CapitalBop’s Jazz Loft MegaFest @DC Jazz Festival

Today begins a ten-day, multi-venue celebration of jazz in Duke Ellington’s hometown. Consisting of over 100 performances, from elegant presentations at the Kennedy Center to outdoor family festivals to late-night club parties, the DC Jazz Festival offers enough choices to make a music lover’s head spin. But there’s one offering that stands apart from the rest: CapitalBop’s Jazz Loft Series, culminating in the Jazz Loft MegaFest. A unique, multimedia experience of the creative community of jazz, the Jazz Loft MegaFest, June 9 from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., also presents an exciting opportunity to listen local.

CapitalBop, founded in 2010 by Giovanni Russonello, aims to unite and highlight the vibrant jazz scene that calls DC its home. “I’ve always been a huge fan of jazz,” says Russonello. “But when I was going out to jazz shows as a kid, what I noticed was, no one was at them! There’d be these amazing shows with just very small audiences… CapitalBop was founded on the premise that the DC jazz scene itself has never lacked for impressive experiences, high-quality art, and exciting personalities. What people don’t understand, especially in this town, is they think it’s this historical art form that loses relevance as time passes. But for all the tropes, it’s not dying, and it never will die. It’s improvisatory, and it changes with the times. Because it’s made in the moment, you experience its creation, and that’s why live jazz shows are so thrilling…I thought of magazines like Time Out New York and the Village Voice, or the City Paper here in Washington. They serve an important purpose just by letting people know what’s going on around here. So I wanted to create something like that: an online home for the DC jazz scene.”

Soon after the CapitalBop site launched in 2010, Russonello’s friend and collaborator Luke Stewart joined him as an editor. Stewart’s band, Laughing Man, rented space at Gold Leaf Studios (a.k.a. Red Door), which became the home for the DC Jazz Loft Series starting that December. Russonello calls the Loft Series “unmediated spaces for unmediated music.”

“DC jazz performers and audiences needed not just an online resource, but to experience different presentations of the scene, get it out of the club circuit and give young people—and everyone else who may not have known about what’s happening here—a chance to participate in the jazz scene.”

The site launched in September 2010. The first project was a calendar of jazz events all over the city, which exists today as a complete, monthly catalog of every single upcoming show in DC. Beyond basic event info, the calendar contains previews, descriptions, and editor recommendations regarding each event, “so that you’ll know what you’re going to get out of every show,” as Russonello said. But there’s more to building a music scene’s online home. “The site itself is built around being most utilitarian to those who don’t know the scene,” said Russonello. As such, it also hosts a guide to DC’s jazz-friendly neighborhoods and the bars and clubs where jazz cats play. Its front page and blog are home to a wealth of articles, videos and photos. Posts may be video previews for shows, profiles of dynamic local artists, or info on the city’s weekend lineup.

The concert series known as the DC Jazz Loft Series, on the other hand, gained prominence at last year’s Jazz Fest. Russonello considers working with an organization as large and respected as the DC Jazz Fest to have been a major taking-off point for CapitalBop, which presented four Loft Series shows for Jazz Fest last year. “For every show, we paired really renowned bands from out of town—last year they were all from New York—with local bands. It both gave the most innovative musicians in the country a home right here in DC, and gave the local bands a lot of really good exposure as the openers for nationally renowned groups.” Among CapitalBop’s local collaborators are two of Listen Local First’s featured artists for the month of June, Donvonte McCoy and Kris Funn, who headlined CapitalBop’s section of Lumen8Anacostia earlier this year. Russonello said that the success of last year’s Loft Series also greatly increased traffic to the CapitalBop site. “It’s interesting, because we started the site as a tool to get people out to the live shows, but it turns out to work the other way around as well.”

This year, CapitalBop is presenting some similar Loft Series shows to last year’s: nationally renowned groups paired with local jazz bands. The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra, unique in that it is led by a bass clarinet, headlines with Christie Dashiell Quartet tonight (6/1/12) at The Dunes, and Kris Funn & Corner Store—one of LLF’s June featured artists—open for “absolute star” group Tarbaby on Saturday 6/2 at The Fridge.

