DrMyers’s Blog

August 12, 2014

Depression is Real

Robin-WilliamsDepression is real.  As an artist, I live with it every day, and the operative word is “live.”  It is not easy, and at times it seems as if I have no problems with the  struggle.  There are times when I feel on top of the world…for a moment.  Then a tunnel surrounds me blocking out any affection or caring word I’ve ever heard from anyone else in my life.  It becomes me at my most isolated, not selfish, state where although people are surrounding me, they have been blocked from my vision.  

 

I remember hitting the bottom.  It was during lunch hour on a Thursday.  Homesick, pressured by the feeling of being inadequate, financial pressures and an overwhelming sense of anxiety had pushed me to my breaking point.  As I wondered on foot in downtown LA, I walked across an overpass and stopped at its peak.  I walked to the edge and grabbed the rail with my hands and watched hundreds of cars pass below.  I stood their frozen.

 

A short period of discomfort followed by an eternal rest seemed more appealing than the inner turmoil I was experiencing, moreover it was becoming like the right answer.  The sound of each car that passed below seemed to lull me deeper and deeper into a dark inner tunnel where death appeared to be the only solution.

 

 Hearing people passing behind me did not distract me and no one seemed to stop.  Maybe to them I did not appear to pose any danger, which as an entertainer, I was, and am, use to.  Making people smile and feel at ease while one is dying inside becomes a habit, and even a type of medication.  When I, and other artists, am on stage everything is ok.  There is no drug on the market that can compare to the gratifying feeling of a loving audience.  The show ends, people leave, they cut off the lights, and the artist is left alone.

 

As I became conscious of my breath, I felt the wind and began to smell the exhaust of the cars and slowly backed away from the edge.  I was lucky, but there are others who are not.
The death of Robin Williams, just as the death of others also involved in the arts, resonates with me in a personal way.  It takes a special person to channel all of the good in oneself to cheer or brighten someone else’s day while inside it seems like things are crumbling.  He was an inspiration to me and will continue to inspire many more to come.
Depression is not a “state of mind’ or a temporary “feeling”, it is an ever present disease.  If you, or someone you know, are coping with depression, seek help, encourage them to seek help, and do all you can to send as much positive energy  and prayers their way.
Again, I was lucky that time.  I am aware that there maybe a time in the future where I may not be so lucky.  That awareness is the daily burden I, and others in my position, carry.  Depression is real.

 

August 9, 2014

Jazz is Here to Stay

This blog was written in response to the opinion editorial “All that jazz isn’t all that great” written by Justin Moyer.

 

Jazz is (not) boring.

Jazz is (not) overrated.

Jazz is (not) washed up.

Anytime I see these words, without the added parentheses, starting off an opinion editorial, immediately I am reminded that our forefathers/mothers fought for the freedom of speech.  It is also my opinion that in there fighting, they would hope the generations that followed them would strive with even more ferver to have responsibility with this right.  Alas, I read the words chosen by Mr. Moyers as he begins a diatribe against a genre of music drenched in self expression…and I drop my head in shame.

The first Jazz album I heard came by accident.  While rummaging through some records at the home of my Grandparents, I stumbled upon a record that seemed different from the others.  It was thicker, visibly older, worn, and on one side simply read, “Gut Bucket Blues”  Little did I know, the sounds that I heard would evoke such emotion 70 years after it was first recorded, and leave such an impression on a 12 year old boy.

Since then my love of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Eubie Blake, Jack Teagrden has not only evolved, but aided me in my appreciation of musicians like Wynton Marsalis, Esperanza Spalding, Kris Bowers and Allyn Johnson.  Each person represents a snapshot of an era, and through their individual expression, a timeless, ageless story is told that transcends words and in some moments, demands change.

  1.  Jazz allows a story to be told in different forms

As a southerner, I appreciate a good story.  Some of the greatest stories I remember hearing were told over the Sunday dinner table.  Waiting in anticipation of a punch-line or a climax in a tale I had heard countless times from my Grandparents is still one of my fondest memories.  With that said, some of my soberest memories come from hearing the same tales, told by a family friend, my mother, or even when passing on the tale to other family members and friends for the first time.  Humans are unique, and even reading stories from a printed text, our voices, inflections, and tones differ adding a different flavor to the text.  Thus is Jazz.

