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LIFESTYLE

    The Offline Society Is Reclaiming Valentine’s Day

    Offline Society, Valentine's Day, Happy Valentine's Day

    The Offline Society is Reclaiming Valentine’s Day For Everyone

    This year, the Offline Society is reclaiming Valentine’s Day for those who might not have a candlelit dinner reservation, but are still surrounded in love by their friends, family and (possibly) crushes. The Offline Society is sending cards with playful messages about romance in the digital age directly to lucky recipients on behalf of thoughtful senders. Card messages include “I’d never swipe left on you,” “An algorithm couldn’t make a match this good” and “I love wandering with you where the wifi is weak.”

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    The Vintage Takeover is Happening at Penn Social DC

    vintage, shopping, vintage clothing, fashion

    A Vintage Coup is Going Down this Saturday, July 25th!

    It’s the return of the best, dopest, kick ass vintage pop-up shop in the city, the Guys & Dolls Vintage Pop-Up Shop. Instant Vintage 78 is returning with a lineup of the hottest vendors from DC, MD, VA, North Carolina, and Philly! They are ready once again to bring you the illest vintage, retro, handmade and one-of-a-kind merchandise for men and women. The takeover is happening on the lower level of Penn Social DC. Guess what? It’s free to get in!

    So, polish your gold chains, lace up your platforms, tighten up that fade, and make your way to the Guys & Dolls Vintage Pop-Up Shop for your shot at winning this year’s “Best Dressed” (in vintage) contest.

    Attendees can expect a day party atmosphere that will include:

    • PS drink specials/Vintage Cocktails and cash bar
    • Prizes for Best Dressed in vintage contest
    • DJ Amen Ra spinning your favorite throwback jams
    • Swag bags for the first 50 guests, and more!

    DETAILS

    Date: Saturday, July 25, 2015

    Time: 12 noon – 4 pm

    Location: Penn Social DC, 801 E St NW, Washington, DC 20004

    Reserve Your Free Tickets Here: Guys & Dolls Vintage Pop Up Shop

    Vintage lovers, reserve a ticket for you and a friend right now!

    ART in DC: A DC Party Beneath The Streets of Tokyo

    2015 Phillips Collection Contemporaries Bash

    The Phillips Collection hosted it’s annual gala where DC art lovers, philanthropists, and supporters gather to celebrate the acclaimed works and cultural influence of the museum’s art collection. The highly anticipated event now has it’s own popular tradition: The After Party. Known as the Contemporaries Bash, this year’s Gala after party transported guests with it’s theme, leading them straight into the heart of Tokyo’s Nightlife. Car doors opened as the Taiko drums sounded, and a steady stream of beautiful ball gowns and tuxedos descended on Dock 5 at Union Market. Stiff manners were happily checked at the door as the well-dressed guests made their way into the world of Tokyo’s vibrant underground.

    The After Party is hosted each year by The Phillips Collection Contemporaries, a council of young professionals with a shared appreciation for the historic art displayed at the museum and are passionate about introducing it’s rich cultural significance to their own generation.

    The event was inspired by the Tokyo’s Harajuku and Shimokitazawa neighborhoods, which are credited with giving rise to Japanese Pop Art Movement. They remain the city’s epicenter for the latest emerging fashions, ideas, and sensational nightlife. Guests sipped Japanese-inspired cocktails while DJ Ben Chang took revelers on a hypnotic sound journey through the streets of Tokyo. The event featured a sushi conveyor belt, a really creative fashion lounge, and a private arcade area where suave gentlemen in tuxedos pulled their bow ties loose and frantically competed at classics like Super Smash Brothers, Street Fighter, Mario Kart, and Minecraft. I personally couldn’t play because my hands were reserved by a cocktail and my sno-cone from the truck outside. As a kid I’d immediately quit video games to run outside for a sno-cone if I heard the ice cream man. My nature remains unchanged. Priorities.

