Yesterday I celebrated Boxing Day at Smith Commons with VisionView Television. I was humbled by the request of Omar Henderson, CEO of VisionView, as he asked me to be their spokesperson for the evening. It was a great experience and I got to meet and interview a number of amazing people. Roger Caruth, the owner and designer at Cutlass and Cane, and his wife Samantha sponsored a Boxing Day charity event where guests who brought canned goods or dry goods were given a chance to win a custom bicycle from Loren Copsey, the owner of The Daily Rider. I was able to interview both Caruth and Copsey and talk about how they came together to sponsor such a great idea as well as talk to Daniel Mushala, Rich Wiley, Anne-Marie Ashe, singer Ruth-Ann Brown, photographer Ernest Evans, and a host of others.
The entire executive staff of VisionView Media Group (www.visionview.tv) was on hand to support Cutlass and Cane’s Boxing Day event. Cutlass and Cane’s owner, Roger Caruth is a very talented fashion designer from St. Vincent and the Grenadines who is opening the world’s eyes to the unique fashions and cultural influences of the Caribbean. He talks about his roots as well as his new home in DC and how he, his wife, and their two children, was welcomed by the community here, especially in the infamous H Street Corridor. Caruth’s designs, Cutlass and Cane, were featured in the H Street festival as well as DC Fashion Week, both of which he plans to participate and contribute in 2013.
Loren Copsey is the owner of The Daily Rider, H Street’s custom bicycle shop. There is an interesting story behind his work. He is a lifelong cyclist but his wife is not. Her Dutch bicycle was stolen and while searching for a replacement, found there was not a shop in DC with a similar model.
The Copseys ended up going to LA to get it replaced. Lauren found his niche when he had the idea to open the shop. He felt really good about it and wanted to make sure people who knew nothing about bicycling could merge bike riding into their daily lives without worrying about the need for special equipment, clothing, or shoes. It’s been open for eight months and is a success Loren is very proud of. The bike he and Roger put together for the show was one hell of a prize!
I also got to interview the budding star, Ruth-Ann Brown. She is a very talented reggae singer with a sugary, soulful voice that lingers over intriguing lyrics inspired by her life both in Jamaica, and here in the United States. Ruth-Ann is a beautiful person with an authentic sound and her Self-written anthems, “Any Day Now” and “I love you” will pull you into her life as though you’re taking a walk with her. The entire crowd fell silent and hypnotically attentive as she sang about going home in “Any Day Now” but my personal favorites are “I Love You” and “Chilling With My Baby”, all of which you can listen to,purchase, and download at ReverbNation.com, iTunes, Amazon, and Rhapsody.
Smith Commons really itself was the perfect venue for the Cutlass and Cane Boxing Day event. Its three floors of hardwood, soft lighting, brick walls, and comfortable seating arrangement show a great attention to detail and immediately make you feel like you are in the right place (hat’s off to Tynesia Hand-Smith the interior designer!). The food and the craft beers were delicious and the general manager, Anna-Marie Ashe, was kind enough to sit down with me in the midst of her busy night to tell me about Smith Commons and her experiences there. A seasoned professional with a welcoming smile and a big heart, talked about how she’d been with Smith Commons since it opened two years ago on New Year’s Eve. Ashe spoke passionately about her work as well as detailed how Smith Commons gives back to the community through events such as the Cutlass and Cane Boxing Day Charity event, but also through her staff. She takes the time to train and develop her young and energetic staff not only for running the venue, but also for running their lives. It shows. Parish, one of the bartenders, was very professional, courteous, and well spoken. He made his guests feel welcome and taken care of and showed a great deal of confidence in his responsibilities, especially his beer and menu selections. When I asked for his manager he remarked that Anna was a great (and she’s running around here somewhere) and he really liked working for Smith Commons. Anna- Marie and her staff made the whole night seamless and enjoyable for everyone and I’m excited to see what else she has in store for Smith Commons and the H Street Community.
I felt honored to have worked with VisionView Television and had a great time being their spokesperson. I’ll certainly be a regular at Smith Commons and will most likely show up for their NYE/Anniversary party. Cutlass and Cane threw an awesome event for Boxing Day and I can’t wait for the next one!