Photo courtesy of DASH
Photo courtesy of DASH

Q&A with District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH)

At Red Derby’s latest Tiki Party, each umbrella-topped rum punch was another few dollars donated for notebooks, backpacks and more back-to-school gear. The restaurant in NW, DC raised over $1,500, supporting the child residents of District Alliance for Safe Housing ,or DASH. Their goal before summer’s end is $3,000. 

DASH serves domestic violence survivors and their families to provide them with temporary housing in DC for up to 24 months. During this time, survivors work with an advocate to plan for an independently sustained life, safe from their abuser. Their next fundraiser, the DASH Kids Art Show Silent Auction, will be Thursday, September 13 at Red Derby, 6 p.m.

On Tap spoke with DASH’s executive director Koube Ngaaje, community housing program manager Crystal Jacobs and director of development Meghan McDonough about their services and common issues associated with shelters and domestic violence.

On Tap: What were the options for domestic violence survivors before DASH was formed in 2006?
Koube Ngaaje:
We call the residents survivors of domestic violence because they have survived a lot to get to where they are, and housing is really scarce in DC, let alone affordable housing. So before DASH came on the scene, these survivors had to choose between being homeless or staying in an abusive relationship. We try to make sure they never have to make that decision. So they have a safe space that they can go to.

OT: How is your housing model different from other shelter services?
Crystal Jacobs:
We have two scattered-site programs. For one, the population is [survivors of] domestic violence and/or sexual assault. The other program, which is fairly new, is specific for HIV as well as domestic violence. You have to have a dual diagnosis of both in order to access the program. But in general, [for] our families transitioning, we do like to make that step seamless. In the Empowerment Project we give them [free housing for] 24 months – at the end of the 24 months we want to make sure that their renting history is clean. Our goal is not to give full month’s rent from here to stay. Our goal is to help them get to the next steps.
KN: When a lot of people hear the word “shelter” or “homeless services provider,” they automatically do think of dormitory style. Being truly apartment-style [makes DASH different]. It’s tough when you’re in dormitory style because you’re working with people who have experienced so many forms of trauma. The ability for a survivor to have their own space: their own kitchen, their own bathroom, helps take away some of those pressures of community style living. Because of that we are able to house, in this building, male survivors and female survivors. [Each room houses] different configurations of families – from a one person household to a six-person household with children, a 16-year-old male living with a grandmother, or a family who has little ones from six months all the way up to 15. So that flexibility is unique to DASH.

OT: Do you provide job assistance as well?
CJ:
[Within 24 months] That should be one of the goals if you’re not employed, how can you get employed so you can live in the community on your own? Sometimes people are successful and sometimes some people aren’t. We’re not like a job bank. We get resources, we put them out there, we encourage them to seek those services and see exactly what that can look like for them.
KN: And that is really unique to DASH, that premise of having the survivor be the determinant factor in what success looks like for them. It’s not a cookie-cutter approach, nothing is required of a survivor to do in order to participate in services and receive services from us. And some people are with us for the full 24 months. Some people come in and, based on where they are, can make steps and move out of our program within 12 or 18 months. Some people are only here for six months.

OT: What are some misconceptions and stigmas associated with domestic violence?
KN:
A misconception is that domestic violence only happens behind closed doors. But the truth of the matter is one out of every four women have or will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. In 2016, we served about 366 survivors and their families. In 2017, we served 688 survivors and their families, and we are well on track to surpass that for this fiscal year. We know in the coming years we’ll be called upon to do even more, especially because the cost of living continues to rise in DC. DASH has always been an innovator in that space of domestic violence and homelessness, and the reason why our programs do so well is that we’ve got the data to back it up, we know these services work.
Meghan McDonough: DASH does welcome male survivors. Typically people may think of domestic violence affecting only women, or even only women of color, and that’s not true. It affects all communities.
CJ: We have the transgender community that accesses us, something else that makes us unique. Transgender singles have a lot of barriers in itself. So gender identity in certain shelters can look different ways depending on the shelter. We’ll take your 16 year old son. A lot of shelters are like ‘if they’re over 12 they can’t come here.’ So we’ll take what other shelters don’t want to deal with. We have an array of folks here, it doesn’t look one way.
MM: Because we provide apartment-style living here, a lot of other shelters are dormitory style so that sets up limitations right there for male survivors or women with teenage male sons.

