Rock & Roll Merit Badge
Comet Ping Pong has been getting a lot of press lately. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives lauded the food but lately it is the music performed on their stage that has been garnering attention. This is in no small part thanks to the booking dynamo, Sasha Lord, who has put this family friendly gourmet pizza joint on the map as a DC music venue. For the woman behind Sash Lord Presents, things have come full circle. How did this Girl Scout do it? The hard way.
Sasha, an Arlington native, is doing her best to cultivate community and mentor youths wherever she goes. One thing that’s been a mainstay in Sasha’s life was the Girl Scouts. She had been a member since age 5, and at age 20, she got an internship with the organization. While studying Therapeutic Recreation at George Mason University, which is a field that seeks to improve wellbeing for individuals at risk, she also worked in the kitchen and at the door of the Black Cat. Music was the other constant in her life.
During her time with the Girl Scouts and throughout college, she began to work with at-risk youth, which she knew was something she wanted to continue to do. Additionally, she spent a year working at Hemlock Overlook, an outdoor leadership school that is run by George Mason. After this she became a field director for the Girl Scout Council of the Nations Capital In this role she developed the art of managing large groups of people, planning events, and recruiting members. She started a troop at the Prince William County Youth detention center once again making the Girl Scouts accessible to at risk youth.
As rewarding as this was, she realized something was missing and it was her love of music. She thought back to the years (2001-2005) spent at the Black Cat and called Rob “Kalani” Tifford, who at that time was booking shows at Comet Ping Pong. He remembered her fondly and brought her onto the team.
Here she began to build on what she had observed at the Black Cat and the Girl Scouts while being mentored by Kalani. She got to utilize her organizational skills, love of music, knowledge of club protocol, and event planning all in one place. As of September 2011, she was able to leave her position at the Girl Scouts and is now a full time booking agent at Comet. She feels that all along she has been using the Girl Scout model, emphasis on hands on learning and facilitating others.
Her DIY philosophy and love for music are all evident at Comet, as well as her desire to mentor others. As you can read in an earlier article, Sasha is part of a unique internship experience with Artisphere. Her strong local connection is also apparent not only in the acts that she books but in the atmosphere at Comet Ping Pong. She makes her shows all ages and accessible to everyone. She has found that alternative spaces such as Comet are very appealing to bands that have been touring for many years and have grown weary of larger clubs.
She takes great care in all the shows she curates, making sure to feature local bands with the national acts. She gets to showcase what she loves: garage music and people who are passionate about what they do.
To Sasha, all her hard work has been worth it though. She is now doing everything she can to make sure that the next generation has an easier path towards rewarding careers in the arts.
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