courtesy of ‘erin m’
Wednesday night I was graciously invited by Erik Holzherr (owner of one of We Love DC’s favorite bars, Wisdom) to a preview of his new bar, Fruit Bat. Located on H Street NE between 12th and 13th, in the spot formerly occupied by the H Street Martini Lounge, my first impression is that it will quickly become a favorite of Atlas District locals, and certainly is worth the trip for those of us in other parts of the city. Tonight is the official opening; here’s a taste of what you can expect.
Erik is part Colombian, and he wanted to give Fruit Bat a relaxed Latin American feel. The most striking feature of the long narrow room lined with simple tables and a bar is the “living wall” that will develop organically as time goes by. Hung on the exposed brick wall are staghorn ferns mounted on wooden boards with grow lights. They’re just babies now but I can imagine how amazingly lush they will make the space as they grow. Fresh herbs are also grown behind the bar and fruit is everywhere. The scent of fried plaintains drove me mad. It all adds to the tropical feel – I think Hemingway and his daiquiri would’ve been right at home.
Speaking of drinks, as you would expect from the owner of Wisdom the craft cocktail menu at Fruit Bat is thoughtfully delicious. Continue reading
Evolve at the Pierce School. Photo courtesy Eric Hope.
Arts organizations tend to get hit the hardest in times of economic distress or, let’s face it, the current weather crisis. When galleries and theaters have to shutter their doors for even one night, it can be devastating. So consider this your PSA for Arts today: once we’re out of this mess, hit a play, see an exhibit, get out there and help the arts as much as you can. They’re really going to need it.
And there are so many worthy arts centers here in DC that go beyond the typical; we are truly lucky! One such unassuming place is Evolve Urban Arts Project in the H Street Arts District, with a special mission to promote local artists. Basically, says curator Eric Hope, “I’m trying to take some chances and give exposure to up-and-coming artists.” The recent exhibit by Dana Ellyn in December was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, and upcoming shows look to match that intensity. Let’s take a closer look at one of DC’s pioneering galleries.
Evolve Urban Arts Project came about when Chris Swanson and Jeff Printz bought the Pierce School in 2000 and renovated it to include a home for themselves and several loft units. A few years later, they started arts exhibits in the main foyer and throughout the public spaces of the building. Curator Eric Hope came on board in April 2009 and saw the potential to expand their profile in the DC arts community. The only steadfast rule, strongly encouraged by Swanson, is the promotion of local talent, and the exhibition space is free to the artists.
“Lowkey really describes us,” Eric explains, “I’m happy to have the freedom to work with artists who push boundaries and take chances.”
"Bull in a China Shop" by Dana Ellyn. Courtesy of the artist.
What’s most shocking about Dana Ellyn’s paintings?
That they’re truthful.
Opening this past weekend at the Evolve Urban Arts Project in the Atlas District, Divinely Irreverent is an audacious exhibit delivering some hard slaps to myths of many kinds – from religion to what it means to be a woman. These are thought-provoking pieces – sometimes outright painful to process – but always rooted firmly in honesty. They are also at times downright funny.
Dana fell in love with the city as a junior in high school, and has been a DC resident for the past twenty years since attending George Washington University. She now has the luck of living and working in a studio in Penn Quarter. It’s a natural partnership with Evolve, whose mission is to promote local talent in a low-key atmosphere, and her exhibit will run there until January 30, 2010.
I was lucky to have a private tour with the artist and curator Eric Hope, and I have to say – if you like your art to reach out and rattle you, get over there now. You’ll love it. And if you prefer your art to be pretty and decorous, well, go anyway. Open your mind to something different.
‘500 Block of H Street NW’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’
H Street Main Street is seeking residents to help develop a timeline of the history, people, and culture surrounding H Street NE. If you’re reading a blog called We Love DC, you possibly already know that H Street NE was a bustling shopping district before the 1968 riots, and now that the area is undergoing a renaissance, HSMS is trying to capture the stories of people who lived in the area in the intervening years. They need all kinds of volunteers- writers, researchers, photographers, etc. You can get involved by emailing T. Isler at harvestpoluck at g mail dot com.
Little Miss Whiskey's downstairs bar, H St
From the outside, the rowhouse-turned-bar has purposefully little to draw the attention of the casual passerby. Only the purple halo of light around the front window and red-lit address — 1104 — hints that something’s going on there that wasn’t before. Stepping inside however, is like a trip down the rabbit hole: violet light seeps from every fixture and reflects off gilded, well, everything. The velvet wall-papered walls are also covered with frames, mirrors, sconces and other random adornments, all painted gold. If I had seen the Cheshire Cat himself, smile floating in the corner of the bar’s upstairs lounge spot, I would have hardly been surprised. Continue reading
Sticky Rice is a lot like its brazenly named signature dish, “Sticky Balls” – a chaotic gooey crunchy glorious mess.
This isn’t some temple of sushi where a plate of trembling tempura is placed in front of you with a reverential hush like it’s the freaking Holy Grail. You want that, go to Sushi Ko. You want pristine sashimi prepared by traditional chefs, go to Sushi Taro. You want beautiful experiments and the occasional fugu dinner, go to Kaz.
What you will get at Sticky Rice is irreverent cuisine, a florid interior reminiscent of a tattoo parlor’s secret bordello, and a crazy atmosphere like some art students’ late night party. And resign yourself to waiting on a busy weekend… this isn’t the place to hit with a hard time deadline.