Democracy Dies in Darkness


Duende District owner Angela Maria Spring imagines her perfect day in D.C.

July 5, 2018 at 9:35 PM

Angela Maria Spring (Mike Morgan/)

In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District. See previous dream days from Mayor Muriel Bowser, BYT’s Svetlana Legetic, Story District’s Amy Saidman and more.


The idea of opening a bookstore had Angela Maria Spring yawning. “I’m on the go,” the New Mexico native says. “I don’t like to be bored.” So instead, she opened a handful of teeny bookstores all across D.C. Duende District, her collaborative bookshop concept featuring authors of color, has two permanent locations — inside Union Market’s Toli Moli and Mahogany Books in Anacostia — and pops up in a rotating selection of arts centers. Running all over town to tend to her displays is all in a day’s work for Spring, but she’d choose the frenzy over being stuck in one location every time. “It fits my personality,” says Spring, 36. “I really wanted to have this bookstore experience in a migrant sort of way.” Contain your surprise: On her dream day off from running around and thinking about books, Spring wants to run around and think about books.

It starts in my apartment with my husband, and we are eating a homemade breakfast of Mexican breakfast burritos, because we like to bring a bit of home with us. Then I would spend an hour just writing. I’m a poet — that’s the other thing that I do. I’m trying harder to make time for my own writing.

I would head over to Sankofa Video Books & Cafe to browse their really wonderful selection and have what I think is the best chai latte in town. Then I’d keep walking to Walls of Books. I have a terrible book habit. It never fails that if I’m in a strange city that I’ll go into a bookstore and buy something, because I’m touched in the head or something.

Then I would go to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. I can wander around there forever. But what I really love is the museum’s shop: Everything in there, I want to buy. It’s a problem. I’m holding in my hands a Frida Kahlo candle, because I walked in [the gift shop], saw it and had to have it. There’s a pair of hoop earrings there that I need to get next. It’s like a boutique — it’s like no other museum shop I’ve ever been to.

After lunch I’d pop over to my literary godparents’ — Susan Coll and Paul Goldberg’s — house in Woodley Park for vodka and some libations. I used to work for Paul. He’s a novelist; he’s hilarious. Susan and I met at Politics & Prose. She’s also a novelist who’s written several books. They’ve been two of the biggest supporters of everything I’ve been doing. I can’t imagine D.C. without them.

Next place I would go is to catch some live jazz at the Anacostia Arts Center. They do jazz in that lobby area. I have accidentally heard many a concert there, and I’ve always wanted to just go, instead of to be working while it’s happening.

I want to end up with a big dinner party with all of my D.C. friends at El Chucho. We’re going to take over the rooftop for tacos and margaritas, and just have one big, awesome party.

I’d head back to my apartment, where I’d have a gathering of all my favorite D.C. writer and poet friends for an impromptu private salon with music. I would love to have everybody in the same room as we’re just reading each other poems and playing each other music. It’s a very New Mexican thing. I don’t actually know if we can fit them all in my apartment, but I’d love to try.

Lori McCue is the arts and food editor at DCist. Previously, she was a features editor at Express.

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