On a September High

An entry about Bowling at the White House w/ the ESL Crew and hanging out with les Dirty Projectors at 9:30 Club. 
(Photo: Eric and Brian at the White House Bowling Alley)

September kicks ass. Today was a phenomenal day. This weekend will be a phenomenal weekend. Lots going on. In addition to the fact school has started. I only need to take two classes but there are three additional classes I want to take: Music in a Multicultural World, Intro to Spanish and Finance 101…useful things, no???!! Must just push hard for 4 months.

The White House Lanes; Alyssa and I in dressesToday after working at ESL (the label not the lounge) all day, we went bowling at the White House. It was incredibly surreal. Ben Chang, who I am proud to say is a Georgetown graduate, is living the dream. He is a foxy individual who is a Diplomat and the Deputy Spokesman to Richard Grenell’s staff at the White House. He is also a DJ, under the name Hong Kong Heffner, and is a fashion photographer in NYC. He shot for Thievery at some point and wanted to return the favor with bowling in the White House. Sick.

We got to go through his offices where many of the NSC staff work and see some beautiful wings of the building. This would be the second time that music has been my gateway to DC’s political culture: just two weeks before I had attended a White House tour with the Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project. This time around was far more intimate, however. It felt so awesome to see even Eric himself learning a lot and everyone just really happy to be there. After getting some mixers for the booze that the Thievery crew brought over, we headed down into the basement of the White House, past electrical wiring, lots of pipes and potential hazards.  There was a small velvet path with little trees lining the entrance: we had arrived at the Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley!

Ben Chang

It was way too much fun. We all set up a bar, strapped on the White House’s bowling shoes, and divided into teams. There were photos on the wall of past presidents bowling and there were two lanes. It was awesome. We all chose our ball and it got very competitive after that. Amy and Gina were team captains and picked players like it was dodgeball. We all got to bowl a bunch of times and a few people got strikes and it was great.

After that, we all took a photo in front of the Oval Office entrance and could see a little bit of the action going on. Blessed with some really beautiful opportunities. DC is awesome, magical, obtainable, navigable.

Thievery/ESL crew at The White House
David, Brian and Angel packing up after the Dirty Projectors show at 9:30 Club

At that point I was going to retreat to the library but my friend Jana texted me to tell me that the Dirty Projectors were at 9:30 Club playing the song I had taught her on the drums. I totally forgot that I had bought a ticket to that thing and hopped in a cab to head over to 9th and V. I caught at least half of the show and really wanted to talk to them afterwards. I said I knew Brian McComber, whom I did, cosmically, rhythmically, and he came outside to chat. I couldn’t believe it worked but it did and he was so awesome. He is a drumming mastermind. A 30-yr-old guy who stretches rhythmic structures in a way I’ve never heard and can hold it down and carry the group in a direction that is just legendary. He has always been one of my influences but being able to talk to him afterwards and hear about his own drumming history from the man himself was awesome. Later on the rest of the band came out and I got to chat a bit with David Longstreth, who. God. If you don’t know who he is, please google him and please look up the Dirty Projectors. Temecula Sunrise is a song that has come to be the soundtrack to my life — I swear, it’s the only melody I can sing so I just re-write the lyrics and sing about whatever is happening for me at that moment. That song is incredible. The Dirty Projectors are creating a sound headed by Longstreth that will carve out a new genre in rock and has already started a movement. Fuck ya. I chatted with Angel and Haley too. They are really so down to earth and chilled and talented and lovely. Fuck ya. It was so easy to talk to them and inspirational. I invited them to the show I am playing in NYC this coming Sunday. I hope they come!!

Brian McComber, David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors

After that, they had to pack up so I encouraged them to eventually mass mobilize to 18th Street Lounge. David said he was down for that. No Joke. Haley said she was down for Patty Boom Boom for the Arkives playing live reggae!! I exchanged numbers with her and Brian in case it might work out but they said they had to drive to Philly right after they packed up. Life on tour. Dope. Busy. Hectic. Keeping it real.

I was on such a high after that. Thievery and Dirty Projectors are my biggest influences along with TV on the Radio and now I’ve gotten to know all three bands personally. I value that because I feel like it is a way of learning and trying to understand the bigger picture. I really care. I really want to know. It means something for me to know how a band operates and makes it happen. Because the talent can be there but as I continue on this musical journey, it seems that there are other things that need to be overcome. That’s what I hope to learn from these idols of mine. Talent is a huge factor, but it’s having the personalities to be able to navigate all the other stuff. Knowing how to shoot for the stars. It’s an art.

After that, I couldn’t just go home. I was five blocks away from Patty’s and wanted to see family. I headed over there to find Constance in the coolest dress hula hooping outside. Fuck ya. It was a beautiful sight. The band had just finished their first set and I was struggling with whether I should go to the library or wait till the end of their next set till they played my song One More Time. I went up to Darryl and the rest of the guys and lovingly begged for them to play it early in the set so that I could go home early and study. They did. Third. It was so awesome. It was a fucking 15 minute balad of One More Time where everyone took a solo and it sounded so good and everyone had space to dance and rock out and it was perfect. I was so grateful. In heaven. Go Arkives Outernational.

Music and DC will never let you down. Believe it.

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