OT: Why do you think the number of survivors is increasing?
KN:
I think there are higher incidents of domestic violence. And not only are there more instances but people are probably more comfortable coming forward now, given the narrative that’s happening on the national and global scale. But we also recognize that for as many survivors that come forward for assistance, there are probably just as many who don’t. One of the biggest populations that we’re seeing an increase is in our elder population. Sometimes it’s not physical or sexual abuse, it’s emotional abuse… [survivors] being emotionally abused for 30 years, [and] have no sense of identity when you come into a program like DASH. One of our older residents said “this is the first time I’ve been able to prepare my own meals.” Or another resident who said “my abuser keeps calling me,” and we’ve said why do you keep answering? “Because I’ve always had to answer.” Well, [now] you don’t have to answer. Those instances tell us the occurrences are becoming more prevalent but there is also more work that has to be done.

Support DASH’s mission by visiting their website for more information and ways to donate, and/or by attending the DASH Kids Art Show Silent Auction on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.

Red Derby: 3718 14th St NW, DC; www.dashdc.org

Photo: Courtesy of City Winery
Photo: Courtesy of City Winery

City Winery: Wine and Music meet in Ivy City

There’s no shortage of great wine or great music in DC. Recent years have seen a surge in the number of music venues showcasing artists of all genres, wine bars, Michelin-starred restaurants with stellar wine programs, and even wineries. City Winery, with locations in New York, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta and Boston, is the latest hot venture to put down roots in DC, settling in Northeast’s Ivy City.

“More than anything, what made me fall in love with Ivy City was the maker mentality in this area,” says City Winery Founder Michael Dorf. “There are three distilleries, a brewery, a fish market and a coffee roaster. It’s a food maker’s area with a specialty in alcoholic beverages. Adding a winemaker seemed like a natural fit for the area.”

Dorf, who has spent more than 20 years in the live music business, has always been a fan of wine, and has even had an opportunity to work harvest in California.

“I had such a fantastic experience participating in actual production,” he says. “The full process made me realize that wine is a living, breathing thing. You can make connections from the vineyard all the way to the bottle. I wanted to try to incorporate that into a New York, urban winery.”

And from there, City Winery was born. The opportunity to fuse a winery with a music venue felt like a natural fit to Dorf.

“Every time I was in a winery, I would think, ‘This would be a great location for a show.’”

Locals can expect to see artists from all over the globe headlining City Winery while enjoying international wines. David Lecomte, a native of the Rhône Valley, has been with City Winery since its founding, and oversees the entire City Winery winemaking program. He’s worked at a number of esteemed wine estates throughout France, China and the U.S. Pascal Valadier will work with Lecomte and oversee winemaking operations in DC.

“We have about 35 different vineyards under contact currently, and source about 400 to 500 tons of grapes annually,” Dorf says. “We love to think of ourselves as ‘terroirists.’ We have the luxury of going to where the best varieties are grown and thriving.”

Additionally, many of City Winery’s proprietary wines are available on tap.

“We may go through 1,500 glasses of wine on a busy night – that’s a truckload of bottles,” Dorf continues. “We’re proud of the green value of [the tap] service.”

The styles of wines that Lecomte and his team make are meant to be fruit-forward and easy to drink, and account for about 50 percent of wine sales. Dorf says City Winery is making a lot of great wine, but as wine aficionados, he and his team know they can’t make that really old Barolo.

“We love the fact that we’re able to put together a wine list for our fans to explore all the terroirs of the globe.”

