The DC Events Calendar Has Moved

The DC Events Calendar Has Moved
click to see what's happening

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Morning Walk

After a stop at Chinatown Coffee Company this morning (which was TOTALLY empty ... holiday weekend, I guess), we walked to Union Station and back, and this SunTrust Bank building really caught my eye.
The façade appears to be made of a very corrosion-prone sandstone, because it is quite literally wearing away.  You can't see the backside very well from this angle, but it doesn't connect to anything.  I suspect when they built the very modern building behind it they wanted to maximize ground-level window space, so they left the buildings unconnected.  The SunTrust building itself is almost all windows, which makes it very appealing.

We also saw this guy for the first time.
 The Victims of Communism Memorial at the intersections of New Jersey Avenue, Massachusetts Avenue, and G Street NW.  Who knew this thing existed?  We've got a memorial for everything here.  From the website of the memorial foundation, which touts a Glenn Beck [spit] documentary, I don't think this is a non-partisan affair.  To me, having lived through the 80's, this organization seems a bit quaint for its objective of keeping alive the fight against communism.

Here's my chance to play off a quote of Ferris Bueller, quoting John Lennon:

"Not that I condone [commun]ism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, 'I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.' Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people. "

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Screen on the Green

Got so wrapped up in yesterday's loves-me-loves-me-not streetcar drama that I missed the day's other fantastic news for lovers of District culture: Screen on the Green has been saved! So are HBO and Comcast going to go through this whole teasing exercise every year?

Update: A schedule might be helpful.  See after the jump.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Death of the Streetcar

Bad news being reported at Greater Greater Washington: All funding for the streetcar program has been cut.  Guess that means H Street real estate just got more affordable.

The culprit?  Mayoral candidate and fence-bylaw-flouter Vincent Gray and his Deputy Director for Capital Projects, Sarah Campbell.  GGW notes that Campbell is friends with the anti-overhead-wire lobby, which, in turn, is no good friend of the streetcar project. According to GGW, "There's no way to know for sure how much of her opposition came from professional opinions or personal loyalties."  But more than anything, I think Gray wanted to make a splash in his campaign for mayor and prove that he can make "tough" budget decisions.

I know he made a splash with ctrl+alt+dc.  It's looking like some FENTY 2010 banners may be popping up around these parts.  The primaries will be held September 14, 2010.

Update: Officially dead.

Update 2: Signs of life?

Councilmember Tommy Wells has responded to my email of support as follows:

I’m arguing against these cuts to the streetcar system and just voted against the budget because of it. There is a final vote later this afternoon and I have an amendment ready to introduce to restore some of the funds.

Please keep calls and emails to my colleagues coming.


Update 3: Success!

The funding has been restored.  

From Nikita Stewart at the Washington Post's Breaking News Blog:

“The decision to restore funding came just hours after the council said they would pull money from the streetcars to fund other services. But within moments of the decision, the council was inundated with calls.”

Nice work everybody!

Overheard in Penn Quarter

Pedestrian #1: "I thought she was a singer."

Pedestrian #2: "Oh no, honey, she's a Pussycat Doll."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Walk On

Rebecca at We Love DC reports that fair Washington has been named America's fittest city.  Again.  And again. That's three years in a row.  As Rebecca notes, the methodology is a little bit suspect, and is based mostly on the potential for fitness, rather than actual fitness.  But at least Peter King at SI thinks that Washington is "the best walking city in America."  And the Daily Beast thinks we're the hottest state.  So choke on it, Philly.


Week Preview

Overcast skies greet the District this morning.  A light week ahead for the ctrl+alt+dc gang.

On Tuesday, cooking class at CulinAerie just off Thomas Circle.

Wednesday opens softball season on Monument Field.

With any luck, Friday should find us at the first installment of this year's Jazz in the Garden series at the National Sculpture Garden.  

Saturday, May 1, 2010

There's a Day for Everything

Happy Law Day!  Or as we call it in the District, May 1st.

In honor of the happy occasion, a rundown of some of our favorite law-oriented t-shirts after the jump.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Washington Post Review

Here's a summary of what caught my eye in this morning's Washington Post.

Democratic leaders in Congress scuttled the bill that would have given DC a vote in the House. In the end, the cost—DC's gun control laws—was jut too great. I'm inclined to agree. DC residents seemed too quick to trade in some of the District's hard-won home-rule powers for what, really, isn't an enormous amount of say in national matters. One congressman seems unlikely to shake things up as much as, say, one senator might. But it'll be a cold (maybe unconstitutional?) day in hell when the Senate gives DC a spot at the table. Until that cold day we'll have to resign ourselves to just thinking nationally and voting locally.

And speaking of home rule, DC is one step closer to legalizing medical marijuana. First gay marriage, and now this? DC is definitely leading the way to a brighter, more progressive future. Well, if not "leading" then at least getting on the bandwagon relatively early.

