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Coffee, a massage and rooftop ping-pong: How Story District’s Amy Saidman would spend a perfect day in D.C.

Amy Saidman will host “Story District’s Top Shelf” at the Lincoln Theater on Jan. 20 and 21. (Alexander Morozov)

Amy Saidman has been running storytelling shows for so long, she remembers when New York’s famed storytelling empire The Moth was just a caterpillar. She got started in 1999, performing with Washington Storytellers Theatre, which she promptly took over and has since grown into the juggernaut collective now known as Story District. The group has its own storefront in Park View, where it helps a diverse array of D.C. residents find their voices through classes and shows. This month, Saidman will host the group’s annual showcase, Story District’s Top Shelf (Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW; Jan. 20, 8 p.m., sold out; Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m., $25-$35), and she has absolutely nothing to wear. That’s why we gave her a free day to shop and play.


The first thing I’d do is walk my dachshund, Shortie. We’d go to Dos Gringos in Mount Pleasant, where the owner stands outside in the morning sometimes and sells coffee for a dollar. It’s the best deal in town. Hopefully, I’ll get a call from my bestie Katie on her way to work and we’ll chat while I walk the dog and drink my coffee. I’d stop at every Little Free Library in Mount Pleasant and look at all the books I will never read. I’m an aspirational reader, in that I aspire to read but I don’t usually get around to it.

If I have a show coming up, I’ll keep walking through Rock Creek Park and work on my story. In the woods, no one can see you talking to yourself. Sometimes, when I’ve been walking deep in Rock Creek Park and I come out into the open talking animatedly to myself, people will look at me like I’m truly insane.

Then I’d try to get some friends together to play games at Board Room. I’d get a grapefruit juice cocktail because they squeeze their grapefruits fresh — it’s top-notch. I’m a fan of Cards Against Humanity, but it’s a little played out, so I might play Connect 4 instead. I always go in thinking I’m going to kill it, and then lose.

Since it’s my dream day, I’d go and get a massage at TuSuva in Adams Morgan. I’d get deep-tissue, of course. I like it when they lean into it with their elbows. Do not hold back — make it hurt.

I know I need some clothes for my Lincoln Theatre show, so maybe I’d go to Current Boutique. They have really cute stuff there, though it’s a little expensive. I could also go to Frugalista, a secondhand shop in Mount Pleasant. When I have a show, I go there at the last minute and try to find something to wear. My boyfriend, Scott, has his outfit planned out weeks in advance. He’s trying to get me to dress better. Good luck to him.

Not sure what time it is, but I’m probably hungry so I’d go to RedRocks. Cassie is awesome; she always seems to be my server. I’d get their seared tuna salad — it’s delicious. Or I might just cook a Blue Apron meal while watching TV.

Now it’s nighttime, so I’d get a drink with friends on the rooftop of Homestead in Petworth. The restaurant is really nicely designed. It’s a stylish, rustic rowhouse with multiple levels. I like to go there for happy hour.

I want to throw in a pingpong match on the top floor of Colony Club — it’s a coffee shop during the day and a bar at night. I’m not the best pingpong player, but I can absolutely destroy my boyfriend. I look like the best player on Earth against him.


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.