DC Synchromasters by Max Cook
One of DC’s hottest scenes this summer has been the Capitol Skyline Hotel pool. Like spring break on steroids, you’ll find all of the cool kids drinking, smoking, drinking and splashing around in the warm summer sun. A DJ spins tunes, inflatable pool toys fly through the air, and six packs flex in hopes of a post pool hookup. This is where real people hang out. Real cool people. This is the real world, or at least the real DC.
Despite not having a six pack, when I heard that the Washington Project for the Arts was holding a synchronized swimming contest at the pool in addition to experimental video projections by Connor Contemporary Art, I knew it was something I couldn’t pass up. The contest, SynchroSwim, featured five teams competing in an unorthodox display of aquatic acrobatics. Prizes were awarded for best performance, best visual spectacle, and crowd favorite.
Only one of the teams, DC Synchromasters, performed a classic synchronized swimming routine with their legs kicking in the air, arms raised in a “V”. The others teams were a bit more, well, interpretive let’s say. One team of three kayakers who call themselves Tiny Torpedo and the Factory Flippers, performed underwater rolls to the tune of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary (“Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on a the river”). Another team, We Are Science, swam in business suits while giving their interpretation of a Brian Eno song. And the last group? Well, I don’t know what they were going for but they sure had fun. All in all it was an awesome sight to see, and if I was a betting man I’d tell you to look for an even bigger and better competition next year.
We Are Science
Jeremy Flick and Uprooted Dance
Tiny Torpedo and the Factory Flippers
Synchro No Flagra
Who judged this contest you ask? First there was WonKee Moon, Competition Chair for the District of Columbia Aquatics Club and the International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics Representative to the Gay Games. Next was Philippa Hughes of The Pink Line Project, an advocate of the arts and all activities which involve a swimsuit. Also judging was Spike Mendelsohn, a Top Chef contestant, founder of Good Stuff Eatery, and the guy who flips burgers for pool patrons. And last but not least, two cast members from The Real World. Because I don’t know their real names, let’s call them Bikini Babe and Bearded Boy. (Please forgive my lack of RW knowledge despite living three blocks from their house. If you know their real names, leave them in the comments.)
The Competition Judges
While the first three judges took their job seriously, or at least as serious as you can when you’re judging a synchronized swimming contest, Bikini Babe and Bearded Boy were up there purely to be on camera. The other kids in the cast, flocked by their ever present film crew, watched from the opposite side of the pool.
Honestly, aside from the giant cameras and boom mics hovering around, you never would have known The Real World was there. There was no drama, no scripted displays of anger, and no makeout sessions. In fact, the RW kids were very tame. Very well behaved. Very…well, bored. It seemed as if they were being held there against their will by the show’s producers. It’s possible that they won’t be returning to the Capitol Skyline Pool for the remainder of their season, so why not keep them there and hope that they at least get some good footage of them dressed in bikinis and board shorts? Who knows, maybe after a few hours of swimming and alcohol consumption, one of them might hook up with a random stranger? Maybe they’ll have a disagreement that can be later edited to look like a big fight? The blonde girl looked particularly bored and almost sad, causing me to wonder if her smile was broken. Maybe she wishes she were at home in Iowa or wherever she’s from. Maybe she was thinking, “If this is where all of the attractive people in DC hang out, this is going to be a long, long summer.”
Alas, at around 8:30 they called headed out to the front entrance of the hotel to shoot even more boring footage. As for the rest of us? Well, the pool was closed. That was a wrap.