From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.
On Thursday, October 18, join Danny Harris, Chris Keener, SM Shrake, Amy Saidman, Jen Tress and Patrick White at Room & Board for an evening of storytelling.
From 7 until 9 pm, guests are invited to get under the covers, gather around the table or get comfy on the couch while enjoying a few stories and sipping some complimentary wine. Attendees will also have the chance to win a $250 gift card to the 14th Street NW contemporary furniture store.
Room & Board hosted a similar event last February with Stories About Not Love. $10 gets you in bed with a storyteller. Room and Board is at 1840 14th Street NW; the event is on the 4th floor.
For more on the story, and to RSVP, visit the event’s Facebook page.
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From Mary El Pearce. Follow her on Twitter@CupcakesDC and email her at maryelp[At]borderstan.com.
Those of us who live in Borderstan know D.C. is on the up-and-up when it comes being cool. We’ve got our own music, food and fashion scenes going on, and more importantly, we’ve got an influx of fresh, creative ideas and people who like to share them with each other.
Feastly, co-founded by Danny Harris and Noah Karesh, is a great example of what’s happening in this new D.C. Not too long ago, Karesh was traveling in Guatemala and wanted a home-cooked meal to experience the culture, but he couldn’t find one.
That’s when he decided to start a business in DC that would facilitate meals in people’s homes, to be attended by “feasters,” or people who are a part of the Feastly community. He told the idea to fellow entrepreneur Harris, and the two launched Feastly this past January. Karesh is also one of the owners of Blind Dog Cafe, which operates out of Darnell’s Bar during the day at 944 Florida Avenue NW. Harris became known for his site, People’s District, which told stories of D.C. residents in the first-person, and for his focus on the importance of oral storytelling.
“We’ve created an online marketplace so people can engage in all kinds of food experiences that take place in the homes,” said Harris. “Do you want to have a meal where you carbo-load before a big race happening in town? Have a fundraiser for the political candidate of your choice? The food is the center and it goes from there.”
Since Feastly launched, they’ve hosted more than 15 meals with various chefs, including Harris’s mother.
“We grow up eating around tables in homes, and we move away from that,” Harris explained. “We can bring back the home-cooked meal and empower cooks and chefs who may not be able to bring their goods to market.”
To participate in one of the meals, simply sign up on the website then peruse upcoming meals every Monday in the weekly e-newsletter. Meals vary in price, anywhere from $25 to $50.
“Someone might want to do an Italian meal on his back porch,” Harris said. “People show up at a certain time. You schmooze for a few minutes. The chef comes out and talks you through the meal. Meals have gone on for hours.”
“There’s an element of intimacy you find in a home you can’t find in any commercial space,” Karesh said. “I met a 60-year-old artist the other night, and it was fascinating to talk with her and share that bond.”
So the next time you’re looking for a new restaurant, you might want to consider checking out Feastly instead. What better way to get to know your neighbors than to eat their food in their home? And not knowing who will join you at the table, there’s a great chance you’ll meet someone to share your great ideas with.
Borderstan: Why did you decide to start your own business?
Karesh: I’ve been in the tech and start-up industry pretty much my whole career in the mobile and Internet side, as well as food-based ventures. It was a natural progression for me to merge the online and offline world.
Harris: I came to the city to do public policy work and ended up doing entrepreneurial work focused around storytelling and community development. My passion is around connecting people and figuring out the tools to do that. D.C. is an incredible city because so many are new to the city and trying to find their people. It’s also a great food town. We see that the table is the original social network. As everybody is trying to figure out how many friends you have on Facebook or how many followers you have on Twitter, the reality is that you’re having dinner by yourself at home. Our goal is to create a real community in real time around the table.
Borderstan: How have your lives changed since you started Feastly?
Karesh: It’s gotten a lot better. Hundreds of cooks approach us who want to do this. It’s amazing to me that there are all these people out there who cook professionally but want a more creative outlet.
Harris: What’s been most profound to me is we’ve been to almost every meal, and you see how people respond to the meals. They want this. They need it. People send handwrittten letters to the chefs afterward. They’re so thankful for the opportunity. They’re also thanking us. It’s unique to its users and founders.
Borderstan: What the biggest challenge of being a small business owner in D.C?
