Tag Archives: DC

Review: Acre121 and Amanda Badze

Hi. My name is Jessie Spielvogel and I love food and free entertainment. Since I am currently dwelling in Washington, D.C. and have been out here for about two months now after relocating from Texas, I will start finding the best places to be fed and entertained in the city…and, of course, I will give my thoughts on these places and people…because I’m opinionated n stuff.

I pride myself on the fact that I am a pro at finding cheap food and events, so consider me a resource for nights when you are broke and bored, or nights when you have a date and don’t want to appear broke and bored. And, remember: it’s not being cheap. It’s being economically reasonable. 

My fellow live music loving homies - Benny, Acsa and me at Acre 121

Acre 121 (Country BBQ/Bar/Music Venue) with Amanda Badze (Indie Rock and awesomeness)

The Talent

A friend of mine from high school has a sister that lives in D.C. and she is a singer/songwriter/actress/poet. Her name is Amanda Badze, from Gweru, Zimbabwe, and her voice is a gorgeous combination of Adele, Rhianna, and a unique Indie/African flare of her own. She performed a four-hour set at Acre 121 on Friday night, and the crowd loved her charisma, vocals, and choice of covers. Her song choices ranged from favorites by Bob Marley, to Cage the Elephant, and all the way to the good ol Temptations. All of her songs were crowd pleasers, and there wasn’t a time in the night when the audience was not singing and/or dancing along with the music.

Amanda is currently a student at Howard University, but she performs as much as she has time for while she completes her studies. Her brother, Ishmael Badze (currently living the life out in LA while studying public relations), is her booking agent and manager. Amanda says he’s been a lifesaver as she begins her career, and that he is amazing at helping her to keep her world organized (for all you young, up-and-coming managementless talent out there – he’s clearly your man).

The Venue

Acre 121 is a fairly new restaurant right off the metro in Columbia Heights (across from the IHOP). It’s considered a country BBQ restaurant/live music venue. The management is great, the bartenders are friendly, and the staff was smiling and upbeat. It is so rare to find such awesome service in D.C., but these people definitely had it together. The manager even brought over a small sample of a potential menu item for us to try, and later came back to ask what we thought, and if there was anything we would do to improve it. With the option to sit outside on the patio or inside with the AC and bar, this place is a great venue for any type of weather, occasion, or craving!

Mixed drinks were a little pricey, but for this city it was pretty average. However, beers weren’t ridiculously overpriced…Abita Light was $5.00 for a pint, which may seem crazy to my college town of San Marcos, Texas, but out here, it’s a blessing.


For information about Amanda’s upcoming shows, please visit her Facebook music page. For booking information, email Ishmael Badze at IshmaelBadze@hotmail.com.

To check out fun events and great food/drinks at Acre 121, visit their website!

Oh! And for the social media nerds like myself out there, make sure to follow Amanda and Acre 121 on Twitter!



Pondering what’s next – DC life post Houston life

Finding a job in this economy completely suc….completely drains my life. I moved out to the East Coast in hopes of exploring parts of the country I feel I could live in to start a career. I love DC. I think it’s a great city with lots of enthusiastic and passionate professional-minded individuals. But, the job search is not going as well as I had hoped. Moving out here was a decision I made because I was ready for a change and sick of sitting still.

I am a pro at getting to the third phase of interviews with amazing companies, but when every job has “three to four really good candidates” at this step in the interview process, it’s cutting my odds down to 25 – 33.333333333333333333333333%.

That being said, and incredibly mathematically accurate might I add, I’m still exploring my options. I don’t know much about what the future will hold, but here is what I do know:

1. I want to work in media. I want to work for an agency doing PR and communications for lifestyle, entertainment, or non-profits. I like to eat. And I like to talk. So, finding a job in which I can utilize both of those passions would be ideal.
2. I want to travel. People say this all the time. But, rarely, as I have come to notice, do people ever get to do so until retirement age. I am 22 years old, unemployed, little money in my savings from my previous job, and a lot of energy. As much as I would love to save the little amount of money I have, I would like to spend it in Southeast Asia eating and exploring much more.
3. I want to help others in my position. While I have met a lot of amazing people out here in D.C. this past month, many people seem to have forgotten what it’s like to be unemployed and running around with your head cut off in a new city. While lots of people I have met have been eager to help and super friendly, majority just wont give you the time of day. And that’s the way it goes. But, when I am in a position of employment and have the experience needed under my belt, I am going to help young people find the right connections and ultimately a good fitting job.