Finally, the Post reports that DC is seeking federal funds for its H Street streetcar project. Hopefully everything falls into place and we can start getting some hot new public transit action on our way to Granville Moore's by the end of 2012. The Chinatown-to-H-Street shuttle service, while much appreciated, leaves much to be desired.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pall Over Tonight's Nationals Game

The New York Times reports that Colorado Rockies President Keli McGregor has been found dead in a Salt Lake City hotel room. The mood at tonight's Nationals-Rockies game certainly will be somber.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Caps-Habs Game 2

Tough way to open the night for the Caps. Down 0-1 within the first minute and 0-2 about seven minutes later, bringing a premature end to Theo's time in the goal for the game (and likely the rest of the playoffs). Fehr brings the Caps within one until Montreal gets their third goal in the second period.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Emancipation Day

A little history lesson from a friend at Ford's Theatre:

On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln declared emancipation for all enslaved persons within the District of Columbia, which he believed was within his power as the District was at the time ruled directly by the Federal Government.   The District of Columbia was the first place declared free of slavery by the federal government, almost six months before President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Red Riding Trilogy

I missed the Red Riding Trilogy's brief run at the Landmark E Street Cinema.  Luckily the films were all available on demand.  Still are, actually, until some time in April.

I'll leave the criticism to the professionals.  But I really, really liked these films.  Strong performances throughout.  Particularly Paddy Considine in "The Year of Our Lord 1980" and David Morrissey in "The Year of Our Lord 1983."  The first two films together recall Roberto Bolaño's 2666.  (Yes of course the Red Riding books were written first.  But whatever.)  The third film stands a bit apart in my mind, perhaps because it has to wrap up all the threads.  The trilogy requires quite a bit of patience until those threads came together.  But the wait is definitely rewarded. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV Commercials - Q4 Winners and Losers

Vizio Internet Apps
Taco Bell (but only for Sir Charles)

Emerald Nuts / Pop Secret
Budweiser: Bull / Clydesdales (one too many times at this well)
Denny's: Damned screaming chickens
Audi TDI: Green police (smug alert)
Doritos: Stolen Doritos from locker
Bud Light: Book club
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Super Bowl XLIV Commercials - 3Q Winners and Losers

VW: Slug bugs Chevy Chase / Vacation
Coke: Serengeti sleepwalker
e*trade: "Milk-a-what?"
Kia Sorento: Toys fantasizing

MotoBlur: Megan Fox (too easy)
Bridgestone: Wife/Life pun
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Super Bowl XLIV Commercials - Q2 Winners and Losers

Budweiser: Human bridge
Letterman: With Leno and Oprah No pants
Hyundai: Brett Farve 2020 retirement. Or not.
Dove: Men+Care
FTD Flowers
TruTV: Punxsutawny Polamalu

Dockers: "No pants" song immediately after commercial
Bud Light: "Lost" gimmick
Dodge: "I'm a guy who does crap that girls want ... So I get to drive a Dodge. Ugh ugh ugh."
Dr. Pepper: Little Kiss
N.O. Decision to go for it on 4th & goal
FloTV: "Guys, you don't like shopping, so take one of our TVs with you. Ugh ugh ugh."
Intel: Robot foot in mouth

Super Bowl XLIV Commercials - Halftime Winners and Losers

FloTV: "We Didn't Start the Fire" / "My G-g-generation" makes constant TV viewing seem imperative

Carmax: Dramatic animals (maybe they'll do a wedding dance video next)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Super Bowl XLIV Commercials - Q2 Winners and Losers

Budweiser: Human bridge
Letterman: With Leno and Oprah No pants
Hyundai: Brett Farve 2020 retirement. Or not.
Dove: Men+Care
FTD Flowers
TruTV: Punxsutawny Polamalu

Dockers: "No pants" song immediately after commercial
Bud Light: "Lost" gimmick
Dodge: "I'm a guy who does crap that girls want ... So I get to drive a Dodge. Ugh ugh ugh."
Dr. Pepper: Little Kiss
N.O. Decision to go for it on 4th & goal
FloTV: "Guys, you don't like shopping, so take one of our TVs with you. Ugh ugh ugh."
Intel: Robot foot in mouth
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Super Bowl XLIV Commercials - Q1 Winners and Losers

Snickers: Tackling Betty White and Abe Vigoda
Doritos: Keep your hands off (1) my mama and (2) my Doritos
Coke: Simpsons
Bud Light: AutoTune with T-Pain and guacamole
Bridgestone: Killer whale rescue Birthing a baby tiger

Bud Light: Bud Light house
Doritos: Dog collar
Bud Light: Scientist nookie Fiddling beaver Danica massage

Snowpocalypse II: The Aftermath


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Washington, DC - Hypothermia Hotline

It's cold and wet out there in the District. If you see a homeless person who could use some help, please call the shelter hotline:

(800) 535-7252

They can help transport homeless persons to a local shelter, distribute blankets, or otherwise render assistance.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mass DC Theater Cancellations

Because of SNOWPOCALYPSE 2010, so far the following DC theaters have cancelled shows tonight and/or tomorrow. Please check the individual theater's website for more information about cancellations, postponements, etc.