But the big event, the Jazz Loft MegaFest, is in a whole other league. From 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., visitors to the three-floor “loft” at 629 New York Avenue will experience music, film, food and fun as only DC could do it. MegaFest will feature:

-Concerts all day, leading up to a two-set headline show by Marc Cary’s Cosmic Indigenous
“Danceable, futurist, roots-exploring but also totally experimental jazz”

-Spotlight of up-and-coming high-school all-stars of the Jazz Academy, under Paul Carr

-Screening of “Icons Among Us: jazz in the present tense,” a film about the living jazz scene

-Panel on the cross-pollination of jazz and hip-hop by Shaolin Jazz

-Pop-up shop of vintage clothes and records, plus “floating art gallery,” by SHAM

-Catering and drinks by Taste of DC‘s network of local chefs

Russonello says that the diverse multimedia format of MegaFest “stresses the idea that jazz is a way of integrating thoughts, feelings, and experience into a real-time form of expression. It’s music that really knows no bounds, because you can create what you want, and create with your heart, and have the musical vocabulary to do that…It’s really about creating a community around an art form, or around the shared experience of art being created in front of you. The most exciting thing is how much of an experience it will be.”

Saturday, June 9 / 3 p.m.-2 a.m. / 629 NY Ave. NW / $10-12 online, $15 at the door. Tickets & Schedule

Live Showcase & Panel on Web Streaming

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UPDATE: Listen to the Audio from the panel discussion HERE

PANEL DISCUSSION – Web Streaming and Tech Development for a Local Music Community

In order to develop a thriving cultural community, artists musicians and fans must explore and adopt new technologies and platforms that enhance promotion and distribution of the arts. Join us on Thursday May 17th to hear from DC developing media and technology platforms who are striving to better the local cultural community.

Suggested Donation $5-$10 is encouraged though Tixelated:

https://d.tixelated.com/#/00118

(check it out – the ticketing platform of the future, space and beyond)

Presentations and Discussion Panel 7:00pm – 8:00pm :

Jennifer Vinson – DC Setlist – Moderator

Philippe Chetrit – Tixelated
Rob Connelly – ESL Radio
Paul Vodra – Hometown Sounds
Alex Sleighter – DC Decibel
(More Speakers TBA)

LIVE MUSIC SHOWCASE: 8:30pm – 11:00pm

Adrian Krygowski - http://adriankrygowski.bandcamp.com/
Teen Mom - http://teenmomdc.com/
The Grey Area - http://onesheet.com/thegreyareadc/
Redline Graffiti - http://redlinegraffiti.bandcamp.com/

May Featured Artists and Showcases!!!

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Local Music Day May 9th 
Listen Local First Showcase May 17th @ Blackbyrd
Panel Discussion on Web Streaming and Digital Platforms for Local Music Discovery: Presentations and Discussion from Tixelated, ESL Music and MORE…
Live Music Performances by: The Grey Area, Teen Mom, Adrian Kyrgowski and MORE
Artists:
Mary Alouette - http://maryalouette.com/
All Good Funk Alliance - http://www.allgoodfunkalliance.com/
Don’t Miss:
Participating Businesses


Tryst, Open City, The Diner, Flying Fish Coffee, Yola, Sova, Domku, Local 16, Fojol Bros, The Big Board, Ebenezers, Dangerously Delicious Pies, Pulp, Nana, Big Bear Cafe, Mellow Mushroom, Busboys & Poets, Qualia Coffee, Acre 121, Marvin/Blackbyrd, Blind Dog Cafe

A Thanks to Our Kickstarter Supporters!

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We made it back from Austin and documented one hell of a party!  We captured footage and interviews with over 15 DC bands and held over 25 #MobileMusicVenue performances.

We had an awesome team of videographers, photographers, producers and sound engineers that did an unbelievable job.  Thank you Ally Behnke, Ben Droz, Gordon Daniels, Stuart Dilg and Sam Winter.

Please follow all of our trip updates at:

https://www.facebook.com/ListenLocalFirst

http://listenlocalfirst.wordpress.com/

http://mobilemusicvenue.tumblr.com/

But first we wanted to thank everyone who got us here:

Van Sponsors:

Glen Echo Group 

Indie Match/Marble Road 

Pop-Up Shop Records

Social Studies DC  

The Artists who painted the van: Peter Chang & Brandon Hill from No Kings Creative

Additional Thanks to: Honest Tea and Kind Healthy Snacks

Producers:   

Maura Corbett, Howard Liebers, Tom Naoum, Bob Fine, Carlos Saenz., Denuine, Jacob Marzolf, Kurt Wimmer, Markeata Daniels, Neil Chilson., Shadi Zamer, Sorin Naoum, Janakan Thiagarajah

Rockers:

