Humanitini – Where happy hour meets the humanities!


DC has always been a city of change, forward-thinking even as we struggle with and celebrate the complexities of our past. Now, our city is evolving faster than ever before, and we want to capture the excitement of our vibrant communities where culture is created every day.

The 2017 Humanitini series will explore the contemporary culture of our city, examining the people, places, and ideas that define Washington, DC today. We hope you will join us as we go on this journey, to share your story and answer the question: “What is your DC?”

Check out this year’s topics, below!

Stories From the Wire

Date:         04 October 2018

Location:  Busboys & Poets (625 Monroe St., NE)

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The Women of the WIRE oral history project seeks to document and explore the unique challenges that women from DC face while incarcerated and after they return home, as well as the long-term impact of their incarceration on them, their families and communities. In gathering these stories, we seek to amplify the voices of women from DC in conversations and policymaking about mass incarceration and criminal justice reforms in our city.


Voices of Brookland Manor

Date:         20 September 2018

Location:  Busboys & Poets (625 Monroe St., NE)

September’s Humanitini program will be co-curated by K.A. Lannigan, producer of the new film “Voices of Brookland Manor,” ( and Women in Film and Video. The film depicts residents of the Brookland Manor neighborhood, and their grassroots efforts to ensure that residents will have guaranteed housing in the expected new mixed-use development slated to replace the community.


Closely Guarded: The Rites, Rituals, and Traditions of the Divine 9

Date:         03 August 2018

Location:  Busboys & Poets, 14th & V Streets NW

Greek-letter organizations, sororities and fraternities, are steeped in over 100 years of tradition and an indelible part of the Black Community. They create lifelong relationships in sisterhood, brotherhood, and community service.

The Divine 9, nine of the oldest black Greek-letter organizations, constitute a social and professional network with the breadth of LinkedIn, but with the depth and loyalty of a family. More than half of these organizations were founded right here in DC at Howard University.

Over one million young people are currently active members of Greek-letter organizations around the world, including 6,500 in Washington, DC.


DC: An Unlikely Stop on the Bluegrass Trail

Date:         05 July 2018

Location: Busboys & Poets, 14th & V Streets NW

Built on the music created by Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys, bluegrass emerged as a separate genre during the late 1940s, though it was generally called hillbilly music until the mid 1950s. Old-time music generally pre-dates bluegrass and covers a wide range of genres found mostly in rural areas. However, after World War II and new generation of city-bred old time and bluegrass fans emerged here in DC. On July 5th, we will explore the similarities and difference between old-time music and bluegrass as well as examine the heritage and impact of the genres within our nation’s Capitol.

Hosted by George Washington University professor and author Kip Lornell, our panel which consist of 11-time Bluegrass singer of the year Dede Wyland, grammy nominated musician Stephen Wade and veteran audio engineer Tom Mindte, will take a deep dive into the celebrated genre.

Beyond Hookah and Injera: Ethiopian Culture and Identity in DC


Date:        07 June 2018

Location: Letena Ethiopian Restaurant

Just off U Street, in what we affectionately know as “Little Ethiopia”, one can find the vibrant enclave of restaurants, grocery stores, and mom-and-pop shops. When immigrants arrived in droves in the early 2000’s, the Ethiopian community began to expand beyond this four-block stretch. Their culture has since blossomed in the nation’s capital. For many of us, our first entre into Ethiopian culture has been through hookah and traditional foods. However, in our next Humanitini, we will examine the Ethiopian experience in DC in depth: cultural exchanges, Black/Afro-American identity, generational experiences, and adapting to American life.

Moderated by Prince Joel Makonnen, the panel includes: Yamrot Ezineh, owner of Letena; Henok Fente, journalist and film-maker; and Saaret Yoseph, a multi-media storyteller.