Harris: There was an assumption that the shareable economies hadn’t made their way into DC. But our growth shows us it’s the right city for us. People in D.C. may not be familiar with shareable economy and collaborative consumption, but they’re familiar with hosting dinner parties.
Borderstan: What advice do you have to anyone wanting to start a business?
Karesh: Do it. Don’t think about it anymore, just do it. You’ll learn more from executing than thinking about it. There are a million possibilities of what could happen. Don’t be afraid of failure.
Harris: It’s the most rewarding feeling to do something and show people what you’ve been thinking about doing.
- “Pop Up” Blind Dog Cafe Uses Daytime Space at Darnell’s Bar
- Tuesday: Prepare for Valentine’s Day with “Stories About Not Love”
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From Alden Leonard. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
People’s District‘s Danny Harris invites you to join in an anti-love fest in honor of Valentine’s Day (yes readers, it’s next week). “The Anecdote: Stories About Not Love” will take place on February 7 at Room & Board (1840 14th Street NW, 4th Floor), from 7 to 9 pm. Presenters will share tales of romance gone awry.
Participants can get comfy in the store’s furniture displays and listen to stories about bad dates, no dates, and every awkward, intimate detail in between. Local talent Danny Harris, Chris Keener, Vijai Nathan, Amy Saidman, Jennifer Tress and Patrick White will be there to keep the laughs coming.
While Lady Gaga is not scheduled to make an appearance, she would no doubt be proud of the bad romance celebrated at “The Anecdote.”
Also of note, Room and Board will be giving away a $250 gift card to one attendee of The Anecdote. That would count as getting lucky!
Borderstan welcomes Danny Harris as an occasional contributor who will post stories from the Dupont-Logan-U Street area. Harris is a DC-based photographer and collector of stories. In September 2009 he launched People’s District, which tells a people’s history of Washington, D.C., by sharing the stories and images of its residents. You can follow People’s District on Twitter (@PeoplesDistrict).
“They say the Algonquian were the first people put on this world. Before China and Rome, there was us. The French wiped out most of the Algonquians in Canada, but many of them survived. My mother was one of them. She met my father, an American who worked for the U.S. Senate, and they had me. I never really knew him, though, and was raised by my mother on an Indian reservation in New Brunswick, Canada.
“On the reservation, we lived on welfare. We didn’t have any job opportunities, and there wasn’t much to do. You know, people talk about cabin-fever. Well, living on a reservation is like having permanent cabin-fever. I just needed to leave, and that’s why I came to Washington two winters ago. I can’t really tell you why I chose Washington. I guess that I am just nosy and looking for answers. I thought Washington might have them.
“We all spend our lives searching for our heritage and our history. Now, a lot of it has been modernized and put in books and on computers. Sometimes I wish that I could bring yesterday back so we could learn the real history of our ancestors. I wish that I could go back to the days of hunting buffalo and living in a teepee. Those were days of purity and beauty and I am searching for ways to live that way again. While I search for that, I have had to learn how to take care of myself on the streets.
“When I first moved to Washington, I lived at the shelter on 14th and R St. I didn’t like it there because it was too claustrophobic. I decided that it was better to live out on the street, so I moved to other side of 14th Street and lived on the corner. The dope addicts there used to punch me while I was sleeping and steal my stuff, so I moved to the corner of 14th and Corcoran. It’s been quieter here and they don’t bother me no more.
“Now, I stay here and have learned how to wash my clothes at night with water from people’s hoses. I learned how to create a private space to change my clothes while I am in my sleeping bag. I found people who let me use their bathroom and give me coffee. I really don’t ask for or need a lot. I’m always wet and damp out here, but I never complain. I feel guilty because I should provide for myself. That is part of my heritage.
“I still have a home on the reservation and I’d like to eventually go back and build another one. My life and culture is with the Algonquian. I speak Maliseet, our language, and want to be around my people. But before going back, I want to travel more and learn a lot. I want to see this country, and maybe even travel to the moon, too. Until that happens, maybe I’ll just try scuba diving. I want to see what life has to teach me so that maybe I can change a little bit. People say that universities make you intelligent, but I feel like living my life the way that I do makes me intelligent, too.”
While Michael doesn’t like to ask for help, he appreciates fresh fruit, especially oranges and apples. If you walk past him on the NE corner of 14th and Corcoran, please consider stopping by to say hello and bringing him some fruit.