by Alyse Mier July 11, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

Tim Six String General Granlund, photo by Whitney Young

Performers in outrageous costumes are ready to rock out with invisible guitars at a popular music venue on 14th Street this weekend.

More than a dozen of the country’s best air guitarists are slated to gather at Black Cat (1811 14th St. NW) Saturday night to compete for the title of U.S Air Guitar’s 2016 D.C. Champion, according to the annual event’s organizers.

“[D.C. is] probably our biggest show of the year,” said Stroock, who describes the annual competition as “a combination of stand-up comedy and a rock concert.”

The winner of Saturday’s competition will then travel to Austin, Texas, for a shot at becoming the nation’s best, said former D.C. champion and U.S. Air Guitar host Doug “Thunder” Stroock.

Among the air guitar aficionados slated to perform in Saturday’s show are five-time D.C. champion Lance “The Shred” Kastan and two-time national champion “William Ocean,” who will also help judge the competitors.

D.C. itself has come in second in the world or country in the last three years,” Stroock said. “This could be our year to win the whole thing.”

And there’s an added bonus for this year’s extravaganza, Stroock said. This year’s competition will be sponsored by Air Jamz, a company that promises to make a device “that turns air guitar into wear guitar and your moves into music.” Air Jamz will demo its new device during Saturday’s show, Stroock said.

Photo of Tim “Six String General” Granlund Whitney Young

by Tim Regan November 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm 0

Church Night TV Promo

Faux-religious live comedy show “Church Night” will make the transition from stage to streaming video next week.

Church night co-creators Linsay Deming, Landon Letzkus and Jeremy Frank will debut the show’s new web series, “Church Night TV,” by screening all five episodes at Songbyrd Record Cafe (2475 18th St. NW) next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

For the uninitiated, Church Night is a long-running monthly variety show in the guise of a religious service. The show is a blasphemous mass speckled with pop song hymns, comedy sketches, burlesque performances, live music and something called “shots ‘n tots” communion, during which attendees are provided a shot of whiskey and a single tater tot to imbibe.

Though the performance started at the Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights, Church Night can now be seen once a month onstage at the Black Cat.

Deming, who plays sordid youth minister Kathy Piechota in the show, said the new web series is kind of like a hybrid of “Portlandia,” “Between Two Ferns” and “The 700 Club.”

“We took inspiration from more low budget local religious programming,” Deming said. “We have a few invented characters, like a hymn composer. We have a craftsman, a guy who makes doors. It’s very bizarre. Very surreal.”

Though Deming said audiences can expect much of the usual shock-and-gawk routine that made Church Night a favorite among its fans, tater tots will not make an appearance in the new web series.

Instead, the show will have an abunance of sad, floppy hot dogs.

“There’s a big hot dog component to the show,” she said. “They’re kind of the most disgusting food on the planet, and our characters love everything that anyone else would consider bad for your health.”

“We tried to think of all of the things you could do with a hot dog,” added Deming. “I have not consumed a hot dog since filming.”

Those looking to experience the next live installment of “Church Night” can head to the Black Cat for blessings this Friday at 9 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Linsay Deming

by Jennifer Currier September 8, 2015 at 3:55 pm 0

Independent record store Red Onion Records opened its new location at 1628 U St. NW this weekend.

The store, bedecked in fresh coats of blue and yellow paint, appears to be in the early stages of settling into its new home. But its collection of records is laid out and ready for curious customers to flip through.

Though owner Josh Harkavy was busy helping customers when Borderstan swung by earlier today, he said there will be a grand opening event in about two weeks.

To celebrate the move, Black Cat (1811 14th St. NW) will host a DJ night tonight at 7 p.m featuring Harkavy as a guest DJ. The event is free and will have happy hour-priced drinks until 10 p.m.

by Tim Regan July 6, 2015 at 2:00 pm 1,106 4 Comments

1800 block of T Street NW, Photo via Street View

(Corrected at 2:16 p.m.) A man was shot and injured early this morning near one of the busiest parts of the 14th Street corridor, say D.C. Police.

Police say the victim was shot while walking on the sidewalk at the 1800 block of 15th Street NW around 2:20 a.m.

Ted’s Bulletin, Doi Moi, Black Cat, Garden District and other popular 14th Street destinations lie just one block from the crime scene.

The man was taken from the scene to the hospital, but police would not release his condition or whether his injuries were life threatening.

