Thievery Corporation will perform at Kastles Stadium on the Southwest Waterfront this Saturday. Photograph courtesy of IMP
Eric Hilton wears many hats—musician, co-founder of the ESL Music record label, and businessman behind Eighteenth Street Lounge, Marvin, and more—but first and foremost, he’s one half of Thievery Corporation, DC’s biggest music act. Unlike other locally-raised talent (here’s looking at you, Dave Grohl and the Walkmen), Hilton and partner Rob Garza are proud Washington residents, and with stakes in eight restaurants and bars, Hilton’s culinary holdings in the District are starting to rival those of Jose Andres. This Saturday, Thievery Corporation plays its first local show since the duo's latest album, Culture of Fear, was released, at the Kastles Stadium on the Southwest Waterfront. We caught up with Hilton to talk musical influences, local pride, and more.
DC rapper Tabi Bonney wears many hats. When Washingtonian.com caught up with him, he was busy editing the music video for his new single, “Galaxy,” continuing work on his clothing line, and preparing for the release of his third album, Fresh. Bonney has gained a loyal fan base in the Washington area and, following the tradition of fellow local rappers Rasi Caprice and Wale, consistently and proudly represents his hometown as he expands his audience.
You were born in Togo, West Africa, and you’ve lived all over the world. In what way has living in Washington influenced your music?
“All of it has influenced me. The environment, the transient culture, being in the capital, and the diversity of it.”
You’re also a clothing designer. How did you begin designing?
“I really like to make what I would wear. I started out because I couldn’t find anything I wanted. Everything was XXL, and I’m a small guy. I started with a thermal from Kmart and sewed patches on it, and people were like, ‘Where’d you get that from?’ "
John Davis has some history behind him. A Washington native, he grew up amidst the local punk scene. Inspired by shows such as Fugazi, Davis delved into the music scene and formed a own high-school band when he was 17. Punk icon Ian MacKaye once showed up before a performance to wish them luck. Since then, Davis has been a founding member of post-punk band Q and Not U, writing and performing with that group from 1998 to 2006. He then collaborated with Laura Burhenn for the pop duo Georgie James. In 2008, Davis struck out on his own with Title Tracks. The tunes on his first solo album, It Was Easy, are upbeat and catchy. Davis, however, is serious as a heart attack when it comes to his love of DC music. With a North American tour under his belt, he spoke with us about his eclectic listening tastes and his upcoming album.
Punch Brothers is a hard band to peg. If you call it bluegrass, the members will bust out a raucous cover of “Reptilia” by the Strokes. If you call it strictly indie, they’ll figure out a way to flawlessly segue from Radiohead’s “Kid A” into Gillian Welch’s fiddle tune “Wayside (Back in Time).” The only certainties are the instrumental mix of fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and base—and that you’ll be surprised by whatever you hear.
For Chris Eldridge, the band’s guitarist, Washington is home. He was born in Fairfax and spent much of his youth in Falls Church and Fredericksburg before taking off for Nashville. Eldridge returns home with his bandmates in tow to play Strathmore in Bethesda November 12. Washingtonian caught up with him before the show.
It’s not everyday you see a Grammy nominee performing on the bus—but not every Grammy nominee is Christylez Bacon. As for that bus, the progressive hip-hop artist (who was recognized for his work on a kids’ album, Banjo to Beatbox) often rides the X2 Metrobus with his guitar, and he even plans on bringing a chamber-music ensemble along for the ride at some point.
A native Washingtonian, Bacon discovered a passion for performing at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and continued to hone his skills as an emcee at local open-mic nights. Sporting a blue velvet bow tie with a tweed vest and trousers, Christylez sat down with us to discuss his unique blend of genres.
From an early age, Rachel Feinstein imitated people. “I went to elementary school in Bethesda, and I had this pretty Southern teacher with really thin lips,” she says. “I wanted to be her. I’d try to make my lips look like hers all the time. In all my school pictures, I was doing this strange thing with my lips.”
Years later, the habit has come in handy. Feinstein placed seventh on NBC’s American Idol-style show Last Comic Standing this season and was the last female comic eliminated. The show averages four million viewers a week.
Much of her set relies on impersonating people she’s met—whether it’s a drunk guy hitting on her in Vegas, her mother trying to act African American, or her grandmother. She says she inherited the aping skill from her father, a blues musician and former George Washington University professor.
The voices come in handy offstage as well. “I’m not naturally very confrontational. If I call an airline, I call as my grandma,” she says. “They don’t want to deal with some old bitch and I usually get what I want.”
