In this week’s Got Plans? discussion, the Going Out Gurus bring in guest actress and performer Paige Hernandez, who is on the brink of becoming a theater-scene breakout, thanks to recent productions that feature her unique blend of spoken word and hip-hop, b-girl style and identity-searching.
And it doesn’t hurt that she’s everything we like in a guest Guru: up on theater (including theater aimed at kids), and deeply into hip-hop, dogs, jazz and trendy dining. Get to know a little bit about her below, and catch her with us Thursday at 1 p.m. when she helps us take your questions during this week’s Got Plans? chat. Submit your questions now.
You’ve been in several stage productions around town -- tell us about a couple of your favorite projects.
Ooo…great question. I’m actually coming off of a terrific run of “P. Nokio” at Imagination Stage. This one definitely goes down in the books! I played the Grafitti Fairy-- a saucy, wise, hip-hop fairy equipped with spray paint, a tutu and funky tri-colored hair. The cast and crew were stellar, and I’m so proud of the playwright/director/performer Psalmayene 24. “P. Nokio” returns to Imagination Stage this October.
Besides that, I loved playing the Virgin Mary in “The Second Shepherds' Play” at Folger Theatre  and Mary Tilford in The Children’s Hour at Everyman Theatre [in 2005 in Baltimore]. My absolute favorite productions would be the ones I created: “Paige In Full,” “Havana Hop” and “Liner Notes.” “Liner Notes” will be back April 25-28 at the Dunes in Columbia Heights. It explores hip-hop’s many intersections with a jazz quintet, lyrists and vocalist. Liner Notes also has killer projections. I promise it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. Oh…and bring your dancing shoes.
Some of your work, notably “Paige in Full,” had a distinctive hip-hop vibe, and hip-hop and jazz are kind of your thing. What are your go-to spots for hip-hop (DJ nights or shows)? How about jazz?
For hip-hop, I love Lounge of Three (Wednesdays and Fridays) on U Street, although I’m a bit biased because my brother Nicktha1da spins there.
I also love Liv nightclub, also on U Street. It has great open mikes and dance parties. For jazz, you can’t go wrong with the Bohemian Caverns. They have a reasonable admission, great food and nationally acclaimed artists. I’m also really feeling the DC Jazz Loft. They recently moved to the Dunes in Columbia Heights on 14th Street. The Jazz Loft is a great way to keep your ear to the ground of what’s happening locally on the jazz scene.
What theater or art events are on your calendar for the next month?
You’ve told us that you’re something of a foodie. What are your favorite places to eat right now?
I really like the atmosphere of Comet Ping Pong ... plus they have a great hard cider. My favorite burger is at The Argonaut on H Street NE although my husband will debate this for hours! I finally made it into Rasika and man, oh, man, was that worth the wait. Other favorites include Cava, Founding Farmers and Highlands Café on 14th Street. If you’re up for the trek, Big Fish Grille in Crofton is my absolute favorite seafood happy hour. They have a lobster mac and cheese that will make you Harlem Shake.
What’s coming up on the horizon for you?
“Liner Notes”! “Liner Notes” is also very special to me because I get to perform with my husband and my father! They’re both incredible musicians with swagga for days! I’m also still touring my one-woman show, “Paige in Full,” across the country. We head out to Portland, Maine, and Brooklyn next.