There were no related arrests, and police have not identified any suspects related to the shooting.

by Jared Holt June 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm 0

Super Art Fight

What’s equal parts live art, wacky costumed characters, glow-sticks and nostalgia? Super Art Fight, that’s what.

Ten artists will face off in a test of speed, creativity and scribbling during the show on the Black Cat main stage Saturday night at 9:30 p.m.

“Super Art Fight is Pictionary meets pro wrestling,” says Ross Nover, who co-hosts the show he calls the “greatest live art competition in the known universe.”

“But unlike pro-wrestling, none of the show is pre-planned,” says Nover. “It’s less about how great the art work comes out, and more about how funny and great the moment was when it was created.”

During the bout, artists are encouraged to undermine each other’s illustrations by adding their own mischievous input to their opponent’s work. At the end, audience applause determines the winner.

Nover says the audience vote encourages artists to create eccentric personas and outfits for audience love.

Attendees should expect the show’s usual wacky decorations and costumes to be kicked up a notch for Saturday’s 80’s-themed show. Michael Bracco, known as Baron Von Sexyful on stage, created two decorations that Nover describes as “the worlds craziest mash-up T-shirt” of cartoon characters and pop culture icons.

The show will also include Synful Pleasure, an ’80s cover band, and live DJing from the The Megadrives.

Tickets are available online for $15 and a $3.90 service fee. The show is for all ages.

Photo via Super Art Fight’s Facebook

by Tim Regan June 18, 2015 at 5:00 pm 0

The Evil League of Ecdysiasts (GiGi Holliday and Cherie Sweetbottom) by Stereo Vision PhotographyBurlesque troupe The Evil League of Ecdysiasts will celebrate prolific writer, producer and nerd god Joss Whedon tomorrow night by disrobing on Black Cat’s main stage tomorrow night at 9 p.m.

Cherie Sweetbottom, one of the event’s producers as well as one of its performers, said the women in the show would be doing routines in the style of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Firefly and Serenity and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

“We have a duet, a couple of group numbers, a fantastic local musician, and a costume contest,” says Sweetbottom. “And we have a finale group number with live singing, live music, and a big finish.”

Sweetbottom adds that Whedom himself was also invited to the big night.

“We always put Joss on the guest list,” she says, “but I don’t think we’d want to know he was coming. It would be better to find out afterward that he’d been lurking in the back somewhere, possibly in a disguise to hide his identity from the worshipful fans.”

Those planning to go are encouraged to buy their tickets ahead of time, as the show usually sells out.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

Photo by Stereo Vision Photography

by Jared Holt June 10, 2015 at 5:15 pm 0

Church Night

The blasphemers behind interactive religious parody act Church Night are celebrating Pride with a new LGBTQ-themed show.

Mega Church Night, the group’s first non-holiday show at the Black Cat, begins at 9 p.m on June 20.

Acts include praise music by Minneapolis queer band B O Y F, inspirational testimony from drag queen Summer Camp, a witness to faith by lesbian burlesque dancer Glam Gamz and children’s comedy by Curt Mariah.

Monthly shows regularly feature monologues, sketches, music and “Shots ‘N Tots” Communion, during which attendees are provided a shot of whiskey and a single tater tot.

“While the format of each show is the same, the content is different,” Landon Letzkus — known on stage as Rev. Bidet  — said. “So we’re happy to say this will be like ever other Church Night and totally different from ever other Church Night.”

Letzkus, Linsay Deming,and Jeremy Frank write, produce and perform Church Night.

Since its debut at The Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights, the show has developed a “loyal flock” of 150-160 members that consistently fill the back stage at Black Cat.

“There’s a really tight-knit community among people who come to Church Nights,” Deming said.

Jeremy Frank was unavailable for comment, much like his tongueless, scantily clad and submissive stage character, altered boy Randy St. Oates Jr.

Image courtesy of Church Night

by February 22, 2013 at 6:00 am 0


Electric Hula is by DoctorJ.Bass from the Borderstan Flickr pool.

Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.

Today’s photo, Electric Hula is by DoctorJ.bass. The photo was taken on February 8. “Throwing light from the waist during Mardi Gras festivities at The Black Cat.”

If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from DC’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

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by January 24, 2013 at 10:00 am 1 Comment


Don’t let cold weather keep you at home. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Katie Andriulli. Email her at katie[AT] and follow her on Twitter @kandriulli.

