We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
FRIDAY & SATURDAY
New York City has always overshadowed Washington, D.C. We may be the nation’s capital, but New York—considered the most sophisticated, cosmopolitan city in the known universe—is the capital of the world: We have only one tall building—they have many. Sure, we have a subway system, but theirs is bigger. The president lives in our town, but who cares? New Yorkers know that most new trends in art, music, and fashion originate in their city, and they’re pretty damn smug about it. Nowhere is this superiority complex more evident than in hiphop. New Yorkers constantly boast that they single-handedly created the breakbeat, the beatbox, and the backspin. And though D.C. has its own thriving hiphop scene, Gotham is always hosting some major hiphop event that fans outside of the five boroughs miss out on. Finally, it’s our turn. This weekend, Washington will host the two-day “D.C. Hip Hop Theatre Festival.” The festivities (including a performance by Caridad de la Luz, pictured) kick off with a spoken-word battle between NYC’s DEF JAM Poets and the D.C. National Slam Team: It’ll be worth enduring that strange, poetry-slam singsong cadence to see our poets triumph. The festival also includes several theater performances, workshops, and concerts that celebrate the art form’s “social conscience.” The lineup is full of performers from “up top,” but Washington-based artists such as Psalmayene 24 and Coal Mann will let it be known that political careers and cherry blossoms aren’t the only things that bloom around these parts. The festival takes place at various locations around the city Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20; see City List for details. (Sarah Godfrey)