Shopping The Highlights, Lowlights and Fleshlights of U St.'s Dog Days Festival

by HUNTER GORINSON · August 6, 2010

Now in its 11th year, the MidCity Business Association's annual Dog Days of August festival will be taking over the 14th St./U St. corridors en masse this Saturday and Sunday with dozens of swag giveaways and special events all weekend long -- from free popsicles on the roof deck at Marvin to a production prop "garage sale" at The Studio Theatre. Truth be told, however, the real purpose of this annual, end of summer bash has been getting overheated bodies into the neighborhood's locally owned retailers.  But with more of those to choose from than ever, here's a few tips on the see, skip and rubberneck coming this weekend.

The Bike Rack

D.C. may have a growing rep as biker-friendly town, but something tells us that the Orbea Ordu ain't exactly bike lane legal.  Retailing for a cool $9000, this time trial/triathalon racer features an electronic shifting system and all carbon fiber frame. Call it the Maserati of self-powered transportation.

Toucan Boutique

Toucan's proprietor, always lovely local Nastassia Siqueira, may have been able to ply her way into the pages of Vogue with her recently opened boutique's import-heavy selection of Brazilian designers, but, this weekend, she's setting up shop outside the Black Cat to unload some quick steals in swim and summer wear, along with -- most notably -- some her store's selection of must-see accessories like Poketo plastic wallets and (yes) funny bunny sunglasses.

Miss Pixie's

Miss Pixie's rummage emporium of slightly used "furnishings and whatnot" prides itself on the high turnover rate of its merchandise, so it's hard to predict what might be lining the floor this weekend.  One constant over the past year or so, however, has been this tastefully purple chihuahua number, which at 20% off, might finally be worth picking up -- if only to scare dates away from your pad in perpetuity.

Millennium Decorative Arts

Long before IKEA highjacked the good name of Scandinavian furniture, a select few northern European designers were decorating the living spaces of a future generations.  Today, originals from that late 50s/early 60s era are true collector's items -- except at Millennium, which will have an authentic (and oft knocked off) Arne Jacobsen Swan Chair on hand for 20-50% off the $1850 price tag.

Secret Pleasures

Alright, we've never been, but one would be remiss in passing up U St.'s only sex shop this weekend, as they raffle off a "couples vibrator" by the name of the We-Vibe II, which has the Hill-ready fortune of looking something like a Bluetooth headset.  Could make up the punishment of our next entry, no?

Lettie Gooch

While the Dog Day's boutique-to-boutique schlep might seem a little distressing for to the XY-bearers among us, expect Lettie Gooch's one-of-kind "boyfriend corner" to heavily trafficked during peak business as men of many persuasions fight over one bench, a dozen or so fedoras, and a single rack of 75% off clothing.  Good luck.

Palace 5ive

14th St. skateshop Palace 5ive's weekend offerings are limited purely to the shop's streetwear and (many, many styles of) shoes, but, if it's art one is in the market for, look no further than the floor-to-ceiling display of skateboard decks featuring works by icons like Keith Haring and Raymond Pettibon to name but a few.

RCKNDY

Finally a way to get house guests to lay off the constant questions about navigating the Red Line.  Pick up one of RCKNDY's D.C. Metro map shower curtain and endure endless "Real Housewives" chatter instead.

Som Records

Dude, it's the District's best selection of used vinyl -- from punk to electronica to go-go -- and it's all 10% off.  Plus, DJ sets from store regulars that we'd wager will include owner Neville C (of the "Brazilian Rhythms" night at nearby Saint-Ex) and Kid Congo Powers (former Nick Cave guitarist and current host of the Bubble Rock Dance Party at the 9:30 Club Back Bar).

For a more information on Dog Days 2010, check out a complete program guide here or head to the MCBA homepage.