You know how they say the key to life is being in the right place at the right time. Well, I was certainly in the right place in the right time last week when I met a lovely patron of the arts who invited me to the Atlas Performing Arts Center for their Atlas Underground: Not Your Usual Gala event. We were treated to a wonderful evening of music, food and fun!
I had never been to the Atlas Center before and I was very impressed with the variety of spaces. This event lived up to its name in that it was no ordinary gala. Each of the different spaces was decorated differently, but gorgeously. I love to be in a beautiful space; it makes me feel more inspired and alive. The visual beauty of the spaces of the event, down to the table linens (yes, the table linens) enhanced the pleasure of the music and food. It was so much to visit different areas and enjoy different styles of performance- like a trip around the world!
Music is something that I love dearly. We were treated to an amazing mix of music and we didn’t even hear all the musicians that were present. SynchroniCity played a beautiful classically influenced rendition of ”Every Breath You Take” that I just loved. The Akua Allrich Quartet played a blend of alternately swinging and smooth jazz. Akua’s vocals on “Black Coffee” were elegant and soulful. I really enjoyed listening to Balti Mare; I’m a sucker for an accordion. The music was beautiful, but there was a man who whistled and shrieked to such degrees that I actually had to leave the space because he was hurting my ears. (Tip: music should be able to be appreciated by all, so make sure when you are enjoying an experience you aren’t hindering it for others). We loved Bio Ritmo and couldn’t stop listening to their stunning blend of African, Caribbean and Latino music. I thought I liked salsa music, but now having heard Bio Ritmo I know I love their music! I look forward to hearing them again. The band is awesome, but I really have to give a shout out to Rei Alvarez for being a fantastic performer. To see him perform is to see the very nature of rhythm in physical form. My other favorite musical performance of the evening was by Nistha Raj, Christylez Bacon & Wytold. I love hip-hop and I love classical music, so seeing this trio was a dream come true! Nistha is plays classical violin with a beautiful Indian flair. Having grown up on Western classical music I didn’t even know about Indian classical violin, but it was lovely. Wytold played a beautiful cello. Christylez Bacon played an African drum, did some sick beatboxing and made up a fantastic spontaneous rap from random words from the audience. Musically it was such a rich evening.
Being a person who has food allergies, I sometimes get nervous about parties. I worry that I won’t be able to find things to eat. But, I had some truly lovely food. The smoked pork loin from Dr. Granville Moore’s was wonderful. It was tender, moist and perfectly smoked. I also enjoyed many of the tray pass items from Gepetto Catering especially the veggie dumplings! I also had several pieces of delicious chocolate almond bark that has me on quite the dark chocolate kick.
This evening was truly wonderful. We ate, we heard great music and then they sent us home with lollipops. What can be better than that?
I just want to know when the next time we will get a chance to go the Atlas, hear these great musicians and sample the food of the H street corridor restaurants again will be? I hope soon!
Kari’s Rating- 9
By an unexpected series of events, Kari and I wound up at Atlas Underground: Not Your Usual Gala at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. We had never been at to the Atlas Center, and it was an interesting experience alone just to see the three performance spaces on the premises. Each of these spaces featured at least two musical acts, and a dish from a local restaurant.
My favorite musical acts were Nistha Raj, Christylez Bacon, and Wytold, performing a mix of Indian classical violin, beatbox (and rhyming), and cello. This was one of the most groundbreaking and genre-bending acts I have ever seen. Bio Ritmo rocked the house as well. I would love both of these bands to perform at any event I was having!
There was also some great food by restaurants local to the H Street corridor. Dr. Granville Moore’s brought a great smoked pork sandwich. It was so tasty that I had to have two! The smoking imbued the pork sandwich with an unexpected zip that was quite pleasant. Smith Commons brought an equally amazing Butternut pumpkin soup. The soup was smooth and luscious, and was given a beautiful sweetness with some maple cream. Both of these dishes were challenging, but really satisfying. Geppetto Catering also provided several pass items that were delicious. I seriously tried to chase a server across the room for a vegetable dumpling!
I did find out that I don’t like Rice Congee. What appeared to be great Rice Congee with Pork Laab was much too spicy for me.
Overall, it was a great evening, and I can’t wait to review some of their works.