She wasn’t always so comfortable talking to people, though. After graduating from Thornton Friends School in Silver Spring, she moved to New York City. She held jobs as a telemarketer selling vitamins and as a sales associate at Fat Jean & Shoes on Broadway—for a few hours.
It started when Lauren Schreiber began writing poetry in middle school. Having been in her church choir, Schreiber found it only natural to pair melodies with her words, and then she progressed to collaborating with musicians, who added instruments. But that wasn’t enough.
Frustrated that she couldn’t fully communicate how she wanted her music to sound, Schreiber picked up a guitar and taught herself basic chords. “I had no formal training,” she says. “I figured out some chords and then put them together as fast as I could. I wanted to perform right away.”
Shreiber took her guitar and began performing at local venues at 18, becoming a self-described “coffeeshop girl.”
It was the DC-based rapper and promoter Tyrone Norris who thought she could branch out. After hearing her sing, he invited her to perform with him at Palace of Wonders—Schreiber’s first-ever gig at a bar: “It was a hip-hop show with emcees, a flame thrower, and a sword swallower—which is normal for Tyrone, but when I got there, I was like, ‘How does my music fit in?’ ”
Luckily it did—in fact, it struck such a chord with the audience that the crowd found a jar to pass around to leave tips for her.
Deeply involved in the DC hip-hop scene, the pink-haired singer has now made her mark among MCs and rappers as a vocalist, performing in a style that marries acoustics with soul and R&B. She’s currently working on two new projects, tentatively titled Love Sequence and Basement Dreams.
To find out more about Schreiber and her music, read on:
For more of our past coverage on Michaele Salahi, click here.
Michaele Salahi, former model and chair of the spring strutting ritual (and polo match) America’s Polo Cup, explains how to pose and what to wear to this season’s outdoor sporting events in Virginia.
Photo taken at the recent Leukemia & Lymphoma Society annual ball. (See more photos from the night here.)
Who: Michaele Salahi, makeup consultant, Oasis Winery owner with husband Tareq, America’s Polo Cup chair, and the “face” for Virginia.org’s Wine Getaways ad campaign.
What she’s wearing: Oscar de la Renta from Neiman Marcus.
How would you describe your style? “Classic and feminine with a slim rocker edge. I’m addicted to white clothes, and I love stilettos.”
Favored designers: “Cartier, Chanel, Versace, Jimmy Choo, Dior.”
What do you wear on a typical day? “Fitted skinny jeans, Dior or Prada boots, and a fitted top with a jacket.”
What will people be wearing to the America’s Polo Cup? “I love to wear a dress to the event. Women will wear dresses, pantsuits, hats, stilettos, flats. Hats are key for the ladies—you will see so many fantastic styles. That is what I love most about the event. Men will often wear a button-down and a jacket.”
Rachel says: Michaele always looks glamorous, and she definitely knows how to pose! It’s important to know that you can be a little bigger than life in a photo—shy never looks right. As for the spring events in Virginia, I think the general rule is the preppier the better. The hats are the best part.
Sidewalk Style is written and photographed by Rachel Cothran of street-fashion blog projectbeltway.com.
For more nightlife, fashion and arts & events posts, click here.
Lizz Winstead might not be a household name, but one of her creations—The Daily Show—has become a decade-long cultural phenomenon. Not surprisingly, her defunct weekly off-Broadway show, Shoot the Messenger, was also dedicated to exposing media fluff to biting sarcasm. Winstead will be in Washington performing standup at the Bentzen Ball comedy festival, going on from October 22 through 25. You can see her the first three days of the festival; her first show is Thursday, October 22, at 7 at Bohemian Caverns with Natasha Leggero, Chelsea Peretti, Hugh Moore, Chris Fairbanks, Ruby Wendell, and Jason Weems. Tickets for single shows and weekend passes are available here. We talked to her about the festival, some of her favorite comedians, and political comedy.
Brindley has received acclaim from the likes of the Washington Post, Paste, and Rolling Stone and has been graced with awards including Best Contemporary Folk Album of the Year in 2008 from the Washington Area Music Association. When he’s not recording, writing, or playing, he’s running Jammin’ Java, a venue which he owns with his brothers. Brindley is currently recording new music and hopes to release an album this fall.
Brindley has back-to-back shows at Jammin’ Java on July 17 and 18, where he’ll share the stage with Parliament Hill and Seth Glier. To sample some of Brindley’s tunes before heading to the show, check out his MySpace or follow him on Twitter (@lukebrindley) to see what he’s been up to.