Around Town: Farewell, U Street Music Hall

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Walking up to U Street Music Hall (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Today, U Street Music Hall announced it is closing its doors effectively immediately due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Although primarily a DJ club, Parklife DC covered a number of exciting live shows at U Hall, as it was affectionately known. For much of its 10-year run, U Street Music Hall hit the sweet spot as a space for upcoming touring bands with its 500-person capacity and easily accessible location.

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Around Town: Campaign to Pass DC Music Venue Relief Legislation

Tedd Baker, saxophone and Gavin Fallow, bassThe Paul Pieper Quartet perform at the now-shuttered Twins Jazz in 2012. (Photo by Timothy Forbes)

A coalition of DC musicians and music advocates launched a grassroots campaign recently to advocate for government relief of the city’s music venues. The #SaveDCVenues campaign, which has accrued hundreds of signers within a few days, urges the DC Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser to adopt a version of the 2020 DC Music Venue Relief Act: a piece of draft legislation that provides direct relief to businesses who rely upon (now-absent) revenue from live music.

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Around Town: Senate Heavy Hitters Back Coronavirus Relief for Music Venues

The Honorable John Cornyn (R-Texas) of the U.S. Senate
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) speaks to the Brookings Institution in 2016. (Photo courtesy Brookings Institution)

U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) last week introduced the Save Our Stages Act, which would provide Small Business Administration grants for independent live music venue operators affected by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. These grants would provide six months of financial support to keep venues afloat, pay employees, and preserve a critical economic sector for communities across America.

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Required Reading: What I’m Missing Without Live Music

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The Birchmere is among the DC-area music venues closed by the covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Dan Reed)

Required Reading is Parklife DC’s essay series on music appreciation.

Music provides more to its fans than just entertainment. Live shows provide community. They are places where people who share an interest can come together. Losing live music during this pandemic has stripped away my primary outlet for socialization.

I have Autism Spectrum Disorder. Socializing and relationships do not come easily for me. I struggle to make smalltalk. My affect strikes a lot of people as “off.”

Of the many communities where I’ve dipped my toes, none has proved as supportive and welcome as music and music fandom. I can relate to fellow music fans on the basis of a shared interest, which makes me feel comfortable and confident in that setting. I’m even appreciated and respected for my encyclopedic knowledge.

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Around Town: 9:30 Club Opens as Shelter for Protestors, 6/6/20

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9:30 Club (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

From 9:30 Club:

In support of the #BlackLivesMatter protests, 9:30 Club will be open from 1-6pm on Saturday, June 6, as a safe space for protesters heading to/from marches. We will have water, clean restrooms, basic first aid, hand sanitizer, and outlets for charging your phone. We will allow 10 people at a time into the building, masks and social distancing are required.

Stars and Bars: Welcome to the Creative Alliance

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The Creative Alliance (Photo by David LaMason)

There is such a rich variety of music throughout both Baltimore and DC, but it’s a rare thing to find places that are so in love with the arts that the place itself becomes part of that artistic experience. 

Baltimore’s Creative Alliance, which formed back in 1995, has become a vital force in East Baltimore, expanding into the old Patterson Theater (itself over 100 years old) back in 2003 right when I, myself, moved into the neighborhood.

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Around Town: DC Council Candidates Respond to DC Music Community Platform Checklist

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DC’s John A. Wilson Building (Photo by Ted Eytan)

A number of candidates running for DC Council have now responded to a new music platform checklist, making public their opinions on issues including noise restriction, live music zoning, and tax support for gigging musicians. The checklist and policy platform, drafted by a coalition of DC music community representatives, was released on May 19 as an effort to better understand which of the candidates support a thriving and talented DC music economy.

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