    The evening was spectacular overall. The chic crowd was buzzing about excitedly against the backdrop of this incredible, well executed atmosphere. But mostly, it was also for a great cause. In addition to the gala, the Contemporaries Bash raised many thousands of dollars that will directly fund The Phillips Collection’s renowned education programs. They are developing a teaching framework that gives the tools to develop art-integrated lessons and curricula to teachers of all subjects. It will strengthen K-12 education for all of our future leaders.

    To learn more about the museum and the TPC Contemporaries, visit their website, the Phillips Collection.

    Holiday Gifts: Art. Life. Technology.

    holiday gifts, holiday gift guide, artsy gifts, creative gifts

    The Best Holiday Gifts for the Creative Types

    In a world where new products hit the market everyday, choosing the perfect gift can be tricky. As the Art & Lifestyle Editor, I’ve seen a lot of creativity in so many different forms. So I wanted to pull my ideas for holiday gifts from my past experiences. I know what it’s like to try to find holiday gifts for those artsy types. So here are some great holiday gift suggestions for the hip, chic and tech nerd in your life:

    Charity

    Giving to a charity or conservation fund on behalf of a relative is a great gift. There are tons of charitable organizations that work to help solve countless world issues from building drains to push fresh water to villages to saving the whales to helping feed local residents. We all have our favorite organizations. Find the one closest to the heart of your loved one and you are on the right path to doing two great deeds: donating to a great cause and putting a smile on someone’s face.

    Travel

    If you are looking for something amazing to get for the significant other, then maybe it’s time to travel! My suggestion would be some place affordable like Puerto Rico. I recently visited Viejo San Juan (old San Juan). Let me tell you, for somewhere so close to the U.S., there are some fabulous sites to see. Puerto Rico has one of the oldest churches in the world, forts from long ago, beautiful beaches, and the cobblestone-lined streets mixed adorned with new age street art. The best part is that U.S. residents don’t need a passport to travel there.

    Books & Magazines

    This gift dates back for centuries. Books make great holiday gifts. Always have. Always will. You can opt for the traditional books at your local bookstore or choose one of the online booksellers. If you loved one is a magazine freak, you can gift a subscription to an online magazine service like NextIssue or pick up a subscription for yourself.

    Gift Cards

    For the techie in your life, whether novice or expert, nothing beats an iTunes gift card. You can choose between three denomination ($25, $50, $100) and the design. Plenty of apps and music for them to choose from. Another wonderful gift is a gift card from Visa. Drop $100 on it and let them go technology crazy. Hopefully $100 bucks will keep them busy (or their thumbs busy) at least through March or April!

    Let us know your suggestions for great holiday gifts in the comments below or tag us on Instagram or Facebook.

     

    Biggie Smalls is The Only Christopher We Acknowledge

    Biggie Smalls is The Only Christopher We Acknowledge

    When you hear the name Biggie Smalls, there is one place that comes to mind – Brooklyn. Christopher Wallace (aka Biggie Smalls) was one of the most influential rappers of this lifetime. His voice, his interviews, and his lyrics were the voice of a generation lost. The common theme which plagued Generation X was the need to be heard. They needed to tell a story. Christopher Wallace told that story in his prolific lyrics. On a beautiful summer night in Brooklyn, I felt his spirit rise and live again at a uniquely curated art exhibit called “The Only Christopher We Acknowledge is Wallace”. The exhibit was held at the emerging art gallery, The Bishop. The Bishop Gallery is an all African-American, male-owned gallery in Bedford Stuvyesent. The exhibit was curated by DJ Clark Kent, one of Biggie Smalls’ best friends – an accolade which he humbly boasts. DJ Clark Kent has over 30 years in the hip hop entertainment field which makes him a legacy and pioneer in his own right.

    DJ Clark Kent is surprisingly humble and gracious when he speaks about how the art which he chose for this exhibit was carefully chosen out of his unlimited and unselfish respect for the man he knew not as Biggie Smalls but Christopher Wallace. Kent asserted that each piece had to have spoken to him. It had to say something or embody a feeling to signify that his friend would have chosen that piece himself. He went through the pieces and at times reached out to his friend in the spiritual realm asking quietly, “Big, What do You Think?” In his opinion, each artist that he selected had done an amazingly spiritual interpretation which captured who Christopher was. Kent was deeply moved by the artists who submitted their pieces to help him bring his dream to fruition – to honr Biggie the star and to honor Christopher Wallace, the person.

