“People said to me, ‘You are so lucky, you just missed the cicadas, but don’t worry they’ll be back 17 years from now.’ At the time, I was like, I’m not going to be here in 17 years, nothing to worry about,” Kano recalls.
Well, the Brood X cicadas are back and Kano is still here, having risen to the role of artistic director for GMCW in 2014. As the cicadas reemerge, Kano, too, is thinking about how her chorus reemerges from the most challenging year of her tenure — while also celebrating the company’s milestone 40th anniversary.
The latter celebration begins on June 5 with a ticketed virtual showcase (available through June 20) featuring new performances, archival footage and the new song “Truly Brave,” written in honor of the occasion. The digital show marks the end of the chorus’ virtual season, so Kano and a task force are currently focused on reopening in the fall — and ensuring that the popular holiday shows can go off without a hitch.
The 55-year-old Northern California native has spent the past 15 years living on Capitol Hill East with her husband, Doug, and their two dogs, Piper and Toula. “I’ve seen so much change, but there’s a lot that has remained constant in a wonderful way,” she says. “It feels like home. What I love about Capitol Hill is it really has a community neighborhood feel.”
She sees a dream day as a time for quiet reflection, observation, and inspiration. “As an artist, I need open, quiet space for creativity,” Kano says. “I’m going to have a journal with me to reflect on what I might have noticed today. I really try to keep my eyes open for things that inspire me.”
I’m out the door and I’ve got my pups with me. And I’m going up to the corner; there’s a place called the Roost, which opened last summer. It’s a culinary clubhouse, they call it, and I’m going to grab a seat outside and an oat milk latte from Cameo coffee and an avocado toastie from Leni. The avocado toastie rocks my world. What’s different about it is they sprinkle some quinoa on, and it’s on sourdough toast, so it’s a fork and knife type deal, which is really satisfying. It’s a beautiful lovely day and there are no cicadas.
Then I just want to walk. I love walking my pups through Capitol Hill. My goal is to get downtown. I’m going to be walking toward Eastern Market and beyond. It’s so beautiful. The rowhouses, the gardens, the people — spring, when everything’s in bloom, it’s just beautiful. You feel like you’re really part of the community.
I make my way to Eastern Market. I love people watching. So being there at Eastern Market, surrounded by other people and their dogs, you just feel like you’re part of something really creative and something really relaxing. We do often stop at District Vet because they always say hi and give the girls treats.
I love walking along East Capitol toward the Capitol. If the sun’s just right, seeing the sun shine through the windows — it’s awe-striking every time I see it. Once you get past the Capitol, you look down onto the Mall and see the Washington Monument. I said to myself, if I ever get tired of that view, it’s either time to leave Washington or something’s really wrong (and probably more the latter). It’s just so inspiring. And because no one’s been on the Mall, the green emerald grass is stunning. I might sit on the steps of the Capitol and take it in. You’re sitting among history and that always gets me. Having been at the Supreme Court the day of the marriage equality ruling, ever since then when I go by the Supreme Court, I get chills.
I love the National Portrait Gallery. My happy place is standing before Barack and Michelle Obama’s portraits. My dogs are Portuguese water dogs, and I was fortunate I got to meet Sunny and Bo in the White House years ago, and I didn’t have dogs at the time. They were just so soft and so calm. The other day, when we learned that Bo Obama had died, we were all very sad. So if I’m allowed to bring my dogs in there, so that they could actually see these portraits, that’d be awesome. I find that both portraits are so stunning. They take my breath away, and both of them have so much story. And honestly, Barack and Michelle, we know there’s a lot of story there. Every time I see Barack’s portrait I see something different I haven’t seen before.
At this point, we’re pretty darn hungry because we’ve been walking for a good couple hours at this point. So we’re close to Oyamel, which has the best margaritas in town, and I love their fish tacos. I’m going to sit up at the bar, maybe the corner. Oyamel is often very busy, but even in the height of tourist season, it still feels like there’s lots of locals there. Nothing wrong with tourists, but I love being with people from my city. So that’s just a good place to stop to rest my feet a little bit.
I love Landmark’s E Street Cinema and I want to catch a matinee. You go down below, and it always feels cool, particularly in the summer. Whatever is showing, I’ve never been disappointed by a film there. Sometimes they’re bizarre, like “what in the hell was that?” There’s a bar and I might need to get a drink. I so enjoy movies and I love going to a matinee by myself. It’s my kind of quiet time.
I’m going to head up to grab a light dinner. I’m going to walk up to Floriana which is on 17th and Q streets. This is a time to see what people are doing. I’m picturing a weekend day so people are out and about. 17th Street is always thriving. Floriana is one of my favorite restaurants in town. I love that it’s an old, brick Victorian-style home that’s been changed into this restaurant. I used to live close to there so it was my regular place. They’ve always had great outdoor seating. I often see folks I know walk by, so it’s fun to catch up with people. Fish is what I tend to get there because they do a nice job there. I’d get a sauvignon blanc to go with salmon.
I need to get over to the Kennedy Center. We are so fortunate to have — literally — the nation’s stage right here in our city. I will see anything but my top choices are: Alvin Ailey, Washington Ballet, Renée Fleming and “Hamilton.” Those four things really cover my love of the Kennedy Center, so I’ll try to see a little bit of each. At intermission I need to go to the terrace and take in the monuments and the Potomac River. I’ll also grab a glass of champagne.
This is where I can bring my husband into it. We’ll meet for a nightcap back at 17th Street at Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse because their Ruby Slipper is delicious. It’s grapefruit vodka fabulousness. Annie’s is a huge supporter of the chorus, and they host our opening night cast parties. Whenever we arrive there after an opening night, as soon as I walk in, the bartender puts the Ruby Slipper in front of me.