The wine program at City Winery’s DC location currently has a 500-bottle list, with plans to continue expanding – the New York location currently has over 1,200 labels. The goal is to have a wine to please every wine palate and budget, connoisseur or no.

City Winery has been opening in phases but is already proving to be an excellent addition to the rapidly expanding scene in Ivy City. Concerts are already in full swing in the second floor’s music venue, and the Barrel Room restaurant on the first floor is slated to open this month. And last, but certainly not least, the third floor’s wine garden will open later this summer.

Whether you go for the music, food or wine – or a combination of all three – you’re sure to leave the venue already planning your next trip.

City Winery: 1350 Okie St. NE, DC; 202-250-2531; www.citywinery.com/washingtondc

DC Beer Week 2017

Stay tuned for all of the 2017 DC Beer Week Events!

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A Bubbly Affair at Blackwall Hitch

Enjoy Prosecco, oysters, amazing views and more!

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Special Events! Craft Brewers Conference #CBC17

Celebrate the Craft Brewers Conference in DC with special craft beer events open to the public now through April 15. Just visit ontaponline.com/cbc and choose from over 150 listings! Cheers!

SAVOR 2017 (2)

SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience

Now in its tenth year, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, held at the National Building Museum will feature eighty-six small and independent breweries from across the country. A must-attend for craft beer aficionados and foodies alike, this event offers guests the opportunity to indulge in distinctive craft beer and culinary creations, sample each breweries’ most coveted beers, mingle with brewery owners, and taste unique sweet and savory food pairings. SAVOR tickets will be available for purchase beginning on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Click here to learn more.

Stage & Screen Events

Stage & Screen Events: Winter Edition

THURSDAY, JANUARY 5 – SUNDAY, JANUARY 29
Copenhagen
Written by Michael Frayn, this Tony Award-winning play reinvents and imagines the meeting of 1940s physicists Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr, an encounter that has been the center of much speculation because their discussion has not yet been revealed. It’s like Melania and Michelle’s meeting. You just want to know what happened! In this modern drama, the two men reconvene after death to discuss atomic bombs, Heisenberg’s motives with Bohr, and most importantly, what brought him to Copenhagen. A narration on moral responsibility and friendship, this thought-provoking play journeying through science is not to be missed. Various dates and show times. Tickets are $52.88. Theater J at Edlavitch DCJCC: 1529 16th St. NW, DC; www.edcjcc.org

SATURDAY, JANUARY 7 – SUNDAY, JANUARY 22
The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family (Three-Play Cycle)
I once bought a single ticket to The Dark Knight trilogy and sat in a theater for hours watching Batman save Gotham. It was great. This is an event like that, but instead of three films, it’s three plays – and the Joker is probably Trump. The Gabriels shines a spotlight on the 2016 election year and has already garnered rave reviews. Written by Tony Award winner Richard Nelson and described as a “rare and radiant mirror of the way we live,” this event, which runs a total of eight hours and 15 minutes, will surely suit your political, theatre-loving fancy. The first play starts at 1:30 p.m., second begins at 4:15 p.m. and the third at 8 p.m. Each runs one hour and forty-five minutes without intermission. Tickets are $120. The Kennedy Center: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org

THURSDAY, JANUARY 12 – SUNDAY, JANUARY 29
[gay] Cymbeline
Throwing some Shakespeare your way, because I was a theatre major and it’s what we do. Theatre Prometheus’s take on the Bard’s most complex play strives to shed some light on the similarities between Shakespeare’s world and our own. With an original cast comprised of over three-fourths male actors, [gay] Cymbeline is cast with mostly female actors and twists the plot to reflect the casting choice by refocusing the play as a lesbian love story. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore sexuality, gender identity and even homophobia, and to ignite your love for Shakespeare in a fresh, modern way. Show runs Thursdays through Sundays; times vary by day. Tickets are $20. Anacostia Arts Center: 1231 Good Hope Rd. SE, DC; www.theatreprometheus.org