Ford's Theatre
The Rivalry
Friday, February 5, at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 6, at 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 6, at 7:30 p.m.

Shakespeare Theatre Company
Henry V
Friday, February 5, 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 6, 2 p.m.

Synetic Theater
Antony and Cleopatra
Friday, February 5, 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 6, 2 p.m.
Saturday, February 6, 8 p.m.

National Theatre (Saturday Morning's Performance)
Meet Her Royal Majestie, Queen Elizabeth I
Saturday, February 6

Warner Theatre
Jimmy Fallon
Friday, February 5 (POSTPONED)
Saturday, February 6 (POSTPONED)

Woolly Mammoth
The Last Cargo Cult
Friday, February 5
Saturday, February 6

Atlas Performing Arts Center
Sunday, February 7

Washington Shakespeare Company
The Miser
Friday, February 5, at 8 p.m.

Friday, February 5
Saturday, February 6
Sunday, February 7

Round House
Permanent Collection
Friday, February 5
Saturday, February 6

Kennedy Center
Friday, February 5
Saturday, February 6

GALA Teatro
Beauty of the Father
Friday, February 5
Saturday, February 6
GALita Children's Filmfest
Saturday, February 6

Arena Stage
Stick Fly
Friday, February 5
Saturday, February 6

As of now Theater J and Studio Theatre think they are going full-steam ahead with performances as scheduled. Studio's >gulp< annual gala is proceeding tomorrow as well. It'd be tough to cancel that one.

I'll update this list as more information becomes available. And before you do anything rash, please check with the theater. The goal of this post is to make information as readily available as possible. But I can offer no guarantees as to its accuracy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Synetic Theater: Antony and Cleopatra

Peter Marks raves about Synetic Theater's Antony and Cleopatra in today's Post.

Synetic's dance spectacle always offers something very unique to DC art and theater. Host and Guest and Dante were very engaging, interesting shows. The former shed some light on the South Ossetian conflict then raging in 2008. The latter shed some light on the Inferno and, well, some of DC's renowned sexy bodies. But I haven't been quite as blown away by Synetic as I was at my first experience there: Carmen. Certainly the novelty played a big factor in my Carmen experience. I'd never seen anything like it before. But also the over-the-top love affair at Carmen's heart made a perfect match for Synetic's singular style. So I'm greatly looking forward to seeing what Synetic does with Antony and Cleopatra. Love affairs don't get much bigger than that one. Plus, it will be nice to see what Synetic can do with the resources available to them at the Lansburgh. It should be an upgrade over their usual digs at what Marks aptly dubs "an ill-fitting conference center in Rosslyn."

National Arboretum: National Bonsai and Penjing Museum

Washington's best-kept secret has been outed in today's Post. Adrian Higgins writes about the National Arboretum, specifically the arboretum's National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. I spent an amazingly tranquil October afternoon at the arboretum last year. It's remarkable to find a place so secluded and serene within the district's boundaries. Fantastic spot for a picnic. Far off the tourist-beaten path of monuments and public spaces downtown.

The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum is certainly one of the highlights, and Higgins gives a great profile of the collection's crown jewel: a 1625 white pine bonsai. Higgins aptly dubs the tree a "survivor." The 385-year-old tree, which hails from Hiroshima, lived through the atomic bomb that detonated mere miles away.

Also at the National Arboretum is a collection of columns from the eastern portico of the U.S. Capitol. On the top of a hill, amid a meadow central to the arboretum, the columns stand strikingly against the open sky. In print, the whole concept seems a bit contrived. But in person, the columns' effect is quite captivating. As you approach them, it feels as if you've stumbled upon the hidden ancient remains of a lost civilization. Like Machu Picchu or Mesa Verde. Or maybe Lothlórien. Only these remains aren't quite so ancient. And the (lost) civilization is our own.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

DC: Best Looking State

Leaving aside for a moment the injustice inherent in DC's exclusion as a fully fledged state of the union, let's revel in one glorious recognition of the people of DC. And their right ... to be foxy.

The Daily Beast ranks DC as the #1 best looking state in the U.S.

Thanks Katherine Heigl.

UPDATE: And who knew that Brad Pitt is a native of Oklahoma?

National Gallery of Art East Building Renovation

Slate's slideshow on architectural failures caught my eye this morning.

