for the work day.

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
David Helfgott at Hagia Irene in Istanbul. The venue is an ancient Byzantine Church with amazing acoustics and lighting. The whole atmosphere was both spiritual and eerie.

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
A February match between Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş (our rival), where we were behind but rallied in the last half to tie the score.

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Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
Nothing beats fresh figs in the summer in Turkey!

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Jack Ryan

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Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
Defiance (not new, but watched it on Netflix this year). It’s based on an incredible true story that I had never heard of before.

Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Moving half-way across the world and getting settled in DC!

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
A toss-up between finding a small scorpion in my kitchen and witnessing burger restaurants giving their customers black gloves to wear while they eat. Weird.

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Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
Baby Yoda.

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Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
Exploring DC!


Carter Hering, Operations Coordinator

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
“7 Rings” by Ariana Grande. Made me want to become more of a boss ass bitch.

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What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
Father of the Bride by Vampire Weekend. It hit all the notes for me. So great to listen to.

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
CJ Chenier at City Winery. Amazing New Orleans jazz and it was so fun all around.

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
Nats winning the WORLD SERIES

Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
Proper Burger at Dukes Grocery was the best burger I had all year. Holy cow was it good. The frozen rum and coke at Tiki TNT. We all are aware of my love for Thrasher’s Rum. The spiced rum is just so good. Atlas Brewing Oktoberfest beer. Bad boy was so crisp and yummy.

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Mindhunter was crazy good. Love the influence of David Fincher.

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Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
I mean Avengers: Endgame was just a freakin’ blast. Going to the theater on my off day and watching it at a 10 a.m. showing was great. Rocketman was/is better than Bohemian Rhapsody.

Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Moving twice [and] getting a job here, then getting a promotion here at Fray.

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
Zion broke his shoe.

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Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
“What it do babyyy,” 30-50 feral hogs.

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Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
Going on a vacation to Scandinavia, getting in shape, finding out who Mr. Sandman truly is, trying new beers, possibly going to a concert with M.K.


Erin Hessler, Senior Marketing Coordinator

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
“Rollercoaster” by Jonas Brothers

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What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
Heard It In A Past Life by Maggie Rogers. I saw her at All Things Go in 2018 and since then it’s been so fun watching her take the world by storm. I even bought it on cassette tape because I drive a really old car that can still play it!

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
Kacey Musgraves’ Oh What A World tour. I saw it THREE times. First, at The Anthem in January, then at Red Rocks Amphitheater when I was on vacation in Colorado this summer, and finally at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the final night because Maggie Rogers was there with her for one night only. Golden Hour was the Grammy Album at the Year, I don’t feel like I need to explain much more.

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
Washington Nationals winning the World Series!

Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
The Medium Rare sandwich at Nationals Park. The sauce!

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What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
The Good Place or Love Island UK.

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Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
Captain Marvel. I watch most of the new movies I see on airplanes and I think that one was my favorite one I remember seeing.

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
I decided a few years ago to travel to at least one new country every year and this year I went to two! Mexico and Iceland. I also got to return to Canada.

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
Seeing the Washington Nationals win the World Series.

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
The sentences that started with “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but…”

photo: knowyourmeme.com


Julia Goldberg, Graphic Designer

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
“I Don’t Care” by Ed Sheeran and Justin Beiber.

What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell!. The album provided comfort at the end of a long day. Also enjoy listening to it when i’m in the art zone // sketching and whatnot.

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Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
Beck, at Merriweather was pretty exciting. First off, I grew up listening, so it was a real treat to see him live. Also, it was the dead middle of summer and there was a torrential downpour, so everyone was just toughing it out in the storm as Beck performed. It was awesome.

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
I’m not a big sports person but the women’s soccer team winning the world cup was pretty exciting. Right up there with the Nats winning the World Series.

Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
Hm, this is a tough one. There is a local wine restaurant by me in Arlington called Verre Wine that my best friend and I tried after the movies. Hands down, best bruschetta I’ve had in my life. We almost ordered every kind on the menu, and there are a lot.

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Big Little Lies.

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Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
I don’t really see movies, but I have a lot of catching up to do. Pretty sure I saw two movies this year in theaters, Hustlers and Ford vs. Ferrari. Both were pretty good, and based on true stories.

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Probably moving out and living on my own. Jumping out of a plane was pretty cool too.