How awesome it is to have heard Louis Armstrong’s version of “Stardust”!   You hear as he takes his trumpet and paints a picture for you with only tones from his instrument.  How equally touching is it to hear Mel Torme sing the lyrics of Stardust, in his twilight years, written by Hoagy Carmichael, some 60 years earlier.  Jazz gave freedom to artists of all genres to not be afraid to add their “flavor” to a song, not taking away any substance or meaning from the composer/lyricist.  If you don’t believe me, ask Aretha Franklin about her cover of “Respect” or Nikki Minaj about the work she put into her mixtapes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhLdBFGCkl4

         2. Improvisation encourages musicians to evolve

I am so thankful that the history of man did not stop with the discovery of fire.  With each generation, this concept was built upon.  Likewise it is with music.  When improvisation is captured, it allows other musicians to take one persons’ improvised expression, and to build upon it.

With improvisation, a new voice is given to the musician/composer to share his/her expression.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecyHa_lktnI

        3. Jazz Continues to Evolve

In the legal definition of “evolve” one finds that it also includes “preserving the good characteristics” and that change can be “random, generationally slow, good, bad or deadly.”  Evolution takes on different tones, in different times, to different people.

The expression of Jazz at one time was only regulated to speakeasies, gin joints, and back rooms.  Then, only in Dance Halls.  Festivals captured Jazz for a while, and then it stayed in school auditoriums or during special performances by Jazz originators.  Now you find Jazz, again, in small clubs and intimate venues, but this time with the invention of new instruments and tools to, again, express Jazz in a different or an “evolved” manor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o2RS8WfcbY

        4.  Jazz is Radical

There were 8 recorded lynchings, not sure if there were others undocumented, in 1937 when the poem “Strange Fruit” was written.  When Billie Holiday recorded this with added music to the poem, the number of lynches had decreased to 3, but this terrible act was now introduced through the expression of Jazz to the world.  The honesty of the pain, disappointment and fear Holiday felt towards her country due to its lack of inaction and the continuation of the practice of lynching was, and is, overwhelming.  Her 1939 recording of this, in time, became her biggest selling record.

This courage has been adopted by other artists to use Jazz to speak up, out, and against injustice of people throughout the world.  “Mushy” is not the first or last word that comes to mind when I, and many others, try to describe Jazz.

 

       5.  Jazz is Re-emerging and Local

 

When I moved to Washington DC in 2008 I was surprised at the classic venues located here in the district that offered Jazz.  More venues have now opened their doors to Jazz.  The Capitol Jazz Festival now offers “Jazz in the Hood” showcasing the hundreds of local Jazz musicians in the District of Columbia.  You will find new festivals starting up every year across the country, and globe, to also showcase the growing number of jazz musicians, that bring with them the influence of their time along with new technology.

 

Trends  have been adopted and thrown away.  In the future we will view the fads and technology of today as we now view leisure suits, hoop-skirts, and the “View-Master”.  Jazz has not and shows no sign of being dead or on life support.  To borrow from Mark Twain, Rumors of its demise has been greatly exaggerated!

 

If you do not believe me, walk into a local restaurant or small venue and ask for their live music schedule.   You will be surprised just how “alive” Jazz is, and will continue to be!

 

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~Aaron Myers

Resident Artist

Black Fox Lounge

Washington DC

http://www.aaron2.me

@aaronmyers

June 10, 2014

1 year married 2 years Divorced, By Anttoni Lopez

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Anttoni Lopez

It is not often I run across a post on Facebook, or other social networks, that really captures my attention.  Today was a much different story!  As I scrolled through my newsfeed, I came across a post that not only captured my attention, but held my attention.  The story of self truth realized through a tough experience.  Letting his friends and followers into a personal journey that may be embarrassing for some to discuss, Actor, Best Selling Auther and founder of Natoni Cosmetics Anttoni Lopez shares the story of his personal relationship…and its end.

