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Small Mouth Sounds

Stage and Screen: September 2018

Through Sunday, September 23

Small Mouth Sounds
Six people sit in silence, escaping city noises and distractions in favor of necessary self-reflection. Cell phones? Not allowed. But then again, the retreat is led by a guru who can’t quite stick to the rules. Small Mouth Sounds serves as an adult edition of The Breakfast Club with a minimal set and sound. As you put your phone on silent and immerse yourself in the story, you might be surprised by your own self-reflection. Tickets are $51-$60. Round House Theatre: 4545 East-West Hwy. Bethesda, MD; www.roundhousetheatre.org

Monday, September 3 – Sunday, September 30

Gloria
As a journalist, writing about the lives of others becomes second nature. But when tragedy strikes a New York-based magazine, who gets to tell the story? After stories from iconic newsrooms have hit the big screen (Spotlight, The Post), Gloria acts out a contemporary journalism story – especially in light of the recent horror faced by staffers at the Capital Gazette. Tickets are $20-$41. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: 641 D St. NW, DC; www.woollymammoth.net

Tuesday, September 4 – Sunday, September 23

Macbeth
Step away from the toil and trouble of daily life and get into the spooky season with this adaptation of Macbeth. Witches promise him a future of riches and royalty, but Macbeth is too hungry to wait. A hero turns into a murderer, and the psychological aftermath spirals him and others involved into madness. Under director Robert Richmond, the timeless tale takes on a more modern life with some newly added scenes. Folger’s production features music performed by the Folger Consort, and is adapted and amended by Sir William Davenant. Adapted or not, one lesson remains the same: don’t trust a witch. Tickets are $42-$79. Folger Theatre: 201 E. Capitol St. SE, DC; www.folger.edu

Thursday, September 6 – Sunday, September 16

DC Shorts Film Festival
Experience 10 days of film with more than 130 movie options at the 2018 DC Shorts Film Festival. These indie films from around the world are also competing for titles like Best Local DMV Film, Best Animation and Best International Narrative. You’ll watch up to nine films in each 90-minute screening session, so attending just one or two sessions will expose you to many new perspectives from talented filmmakers. After watching, mingle with fellow film buffs at the various festival parties with cocktails, food and music included. Tickets prices vary. DC Shorts Film Festival: Various locations around DC; www.festival.dcshorts.com

Friday, September 7

On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope Discussion
Politics and Prose hosts a conversation removed from the Twittersphere on politics, culture and the Black Lives Matter movement with activist DeRay Mckesson. He was there at a pivotal moment for modern day civil rights – 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri – and now all of his experiences are bound in his new book On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope. The book “offers a new framework and language for understanding the nature of oppression,” according to its summary. Share in the discussion or come to learn. Each event on Mckesson’s tour will feature a special guest. Tickets are $10 for students, $26-$28 for non-students. Book included in ticket price. GW’s Lisner Auditorium: 730 21st St. NW, DC; www.politics-prose.com

Saturday, September 15

Kevin Hart: The Irresponsible Tour
Work hard, laugh hard. Except Kevin Hart’s the one working to make you laugh. The actor and comedian is stopping in DC for The Irresponsible Tour with all-new material. Twitter users have applauded the show online, saying the show’s worth every dollar. Hart also has a new movie with Tiffany Haddish out this month, Night School, making you wonder if he ran his jokes with her and was influenced by a fellow comedic genius. Despite his stature – the punchline to many jokes – Hart is only getting bigger in the comedy world. Tickets are $34 and up. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.kevinhartnation.com

Tuesday, September 18 – Sunday, November 11

Heisenberg
When 75-year-old Alex gets a surprise smooch from a comparatively younger stranger named Georgie, it’s not exactly what he expected when boarding the train on this average day. Even less expected was her finding him at his butcher shop sometime after the encounter. Georgie is confusing. Alex is confused. And so is the audience – left in suspense as the play’s runtime begins to unravel her true intentions. This unlikely duo with romantic relations is just another experiment conducted by Tony Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens. He’s just letting the audience in on his conclusive results. Tickets are $40-$89. Signature Theatre: 4200 Campbell Ave. Arlington, VA; www.sigtheatre.org

Friday, September 21 – Sunday, October 21

Born Yesterday
For DC natives, Born Yesterday may seem like an all-too-familiar story about gaining political power in the hub of the power hungry. But this satire set in the 1940s is more of a comedic retreat from the current stressful affairs, and the winnings don’t go to a who but to a what: the truth. Ford’s Theatre calls this production directed by Aaron Posner “political satire meets romantic comedy,” but all good stories are grounded in reality. Watch this for an entertaining mashup of unlikely allies and girl power to fight corruption. Tickets are $20-$62. Ford’s Theatre: 511 10th St. NW, DC; www.fords.org

Wednesday, September 26

Welcome to Night Vale Live Show
First-time visitors and regular listeners of the Night Vale podcast have a chance to experience a brand-new storyline with a live show tour. The alternate reality podcast production “promises to find unexpected ways to bring the audience into the performance,” according to the Welcome to Night Vale site. Live music by Disparition and special surprise guests will get you totally immersed in the mystery and spooky wonders of the small desert town brought to the Lincoln Theatre stage. In Night Vale, anything can happen. Prepare by tuning in to past episodes online. Tickets are $35. Lincoln Theatre: 1215 U St. NW, DC; www.thelincolndc.com

passion-1600x900

Stage and Screen: August 2018

THROUGH SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

The Story of the Gun
Politics aside, what is the history with America and guns? Mike Daisey offers a comedy-tinged performance about the controversial conversation. The New York Times-designated “master storyteller” won’t be lecturing you on a specific partisan point. While we’re used to hearing repetitive rhetoric on the gun debate, Daisey’s performative aspect to this topic should offer a fresh conversation to help us all get to the root of America’s polarizing relationship to guns. The show is only available for a week, but this conversation will forever be a hot topic. Tickets are $20-$66. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: 641 D St. NW, DC; www.woollymammoth.net

THROUGH SUNDAY, AUGUST 26

The Color Purple
Based on the 1982 book by Alice Walker, this story has won awards as a novel, film and musical. Witness the heart-wrenching story of Celie, who is separated from her sister and children for most of her life but finds a way to stay hopeful and in the end, triumphant. Set in early 1900s Georgia, The Color Purple is told through jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, and explores different family and relationship dynamics. Don’t miss out on the production awarded with a Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. Tickets are $69-$149. The Kennedy Center: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3

Hey Frase! A Live Podcast Taping
Ever listen to a great podcast and wish you were in on the fun? Hosts Sarah Fraser and Paul Wharton are joined by guests Danni Starr and comedian Rob Maher for this special live taping of Hey Frase! They’ll be trying their hand at standup while recording a hilarious conversation you can relive later on, including their thoughts on pop culture in DC and beyond. Starr is a radio host on 93.9 WKYS and TLC, and Maher has performed with Kevin Hart and is a regular favorite at DC Improv. Tickets are $25-$30. AMP by Strathmore: 11810 Grand Park Ave. Bethesda, MD; www.ampbystrathmore.com

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

Melancholy Play: A Contemporary Farce
This refreshing comedy about love isn’t about your typical, gorgeous lead. Yes, everyone is in love with her. But no, it’s not because she’s a bubbly, model-like star. Tilly’s sadness is what makes her so irresistible – no wonder even her therapist can’t get enough. Unfortunately for her admirers, Tilly’s emotions turn topsy-turvy as she discovers true joy. Moving beyond physical affections, Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play will show you a surreal kind of love. Tickets are $19-$45. Constellation Theatre Company at Source Theatre: 1835 14th St. NW, DC; www.constellationtheatrecompany.com

TUESDAY, AUGUST 14

Happy Birthday, LIT!
Recover from your Monday blues with lots of laughs from Laugh Index Theatre (LIT) as they celebrate eight seasons of bringing comedy variety shows and improv to DC audiences. Catch a preview of their new cast as well as performances from their original, seven-year-old comedy team, Hot & Sweaty. Performances will range in comedic style from stand-up to sketches, and even musical improv. LIT boasts eight original teams, and more than 60 overall members dedicated to keeping it funny in the nation’s capital. Show your support for local comedy, and if you like what you see, sign up for a workshop. Tickets are $8-$10. Source Theatre: 1835 14th St. NW, DC; www.laughindextheatre.com

