From left: Ryan Ratino, Amy Saidman, Ayes Cold, Ari Shapiro, Kara Lawson, Melissa Chiu (Express illustration)

In 2017, we chatted with all sorts of artists, chefs, curators and writers for the stories in Weekend Pass. It’s unlikely that any of those people would put “fortune teller” on their résumé, but for this story, we asked them to make bold predictions about the future of D.C. These experts told us what they think District residents will be talking about in 2018 — and now we’re off to snatch up tickets, T-shirts and restaurant reservations before everybody else.

“I think news organizations are going to dig into collaboration a lot more. There’s so much value in newsrooms combining their areas of expertise and getting a great story to wider audiences that consume news on different platforms. Competition is great in that it encourages everybody to be better, but collaboration has a lot going for it, too.”
Ari Shapiro, NPR’s “All Things Considered” co-host

“I think Asian influence is going to keep moving forward. You have [chefs] who are young and focused and really want to push forward something they grew up eating, how they experienced food through their families. It’s getting to specific roots: Thai, Laotian, Filipino.”
— Ryan Ratino, Bresca chef and owner; winner of the 2017 Rammy Award for rising culinary star of the year

“My dream for this city … is that people learn to think of this as a theater town, so that people who come in to see the monuments will start saying, ‘I better make sure I get tickets to this show or go to Arena Stage, go to Ford’s Theatre.’ I think we’re on the cusp of that being a big attraction for the city. D.C. has all these vibrant museums. Theater is a museum of the soul, and D.C. should be a place that holds that.”
Karen Zacarias, D.C. playwright and former Arena Stage playwright-in-residence

“Especially with last year politically, I think more people are looking to express themselves in unconventional ways, like graphic T-shirts with messages printed across the front — it can be a slogan or the number to call your politician. Being in D.C., it feels like we’re in the epicenter of [politics]. It makes us want to express ourselves even more.”
Tasha James, The Glossier blogger

“We’re going to be eating a lot of boozy-flavored pastries to drown our sorrows and comfort ourselves. I’m a big fan of rye and bourbon, so that’s what we plan on doing.”
— Meredith Tomason, RareSweets founder and pastry chef

“People are getting braver in terms of shaving and undercuts, getting crazy underlays, wild vivid colors, etc. We have a lot of politically affiliated people [in Takoma Park] in particular, and they push the envelope with rose-gold hair, pink streaks, etc., and they keep coming back for it again. Not something I would have seen 15 years ago when I started in the city.”
— Ian Palmiero, Scissor & Comb Salon co-owner

Body art
“The fact that you can get on Instagram and see thousands of tattoos from around the world in an instant has really kind of opened people’s eyes to what other people are doing and what’s possible. Specific designs come and go quicker now — I can point to three dozen designs that are trendy, but by the time I give you the list they’ll be over.”
— Fatty, Fatty’s Tattoos & Piercings founder and owner

“Edibles are really popular. I think there’s a lot of opportunity there. What I’m most excited about is [D.C. Council member] David Grosso’s proposal to end the requirement to see a doctor to get medical cannabis, so people can just walk into dispensaries.”
— Joe Tierney, The Gentleman Toker blogger

“2018 is going to be a defining year in D.C. sports, when you look at it being potentially Bryce Harper’s last year in D.C. He’s a free agent after this year. I would assume that [by the end of] 2018, we would know whether he’s coming back.”
Kara Lawson, Washington Wizards primary television game analyst and former WNBA player

“There’s this budding wellness community that’s such a response to normal D.C. life. People in D.C. are learning and embracing that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and making sure they are taking care of themselves first so they can do good work. I imagine that over the next year, we’ll see more wellness-oriented events. Young women in particular seem to really be embracing lifestyle changes to attend to their needs individually.”
Becky Waddell, Take Care owner

“One trend I’m seeing is comedians adopting storytelling as part of their repertoire. It used to be that stand-up comedians didn’t want to be called storytellers because it wasn’t cool, but now being a comedic storyteller is seen as a
selling point.”
— Amy Saidman, Story District artistic executive director

“I see a resurgence of classic house and techno sounds in the next year. Even people who would identify as listening to only hip-hop or only R&B are increasingly open to house and techno sounds and four-to-the-floor beats.”
Ayes Cold, DJ

“Vegetables are going to be big. They’re going to take off in 2018, I think, because a lot of people are trying to eat healthy and have less of an environmental impact. I like to treat them like meat. I like sunchokes a lot. I like cauliflower — it has many different textures and flavors, and it takes well to everything.”
— Benjamin Lambert, District Winery chef de cuisine

“I can tell you what I hope will happen. It’s time that things cooled off a little bit with the ‘I’ve gotta change the whole world and reinvent the wheel [with my new bar or restaurant]’ and just focus on really good food and solid drinks. There’s nothing wrong with people coming to town and opening these awesome places, because it gives D.C. more national press that it deserves. But you’ve gotta take care of the people that live here, too.”
— Said Haddad, Maydan general manager and 15-year veteran of D.C.’s bar and restaurant scene

“One thing we are going to see more and more of is performance art. It fits in with the greater emphasis on participation and interactive elements that we’re seeing across the board at all museums, but especially at contemporary art museums like the Hirshhorn.”
Melissa Chiu, Hirshhorn director