1 year married 2 years Divorced

By Anttoni Lopez

1 year married 2 years Divorced Written by Anttoni Lopez As I held the divorce papers in my hand all I could say was Did I fail? Did I try enough? Was it me? What happen? These are the questions I ask myself still till this day. This pain is a pain I never felt before. A feeling like your locked in a room and there is no way out. We started off dating March of 2011 I remember that day because that was the day you made your self known. You looked so handsome in your outfit and everytime I looked over my shoulder you was there. We didn’t exchange numbers that night, but I knew I would see you again.

Two weeks later we met at a mutual friends gathering and we hit it off. We talked for hours and forget everyone was there. We didn’t care because at that point we knew it was gonna be us. Before I left you that night you said to me “You know I’m going to marry you?” I laughed and said yea ok. By the 3rd week of March 2011 we officially became a couple. For the next 6 months everything was good and then we were selected to get married on the day the Same-Sex marriage bill was passed here in New York 7-24-11.

That day changed my life forever. All I ever dreamed about was being married, having a great career, and having my very own family. That changed! We would argue about anything and everything. At times it was just to much. Then 1 year later we had a big fall out and he packed his bags and moved out of our apartment. I was stuck and lost. I mean there was no cheating or lies on my part so why leave? For the next 4 months I tried everything and anything to win him back. I went to counseling and even tried to get marriage counseling for the both of us and it didn’t work. We went to one session and you told me I can’t do this no more.

I cried for so long because my life was falling apart. My career wasn’t going anywhere, my money was running low, my marriage was over, I lost friends I mean I didn’t have anyone. All I could do was turn to GOD and pray. What made it worst was that he was doing interviews and writing about me and our marriage calling it toxic and poisonous and I never mentioned anything about our marriage until now. I had to read all this from the man I say I do to and that made me feel like shit. It took me until March of 2014 to file for the divorce. I had to make the choice for me and my life.

The email I got from you after you got summoned for court was priceless. The part that hit me was this “THANK YOU for finally taking an initiative to resolve this broken union. I will be handling expeditiously. I am happy to be able to finally move on with my personal life and dedicate time to the person who has been by my side through this meandering transition of severing ties with you. If not for you, I would not have found my new relationship and real anchor in this journey of life.” Damn so you are still married and in a committed relationship? Sounds to me like adultery! Doesn’t it?

“I am very happy for you and your new found love” was what I said and it will be easier now for you to sign the divorce papers and for us to move on. In the past 2 years I have launched my own cosmetics line called Na~Toni cosmetics, I am working on my second book, and have been cast for some upcoming new films and projects, booking more photo shoots and fashion shows. Life couldn’t be better and I thank you for leaving me because I found a new me. All it took was 1 year of marriage and 2 years divorce for me to open my eyes.

 

What an amazing admission of self truth!  I do hope you too will find strength in this personal story shared with us.  It goes to prove that time stops for no person, and you determine what will be made of the time we all have left.

To learn more about Anttoni Lopez find him on Instagram @Anttoni_lopez / Twitter @Anttonilopez / Facebook Anttoni Lopez –  Www.natonicosmetics.com

 

 

 

May 13, 2014

Yevvo, Jazz & Radio

For Immediate Release

 

 

Yevvo, Jazz & Radio

 

(Jazz Artist Aaron Myers introduces technology to the DC Jazz Community)

 

logo-yevvo

Washington, DC, May 13, 2014 – Jazz/Neo Soul Recording Artist Aaron Myers will perform his live Jazz show Friday, May 16th, 2014 at the Black Fox Lounge in the Dupont area of Washington DC from 9:30pm – 12:30am.  For the last 4 years, he has given over 100 performances as Resident Artist, singing familiar Jazz standards and originals songs from his last album “Leo Rising” to a full audience; it is this full audience that adds to the feel of the days of old when people flocked to an intimate venue to experience the spontaneous creativity of live jazz.  This week, he will introduce new technology to the old standards!

“We experimented with this technology at my last show as a practice round”, said Myers;  “…this week I believe the viewing audience will experience the same feeling of intimacy the actual patrons feel in the room”.  This technology is a new app called YEVVO.