Well, well. It’s already the weekend, guys, and I’m as happy as an orangutan with an iPad (Yes, the orangutans at the National Zoo now have iPads. This is the world we live in!) “But Katie,” you’re probably saying right now, “isn’t it going to be like negative bajillion degrees out this weekend? Why would I even want to leave the house?”

To which I reply: you have a point. It’s hard to motivate when it’s a high of 13 and Luther is sitting there on Netflix streaming just waiting to be devoured. But if you can manage to force yourself out of hibernation, here are a few things that will make it worth the trouble.


  • If you lived in DC at all during your 20s, chances are you were dragged to Third Edition in Georgetown at some point, probably for a sloppy yet memorable birthday party in the summer in their “tiki bar.” Well, like sands through the hourglass, so are the comings and goings of Georgetown real estate: it was revealed recently that restaurateur Richard Sandoval is buying out Third Edition to turn it into an upscale eatery. Spill some drinks on the floor and dance to Van Halen one last time at their closing party tonight starting at 7 pm. It’s free and there will be complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drink specials (re: shooters?) flowing throughout the night.



  • When the zombie apocalypse comes, you’re going to want to have a good stash of booze on hand to help you survive. Learn how to mash, ferment, distill, store and bottle your own spirits at the Catoctin Creek Distilling workshop today from 3 pm – 5 pm at the Park Hyatt in the West End. The workshop is a great deal at $55, which includes tastings and complimentary small plates from Blue Duck Tavern Executive Chef Sebastien Archambault.


  • Celebrate Borderstan fave Cork Wine Bar’s 5th anniversary by grabbing a bite from their excellent brunch menu, which features unique dishes like a coddled egg with caramelized leeks and a house-made waffle with strawberry rhubarb butter. Also, did we mention they have mimosa flights? Your Sunday, sorted.
  • Once you’re good and tipsy, head over to the year’s first DC Record Fair, which is being held at Penn Social in Chinatown from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is $5 bucks between 11 am and noon, and $2 from noon to 5 pm, but the extra $3 is totally worth it if it means you’ll have a better chance of scoring that copy of Billy Joel’s Glass Houses you’ve been searching high and low for (or maybe that’s just me?)

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by January 18, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

Dana Rossi for Story League. (Courtesy Spencer Ritenour)

Dana Rossi for Story League. (Courtesy Spencer Ritenour)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]

On Friday, January 18, Story League will introduce singing into its wildly popular storytelling show at the Black Cat (1811 14th Street NW).

We chatted with the host of the show, New York-based Dana Rossi, to see what is in store of the tell-all (err … sing-all) night.

Borderstan: What exactly is the Soundtrack Series and how did it come about?

Rossi: Soundtrack Series is basically stories about songs. We’re a live NYC event and podcast that gets writers and performers to pick a song, then tell us the story or memory they always revisit whenever they hear or think of that song — the place or time in their life that song always takes them back to. In the early summer of 2009, I was walking home from the gym one day and this idea just sort of popped into my head. I had always connected my memories with music so I thought, wouldn’t it be awesome to put together a show where people came and shared the stories they connect with specific songs?

But, I wasn’t so sure people would be on board with this idea. And then Michael Jackson died a few weeks later. And when he did, people on Facebook were talking about him nonstop — and mostly telling mini stories from their lives that they connected with Michael and his music. Buying the album Bad in the middle of the summer, and having to listen to it holed up in the one room in the house that had air conditioning. Learning the Thriller dance with friends and being the only one who consistently zombie shimmied the wrong way. I thought, holy crap, everyone does this. And then bam! Soundtrack Series.

Borderstan: How is it different from other storytelling events? 

Rossi: Storytelling as a “thing” is enjoying a great boom right now with the popularity of shows like The Moth and This American Life, but what makes Soundtrack Series part of that but still different is that this isn’t just telling stories that fit rotating themes. It’s more of a music experiment in which we’re trying to show — through personal stories — the endless ways that music factors into our lives and underscores both the everyday and the extraordinary moments. Plus, starting next week, we’re kicking off every live show with The Rock & Roll Throwdown – where two people argue over music’s weightiest issues. Like Beatles vs. Stones. Or whether or not Tupac is still alive.

Borderstan: What can attendees at this weekend’s show expect? 

