Dear Friend of BloomBars, Before you meet Tsion Teckle, co-director of BloomU's first Summer Camp, we wanted to make a person appeal: BloomBars has b

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Dear Friend of BloomBars,

Before you meet Tsion Teckle, co-director of BloomU's first Summer Camp, we wanted to make a person appeal: BloomBars has been nominated by Whole Foods' Nickels for Nonprofits campaign which allows customers to donate the nickel they receive for using their own shopping bag to a local nonprofit in the community. At the end of the quarter, Whole Foods Market P Street will donate the collected funds to that organization. You can vote by visiting their Facebook page here, scrolling down to the post with our nomination, and hitting, "like." The most likes wins! Voting ends at midnight, Friday, May 23rd.

Now, back to Tsion:

Growing up in Washington DC with parents from Ethiopia and Guyana, I was raised in an environment where every event was centered on food. Although I appreciated having such a vibrant upbringing, I quickly realized that if I wanted to be healthy, I had to make conscious decisions about what I put in my body. It didn’t take me long to want to share this newfound passion of healthy living with everyone…. especially with young children.

My background in nutrition, fitness, and theater has taken me through many avenues of life but one thing that has always been the common denominator is my work with children. The thought that I have been able to work with kids and families from diverse backgrounds has been inspirational. For the past 5 years, my motivation has been to continue my journey, while sharing the information and knowledge I gain everyday with others.

One of my dedicated parents at the school where I teach, a BloomBars mom and Jack-of-all-trades, informally introduced me to an eclectic and creative place called BloomBars. After hearing so many parents rave about BloomBars’ vibrant community, and amazing programs, I approached them about opportunities to develop, along with my colleague Sylvia Boyle, a fun and creative camp that focuses on theater, fitness, nutrition and creative movement while building confidence and socio-emotional skills.

I'm so excited to introduce Fit Kids Hit the Stage - BloomBars' first summer adventure camp for toddlers (ages 3-5). Starting June 23rd, we'll kick-off this 4-week creative adventure camp. I'm confident it will make a significant difference in the way your children express themselves creatively, not to mention the way they view food, nutrition and exercise.

Tsion Teckle
Fit Kids Hit the Stage

P.S. Don't forget to vote for BloomBars. Takes two seconds.

:: this week at bloombars ::

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BloomScreen presents: The Cape Verdean American Film Festival 2014

Saturday, May 24th 12pm to 4pm

BloomBars is proud to be part of the 1st Annual, Cape Verdean American Film Festival...

The Cape Verdean American Film Festival (CVAFF) will showcase independent films from Cape Verde, Brazil, West Africa and the United States. (

The presentations at BloomBars will include over 10 films, including "A Perfect Day" starring Hollywood actor Kelly Perine, "A Menina dos Olhos Grandes" directed by Alexis Tsafas & Fonseca Soares, "Yellow" directed by Dominga Martin, "Djar Fogo Coffee Spirit" directed by Felix Andrade, "Cape Verde 1937", "Dinosaurs vs. Princesses" directed by Rio & Rome Roulhac, and the BANNED in Cape Verde, controversial Independent film - "RIVALIDADI" directed by Azaiaz. (All films include English subtitles as needed).

Our screenings will be followed by Q&A discussions with filmmakers and members of The CVAFF team.

Believing that education is key, The CVAFF will also be giving attendees historical presentations on the origins of Cape Verde and its' people - including on-site Cape Verdean Genealogy. Along with photos and other visuals, Cape Verdean historians Vasco Pires and Ann Lima will be upstairs giving educational lectures on Cape Verde.

*Suggested Donation: $10. Proceeds support BloomBars. Free organic popcorn.

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The Garden Open Mic feat. CHRISTOS DC (hosted by JOSEPH LMS GREEN)

Monday, May 26th at 8:30pm

Join us for DC's only weekly variety open mic (poetry, music, comedy, storytelling, etc-ing) where the show is appropriate for all ages (please and thank you to performers).