Jeremy Sigmon, Andrew Naoum, Amy Friedman, Rich Behnke, David Jump, Stacy H, Ben Kessler, Jessica DeSimone, Kate Runde, Rachel Levetin, Sara Liebman, GoodOnes LLC, Doug Beridon, Matt Pollock, Raphael Ruland, Mike Sacks, Curtis Leitner & Amanda Stone, Bryan Friedman, Robert Andary, Tiffany Chao, Harriet Friedman

Groupies:

Brenden Sloan, Julie Samuels, Matthew Brazier, Ben Sheena, Lianne Muldoon, Jem Bahaijoub, Paul Geller, Katie Yocum Mussisi, Herban Lifestyle, Ryan Bailey, Ben Usie, Chell Stephen, Patrick Wixted, Brandon Bloch, George Evans, Lauren Cole, Ra Jah Kelley, Kylie Quinn, Michael Ball, Melanie Boyer, Jay Rogers, Casey Rae Hunter, Ben Carron, Parul Desai, Rebecca Chisholm, Anne McNamara, Lisa Markuson, Audrey Matthais, Brick Barrientos, Charles McEnerney, Brian Franke, Jeff Housman, Maria Amodio, Jodi Barbuto, Ryan Stubbs, Bryon Gyllstrom, Natasha Trifun, Jeff Dantus, ChunkyGlasses.com, Casey Barbuto, Andrew Ujifusa, Madeleine Starkey, May Tabol, Cornelius Luca

Fans:

Ashlea Smith, Allison Kasic, Elena Castellanos, Pat Walsh, Kristine Quinio, Laura Valentino Romero, Crystal Wei, Vegas With Randolph, Hirsch Kravitz, Alex Rosenberg, Chhaya Kapadia, Leah Shalev, Raul Flores, Margot MacDonald, Stephanie Mitesser, John Baker, Sweetbread Jim’s, Karn Dhingra, Dwayne Robinson, Dave Mallen, Amy Henes, Nick Brandfon, Max Lopatnikov, Matt Dreyer, Ann Millspaugh, Kat Basile, Jacob Beier, Melanie Oscher, Belinda Rawlins, Mike Boggs, Ben Legman, Jocelyn Cuchack Lichtin, ERica Lee Schlaikjer, Nate Lewis, Dave Klein, Adrian Krygowski, Ad Hoc, Dwight Rundle, Ryan Holladay, Sylvia Syracuse, Danielle

OUR RECENT PRESS

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-naoum/tell-the-ftc-to-stop-the-_b_1353775.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/06/listen-local-first-dc-van-sxsw-festival_n_1321413.html

http://scoutmob.com/washington-dc/scoutfinds/3387

http://futureofmusic.org/blog/2012/03/08/qa-listen-local-first-co-founder-chris-naoum

http://pinklineproject.com/article/listen-local-first-qa-christopher-naoum

Listen Local First Press Release for SXSW

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Listen Local First Mobile Music Venue at SXSW
Contact- listenlocalfirst@gmail.com
Chris Naoum

March 12: Austin, Texas (or) Washington, DC.  Listen Local First(LLF), a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting local music is bringing their message to the national stage this year at the SXSW Music Conference.  SXSW already brings over 2,000 artists performing at over 90 venues: LLF will now add a “Mobile Music Venue” to showcase some of the 30+ bands from the emerging music scene in Washington, DC.

With money raised from a kickstarter campaign, the group purchased a Van and had it painted by local artists.  Sound equipment will make it into a pop-up venue, which will have shows throughout the week.  Listen Local First will be producing an online web series and blog documenting the process, adventure, and music of this epic road-trip.

On Wednesday, March 14, there will be three separate showcases highlighting local, Washington, DC bands, all within a few blocks from each other.  The events are:

DC Does Texas, sponsored by DCist, at Lovejoys at 604 Neches: Noon-6pm
Way Out West, sponsored by Pop Up Shop Records Showcase, at The Bayou 500 E 6th St: Noon- 6pm
Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie Showcase at Casa Chapala 101 San Jacinto Blvd: Noon – Midnight

Coverage, which includes video and photography, will be updated live and regularly throughout the week.  It can be found on the blog and through the following:
mobilemusicvenue.tumblr.com
twitter.com/listenlocaldc
#MobileMusicVenue #ListenLocal #SXSWDC
youtube.com/listenlocal
facebook.com/listenlocaldc

Taking a LEAP into The Dunes

Howard Liebers (MarbleRoad Founder), Jonny Grave (Bluesman), Patrick Hawkins (of Benny), and Linsay Deming (Singer/Songwriter)

Performing for a cause is different than the average concert; there’s a certain appeal philanthropy brings to a musical experience. Musicians can’t be stereotyped as self-promotional or egoistical; instead, they’re lending their voices as a catalyst for change, creating new pools of potential fans and interested attendees. The LEAP Sessions event this Wednesday, Feb. 29th, presented in partnership with Listen Local First (LLF), sheds light on the relationship between philanthropy and music. No, it doesn’t have the publicity of Bono and the ONE Campaign, but it’s a microcosm for the power of 21st century art and advocacy.