Rossi: This weekend I’m taking a quick breather from Soundtrack Series to host Story League Sings — which is a show produced by SM Shrake and Jason Pittman. Basically, people will be telling stories about “romances gone bad,” then immediately following their stories, they’ll be singing a song accompanied by The Harikaraoke Band. Their stories won’t necessarily be ABOUT the songs they’ll sing, I think this is gonna be more like how musicals are laid out — I’m talking, I’m talking, I’m talking, and then I just can’t express this in words anymore, so, SONG!

Borderstan: What is your favorite music-to-memory experience? 

Rossi: You mean my favorite story I connect with a song? Well, I have a lot, but one I really love that’s kind of a simple memory is that every time I hear “November Rain,” I remember how I used to sit up all night watching overnight MTV waiting for that video to come on. Way back in the land before time, when your favorite song or video was NOT just a thought and an Internet connection away, you had to wade through 20 videos that were not “November Rain” (but probably were “Baby Got Back”) before seeing “November Rain.” And then I would watch it, try to understand it, fail, and wait for it to come around all over again.

“November Rain” was the first video that I remember being totally confused by. And I had to work to understand it because I had to wait around to keep seeing it. And while most of me loves that we live in a time where information is so readily available, part of me really misses the time when it wasn’t — when finding the answer to something meant you really had to want to find it.

Borderstan: Telling a story about songs… Does one ever just break out into song? Or do you save that until the very end when the band comes on? 

Rossi: Well, with Soundtrack Series we don’t have a live band and people generally don’t sing the songs they’re talking about. But sometimes they DO sing a few bars a capella within the context of their story. In fact, Story League’s SM Shrake did this when he came to NYC to do Soundtrack Series — he told a story about his childhood obsession with Barbra Streisand, then ended his story singing a few bars of “Papa, Can You Hear Me.” And at our last show of 2012, Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn told a story about high school and the song After Hours by Velvet Underground, then ended by singing it and accompanying himself on guitar.

But with Story League Sings this Friday, everyone is telling stories, everyone is singing songs. Again, their stories might not be about the songs they sing, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be punctuating their sour romance anguish by belting one out.

Borderstan: And now I have to ask… is there anything in the show about the inauguration/politics (it’s kind of a big deal this weekend in DC)?

Rossi: Not that I really know of. But hey, if the big guy shows up and wants to tell a story and then sing some Hall & Oates, I mean, we’re not gonna stop him. Oh wow, how great would that be if Obama AND Biden showed up to duet on “Private Eyes?” Ok. Now it needs to happen.

The show starts at 9:30 pm. For more information and tickets, visit the Story League website.  

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by January 10, 2013 at 9:00 am 0


Weekend Warrior: Edition We’re number 9! (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Katie Andriulli. Email her at katie[AT] and follow her on Twitter @kandriulli.

Good news guys: we’re apparently the 9th drunkest city in the country (suck on that, Omaha!) Normally I don’t put much stock in these kinds of rankings, but since this particular list assuages my personal guilt about binge drinking, I’m embracing it. On that note… hey look, it’s the weekend!


OK, so technically Mellow Mushroom is in Adams Morgan, not Borderstan, but any event that combines pizza and shopping gets a free pass in my book. Find those Zubaz pants buried at the bottom of your closet and bring them by the Xchange DC Fashion Swap taking place from 5 to 9 pm. Enjoy some eats (the Kosmic Karma pie is a personal favorite) and specials on DC’s own Chocolate City beer while you peruse the offerings.

Or, if you’re more in the mood for caffeinated art, check out DMV Coffee‘s first Thursday Night Throwdown (TNT) of the year, where you can watch skilled baristas go head to head in a latte art competition (yes, that is a thing!) This month’s battle, which is being hosted at Room 11, kicks off at 9 pm, and if you’ve never seen someone craft a swan out of milk foam, trust me, you don’t want to miss it.


Celebrate barely surviving your first full week back from vacation at Cause Philanthropub’s 5-5-5-5 happy hour from 4 to 7 pm, where draft beers, select bites, featured cocktails and wine are just $5 (even better: 100% of Cause’s profits go to deserving charities, so don’t be a teetotaler!) If you’re still hungry, walk a mere 20 yards across the street to grab dinner at 1905, which just rolled out a some new, sure-to-be-delicious menu offerings like pork belly with black eyed peas and braised beef cheek with fried yucca.


