Arts & Culture
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is located along the Potomac River.
Washington, D.C. is a national center for the arts. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is home to the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington National Opera, and the Washington Ballet. The Kennedy Center Honors are awarded each year to those in the performing arts who have contributed greatly to the cultural life of the United States. The President and First Lady typically attend the Honors ceremony, as the First Lady is the honorary chair of the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees. Washington also has a local independent theater tradition. Institutions such as Arena Stage, the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and the Studio Theatre feature classic works and new American plays.
The U Street corridor in Northwest D.C., known as "Washington's Black Broadway", is home to institutions like Bohemian Caverns and the Lincoln Theatre, which hosted music legends such as Washington-native Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis. Other jazz venues feature modern blues such as Madam's Organ in Adams Morgan and Blues Alley in Georgetown. D.C. has its own native music genre called go-go; a post-funk, percussion-driven flavor of R&B that blends live sets with relentless dance rhythms. The most accomplished practitioner was D.C. band leader Chuck Brown, who brought go-go to the brink of national recognition with his 1979 LP Bustin' Loose.
Washington is also an important center for indie culture and music in the United States. The label Dischord Records, formed by Ian MacKaye, was one of the most crucial independent labels in the genesis of 1980s punk and eventually indie rock in the 1990s. Washington's indie label history includes TeenBeat, Dischord Records, Simple Machines, and ESL Music among others. Modern alternative and indie music venues like The Black Cat and the 9:30 Club near U Street bring popular acts to smaller more-intimate venues.