From An All-Black Hare Krishna Gathering to…Donovan’s Rooftop:
Saturday, June 19th, 2010: A DC day.
9am – 1pm: I waited to audition at Metro Headquarters for a spot to play as a street musician sponsored by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. I went with my friend Mark who wrote a song on his guitar called “Nanny of the Maroons” (Google that for some basic Jamaican history), while I got to play my
wooden Triongo drum from Santa Fe. We met some beautiful people there and I got to chat with them about their experience as local musicians.
1pm: Went to get subway, when I ended up having lunch with Vince Sheuerman of Army of Me (see https://rhythmicinteractions.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/a-run-in-with-vince-scheuerman-of-army-of-me/)
3:30pm: After the audition was over, a musician named Ray Kirk invited me to a spiritual gathering at someone’s home where they were cooking a huge vegetarian feast. I had about an hour to kill before I had to head to band practice with City Folk…so I said why not. I had no idea what to expect.
I got on the red line with Ray Kirk, Mark Nickens and another miscellaneous guy named Duff (obviously). All of us were hauling gear around and it was hot, but apparently the house was just a “few blocks” from the New York Ave metro stop. We walked for about 15 minutes and finally came up on a white house on a very quiet block. We were welcomed by an elderly black woman who had mesmerizing grey dreadlocks and wore a light cotton shirt with purple Indian chakras printed on it.
Apparently I had arrived at a black Hare Krishna gathering, which was an all black sect that practiced Hindu teachings. It was amazing.
We got there and were greeted with hugs by some of other members and gracious welcomes. They asked me to remove my shoes and told me that some healthy, organic vegetarian food was being prepared. These people were more Indian than I am.
I took off my shoes, and asked if I could help. I was given the role of helping to pour out glasses of “nectar”…this really delicious iced, honey, watermelon guava, shaken concoction that was bright pink.
We all sat on the floor of this woman’s house while we sipped our nectar and ate a full plate of food each, and a video started to play on a small projector. It was a spiritual video of one of the gurus chanting his teachings into a mic.
He was black but dressed in all indian garb, with prayer beads and a tikka on his forehead. I don’t know much about the Hindu religion to be honest, but it was the most beautiful thing to see non-Indians practicing.
He spoke about Bakti, “devotional service.” He explained that if you give love and eminate love, it’s not that you have the “right” to demand it back…rather that it just comes back to you naturally. If you are devoted to loving others, love will always be part of your life simply because you are giving it.
The room was quiet except for the sound of a broken fan churning out hot air, and the sound of the guru’s teachings coming from a small speaker.
4:30pm: I headed to the City Folk practice at Matt/Dan/Ezra’s house in Columbia Heights. I carried my Triongo on my back. I love DC because so many people stopped to ask me about it: “You moving out?” “Is that a bird feeder?” “How come you’re carrying a wooden traffic light?” …it was fun to get to show people each time that it was in fact a wooden drum with three distinct tones!
7pm: After the City Folk practice, Jeff had to leave but Matt, Ezra and I jammed hard for thirty minutes or so on various drums. We got into this go-go thing for a while, it was tight.
8pm: Band dinner at “Red…something”. The best pizza in Columbia Heights? Comparable to Two Amy’s.
9:50 pm: We bought some beer and made a pit stop at “Morgan’s Seafood.” We had stopped in just so that Dan could say hi to the owner, Romeo Morgan, for a minute, but we ended up staying there for over an hour, kicking back with beers in his empty restaurant and chatting about his qualms with the DC Government.
Apparently they constantly denied him a liquor license because they are trying to get him out of his property. The slow process of gentrification was ripe and Morgan’s Seafood was certainly suffering from it. Apparently somedevelopers are trying to convince the government to have Morgan’s shut down for some crafted reason, so that they can tear it down and build condo’s. “My kids are serving in Afghanistan right now, and this is how I am treated by my home government?” He was crazy but full of love. So welcoming. Cheers to Romeo.
Midnight: I took a bus, again with my Triongo still on my back and met up with Cioffe, Emily and Montana on 14th and L. Apparently there was a Donovan’s Pool Party that they wanted to check out. Montana and Emily made it up there somehow, but since we were a little later, there was a bit of a line. I had no intention to go up to this party, but Cioffe wanted to try. I was wearing the clothes I had been wearing since 9am: shorts, a crappy tank top, my glasses and misc sandals. We made it to the front of the line, the woman looked us up and down and asked if we were on the list. I lied, said I was, and handed her my ID. OUT OF NOWHERE, she was like, Ok, Ms. Gandhi, I don’t see you here but I will write your name down and you two can head on up. Please note that she had rejected several people before us. I have no idea how this happened. My only guess is that she liked that we were real people. Not biddied as hard as some of the others in front. I don’t really know. We went up, did a circle found the other two and peaced.
12:30am: From there we drove out to the EFN Lounge to our friend Antwaun’s party which he named the “big gay house party”. Misc music blasting, misc green lazer lights, and some funky outfits. Gay black men, hot girls, some good outfits, some weak. Drunkenness. Was a funny vibe: the DJ played “No Scrubs” and “Bootylicious” at one point!! I didn’t question it. Just dannnnnnce. Rude Boy by Rihanna came on…I like that song! More here (I really like how he describes the premise of the party…relates to the premise of this blog): http://bghp.tumblr.com/page/1#756326023
1am: We made our way to the 9:30 club to see Justin Scott (http://www.myspace.com/stoutcortez) along with our buddies in Little Bigheart take the stage (http://littlebigheartmusic.com/). Both shows were awesome. It felt good to see Georgetown crew demolishing it at 9:30pm. Both were honestly the best of the acts that I saw. Justin danced his balls off and LBH played the tightest set I’ve ever heard them play.
DC. It’s good to live in a city where I can end up at a Black Hare Krishna spiritual gathering and a Guestlisted Donovan’s Rooftop Party in the same day and it’s no big deal.