Sign-up list opens at 8:30 pm
Show starts at 9:00 pm
$7 donation

Featuring: CHRISTOS DC
The artist Christos DC aka Christopher Vrenios, was born and raised in Washington, D.C. by parents who sang opera and taught voice professionally. His sound is best described as a blend of Downtempo, Reggae with overtones of jazz. His career began in the early 90's producing hip hop & r&b tracks w/ indie artists from DC & New York, but it was his deep appreciation for the sounds coming out of Kingston, Jamaica that led him to record with legendary reggae artists Sly and Robbie as well as the Firehouse Crew. He was later recruited by Don Carlos of Black Uhuru and The Itals to tour. He then went on to do session work, playing guitar, bass, and even co-writing with the world famous Thievery Corporation, as well as other groups. In 2008 he released his first full album "Time to Rise" which lead him to creating an independent record label Honest Music, that his latest recording "Under The Sun" was released on. A brand new single w/ a video from the upcoming album "Long Road" is scheduled to be released early 2014 . The song, entitled "Just Talk To Me" features Kenyatta Hill, (son of the Legendary Joseph Hill from the group Culture). "Music is a gift," Christos says. "When we share it we should consider the effect it will have on others. This is why I make honest music."

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BloomScreen and TransAfrica present: Africa Dreaming

Tuesday, May 27th at 7pm

Africa Dreaming (1997, 104 min), produced by Jeremy Nathan - a series of four dramatic short films, each from a different African country and all on the broad theme of "love in Africa." (In Nama, Arabic, French and Wolof, and Portuguese, with English subtitles). (

Sophia's Homecoming (Namibia) - a woman who has worked as a domestic returns home to a terrible discovery: the ruptures caused by apartheid can never be repaired. Sabriya (Tunisia) - a modern woman disrupts the patterned mosaic of male Maghrebi society. So Be It (Senegal) - based on a play by Wole Soyinka, follows the destruction of a well intentioned foreign doctor confronting fear, rage and powerlessness in a remote Senegalese village. The Gaze of the Stars (Mozambique) - is a story about machismo in Mozambique, so powerful that it drives away whatever it loves.

AFRICA DREAMING is a landmark in African television - a series drawing together for the first time - producers, directors and writers from across the continent, giving Africans a rare opportunity to speak directly to each other in their own words and images.

Our screening will be followed by a discussion hosted by Mwiza Munthali, the Public Outreach Director of TransAfrica.

*Suggested Donation: $10. Proceeds support both TransAfrica and BloomBars. Free organic popcorn.

This film presentation was made possible thanks to our collaboration with TransAfrica – the oldest and largest African American human rights and social justice advocacy organization.


Yoga Share Every Thursday at 7pm

Yoga Share founders Irina Katz and Nina Jot Prakash Kaur lead a team of rotating guest instructors certified in a variety of yoga disciplines. Vegan snacks and tea follow the class.

Yoga Share DC's mission is to create a space where people can connect authentically during and after a yoga class. In teaching and practicing yoga, we know that we feel more alive after class. To harness this energy and create a cozy space, we have tea and snacks after class and gather to meet and chat. Since we started the group we’ve had several teachers rotate through and teach various types of yoga from Kundalini to Dharma, Vinyasa, Hatha, and others. Don't forget to bring a mug for tea! Interested in being a guest instructor? Email Irina at:

Upcoming Instructors:
May 29, 2014: Nina Jot Prakash Kaur:
" I am a licensed 200-RYT Kundalini Yoga teacher and received my certification from Yoga Phoenix in Arizona in 2009. I have taught classes in studios, ashrams, parks, and offices in the San Francisco area and helped Irina start Yoga Share here in Columbia Heights. "

June 12: Ayano Strickland:
Ayano is an ally, an advocate and a cheerleader for of well being. A truth and health counselor through study and practice. Believe that if you know what you want, you have the answers in your heart for all you seek. Ayano's journey and work is to accompany you to this place of contentment, happiness and truth. . . A trained yoga teacher he seeks to use the eight limbs of yoga to help ground the journey, on and off the mat. Ayano is an artist, father, facilitator, healer, survivor, care-taker, handyman, pit bull owner, cyclist, dreamer, lover, forgiver, chef, tender, counselor, teacher-student, always arriving to stay present. (Is that too much?)

My class will be a breath focused, power flow for the intermediate yogi. A simple sequence holding poses to engage strength through pranayama.

:: coming soon @BloomBars ::

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Benefit Concert Feat: The Columbia Players (Classical) To Support Student-run Community Radio Station in Haiti

Saturday, May 31st at 8:30pm

Come out and hear some wonderful music performed by The Columbia Players. The Concert will feature some very jazzy Shostakovich (there's a reason Miles Davis loved this music) based on Jewish melodies)

The Columbia Players is a DC-based classical string quartet playing everything from Beethoven to Jimi Hendrix, includes Mark Kapeluck (violin), Sara Boyce (violin), Jennifer Murray (viola) and David Rabin (cello).