 

YEVVO is an iPhone platform (which is also available for android users) app that works much like a social network; you get followers and you follow your friends. At the slide of a finger you can “go live” and your followers get notified to tune into this one of-a-kind live broadcast.  The broadcasts are not saved, so much like seeing a live Jazz show, the audience gets the once in a lifetime experience with what they see and hear.

“I’ve found this platform to be a great way to expand ones fan base, but also a great way to introduce Jazz to a brand new audience all over the world.” Myers stated.  Experimenting with the app at his last show, he performed to a live audience of 80 people at the Black Fox Lounge, while also live streaming his music and performance to 977 active viewers, who were also able to interact with him during the show.

 

The Black Fox Lounge is a well-thought-out repose located two blocks north of Dupont Circle, in the Northwest section of Washington DC.  Opened in 2009, the Black Fox Lounge now offers live entertainment 7 days a week.  This is not the first time technology has entered the realm of the Black Fox Lounge.  Myers held its first live recording there in 2010, testing to see if the venue would support a good marketable product and was successful.  “It is my hope that people across the world will be able to experience the Jazz Scene in real time, and see all the talent that is right here within the District of Columbia!”

 

In addition to his shows at the Black Fox Lounge every first and third Friday of the month (No Cover), you can also catch Mr. Myers on WPFW 89.3 “Live @ 5”, Wednesday, May 14th at 5pm EST.

 

Contact Information:
Black Fox Lounge

1723 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20009

(202) 483-1723

www.blackfoxlounge.com

 

Information about Aaron Myers

www.aaron2.me

info@aaron2.me

April 14, 2014

125 SHOWS & COUNTING

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2014

125 Shows & Counting

(Jazz Recording Artist Aaron Myers will perform his 125th Show as Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington DC. )

Washington, DC, April 14, 2014 – Jazz/Neo Soul Recording Artist Aaron Myers will hit a milestone this week.  Friday, April 18th at 9:30pm when he dawns the stage, it will be his 125th show as Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington DC.  

Myers, originally from Texas, moved to Washington DC in 2008 following his nine month stint on the Barack Obama Campaign.  After working as the National Director for the Global Family Program, he returned to his first love of Entertainment, and made Washington DC his home.  “I believe DC has a live music scene that can compete with NYC, Chicago, or LA any day of the week!  I love the music community here, and I feel privileged to be at a venue that appreciates its artists!” he said when asked about the upcoming show.

In 2013, Myers released “Leo Rising” a Jazz/Neo Soul Album, and was recognized locally with 3 Wammie Nominations (Washington Area Music Association) and was voted Runner Up in two categories, Best Singer & Best Performance Artist, in the recent 2014 “Best Of Poll” sponsored by the Washington City Paper.

Black Fox Lounge is a well-thought-out repose located two blocks north of Dupont Circle, in the Northwest section of Washington DC.  Opened in 2009, the Black Fox Lounge now offers live entertainment 7 days a week.  Mr. Myers started with the Black Fox Lounge at the very beginning.  “My relationship with the Black Fox Lounge has grown over the years.  I started there every Saturday night which wore me out; now I’m there every first and third Friday of the month” he said.  When asked what has kept him there for so long he stated, “The Black Fox has been so supportive of me, especially as I have hit major milestones.  From the loss of my father, to the release of my first album, they’ve been right there with me!”

Mr. Myers is currently working on his sophomore album “The Lions Den” and his fall tour that will launch at Blues Alley September 2nd.  Be sure to check out the 125th Show of Black Fox Lounge’s Resident Artist Friday, April 18 from 9:30pm to 12:30am.  There is no cover for this event.

Contact Information:
Black Fox Lounge

1723 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20009

(202) 483-1723

www.blackfoxlounge.com

Information about Aaron Myers

www.aaron2.me

info@aaron2.me

202.907.9236

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February 21, 2014

Jazz Artist Aaron Myers Endorses DC Mayoral Candidate Andy Shallal

ImageDear Friends,
 

Washington DC is now moving towards a Democratic Primary which will determine who the Democratic Party will put forward to stand in the DC Mayoral Race.  After carefully listening and observing all of the candidates, I today offer my full endorsement to Andy Shallal.