    Some of the artists who were chosen included Ronald Draper, who created the two pieces of Biggie as royalty, Christopher Franks who depicted Christopher Wallace as a king Picasso-style with a matching table and backpack (he was one of the standout artists of the evening), Greg Frederick who created an image of Biggie from pieces of vinyl  and Nikki Harris who delighted the audience with her two crotchet pieces.

    Hip hop generation, you need a glimpse into how Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls grew into the phenomenon who is still highly celebrated 17 years after his death. Go and immerse yourself into this amazing exhibit. You can draw their own conclusion but when one walks into the Bishop Gallery, you will surely get the sense that you are taking a walk through the mind and heart of the man known as Christopher Wallace.

     

    Gallery and Artist Information

    Bishop Gallery Website

    Greg Frederick , Vinyl Pop Art

    Nikki Harris, HGE Designs

    Ronald Draper, Artist

    Christopher Franks – Artist

    Street Art: The World is An Open Museum

    Street Art is the World’s Open Museum

    Street Art is not just limited to the United States. In the 21st Century, street art is everywhere we look – mainstream media, music and clothes. I recently discovered that graffiti has even prevalent in Middle Eastern cultures. Tunisia now boasts some of the most beautiful street art in the world. Erriadh, which is an ancient village in Tunisia, has had over 100 international artists take on a project called “Djerbahood” which is a collective of over 100 artists from all over the world, who have signed on to adorn this ancient village with street art. The artwork included religious imagery and modern war themes throughout the village. There were some stand out, eye-catching pieces that would surely take you back in time. “Djerbahood” is an innovative project which is the entity behind this project is the renowned French Art Collective, Galerie Itinerrance,who have taken on this feat after the success of their Tour 13 project. Check out the full range of captivating images from Djerbahood on their tumblr: Djerbahood.

    (Material is drawn from Djerbahood website )

    You also have international art collectives like Mas Paz. Mas Paz means “Peace Through Art”. Mas Paz has managed to travel coast to coast sharing their murals at festivals like Adams Morgan Day. Mas Paz is the brainchild of Federico Frum, who was adopted from an orphanage in Bogata, Colombia. His mission began when he volunteered at an orphanage where children lacked food and wore shoes with practically no soles. Mas Paz’s  goal is to donate 5% of earnings back to the same orphanage where Frum lived before his adoption. He felt that it was his mission in life to give back to his roots. You can see the works of Mas Paz displayed in Mexico, Miami, the Bronx, Brazil, and the Nation’s Capital. For more information about Mas Paz, check out http://maspaz.co/.

    (Photos Courtesy of Mas Paz Website)

     

    KitchenCraY: A Chef with Big Plans to be a Culinary Powerhouse

    KitchenCraY: A Chef with Big Plans to be a Culinary Powerhouse

    These days, Washington, D.C. is rapidly changing more than its history or position as the “Capital of the Free World.” A quick Google search of the term “DC Gentrification” will deliver over 637,000 results with titles like “DC’s Poorest Residents fight Displacement” or “Washington DC Loses Black Majority”. The Chocolate City is looking less “chocolate” as urban renewal displaces low-income minorities and replaces them with a new group of young, mid to high-income, diverse group of transplanted Washingtonians.

    This was evident as I made my way to a private gallery on S Street NW, off of the bustling 7th Street, headed to the website launch for KitchenCraY and Chef JR Robinson. My brief walk through the historic Shaw neighborhood featured new luxury homes and buildings, where burned-out shells of the city’s past once stood. As the winds of change blow in the District, the city’s food culture is adapting as well. A city once known for half smokes (see Ben’s Chili Bowl) and soul food (see Oohs & Aahs, Florida Avenue Grill) is now making a name for itself as a breeding ground for mobile kitchens, fusion cuisine, celebrity chefs, and farm-to-table dining.

