The recent juggernaut of alternative offerings in the nation’s capital — from Art in Heat to the Fringe Festival — shows no sign of stopping. In fact, it’s gaining steam with the latest offering: Phase Fest 2007, ”three days of queer art and music from D.C. and beyond.”
Ground zero for the three days is Capitol Hill’s Phase 1 bar, a favorite among local lesbians, where from Aug. 16 to 18 more than a dozen acts — some local and some hailing from various points around the country — will take the spotlight.
”It just sort of all came together all at once,” says local musician Mara Levi, who organized the event along with Phase 1 and grass-roots arts company Riot Grrl, Ink. ”There was not a lot of time to pull it off, but it’s fun. We’ve been negotiating contracts, bringing together tons of people from all over the community. We’re all having a good time putting it together.”
Though live music has been on offer at Phase 1 for roughly a year and a half, says Phase 1 manager Angela Lombardi, the three-day Phase Fest is greater in scope than anything the venue has offered in the past.
”Originally, it was going to be just local artists and musicians,” she says. ”It’s turning out to be a big deal. I’m beyond excited.”
Schedule of Performances
Thursday, Aug. 16
Katastrophe – 8:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 17
K. Love the Infinite – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 18
Sugar’s Harness Workshop – Noon
Admission to Phase Fest 2007 is $15 for each individual date. A weekend package is available for $50, and includes tickets to all three days, a discount drink cup, an event T-shirt and admission to Friday evening’s VIP Dinner. For more info, visit www.phasefest.com.
Beyond the music-making and spoken word, this ambitious festival will also see a patio full of vendors, a special dinner, sexuality-related workshops and a ”green room.” That room, an area where performers can relax when not performing, has proven to be one of the most challenging components of the festival, admit both Levi and Lombardi, who have been clearing out space for it in Phase 1′s basement.
”If you’ve been in the Phase, you can imagine what lies beneath,” jokes Lombardi. ”That’s the biggest headache. It’s a bit of a dungeon.”
Efforts like sprucing up the basement may make it easier to pull together a 2008 Phase Fest, and both women seem eager to make that a reality. But Levi says that the community will make the final verdict on that front, as a repeat performance depends on how much money it makes and ”what kind of response we get.”
”We really want people to see that there’s something for everyone — not just something you already like, but maybe something new that you haven’t seen,” she says. ”We hope everyone will want to take part.”