WASH June 2012 : Page 50

50 | the RADAR | trends House Party! Looking for made-to-measure nightlife experiences, DC hipsters are heading in to go out. | By Karen Sommer Shalett | | Photography by Dakota Fine | Locals have never had more nightlife options. Yet, whether they’re chasing the hottest live music, most unique fare or even looking to nab a retail fix, the city’s in-the-know and on-the-go are heading home. David Holiday, a Latin American policy expert, loves live music. In high school, he organized friends into a basement-bound string quartet every Sunday. In college, it was an a cappella group. Work-a-day life got in the way for Holiday, and he soon joined the audience, rather than those onstage. But it wasn’t quite enough. Longing for a “listening room” experience from his personal favorites, Holiday headed to the homes of complete strangers in Silver Spring for a few house concerts. It wasn’t long before he realized he could do it himself. Shortly after getting married last year, he and his spouse remodeled their basement, turning it into a flexible living area, intimate concert space and bedroom for visiting musicians. “I did this for very selfish reasons— for me to be able to see particular artists,” Holiday says of his new Falls Church venue, dubbed The Stone Room. Scheduling his favorite roots, acoustic-rock and folk acts wasn’t difficult given the musicians’ guaranteed payment and opportunity to sell CDs and other paraphernalia. It was gathering the audience that gave Holiday pause when he opened his doors January of this year for $20-a-head shows. Eight concerts in, he’s still surprised how easy it is to fill the seats. “You have to get 20 to 30 people there to make it financially viable. I’ve gotten 40 to 50,” he says. “I post on my website and on the artists’s. At first it was my friends, neighbors and individuals who follow particular musicians, but then a lot of people seemed to come for a second and third time.” All across the nation’s capital, show time house concerts are gathering Falls Church’s the stone steam. Even beyond the roots-Room is the latest venue rock crowd, there are Jazz and even in a growing house concert trend; punk shows operating in homes, musicians Bethany & with performers often choosing to Rufus gathered a make these their only stops on their sold-out crowd one recent spring evening. way through the District. “They’re proliferating more and more,” says Holiday. “It’s an uplifting, magical experience. The musician often realizes it’s about the history of their music, their own personality. You leave a house concert feeling like you just made a new friend.” It’s this intimacy, says Danny Harris, that has made another in-home experience—the dining startup Feastly—thrive. Harris, and his business partner, Noah Karesh, have long believed that “the dining table is the optimal social network,” he says. “You can have 2,000 Facebook friends but eat at home in front of your computer alone.” Believing Washingtonians are looking for more, the duo created a web-based platform for individual chefs—amateurs and professionals, alike—to offer reservations to meals they cook and serve in their homes. Many meals are accompanied by a how-to in cooking the recipes, or mindful meditation or another theme that fits the cuisine. Feastly also launched in January, and, so far, 500 diners have attended meals ranging from Lebanese to United States Southern fare, vegan to paleo, one-pot to eight-course. “We’ve found people are coming because the concept has an element continued ... | June 2012

The Radar Trends

Karen Sommer Shalett

House Party!

Looking for made-to-measure nightlife experiences, DC hipsters are heading in to go out

Locals have never had more nightlife options. Yet, whether they’re chasing the hottest live music, most unique fare or even looking to nab a retail fix, the city’s in-the-know and on-the-go are heading home.

David Holiday, a Latin American policy expert, loves live music. In high school, he organized friends into a basement-bound string quartet every Sunday. In college, it was an a cappella group. Work-a-day life got in the way for Holiday, and he soon joined the audience, rather than those onstage. But it wasn’t quite enough.

Longing for a “listening room” experience from his personal favorites, Holiday headed to the homes of complete strangers in Silver Spring for a few house concerts. It wasn’t long before he realized he could do it himself. Shortly after getting married last year, he and his spouse remodeled their basement, turning it into a flexible living area, intimate concert space and bedroom for visiting musicians. “I did this for very selfish reasons— for me to be able to see particular artists,” Holiday says of his new Falls Church venue, dubbed The Stone Room.