    After checking in and shaking hands with some familiar faces, a beautiful hostess greeted me with a small tray with little cups. I had a hard time making out what was in those cups, but a quick taste test revealed an intricate mix of flavors like jerk seasoning, mild cheddar cheese, grits, and white fish. I had tasted KitchenCraY’s version of “Fish’n’Grits”, and it was amazing. The flavor was both modern and familiar, and that seems to be KitchenCraY’s culinary arts objective.

    Rather than standing in the way of change, James “Chef JR” Robinson is delivering a new wave of culinary experiences with KitchenCraY, a group that provides luxury culinary services to its clients. At their official launch event, Chef JR admitted that the five-star catering company began with a focus on urban audiences, catering brunches for popular DC social venues like Cities and Capitale. But for the future, Robinson and KitchenCraY are looking beyond the District with plans to become the “biggest culinary force in the nation.”

    In addition to catering for high-profile clients, KitchenCraY’s enterprise includes cooking classes, personal dining, and a branded cookbook due to release in the coming weeks. A KitchenCraY line of products will be coming to market soon including kitchenware, KitchenCraY sauces and seasonings. Chef JR says he wants to match the five-star dining experience to your lifestyle while promoting culinary education for adults and children.

    Checkout KitchenCraY’s new official website for more information.

     

    Emerging Writers: Spotlight on Orville The Poet

    emerging writers, poets, spoken word, poetry in dc, dc poetry events

    Orville Walker, better known as Orville the Poet, used a pen to get him through his life experiences. He is one of the emerging writers in the DC area using poetry to spread the word. Poetry has become his breath of fresh air, his meditation, and his therapy. After writing for several years, he decided to share his work with the world. In November 2009, Orville gave an audience at the 12th Street Lounge in Washington, DC a little peek inside his world.

    His poems speak a vivid truth about the struggles of being an artist and staying constant and true to oneself. Writers need to stay true to themselves for sure. His poetry is for the voiceless. His poems seek to address the issues which no one else cares to speak about. He releases pent up emotions with his pen. His compelling words have been shared on many stages, in front of numerous audiences. Orville has been the featured poet at spoken word venues such as Busboys & Poets, Messiah & Friends, Indulj, Mood Lounge, and Just Wine, Cheese & Poetry.

    He is one-half of Brothers Placed to Motivate (BPM), a spoken word group formed by Anthony Passmore, aka Godson. Founded in 2008, BPM’s sole purpose is to dispel negative views on Blacks in the media and other social outlets by speaking a universal truth about the ways Blacks are portrayed. BPM hopes to reach their audiences through the power of spoken word. I sat down with Orville the Poet to see what makes him tick.

    When did you first began to write poetry?

    I started writing poetry at the age of 14 or 15. I was going through a lot at the time in my life and I kinda stumbled upon it. I always loved writing.  I was always fascinated with literature. My mom made it her business to see that we read books at an early age and made us write book reports. It was then that I was introduced to the great poet, Langston Hughes.

    How long have you been doing poetry in this area? Where did you first get started?

    I have been doing spoken word about four or five years in the DC area. The first poem I ever shared publicly was at church. The first open mic I ever did was on U Street (I can’t remember the venue’s name).

    Was it Bar Nun?

    It was not Bar Nun. But I now have an event now at Pure Lounge, which was Bar Nun, everyfirst Wednesday of the month.

    What inspired you to share your talents?

    I was reading something to myself in my room that I had written and a friend was in earshot and walked in my room. Actually, he kinda barged in my room. He was like “Whoa, who is that.” I was like “that’s something I wrote” and I tried to shove it way. The friend said that I needed to share it. But I didn’t share that particular poem for years and years after. Sharing now the experiences I have gone through (ummm) is for a reason and someone always gains something from it. You never know how what you have gone through will touch or inspire or save someone from another situation.

    How do you define art?

    Art is a reflection of self. Art can be the way you dress. It can be the way you style your hair. It can be the way you put words together or the way you sing or the way you speak. Art is life.

