Arts Desk

Pop-Up Watch: Yes, D.C. is Getting Another Pop-Up


Photo courtesy Shauna Alexander

With the announcement today that Brightest Young Things is erecting yet another pop-up shop space in D.C., it seems that the trend still holds water in D.C.'s arty nightlife scene. Vitaminwater, that is.

The temporary venue, which will be open May 19-June 17 at the vacant retail space located at 2213-2217 14th St. NW, will be co-sponsored by the makers of everyone's favorite distilled colorful drink, vitaminwater. The official name of the event is "vitaminwater® uncapped LIVE"—part of a nationwide initiative to, basically, associate vitaminwater with scenesters. The beverage manufacturer is currently working with Vice and Fader magazine on a series of national concerts under the uncapped LIVE moniker.  BYT's pop-up shop will be the longest and largest event in the series yet.

But don't call it a pop-up shop.

BYT founder Svetlana Legetic openly hates "pop-up shop," and "activation," two terms that have been used to describe previous Temporium projects funded by the D.C. Office of Planning. "I guess they're adequate in context but everyone's throwing them around constantly, so I'm just going to attempt and avoid them," says Legetic over e-mail. "Space takeover" is her preferred language, "until I come up with something better."

This "space takeover" promises to have a slightly sexier vibe than Temporia past. (Cherry Blossom Festival pop-up shop, anyone?) Think more party, less knitted socks. Like any Brightest Young Things event, it will be a sprawling mixture of art, music, and schmoozing, spread out over more than 20,000 square feet. Ubiquitous synth-pop brothers Bluebrain, DJ Chris Burns, and local electro-pop band Painted Face are all confirmed to perform; Legetic says Baltimore's pint-sized rapper Rye Rye is also booked. Art Whino's international arts event, the G40 Summit—now in its second year—will be folded into the party, showing work from a couple dozen artists; Tuesday through Friday, Legetic's team will host live music, fashion events, art talks, standup comedy, and more, with most of it for free or cheap, thanks to daddy vitaminwater.

"We've worked with vitaminwater all throughout 2010," says Legetic. "They understand and love the site and really want to help facilitate something that can be of true value to the neighborhood." Her group also hopes to pair up with LivingSocial to come up with some coupons from local businesses—something that, on that particularly desolate stretch of 14th St. NW, is lacking. Legetic may not like the term "activation," but in a way, that's what BYT has been doing for five years: turning kinda uncool places into locations. Case in point: the formerly scummy Capitol Skyline Hotel, which, following a makeover by the Rubell family and a series of BYT-hosted pool parties in 2009, became a summer destination for 20-somethings. Rebranding a venue with good-looking young people? Hey, that sounds like the mission statement of a pop-up shop.

"I mean, we're looking for it to be amazing," Legetic says. But, she adds, "way too amazing to just be called a pop-up shop."

Update: The original version of this post referred to the event as a "shop" and a "retail space." That is slightly misleading. Though art will be for sale, and the D.C. Record Fair will take place at this temporary venue on June 4, Legetic clarifies that retail will play a smaller role at this event than it has at other pop-up spaces.

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  • Bex

    I'm confused. Will they be selling anything? Because if not, why would you even call it a shop? Sounds like a venue, or a festival even.

  • Ally Schweitzer

    Yes, things will be sold at this "space takeover." D.C. Record Fair will take place there on June 4, and art will be for sale.

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