TUESDAY, AUGUST 14 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

Passion
After their (yes, passionate) love is deterred by military duty, Giorgio and Clara’s relationship must survive through solely letters during the mid-1800s in Italy. Of course, the handsome soldier can’t avoid admiration even away at camp – his colonel’s cousin, Fosca, stays there too. While longing for Clara, Giorgio befriends Fosca, who suffers from seizures and spends her time solitary, living through the characters in novels. You’ll quickly learn that this isn’t a story about two young people destined to be together. The feeling of passion is a shifting force that can border obsession. This musical explores love and sickness – sometimes to the point that there is no difference. Tickets are $40-$89. Signature Theatre: 4200 Campbell Ave. Arlington, VA; www.sigtheatre.org

THURSDAY, AUGUST 16 – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15

In The Closet
Presented by Rainbow Theatre Project, this world-premiere production crosses time but not necessarily space as we witness the lives of four gay men from various years. This metaphysical comedy delves into the unique stories of an old man, a middle-aged man, and younger men who are “where all gay men begin, in the closet,” according to the DC Arts Center’s description. By playwright Sigmund Fuchs, this production of In The Closet will start up the center’s August season. Tickets are $30-$35. DC Arts Center: 2438 18th St. NW, DC; www.dcartscenter.org

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26

Bollywood Boulevard
Bollywood films are known for their grand song scenes. In one moment, the stubborn heroine will catch herself eyeing the hero in some mundane – but sweet – action (teaching a child, for example). The next scene finds them both atop a snow-capped mountain as they sing about their mutual, unrequited love. These made-for-movie songs quickly become top hits for weddings and sing-along car rides, and now they’re live onstage with Bollywood Boulevard. The upbeat dance styles against vibrant lights and stage sets will have the whole audience clapping and swaying along. This “journey through Hindi cinema” is based on music and dance from different eras of Bollywood, from 20th-century classics to modern day. Tickets are $25-$55. Wolf Trap’s Filene Center: 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org

Photo: Pierre Edwards
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

Photo: Courtesy of RW Restaurant Group
Photo: Courtesy of RW Restaurant Group

Music Venues with a View

It’s no secret that DC is home to some of the best music venues in the country, attracting local to international acts and packing concert halls with fans every night of the week. Besides booking amazing talent, these venues provide beautiful spaces for music fans to congregate. From Frank Gehry-designed outdoor music meccas like Merriweather Post Pavilion to the retro-inspired personal touches of Villain & Saint, we picked a handful of our favorite spots offering more to look at than just the bands onstage.

9:30 Club

Photo: D-Hi aka Donnie G

Photo: D-Hi aka Donnie G

When celebrating 9:30 Club’s 35th anniversary, owner Seth Hurwitz had the idea to create a library of records of bands that had headlined the iconic venue in chronological order based on the album they had toured on. While initially part of their anniversary celebration, the visceral reactions the Hall of Records caused was enough to clear out part of the venue and make it a permanent installation.

“The time, effort and metal work put into the installation made it obvious that it couldn’t just be a one-week experience, especially when we saw the way people reacted to it,” says I.M.P. Communications Director

Audrey Fix Schaefer. The installation continues to draw visitors to the club, allowing them to reconnect with artists and reminisce on shows 9:30 has hosted over the years. 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

Chrysalis Theatre

Photo: Richie Downs

Photo: Richie Downs

In partnership with the nonprofit Inner Arbor Trust, this gorgeous green structure tucked in the woods on Merriweather Post Pavilion’s Symphony Woods property – just 200 yards from the main stage – is a venue by day and lighted sculpture by night.

The Marc Fornes-designed stage is modeled after, you guessed it, a chrysalis, and is made of 4,000 aluminum sheets. While Chrysalis hosts events and concerts with a special focus on family-friendly and communty programming, it’s completely open for use when not hosting an event.

By day, you can sit, read a book, and enjoy the beautiful greenery of the space. By night, you can check out the captivating lights embedded within the structure. 10431 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.innerarbortrust.org

Gypsy Sally’s Vinyl Lounge

Photo: Josh Brick

Photo: Josh Brick

Gypsy Sally’s vinyl lounge is “a bit of a mystery,” according to owner David Ensor.

“The Vinyl Lounge is designed to be a getaway,” he says. “As you enter from the main room or back door, you are greeted by an orange 70s VW van in an all-white room with black curtains.”

The eclectic outpost within the Georgetown music venue features a wide range of acts and a retro feel.

“When you reach the end of the darkened red hallway to your left, you find a brightly lit, small stage flanked by a bright red bar,” Ensor continues. “The long, light gray wall ahead is hung with various sized of photographs of the Grateful Dead. It’s a place to explore, scratch your head and wonder what the hell you just walked into.” 3401 K St. NW, DC; www.gypsysallys.com

Merriweather Post Pavilion

Photo: Danielle Lavis Photography

Photo: Danielle Lavis Photography

The roof of the Frank Gehry-designed outdoor amphitheater collapsed from tempestuous winds this past winter. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and the new and improved roof is now ready for Merriweather’s summer season.

“Once you learn everyone’s okay, it just becomes a mechanic’s job,” says I.M.P.’s Audrey Fix Schaefer. “The roof fell on Saturday, and by Sunday, we were in our offices with new plans.”

While the roof is ready for outdoor concert season and lends an even better view to concertgoers with lawn seats, visiting artists also have a top-of-the-line experience in store for them. Recent renovations to the venue also include a 40,000-square-foot backstage area modeled after a 1950s motel that’s able to accommodate up to 10 bands – complete with a pool, cabanas and an onsite masseuse for visiting performers. 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

Pearl Street Warehouse

Photo: Joy Asico

Photo: Joy Asico

The multi-use space is one of three music venues that now occupy District Wharf, but its layout and design make it totally unique.

“We built a convertible space featuring garage doors that can open up the venue to the diner area, or close it off for a private event,” say owners Bruce Gates and Nick Fontana. “We also have the ability to open the doors to Pearl Street, creating an outdoor space where we can interact with the community and people exploring The Wharf, exposing them to great live music. “

The inviting space also features an upstairs seating area for a great vantage point during a live show. 33 Pearl St. SW, DC; www.pearlstreetwarehouse.com

Rock & Roll Hotel

Photo: John Shore

Photo: John Shore

The intimate H Street venue has some spooky vibes, due in part to the fact that it used to be a funeral home. While that didn’t necessarily inspire the design, you can still see its influence in the dark, plush atmosphere of the three-level space. It’s also one of the few music venues in the country to offer a rooftop deck, enticing concertgoers to grab a bite before and after shows and providing a neighborhood hangout for H Street residents.

“We knew how unique it would be to have a music venue with a rooftop deck in DC – a first,” says co-owner Steve Lambert. “We wanted a space that was open year-round where people could socialize without having to go to the concert hall or to the DJs on the second floor.” 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

Villain & Saint

Photo: Courtesy of RW Restaurant Group

Photo: Courtesy of RW Restaurant Group

Owned by local chef Robert Wiedmaier, this Bethesda venue and restaurant takes a “music first, food second” approach to everything that’s done in its 60s and 70s-inspired space.

“It’s comfortable, worn-in and reminiscent of a bygone era, like Keystone Korner in San Francisco,” Wiedmaier says. “It feels familiar. When you walk into a place like Villain & Saint, you can tell a lot of acts have come through. It’s a place [where] musicians would hang out if they were not performing.”

He notes framed artwork of legendary musicians, a saloon-style bar and gramophone “horns” from England turned into lighting fixtures as some of the venue’s most unique design accents. 7141 Wisconsin Ave. Bethesda, MD; www.villainandsaint.com

Wolf Trap’s Filene Center

Photo: Courtesy of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

Photo: Courtesy of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

Wolf Trap’s programming is as one-of-a-kind as its setting. The venue is also a national park, nestled into the lush forests of Northern Virginia, and is easily accessible to DMV residents.

“Every aspect of the pavilion is designed to enhance the experience for artists and audiences,” says Wolf Trap President and CEO Arvind Manocha about the Filene Center. “I think the extensive use of natural materials, like the Douglas fir, coupled with the setting – nestled in over 100 acres of permanently protected lands, including rolling hills and a forest complete with walking trails and ponds – makes Wolf Trap an urban oasis.” 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org

Photo: Courtesy of NoMa BID
Photo: Courtesy of NoMa BID

District of Design

Good, purposeful design makes a difference. Whether you’re dining at a new foodie spot, taking in views from a rooftop or exploring the art-covered exteriors of a city block, our surroundings have the ability to alter our feelings like few other elements can. Luckily, the DC area has no shortage of gorgeous spaces where you can live, work and play. We gathered essential design intel in six different neighborhoods and picked some of our favorite spots, so you can be surrounded by great style no matter where your day takes you.