    Who are some of the people who influence you or inspire you? Which great writers do you love?

    Maya Angelou was an early inspiration. I had the privilege of serving at the Maya Angelou Charter High School under a good friend, Karim Bailey, an artist. I have been blessed to have some great friends who happen to be artists as well. I also influenced by Godson and the poet JusMe. There is a lot of young talent, like Xavier the Poet. A lot of my peers inspire me.

    I was first introduced to you as a host for Nik McCoy’s poetry shows. What sets you apart from other poets and writers in this area?

    I’m a regular guy. I work hard everyday. I put my whole self into what I do. My mom helped me when I first started. I had a problem with memorization. She said that I didn’t have to memorize my stuff to be effective. I just had to be what I say. Every time I share a poem, it’s something from the heart, it’s something very genuine. That’s that.

    Do you consider spoken word to be a lifestyle?

    I think whenever you spend as much time as I do, or any artist in a particular field, you have to study. You have to eat it, live it, breathe it—it becomes a lifestyle. I really enthrall myself in poetry. I look up to other poets. I’m reading the great writers like Langton Hughes, Maya Angelou, and Nikki Giovanni. There is a quote by Robert Motherwell, “Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it.” I really think that describes how I feel about art. Live your life. Sometimes as artist we take ourselves too seriously. But what a poor life without it.

    What is advice you can give to aspiring spoken word artist or writers?

    To just keep doing it. Know your lane and don’t revert from it. A lot of people want to enter the craft and wanna do or say one thing. Then they switch up in order to generate more fans, applause, or because it sells. Stay true to yourself, keep doing you, and keep going.

    Art without Borders: Art with a Purpose

    Lindsy tharp_Aniekan Udofia

    This year, Art without Borders was held at the illustrious art space, Blind Whino. Art without Borders is a show focused on an international initiative by Pranay Parikh and Mawuli Dzirasa to raise awareness and funds for organizations providing humanitarian aid across the globe. Once again, the benefit charity for Art Without Border is Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), which provides quality health care to those in crisis, regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation.

    For the Art Without Borders event, there were dynamically vibrant handcrafted figurines by Tasha Zimich and her artist friend, Infinite Rabbits. The exhibit was well attended by philanthropists, hipsters and those who appreciate the eclectic pieces that Art Whino is so well known for. The hand crafted pieces are gathered from all over the world, purchased and brought back to the states for our visual enjoyment and for this particular event,  for sale to benefit Médecins Sans Frontières .  Art Without Borders turned the Blind Whino space into a pop up market place with great hand crafted pieces, two hot dj’s and great vibes from culturally diverse attendees. For this particular exhibit, the curators of Art Without Borders, brought in the infamous “toys” that patrons of Art Whino have grown to love. In Blind Whino, the first floor draws your eye straight to the amazing art on the walls. There are the funky Jetson chairs, a large dj area located in the middle of the space and adorning one wall is the work of emerging muralist, Aniekan Udofia, who has a series of paintings entitled, Return of the Shaolin Pencil.  On the second floor, , visitors  walk into this visually enthralling space with its underlying religious theme.  Art Without Border attendees were able to party for a cause, as they were treated to a musically varied treat of electronica, funk, and dance  as the lights bounced off each of the religious themed walls- a rose on one wall (Mary), a  hand on the other main wall (Jesus) and on the center wall- a lion’s mouth (God). 

    Art Without Borders picked a great space to hold this event. Blind Whino is a revived Victorian and Romanesque-style church which features murals by Atlanta artist, Hense and Aniekan Udofia, as well as pieces by some of the world’s most creative artists. The church is one of the latest projects curated by Shane Pomajambo, owner of the famed Art Whino gallery. On the outside of the space, the German artist, Hense  has worked his magic and turned this church into a intergalactical spectacle with head turning colors of artistic grandeur. Check out more on Blind Whino at http://blindwhino.org.

