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The Circus Life Podcast


The Circus Life Podcast


Justin Trawick, myself, Levi Stephens & Nathan Cristler "Life is a circus and this is The Circus Life." Justin Trawick begins each of the podcasts he records with partner & co-host Sean Russell with this tagline before introducing Sean, the show's sponsors and the guests for the episode.

The Circus Life podcast airs its 35th episode today, with yours truly as a guest of the show along with the super talented Levi Stephens and Addverb Bottle Co. founder Nathan Cristler! The first Circus Life podcast aired on August 12, 2013 and all the episodes are available both on their website and via iTunes. I listen to the new episodes, which come out each week on Tuesday's, via the Podcasts App on my iPhone as I get ready for work. The episodes are comprised of interviews, stories and performances from musical acts, local business owners and generally interesting people who Justin and Sean come across in their daily lives (hence, my "in").

Justin is a local DC singer-songwriter and does quite a bit of work to help promote other local acts as well through his "The 9 Singer Songwriter Series" and a new video project with photographer/videographer Rafael Suanes, of RCS Photography, called "Unrehearsed DC" in addition to The Circus Life. He also has a band, Justin Trawick and the Common Good, with fiddler Pete Daniels, mandolin & banjo player Josh Himmlesbach and upright bassist Jean Finstad.

Sean is multi-platinum award-winning sound engineer (remember Paul Pfau from last week? Sean did his album, just as a point-of-reference for you, dear loyal reader). His bio lists his work with industry titans such as India Arie, Damien and Stephen Marley, Idan Raichel, KIX, Roy & Yvonne, and Dobe Gnahore.  He engineers for producers such as Gordon Chambers (Aretha Franklin), Rich Harrison (Christina Aguilera, J-Lo),  Jim Ebert (Butch Walker, Cowboy Mouth), Glen Ellis (TroubleFunk, Chuck Brown).

The podcast is recorded out of Cue Recording Studios in Falls Church and, though not the quickest trip from the city, I was happy to make the trek to Virginia for my first show recording a couple weeks ago. I studied Music Industry briefly at JMU and have spent a little time in the studio for various musical ventures. I have to admit, I was pretty excited to be back in the studio environment again.

yes, this is a car selfie. I forgot to take a studio selfie.

As I mentioned, I'm a fan of the show and have listened to most, if not all, the episodes, so I had a basic understanding of what I was getting into. I had never met Levi or Nathan before, and honestly, I think it was helpful to keeping the show interesting. Sometimes I think if people know each other too well, especially in a scenario where you are recording voices and don't have the option for video or audience participation, the participants may be too familiar with each other and make references to things that the listener may not understand. In our case, I think the fact that we didn't really know anything about each other allowed for genuine reactions and kept us engaged with each other while keeping it interesting for the audience.

Justin, with his trusty notebook containing all his guests' details

So, I'm not going to tell you about the show, because you should listen to it, but I will let you know that I personally chat about a lot of the different "hustles" I currently participate in - the DC MEETMarket, Ulysses Room and our amazing clients at Tea Time DC, event planning at Strawberry Milk Events and of course, this blog! I also tell my favorite WWII veteran story from when I used to run association reunions.

Murray & Sparky- you'll have to listen to the podcast to hear the story!

I am now accepting offers to work in radio by the way. Please comment below or contact me directly. Please & thank you.

I'll also be briefly appearing on next week's episode, airing April 8th with a bunch of amazing people- musicians Mundy & Paul Pfau, rapper Laelo, pie lady Jacqueline Francis, photographer Rafael Suanes and of course Justin & Sean. It's the Pie Show (yes, I got free delicious pie) and I provided the whiskey.

Paul Pfau & I recording episode #36

Drinking whiskey during episode #36

Be sure to listen to the show and check out The Circus Life on: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Additionally, videos of the musical performances are posted to their website and YouTube each week!

I highly recommend you also check out  all the guests, but because this post is fairly specific to episode #35 and I'm going to single out Levi Stephens. After spending even more time with him after the show, not only am I a fan of his music, but this guy is a great person as well. He's just kicking off his college tour but for for local DCists, he'll be at the Cherry Blossom Festival next weekend (April 6) and plays at Solly's on U Street fairly often. Dates for his shows are HERE.

I'd also like to thank any new readers, led here from the podcast! Be sure to sign up for updates to the blog and follow me on Twitter and Instagram!

Finally- support local music, myself & Justin this Friday at The 9 Singer Songwriter Series' first UNPLUGGED show- Friday, April 4th at Hierarchy in Adams Morgan. Doors at 8pm. Show at 8:30. Details HERE!


DC Art Scene: Hierarchy DC Opens in Adams Morgan


DC Art Scene: Hierarchy DC Opens in Adams Morgan


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The Washington City paper ran an article recently about the number of DC's art galleries that have closed over the last year. In the midst of this, No Kings Collective, an artist collective known for their pop-up exhibitions and social networking events, in partnership with the Popal family, owners of Napoleon Bistro & Lounge (who I love from my time at Food and Friends having worked with them for Dining Out For Life), Cafe Bonaparte and Malmaison (an inspiring place for coffee btw), have just opened Hierarchy DC.

Hierarchy DC is situated next door to Napoleon on Columbia Road in the always bustling Adams Morgan and, at least while I was there, was also accessible, in addition to their own front door, through Napoleon's basement (turn left for the downstairs bar at Napoleon, turn right for Hierarchy). Hierarchy's concept isn't run-of-the-mill and neither is the space. It's not an "art gallery" and it's not a "bar". It's a transformational space where artists will be able to have pop-up style shows, but in a permanent setting. Shows will typically run a month long, allowing patrons to enjoy a new setting almost every time they visit.

The space can accommodate (just a guess from experience, not facts) about 250 people. They have a dramatic long black bar running the length of the basement space. On Saturday they were serving $3 Natty Boh's (uh, no. I had vodka, thanks for asking... but I know that appeals to some!) and $6 Brewer's Art Beer along with $10 spirits including local favs Sloop Betty Vodka and Green Hat Gin. There's a great space for a DJ in the front of the room where DJ Fleg was spinning some solid sounds for a large crowd of drinkers and dancers.


The exhibition space in "gallery" format will be open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to five pm, with special events (ie: openings such as the one I attended Saturday night) advertised as they happen. They are also planning to have weekly "cultural programming"- but no word yet on their website on when that will start.

The dual installations of DECOY's "North West" and Cory Oberndorfer’s “Pop Sucker” were fun and graphic exhibits for the venues first show. Both shows made colorful references to childhood, DECOY through images of hip-hop cultured children from DC's northwest quadrant, and Oberndorfer through the nostalgia of our sweet childhoods, shattered over time.  DECOY had a booth setup, selling as cute as hip can be goods such as socks, totes, shirts, bows and bags. Oberndorer, also not wanting you to leave empty handed, offered lollipops. (Learn more about the exhibits on Hierarchy's website by clicking the links below).

DECOY: North West

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Cory Oberndorfer: Pop Sucker

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The venue has yet to announce future shows, but promised to make announcements in a  couple weeks. I have an inside scoop and trust me, you're going to want to stay tuned!!

PS. I was excited about the opening but was caught up doing some work projects so headed out fairly late. I sent out a quick tweet of my upcoming adventure and was pleasantly surprised at a quick response from Hierarchy! (Have I mentioned my love of social media yet?)