Keeping up with D.C.-specific current events and cultural happenings will turn anyone into an incredibly enviable guest at cocktail parties, not to mention dazzle parents and friends on visits back home. Plus, being a more informed member of D.C. is the best way to take advantage of the local scene, and just feel pretty darn cool in general.
For those unfamiliar with “ist” sites, they’re blog-ish forums run by locals in cities all around the globe, keeping a finger on the pulse of city-specific current events, arts and trends. D.C.‘s version is addictively good. Posts cover everything, including shows (what’s coming to town and why you should/shouldn’t buy tickets, as well as links to where to buy said tickets), restaurants (where to find the best pie or martini) and news (local politics, public transportation updates, what Mayor Anthony Williams had for breakfast). DCist also has an interactive user feature whereby flickr.com users can tag their photos “DCist” and have them appear in a special album posted on the DCist website - DCist editors often pull these pictures to go along with their posts, giving the photographer free feel-good PR. Keep in mind that at heart DCist is a blog, so although sometimes typos and errors appear (all the writers have real jobs aside from blogging, so cutting them slack is realistic), correcting them in the comments section will make you feel savvy, smart and special.
EDITOR’S PICK: Cultural Tourism D.C.
Cultural Tourism D.C. is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to disseminating information about D.C.‘s art and heritage, of which there is plenty. Their website, designed in part by an AU SOC professor, is a great resource for all kinds of well-known and offbeat cultural events, like walking tours of neighborhoods and exhibit openings at lesser known museums. The site features an unbeatable community events calendar (attend Dupont Circle’s Art on Call Boxes program celebration on Sept. 10 or the lecture on D.C. and public art on Aug. 23), the African American Heritage Trail and programs specific to D.C.‘s different neighborhoods.
D.C. Art News Blog
The site’s creators say it the best: “Art news, information, gallery openings, commentary, criticism, happenings, opportunities, and everything associated with helping to spread the word about the visual arts scene in and all around the great metropolitan capital of the United States of America.” It’s a valuable resource updated all the time with show reviews, openings and gallery artist information, enough to satisfy even the most voracious of artophiles.
A well-maintained forum meant to foster open communication about and within the D.C. arts community. It posts information about shows of work by local artists and links to other sites promoting D.C. arts. There’s also a nifty gallery of work, so visitors can check out what’s going on in their neighborhood or even go about getting their own work out there.
D.C. Arts Jobs blog
Geared more toward grads or summer job seekers, this site posts job openings in D.C.‘s red-hot arts and culture market. Know how to type 40 words per minute? Then consider applying to be a Division Assistant for the National Endowment for the Arts. Other organizations listed include Dance Place, The Phillips Collection, The Washington Ballet, Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C., The Kennedy Center and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, as well as numerous nonprofit arts organizations. Who knew that PBS was looking for a Development Director, an entry-level position that pays $28-$32k a year? Whether job seeking or not, visitors to the site will get a great idea of what’s available, and just how seriously the District takes the arts.