    Picture courtesy of Lindsy Tharp.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Art Exhibit: American Cool — Who Defines the Art of Cool?

    american cool exhibit, jimi hendrix, famous musicians, famous artists

    When I first heard about the “American Cool” art exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I  scoffed at the idea of “who actually gets to define what’s cool?” The American Cool exhibit is an art exhibit which highlights some of America’s most notorious and not so notorious American cultural icons.

    The first exhibition room is titled “The Roots of Cool : before 1940.” This room will take you back to a moment in time that most of us only see on the History Channel. We are formally introduced to the likes of better known people like Mae West, an American actress, playwright, and sexual vixen whose career spanned across seven decades. Another cultural icon, Zora Neale Hurston, the American folklorist and anthropologist, is best known as the prolific author of the Harlem Renaissance, as well as, the magnificent Bessie Smith, who was the most influential blues singer in American history and the first major feminist voice in American Music. Also featured in this first exhibit room was the beautiful actress Greta Garbo, who was one of the biggest stars at MGM studios and 1920’s legend Bix Beirderbecke who is best known for creating the jazz ballad sound which today is commonly referred to as smooth jazz.

    Some of America’s coolest figures had a deeper story to tell. This exhibit gives us a glimpse into some of the racier aspects of their lives. It wasn’t just the “rosy” stories most of us were told in history class about many of these people. But you were able to get a true sense of who these iconic figures were outside their public and/or well known personas. It made the exhibit a real learning moment for me. Most of these shocking secrets about the deep, dark pasts of America’s most famous figures are people who are now deemed to be very cool. The exhibit covers a very diverse subjects from various cultures, backgrounds and age groups. There were hipsters, toddlers, senior citizens and everything in between.

    One of the standout moments for me had very little to do with what I was viewing on the walls. I was walking around when I came across an elderly woman who was checking out one of the interactive video displays. At these interactive displays, visitors can choose an era of cool. She and her cane got busy right in the middle of the floor when she heard Missy Elliott’s “The Rain.” It clearly demonstrated that the age boundaries were officially crossed and what was “cool” does not adhere to age old stereotypes.

    When you walk into the hallway titled “Alt-100,”  the walls were lined with some of the most controversial figures of most recent past. I halted in my tracks at the sight of Kurt Cobain’s photograph which was purposefully positioned next to Bruce Springsteen and Quentin Tarantino. At that moment, I was officially blown away. In the same hallway, I had a meaningful dialogue with a number of people of different ages and nationalities.  We seem to all agree that the exhibit’s range was robust and the range of controversial figures was inclusive. I left feeling that no matter who you are or where you come from or how old you are,  this exhibition is something amazing which folks need to make time to see.

    What do Tony Hawk, Jay Z and Madonna all have in common? Check out the exhibit American Cool exhibit to find out. I guarantee that you will be speechless and feeling mighty “cool” when you leave.

    Arcadia Fine Arts – Holding It Down In Soho

    Nestled along a quiet street in Soho, is the intimate modern art gallery, Arcadia Fine Arts. This exquisite gallery is located at 51 Greene Street, NYC.  When entering, my eye caught a vintage oil painting of a 1930’s mob boss titled “Strictly Business” by Danny Galieote (see photo). I quickly find out from Steve Diamant that the price for this lovely treasure is $16,900 (plus shipping). Steve Diamant is the President of Arcadia Fine Arts Gallery. I’m super excited about what I’m seeing even though Steve promises me that the gallery will have a new look on my next visit.

    As I stood lost in the world of oil, I was so captivated by the piece that I had to see more. Walking around, I immediately noticed the gorgeous wood floors in this minimally designed studio. The staff were so inviting despite the fact that it was 30 minutes before closing time (if you plan to visit Arcadia, keep in mind that the gallery closes at 5 pm most). Thankfully, the front desk manager allowed me to barrage him with a bunch of artsy questions. He was so knowledgeable about the painters they represent, and the art that they all love. He was so infectious that I’m looking forward to my next visit and the gallery’s transformation.

    To see more works in this gallery and to keep up with the latest exhibitions, visit Arcadia Fine Arts Blog.

    Photo Credit (Fairchild, Modern Works, Penn Station and R Hicks): courtesy of Arcadia Gallery