This benefit is for a wonderful student-run community radio station in Jamel, Haiti, a city still recovering from the 2010 earthquake. David Rabin did a journalistic workshop for them last year and was inspired by their dedication.

$15 Suggested Donation


Sneak Peek...BloomBars' DC Jazz Festival Lineup

June 27-29, 2014

Mark your calendars! We're joining the DC Jazz Festival's 10th anniversary celebration! Thad Wilson will bring his newest project: a Live soundtrack for Oscar Micheaux's 1925 vintage silent film Body and Soul) starring Paul Robeson - one of the first so-call race films with an all black cast and directer. Artist in Bloom residents Dante Pope and Rochelle Rice will bring some of DC's finest jazz musicians together over two nights.....and we're working on an all night jam session soon to be announced....

:: new @BloomBars ::


BloomU Introduces: Fit Kids Hit the Stage Summer Adventure Camp

June 23rd through July 27th

Who: Kids Ages 3-5 (19 Slots - Potty Training Required)

What: Fit Kids Hit The Stage is multi-faceted approach to healthy living, confidence & socio-emotional skill building through a combination of:
• Improv theater
• Nutrition education
• Interactive games
• Structured physical play:
o Yoga/Pilates
o Creative Movement&Dance
o Circuit Training
o Basic Martial Arts

This interactive and engaging summer program will expose your child to a world of fun through the arts, exercise, healthy eating habits, and interactive play. Together, certified teachers Ms. Tsion Teckle and Mrs. Sylvia Boyle have over 10 years of experience working with children and families from all walks of life. They approach each child’s individual development needs with an open heart and strive to nurture their growth and learning holistically. Their goal is to lay a foundation for creative, healthy and confident kids from adolescence to adulthood.
Special Harambee Performace w/Baba Ras D. Thursdays

When: June 23-July 17th


Djembe (Drum) Class is Back with a New Time: Wednesdays at 7:00pm

Wednesday, May 28th at 7pm

We're giving this new time a try for seven sessions. If it gains critical mass, we keep it! Sign-up by emailing Kweku at:

Ever dream of joining the Malcolm X Park Drum Circle? Now’s your chance to build some confidence. Join Drumlady Kristen Arant and Ghanaian drummer/drum-builder Kweku Owusu for West African drumming classes at BloomBars! Learn techniques and rhythms from Ghana and Guinea, West Africa on djembe, kpanlogo and dun-un drums. This class is guaranteed to open your heart, spark your spirit, calm your body and challenge your mind!

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Camp Kolobok – Russian Music Workshop for Toddlers – NEW WEEKLY PROGRAM

Sundays at 10am

Camp Kolobok is a weekly Russian language workshop ideal for children 1.5-3.5 years old focused on developing a love for music and rhythm through songs, stories and movement. The class takes its name from a beloved Russian fairy tale character (a freshly baked bun) who was a little too brave and had decided to run away from home. Children will be introduced to interactive songs and encouraged to use various props, combining music and play. Developed by Ekaterina Zheleznova, the curriculum uses exercises that are aimed at speech and movement development and are ideal for toddlers. The length of a typical class is 40-45 min.

About the instructor:
Elena has a Masters Degree and is a professional conductor/chorus-leader of an academic chorus. She has over 10 years of experience working as a teacher in a music school, teaching chorus, solfeggio, and vocals.

The classes are on walk-in basis, but we encourage RSVPs (please contact Alina at 2-3 days ahead of the class (so we can plan the number of materials needed for each class).


The Singing Lizard Moves to Tuesdays at 10am! Giving Away Free CDs At Every Show in May!

The Singing Lizard is moving from a monthly schedule to Tuesdays at 10am starting May 6th - performing music from her critically acclaimed albums, “Alphabeat” and “Make Believe."

The Singing Lizard comfortably inhabits her own sound, somewhere between eclectic electronica and soulful pop. She will have you and your little ones singing and dancing with joy in no time. The Singing Lizard encourages you to play along, so don’t be shy, pick up those drums, shakers and microphones and let’s rock!


Nous Bloomons en Français (French Language Kids Concert) - Fridays at 5:30pm

Fridays at 5:30pm

BloomBars in partnership with Alliance Française is excited to present Nous Bloomons en Français, every Friday at 5:30pm. Nous Bloomons en Français is a celebration of French language and culture through song and dance and led by Vincent Vigneron. And he takes requests!

