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X Marks the Spot: Multimedia Arts Event Thrives at Be Bar

Local art series celebrate its one-year anniversary with a thrilling multimedia spectacle.

A belly dancer takes the stage at X—a local multimedia arts series hosted by Be Bar. Photographs by Liz Gorman.

Those who attended Saturday night’s X event at Be Bar represented what X—a local multimedia arts series—is all about: diversity of expression in the arts. The crowd at the dimly lit Shaw-area bar came not just for the strong drinks but to see the work of guest artists and mingle with others who share their thirst for the inventive.

The night celebrated the one-year anniversary of the series, explained Graham Jackson, creative marketing director for X events. Graham works with cofounders David Fogel and David Gutierrez to put on the spectacle on once a month at Be Bar.

“It’s a totally unique experience,” he said. “The point is for people—the audience and artists—to express their creative passions.”

On the wall opposite the bar, a projection screen displayed the work of three DC graphic designers chosen by Jackson. The images changed as they worked on their projects live, sitting among the crowd with their laptops.

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At the start of the night, the designers had been given three words (this month: ephemeral, synthesis, curio) to inspire the creation of a promotional flyer for X events. At the end, a judge picked the winner, who walked away with a printer from Hewlett-Packard (one of X’s sponsors). The winning flyer will be used for future X promotions.

“There’s so much positive energy at these events,” Jackson said. “DC is not seen as a creative city, so these people come to bond to over the creativity. It’s a place to network and to make new friends.”

The fusion of so many media was entertaining and provided plenty of conversation starters. Among a slew of other art forms, DJs spun freestyle, fine art was displayed on the walls, and a videographer captured a belly dancer as she shook the stage and balanced a sword on her head.

Jackson said that X is taking off, and the group has held similar events in other cities including Denver and Salt Lake City.

In the beginning, he explained, the X team worked to meet as many artists as possible to invite to this event. Now, he said, thanks to its growing popularity, “[they] come to me and want to be part of this.”

BeBar, 1318 Ninth St., NW; 202-232-7450; for more information about X, go to