 
The passion he has in working to offer affordable housing to those citizens who depend on it for their survival, a fair living wage, and addressing the plight of returning citizens, are just a few serious conversations coupled with action Washington DC needs right now.  
 
Seeing how he has moved his businesses into undeserved neighborhoods, listening to the residents in the neighborhood and offering his establishments as meeting places for those residents to express concerns, rally support for their causes and needs, and even being a hub for the entrepreneurs has helped revitalize these neighborhoods.       
 
Andy Shallal is offering renewed hope in the integrity we can expect from our elected officials, and I look forward to calling him the next Mayor of Washington DC.  
 
I ask all of you to consider Andy Shallal when casting your ballot.

If you are in DC, and would like to know more about Andy Shallal, I ask that you watch this VIDEO.

Join me as I host a “Meet the Candidate” fundraiser for Andy Sunday March 2nd @ 7:30pm at my home, 2101 16th Street NW, Washington DC.  

Thank You,
 
Aaron Myers    

October 22, 2013

Aaron Myers Considered for GRAMMY!

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October 22, 2013  (Washington DC)  –  DC Jazz/NeoSoul Artist Aaron Myers, Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge and Minister of Music at Covenant Baptist UCC, has recently been considered in five categories by the Recording Academy for the 56th   Annual Grammy Awards.  Entries are recordings submitted for GRAMMY consideration. Entries that meet all eligibility requirements are then voted on by The Academy’s voting members and the results of that vote are the nominations.

A native Texan, Myers moved to Washington after working as a field organizer on the campaign of then Senator (now President) Barack Obama.  After working with the late writer Linda Grover at the Global Family Program, Myers made a pivot becoming a full time musician.  Within a year’s time, he found himself playing weekend shows at then newly opened Black Fox Lounge and using his musical talents within his new found church.  Four years later, he’s the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge, and you can find him every Sunday at Covenant Baptist UCC serving as Minister of Music.

In April of this year, Myers recorded the Album “Leo Rising” at the legendary Avatar Studios in New York City, releasing it on July 4th.  “Some people told me that I was brave to release my Album, which is primarily Jazz/Neo Soul, the same day as Jay Z released his, but I figured …if he didn’t mind neither did I” chuckled Myers.  “I’m just happy knowing that more people will now have a chance to hear my music!”

“Lockett Consulting sends a special congratulations to our client Aaron L. Myers II for being selected for consideration for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards!” states Lockett Consulting and, “We’re so proud of you” is posted proudly on the website of the Black Fox Lounge.  These are two of many congratulatory announcements recognizing this achievement, with Covenant Baptist UCC alerting its members during a worship service.

The recording industry’s most prestigious award, the GRAMMY, is presented annually by The Recording Academy. A GRAMMY is awarded by The Recording Academy’s voting membership to honor excellence in the recording arts and sciences.   Myers summed up his experience so far by saying, “Just making it on the Grammy Ballot is awesome…and taking home the Gold would be awesome as well!”

Updates about Myers’ GRAMMY considerations and his album Leo Rising can be found on his website www.aaron2.me.

May 2, 2013

D.C. Jazz Artist Aaron Myers Announces Engagement of New Management and Video Director

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Michael Silas

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WeSupportMusic.com

PRLog (Press Release) – May 2, 2013 – WASHINGTON, D.C. — [Washington D.C.]  This Friday evening, May 3rd, at the Black Fox Lounge in downtown D.C., Aaron Myers is expected to announce the recent hiring of two new members to his promotion and production team.  In an effort to fully ensure that his upcoming album release“Leo Rising” due for release on June 7th, is all that it can be.  Details of the new record will also be presented at this performance.

