H Street Life: Photos at Sidamo

H St Streetcar

I’ve lived in DC for more than twenty years but until around 2008,  I only had vague idea of what H St NE looked like. I knew it primarily as the “bad part” of Capitol Hill, a blighted corridor of check-cashing joints and wig stores. There was no reason to go there (unless you were looking for crack) so I never went.

The first time I visited H St was for a show at the Rock n’ Roll Hotel at 13th and H NE. The cabbie asked me skeptically, “Where are we going?” I told him that there was supposed to be a club on H as we passed block after block of boarded-up buildings.

Things look considerably different today. H St is now the hottest neighborhood in the city, sprouting apartments and condos while suburban kids flock to the street’s nightclubs and bars. Why there’s even a streetcar running down the street. While it’s more of a curiosity than working transportation, the promise of the streetcar helped fuel redevelopment, signaling that H St was safe to visit.

Gritty DC, as represented by streets like H, is rapidly disappearing. There’s very little of that city left anymore. It’s better, of course, but I do miss the run-down charm of the place some times.

Bridget Murray Law captures the changing city in H STREET LIFE, an exhibit of her photography at Sidamo. If you like black and white street photography go check it out.

I’ve been a fan of Bridget for years. She has a romantic vision of the city, capturing the quiet moments that happen between people in this busy metropolis. It’s not a side of Washington that you see much. Romance is not something you think of when you think of DC. Aren’t they too busy for that? Bridget demonstrates that even Washingtonians have time for love.

I was glad to attend the H STREET LIFE opening on March 18 at Sidamo Coffee. Below are photos from the event – in black and white, of course.

Bridget Murray Law


Business Lunch



Murder Ballad: Backstage at the Studio Theater

Studio Theater
Studio Theater

How do you build buzz around a new play? If you’re the Studio Theater, you invite InstagramDC to a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming production of Murder Ballad. Studio Theater has been on 14th Street since 1980, in a large building (much expanded) that at one time was a hot dog stand warehouse. Murder Ballad is a rock musical about a love triangle that’s presented cabaret-style in a set that looks like a dive bar.

I was lucky enough to be a part of this exclusive tour. It was a small group (less than a dozen) of social photogs. We met in the lobby of the theater and then were taken on a rapid-fire tour of all four of Studio’s stages, through backstage spaces where they stored costumes and made sets and even up the perilous gantries above the stage. We were encouraged to take and share photos during tour using the hashtag #murderballad on Instagram and Twitter to help get the word out about the play.

Here are some highlights from the tour:

Behind the scenes at @studiotheatre The view from the stage #murderballad #IGDC
If you work at the Studio Theater, you see this stage every day. But for everyone else, standing on a stage is a very unique experience.
scenery construction shop
This is where they make the sets and is one of those rooms that they had a hard time getting us out of. Old tools, wood, sawdust, beautiful light – everyone found stuff to photograph.
in the rafters at Studio Theater
Watch your step! And your head! This is the gantry – about twenty feet above the stage.
looking down from the gantry
Looking down from the gantry at one of Studio Theater’s stages.
Jarrett celebrates surviving the gantry #IGDC #murderballad
Jarrett (IG: brilliantartistry) celebrates surviving the gantry.
A selfie moment #murderballad #IGDC
Photographers love mirrors.
silhouette at the Studio Theater
Studio has a lot of great windows facing 14th Street.

After the tour (we could’ve spent hours backstage, especially if they let us get into the costumes), they led us upstairs to the best part of all – the bar/set for Murder Ballad!

It looks just like a dive bar but is actually part of the play. There we were plied with drinks and bacon-wrapped figs while cast members sang a couple songs from the play. There were also giveaways and special surprises for this VIP event.

Murder Ballad set/bar at Studio Theater
The set/bar for Murder Ballad. I used Snapseed to give this photo a faded look.

Photographers love unique spaces that aren’t open to the public. At the Studio, everything was new and interesting to us – even collections of old props. So if you have something new to promote, consider inviting your fans behind the velvet curtain. Give them access to your hidden spaces. Share with them something special and they’ll do the marketing for you.