Shaw Festival to Spotlight Ethiopian Coffee Ceremonies, Jazz

by Andrew Ramonas September 1, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Duke Ellington statue in Shaw

A public art project is set to bring a new take on Ethiopian coffee rituals, Duke Ellington-inspired music from a live orchestra and other happenings to the streets of Shaw this month.

What’s Going On: Voices of Shaw” is slated to have more than a half-dozen events put on by locals from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, according to arts incubator Pleasant Plains Workshop, which is organizing the festival.

“Shaw is a neighborhood with an unrefuted rich cultural heritage and we will use this history as a starting point for each project,” Pleasant Plains founder Kristina Bilonick said in a statement. “Through the festival events, we seek to bring both old and new community voices together to pay homage to Shaw.”

A news release adds:


(updated regularly at:

What’s Going On Launch Party!
Saturday September 24, 6-8pm
A & D Bar – 1314 9th St NW
(presented as part of Art All Night)
featuring Thick Air Studios

Portable Punctuation by Thick Air Studios
Saturday September 24 – Wednesday September 28, 7-11pm
A roving performance powered by Shaw residents wielding illuminated signs of punctuation marks that spark wonderment and fuels storytelling. Passersby can use these familiar symbols to highlight a favorite building, question the name of a store, or unify a group with an ampersand. In bringing punctuation to the sidewalks of Shaw, we will give the participants a new tool to clarify their changing surroundings.

Common Grounds – A performance by Tsedaye Makonnen
Sunday September 25, 2-3pm
Location TBA
Tsedaye and a group of participants will perform a coffee ceremony with a twist that nods to the changing landscape of Shaw. The performances will be set against a backdrop of newer coffee houses in Shaw and will be participatory for passersby. The ceremony aims to draw connections between residents and visitors and reflect the traditions of the Ethiopian community in DC and along 9th Street in Shaw.

I want a president…’ Workshop
Monday September 26, 6-8pm
Bread for the City
1525 7th St NW
Presented by artists Natalie Campbell and Saisha Grayson, join us for a group creative writing exercise that corrals voices from the community and paints a picture of who they’d like to see in the white house. This workshop is part of a series of workshops in DC that will culminate in a group reading in front of the White House on October 16

Little Salon
Tuesday September 27, 7-10pm
Location and artist lineup TBA
A one-of-a-kind experience curated to give DCers a non-pretentious dose of the amazing creative talent that surrounds them. To include music, poetry, literature, art, snacks and performances.

Introduction to First-Time Homebuyers Programs in DC!
Saturday, October 1, 9am
Latino Economic Development Center – 641 S Street NW
This orientation provides an introduction to the home buying process and to DC and first time homebuyer assistance programs.

Common Grounds – second coffee ceremony performance by Tsedaye Makonnen
Saturday October 1, 2-3pm
Location TBA

Scattered Orchestra an original idea by the Spanish collaborative mmmm… performed by Bohemian Caverns Orchestra.
Saturday October 1, 4pm
Location TBA
Scattered about the streets within the Shaw neighborhood, local musicians will simultaneously play the same music. The music played will be inspired by Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye and will mostly be of the jazz genre. Pedestrians experience the music differently depending on which street they walk past, the speed at which they walk, and by which direction they are headed. Strolling through the orchestra, pedestrians are able to experience each instrument independently without failing to perceive the music being played.

What’s Going On: Voices of Shaw – Wrap Party
Saturday October 1, 5-7pm
Shaw’s Tavern
Featuring ReciproCITY- a performance art ceremony honoring members of the Shaw community by Tsedaye Makonnen.


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