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
Cannot think of anything so I guess that means if something weird happened, it probably wasn’t that weird or I have a terrible memory…or I just live a very normal non-weird life.

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
I’m gonna tell my kids…

Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
Something weird to happen.


Joe Jasper, Events Coordinator

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
Tones & I – “Dance Monkey”

What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
Wasteland, Baby! by Hozier, because I waited five years for this album and it didn’t disappoint at all, every single song is amazing. A whole mood.

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Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
Brockhampton at The Anthem. The crowd was amazing, it was not stop jumping from the second they came on until the second they left.

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
Nats winning the World Series!!! Or Manchester United beating Tottenham and Manchester City in the same week.

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Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
Some delicious wines at the DC Wine Walk!!!

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Sex Education or Russian Doll, both were amazing.

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Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
Avengers: Endgame was everything it had been hyped up to be for years, I also really enjoyed Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, because I was sitting on the edge of my seat for the whole movie and there was so much build for such an amazing climax, it was awesome.

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Graduating college or starting to work at Fray!

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
Someone climbed in through my window while I was sleeping, that was weird.

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
The meme about how Gen Z’s love stupid memes or “Oh God he’s wearing airpods”

Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
Getting older, wiser, and making new memories! Also a Kendrick Lamar album 🤞🤞🤞


Trent Johnson, Assistant Editor

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
I don’t know…F**k it, “Old Town Road.”

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What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
Favorite: Atlanta Millionaires Club by Faye Webster // Least Favorite: Jesus Is King by Kanye West

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
My favorite teams are generally disappointing from a championship perspective. That being said, probably James Harden’s streak of 35+ point games, because all the haters on Twitter cried about it for months.

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Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
Kith/Kin at the Wharf. It was amazing because it tasted great; I’m not a food critic.

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
The answer is probably still Game of Thrones, but the last season was trash. Justice for Dany and justice for Jon actually having speaking lines beyond a few phrases. A real shame for all parties involved.

Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
I mean it’s Avengers: Endgame. I’m not sure any other movie has been that hyped or anticipated since Star Wars: Force Awakens in 2015. The build up was crazy, the payoff was crazy and it’s a three hour finale of one of the longest serialized stories in movie history. Not to mention the memes like Daddy Thanos and I Love You 3000.

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
I hate questions like this because I don’t structure things in a yearly way, but I guess interviewing Kwame Onwuachi was a cool experience because it felt like he blew up on a national level like two months after we spoke. Also, talking to Julia Shapiro of Chastity Belt fun for me because I love their moody music.

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
Probably talking about the universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?

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Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
I really like saying “twenty-twenty,” so probably that. Saying “twenty-nineteen” was a real hassle IMO.


M.K. Koszycki, Editorial Assistant

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
“True Blue” by Mark Ronson feat. Angel Olsen. Sad music you can still dance to is kind of my thing.

What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
Sharon Van Etten’s Remind Me Tomorrow. She’s an incredible human and musician and this whole record was beautiful and hopeful and all the best things. In a close second and third would be I Am Easy to Find by The National and Reward by Cate Le Bon.

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
Beach House’s homecoming show at The Hippodrome in Baltimore. The venue was ornate and formal and such a cool place to have a visually stunning dream pop show. Also Bombay Bicycle Club’s first post-hiatus DC show, and The National at The Anthem.

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Favorite 2019 sports moment?
The US dominating at the Women’s World Cup, once again. On the subject of #girlpower, the Washington Mystics winning the title was cool to see. And how can I forget the Nats’ world series win? Still waiting on *someone* to get their curly W tattoo.

Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
The Bee’s Knees cocktail at Bresca. Served in an actual bee-shaped glass. The most Instagrammable drink at the most Instagrammable restaurant that’s delicious to boot. I will also always love the chicken wings at Cafe Saint Ex. They’re the best.

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Fleabag, the second best show to ever be on TV. It’s only second-best because Twin Peaks exists. Also Russian Doll on Netflix and season two of Big Little Lies because of Laura Dern and Laura Dern ONLY.

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Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
Midsommar. Absolutely terrifying but still, in my opinion, has a happy ending. The first 15 minutes will be seared into my brain for the rest of my life. I also adored High Life and Honey Boy.

Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Covering SXSW. It’s always been a dream of mine to go but I never thought I’d be able to cover it, too.

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Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
I finally met a baby goat in person. I love baby goats.

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
BABY YODA. And Monique saying “I would like to see it.” There are many things I’d like to see so I say it ALL the time. Also “ma’am, this is a Wendy’s.”