So, what’s next? I’m applying for jobs every day, and meeting new people from networking events and previous connections. If a full-time position comes my way in the next month, I would be ecstatic and be the best employee I could possibly be for that company! If not, I’ll take it as a sign to get on a plane to Southeast Asia.

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for reading!

Last Weekend in DC – going out with a bang

My last roommate, Brandi, moves out today! I am officially going to be living alone for an entire week in DC! I NEED ADULT SUPERVISION!!! I’m only 21!!!

This is exactly why my dear friend and colleague, Kelsey, is going to come babysit me for the weekend. She texted me this morning to tell me that she has her “weekend bag” packed and that it is quite large. We have an entire weekend of fun planned!

Tonight, we are going to go dancing (since we both have given up on the gym, dancing is our only current form of physical activity). Tomorrow, we are going to go to the DC United game following a “Lady’s Night Out” beforehand. It looks fun…if you are in the DC area and haven’t gotten your tickets yet, here is the website:


Apparently these tickets come with a lot of perks for women. From the website, here is everything that is included with the tickets:

Anyways, I’ve never been to a soccer game before, but I have every intention of losing my voice from screaming and cheering as much as possible. Yup – I’m going to be that girl, and I am going to be proud of it.

Sunday will be my last Eastern Market adventure. I will probably cry and hug all of the owners of the booths, and hopefully I will not get arrested for looking like a psycho.

Texas in six days! I miss everyone back home – can’t wait to see my fellow TX Staters and family!

The joys of living in DC

My morning started out with a text from Kelsey which accurately explains her experience in DC vs my experience in DC. Kelsey and I always argue over how I think of DC as a nice, classy area, and she always bounces back with something along the lines of, “no, this is the grossest, dirtiest city I have ever seen in my life.”  Let me backtrack:

I am living in overpriced intern housing on Capitol Hill (2nd street to be exact). It is a few blocks from the Capitol and Supreme Court, minutes from nice restaurants and night life, and is surrounded by other interns temporarily dwelling on said hill.

Kelsey is living on 34th street with a family friend and has about an hour and a half commute each day, complete with 1 mile of walking just to get to the nearest convenient metro station. The road in which Kelsey resides near has singlehandedly contributed to the death of her car due to potholes and cracks, and it has supposedly been redone recently.

Here is what I was greeted with this morning:

On my venture to the Metro, I walked passed five DIFFERENT pieces of weave, got honked at 7-8 times in one mile, heard a man rapping about a “blood bath of cops,” saw another man pissing in broad daylight, AND a bus driver walked inside the train station to tell me he saw me on the bridge and proceeded to ask “is this how you get your workout?” ONLY IN D.C

It must be Monday

7:05 am : I roll out of bed, after snoozing for 15 minutes

7:10 am: I scurry into the kitchen to pack Thai leftovers for lunch today. I spill 1 cup of sticky white rice onto my kitchen floor. That stuff spreads like glass shatters.

7:11 am: I scream “shit” and begin to clean.

7:40 am: I leave my apartment, IPOD headphones in place in my ears. I begin to walk my .9 mile journey to Union Station.

7:45 am: People are staring. I think I look good.

8:10 am: I see reflection in metro window. I do not look good. My right pocket is sticking out of my jeans.

8:11 am: I realize I have gotten on wrong metro line. I must get off quickly before I am sucked back into the rush hour traffic of downtown DC. I only am two stops out of my way in the wrong direction. Fixable.

8:45 am: I arrive at work. I fear for the rest of my day. I hate Monday.

Bye bye Alejandro!

I said good-bye to my neighbor, Alex, last night over a glass of wine and The Real Housewives of DC premiere. During commercials, he was packing to leave for Vegas and I was folding my freshly cleaned laundry on his living room floor. Now, it’s just Brandi and me. We are dropping like flies! DC is so much fun. If you are ever offered a job, or yes, an unpaid internship, in our nation’s Capitol, I highly recommend you take it.

Me, Alex, Linn (left to right) in the Metro station on the way to Busboys and Poets

Alex, me, Linn, Michael (left to right) standing in front of the Capitol

Successful summer for the Swede

Linn leaves on Tuesday to go back home to Sweden. She has successfully seen the majority of important things while in America. She went to New York to explore the big city, she saw the Supreme Court justices during her internship as a reporter, and today she finished off her experience by seeing a WNBA Mystics vs. Tulsa Shock game in which the President of the United States was in attendance. Thank you Kelsey for giving us free tickets to that game! We had so much fun.

I would say that this has been a successful summer for all of us. And, she gets to understand what all the hype is about SHARK WEEK before she leaves as well! WHAT A WIN!

Obama at the Mystics game

Linn pointing to our great President

Me pinching Obama