My roommate Linn found something in the Washington Post that advertised a free open mic poetry reading for last night at 9pm at Bus Boys and Poets (14th and V). Naturally, I was stoked about this idea because if you say “free,” I come running. We invited our neighbors to go with us and we headed towards the metro. It was about a 15 minute ride to our station and then a five minute walk to the coffee house. Once we got to the coffee house, we saw that it was also a book store and a bar and we were all in such a good excited mood about the whole neighborly night out situation. Well, we walked in the door and then a lady asked for our tickets.
Deer in headlights.
“What tickets?” I asked. “I thought it was free!”
The door lady then informed me that tickets were 4 dollars, cash only, and they were sold out by 6 pm already. I was thinking, it’s a poetry reading…just let us in, lady. We got rejected and walked away with our tails between our legs and heads down in shame. Instead, we rummaged through the bookstore for a few minutes because they had a lot of books that you would never find at a Barnes n Noble. For example, The Ethical Slut. An entire book dedicated to living a slutty lifestyle and how to get your current relationships to accept your slut-life. They also had more conventional type of books such as The History of Jazz and Blue, Hip Hop for Kids, etc…
The area we were in is a very historical and cultural area. Here is a description from the Busboys website: Until the 1920’s (when it was overtaken by Harlem), the U Street area was home to the largest urban African American community in the United States. In its cultural heyday, the U Street corridor was known as “Black Broadway”, a phrase coined by jazz singer Pearl Bailey. In 1968, the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr sparked rioting across many American cities. In Washington DC, the chaos began on the corner of 14th & U streets – as people smashed store windows, set buildings aflame and looted in outrage.
After the book store, we found a restaurant that was playing the basketball game (don’t ask me who was playing – I have no clue, but my neighbor was excited) and we sat down to chat for a while before leaving the area instead of wasting the whole trip after our epic rejection.