Vincent grew up in the South West of France. He has been working with children and youth for 10 years. Before coming to the US he lived in Berlin (Germany) where he taught French in Kindergarten and bilingual schools for several years. He is now a teacher at Alliance Française of Washington DC where he teaches French to children. He also runs workshops such as Shadow Puppetry Theater and Hands-on Science. He enjoys songs and music from all over the world and has been playing guitar for ten years.

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Theatrical Journey Project for Young Children (Ages 3-6) (Registration for 2nd Spring Session)

Thursdays at 4 & 5pm (Starting May 1st)

Our first 8-week run of The Theatrical Journey Project was so super successful, we're bringing it back again. Thursday, May 1st, will kick off our new 7-week session with famed educator Elizabeth Bruce of Sanctuary Theatre’s Performing Knowledge Project. The project is a unique approach to nurturing creativity, STEM, fine motor, and language skills in children ages 3-6.

$13 Suggested donation per class or $80 for series of seven workshops. Students/Parents must sign-up for a minimum of 4 classes. Max 13 students per workshop. Email Elizabeth for more information and registration materials.

BloomU Kids Weekly Schedule & NOW 7 DAYS A WEEK

Mondays at 9:30am - HARAMBE

Tuesdays at 10am - Liz the Singing Lizard

Wednesdays at 10am - Samba Baby(on 3 month Hiatus)

Wednesdays at 5:30pm - Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés

Thursdays at 10am - HARAMBE

Thursdays at 4pm and 5pm - Theatrical Journeys Project

Fridays at 10am - Songs, Stories & Puppets

Fridays at 5:30pm Nous Bloomons en Français

Saturdays at 9:30am and 10:30am - HARAMBE

Saturdays at 10am - Camp Kolobok

BloomU Dance Class Schedule

Mondays at 6:45pm - Interpretive & Folkloric Dance Fusion (bilingual class)

Wednesdays at 9pm - Adult Samba Class

Third Saturdays at 3:45pm - Kizomba Dance Workshop and Social

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Do You Value What We Do? Please DONATE to BloomU!

If you want to invest in our work, please consider making a tax-deductible donation.

By donating online, you will automatically receive a receipt so you can deduct your charitable donation on your taxes.
By donating online, you will automatically receive a receipt so you can deduct your charitable donation on your taxes.
Donate Today to Keep BloomBars Growing and YOU Blooming!

:: MUST SEE BloomTV::

BloomTV is our story, our soul, untold, raw and waiting to be discovered. Watch from beginning to end and you will get where we're going.

WATCH: BloomTV: Signing Lizard "Make Believe" CD Release

Listen to the Singing Lizard's new CD "Make Believe" here!

:: photos of the week ::


Yoga Share every Thursday at 7:30pm


BloomBars Receives Glowing Review From "Our Kids"

May 15, 2014 by Jamie Davis Smith

BloomBars is a home-grown, non-profit, off-beat arts space in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of DC. Each morning, and many afternoons, the cozy space welcomes children of all ages to experience a range of age-appropriate performances ranging from local favorites Liz the Singing Lizard and Uno, Dos, Tres con Andres, to puppets and stories, to Harambe and Samba. There is a strong focus on multiculturalism with programs available in Spanish, French, and Russian.

My 3.5 year old daughter and I went to a recent Songs, Stories, and Puppets performance by local parent David Greenfieldboyce who performs with his toddler onstage with him. David puts on a lively weekly show designed for the five-and-under crowd with songs about eating too many cookies, flying puppets, and stories about Grandma Pearl. The 30 minute performance time was the perfect length for this age group who were encouraged to sing along and get up and move during the show.

Kids and their grown-ups sit either on a mat that takes up most of the floor or on benches around the perimeter. BloomBars is a great experience with plenty of regulars who show up weekly (or more often) to catch their favorite acts. After the shows, many children head en masse to a playground a block away or they are invited to stay at BloomBars and draw with chalk on the sidewalk out front. BloomBars operates on donations and there is a suggested donation of about $5.00 to $7.00 depending on the show. Crowds come to see not just the better known acts, but the newer local ones as well.

There is plenty of stroller parking available out front. There is usually street parking available but be sure to read all signs carefully as some spots are designated for neighborhood residents and permit holders only. Room 11 is a great place on the same block to stop for breakfast or a morning pastry before the show and the popular pizza restaurant Red Rocks is a block away as well.

BloomBars offers an intimate, welcoming experience with top-notch entertainment for young children. It’s definitely worth checking out a show or two!

