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“In this city, we don’t do a good job of buzz,” says Daryl Francis, aka Quartermaine, aka DJ Uncle Q, aka Q. “In New York and L.A., if [a party] was hot and happened last night, you read about it the next day, you saw pictures.”
The lack of a well-organized promotional network puzzled the native New Yorker and avid partygoer, who was used to looking no further than the New York Post’s celebrity-gossip clearinghouse, Page Six, to find out where the city’s hottest dance nights were happening. But in D.C., he says, there are few options for people who want to know about what’s going on in the club scene—or what went on if you missed it.
Enter QTV, the weekly online arts update that Francis, 28, hopes will be the start of an infrastructure for creating more buzz around lesser-known local artists and events.
“QTV is about getting information from the people who are doing shit to the people who want to know about it,” Francis says.
Each week, Francis scours community Listservs, Web sites, and newspapers in search of local artists and events to highlight. He then compiles a calendar and tapes the five-minute show—complete with shoutouts, a recap of the previous week’s events, and interviews with performing artists and partygoers. The finished product is broadcast over YouTube and promoted via his MySpace page (myspace.com/uncleq), an e-mail blast, and text messages to friends in his network. Five episodes in, QTV’s views keep rising—from 300 during the second episode to more than 600 for the fourth.
According to Mitch Mathis, a fellow promoter who throws “First Saturday” parties at clubs such as Cafe Asia, QTV “definitely helps turnout.” Though he has a Web site for each of his events and a street team dedicated to passing out fliers, QTV has generated a different kind of buzz. On a recent episode, Francis recapped one of Mathis’ events for those who couldn’t make it out; people who had seen the episode later approached Mathis to find out more about the party.
For Francis, who in the past was a member of the hip-hop duo Critically Acclaimed, hosted the weekly DJ night “Uncle Q’s Living Room” at the Blue Room [now Bourbon] in Adams Morgan, and was the co-host of the Peter Rosenberg Show with Daryl Francis on 106.7 FM, taking on the role of D.C.’s latest hype man is simply the next logical step. And it’s also one that allows him to use several of his different skill sets: Francis wrote and performed a rhyme for QTV’s original theme song, and he conjures the energetic persona from his radio-show days while promoting not just his own events but events of other DJs and promoters all over the city.
“Now I do everything—nothing’s on the back burner,” he says. “I’ve got, like, six front burners, and I’m just sautéing.”