Shaw

Hip Factors

Shaw has a long history of supporting the performing arts at still-functioning venues like Lincoln and Howard Theatres, and was even dubbed “Black Broadway” for showcasing many African-American artists including jazz musician Duke Ellington.

Ellington Lived in Shaw, and you can visit his home there to this day.

Multiuse apartments buildings like Atlantic Plumbing and The Shay feature restaurants and shops just below living spaces, making them an ideal spot for city dwellers who are looking for an all-access neighborhood.

Shopaholics rejoice. Shaw is just a few skips away from CityCenter DC, known for its high-end retailers.

Foodies will feel right at home in Shaw with a new restaurant to explore every night, including Michelin-starred restaurants like The Dabney in Blagden Alley and recent tastemakers Espita Mezcaleria and Unconventional Diner.

Facts from www.bisnow.com/washington-dc/news/neighborhood/fast-facts-shaw-69685

Art to Admire

Photo: Trent Johnson

Photo: Trent Johnson

Dacha Beer Garden’s Elizabeth Taylor Mural
Painted by muralist Byron Peck, Dacha Beer Garden is home to this mural of the iconic actress and humanitarian. While DC is a city known for its large paintings of famous celebrities such as President Barack Obama, Prince and Marvin Gaye, this mural is definitely among the must-visit-in-person variety. 1600 7th St. NW, DC; www.dachadc.com

Photo: Trent Johnson

Photo: Trent Johnson

Shaw Library
Nestled on the corner of 7th Street, the Shaw Neighborhood Library sports a creative triangular shape with glass windows and a multicolored piece of abstract art waving you into the modern, chic building. Whether you’re a bookworm or not, this library provides a unique twist on a local institution. 1630 7th St. NW, DC; www.dclibrary.org/watha

Delectable Design

Photo: Rey Lopez

Photo: Rey Lopez

Bresca
After inspiration from a trip to Iceland, Ryan Ratino was determined to give Bresca a clean, bold and charming look. And with the help of Richard Marcus Architects, the vision was fulfilled. The design includes a moss wall that allows guests to engage with the natural world and honeycomb accents that are a nod to Ratino’s playful personality and the restaurant’s emblem. 1906 14th St. NW, DC; www.brescadc.com

Photo: Rey Lopez

Photo: Rey Lopez

Hazel
With dark wood and natural light aplenty, this interior designed by Catherine Hailey Design is extremely inviting. The strung lights by artist Rick Singleton are especially eye-catching. Rounding out the patio are comfortable stretches of faux grass accompanied by comfortable seating for lounging and dining. 808 V St. NW, DC; www.hazelrestaurant.com

Design Denizens

Photo: Grant Langford

Photo: Grant Langford

Muralist Lisa Maria Thalhammer, “LOVE”

On Tap: What was the inspiration behind this piece?
Lisa Marie Thalhammer: Cultivating love and inspiring people to actually really care about others is the mission behind my “LOVE” artwork series. I truly believe that love is at the core of every social issue. I hope that my “LOVE” mural and signs encourage viewers to see the humanity in people that they differ from in order to come together to find a common ground that respects human rights. As an activist and member of the LGBTQ+ community, my artworks frequently represent humans in positions of strength and hope. The seven primary and secondary colors represent the chakra energy centers of the body and the accompanying tertiary colors represent interconnectivity. My mural repeats this 13-color spectrum geometrically to indicate each letter of the word “love” on four separate garage doors.

OT: Your piece has become one of the most Instagrammable murals in the city, with locals and visitors seeking it out. How does it feel to be responsible for such a popular work of art?
LMT: I feel honored and humbled by the public’s response to my “LOVE” artwork. It inspires me to keep doing this work of adding color and balance to the world through public art and murals. I’m now imagining a “LOVE” mural campaign that would take my “LOVE” series to other places that need healing.

Follow Lisa Marie Thalhammer’s art online at www.lisamariestudio.com and on Instagram at @lisamariestudio.

Photo: Aja Neal

Photo: Aja Neal

Muralist Rose Jaffe, “Let.Go”

On Tap: What was the inspiration behind this mural? What is its significance?
Rose Jaffe: This mural was inspired by a more personal theme than most of my other work. The past few years have involved a deep dive into healing, both mentally and physically. After years of Western medicine, I turned toward Eastern modalities and empowered myself to embrace natural forms of healing from meditation to medicinal plants. The two flowers on the wall are arnica and echinacea – two powerful healing flowers. The idea of letting go – releasing the bird – is a symbol for releasing what no longer serves us, and allowing movement into new stages of life.

OT: There are a lot of excellent murals and works of art in Shaw now. How do you feel the area has changed over the years?
RJ: The area, like many neighborhoods in Washington, has gentrified. And with that comes displacement of the communities that lived there before. There are good and bad parts to a changing neighborhood. I try and focus on what role I am playing in the movement of DC and shed light on the importance of maintaining strong and diverse communities by creating spaces for art.

To learn more about Jaffe’s art, visit her at rosejaffe.myportfolio.com and on Instagram at @rose_inks.


NoMA/Ivy City

Hip Factors

Looking to live the carless life? 86 percent of NoMa residents walk, bike or take public transport to work.

The NoMa Parks Foundation is developing great public spaces throughout the neighborhood. First up: Swampoodle Park, an 8,000-square-foot space at the corner of 3rd and L Streets Northeast that will include a dog park and children’s play structure. Later this year, the nonprofit will begin construction on a 2.5-acre park above New York Avenue that will serve as the neighborhood’s backyard and offer outdoor space for recreation and community gatherings. And in the underpasses at L and M Streets, compelling light installations that resulted from an international design competition are being installed.

NoMa was the first neighborhood in DC to offer free outdoor WiFi.

NoMa is home to many major companies and organizations including NPR, Google, CNN, Sirius XM, REI, Mathematica Policy Research, NeighborWorks and the World Resources Institute.

Hecht Warehouse in Ivy City is not only home to brand new apartments, but also drinking and dining destinations like One Eight Distilling, Atlas Brew Works and Big Chief are just down the block.

Union Market is home to some of DC’s best foodie spots as well, and the area frequently hosts other events at Dock5 next door.

Facts provided by NoMa BID, and the Hecht Warehouse and Union Market

Art to Admire

Photo: Trent Johnson

Photo: Trent Johnson

City Winery Mural
DC artist Aniekan Udofia is responsible for this explosive depiction of the flavor grapes can have. The popping purple provides a terrific contrast to the white brick canvas and can be admired before or after a glass of wine. 1350 Okie St. NE, DC; www.citywinery.com/washingtondc/

Photo: Trent Johnson

Photo: Trent Johnson

Heart Wall
A mural from French artist Mr. Brainwash (we swear that’s what he’s called), the multi-colored hearts provide a burst of color on the white Union Market walls. This famous backdrop has been featured in numerous publications, and also caught the attention of Michelle Obama. 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.unionmarketdc.com

Photo: Trent Johnson

Photo: Trent Johnson

Yoko Ono x Hirshhorn
If you’ve visited Union Market in the past year, Yoko Ono’s message reading “Relax. Your Heart Is Stronger Than What You Think!” is hard to miss. Using Ono’s text and minimalist style, the artwork is meant to compel folks to be adventurous and further consider what the heart wants. 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.unionmarketdc.com

Where to Live

Photo: Courtesy of Hecht Warehouse

Photo: Courtesy of Hecht Warehouse

Historic Hecht Warehouse
Hecht Warehouse, originally built in 1937, was purchased by Douglas Development in 2011 and redeveloped into a mixed-use retail and residential complex in 2016. Maintaining its Streamline Moderne style, the warehouse now offers more than 300 residential units with twists on the era it’s from, including concrete flooring, subway-tiled bathrooms, exposed brick and oversized glass block windows. There’s also a speakeasy clubroom with billiards. Even if you’re not in the market for a new apartment, this building is a shining example of how to refresh rather than restart. 1401 New York Ave. NE, DC; www.hechtwarehouse.com

Design Denizen

Photo: Ron Ngiam

Photo: Ron Ngiam

CORE architecture + design Project Architect Christopher Peli, Cotton & Reed

On Tap: Cotton & Reed is DC’s first-ever rum distillery. How did that unique aspect factor into the design of the space?
Christopher Peli: What most influenced the design is not so much specifically rum but that Cotton & Reed distills their product from scratch and does not purchase neutral spirits. Being a small startup distillery and owning the process was a conscious decision with huge ramifications for their business model. So the design had to allow for ease of production and efficient storage in a tight space.

