BYT Pop Up, Coming here

In case you missed my coverage of Brightest Young Thing’s pop up on DCist, they will be opening an anti-pop-up pop up starting Thursday and running through June 17 at the vacant retail space located at 2213-2217 14th St. NW, where George’s Carry Out, as well as an old DDOT office used to be.

What will the space encompass? Much like BYT itself, it will feature art, music, and booze. They’ve booked synth-pop brothers Bluebrain, DJ Chris Burns, local electro-pop band Painted Face, and rapper Rye Rye. Additionally, Art Whino’s international arts event, the G40 Summit, will be a part of the space takeover, showcasing work from a few dozen artists. There will be live music, fashion events, art talks, standup comedy, etc. mostly for free or on the cheap.

Black Family Reunion, courtesy of dbking (Flickr)

When Douglas Jemal and his development group announced recently that they would be putting up a 30 unit apartment building with ground floor retail at the empty Latino Auto Sales, I shrugged. That block seems to be housing/ground floor retail central – and the ground floor retail is failing. No stores have opened in the View 14 or Solea buildings.

But when I read more closely, I saw this building will be 6 floors – meaning that the Black Family Reunion mural on the adjacent building will be obscured. Under current plans at least, it seems the project will go forward without accomodating the mural.

The good news is that Jemal will be working with the artist, Byron Peck, (who also did the famous mural of Duke Ellington on U Street) to create a new mural in lieu of the Black Family Reunion one. Glad that the developer is willing to work with the artist, but still sad to see that this great example of community created street art hidden.

Construction will not start until summer 2011 (optimistically) so you still have plenty of time to admire the mural.

There’s some good stuff happening in the area this weekend. Here are some fun events for good causes to check out.

Tonight, there is a benefit at Comet Ping Pong to support Transformer, a non-profit visual arts space at 14th and P NW.  There’s a $10 cover and $1 PBRs, featuring an art installation, live music, a DJ set and dancing. 

This Saturday is the 17th Street Festival. It will be taking place on 17th Street between Riggs and P St NW from 2-6 pm. There will be musical performances, vendors, and activities for pets and kids. In conjunction with this festival, there will be a showing of Batman at 8pm at Stead Park (1625 P St NW). Profits from the festival will go towards Ross Elementary.

Come to the opening reception of Popmatic this Saturday, 7 pm, at Sukio Design Co (1338 U street, on the 3rd floor).  There will be food, music, and an overall good time.  You can RSVP at

In his first solo show, Gregg Deal showcases his first big body of work that use the influence of his graphic design, sign making and fine art painting background. His work is stylized and bold in color and composition. Suffering through the current economy and consumer culture, Gregg finds commentary on pop-culture, the ever contested ‘cannon’ of art and his thoughts as a Native American in the world we live. Gregg is also a cycling enthusiast and runs District Cycling , a cycling blog that was recently showcased in Washingtonian’s Blogger Beat, the week after U Street Girl was featured.

The show will be at Sukio through July 30th, so if you can’t make it on Saturday definitely check it out afterwards.

There are some great events going on this weekend, around U street and beyond. Check them out:

  • Did you make it out to ReadySetDC’s Activation 2719 in Columbia Heights over the winter? Well if you did or did not, they’re hosting another pop-up gallery, this time in the Shaw neighborhood, titled Activation 440 (at 440 Rhode Island Ave). They will have opening nights tonight (which is sold out!) and tomorrow. The event is free but you need to RSVP to attend. There will be a ton of artists showing, as well as DJs and a cash bar. If you can’t make it out this weekend, the exhibit will be open through the end of the month.
  • Nocturnal Vibe will be hosting its first Capitol Skyline Hotel Saturday afternoon pool parties. Nocturnal Vibe is the brainchild of Doug Van Sant, who writes about and takes photos on DC nightlife on a U Street Girl favorite blog, Urban Marinade. It will be $15 at the door and will include $8 drink specials and $5 beers all day long, including a Liquid Lounge cocktail for $5. Sounds like a good time!

Pop-Up Living via @therealmarta

Have you seen the Pop-up Living space on U street between 13th and 14th? It’s actually performance art called “Live” by artist Andrew Wodzianski. He will be living in the space from April 19 – April 30th. As I learned from Merin Guthrie, of the Cultural Development Corporation, Wodzianski is using his living space as a stage for a performance-based piece that explores everything from small space living, multifunctional design and ‘rear view window’ voyeurism to instant celebrity and social isolation. You can see a live stream of the exhibit as well. Fellow artist Scott Brooks tells me that while Wodzianski is gone now, he should be back around 2 pm.

The second exhibition in the U street area will be entitled “Work.” Via a process in which they will exchange ‘Shawbucks,’ a community-based currency, for objects of value to residents and businesses along the 9th Street corridor, Team Work will explore the meanings of value in the community: the value of art, space and commerce. Ultimately, the installation at the Moderno at 12th and U, titled “Here or There,” will consist of mementos and objects from residents of the Shaw and U Street neighborhoods that show how these residents make a living.

Two cool art events are happening this Saturday, check one or both of them out:

  • The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is holding their 2010 Porter Colloquium Reception honoring African American art and culture. The reception is at Howard University’s Gallery of Art. To RSVP email
  • Plan B (14th and Q) is having its opening reception for its exhibit Inside/Outside: showing, through various media, interpretations of interiors and exteriors. The reception will be from 6-8 pm and depending on the weather (which looks like it will be nice) Sauca, the popular food cart, will be outside serving food.

There are two excellent art events happening in the ‘hood this weekend, try to check out at least one or both:

  • Mental Map by Ted Milligan (courtesy of Plan B)

    Activation 2719 – which we’ve talked about before, is finally happening this Saturday from 6-11 pm. RSVP online here. I’m doing my best to go (have dinner plans) and if so will report back later about the show.

  • The opening reception for Plan B’s February Exhibition featuring paintings by Ted Milligan is happening this Saturday from 6-8 pm. The show also features photographs by Charlie Gaynor, Juditha, and David Young. The reception will feature the artists and light refreshments. The exhibit will be open through March 7th.

courtesy of DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is hosting their first Art Salon of the year at Hamiltonian Gallery at 13th and U tonight, January 14th, from 7 to 9 pm. The even will feature their 2010 grantees:

January’s Art Salon will feature Christylez Bacon (who’s been nominated for a Grammy) performing an unplugged as well as an original work of art by Aniekan Udofia and a video installment.

It will be a really great event, so check it out!

Go Mama Go! (courtesy of NCinDC)

Well this really is sad news. Go Mama Go!, the eclectic arts and gifts store on 14th street near S, is closing after nearly 10 years on the block. Go Mama Go! was truly a pioneer of our neighborhood, one of the first stores to open on a stretch of pawn shops, car dealerships, and empty/abandoned storefronts. The owner, Noi Chudnoff, who died in 2007, really was an ambassador for the neighborhood, a champion of gay rights, a lover of the arts.

The store continued on after Noi’s death, but in a press release (via Borderstan) the current owner of the store, Jonathan Chudnoff, her husband, explained that after Noi died and because of the economic downturn in general, the store was closing. They will be having a going out of business sale through January, and close some time in February or March, until the building owner finds a new tenant.

How sad, please visit Go Mama Go! before they close, and tell them how much they’ve meant for the neighborhood and how much they’ll be missed.