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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, May 19, 2024

GC in DC: Tales from the Swamp: Prime-time entertainment in the heart of the city

GC In Dc column graphic
Graphic by Bex Povill

Summer is fast approaching, and Washington, D.C. is ramping up for performances in the arts! One of the most surprising facts I’ve learned about the city is the large extent to which it serves as a critical cultural hub for entertainment. Internationally recognized artists, hailing from different genres like hip-hop, shoegaze and hyperpop, perform in D.C. on most weekends, energizing the city with the thousands of people attending these events.

Through my classes and friends, I’ve attended various performances, and three particular venues stand out for the diversity of entertainment they bring.

  1. Capital One Arena

Located in Chinatown, Capital One Arena is known as the epicenter of the Washington, D.C. sports world. D.C. sports are unfortunately in a period of stagnation, with the Washington Wizards being one of the worst-performing teams in the NBA, the Washington Commanders being one of the worst-performing teams in the NFL and the Washington Capitals standing as the eighth-best team in the NHL Eastern Conference with a record barely over .500. However, the arena is still a lively part of D.C. nightlife. College basketball games, including a match-up between the University of Connecticut Huskies, the reigning back-to-back NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions and the Georgetown University Hoyas, are intermittently hosted at the arena. Over the past month, the arena hosted premier artists like Burna Boy, Zach Bryan, Nicki Minaj and Bad Bunny. The 2024 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament was also held in March, further diversifying and expanding D.C.’s sports culture to a sports-hungry community.

  1. John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

I first went to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of a class trip, and it was one of the most fascinating cultural hubs I visited. The Center connects D.C. to thousands of artists, with millions of people visiting every year through countless events involving live performances, museum trips and archival work. The Center promotes the performance arts through education centering on multicultural exposure to music, dance and comedy. My friends and I are planning on attending events at the Center featuring legendary New York rapper Rakim and Atlantic MC Killer Mike. The former is part of a collaborative event with local hip-hop artists and the latter is in a performance involving the National Symphony Orchestra. The Center’s extensive archives on President John F. Kennedy are also astounding, encompassing his life’s work, from his time as a representative to his involvement in the civil rights movement.

  1. Atlas Performing Arts Center

Similar to the Kennedy Center, the Atlas Performing Arts Center curates multicultural talent. The Atlas Center specializes in showcasing performance art, particularly symphonies and plays. For example, the Center is hosting the Capital City Symphony and cellists, including French Canadian American Romain-Olivier Gray, in May as part of the Symphony’s final seasonal performance. The Center also hosts unique dance groups representing different cultures, including the Furia Flamenca Dance Company’s performance of fused Arabic-Islamic and Spanish dances. It is a smaller center compared to the Kennedy Center, but Atlas offers more opportunities to explore locally based arts groups and traditions that are not typically mainstreamed.