OT: Was there a conscious decision to keep the door relatively unmarked? Did it have anything to do with the low-key location among other, more industrial buildings?
CP:
Cotton & Reed were the first ones to be a part of this new generation of Union Market redevelopment – and they wanted to fit in with the surrounding wholesaler and traditional maker-culture neighborhood without triggering notions of gentrification. To reflect other business signage in the area, we made a conscious decision to place the “Distillery” sign on the roof, much like the historical market signs. There’s also a blade sign with the company name, perpendicular to the façade, which you see as you walk up or down 5th Street. You’ll notice that many existing merchants don’t display their specific brands but keep it more generic. You’ll see “Noodles,” “Wholesale” and “Mexican Fruits” on the building signs the company’s name secondary.

OT: Was keeping some industrial, open ceilings an intentional shout-out to union market’s history? Or was that more of a functional decision?
CP: The design definitely emphasizes the volume of the space. We even reinstalled the existing skylight, which fills the space with natural light the way it was originally designed. The façade was opened up much as before when it was an open market. We made the new architecture in the space seem like discreet elements within the larger volume, so there is a distinction between new and old.

OT: What was it like designing a space that’s part bar, part distillery?
CP: Our mantra as we designed the space was, “Don’t fight the building.” There could have been more structural interventions to the space but we wanted to be surgical and smart. The architecture already worked perfectly for the industrial function Cotton & Reed needed. The one-story section in the front seemed a natural fit for the bar and the two-story back space worked well for the distillery.

OT: How involved are the owners in the design aspect of a project like this?
CP: They were involved extensively. At CORE, all of our clients are very involved in every decision, which is critical to the success of their projects.

OT: What is the overall feeling you and the team are trying to evoke with the design and layout of Cotton & Reed?
CP: We wanted to evoke the feeling of reinhabiting an abandoned industrial space nature had taken over; it’s post-post-apocalyptic. We used building materials directly from the other neighborhood warehouses and supplemented with plant life and botanicals. In all the space is left mostly neutral, open and loose-programmed for flexibility to change seasonally or for specific events.

For more information about CORE architecture + design, visit www.coredc.com.

Cotton & Reed: 1330 5th St. NE, DC; www.cottonandreed.com


Capitol Riverfront

Hip Factors

The neighborhood has 52 local and national restaurants with seven on the way later this year.

There are 15 residential rooftops in the neighborhood, and some even have dog parks.

The Capitol Riverfront area has 10.5 acres designated for public parks.

The Washington Navy Yard Campus, founded in 1799, is the longest continually operating Navy facility in the U.S.

You can easily run a 5K through Capitol Riverfront. The loop around the Anacostia River bounded by the 11th Street Bridge and Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge is equal to five kilometers.

D.C. United’s new Audi Field is only 1.3 miles from the National Mall and 780 feet from the Anacostia River.

Facts provided by the Capitol Riverfront BID

Instaworthy Spots

Photo: Courtesy of Capitol Riverfront

Photo: Courtesy of Capitol Riverfront

Canal Park Fountains
The Dancing Fountains located in the Southern block of Canal Park are a summer exclusive, as the area transforms into an ice rink when the weather chills. While this isn’t the only pretty picture available in the park, the fountains vibe with the warmer season aesthetic. 200 M St. SE, DC

Photo: Trent Johnson

Photo: Trent Johnson

Dock 79 Sculptures
Completed in 2016, these painted steel sculptures stick out like a pleasant thumb, providing must-see stop across the street from Nationals Park. Think yellow is not your color? Give the vibrant shade another shot while posing with these powerful installations. 79 Potomac Ave. SE, DC

Photo: Trent Johnson

Photo: Trent Johnson

Pedestrian Bridge
Finished in 2010, the 200-foot pedestrian bridge connecting restaurants and other establishments to Yards Park is a dazzling, spherical structure. Whether day or night, the geometric piece of art can serve as the backdrop to a picture of people or a standalone Instagram post by itself. 300 Water St. SE, DC

Photo: Trent Johnson

Photo: Trent Johnson

Pepco Substation Mural
Sitting across from the newly completed Audi Field, these abstract murals are multicolored and easily absorbed by both art aficionados and those who like a good distraction. Artist Katherine Mann is responsible for these vivid movements. Across from Audi Field, 100 Potomac Ave. SW, DC

Photo: Trent Johnson

Photo: Trent Johnson

Top of the Yard Selfie Square
The little red square pictured isn’t the art; it’s simply a marker where folks can stand and get a full-on view of Nats Park. Without buildings or other obstructions in the way, the view is crystal clear, and makes for a perfect background for any baseball fan. 1265 First St. SE, DC

Where to Live

Photo: Courtesy of 1221 Van

Photo: Courtesy of 1221 Van

1221 Van
Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, 1221 Van encompasses contemporary, sleek living in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. With easy access to the Ballpark District, a community featuring restaurants, retail and entertainment, you’re a beat away from all of the fun. The interiors offer a warm, modern aesthetic, providing a soothing comfort. Some of the features include wood-inspired flooring, kitchens complete with stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, high-end fixtures and spa-inspired baths – combine that with the splendid rooftop view of DC’s top monuments, Nationals Park and the Anacostia River. 1221 Van St. SE, DC; www.1221van.com

Design Denizens

Members of DC design and architecture studio HapstakDemetriou+ talk the lavish looks of two of their Capital Riverfront projects, District Winery and RASA Indian Grill.

Photo: Courtesy of District Winery

Photo: Courtesy of District Winery

Bill Young on District Winery

On Tap: Tell me about the impressive installation of 5,000 wine bottles in the mezzanine of District Winery.
Bill Young: We approached this project with a mezzanine level in mind. It was critical to create additional square footage for a landing zone, giving patrons the ability to transition from event use to reception use on the second floor. The mezzanine level also gave us access to the second level of the two-story storage jewel boxes. These towers were designed to provide the extra, much-needed wine bottle storage in a thermally contained enclosure.

OT: What is the overall aesthetic of the winery?
BY: During the design process, the idea of the wooden beams and columns derived from a visit to an older winery in Virginia wine country where an old wooden barn was converted into a tasting room. There was a sense of warmth in this setting that I didn’t necessarily want to recreate, but rather reinvestigate.

OT: Why did you decided to include a colorful wall of presidents in the restaurant space?
BY: We knew this wall was always going to showcase artwork that speaks to DC. The artist of the piece “Dads of Democracy” is Damon Dewitt who worked for Brooklyn Winery, the owner’s first winery in NYC.

OT: There are no other spaces in DC like District Winery. What were the challenges and advantages to working on a project like this?
BY: It’s exciting to be working on anything “first.” It allows for some type of non-preconceived notion in design approach. Essentially, our clients gave us great insight into what to expect in operational organizations since they have experience from their first urban winery in NY, but to create something in the magnitude of three massive programs in one space is challenging.

For more on District Winery, visit www.districtwinery.com and follow them on Instagram at @districtwinery.

District Winery: 385 Water St. SE, DC; www.districtwinery.com 

Photo: Rey Lopez

Photo: Rey Lopez

Michael Mason and Cristian Rosa on RASA Indian Grill

On Tap: The overall feeling of RASA is very colorful, whimsical and inviting. What was it like to evoke this overall aesthetic in a restaurant through design?
Michael Mason & Cristian Rosa: Striking the right balance of color and whimsy was a challenge. Much like when you want to serve very colorful food on dishware that best allows the colors to be fully expressed, the architecture of the space needed to be largely neutral with colors of greys, blacks and warm taupes to really allow the colorful elements to shine to their full brilliance.

OT: Can you tell me more about the art and why it was chosen?
MM & CR: The name RASA has many interconnected stories behind it. Coincidentally, [it contains] the first two letters of each of the owners’ names, but in Sanskrit “rasa” relates to “the essence of all” and “gives life meaning.” It influences art, music, literature and dance, among many others. Here the nine rasas are reflected in the flow and movement of the design in the space itself, and especially in the in the art so kindly provided by [co-owner] Sahil Rahman’s aunt Nandita Madan. Each of the nine paintings correspond to the nine rasas that are “the essence of all of our emotions”: love, joy, wonder, courage, peace, sadness, anger, fear and disgust.