THURSDAY, JANUARY 12 – SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5
LIZZIE: The Musical
Pinky Swear Productions has been waiting three years to bring this musical to DC, and the time has come. LIZZIE tells the totally creepy tale of Lizzie Borden and the brutal murder of her parents. Equipped with her sister Emma, friend Alice and maid Bridget by her side, Lizzie and her girl gang sing-share their stories of sex, rage and murder, and we’ll love it, because we’re all closet freaks who are fascinated by this stuff. Set with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe and a six-piece band, this chilling, murderous tale is sure to strike our fancy. And if it doesn’t, I’m sure Lizzie’s axe will. Various dates; show times are at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $35. Anacostia Playhouse: 2020 Shannon Pl. SE, DC; www.pinkyswear-productions.com

SATURDAY, JANUARY 14 – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4
Anything Goes
Hop aboard the S.S. American (the line I used to woo guys in college on) and spend your evening singing and dancing in your seat as Wall Street broker Billy Crocker falls hopelessly in love with fancy pants socialite Hope Harcourt, who is obviously engaged to a boring dude, in this Tony Award-winning musical. There’s nothing like watching a man try to win the heart of a woman with song and dance. What will he do to succeed, you ask? Well, Anything Goes! Get it? Wednesdays through Sundays; show times vary. Tickets are $25-$30. The Little Theatre of Alexandria: 600 Wolfe St. Alexandria, VA; www.thelittletheatre.com

SATURDAY, JANUARY 21 – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11
Mack, Beth
I’ve blessed you with another Shakespearean show! Is this devastating to you? Just try being McB. One of Shakespeare’s most tragic plays in my thespian opinion has been tweaked for the cyber age with the Keegan Theatre’s production of Mack, Beth. Described as a thoroughly modern, razor-sharp tale, this play promises to deliver Shakespeare’s harrowing message with a modern twist. In a world of consumerism, we’re no strangers to greed, and neither was Macbeth, but the question of how far you will go to have it all remains. Various dates through February 11. Tickets are $35-$45. Keegan Theatre: 1742 Church St. NW, DC; www.keegantheatre.com

TUESDAY, JANUARY 24 – SUNDAY, MARCH 5
As You Like It
Comedy comes in threes, and so does Shakespeare in this month’s Stage & Screen. One of Shakespeare’s most beloved romantic comedies hits the DC stage in Folger Theatre’s production of As You Like It. If you’ve ever wanted to see a girl named Rosalind get banished from her family’s home and flee to the Forest of Arden where she meets a dude named Orlando and they fall in love despite her being disguised as a bro because love is love is love, than this play is for you! Exeunt. Wednesdays through Sundays with various show times. Tickets are $35-$75. Folger Theatre: 201 E. Capitol St. SE, DC; www.folger.edu

FRIDAY, JANUARY 27
John Cleese Live
Monty Python fans, this one’s for you. Head to the Music Center at Strathmore for a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (the best of the MP films, in my humble opinion) followed by a conversation and Q&A with John Cleese. Silly questions are encouraged, so ask away. Whether you want to know how the comical and very tall English actor came up with the idea for teasing French soldiers in Holy Grail (“Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries” is pretty much the best burn ever) or how many times he had to shoot his famous naked scene in A Fish Called Wanda in order to keep a straight face, the possibilities are endless. Or if you’re like me and like to keep a low profile, just sit back and enjoy the hilarity that ensues from the film and Cleese’s conversation to follow. The screening begins at 8 p.m., and tickets start at $55. The Music Center at Strathmore: 5301 Tuckerman Ln. North Bethesda, MD; www.strathmore.org

Inauguration 2017 events dc
Photo courtesy Renaissance Dupont

Inauguration 2017 Events

Looking for Inauguration 2017 events in the Washington DC metro area? Whether you’re looking for galas, arts, alternatives or the late night bar schedule, we’ve got you covered.

Click here and use the inauguration tag to filter your search. Cheers!

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