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Murder mysteries, pastries and beautiful rooms: How BYT’s Svetlana Legetic spends a perfect D.C. day

Svetlana Legetic (E. Brady Robinson)

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 NPR’s Ari Shapiro, the Hirshhorn’s Melissa Chiucomedian Natalie McGill and more.


Svetlana Legetic knew she wanted her dream day to involve two things: a lot of walking, and murder. The co-founder of Brightest Young Things — the D.C. (and now New York and Chicago) events and culture site — is a little obsessed with murder mysteries, which explains the motivation behind her next project. “I have somehow persuaded Suns Cinema to play only mysteries in January,” says Legetic, 37. Why January? “There’s no better mystery than a snowed-in mystery: They’re these weird, kind of campy locked-in stories.” Each Thursday at the indie theater, the BYT Murder Club will screen some of Legetic’s favorites. Before she looks for clues, she’s got a big day planned.

I’d have a nice breakfast at home with fresh things I picked up at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. I do a lot of breakfast tacos, but I grew up in Eastern Europe, so my flavors are Mediterranean. I do roasted red pepper spread, radishes, scallions. I’d have breakfast with my husband, Jason.

Then we’d go to some bookstores, which is our favorite thing to do in the world. We live within walking distance of three bookstores: Kramerbooks, Bridge Street Books and my favorite secondhand shop, Second Story Books. I read a lot of murder mysteries and I pick up a lot of those at Second Story. I also just finished the Celeste Ng book “Little Fires Everywhere.” So we’ll pick up these books that we have no idea where to put. Our house is like Hoarders: Book Edition.

Then we’d go on a walk. We work so much with museums and stuff that I feel like I’m there all the time for work — I never go just for beauty. So on my perfect day, I would go and sit in a perfect room with things that are peaceful and wonderful. I thought about what those rooms are, and I have two: the tower of the National Gallery of Art, East Building and the Rothko Room at the Phillips Collection.

I think we’d go see a thing at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. I’m always pleasantly surprised by all the weird stuff they have there, because it flies under the radar. There’ll be this weird, sometimes dirty comedy happening at like 6 p.m. You can get a little champagne bottle and split it — it’s like a better version of a happy hour.

Then we’d have dinner. The main problem with dining in D.C. is that it’s either too casual or it’s so fancy that it’s a ridiculous financial and time commitment, and you’re held hostage by the experience. Iron Gate and The Bombay Club are a good middle ground. At Iron Gate, you get a bunch of small plates to share, and it is very Mediterranean, which I love. The Bombay Club has kale chaat that’s kind of like a crispy situation with yogurt on top and it’s the best.

We’re getting dessert at Un Je Ne Sais Quoi. They do these merveilleux. It’s this meringue covered in whipped cream. They’re perfect for sharing — they’re so overwhelmingly … everything. There’s no better dessert in D.C.

Then we’d see a movie at Suns Cinema, because besides going to bookstores, going to Suns is our favorite thing in the world. We’re definitely going to be there all the Thursdays [in January] for BYT Murder Club. We’re going to start with “Sleuth,” with Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. And we’re gonna finish with “Clue,” of course.

Then we’d have a drink at The Line hotel. [When it’s fully open] it’s gonna be delicious. There’s A Rake’s Progress from Spike Gjerde, and a bar from him and Corey Polyoka. I also curated the art program [at The Line], so I picked out all the art that’s in the rooms and the public spaces. It’s 100 percent local and 90 percent female — and no room is the same.