OT: There are some other unique design touches in RASA, like the colorful bakeware used behind the counter and the coconut shell drinks. How did the use of things like this factor into the design as a whole?
MM & CR: The branding, menus, signage and the way the food is displayed all works together with the architecture and the interior design to define and reinforce the brand as a whole. The fun elements of the colorful bakeware were set against a black countertop to let them truly radiate, and the coconut shell drinks are all part of the larger story of a whole that balances on the unique touches.

For more on RASA, visit www.rasagrill.com and follow them on Instagram at @rasa.

RASA: 1247 First St. SE, DC; www.rasagrill.com

For more on HapstakDemetrieou+, visit www.hd-ad.com and follow them on Instagram at @hapstakdemetriou. HapstakDemetriou+: 2715 M St. NW, DC


District Wharf

Hip Factors

District Wharf is a vibrant neighborhood with more than 50 events per year that are free and open to the public.

District Wharf has four different unique piers: District Pier, Market Pier, Recreation Pier and Transit Pier.
The Maine Avenue Fish Market is the oldest continuously operating, open-air fish market in the country; it opened in 1805, 17 years before the Fulton Fish Market in New York City.

Bring your pets! District Wharf is a pet-friendly neighborhood, including public walkways and other gathering places.

Designed to achieve the LEED Gold for the entire Wharf development, the neighborhood features green roofs, 300 new trees, preservation of mature oaks and 340 square feet of floating wetland systems.

Facts provided by District Wharf

Appetizing Aesthetics

Photo: Courtesy of Del Mar

Photo: Courtesy of Del Mar

Del Mar
Paying tribute to Mallorca, Spain, restaurateurs Maria and Fabio Trabocchi wanted their Southwest waterfront dining room to be as authentically Spanish as possible. With Spanish interior designers, the restaurant provides a breezy Mediterranean feel to couple with the delicious food on the menu. 791 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.delmardc.com

Photo: Courtesy of La Vie

Photo: Courtesy of La Vie

La Vie
With designer David Anthony Chenault at the helm, this Mediterranean newcomer brings themed rooms and a large terrace bar overlooking the Potomac River. With hanging chandeliers and greenery throughout, just being in the bar is a refreshing experience. 88 District Sq. Fifth floor, SW, DC; www.laviedc.com

Photo: Rey Lopez

Photo: Rey Lopez

Mi Vida
This 11,000-square-foot space boasts floor to ceiling windows with a panoramic view of the Potomac River. The KNEAD Hospitality + Design interior features The Wharf’s industrial aesthetic mixed with prevalent historic and contemporary Mexican inspirations, including the 19-foot Árbol de la Vida, or Tree of Life. 98 District Sq. SW, DC; www.mividamexico.com

Photo: Courtesy of Whiskey Charlie

Photo: Courtesy of Whiskey Charlie

Whiskey Charlie
An indoor-outdoor rooftop bar, this spot might give you the best birds-eye view of District Wharf. Even from inside the space, wall-length windows provide a mesmerizing look at the burgeoning waterfront. Complete with chocolate brown sofas, and adorable outdoor seating arrangements, this is a terrific spot for the outdoor season. 975 7th St. SW, DC;
www.whiskeycharliewharf.com

Where to Live

Photo: Courtesy of Bozzuto

Photo: Courtesy of Bozzuto

The Channel
With a rooftop pool and stunning amenity spaces, you will never feel the need to leave home. A vibrant community, this residence has dedicated spaces to restaurants and shops on the waterfront. Not to mention, The Anthem can be found at the center of the building, giving this location a cultured vibe through and through. 950 Maine Ave. SW, DC; www.dcchannel.com

Photo: Courtesy of Bozzuto

Photo: Courtesy of Bozzuto

Incanto
Life is better with a view, and Incanto is full of them – whether you’re coming home each day to contemporary finishes, where modern style blends effortlessly with ultimate comfort, or peeking out the window at the heart of the Wharf. This apartment not only provides an opportunity for urban living, but also gives a sophisticated modern apartment feel with light without subtle designs and streamlined features. 770 Maine Ave. SW, DC; www.incantodc.com

Design Denizen

Photo: Mike Kim

Photo: Mike Kim

PN Hoffman Executive Vice President Shawn Seaman on District Wharf’s Public Art and Developing a New DC Destination

On Tap: How did it feel as the ideas for what would look good in this neighborhood came to life?
Shawn Seaman: It was incredibly rewarding. I’m trained as an architect, so I spent a lot of time designing and imagining the between spaces to the parks, and nothing really compares to when you open the doors and see people on the swings and eating at the restaurants.

OT: What were your initial steps in planning the look and feel of District Wharf?
SS: We knew from the beginning we didn’t want a single architect or designer responsible for the entire site; I think that’s why people reacted negatively to the old design. We wanted architectural diversity for each of the buildings. The biggest idea was that we needed to plan waterside first, where the buildings would face the river. That’s sort of contrary to how it was done in the past. Being we were on the water, we had a unique concept to execute what types of uses and how many piers we would have and how they would interact.

OT: How often did you go back and forth on what the overall aesthetic would be, if at all? And how did you decide to go in the direction you ultimately did?
SS: We had a strong vision from the outset as far as the designs of the parks and public spaces. We had different architects on the vertical parcels, and we had different landscape architects on other spaces.

OT: We think some of the more interesting facets of the design, apart from the diversity in architecture, are the thoughtful pieces of artistic design in public spaces – like the torch, the swings and the lighting on Pearl Street. Can you tell me your thoughts on those?
SS: I’m glad you called it art, because it’s not art like a sculpture that you sit and stare at, but each of those in their own right is pretty fantastic. The torch at the end is a beacon for the end of the channel, and you see that and it’s an interpretation of the lighthouse. It’s also something you can sit around and enjoy on a cold night. The swings are something we saw in Charleston, SC that we liked, and it’s probably one of the best used elements of the Wharf. On a busy weekend, you’re hard pressed to find one to swing on. For Pearl Street, we have a lot of energy there at night, and we think the lighting on that street makes it feel more like a festival or market, and that’s important to activate the space.

OT: How much emphasis did you put into the lounge areas, especially with The Wharf’s location on the water?
SS: Yeah, seating was paramount in the design. In fact, the bench that runs the entire project is just that, it’s a bench. We saw an example of that in Copenhagen, and there people can sit on the edge and face in or face out. That was lacking in the old development, and there really wasn’t any place where you could sit and be by the water. It was really trying to create a variety of different spaces and places where people could occupy and enjoy the views, whether you’re buying something at the businesses or not.

OT: What are your favorite aspects of the look of The Wharf, and what new things do you think people will enjoy in the coming years?
SS: My favorite thing about The Wharf are the spaces between the buildings, and some of the more unexpected places like the alleys and through streets. Whether it’s Pearl Street or Water Street or Sutton Square, where a ton of places come together. The Piers, you can’t say enough about, with four public places that you can look on the water and then look back onto the city. The next phase is similar in size, maybe a little smaller, but it has a variety of ground floors and activities.

For more information about The Wharf, visit www.wharfdc.com.


Rosslyn

Hip Factors

Rosslyn has 13 permanent public artworks.

Rosslyn’s public green spaces range from a 90-acre national park oasis situated on the Potomac River to a three-acre urban park. There’s also a 60-foot urban parklet.

The neighborhood’s Continental Beer Garden is one of 25 outdoor dining options, and a favorite of the workforce and residents. All of them merge art, food and drinks.

Every year, Rosslyn hosts its very own Jazz Fest, a 28-year tradition that takes place in Gateway Park with an average of more than 10,000 attendees per year.

Along with Jazz Fest, the neighborhood BID hosts more than 160 events per year ranging from Farmers’s Markets to outdoor movies, concerts and a soon to be unveiled pop-up-shop experience.

