Author Archive for Ryan Little

Comparing Notes: Two Critics Confer on “Fermata,” Artisphere’s Aural Exhibition

In musical notation, a fermata is a symbol used to indicate when a note or rest should be sustained. It’s usually used over rest notes to indicate a grand pause. That’s not the imagery that most curators try to summon with summer exhibits.
But “Fermata,” an ambitious new exhibit on view through August 10 at Artisphere, [...]

As Lo-Fang, Matthew Hemerlein Takes His Left-Field Pop to the West Coast

It started as a mixtape. About 40 minutes long, the recording was a modest compilation of eclectic ideas and choice samples flowing from Columbia, Md., native Matthew Hemerlein’s well-traveled mind. The classically trained polymath had quit D.C. in 2011, traveling to Cambodia and London and Nashville. So he weaved his experiences abroad with his relationships at [...]

Josh Burdette, 9:30 Club Manager and Crew Chief, Has Died

According to a 9:30 Club spokesperson, club manager and crew chief Josh Burdette has died.
Casual club patrons may not have known Burdette's name, but it would have been hard not to know his stretched earlobes, surly tattoos, and friendly smile. Burdette began working at the V Street NW venue in 1997, and for about as long, he was [...]

U Street Music Hall Fires Bouncer Who Tried to Boot Male Patrons for Dancing With Each Other

The last time Robyn was in town, she was opening for Katy Perry, playing to a packed  Merriwether Post Pavilion. Last weekend, in D.C. for a two-night stand with Coldplay at the Verizon Center, the Swedish singer brought her vocoded vocals and drum-machine hooks to U Street Music Hall. The 33-year-old performer's Saturday appearance included a [...]

Everybody’s Doing It, So Why Can’t We? On NPR, David Lowery, Travis Morrison, and Paying for Music

There's a culture war going on right now, and it has nothing to do with gay marriage. If you're a music nerd, a music-maker, or a Facebook friend of either kind of person, you've probably seen a link to a recent blog piece by NPR intern Emily White in which she explains how she acquired [...]

Soul Survivor: The Lost Recordings and Magic Touch of Robert Hosea Williams

It’s not rare for musicians to begin their careers in the garage and end them in the pawnshop. For recording engineer Robert Hosea Williams, it was just the opposite. He began his life’s work picking up used gear, and finished it by packing up storage boxes, stowing away some of the baddest D.C. soul recordings of the [...]

Gold Leaf Studios’ Last Hurrah (Probably)

The aroma of illicit substances was hard to ignore when I arrived at Gold Leaf Studios late on Saturday night, and the whole place felt ready to burst. The Mount Vernon Square warehouse of artist studios has always felt raw and chaotic, but the space's impending demise had now removed its occupants' remaining inhibitions. Shit [...]

The Gold Leaf Variations: A Longtime DIY Venue Nears Its Swan Song

On Labor Day weekend last September, if you stepped outside of the new Korean restaurant or the swank Japanese kitchen at 5th and K streets NW and gazed across the way, you might have caught a scene that felt slightly out of place in shiny, revitalized Mount Vernon Square. Lanterns emerged from inky, overgrown foliage. Guitar [...]

William “Whop” Frazier, 1943-2011

Bassist and singer William "Whop" Frazier spent years backing up other blues players before stepping out on his own. The singer—who for decades was a prominent figure in D.C.'s blues scene—passed away on Dec. 22 at Fairfax hospital following a brief battle with lung and bone cancer. Frazier was 68.
Frazier's wife, Dolores "Dede" Frazier, recalls meeting him [...]

Why Slate Is Wrong About D.C.

On Wednesday, Slate published a piece by Matthew Yglesias about why D.C. is, essentially, a terrible place for young, creative people to live.
The article has since flown about social media, causing many a sad emoticon and, apparently, excessive vomiting. The jab is all the more painful because there is some truth to it–D.C. is [...]

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