January 18, 2005
Every year around this time, something sets in over the Greek community in DC – sheer and utter boredom. Greek event promoters are tired and more often than not on hiatus after a stressful season planning holiday events. Add colder temperatures, the occasional holiday weight gain and matching increased atonement in the gym, and it’s hard to find anything Greek going on and any Greeks to go to these things. It’s worse for the college kids who are back in the area who not only aren’t having fun at college, but for those few weeks when they don’t have studying or a host of other distractions to keep them from the Greek community, they should be previewing what their social lives might be like after graduation.
One of the biggest complaints about DC is that it doesn’t have a Greektown and worse, that it doesn’t have a simple Greek hangout, a place that you know you could go to any night of the week and find some like-minded Greeks to spend some time with, or at least feel in commune with. There are a few places that a few Greek young adults of various generations can be found with some consistency when there is nothing else going on. Metro 29 in Arlington is usually good for a booth or two of guys in their early to mid 30s. Third Thursday has tried to provide this outlet with varying success over the last three years, and it was back in January 2002, when about 100 Greeks packed the downstairs bar at Whitlow’s on Wilson. This night proved that you could get an obscene amount of Greek young adults all in one place without having to result to playing Greek music, dressing up like you’re going to a wedding, or making it part of a weekend where the two previously mentioned events would occur. It wasn’t even on a weekend! People had to go to work or class the next day and there was still a huge turnout at a “secular” event. Greek nights and semiformal dances and conference weekends take a lot of time, effort and sacrifice from their organizers and are few and far between. These events usually also involve significant financial risk – a risk that’s not shared by the rest of the community (not even us here at DCGreeks.com) but we all seem entitled to complain when things aren’t as great as they could be.
All of this boredom and complaining and time on the treadmill have got us thinking: How can you create a Greektown where none exists? How can you guarantee a young bored Greek starving for contact with the Greek community in this on-demand society we live in a way to satisfy that want or whim, whichever it may be? It’s hard to plan an event that could possible cater to most Greek young adults, regardless of their age, tolerance for alcohol, cigarette smoke, or loud tsifteteli rhythms, willingness to pay $12 for a vodka tonic, ownership of a tie, willingness to associate with anyone who can pay $12 for a vodka tonic and owns several ties, etc. There are very few people who feel or could feel comfortable in both a Greek Night setting and a more YAL oriented/Third Thursday like scene. The realities of our secular lives also makes it that if we miss a Greek event that we could see ourselves attending, for reasons ranging from work to choosing to do something else, that absence can leave you without seeing other Greeks for weeks. Finally, how can you provide this environment in a way that eliminates the financial risk that one person or group must take, by simply putting that risk on the individual Greek young adult consumer?
For 40 straight days starting on Groundhog Day (February 2nd), we will encourage the creation of this on-demand Greektown by making sure that there is a Greek event on every day. We’ll defer to the regularly scheduled events during that time, like Third Thursdays, Greek Nights, and the occasional Apokreatiko dance. (We purposely picked the 40 days before Lent because the 40 days of Lent are understandably and rightfully more uneventful.) We’ll also make an effort to learn about and promote more of the cultural and educational events in the area, sponsored by the Hellenic Society - Prometheas, the American Hellenic Institute, and the local universities. On days when there isn’t anything already scheduled, we would love to see a variety of events that aren’t necessarily Greek, but where you’ll know you’ll find Greeks. When we started this site, our theory on what a Greek event was and should be was anytime there are more than two Greeks are gathered in the spirit of friendship and parea. We made the Events Calendar open to all our members to post events that you normally wouldn’t think about as being Greek, like house parties, informal happy hours, etc. We want people to suggest events where they wouldn’t mind the company of other Greek-Americans. Almost no idea is out of bounds. We’ve got some goofy ones ourselves to fill up the random Tuesday nights during these 40 days, but we’d like to see what the community wants to see. Whether it’s Greek Night at the Movies, Greek Night at the Grocery Store, or Greek Night at the Laundromat, we’ll make sure that no one will be able to complain that there isn’t anything Greek to do in DC.
So take a look at our Events Calendar starting on February 2nd and ending on March 13th, and suggest events that you would like to see on a day when there isn’t anything else happening. Write us at Events@DCGreeks.com and let us know.