A recent (unfortunately well-researched) survey of 'Large City Creative Rankings' placed Washington DC as the 8th highest creative metropolis in the United States, bestowing upon this humble non-state a whopping Creativity Index of 964. By comparison, New Orleans, a city long documented as a bastion of debauched creativity, ranked 48th, with a piteously low 668 C.I.
Enthralled by this news, the local heads of All That Is Art decided to host DC's first official Creative Assembly, a gathering of the area's most successful left brains for a three hour summit on the current state of affairs in the Metro area. For a date, they chose May 14th, the anniversary of the opening of the famed Philadelphia Convention (and, as the delegate from the Society for DMVinyl preblogged unironically, the release of Chicago's multi-platinum hit maker '17')
The day's event was sponsored in part by thirty four local businesses, record labels, non-profits, alternative media outlets, mid-level faux-trendy corporations, as well as a few well-known conglomerates in the midst of mid-life crisis makeovers. The event's promotion was handled by the team at the Hip Hop Embassy, who designed and printed twenty-five thousand oversaturated, gloss coated windshield stuffers; re-printed and paraded said design on the sides of a fleet of loud-speaker powered passenger vans; and, in an inspired fit of last minute can-do, told everyone that girls would drink free with a valid I.D. The assembly was held at an upscale fusion restaurant in Dupont Circle with a maximum seated capacity of 80. It was guest-list only.
None of these men were on the list.
The event's schedule called for seating and opening remarks at 6PM. As the various esteemed media outlets gathered around the entrance way, cell phone cameras clutched in anticipation, the mood was palpable. In any second, the elite members of DC's Creative Class - those torch-bearing descendants of Duke Ellington, Dischord Records, and Jim Henson - would cross this red carpet and convene for the most important summit this city had ever hosted in its history, ever.
The stroke of 7:30 saw a rainbowed herd of fixed-gears, decked out Mini-Coops and Prii, and a congealed mass of Diamond cabs stampeding down towards the stylishly converted row-house with the intensity of a massive, multi-species migration on a Planet Earth rerun. For five minutes, there was pure fucking chaos as the various delegates jostled for real estate on Mass Ave's bifurcated lanes and limited walkways. The Graphic Design Envoy tussled with the Virginia Coalition of Rastafarian Rockers over a prime parking spot three blocks away. A spray painted bike was locked up vertically to a parking meter, spokes to the sky in a spiritually symbolic gesture of goodwill or something. It is photographed and retweeted instantly. A blogger notes that the air is already thick with the musk of unbridled creative energy and American Spirit aftershave.
The situation settled and the arrivals quickly piled into the restaurant, sparing only minutes to pose for the society magazines and part-time paparazzo. The open bar, it would seem, only lasted another hour and let it not be said that DC's art aristocracy is lacking for the creative juices that have fueled so many of History's finer minds.
Being a recent DC immigrant and a fringe member of the creative community, I managed to reserve an outlying seat at a corner table by the coat check, sandwiched between the pleasantly neutered Maryland Beadcraft Contingent and an unnamed Oregon transplant with an insufferably pungent vegan cologne and the jaundiced fingers of an implied lifetime of Drum smoking. He didn't represent any group present at the Assembly and had somehow fandangled his way in on the DC Shoegazer's plus one. He proceeded to drink all the local microbrew and complain about the lack of free-trade coffees throughout the evening. I drowned him out with Jameson shots.
There were a few noticeable absences. The Unified Dance Party did not make an appearance at the Assembly, having moved up to New York in April and shit. The local chapter of weBComics was heard but not seen, having chosen to Skype the proceedings from a group home in College Park due to finals. And sadly, last but not least, the Associated Embassy of Go-Go declined to participate due to a previously scheduled What?! Band cookout in Landover. All in all, a good majority of delegates of the Creative Class were in attendance however, and shortly after 9PM, the meeting got under way.
The opening statements were marred by general disagreement. One cannot simply place so many radiating egos in a room and not expect them to quarrel over the quality of the establishment's deep dish pan fried noodle Andouille or the lack of a good gluten-free beer. Furthermore, the long-seething tensions between Actors Unite! and Stagehands Unite! boiled over into a brief shouting match that was only sated once they both realized they were just repeatedly shouting 'No, fuck you!' at each other.
The first matter of business was brought to the Assembly's attention by the representative of Publicly Funded Murals, Inc. It was promptly criticized, altered, repainted in a harsh light, and vigorously scratched at until the original statement was barely recognizable. At this point, the Assembly agreed to deconvened for a smoke break and to update their Twitters.
A strategically placed photo backdrop in the lobby allowed members of the local press to catch their only glimpses of the various high ranking members of the community during downtime in the session. Delegates entertained themselves with a hi-definition Kinect setup, perused the various charity tables with the air of interest but no change for a five, and picked up a custom, commemorative t-shirt from the Vitamin Water screen print station.
At approximately 10:55 PM, the General Assembly reassembled and agreed upon a measure to expand Facebook promotion to include that one guy who's never going to show up anyway. It was hotly debated and passed by just a single squeaking vote, later attributed to the de facto leader of a cabal of well-meaning yet meandering Adams Morgan anarchists.
The third and final point of contention for the night revolved around how best to allude back to DC's once thriving hardcore scene without overtly alluding to DC's hardcore scene like some goddamn poseur. The conversation stretched into the late hours of the night, with every major and minor attendee giving their two cents worth of disagreement; it was finally and firmly resolved in an undecided outcome with room for future debate at the next Assembly.
At this point, the baron of World Elevator Muzak, LTD, the self-appointed moderator of the Summit, called the Assembly to a close so everyone could make it over to the waterfront after-party in Georgetown where a DJ planned to spin ambiguously ethnic dubstep until last call. The entire event was deemed a monumental success, a shining triumph and testament to the motivated propulsion of the Metro area's invigorated Creative Class.
I told all my friends about it and they just kind of nodded and went on with their lives.
No doubt, a critical eye might be inclined to fact check the validity of some details presented in the notes of these proceedings. For reference, please refer to the two hundred and forty six thousand photos and videos soon to be uploaded and gratuitously tagged across the social network following the publishing of this piece. -navi