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ONLY IN D.C. I’m going to be honest: This one’s a little emotional for me. In March 2020, we launched District Fray after 21 years as On Tap Magazine. It was a big and bold move, and one I had spent more than a year agonizing over. I wanted everything to be perfect with the rebrand, to show our community we were a voice for the real D.C. Our inaugural issue, “For the Love of D.C.,” featured a front-and-back cover illustration by No Kings Collective’s Brandon Hill, and in many ways, it was our collective love letter to the city. We were slated to host a huge arts party at the end of March at No Kings’ space, Good Fast Cheap, with art activations galore. And then, Covid happened 10 days before we got to celebrate our big debut. Of course, in the scheme of things, this is not important. We survived, taking the approach of acting as barnacles on a ship that clung tightly for as long as we could in the very rocky, ever-changing media landscape made even more uncertain by the pandemic. And now, nearly two years later, we’re bringing back our love letter to the city. This summer, we joined forces with Events DC to launch the “For the Love of D.C.” series: video segments that run parallel with the themes of our magazine in tandem with events to promote everything from our performing arts scene’s triumphant return to the importance of go-go music in the city. For our fourth and final installment, we are introducing “Only in D.C.” Rather than act as an authority on any topic in the city with a “Best Of,” we gave our writers and collaborators the opportunity to call out their favorite people and places in the District right now across all sections of the magazine. It’s by no means comprehensive, but it’s a well-rounded and thoughtfully curated set of lists that we’re quite proud of. On December 11, we invite locals to join us at Culture House DC for our “Only in D.C.” event featuring 25+ artists, a mix of up-and-comers and stalwarts of the creative scene, for a dynamic panel, artist activations and vendor market. We’re getting the gang back together, so to speak, calling on the creative community to share their individual love letters to our city with locals. And within these pages, we feature artists Trap Bob and Chris Pyrate, who worked with me to create a shared vision for this issue. To us, “Only in D.C.” is an embodiment of the tightknit, fiercely loyal and thriving community of artists, creators, curators and advocates behind the cultural renaissance the District is currently experiencing. Only in D.C. can we build something so powerful that keeps pace with a bigger metropolis, but has the intimacy of a city that’s just starting an epic arts movement. All of this is to say, I’m overjoyed to have the opportunity to collaborate with two of the city’s talented artists who double as powerful advocates for the next generation of creatives on an illustrated cover, impactful cover story and meaningful event. And I’m even more thrilled to highlight such a diverse group of individuals making waves in the District for our last issue of the year. Thanks as always to our readers for your continued support. We look forward to reconnecting in 2022. In the meantime, these barnacles are taking a break. Happy holidays! 

Monica Alford