I have it on good authority that the double-bill tonight at the Black Cat is going to be a face-melter. Co-headliners Kingsley Flood, whose sound my friend described as “foot-stomping, raucous, Americana rock,” and DC’s own Ugly Purple Sweater, whose new EP, DC USA, is named in honor of the eponymous Columbia Heights shopping center, are both releasing new albums tonight at the show. Locals kindlewood open. Doors are at 8:30 pm, and tickets are only $12, which is same price as a ticket to Texas Chainsaw 3D (and, I would imagine, a much better value).


Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are hosting the Golden Globes tonight, which is basically going to be this times a million. Before the show, catch up on some of this year’s nominated movies that you might have missed, including the insanely great Django Unchained, which is playing at Borderstan’s very own West End Cinema, and Rust and Bone at E Street Cinema (which is basically Amelie meets Free Willy I think?) Then head home and make some cocktails before the show starts so you can ensure that you’re as liquored up as the celebs in attendance.

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by October 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm 1,454 0


Black Cat at 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT] 

Listen Local First is turning one-year-old!

And to celebrate, the DC-based organization that builds awareness and creates opportunities for local musicians and venues is having a birthday party at the Black Cat (1811 14th Street NW) on Friday, October 19.

The special Listen Local First show will feature the touring DC based collective “The 9 Songwriter Series.”  The show presents nine musicians, featured over the past year by Listen Local First, collaborating with one another to make for a night of great local music.

The show starts at 8 pm. Tickets are $10 and are available online. More information is available on the event’s Facebook page.

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by August 30, 2012 at 6:00 am 1,477 0

"Black Cat"

Black Cat is by Jen Morrissey from the Borderstan Flickr pool.

Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.

Today’s photo, “Black Cat” was taken by Jen Morrissey. The photo was taken at the Black Cat on 14th Street NW.

If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from DC’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

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by June 19, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,481 0

"Black Cat"

Black Cat at 1811 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]

You’ve seen “Law and Order” enough times to grasp that lawyers know how to duke it out in the courtroom. But how do the suits handle being on stage? Well friends, it’s time to make your own ruling.

On Thursday, June 21, lawyers and employees from area law firms will compete in the ninth annual Battle of the Law Firm Bands at the Black Cat (14th and S NW) to benefit Gifts for the Homeless, Inc. (GFTH), a non-profit, all-volunteer organization supported by the city’s legal community to help the homeless.

Sixteen bands will compete on two different stages for the title of “Banding Together Champion.” All proceeds from the evening will be used to purchase thermal underwear, sweatshirts, sweatpants, hats, gloves, socks, blankets and other essential new clothing items for homeless men, women, and children.

All are invited to attend the event; a $10 cover charge gets you in the door. For more information, please visit the Gifts for the Homeless website.

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by March 12, 2012 at 9:00 am 1,994 0

DC, Council, Wilson, Building

The DC Council is based at the Wilson Building, 14th and Pennsylvania NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Neighborhood residents are invited to attend a community forum for the candidates for the At-Large Democratic Primary on Tuesday, March 13 from 7 to 8 pm at the Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW. Doors open at 6:30; ID required.

Participating candidates include Sekou Biddle, E. Gail Anderson Holness, Vincent Orange and Peter Shapiro.

The At-Large seat up for grabs is currently held by Vincent Orange (D). Thirteen Members make up the DC Council: a representative elected from each of the eight wards and five members, including the chairman, who are elected at-large.

If it seems to you like Orange just took office, you are right. He won a special election back in April 2011 to fill the remainder of the At-Large term that became vacant when Kwame Brown was elected Chairman in November 2010.

Biddle briefly held the seat when he was voted in by the DC Democratic State Committee to serve as interim At-Large member until a special election could be held. Anderson Holness currently is an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Ward 1. Shapiro lives in Ward 4 and had previously served on the Prince George’s County Council when he was a resident of Maryland.

What Would You Ask?

David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington will be moderating the candidate forum, and he had a story last week asking readers what they would ask the candidates. If you have questions you want answered, submit them to David Alpert directly or in the comments on his piece. A brief reception will follow at Cafe Saint-Ex, 14th and T Streets NW. If the last time around (the March 2010 candidate forum at the Church of the Holy City) is any indication, most candidates will show up to the post-forum event. It’s a great time to get the real answers to your less politically correct questions.

Sponsors of the forum are The Urban Neighborhood Alliance,, Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission, Dupont Circle Citizens Association, Dupont Circle Merchants And Professionals Association, Dupont Circle Village, Dupont Festival, Greater Greater Washington, Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, Logan Circle Community Association, Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association and the U Street Neighborhood Association.

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