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We Won Again! "Best Arts and Culture Nonprofit" Three Years in a Row!

BloomBars was named the "winner" in the The Washington City Paper’s “Best Of DC 2014” Reader’s Poll for “Best Arts and Culture Nonprofit!” Readers said:

"A creative haven for both me and my toddler." Plus, "an excellent, well-organized, relaxed setting."

Again, we were super psyched to receive the honor, and humbled by all the congrats and amens that followed. It is great to receive recognition for the magical growth we’ve been incubating, but our focus is on serving YOU and your potential – and having lots of fun doing it! You Bloom. We Bloom. Big shout outs to runners-up Abada-Capoeira and SpeakeasyDC.

Thank YOU! Material Donations Transform Bloom Sound/Screen

Thanks to generous material donations from BloomBars' supporters, we have made significant upgrades to our sound system and recording capabilities. In addition, a beautiful upright piano was gifted to our second floor gallery, which now, thanks to a new Blue Ray system, simulcasts our BloomScreen Indie Film Night on a second 120inch screen.

:: art blooms in the city ::


Call for Young Artists - Art Marketplace Made of Scrap!

From June 8th until July 13th, SCRAP DC’s Re:Vision Gallery walls will be devoted to an Art Exhibition featuring work by artists age 13 or younger. An Opening Reception will be held June 8th from 4-5:30. Also on June 8th, SCRAP DC will host our first-ever Kids Craft Market. Are you a SCRAPpy artist, age 13 or younger, or know of one? Do you have artwork you’d like to sell? This is your chance!

Please visit Scrap DC for more information.

:: quote of the week ::

"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."

Bob Marley

:: bloom for thought ::

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Is there a future for the Recycled Orchestra?

What will happen to the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, now that new instruments have begun to arrive from well-wishers around the world?

Courtesy of 60 Minutes

The most beautiful instrument that 60 Minutes producer Michael Gavshon saw when he visited the child orchestra of Cateura in Paraguay was a cello, fashioned out of an oil barrel, a hairbrush, the heel of a woman's shoe, and a wooden spoon -- all salvaged from the town dump.

For information on how you can help the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, click here or email

To learn more about the film "Landfill Harmonic," click here

The cello, and hundreds of other instruments like it, were created by a man named Don Cola, who lives and works in a shack beside the town dump.

"The guy's a magician," correspondent Bob Simon told Ann Silvio of 60 Minutes Overtime. "He had never seen a violin, he'd never heard a violin, he'd never heard any classical music-- he was just working from what people told him to do and he did it, and now he just churns them out."

The 60 Minutes team spent time in Don Cola's workshop, filming him as he crafted a violin out of a paint can and an oven tray. Gavshon says they began to think of him as the "Stradivarius of South America."

Simon and Gavshon's story about the remarkable Recycled Orchestra of Cateura aired on the 60 Minutes broadcast this week, a stunning tale about a group of desperately poor children, who are changing their lives through the power of music.

Watch or continue reading here.

:: about bloombars ::

BloomBars' works to inspire compassionate, creative and purposeful communities through the arts. Our goal is to foster personal and collective growth and cultivate a legion of artists to be the catalyst for community transformation across the globe. We offer a safe space for creative expression, community building, wellness, entertainment and anything that nurtures meaningful human connections and motivates people to service. We redefine the perception of a bar by providing opportunities for diverse, multi-generational communities to gather in a culturally rich and alcohol-free environment. We are 100% donation driven, volunteer run and love fueled.

BloomU is the all-ages college of BloomBars. Our mission it to help you reach your full potential by exploring the heights of your creativity! Led by a talented team of artist/instructors, we host a wide variety of classes and workshops for people of all ages and experience levels, including dance, theater, visual arts, music, poetry and film. Classes are donation based. Suggested donations range from $5-$25. Drop-in on a class or workshop today!

Artists in Bloom At the center of our broad mission is a core belief that art and artists have the power to transform people, communities, and the world. The Artist in Bloom Residency Program is designed to identify, cultivate and incubate artists who will advance that belief and supports their growth as professionals, community activists, educators, social entrepreneurs, and human beings.

The Gallery at BloomBars presents exhibitions and programs that spark important conversations and encourage relationships between the artist and community. The Gallery’s interdisciplinary approach opens the door to bold experimentation and unique partnerships that support its mission to present the diversity of human experiences, raise consciousness and inspire personal growth.

Please send positive thoughts and energy to BloomBars' poetry coordinator, Gowri K, who is recovering from a serious back injury.

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