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, D.C. United’s Steve Birnbaum and more.
Simone Eccleston, the Kennedy Center’s first director of hip-hop culture and contemporary music, has been curating events such as film screenings, dance parties, theatrical productions and (of course) concerts since her hiring in 2017. “The amount of inspiration that I experience on a daily basis is astounding,” she says of the job. “It’s so great to be in a space where on any night I could go from a jazz performance to a pop show to something on the classical side, then the theater.” For Eccleston, 38, finding inspiration isn’t just limited to work hours or her H Street NE neighborhood. She’d spend an ideal D.C. day taking in art, music … and some pork belly.
I would like to grab breakfast at The Wydown. It’s just across the street from my building. I like to go there for a vanilla latte with almond milk and a breakfast sandwich on a cheddar biscuit. It’s so simple, but it’s delicious.
Then I’d head back to my apartment and listen to music. I will literally have a listening session in my house. It’s part meditative, part about creating space for ideas to flow. Lately I’ve been going back to Solange’s “A Seat at the Table.” Every time I listen to that album, it’s magic.
Next is the National Portrait Gallery. I love the Obama portraits; Michelle’s portrait is so stunning up close. But what I love is that it’s in the same room as LL Cool J, who is a member of the Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Culture Council and also one of the 2017 Kennedy Center honorees and the first hip-hop honoree.
Then I would go to the National Gallery of Art. They have this beautiful exhibition by Gordon Parks right now which features some of his early works. Then I have to go to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. There are so many artifacts and so many brilliantly curated exhibitions that I could spend all day there.
I would go to Farmers Fishers Bakers for lunch because they have this dish called the Happy Belly. It’s like a pork belly tasting plate. It’s delicious.
Then I’m going to an NPR Tiny Desk Concert. To be able to experience artists that we consider to be major contributors to the culture, and they’re behind this desk delivering a signature set — it’s really extraordinary.
I want to drop in to Songbyrd Music House and check out their record collection. There’s something about being able to peruse what’s there, whether you’re looking at classic albums or new albums. There’s something beautiful about holding a record in your hand.
Then I’m going to Kith/Kin. Chef Kwame [Onwuachi] and his staff do such an incredible job of making you feel welcome — and the food is delicious. I come from a Jamaican family, and we will judge you by your oxtail.
Then I’d end the night with a lovely cocktail at Copycat Co. They have dim sum late at night, and it’s the perfect way to end the night.