Dupont Underground has been a staple of the Dupont Circle neighborhood since 2016, when the previously abandoned underground trolley station was once again repurposed — and this time, not into a trolley-themed food court.
The multi-faceted community arts space focuses on providing a platform for local artists. From comedy shows to pop-up exhibits, to drag shows — Dupont Underground is chock-full of entertainment and opportunity in the District.
This weekend, the space is hosting a marketplace — Dupont’s Basement. It’ll be hosted in two phases — one market on Saturday night, and one market on Sunday afternoon.
Producer and creator behind Dupont’s Basement market, David Ross, did his first market for Dupont Underground in early 2020, just before the pandemic hit.
“The first market I did for Dupont Underground in January 2020 was called Below Zero,” Ross says. “We were gonna do more, but Covid shut things down.”
But now, slowly and safely, the markets are coming back to Dupont Underground.
“I branded this new iteration ‘Dupont’s Basement’ because I like that name,” Ross says. “And I like the idea of somebody’s uncle’s rustic basement, even though some of the vendors don’t necessarily represent that. I just like the name for the imagery.”
There will be an eclectic group of vendors during the weekend, providing a variety of goods, including vintage rugs, cocktails, vinyl to international photography. There’s a vendor named Enzo that Ross claims brings “12 tables of collectibles,” which sounds as exciting as it does intriguing.
“Vendors sell anything and everything. We’re getting a bit more experimental. A lot of these vendors know everything that’s popping up around here.”
Ross has been building relationships with many of these vendors since this past summer when they organized the National Landing Market (NLM) in Arlington. And he’s excited about what they’re able to provide to this new market space, to complement the energy provided by newer vendors.
But Ross makes it pretty clear that the market goes beyond just what’s sold — to Ross, the curation of the space is equally important.
“I want to make sure everything’s the right vibe, everything fits, and nothing seems out of place. I want it to feel like something you’d want to return to.”
Music is also really important to Ross’s curation blueprint. For the Saturday night market, Dupont’s Basement will be featuring a DJ set from DJ Pedro Night.
“[One of] the reasons I did a night market was because I want to be able to have somebody playing music with profanity,” Ross says, with a chuckle. “On Sunday, I want to add something more acoustic, [more family friendly].”
“I want to have a certain type of musical vibe where people can just shop and enjoy. Music is a heavy part of this. It’s a market, but to me, it’s more like a theatrical production.”
He’s also really excited about the overlap of the market with the change of the seasons.
“This would be my first time doing a market in the fall, which is crazy because of how many markets I’ve done within the past year. The fall represents markets, [and] make me think of autumn,” Ross says.
The bustle of the marketplace, the music piercing the crisp autumn air, and the variety of creatives and their works — all exciting pieces of what will shape an exciting weekend at Dupont Underground.
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