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    Mayor’s Arts Awards Part 1

    Deep Thoughts from the Director September 12th, 2012 By Amy Saidman

    I’ll admit it. I’m excited. I’m excited that we are a finalist for the DC Mayor’s Arts Awards in the category of Innovation in the Arts.  I was over-the-moon the day I got notice of our nomination. And on that day, I thought and said to others (with earnest sincerity), “This is awesome. I don’t care if we win. Being nominated is enough.” But dammit, the closer we get to the actual awards, the more I’m fantasizing about walking on stage to accept our award and making a grand speech. 

    I don’t want to want to win, but I do want to win. I’m trying to push it away, but I can’t, because, let’s be honest, how cool would that be? I would milk the pants off getting the award. Probably make it part of our name “SpeakeasyDC Winner of 2012 DC Mayor’s Arts Awards” and add it to the logo.  (Hec, I’ll do it anyway as “SpeakeasyDC – finalist for the 2012 DC Mayor’s Arts Awards).

    I don’t expect to win (though, why not, right?) so I’ll take this opportunity to make my grand speech a la Bill Clinton (long, that is).

    “Friends… Comrades… I am honored to stand in the company of these other wonderful nominees (suckers, we won!) and I am humbled by this honor (Who’s the badass? Me!)

    It’s no small thing to me to get this recognition. We’ve worked hard to get SpeakeasyDC to where it is today. It’s been a real by-your-own-bootstraps operation. We started without a single dollar, but thanks to our passionate, smart, and devoted fans, staff, volunteers, students, donors, and performers, here we are. We’ve grown from being a quirky, unknown kind of side-show to being a real player in the DC arts scene and putting storytelling on the map as a legitimate discipline of its own. And DC can claim some props here for being on the front end of the storytelling curve since we started long before the boom hit the nation. SpeakeasyDC debuted its first show in 1997, soon after The Moth put on its first Story Slam.

    We are blessed that Our Nation’s Capital is home to a special breed of curious, adventure-seekers who will take a chance and try new things. We thank our DC family for being open, when we started, to this new and strange kind of performing art (not too hard when the shows only cost 5 bucks, but still…) It was odd and different at the time, but our DC peeps came through and “got” it (possibly, because they were drunk, but no matter) and wanted more. They “got” and fell in love with how storytelling touches the part of us that hungers for connection, common ground, meaning, and sincerity. Whenever someone says something cliché about DC having no soul or being “buttoned-up” and conservative, I say they are so so SO wrong and they obviously have never been to a Speakeasy show!

    I can’t thank everyone who has contributed, cuz it would take forever, but I must acknowledge a few very key people who have been unflappable in their commitment and inspired in their vision: Rob Revere, the founder; Stephanie Garibaldi, our education director and artistic director of our 2nd Tuesday’s series who has been by my side since the beginning; Meredith Maslich and Mike Boyd, the two people who have served as chair of our board of directors; and all of our teachers Kevin Boggs, Vijai Nathan, Joe Price, and Amy Couchoud.

    Thank you and God bless America!”

    The awards will take place this Thursday, September 13 at the Lincoln Theatre 1215 U St, NW. It’s free and open to public. Starts at 6:30pm. Doors at 6.  There will be awards presentations and performances by some of the best DC artists. Join us on Thursday tand  check back to see the post-awards re-cap. Keep you fingers and toes crossed!

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