Monday, February 16, 2009

The Channel Inn in DC on the Waterfront

In the late 90's, I frequented the Channel Inn on the waterfront in southwest DC as a respite from the club scene. The Sunday night open mic with the house band and the jazz and old school tunes was a cheerful opportunity for an intergenerational mix of folks while the open mic allowed to practice new music and standards while growing a local audience. I fell out of touch while raising a family but recently have begun to revisit the spot which hasn't changed much over the years. I covered the spot for my column in East of the River and have photographed some of the artists who have performed there. It is not a thing to see DC "Mayor for Life" Marion Barry up in the house at the Channel Inn or other prominent older gents and ladies who live in or frequent the spot.

The crowd is still mainly 50+ and as a thirty-something, I am still one of the youngins in the room. The open mic fare still is top quality local talent with folks singing everything from Johnny Mathis and Smokey Robinson to Sade and Chaka Kahn. No originals here though. Just about everyone does a cover.

I went last night for the Sunday open mic which starts at 7:30pm and extends into midnight after rehearsal for an upcoming show. Due to today's federal holiday, the place was packed with folks who were enjoying a three day weekend. I was treated to see some of my favorite open mic-ers who were regulars during my early days of frequenting the Channel Inn.

Fun was cut short, however, when I realized my cell phone had been stolen. I made an announcement on the mic for the perpetrator to do the right thing and return the costly cell, but to no avail. They had to audacity to answer my phone when I called my phone with the faint hope that maybe I had misplaced it and would hear its ring. To add salt to the wounds, I learned today that they sent text messages to people in my address book that were nasty and offensive. My Channel Inn escapade has been sorely marred by this experience and I have visioins of getting my hands on the person who stole my phone. It seems that age ain't nothing but a number when it comes to behavior. For a venue that has a majority senior clientele, I would have expected different. May this be a lesson learned when we are so quick to judge spots where the young folk hang.

No comments: