The following is the third in a weekly series of articles about a “day in the life” of companies at the MakeOffices coworking space in Clarendon. The mini-series, which will run this fall, is sponsored by MakeOffices.
Move over Willy Wonka, the employees at SharpSeat are now the ones offering golden tickets. Whether for concerts or sporting events or theater performances, SharpSeat hooks up secondary market buyers with their dream tickets. The service essentially “is like StubHub, but cheaper,” say co-founder Andrew McCulloch.
He and the other two co-founders, Mike Williams and Brad Kurtzman, met while attending James Madison University and moved to Northern Virginia to take jobs after graduating. They attended a lot of ticketed events upon moving to the area and found themselves giving advice to friends looking to buy good tickets, too. But there was one major problem.
“There’s a ton of fees that we got sick of paying when shopping around on other sites,” McCulloch says. “We saw an opening in the secondary ticket market.” That’s when they decided they could do it better.
The three did a lot of research on secondary market ticket sales and ended up using their industry knowledge to start SharpSeat as a side project. “We found the average person didn’t know to look any further than Stubhub for secondary [tickets]. We saw an opportunity there to give them a better alternative,” Williams says.
They all eventually left their jobs to work full-time on SharpSeat. “We basically wanted to find a way to make tickets cheaper for the end customer,” McCulloch says. “We knew if we could find a way to keep costs down and still get access to the same tickets the big guys were getting, we could pass the savings on to customers.”
Their average day is a lot different now. The employees live in Virginia Square — two live together and the other lives down the street — so the MakeOffices Clarendon location where they work makes for an easy commute.
“One of the best parts is not having the commute around D.C.,” McCulloch says. He also found it important to stop working from home every day. “Keeping work and life separate was big for me because working in my kitchen all the time I’m [distracted]… Plus, here we’re surrounded by a bunch of other entrepreneurs that are getting things done.”
Being among other entrepreneurs has helped the employees stay motivated when doing their daily tasks, which include maintaining the website, coordinating with site developers, researching what events are coming up and fielding calls from the customer service team. And according to Williams, one of the big challenges they constantly face is marketing.
“For every business, [marketing] is probably 90 percent of the battle,” he says. “Just getting the word out there and getting people to visit the site, more than just your family and friends.”
Thanks to the business’ growth since launching two years ago — there is currently about $2 billion worth of tickets listed on the site, although it fluctuates seasonally — the team recently has been able to hire out for help with that marketing burden.
“Now we’ve hired a marketing firm to help us and we’re really looking to expand,” Kurtzman says. “This is our first business so we kind of learn as we go. We had to teach ourselves everything.”
They also outsource much of the customer service to a team in Chicago, but not all of it. The co-founders all use their venue expertise to give advice to customers who contact them looking for tips on purchasing the best tickets.
“So often people ask what’s the best value and where’s the best place to sit,” says McCulloch. “We know where you’re going to get a better value… Just little intricacies like that help out when we’re talking to clients.” Williams agrees, adding, “We have good knowledge of all the D.C. venues so we help people out” with getting the best ticket for their money.
To remain experts in the industry, the three often do offsite work — attending different types of events locally as well as traveling to other cities to check out their venues. “Obviously, it’s really fun to do that, but it is a part of what we have to do [for research],” Williams says.
Kurtzman explains that traveling to sites is how they gain knowledge of the best seats so they can offer direct customer support. “StubHub doesn’t really do that kind of thing,” he says.
When the SharpSeat employees aren’t traveling, they take advantage of the amenities in the MakeOffices Clarendon coworking space.
“Getting dedicated office space around here… is pretty unrealistic, especially for a small company like us,” says Williams. “Even for something half as nice as this, if you want a dedicated space the rents around here are so much that it just never really made sense to us. When this space opened up we couldn’t believe how cheap it was for what you get.”
One of the perks included in that price is a set of rotating taps of regionally-brewed beers. The SharpSeat co-founders say they like to head to the kitchen to try out new brews, relax and meet employees from the other businesses in the coworking space.
“Plus, I love the massage chairs,” Brad says, as the others laugh. “I usually use them once a day.”
Between the MakeOffices benefits and the satisfaction of doing a job they love, the SharpSeat team experiences something many typical employees don’t: They actually enjoy going to work.
“At my old job, I hated going to work. Now I love coming to this office,” Kurtzman says. Williams agrees, saying with a smile, “It’s kind of crazy that we’re voluntarily coming into an office after we wanted so badly to get out of one.”
A Clarendon bar this weekend is set to take part in a nationwide concert series that aims to promote efforts to curb gun violence.
Sehkraft Brewing (925 N. Garfield Street) is scheduled to host singer-songwriter Jeff Smith and the Human Wilderness as part of the “Concert Across America to End Gun Violence” Sunday. The free show is from 6 to 8 p.m.
“The power of music has fueled countless important movements throughout history,” a Facebook event page says. “Now we want to use music as a balance to the hateful and divisive rhetoric that’s become a hallmark of the gun debate.”
About 350 events are scheduled throughout the country for the concert series, according to organizers. The day will culminate with performances by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash and other musicians in New York.
Image via Facebook/Concert Across America
The next free concert with the 50-bell musical instrument at 1400 N. Meade Street is scheduled for Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m., according to the National Park Service. Kipp Cortez, a Concord University music professor, is slated to perform.
The other remaining live performances are:
- Aug. 20 (6-8 p.m.) with Jesse Ratcliffe.
- Aug. 27 (6-8 p.m.) with Buck Lyon-Vaiden.
- Sept. 5 (2-4 p.m.) with Edward Nassor.
Visitors to the carillon can bring food to eat during the concerts. But picnickers should take their trash home with them.
Seating also is limited. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring blankets or folding chairs.
The concert series, which began in May, includes patriotic, jazz and pop music.
“People should come [to our summer concerts] for the view of the Washington, D.C., skyline and the chance to hear a variety of music played by the world’s leading carillonneurs,” Nassor, the Netherlands Carillon’s director, said in an interview with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District.
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
The annual National Chamber Ensemble Holiday Concert will return to the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre this Saturday for a tradition almost as old as the musical group itself.
This year’s concert is scheduled for this Saturday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are available online and cost $17 for students, $33 for adults.
The ensemble was founded nine years ago by Leo Sushansky, who is also the group’s artistic director. The holiday concert has been a part of the performance schedule for eight of those nine years.
“I think it’s one of the most fun events of the season in Rosslyn,” Sushansky said. “It brings together classical masterpieces and holiday favorites in one program, for kids, for families, for everyone.”
This year’s program includes classical music from Beethoven and Chopin, as well as a piece from the overture of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, a special performance of “Oh, Holy Night,” a Hanukkah medley and Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”
Per tradition, the concert will end with a sing-a-long, led by performer and Washington Life Magazine performing arts columnist Patrick D. McCoy.
During the show, the chamber will also present the first ever Outstanding Young Artist Achievement Award to Avery Gagliano, a 13-year-old pianist and violinist from the metro area. She’ll be featured in a solo and will also play one song with the entire ensemble.
“She’s a prodigy and the winner of many competitions around the world,” Sushansky said about the young artist. “She’s very deserving of this award.”
Sushansky also said audiences can prepare themselves for more engaging experience than they might expect from a holiday concert.
“All our concerts are very interactive,” he said. “Musicians tell stories, jokes, and talk about personal experiences. Yes, you’ll get to hear some great music, but you’ll also get to know the artists.”
Audience members will have another opportunity to interact with the artists after the concert, as they’ll join a reception with wine, cheese and snacks following the show.
“We’re a society of internationally acclaimed musicians from the capital area, and we come together for chamber music,” Sushansky added. “We’re very excited to share this with the Arlington community again this year.”
Photo by Robert W. Jansen
The Arlington-based organization has announced the appointment of Dr. Nancia D’Alimonte as the group’s new artistic director and conductor. The chorus, which was founded in 1966, is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary during the 2015-2016 season with the theme “New Horizons.”
The group is made up of singers from the D.C. area, who perform free concerts between November and May. According to TMC’s website, one of the goals of the group is to “offer music enrichment in the greater Washington metropolitan area through free performances of choral repertoire from all eras.”
D’Alimonte is only the third artistic director and conductor that the chorus has had in the past 50 years. She is also the founder and conductor of the Bethesda-based National Institutes of Health (NIH) Philharmonia, is an education programs consultant for the National Philharmonic at the Strathmore Center and was the head of orchestral activities at George Washington University for 10 years, according to TMC.
The upcoming season will be kicked off with an opening concert on November 1 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Boulevard).
The seven concerts of the season will take place in various locations, including five in Arlington and one in Rockville, Maryland, which will be a combined concert with the NIH Philharmonia. The group also will also hold its annual sing-along of “The Messiah” at The Kennedy Center over the winter holidays, according to the Metropolitan Chorus’ 2015-2016 season brochure.
Arlington County has enjoyed near-perfect weather today, with blue skies, plenty of sun and a high of only 82. What better way to celebrate the end of a beautiful summer day than to attend one of three outdoor concerts taking place this evening?
Summer concert series Rock at the Row kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. in Pentagon Row’s plaza area (1101 S. Joyce Street) with Bon Jovi cover band Slippery When Wet. The concert series also includes a VIP section with craft beers and food samples.
Residents less enamored of Bon Jovi can head over to Rosslyn for its “Throwback Thursday” concert in Freedom Park (1101 Wilson Blvd). Tonight’s concert features Baltimore-based cover band Sly 45. It’s the last scheduled Throwback Thursday concert until September.
Also tonight, the Village at Shirlington (2700 S. Quincy Street) will hold its weekly Shirlala music festival, which started in June. Playing from 6:30-8:30 p.m. will be alternative rock band Lloyd Dobler Effect. In addition to the live music, there will be $5 wine tasting courtesy of local cheese and wine bar Cheesetique.
All three concert series are free and open to the public. Rock at the Row’s lineup was announced earlier this summer. Shirlala’s remaining performances are below.
- July 23: Paul Pfau (pop, rock and blues)
- July 30: Ewabo (reggae and tropical steel drums)
- August 6: The Morrison Brothers Band (Southern rock)
- August 13: Dan Haas Trio (pop rock)
- August 20: King Teddy (swing)
- August 27: Sandra Dean Band ft. Daryl Davis (50s and 60s tribute)
Photo via lloyddoblereffect.com
The event, which BID president Mary-Claire Burick says will be “exciting, bold and fun,” is celebrating its 25th anniversary this summer. In addition to performances covering everything from classic soul to international funk, the festival will feature a selection of food and fashion trucks and an expanded beer and wine garden.
The BID has organized a lineup of both locally and nationally known artists. Several headliners have already gained national acclaim, including Debo Band, whose EP “Debo Band” (2011) appeared on NPR Music’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2012, and New Orleans group The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, whose music has been featured on the HBO series Treme.
The festival will run from 1-7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12 in Gateway Park (1300 Lee Hwy, near the Key Bridge). All performances are free and open to the public, and the full concert lineup is below.
- 1 p.m.: The Funk Ark (Funk/Afrobeat)
- 2:20 p.m.: Sonny Knight & The Lakers (Funk)
- 3:50 p.m.: Debo Band (Ethiopian pop)
- 5:20 p.m.: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band (classic soul)
File photo by Runneralan2004
Kicking off the 34 nights of arts and entertainment next Friday (June 12) is Bowen McCauley Dance, a family-friendly dance performance, according to the Lubber Run Amphitheater website. The performance starts at 8 p.m.
Five additional performances were added this season, in August and September.
Attendees are encouraged to bring picnics and blankets to the show. Alcohol is prohibited in Lubber Run Park and smoking is discouraged.
In the event of inclement weather, attendees are advised to call 703-228-1850 for day-of information. There are no scheduled rain dates for cancelled performances.
Performances on Monday through Saturday are held at 8 p.m. and performances on Sunday are held at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted. After the jump is a full list of performances.
A date and a headliner have been set for this year’s Columbia Pike Blues Festival.
The 20th annual Blues Festival will be held on June 20 from 1-8:30 p.m. near the intersection of S. Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike.
This year the festival will be headlined by Grammy-nominated blues musician Sonny Landreth. “Bound by the Blues,” Landreth’s 12th album, will be released on June 8.
The Blue Festival is something the Columbia Pike community looks forward to every year, said Takis Karantonis, executive director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO), which organizes the event.
“It’s Arlington’s biggest block party,” Karantonis said. “It’s a place where our entire community comes together.”
The Blues Festival features numerous food vendors and a beer station. Visitors can also stop by the tables of local arts and crafts vendors and community organizations. There will be at least seven or eight local food vendors, Karantonis said, adding that showcasing local food providers is a goal of the festival this year.
Karantonis expects at least 10,000 attendees this year.
CPRO has selected a national act for the headliner the past two years, Karantonis said. The other musicians are selected from the most active blues acts locally and regionally.
The 2015 lineup is:
- 1 p.m. — Lenny Burridge, a former DJ turned blues musician
- 2 p.m. — Steve McWilliams and the Spectacles, which will make its return to the Blues Festival after playing there last year
- 3 p.m. — Fat Liver Jenkins, a four-man band from the D.C. area
- 5 p.m. — Clarence “Bluesman” Turner, who uses unusual objects, such as a cellphone, as a guitar pick
- 6:30 p.m. — Sonny Landreth, a national act known for his slide guitar style
The festival will also have a kids area and an artists area. Artists will be painting next to the stage to allow the music to influence their work, Karatonis said. The art will be auctioned off.
Wizards Practice Facility in Arlington? — There’s a potential plan for a Washington Wizards basketball practice facility in Arlington, reports NBC4’s Mark Segraves. However, the more likely plan for the practice facility is for it to be built in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis also owns the Washington Capitals, which has a practice facility at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. [NBC Washington]
Arlington Warns of ‘Potential Severe Traffic’ — Arlington County is warning residents about “potential severe traffic” today due to the massive crowds expected for the Concert for Valor on the National Mall, along with Metrorail service changes and numerous road closures in D.C. that are in place for the Veterans Day event.
Cherrydale Abuzz Over Sound Check — The Cherrydale community email listserv was “going crazy with complaints about the sound check” for the Concert for Valor last night, a tipster tells ARLnow.com. We’re told the neighborhood could hear bass and feel vibrations from the sound check. “One person reported that the Arlington County police were getting so many calls they were telling people to call the D.C. police who then told people to call [U.S.] Park Police,” the tipster said.
Cost of Thanksgiving Dips in Va. — Virginia families will save about $5 per person this year on Thanksgiving dinner thanks to lower food prices, according to the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. [InsideNova]
Lyon Park ‘Sewer Justice’ Petition — A group called Arlingtonians for Sewer Justice — which represents 11 Lyon Park households that are being compelled to pay $10,000-20,000 for a new sewer connection because the county says it will no longer maintain a failing, private sewer line behind their homes — has created a new petition. The petition, which has so far gathered 95 supporters, calls for Arlington County to pay for the upkeep of privately owned sewer lines via a bond referendum. [Change.org]
Flickr pool photo by Ian Livingston
The Church at Clarendon (1210 N. Highland Street) is swapping the organ for a laptop and turntable this Saturday night when it hosts an electronic dance music (EDM) show.
The concert will be free and held at the church from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m., according to church Community Ministry and Discipleship Director Stephen Taylor. The star of the show will be DJ Rick Solo, a Charlotte-based artist who holds DJ-led, Christian services in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C.
The Church at Clarendon says it’s trying to reach the younger demographic that lives in the Clarendon area. The church has expanded its community offerings to include yoga classes, game night and a concert series that included a performance from the Go Go Symphony earlier this month, as well as the EDM show.
“At all these events we are trying to serve the community and get people connected,” Taylor told ARLnow.com in an email. “The stereotype that church people are going to be pushy or impose opinions doesn’t fit the reality of the Church at Clarendon. For many people, church is no longer or never was part of their life. If someone wants to explore faith questions here or elsewhere, we welcome it. But if they are not interested, we are just as happy to make new friends and promote community.”
The church gained attention last year for its DJ-led Sunday morning services, and Taylor said Christian EDM is becoming more of a nationwide trend in the church community. DJ Rick Solo plays “similar music to what is on the radio or at a club,” Taylor said.
County Seeks Fraud Hotline Vendor — Arlington County has issued a request for proposals for a new fraud hotline. The hotline is intended to provide “a safe and confidential process for employees to report ethical issues anonymously through a third-party vendor and to be assured that their concerns are heard and dealt with.” [InsideNova]
Eden Center Tenants Sue Landlord — Tenants at the Eden Center in Falls Church are suing the shopping center’s landlord, saying that the building is crumbling due to poor maintenance and nothing is being done about it. [Washington Post]
Kudos for Barcroft — The $3 million ballpark at Barcroft Park, which was paid for and is used by George Washington University, has been named the top college baseball facility in the A-10 conference and the 68th-best college ballpark in the nation. [GW Sports]
1812 Overture Concert Tomorrow — The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will be performing the famed 1812 Overture Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. The concert will be held at Summerall Field and will feature cannon fire to accompany the classic Tchaikovsky composition. [Ode Street Tribune, U.S. Army Band]
JBMHH Firefighters Battle Arlington Blaze — Firefighters from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, who often are dispatched on calls in Arlington County as part of a mutual aid agreement, helped to extinguish a fire at a Columbia Pike apartment complex last week. [DVIDS]
Photo courtesy Larry Bowring
The event, starting at 8:00 p.m. on June 13, is free and open to the public. It will be the first-ever evening event held at the cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater, according to organizers.
“‘Arlington at 150’ is an hour-long live military show featuring musical performances by ‘The President’s Own,’ U.S. Marine Band and a Joint Chorus made up with singers from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force; a wreath ceremony and historical vignettes that showcase how military conflicts have shaped our nation and the cemetery,” according to a press release.
“Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the amphitheater,” the release continued. “Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to ensure access and should plan to be seated no later than 8:00 p.m.”
The Arlington Cemetery Metro station will remain open until 11:00 p.m. to accommodate the event.
Arlington at 150 is one of a number of special events taking place over a 5 week commemoration of the cemetery’s sesquicentennial.
The Shirlala Music Festival begins June 12 with urban folk rock artist Justin Trawick, performing in the plaza in front of Signature Theatre (4200 Campbell Avenue) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The concerts will take place every Thursday through August 21.
The festival will also include a weekly $5 wine tasting, with the proceeds going to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center. The concerts themselves are free for the public.
Here is the schedule of performers:
- June 12 — Justin Trawick (urban folk rock)
- June 19 — The Morrison Brothers (Southern rock)
- June 26 — King Teddy (swing)
- July 3 — Taylor Carson (acoustic rock)
- July 10 — Down Wilson (pop rock cover band)
- July 17 — Scott Paddock (jazz)
- July 24 — Ewabo (tropical steel drums)
- July 31 — The Shack Band (Southern funk)
- Aug. 7 — Paul Pfau (pop, rock & blues)
- Aug. 14 — Lloyd Dobler Effect (80s & 90s cover band)
- Aug. 21 — Dan Haas Trio (pop rock)
The public stage, near the intersection of N. Columbus Street and 2nd Street, will host musicians, theater troupes and other acts in multiple shows during the week, starting with Mary Anne Redmond on June 13 and ending with Rico Amero on Sunday, Aug. 17.
Spectators are encouraged to bring picnic materials, although alcohol is prohibited. In the event of inclement weather, visitors are encouraged to call the concert hotline at 703-228-1850 for info. There is no schedule for rain-dates in the event rain causes an event to be canceled.
Here is the list of performances scheduled. All performances are at 8:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted. For descriptions of the artist or group, visit Lubber Run’s website:
- Friday, June 13 — Mary Ann Redmond
- Saturday, June 14 — Mystic Warriors
- Monday, June 16 — The Metropolitan Chorus
- Wednesday, June 18 — The Potomac Harmony Chorus
- Thursday, June 19 — The Arlingtones
- Friday, June 20 — The Army Blues
- Saturday, June 21 — King Teddy
- Sunday, June 22, 6:00 p.m. — Halau O’Aulani & The Aloha Boys
- Friday, June 27 — Margot MacDonald
- Saturday, June 28 — Bowen McCauley Dance
- Sunday, June 29, 6:00 p.m. — Arlington Philharmonic
- Saturday, July 5 — The Grandsons
- Sunday, July 6, 6:00 p.m. — Two Car Living Room
- Friday, July 11 — Synetic Theatre
- Saturday, July 12 — Synetic Theatre
- Sunday, July 13, 6:00 p.m. — Dead Man’s Hollow
- Friday, July 18 — Synetic Theatre
- Saturday, July 19 — Synetic Theatre
- Friday, July 25 — Dave Chappell
- Saturday, July 26 — CAMMO
- Sunday, July 27, 6:00 p.m. — Shenandoah Run
- Friday, Aug. 1 — Ted Garber
- Saturday, Aug. 2 — Russkie Musikanti
- Sunday, Aug. 3, 6:00 p.m. — Laurie Rose Griffith and Peter Mealy
- Friday, Aug. 15 — Rose Moraes
- Saturday, Aug. 16 — Andrew Acosta
- Sunday, Aug. 17 — Rico Amero
Photo courtesy Arlington County