Monday, September 21, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation Pt. II

More faves from my totally unofficial abridged guide to summer 2009. Trust me, there's way more to include but here are some of the places and events that stand out the most. Post your faves from the summer in the comments.

Caribbean Festival
This annual institution seems to grow each year, taking over more and more of the city every June. I hadn’t been in ages, but finally made it out this summer for the now legendary parade that winds its way down Georgia Avenue. As a black person of no pedigree, I have no flags to wave or colors to rock. But between the mud people, the soundsystems, and all the elaborate costumes – it’s hard not to get swept up in all the excitement.

Looking Glass Lounge
Now I may be biased, considering my boyfriend is one of the DJ’s who spins here on Friday nights. But even if I wasn't "with the DJ" I’d still be flocking to this tucked-away Petworth bar on weekends. The Looking Glass is owned by the same folks
who brought us Wonderland and formerly housed the short-lived Temperance Hall. The bar only recently got its music license and this summer started hosting bands and DJ’s. (Shameless plug: Check out The Kirk Out the second Fri of every month. Golden era hip-hop, R&B, club, funk, and house).

It’s more stand-and-nod than get your freak on (not enough space for serious dancing). But it’s still a fun laidback break from the usual. The bar draws an eclectic mix of Howard students, indie group house kids, and long-time locals (even a few ladies done with their late-night shifts at the infamous House down the block). It's a true neighborhood bar. One that just happens to be in a "transitioning" neighborhood.

Swimming Pool at The Blairs
I may be the only person in DC who never once made it out to The Coolout or Summer Camp. But I was too busy lounging poolside at home to actually feel like I was missing out. One of the many benefits of moving two blocks over the city line into downtown Silver Spring is being in a large spacious apartment complex with tons of green space and amenities including its very own Olympic-sized pool.

It became my second home this summer, the perfect place to unwind after work, host birthday parties, and relax on weekends. There were no appearances by Tabi Bonney, RW cast sightings, or tracks spun by the Fatback DJ's. But what our pool lacks in scenester sophistication, we more than make up for with homey suburban charm. From the piped-in reggae to the free cookouts to the colorful cast of wacky neighbors. Another bonus? No crowds and it’s only steps away from my living room.

Lady Liberty Taint
Taint has always been one of my favorite parties to DJ. The monthly indie-queer dance night has been a long-time fixture at DC9, providing a safe space for LGBTQ folks of all stripes and their friends. The party offers a much-needed alternative to the alternative, combining live performances, video, and music that goes beyond the usual indie (or gay club) canon. Promoter Karl Jones and the rest of the Taint crew love to push the envelope and work hard to create an inclusive space where everyone feels welcome.

The 4th of July party was no different, except with an all-female DJ lineup. The crowd was hype as usual, getting down to everything from electro to dance-punk to Bmore club. To honor our nation's independence, one of the films featured in the background was a documentary about the genocide of Native Americans. It was classic Taint. Freaking folks out, making them uncomfortable, and creating a dialogue on the dancefloor. Taint is as much about art and community as it is a party. Which is why I'm sad to hear the night is wrapping up its five-year run next month. Catch Taint one last time Oct 11.

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