This is the second in our new "My D.C." Q&A series, where we ask D.C.-area residents about the local things that make D.C. their home.
Anyone you'd like to see us interview? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since last fall, Story League has been hosting contests at Busboys and Poets as well as producing best-of shows at a variety of venues around the District of Columbia. A performer as well as producer, Shrake is a little more raw than his peers. Willing to offend yet eager to please, his stories and shows keep the masses entertained. The monthly shows regularly sell out and performers new and old sign up to try out well in advance.
In addition to gracing local stages, Shrake has also performed at World Cafe Live, The Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, 92YTribeca, Union Hall and The Bitter End in New York, The Comedy Studio in Boston, The Makeout Room in San Francisco and The Gem Theatre in Detroit.
Shrake appears on the New York-based And I Am Not Lying storytelling and burlesque event Thursday evening at the Black Cat. Other performers include Jeff Simmermon ("This American Life"), Cyndi Freeman (SXSW 2012), Brad Lawrence ("The Moth") and burlesque performer Amelia Bareparts. The 8 p.m. show has sold out and a second late show has been added. The events are our pick of the day.
The Huffington Post: What do you do for a living?
SM Shrake: I am a high-powered editor at a marketing agency by day, comedic storytelling powerhouse by night. Power! Squared! Or, times two! Power! Power!
HuffPost: Where do you live?
SS: I live in the old-people's corner of Adams Morgan, on the highest point, slightly removed (about two blocks) from the Weekend Piss and Vomit District of song and legend.
Even before I moved here five years ago, my best friend lived in Adams Morgan, and I always stayed with her, so I feel like it's my second ancestral home. My ancestral home away from home. (My first ancestral home is Detroit.)
HuffPost: What's your commute like?
SS: I walk to work, in Georgetown, about 40 minutes one way. In inclement weather I take the 42 or 43 bus. I would rather walk the Trail of Tears than get in a D.C. cab. Just won't do it.
HuffPost: What's your favorite local spot to take out-of-town visitors?
SS: No one ever visits me, obviously. But if anyone ever did, I think I would take them to my roof deck, which has unobstructed panoramic views of the DMV. A public place I would take them, depending on the time of day, is Meridian Hill Park aka Malcolm X Park. Power to the people!
HuffPost: What's your position on D.C. statehood?
SS: In a very nuanced way, it is the same as my position on same-sex marriage. Believe me, you don't want to know.
HuffPost: What's your favorite local neighborhood?
SS: Aesthetically, Georgetown (not M Street! The University and East Village and all that). Culturally, U Street. Socially, Columbia Heights/Adams Morgan. I find Rosslyn/Ballston fascinatingly exotic and kind of sexy because it's so antiseptic and modern and full of people that are the "Other" to me and therefore attractive. I could really get it on in that scene? If anyone would let me go there?
HuffPost: What's your favorite local restaurant?
SS: El Centro on 14th Street is my fave of the moment. It's quite economical, but usually I like anything very expensive -- if it's on you.
HuffPost: Should D.C. lift its height restrictions on buildings?
SS: No. Tall is bad -- with people and buildings and everything else. [Editor's Note: Shrake is 5'5" and a staunch anti-tall advocate from way back.]
HuffPost: What do people in D.C. complain about too much?
SS: How "rude" their city mates are. Are you crazy? Have you been to Philly? Take a trip up there and come back and tell me again how rude D.C. people are. Boring? Yes. Rude? No.
HuffPost: What local issue should D.C.-area residents pay more attention to?
SS: Cracking down on the homosexuality epidemic here.