Aaron will announce that he has brought on famed choreographer/dancer Michael Silas as the director for his official video “My Funny Valentine.”  Currently residing in Los Angeles, this is Michael’s debut at directing although he has quite an impressive history in the business.  Chosen as one of Lady Gaga’s original male dancers; gaining the Haus name “Mikey Mugler” –  Michael accompanied her on a rise to superstardom.  Silas also performed in both her jaw dropping “Paparazzi” MTV Music Awards performance, Fame Ball, the Fame Monster and Emmy Award winning Monster Ball world tours.  Some of Mr. Silas’s other achievements include the X Factor & The Braxton’s, Kelly Rowland, Chris Brown, Christina Aguilera, and more. Michael is also known for his favorite quote by Martha Graham; “Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.”

And what is Aaron Myers feeling on the engagement of Mr. Silas; “Michael is a friend, and believed enough in “Leo Rising” to take this step of faith with me!  I am honored, humbled, and super excited about what’s to come!”

 Aaron will further announce the engagement of the independent music industry executive Lafond Wright, the CEO of the social media/online radio giant, and artist management firm WeSupportMusic.com.  Mr. Wright and his company will oversee the personal management of Aaron’s career and assist with the marketing of his social media and Internet radio initiatives. Wesupportmusic.com features internet radio shows, videos and articles covering all genres of popular music, and the cultures that surround them.  Aaron will be the featured artist on the management company’s roster.  To quote Mr. Wright; “We believe that independent artists are the very lifeblood of music, and artists should be celebrated for their creativity and their talents and not judged by their age, their looks, their gender, or their beliefs.”

This Friday night May 3rd will most assuredly be a very exciting performance for Aaron.  As the resident artist at The Black Fox Lounge, his performances always fill the house to the max.  But with the official announcement of his debut record release “Leo Rising” on June 7th, and the additions to his production and promotion team, this is one you must attend.

The Black Fox Lounge is located at 1723 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC 20009
PH: (202) 483-1723 — 
Web: http://www.blackfoxlounge.com
Aaron’s performance begins at 9:30pm. 

For more on Aaron Myers visit his official website at www.aaron2.me

April 18, 2013

Washington D.C. Jazz Artist Aaron Myers Dedicates Show to the Victims of the Boston Marathon Tragedy

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Aaron Myers

Apr. 17, 2013 – WASHINGTON, D.C. — [Washington DC]  It’s one of Aaron Myers regular shows at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington DC.   But on this Friday evening, April 19th, at 9:30 PM, Aaron will take the stage of the Black Fox with a theme; “Music Still Heals.”  

He will be dedicating the show to the victims of Tuesday’s tragic bombing in Boston that took the lives of 3 innocent bystanders at the Boston Marathon, and injured countless others.

Aaron recalls Boston’s Motto; “As God was with Our Fathers, So May He be with Us”

The show attendees, along with Aaron in its dedication will be sending well wishes and cards to the city of Boston.  Stop by the Black Fox Lounge on Friday evening to show your support for the victims and the devastated city of Boston.

Aaron Myers is currently the resident artist at the “Black Fox Lounge” in Washington DC, on the first and third Fridays of each month.   Look for Aaron on NBC channel 4 in DC, where he will be the featured accompanist for the show, “Be a Voice VIP” contest’.  The show airs on June 1st. 

Aaron Myers website can be found at http://www.aaron2.me

January 10, 2013

An Inauguration Celebration at the Black Fox – With Resident Artist Aaron Myers

ImageWashington, DC – January 18, 2013 — As the inauguration festivities commence, The Black Fox Lounge will continue to host Friday Nights of Live Jazz and Entertainment with DC’s favorite Jazz Artist: Aaron Myers. As Resident Artist of The Black Fox for three years, Aaron Myers has continued to bring an amazing show to the public every first and third Friday of each month and this inauguration weekend, he will make it even more special with the Unveiling of a Portrait by Curtis Williams.
 
The Black Fox is a safe space to meet new friends, have a good time, and leave a hectic work week to start an exciting weekend celebrating the inauguration of our President’s second term in office. If one is looking for a night of laughter, fun, and a night they will never forget, head over to the Black Fox Lounge on 1723 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC. Admission is Free, drinks are strong, at the show starts promptly at 9:30PM.
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