Howard Liebers, founder of MarbleRoad, followed the typical path of many DC transplants: college, then an entry level position at a non-profit, and ultimately a director level position working in health policy with the DC Primary Care Association. As a young professional in DC, Howard was a driven 9-5er, using his free time to map his love for indie pop culture around the city. But, unlike most DC dwellers in their early 20’s, who are slowly making their way out of the Adam’s Morgan bar crawl, Howard was unexpectedly faced with the death of one of his closest friends, Craig Nolan. Prior to Craig’s death, Howard didn’t know anything about “rare diseases”, but after Craig’s tragic experience with a rare cancer, a type of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Howard became passionate about learning more about this issue – what qualified, who’s affected, and how society addresses these health issues. What he discovered was extremely disheartening.

Firstly, it’s difficult to be diagnosed correctly if you have a rare disease because of the disconnect between primary healthcare physicians and rare disease specialists. Rare disease researchers are often siloed within their own specialties with limited patient interaction. The general knowledge base of primary care physicians often cause rare diseases to go undiagnosed and subsequently untreated. Additionally, since rare diseases in the US are defined as diseases affecting less than 200,000 people, there is little financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies to invest in research. Treatments are often extremely expensive and unaffordable.

In 2010, Howard Liebers incorporated the organization MarbleRoad here in DC, and saw an opportunity to integrate his love for indie culture with his newfound passion for rare diseases. MarbleRoad utilizes a campaign called IndieMatch to raise funds to support its mission. The IndieMatch strategy seeks to develop strategic partnerships between independent artists and musicians to support philanthropic opportunities. Using this model, MarbleRoad launched a kickoff event on Make a Difference Day in 2010, held in Alexandria, VA, featuring donated artwork by David Foox, Meredith Towsand, Elizabeth Jameson, Regina Hooliday, and Vesna Jovanoic, and Julie Gideon-Smith. In 2011, MarbleRoad hosted the Flammable Heart Exhibition  during National Health Center Week, displaying collections of artwork at the Lyons Wier Gallery in New York City, in partnership with Lutheran Family Health Centers, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Brooklyn. Money raised for the organization goes towards subsidizing rare disease treatments and bridging the communication gap between rare disease specialists and primary care physicians.

Fast forward to 2012 – MarbleRoad’s third event, but the first ever “LEAP Session”.  By now, it’s not difficult to see why MarbleRoad and Listen Local First have partnered for this debut. In contrast with previous MarbleRoad events, LEAP Sessions brings together indie musicians (not artists). Yet, the IndieMatch concept still holds strong. As an advocate of the local music scene, LLF is bringing together some of DC’s best artists and bands, and introducing some new acts to the excitement of the DC music marketplace: Nelly Kate (Richmond), Linsay Deming (DC), SoftSpot (Brooklyn), Caged Animals (Brooklyn), Benny (DC), and Jonny Grave & The Tombstones (DC). Together, IndieMatch and Listen Local First will be able to connect individuals through music and philanthropy by showcasing local talent and raising awareness for rare diseases.

The first of many to come, these LEAP sessions will be held annually on the last day of February. (Rare Disease Day is always held on the last day of February – the fact that Feb. 29th only happens once every four years reflects the low incidence rate of rare diseases, hence the name – LEAP Sessions: a rare day for rare disease.) Deidree Bennett, Managing Director at the Dunes, shares her excitment:

“As managing director of the Dunes, and I’m looking forward to the LEAP
SESSIONS event on a very personal level; I suffer from a rare
hereditary form of Primary Lymphedema. Therefore it is my pleasure to
welcome MarbleRoad to help spread awareness about the more that 6,000 rare diseases in the U.S., and the people with them who need your
support. Here is my story.
I look forward to hearing your stories, and rocking out to Benny, Jonny Grave, and everyone else Wednesday night from 7:30 – 11:30 PM at The Dunes. Be a Rockstar!” http://leapsessions.eventbrite.com/