Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Earth @ Ottobar, 6/17/11

all photos by author.

I almost did not go to this concert. A big deadline at my day job had me completely exhausted and the thought of a round-trip drive to Baltimore weighed heavily on me all afternoon. The tiredness and sense of drive-dread continued into the early evening. In fact at about 8:30, I posted this on twitter: “My day job killed me today. Trying to dig deep to make the drive to B’More for the EARTH concert but…#AllSignsPointToNo”.

Then a response tweet from MetalChris of DC Heavy Metal intervened a few seconds later to gave me the motivation I needed to drag my weary self out to my car. “You can do it man! I’ll be up there too, how often does Earth come around ya know?” Little did I know that my drive up would soon be extended by an extra hour thanks to some single lane action on 295N. By the time I got to Baltimore I was in pretty bad shape and felt like I was about to pass out.

The opening band didn’t help me feel any better. O Paon is a single woman playing guitar loops and singing so quietly that the bouncers were making audience members leave the room if they talked. Normally I would applaud this kind of enforcement, but I soon found myself and MetalChris being chastised for simply saying hello. Did I mention that O Paon’s music did nothing for me? Normally I try to be an enlightened listener, open to just about anything; but the tiredness, the crappy drive, and the fascist bouncer did not put me in a happy receptive place for O Paon’s Quebecoise mewling.

But I wasn’t there for this French-language, musical stage version of Jodie Foster’s film “Nell”; I was there to hear Dylan Carlson’s legendary instrumental metal band EARTH shake some internal organs. So after some conversation in the other room, we all returned to the main room and took up places for one of the best shows of the year.

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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Weekend Edition

courtesy of Iceage.

There are more live music options than you can count on two hands happening around town and beyond this weekend. To help you cut the chaff, we’ve cooked up some concert recommendations that can’t miss. Read on about four upcoming shows that have the We Love DC stamp of approval!

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Education, Music, People, The Features

A Look From The Inside: Duke Ellington School for the Arts

Photo courtesy of
‘Clouds rise from Duke Ellington School’
courtesy of ‘randomduck’

The Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington, D.C. boasts a 98 percent graduation rate in a public school district that only graduates 56 percent of its students on time. It is also the only dual curriculum program on the public high school level that attracts students from the entire D.C. metro area.

The school, founded in 1974, provides professional arts training and college preparation to talented D.C. public school students. Each student takes a full academic course-load and, additionally, majors in one of eight arts disciplines (Dance, Literary Media, Museum Studies, Instrumental or Vocal Music, Theater, Technical Design and Production, and Visual Arts), according to its website.

What makes this academic institution a success is its ability to fulfill the school’s proposed mission, to “give an artistic and academic opportunity to students who otherwise wouldn’t have this kind of unique opportunity.”

An Ellington education is no easy feat. Students have longer school days than the average D.C.P.S. student. Ellington holds classes until 5 p.m. every day. Ellington has two staffs: arts and academics. The respective faculties engage Ellington’s creative students with a curriculum that requires 34 percent more credits than other D.C. high schools.

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