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Can Katy Perry’s Acoustic Concert Next Week Help DC Chill Out?

She'll perform October 11 at a benefit concert to raise funds for Transcendental Meditation instruction east of the River.

Perry plays acoustic guitar in 2014. (Photograph by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

Katy Perry will play an acoustic set. Mavis Staples will perform solo and with the Celebration Gospel Choir. Norah Jones will do four songs. Their show October 11 at the Anthem is a benefit to raise money to teach 10,000 at-risk kids in DC how to practice Transcendental Meditation.

Why DC? Washington is a “very stressed-out metropolitan area,” says Bob Roth, the David Lynch Foundation’s president. The Twin Peaks director is a longtime practitioner of Transcendental Meditation (or TM) and his group has had a meditation center on Capitol Hill since 2017 and established another at THEARC in Congress Heights last January with the goal of reducing stress and ultimately, negating what TM practitioners see as connected plagues, including substance abuse, health problems, and violence. “Violence, if not caused, is at least exacerbated by high levels of stress,” Roth says.

Perry and Jones practice TM, and Staples “supports what we’re doing,” Roth says.  The practice, which requires two 20-minute sessions per day, is different from the type of meditation you might encounter through an app like Calm or Headspace. Roth stresses that it’s not a religion or a philosophy but a technique. TM practitioners repeat a secret mantra, a meaningless word that helps bring them into a state of silent consciousness. There, Roth says, the healing begins. Cortisone levels plummet, and you become better rested than if you’d had a good night’s sleep.

The fee for a lifetime of TM instruction is usually $960, Roth says, but practitioners at the center in THEARC pay only what they can afford, even nothing. The foundation hopes proceeds from this concert will make it possible to teach TM to thousands more kids. DC is a “center of the world,” Roth says. If the David Lynch Foundation is able to help reduce stress, violence, and divisiveness in Washington, he says, “it will work anywhere.” 

The “Silence the Violence” benefit concert will take place Friday, October 11, at the Anthem. Tickets $100-$500

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.