Between experimental supper clubs, week-long art activations, and temporary performance takeovers, it seems like there’s a new pop-up concept springing up in the District faster than you can say “dead horse.” The common denominator: Each transforms a dilapidated or vacant lot into a scenester destination, using social media to hype the venue in hopes of turning a quick profit before shutting down shop. But in the case of DC’s secret pop-up, The Paperhaus, there’s no money involved and shutting down shop simply means passing out when people leave your living room.
A branch of DC’s DIY scene, The Paperhaus is home to local rockers Paperhaus and is something between a pop-up music venue and AirBNB for indie acts. For more than a year, the band’s members (Alex Tebeleff, Eduardo Rivera, John Di Lascio, and Brandon Moses) have transformed their Truxton Circle rowhouse home into a recording studio and opened their doors to host local and touring bands from throughout the country. There’s never a cover, it’s always BYOB, and any donations people want to shell out go directly to the bands.
Every few weeks, the housemates move some furniture in their living room, set up a makeshift stage marked by a rug, and invite acts they like to come play a set to an intimate audience of people who are either in the band, in another band, or friends of guys in a band. According to Paperhaus’s members, shows have ranged in size anywhere from a handful of people to a shoulder-to-shoulder sweaty triumph—complete with crowd surfing.
We ventured out to Saturday’s gig at The Paperhaus where NYC groups Watermelon and Bridges and Powerlines shared the Oriental rug stage with favorite DC songsters, Typefighter. When we got there, the crowd had already started spilling onto the staircase and was soon tossing beers over the railing. Here’s a peek at what might be the city’s most original and community-minded music venue (click on the above images to enlarge)…
Want to check out a show at The Paperhaus? The specifics are generally spread by word of mouth and social media, upcoming shows at The Paperhaus include a blues night and comedy gig, with Paperhaus reclaiming the stage on 4/20.