Facts provided by Sage Communications, LLC

Art to Admire

Photos: Courtesy of Rosslyn BID

Photos: Courtesy of Rosslyn BID

Cupid’s Garden
The four-ton, stainless-steel sculpture consists of 23 polished arrows, acting as a street sign and abstract representation of movement and progress. The piece was created by DC-based sculptor Chris Gardner in 1994. Near 1400 Key Blvd. Arlington, VA

Darkstar Park (Photo - Courtesy of Rosslyn BID)

Dark Star Park
A mixture of sand and stone, these spheres were Arlington’s first major commissioned art project featuring sculptures resembling dying, extinguished stars. The piece, complete with shadow images inset in the ground, was constructed by Nancy Holt in 1984. 1655 N. Fort Myer Dr. Arlington, VA

liquidpixels (Photo - Courtesy of Rosslyn BID)

Liquid Pixels
Ned Kahn’s 42-foot-high panels are covered with 450,000 stainless steel disks brushed in gold. The piece is said to mimic the flow of air currents and light conditions on its surface. Kahn finished the project in 2002. 1801 N Lynn St. Arlington, VA

Quill 2 (Photo - Courtesy of Rosslyn BID)

Quill
Consisting of 19,500 circular dot elements attached to an aluminum surface, Quill’s glow is charged during the day and enhanced by street and traffic lights. Created by Christian Moeller, the artist partnered with Arlington Arts and Monday Properties to figure out the right pleasant image for folks on the busy corner. 1850 N. Moore St. Arlington, VA

Learn more about these works of art at www.rosslynva.org.

A Picturesque Parklet

Parklet 2 (Photo - Courtesy of Rosslyn BID)

The DC area’s first permanent parklet, a miniature resting place, the area was designed by Ignacia Ciocchini, a man famous for his work for CityBench in New York. The parklet is 30 feet wide and includes 18 chairs, five plaza tables and four planter boxes. If you look closely enough, many of the elements have perforations representing the Rosslyn skyline at night. On the corner of Oak Street and Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, VA

Design Denizen

Photo: Adam Brockett

Photo: Adam Brockett

General Manager Graham Dunn, Central Place Observatory Deck 

On Tap: The Rosslyn BID billed the observation deck as Rosslyn’s “public space in the sky.” What will this space be used for?
Graham Dunn: It’s primarily a tourist attraction, in the style of the One World Observatory in New York City. It offers a 360-degree view of Arlington, the Georgetown Waterfront, the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building. You can pretty much see everything from Silver Spring to Alexandria.

OT: Can you tell us about the full food and beverage program that will be offered there?
GD: We’re featuring all local, Northern Virginia-based beer. That will include Port City, Solace, Lost Rhino and Mustang Sally. We’ll also be serving wine from Virginia wineries. On the 32nd floor, we have a champagne bar where you can grab a glass to enjoy while you watch the sunset. We’re currently working on a full menu of signature cocktails as well.

OT: How is the view offered by the deck different than other places where you can get a panoramic view of the city skyline?
GD: There are similar places like the top of the Watergate hotel and National Cathedral, but the Observation Deck is totally new. The way it’s laid out and the view of the city is incredible and totally unique.

OT: What makes Rosslyn a trendy place to live and sets it apart from other DC area neighborhoods, especially in terms of building design and art?
GD: As far as the Observation Deck goes, Arlington County residents have free access. We want them to become the ambassadors of the space. And we’re working to keep food and beverage prices comparable to other local venues. You can also rent out this space for events.

The Observation Deck: 1201 Wilson Blvd. #214, Arlington, VA; www.theviewofdc.com


Tysons

Hip Factors

The “Tysons Luxury Lilies” mural by renowned artist Naturel is a 25 x 100-foot work of art painted on a cement wall facing the entrance to the Greensboro Metro station. Lilies are the symbols of rebirth and transformation, fitting for Tysons as it goes through a major transformation.

Tysons will soon be organized around eight districts, each with a distinctive character and mix of land uses, that people will be able to seamlessly move between. The connectedness and uniqueness of each place will be mutually supportive, creating a 24-hour, vibrant urban center.

The highest density will soon be oriented toward Tysons’ four Metrorail stations, encouraging people to utilize public transit and helping to ease the burden on vehicular traffic.

Tysons is changing quickly: 14 buildings have been added to the skyline since 2011, and there are currently 2.6 million square feet of development under construction. It’s becoming an attractive place to live, and the number of residential units has grown by 41 percent since 2011.

The Plaza at Tysons Corner Center hosts a summer concert series as well as fitness classes, holiday and cultural festivities, and events for kids. The plaza connects Tysons Corner Center with the Metro station, serving as both a gathering space and a pedestrian connection.

Facts provided by www.fairfaxcounty.gov/tysons

A Beautiful Biergarten

Photo: Courtesy of Tysons Biergarten

Photo: Courtesy of Tysons Biergarten

With a main bier hall, basement bar, mezzanine and 10,000-square-foot patio, Tysons Biergarten is almost four separate experiences rolled into one. The patio is a straightforward outdoor biergarten, while the main bier hall contains a playful blue color and features flags of different countries hanging around the room – and going up a level to the mezzanine gives you much of the same feel. Tucked away underneath, the American Underground basement bar gives off an old-school saloon vibe teetering on the divey side. 8346 Leesburg Pike, Tysons, VA; www.tysonsbiergarten.com

A Metro-Based Mural

Photo: Courtesy of OCRR Tysons

Photo: Courtesy of OCRR Tysons

Speaking of Tysons Biergarten, the massive space arrived at the same time as a massive mural directly outside of the Greensboro Metro. The 100-foot mural, “Tysons Luxury Lilies,” was painted by international artist Naurel, also known as Lawrence Atoigue. The work features a serene foreground with flowers bursting upward from a peaceful stream. Along with teamwork from Tysons and Naurel, the piece was produced by Art Whino Executive Director Shane Pomajambo. www.artwhino.com

Design Denizen

Photo: M.K. Koszycki

Photo: M.K. Koszycki

Designer Anna Stratton, Teas’n You

On Tap: How did you come up with the design for Teas’nYou?
Anna Stratton: I met with the owners of Teas’n You and they took me through interior design plans. We bounced ideas around, as well as what spaces they were thinking of activating in terms of display.

OT: How would you describe the overall aesthetic of the design?
AS: The overall aesthetic of the displays presents an enchanting and ethereal feel. I used a lot of soft neutrals and metallics to help enhance the theme.

OT: How long did it take to install and create?
AS: All the displays were hand cut and treated, and therefore took a little more time to prep prior to installing. The window and wall took the longest in terms of installation time – about two hours for each.

OT: There are a lot of bubble tea shops in the DC area. How does the design of Teas’n You set it apart?
AS: I think Teasn’ You really expanded their realm in terms of customer experience and environment. They really took the time to make it a place people could enjoy, relax and even work in. Most shops have an in-and-out type of feel whereas Teasn’ You is very different from that.

Follow Stratton’s art and design on Instagram at @a.duvalart, and learn more about Teas’n You at www.teasnyou.com.

Teas’n You Fusion Tea House: 8032 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA; www.teasnyou.com

Photo: Deane Madsen
Photo: Deane Madsen

Brutal Beauties: A Look into DC’s Concrete Architecture

Architecture in DC is often associated with the neoclassical silhouettes of the White House, the Jefferson Memorial and the Treasury. But what about all the concrete that makes up buildings like the FBI Building, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or even the Hirshhorn? Enter the architectural style of Brutalism and its resident advocate Deane Madsen, a writer and architectural photographer living in the city. He founded BrutalistDC, an Instagram account and website that document these widely misunderstood structures. We caught up with him about the basics of Brutalism and what makes the style so important to DC’s landscape.

On Tap: How would you define Brutalism?
Deane Madsen: An architectural style that features bold, structurally innovative forms rendered in raw materials. It stems from a 1950s British interpretation of a Swedish moniker crossed with a Swiss/French architect’s specification of béton brut (raw concrete) in social housing. In the U.S., the style emerged later but proliferated due to low cost of materials during an era in which government set about to redefine itself with monumental structures.

OT: Why is Brutalist architecture so important to the architectural landscape of DC?
DM: For one, there’s just so much of it. Look at any satellite image of Southwest DC and you’ll find enormous superblocks of government buildings rendered in concrete: the Department of Energy, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, L’Enfant Plaza. Two, most of it arose during an era of urban renewal in Washington. The Brutalist architecture in the District breaks from the traditions of Neoclassical, Federal and Gothic Revival to present buildings constructed at the height of post-war optimism.

OT: What are some common misconceptions about Brutalism and how do you respond to them?
DM: Probably the biggest misconception about Brutalist buildings is that they’re somehow brutal. I sometimes joke that these buildings are not, in fact, out to kill you – chunks of concrete falling off the FBI Building are the result of neglect, not malice. The other default reaction to Brutalism is that it’s ugly. I get it, not everyone appreciates the aesthetic. And there’s no way I’m going to be able to change someone’s taste, but when I’m giving tours of Brutalist buildings, I encourage people to get up close and examine tactile features such as board-formed concrete.