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Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
All the new music that will be released and all the shows I’ll go to. I don’t know what they are yet but I’m already excited.


Travis LeFlore, Senior Staffing Coordinator

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
“Goodbyes” – Post Malone (Young Thug)

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What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
YBN Cordae – The Lost Boy…Outstanding album, best lyrical album this year.

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
Justin Timberlake’s Man of Woods Tour. Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC. First time seeing Justin in person, heck of a show!

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Favorite 2019 sports moment?
Coaching my first NCAA National Champion.

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Godfather of Harlem.

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Moving to DC, starting a new career, making it through first year of marriage.

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
Met my coworkers, Carter and Julian lol.

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
Jordan crying face.

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Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
More Life!


Julian Makarechi, Player Services Coordinator

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
“I Said Me” – 2 Chainz

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What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
Rap or Go to the League

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
Electric Forrect Music Festival, Rothbury, Michigan. First 5 day camping festival. Phenominal

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
Double Doink

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Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
Pupusas at Gloria’s Pupuseria in Columbia Heights. First time eating them, so tasty.

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Atypical

Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
Knives Out. It was simply a great mystery movie.

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Got my first job! Yay!

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
My mom (lives in Philly) has her own travel agency (check it out: DiscoverMyItaly.com!) that hosts tours in different parts of Italy and creates individual itineraries. By chance Carter’s parents (live in NC) were on my mom’s tour in Italy. None of us had any idea until our parent’s were talking about their children and it came up that both of them have kids who work at DC Fray.

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
Peloton Girl.

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Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
Trip To Italy


Kayla Marsh, Digital & Advertising Coordinator

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
All My Favorite People by Maren Morris (feat. Brothers Osborne)

What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
GIRL by Maren Morris because it was so empowering and inspiring with a hint of fun and flirtiness! What I aim to be ;)

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
Brothers Osborne at The Anthem! It felt like an epic rock concert but in such an intimate space, I really connected with the artists throughout the entire show! Also – Kenny Chesney at The Anthem because I actually got there early and had a great spot in the crowd to actually see Kenny perform up-close.

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
2019 WORLD SERIES CHAMPS BABY

Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
I visited Ramen by Uzu quite a few times this year in Union Market. All hail the miso ramen, the perfect rainy day comfort food.

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Dead To Me! Brilliant acting by Christina Applegate (who got a Golden Globe nom for it) and overall great dark humor for the witchy soul.

Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
Toy Story 4 – this year a beloved new animated character was born. “FORKY” This one, like the other three, really tugged on my heartstrings.

Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Getting approved for an AWESOME apartment in Alexandria that’s closer to work.

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
Got my car window smashed only for a thief to steal my whole makeup bag.

Favorite meme that ruled the internet this year?
All things Baby Yoda of course.

Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
Hitting the basketball courts with the Fray squad – it’s been a while!


Tom Roth, Senior Sales Executive

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
“You need to Calm Down” – Taylor Swift

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What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
Whatever Taylor Swift Album that came from.

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
Kenny Chesney at The Anthem b/c it was the only concert I went to.

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
Nats winning the World Series and there wasn’t a close second.

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What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Succession, an amazing show. My favorite by far. True Detective, Big Little Lies, Dead to Me were all okay but not great.

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Keeping my kids alive and happy. Winning multiple adult basketball leagues.

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
Robert bought our company and brought us down [editor’s note: up?] to DC. But it’s all working out for the best.

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
The ladies yelling at the cat thing.

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Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
Health, happiness, and lots of time with family and friends. And vacations to St. Johns, Cancun & Cape Cod.


Alison Schrank, JAX City Commissioner

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
Honestly my hype song for awhile was Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts.”

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Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
Lil Wayne and Blink 182 at Daily’s Amphitheater. Everyone was unsure if Lil Wayne was going to show up because he had missed several other shows on the tour and after like 10 mins of just his band playing, he finally came out and I was completely surprised. I typically don’t listen to much rap music, but I went to a Lil Wayne concert in college so there was some nostalgia along with it as well. We also were in the pit and made it up to the second row and the environment was just so fun down there.

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Favorite 2019 sports moment?
USWNT winning the world cup!

Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
I don’t know how to pick a best one. I love eating and drinking.

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Game of Thrones, Shameless, Broad City, Schitt’s Creek

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Bought a house! Turned 30 (It was a big moment in my year haha)

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
Honestly, how does one choose?

Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
More vacations to new places!

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Kristen Sargent, Culture Contractor

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
“Higher Love”– Kygo, Whitney Houston. Cover of the 1986 classic, celebrated its 33rd anniversary in Jun 2019.

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What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
People still listen to whole albums? OMG, I’m the worst. I listen to whatever playlist Spotify recommends for me.

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
The NightOwls at Icenhauers in Austin, TX. Local cover band, SUPER high energy. They play every Sunday afternoon. Cool back yard/ back porch vibe. Everyone drinks sangria from mason jars. If you’re ever visiting Austin on a weekend, you’ve got to celebrate on Sunday afternoon with them!

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
Kona Ironman Triathlon – World Championship

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Stranger Things and Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
Free Solo, brought so much public awareness to vanlife and rock climbing, two things very much a part of my life. It’s cool to hear people say “oh you have a van like that guy in Free Solo?”…the movie gave people a window in to my world. So cool!

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Completing my well-being and career coaching certifications.

Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
Campervanning trips around Maui Hawaii and South Island New Zealand!

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Katie Seaman, Events and Promotions Coordinator

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
“Movement” – Hozier

What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
The Big Day – Chance the Rapper. SO many great collabs – Ben Gibbard? C’mon!

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Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
“Come Through” at the Kennedy Center with TU Dance and Bon Iver. So moving. The dance and the music together was seriously incredible. I had a steady stream of tears the entire time.

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
WORLD SERIES WIN! Duh. It felt like my first time truly experiencing fandom.

Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
LUCKY BUNS. Everything they introduce is incredible. I am such a huge fan and I never shut up about it. I can’t wait to see what they do in 2020. EXTRA PUMPED FOR THE UNION MARKET POP-UP!!!

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What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
Schitt’s Creek!

Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
Midsommar was so good! Also, I loved/ still love Bird Box.

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Running into the DC Fray/ On Tap merger HEAD ON!

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
Traumatic experience at an *unnamed* local venue.

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
Two words: Baby.Yoda. *sips bone broth*

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Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
SO excited for a new decade of growth and memories! Cheers y’all!


Anthony Towey, Head of Media Operations

What song released in 2019 defined your year?
Off the top of my head, I literally can’t name a song released this year besides “Baby Shark” (if that was even this year)

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What was your favorite album of 2019 and why?
See above 🤷🏻‍♂️

Best concert you attended this year? What was the venue? Why was it great?
Eric Church…first time seeing him since he’s been famous and first time ever going to The Anthem!

Favorite 2019 sports moment?
Mystics winning the title! Just kidding. Watching Lamar Jackson break the NFL every single game he plays.

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Best *local* thing you ate or drank this year? Where did you have it? Why was it amazing?
Harissa Carrots from Maydan. As someone who loves meat, it’s amazing how good these were. In the month long wait for our reservation, I never expected to walk out of dinner with a veggie being the most memorable thing I ate.

What was the most binge-worthy season of TV released this year, in your humble opinion?
I binge watch TV about as much as I listen to new music. The only show I binged watched this year was Succession, which came out in 2018 so maybe next year I’ll have a 2019 answer for you.

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Any favorite movies? Why does that movie stand out to you?
The Irishman. Great cast, story and all-around film that actually lived up to the hype. Also the Lion King because it’s my all-time favorite Disney movie.

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Biggest personal accomplishment of 2019?
Getting engaged! Also winning my first ever tournaments on DraftKings and FanDuel.

Weirdest thing that happened to you this year?
When we visited Madrid we unknowingly went on Day of Madrid (their Independence Day) so it was very cool being in the city for military parades and the other celebrations, but weird because it was completely unexpected by us and many of the local places we hoped to eat at were closed for the holiday.

Favorite meme that ruled the Internet this year?
I’ll get back to you on memes as soon as I figure out my favorite song and TV show

Anything you’re looking forward to in 2020 you’d like to share?
Very excited about my wedding in Cancun in December as well as continuing to up my game as a fantasy sports player!

Becoming Jane: The Evolution Of Dr. Jane Goodall At National Geographic Museum

The National Geographic Museum gave us a chance to see their new exhibit, “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall.” The exhibit is an interactive experience that follows Goodall’s life and discoveries. For more information about tour, check out Destinee Harper’s review. Caption and photos: Josh Goodrich