With Howard homecoming kicking off this week, it was only natural that we’d bring in a true Bison homecoming expert: Miles Gray III, the managing partner of Smith Commons, who happens to be a Howard alum. And fresh off last week’s Meetup story came J.T. Yaung, who organizes the area’s largest Meetup, the 20s and 30s Going Out Group — and happens to be an expert in the logistics of packing a party of 40 into one bar.
So, what did we talk about?
Q: Let's start with a question for Miles: You're a Howard alum. What is it about Howard homecoming that brings so many A-list stars and musicians to Washington for the weekend (or the whole week)?
Miles Gray: Most of the the A-list stars and musicians are either Howard alums, have Howard alums in their professional networks or did a gig at Howard homecoming on their way to stardom. I remember meeting Kanye West on the yard during homecoming in 2003 and some of us knew him as a producer by name, but the majority of people had no clue who he was. That's homecoming!
Q: Any suggestions for cultivating lasting connections with people I meet at events? I've meet lots of really great, fun people at Meetups, but I haven't had much luck keeping in touch later.
J.T. Yaung: The best way is to continue coming out to events. Over time, you'll see some of the same people and get to know them at events you'll both have interest in. Whether you should exchange numbers: I usually play it by ear. If you get to talking and find you have similar interests, by all means exchange contact info. Some people are more comfortable with different communication mediums. Usually, you can't go wrong with Facebook!
Q: I'm planning on going out for Halloween on Saturday like everyone else, but I didn't find the expensive Nightmare on M Street tickets worth it last year. Can I find Halloween fun at other bars nearby without having to buy tickets?
Fritz Hahn: We have about three dozen events in our system so far, ranging from Hot 99.5's always raging Freek-O-Ween at District ($5,000 for the best costume!) to an open-bar party at Town Tavern ($10 for all you can drink until 10 p.m.). The problem with the behemoth that is Nightmare on M Street, though, is that you probably won't be able to get into any of those 17 bars if you don't have the official wristband. Since it includes some of the most popular Midtown Saturday night destinations, such as Madhatter and Front Page, it may make nearby non-participants, such as Lucky Bar, Buffalo Billards and Cafe Citron, even more crowded.
Want more? Check out the rest of this week’s chat here. And do you think you know someone who’d be great at answering your questions? Let us know who in the comments.