OT: What led you to create the BrutalistDC Instagram account and website?
DM: Washington has an amazing breadth of architecture, but the city’s government buildings of the 1960s and 1970s – the urban renewal era – are much maligned, and, quite frankly, I was tired of seeing Brutalist buildings top lists of DC’s ugliest. My goal in creating BrutalistDC was to advocate for an underappreciated set of buildings and to show them in ways that highlight their textural beauty.

OT: What are your favorite Brutalist buildings in DC and why?
DM: The Hirshhorn Museum is easily my favorite Brutalist building in DC. The staff of the Hirshhorn understands the value of their museum’s architecture, and works hard to maintain, promote and improve it. A recent lobby renovation stands out as an example of a sensitive addition to an already great space.

Learn more about Brutalist architecture in the District at www.brutalistdc.com and follow BrutalistDC on Instagram at @brutalistdc.

Photo: Cathy Carver
Photo: Cathy Carver

Brand New at the Hirshhorn

“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy,” reads “Prop,” a small bronze plaque by David Robbins that replicates the language at the entrance to Disneyland, and is nearly indistinguishable from the original.

The piece now sits at the entrance to the newest exhibition at the Hirshhorn, Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s, an exhibition full of pieces that blur the lines between art and advertising, and make you think or wonder if you’re being trolled.

i shop therefore i am

Barbara Kruger, “Untitled (I shop therefore I am)”

“Prop” is small in comparison to the large-scale graphic works it neighbors, so small I actually missed it during my first visit. Luckily, curatorial assistant, Sandy Guttman, points it out the second time through.

“It really sets the tone in terms of commodity and pop culture and gears up what you’re going to look at in the show, in that this is a little bit of a Disneyland as well,” she says.  

Guttman offers to lead me through the exhibition after I hopelessly try and navigate myself.

“It also literally takes an object from this thing which is very American and capitalist,” she adds.

This connection is noticable throughout, you see artworks that are seemingly mundane objects, but re-framed. In the first gallery, “Untitled (Hand with Cigarette and Watch)” by Richard Prince, is a work where he crops an existing advertisement, as he did famously with “Untitled (Cowboy),” (or more recently with his Instagram photos).

Prince’s work hangs adjacent to “Shelf with Ajax” by Haim Steinbach and “Remy/Grand Central: Trains, Boats, and Planes” by Dara Birnbaum, both pieces feature actual products, but not in the vein advertising or product placement. Steinbach’s framing of the Ajax detergent bottle recalls a hunting trophy and Birnbaum’s video is half-ad, with the sexualized shots of a woman holding the Remy Martin champagne and half anti-ad with an additional depiction of a train pulverizing the bottle.

“Pepsi Please” by Peter Halley and “Inflammatory Essays by Jenny Holzer are also in the first gallery. Halley’s painting displays a zombie begging for a Pepsi; it’s funny and definitely calls for a Snapchat. Holzer’s more Insta-worthy, floor-to-ceiling piece is confrontational and resonates easily with the poignant pieces toward the end of the exhibition.

Annette Lemieux, Courting Death, and Louise Lawler, Who are you close to?

Annette Lemieux, “Courting Death,” and Louise Lawler, “Who are you close to? (Red)”

The galleries are ordered chronologically and these early works are not so representative of the exhibition’s objective, which is to chart the “pivotal moments in the 1980s when artwork became a commodity and the artist, a brand.”

Sandy Guttman tells me that curator Gianni Jetzer was growing up when much of this art was made, and though he didn’t grow up in New York, he was inspired by a show on this very specific scene which capitalized on the conflation of commodity and brand.

“A lot of times when you’re curating for a show you have to think about which pieces can make your argument the strongest,” Guttman says. “That’s where you start with your checklist and then from there you try to branch out.”

The second gallery, which features the work of artists including Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger, lays out and drives home Jetzer’s thesis. The gallery gives a sense of how small this group of friends started exceptionally well. There’s artifacts from an aesthetic consultancy a few started, as well as copy from group shows they put on.

The camaraderie comes across in “Talent” by David Robbins, which features Koons, Sherman and Holzer. The picture includes the artist and his friends in Hollywood-style head shots, but observing as a whole feels like observing a class portrait or even stills from your favorite sitcom.

The gallery that follows this is small but entirely memorable. It features Cindy Sherman, Louise Lawler, Sarah Charlesworth and Annette Lemieux.

Charlesworth’s two works are cropped images of Madonna and David Bowie, “Virgin” and “Golden Boy” respectively. Lemieux’s “Courting Death” is a re-staged photograph in a uniquely Hollywood style, while still drawing influences from art history. The result is a cross between a silver screen secretary and a St. Jerome.

“What is she taking notes on?” Guttman asks. “Why is there a skull?”

The later galleries deal with HIV/AIDS and contain some of my personal favorites. For instance, one focuses on objects of cleanliness. There’s more from Steinbach, only this time it’s of a detergent brand he invented. There’s “Lube Landscape,” an acrylic by Walter Robinson that represents household objects like baby oil, which are multi-purpose, though not all uses are prescribed.

Biocube by Tishan Hsu. Photo: Cathy Carver

Tishan Hsu, “Biocube.” Photo: Cathy Carver

“Biocube,” a sculpture by Tishan Hsu, also trades in the same clinical vernacular. His nonsense object at once recalls schools and doctor’s offices, but at the same time reads erotic in the weird pustules found, in addition to its coloring.  

“I don’t like calling it flesh toned,” Guttman says. “There are endless tones of flesh, but it would read as somebody’s skin.”

This gallery also features “I shop therefore I Am” by Barbara Kruger. It might be the most recognizable piece in the show, if only because it ran as the lead ad for exhibition. Guttman laughs at this.

“’I shop therefore I am’ is the leading image on our catalog and all our advertisements, which is funny, considering that it’s a work making fun of buying things,” she says. “It’s almost like someone didn’t get the memo.”

A gallery over though, the work deals with AIDS in a much more overt way, from He Kills Me, by Donald Moffett, to Perfect Lovers, by Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

“This is where the show turns to activism,” Guttman tells me. “The government wasn’t doing anything or reacting to the AIDS epidemic which was not only sweeping New York, but hit the New York art scene particularly hard. I’m sure everyone in this exhibition knew someone who died.”

Moffett’s floor to ceiling graphic work repeats the same photo of Reagan laughing while beneath each photo the text reads ‘he kills me.’” It’s one of the most confrontational works in the exhibition, you have to walk by it. At the same it’s funny even, but ultimately too real.

“Perfect Lovers” features two nondescript clocks, hanging about eight feet off the floor, they’re touching, kissing so to speak and ticking in sync. As is, it was my favorite work on my first time through the exhibition, but the story Guttman tells me the artist isn’t just being clever.

“The artist conceptualized this work when his partner Ross was incapacitated, dying from HIV/AIDS, and he responds to the moment and creates this heart-wrenching portrait from commodity materials anyone can buy.”

It’s one of the last works in the exhibition and the one I return to. It’s simple, raw and effective, far from alone in this compilation. You’ll appreciate early on that the artists are clever, but they’re not so for the sake of being clever. At least not always. The exhibition runs through May 13. It’s open daily from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and admission is free.

Golden Boy by Sarah Charlesworth. Cibachrome with lacquered wood frame.

Sarah Charlesworth, “Golden Boy,” cibachrome with lacquered wood frame

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: Independence Ave. SW and 7th St. SW, DC; 202-633-1000; www.hirshhorn.si.edu

Photos: Michael Loria
Photos: Michael Loria

A Breezy Summer Home at SAAM: Do Ho Suh

At the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) on F Street, you can now walk down a corridor that leads you through a New York apartment (in pink), a Berlin foyer (in green) and a hallway in Seoul (in cerulean blue). These are the former homes of artist Do Ho Suhand set against the granite columns inside SAAM, they look like an apparition.

These are Do Ho Suh’s fabric sculptures, his Hubs, and the centerpiece of SAAM’s latest exhibition “Do Ho Suh: Almost Home,” which opened on March 16 and is on view through August 5. The exhibition is the most comprehensive Do Ho Suh exhibition on the East Coast and includes work strictly made for the exhibit, according to director Stephanie Stebich.

Specimen from Apartment A, 348 West 22nd Street

Specimen from Apartment A, 348 West 22nd Street

Stebich lays emphasis on the exhibition as being part of a recent initiative at SAAM to feature artists who may not have been born in America, but who SAAM still recognizes. Other artists recently featured at SAAM include Nam June PaikIsamu Noguchi and Rufino Tamayo (whose exhibit was covered here.)

