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Daylight: Time to Get Grooving

By Fritz Hahn
Special to the Washington Post
Friday, May 5, 2006

Sunday night events are always a hard sell. The weekend's winding down, and people have to get to work the next morning. Though the mind may be interested in checking out the likes of Sam "the Man" Burns, who keeps crowds moving until the wee hours of Monday morning at Dragonfly, the body is often weak, or at least preoccupied.

Late-night-quality DJs without the late hours: That's one of the ideas behind Daylight, a new dance-party-meets-house-party at D.C. Sanctuary (1355 H St. NE; 202-399-4033). Organized by Tony Sizemore, the Sanctuary's gregarious weekend doorman, and DJ Bill Source, the deft hands behind State of the Union's Grits & Gravy events, Daylight opens its doors at 5 p.m. Sundays, serving up soulful grooves and hip-hop beats on the dance floor and a cookout in the back yard until 11.

"When you get a little older, you can't hang out like you used to," says Sizemore, who's 38. "You got your career, family, your responsibilities. This is set up so you can roll in at 6:30, get some good food, hear some good music, then get home by 9, or you can go over to Sam's party."

The hours may be convenient, but the music, a mix of house, '70s R&B, soul and disco, is what the crowd comes for. "The crux of the party is all the old funk stuff and the rare grooves," Sizemore says, rattling off a playlist that includes Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Shalamar, mixed in with classic Womack & Womack or Afrika Bambaataa.

"We started this night for selfish reasons," Sizemore says. "We love this music, and we didn't have a place to go and hear it. We're not trying to make this a popular party or the trendy party. We want the heads, the people who really love this music, to come out and have a good time."

There's a small bar, and if you take a staircase down to the back yard, you'll find a mesh-walled tent where caterer Nichelle Johnson offers a choice of hot dogs, spicy barbecue and spaghetti and meatballs for $5 a plate. Introductions are mandatory, and within minutes, you're chatting like old friends. Discussions center on music, food and the party rather than your day job, which comes as a relief after all those "So, what do you do?" questions at your average happy hour.

Daylight is off to a solid start, drawing more than 80 people a few weeks ago, but Sizemore says the promoters intend to keep things interesting. "The crux of the party is soul music, but every week we give you a side dish of old house or '80s electro -- you know, Tears for Fears or Kajagoogoo, we love that stuff. We might play some old-school hip-hop, but nothing after 1990. We're digging in the crates."

Sounds like the perfect summer jam.

-- Fritz Hahn

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