The Legend of Mambo Sauce

Date:        03 May 2018

Location: Busboys & Poets (5th St., NW)

Bright red, or murky brown, few foods define DC like Mambo Sauce. Surprisingly, this little sauce has cooked up big talk of loyalty, credibility, and cultural appropriation. Now served in white tablecloth establishments, or on styrofoam plates this secret sauce and the memories it inspires have been invoked by local bands, local entrepreneurs, and residents from across the city. Our discussion will look for the DC roots of Mambo Sauce, and where its home is. Hopefully we’ll find out whose sauce is the best!

Confirmed speakers include: Christylez Bacon, Musician, Arsha Jones, Capital City Mambo Sauce, owner, and Tendani Mpulubusi El, 8 Arts and Culture.



Podcasting: Behind the Mic-Guide to Who, What & Where

Date:         05 April 2018

Location:  Busboys & Poets (5th St., NW)

Join HumanitiesDC (HDC) for a lively discussion on what many call the new community radio ecosystem – podcasting – free audio shows delivered on demand over the Internet. Ever since the 2014 smash hit, Serial, the true story of a murdered Maryland high school student, podcasting has become a powerful storytelling tool. About a quarter of all Americans listen to podcasts a month, fueled by smartphones and mobile devices. We’ll explore the Washington DC landscape of podcasting from the big players like public radio to the local independents standing up to the giants and finding success without rules. Go behind-the-scenes to talk with some of DC’s storytellers about how they work. Learn about trending podcasts, how to discover new audio content and how you can podcast about your passions at low cost.



How Film & Video in DC Reflect & Challenge Our Community

Date:         08 March 2018

Location:  Busboys & Poets, 14th & V Streets NW

From the Capitol dome and the monuments to the majestic architecture throughout our community, Washington, DC has served as a backdrop for both small and big screens. Join HumanitiesDC (HDC) in a vibrant look at the beauty of our community via film and video but also the red tape and challenges faced by producers and filmmakers to capture those images and create stories here. Join HumanitiesDC and Double R Productions at this Humanitini for a lively discussion to talk how we deal with those barriers and how our creative films/video reflect DC’s culture.



Hand Dance: A DC Tradition

Date:         08 February 2018

Developed in the Washington, DC area in the early 1950s by African Americans as a form of recreation and entertainment, Hand Dance is rooted in the floor version of swing as opposed to the acrobatics and aerials of the Lindy and Jitterbug. In the 1950s, the best dancers honed their dance skills at Turner’s Arena, Lincoln Colonnade, and the U-Line Arena to the tunes of big bands led by Louis Jordan and Big Joe Turner fueled the dance. In the 1960s, the tempo slowed down to a “cool” rhythm as the dance became known as “Fast Dancing” and the music was Motown, Chicago Soul and the Stax Records sound.

With various events attracting various generations and types of hand dancers, DJs assess the audience prior to and during the event to be able to play the type of music that brings hand dancers to the floor. Whether exclusively oldies but goodies music of the 50s, 60s and 70s for old school hand dancers or contemporary music for the “now” generation of hand dancers whose hand dance styles are slightly different. In mixed audiences, hand dancers enjoy a mixture of old and new in their social evening of dance.

What makes a good hand dance DJ? The ability to know the audience and play to that audience – getting people on the dance floor and keep them there. Hand Dancers are incredibly selective in their music choice, so a hand dance can be a total dud without the right DJ and the right music.



Reimagining DC in 1968

Date:         04 January 4 2018

Location:  Brixton Pub

1968 was a pivotal year for Washington, DC. In partnership with dc1968, join scholar-residents of Washington, DC as we discuss the multiple meanings and struggles of the long year of 1968. The 50th anniversary of that year is the perfect moment to discuss current scholarship about 1968, as well as the visual and textual narratives in circulation about 1968 and how they impact on policies and conversations today. In particular, we will discuss the place and importance of the uprising after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in development, displacement, gentrification and activist discourse in 1968 and today.




 For more information, contact Jasper Collier via email ( or by telephone (202-747-6475)

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