“We are proud to highlight artists who have contributions to the story of American art,” Stebich says. “Often, they are global citizens and have spent an important amount of time during their careers in the United States, and thus we think they impact our art scene and our lives.”

Hubs has drawn the most attention at the exhibit. It’s so large that you can walk through it, and the color of the fabric is arresting. But, it’s not the only art on view. Along the walls of the gallery, there are what Suh terms “specimens,” parts of his other homes rendered in the same style, and his “thread drawings.” Distinguished curator Sarah Newman recounted her first experience with Suh’s work in her remarks.

Seoul Home 1

Seoul Home 1

“I can vividly remember the first time I encountered Do Ho’s fabric architecture works. It was in 2003, and it’s been lodged in my brain ever since. It’s the perfect paradox of form and idea. It was an exquisitely, almost obsessively realized version of the world. But at the same time it was ethereal, almost ghostly to be in its presence.”

Suh’s Hubs and his specimens speaks to an era of globalization, Newman says, and they speak to the experience of longing for an absent home. This is in fact what Suh also says about his work, according to Newman.

Blueprint

Blueprint

“They’re suitcase homes that he can pack up and take anywhere, and they service his desire to live in the presence of places left behind.”

Suh’s “thread drawings” register more like expressionist paintings, only they are thread embedded in cotton, and, for me, the exhibition could fall flat without these. While the specimens are rendered in God-counting-the-hair-on-your-head detail, they can feel clinical (except for maybe the impeccably done toilet seat or the somewhat kinky Seoul Home 1). The thread drawings, however, exhibit Suh’s humor and personality.

Stairwell from Hubs

Stairwell from Hubs

My Homes, for instance, features a series of homes and figures done in a cross-sectional style. Some of homes stand on the head of a figure, while others seem to come out of a figure’s behind. Hubs may be the breezy summer home of my dreams, but My Homes is the one I’d like to take home with me.

“Do Ho Suh: Almost Home” is on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum through August 5. The exhibition is open daily 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Free entry.

Smithsonian American Art Museum: F and 8th Streets in NW, DC; 202-633-1000; www.americanart.si.edu

Photo: Smithsonian American Art Museum
Photo: Smithsonian American Art Museum

Carnival and a Barking Dog: Rufino Tamayo at SAAM

David Alfaro Siqueiros famously said, “Our is the only way.”

Siqueiros was one of the “big three” Mexican muralists, alongside Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, and he sounds like he was a bit of a bully. The response of his contemporary Rufino Tamayo is excellent.

“Can you believe that, to say that ours is the only path when the fundamental thing in art is freedom? In art, there are millions of paths – as many paths as there are artists.”

Tamayo was another modernist from Mexico, and his path has nothing to do with the social realism of his contemporaries. His paintings are representational, but never mimetic. They’re more surreal and draw on the history of Mexican art, from Mesoamerican ceramics to Mexican popular art (the term for Mexican folk art). 

His work is on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM)’s current exhibition, Tamayo: The New York Years. The exhibit charts his journey from his beginnings in Mexico in the 1920s to post-World War II, when his work defined Mexican modernism for many people, and it explores how his years in New York led him to that end.

E. Carmen Ramos, the exhibit curator, led me from piece to piece. She is deputy chief curator and curator of Latino art for the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She explained Tamayo first traveled to New York City when the dominant attitude of his contemporaries in Mexico became too strict. He was “bit by the New York bug,” Ramos told me, and would live there at various points throughout his career.

New York City was to Tamayo what Paris was to other modernists. He found a community of artist friends – he lived near 14 Street and developed relationships with artists including Reginald Marsh and Stuart Davis – and was exposed to international modernist art including de Chirico and Picasso.

Rufino Tamayo, New York Seen from the Terrace [Nueva York desde la terraza], 1937, oil on canvas, 20 3/8 x 34 3/8 in. FEMSA Collection. © Tamayo Heirs/Mexico/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photo by Roberto Ortiz

Rufino Tamayo, New York Seen from the Terrace [Nueva York desde la terraza], 1937, oil on canvas, 20 3/8 x 343/8 in. FEMSA Collection. © Tamayo Heirs/Mexico/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photo by Roberto Ortiz

The influence of de Chirico’s surrealism, and Tamayo’s penchant for culling different geographies and moments, comes out in “New York Terrace” (1937). Tamayo painted the piece after his wife and manager Olga had complained of the poor view from their apartment, Ramos told me. 

The skyline he paints is of NYC, but it very much belongs to Tamayo. The use of color is fanciful, and he depicts a collection of different architectural landmarks alongside one another. The painting is also partial self-portrait – a representation of himself and Olga – and even part still life. This is a watermelon and refers to Mexico, and it pervades 19th-century Mexican still life paintings.

“When’s the last time you saw a red striped building?” Ramos asked as we looked at the painting. “Or a green sky for that matter?”

“It’s been too long,” I replied.

Tamayo encountered de Chirico on his first trip to the big apple in 1926. But it wasn’t until 1939 that Tamayo encountered Picasso, and the experience Picasso’s painting had on him was profound, as it was to so many other artists at the time. Upon seeing Picasso’s Guernica” (1937), he drew inspiration, which emerged in his own “Carnaval” (1941). 

“Carnaval” portrays a couple donning masks and otherwise preparing for carnival. In color and organization of form, the piece is stylized. Here, you can see how Picasso’s African period rekindles Tamayo’s affinity for Mesoamerican ceramic figures and Mexican popular art.

Rufino Tamayo, Carnival [Carnaval], 1941, oil on canvas, 44 1/8 x 33 1/4 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1942. © Tamayo Heirs/Mexico/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Rufino Tamayo, Carnival [Carnaval], 1941, oil on canvas, 44 1/8 x 33 1/4 in. The Phillips Collection,Washington, DC, Acquired 1942. © Tamayo Heirs/Mexico/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Tamayo worked as an ethnographic draughtsman for the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, and the figures are informed by what he called “Mesoamerican body proportions,” while the pronounced ribcages of the woman figure come out of the papier-mâché figure tradition of Mexican popular art.

Ramos said that she emphasized researching the masks depicted in the painting, because the interpretation of the work may differ if the masks were associated with one festival or another. But she told me that she discovered the masks are a hybrid of several different masks from all over the country, including Jalisco and Mexico City.

The influence of “Guernica” is heavily brought to bear in “Dog Barking at the Moon” (1942). The former stirred intense discussion around art and propaganda; how artists should represent contemporary times and whether social realism is the best answer. “Guernica” became “very near and dear to Tamayo,” Ramos said, and given his differences with contemporaries, it’s easy to see how.

The painting portrays a black moon that looks tiny by comparison to the colossal and violently red dog. It is one of a series of animal paintings that to my Bauhaus and Der Blaue Reiter-steeped mind conjure up Franz Marc, but Ramos said otherwise.

“His most striking response to Picasso is a series of animal paintings,” she said. “They’re meant to engage the anxiety of World War II and the post-war moment. He was living in New York during World War II and these were very anxious times. He creates this body of work around these desperate, howling, aggressive animals that give a sense of [anxiety], that represent the war not photographically but more allegorically.”

Rufino Tamayo, Dog Barking at the Moon [Perro ladrando a la luna], 1942, oil on canvas, 47 1/4 x 33 7/16 in. Private collection. © Tamayo Heirs/Mexico/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Rufino Tamayo, Dog Barking at the Moon [Perro ladrando a la luna], 1942, oil on canvas, 47 1/4 x 33 7/16 in.Private collection. © Tamayo Heirs/Mexico/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

A final thought Ramos left me with was her wish that Tamayo’s involvement in the NYC art scene was more well-known. On a ground level, he was involved in publications like The New Masses, an early Marxist publication, and beyond that, he was involved in exhibitions featuring his own work alongside that of artists like Picasso and Rothko.

“When I was reading [contemporaneous] reviews, it was not only the number of reviews, but there was one review I was reading that said he was a ‘fixed star’ [in New York],” Ramos told me. “Look Magazine did a survey of important artists and he pops up as one of the most important artists in New York, so he’s a figure.”

For more on Tamayo read his obituary in The New York Times. Tamayo: The New York Years is on display at SAAM through March 18. The exhibit is open to the public every day from 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. The exhibit is also wholly bilingual with panels in both English and Spanish.

Smithsonian American Art Museum: 8th and F Streets NW, DC; 202-633-1000; www.americanart.si.edu