Scheduling his favorite roots, acoustic-rock and folk acts wasn’t difficult given the musicians’ guaranteed payment and opportunity to sell Cds and other paraphernalia. It was gathering the audience that gave Holiday pause when he opened his doors January of this year for $20-a-head shows. Eight concerts in, he’s still surprised how easy it is to fill the seats. “You have to get 20 to 30 people there to make it financially viable. I’ve gotten 40 to 50,” he says. “I post on my website and on the artists’s. At first it was my friends, neighbors and individuals who follow particular musicians, but then a lot of people seemed to come for a second and third time.”

All across the nation’s capital, house concerts are gathering steam. Even beyond the rootsrock crowd, there are Jazz and even punk shows operating in homes, with performers often choosing to make these their only stops on their way through the District. “They’re proliferating more and more,” says Holiday. “It’s an uplifting, magical experience. The musician often realizes it’s about the history of their music, their own personality. You leave a house concert feeling like you just made a new friend.”

It’s this intimacy, says Danny Harris, that has made another in-home experience—the dining startup Feastly—thrive. Harris, and his business partner, Noah Karesh, have long believed that “the dining table is the optimal social network,” he says. “You can have 2,000 Facebook friends but eat at home in front of your computer alone.”

Believing Washingtonians are looking for more, the duo created a web-based platform for individual chefs—amateurs and professionals, alike—to offer reservations to meals they cook and serve in their homes. Many meals are accompanied by a howto in cooking the recipes, or mindful meditation or another theme that fits the cuisine. Feastly also launched in January, and, so far, 500 diners have attended meals ranging from Lebanese to United States Southern fare, vegan to paleo, one-pot to eight-course. “We’ve found people are coming because the concept has an element show time Falls Church’s the stone Room is the latest venue in a growing house concert trend; musicians Bethany & Rufus gathered a sold-out crowd one recent spring evening. of exclusivity,” says Harris. “They are part of something special, something unique.”

That these digital connections breeding face-to-face adventures have caught fire here hasn’t been lost on the pair who thinks the profile of Washington’s experienceseekers is fueling Feastly’s success. “DC has the largest tech-meetup community anywhere,” says Harris. “Whether it’s the punk-rock or go-go communities, the techies to the foodies, there is a culture here of getting things done. We’re a community of doers.”

While Feastly is capitalizing on DC’s earliest adopters, its plan isn’t only intrinsic to this city. Launching a second market this summer and a third by fall, the experiential brand will soon be in New York and San Francisco. “We see we’re at the intersection of three growing trends online,” says Harris, who notes that, beyond the ability to use technology to let people meet up in real time, there is also the emerging idea of the sharable economy. “The Internet allows people to monetize what has been viewed, until now, as an idle resource. In Feastly’s case, it’s a home kitchen.”

The dining site has also capitalized on what Harris calls the “look at me, I’m artsy” trend, where the inventory for an online/offline business is a creative resource, such as cooking. “In this marketplace, Etsy’s a similar example of a platform born for people to get recognized for the skills they have.”

In fact, it was an Etsy site that started Butler & Claypool, an online vintage outpost that became a roving pop-up shop and, now, an in-home showroom on Capitol Hill. Known Washington stylesetters Holly Thomas and Krista Haywood founded the newly opened 800-square-foot space in Thomas’ front parlor. Schedule a party with up to 10 of your friends, and the resident stylists will stock the space with the items your crowd craves most, whether it’s to be Mad Men-themed or all things rock ‘n’ roll. “It’s the most fun Tupperware party you can have,” says Thomas of the private evening events they hold monthly. “You are all trying on dresses with Champagne cocktails.”

Why come here after hours, rather than have a traditional retail experience? “Intimacy and exclusivity are the most potent combination you can get,” she says. “Anytime you are in someone else’s personal space, it feels like you are exploring and have gone off the radar—which is always exciting.”

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/The+Radar+Trends/1074464/113303/article.html.

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