Apparently the current renovations to the exterior of the NGA's East Building were made necessary by an architectural flaw, and will cost $85 million to fix. (WSJ)

The engineer in me delights when architects, rather than engineers, get their share of blame for failed designs. But we're looking at another 3 years of scaffolding on the NGA East Building while they finish renovations. So, really, nobody is happy.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Looking Forward to the Week Ahead

If all goes according to plan, my week will be bookended with a movie at the Goethe Institute (Monday) and a play at the Shakespeare Theatre Company (Friday).

Otherwise there's not much going on ... maybe because of the lead-in to the Super Bowl? Perhaps it's a good week to see Crazy Heart or A Single Man at the Landmark E Street Cinema.

I'm open to recommendations.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Historic Penn Quarter

Just discovered the research site of the Historical Society of Washington, DC. The Society allows users to search by a number of parameters for historical documents held by its library. Of particular interest is the ability to search based on a city block. As a bonus, a select few photographs are actually made available online. Including this gem:

According to the Society, this photo depicts "View southeast down Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 6th Street to the (unfinished) Capitol." Which places the cameraman directly in front of my (Newseum) building sometime between 1861 and 1862. Whoa.

UPDATE: Some more fantastic pics of my block:

According to the Society: "North side of 500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. 1939. National Guard Armory and Atlas Hotel (in the old National Hotel). Weightman's Row, six houses built by Roger Weightman (later mayor of Washington) in 1816, was sold in 1826 to become the National Hotel (managed by John Gadsby), becoming the best in the city, visited by such as Charles Dickens. Enlarged and remodeled in 1844, the hotel's guests included Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay (who died there in 1852), James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Stephens. The hotel was remodeled again in 1857 and had a major fire in 1921, by which time its popularity had signicantly reduced. Bought by the city in 1929, the building was used as the D.C. Armory. (In 1941, it became a World War II Selective Service System office, and was destroyed in 1942.)"

According to the Society: "1860. General view southeast down Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 6th Street past the National Hotel, to the Capitol, dome under construction. Watercolor painting by A. Meyer."

According to the Society: "1923 - 1927. The National Hotel on the northeast corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 6th Street NW."

According to the Society: "1900 - 1909. National Hotel on the northeast corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 6th Street NW; view to Capitol."

According to the Society: "1940 - 1942. Long line of customers around the National Hotel on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 6th Street NW, waiting for D.C. Automobile Tags."

According to the Society: "1961 - 1962. General view southeast down Pennsylvavia Avenue NW from the 600 block. To the Capitol. Includes, in the 500 block, the D.C. Employment Services Building (under construction) and, adjoining, the D.C. Public Library Administrative Office."

According to the Society: "1889. View northeast down Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 6th Street during flood of 1889 (?). To the Capitol."

UPDATE 2: Cleaned up the captions just a bit. Sorry about all the redundancies.

Spotted: Justice Scalia

Spotted Justice Scalia @ Ford's Theatre.

Apparently he wasn't interested in giving feedback to Obama like another justice I know. Ahem. Alito. Ahem.

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald offers his take here.

UPDATE 2: Glenn's take on Alito @ SOTU. Not Scalia @ Ford's.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Rivalry @ Ford's Theatre (Opening Night Performance)

Full disclosure: my wife works for Ford's Theatre. I'll try to be honest here, but this is by no means an unbiased impression.

In a sort of encore of last season's Living Lincoln series, tonight Ford's Theatre opens a full production of The Rivalry: a three-person play centering on the debates between Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln during their Illinois campaign for the U.S. Senate. (The third member of the trio is Douglas's wife, Adele.)

During Living Lincoln, the play was presented on Ford's stage as a reading. Three actors standing before three microphones. The inactive actor retreating slightly for each scene in which he or she did not appear. The austere presentation effectively highlighted the prose of the reknowned oratorial combatants. Such that even without staging, lighting, or costume, the play retained much of its intended effect.

The two strongest performers from the Living Lincoln series - in the roles of Adele and Stephen Douglas - reprise their roles in the full production. I look forward to seeing what each actor - including the new Lincoln - can do with their roles backed by a full production.

What's New?

We met some friends for brunch on Saturday. @ Vermillion in Alexandria. We hadn't met up for months, so, naturally, they asked, "What's new?"


Well, surely something is new. I just couldn't think of anything at the time. And that bothered me. New stuff happens to me all the time. New stuff, frankly, would be hard to avoid here in the nation's capital. Restaurants. Music. Plays. Museums. Etcetera. But I'd like to change my mindset about it. I want to be able to recite, with a moment's notice, exactly what is new. So be it resolved — call it a late New Year's resolution — that I will regularly ask myself that question. Weekly? Monthly? Sure. And if I don't like the answer, I'll make sure to have a better one the next time.

So, what's new now?



Check back soon.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thievery Corporation

Caught Thievery Corporation for the first time last night at the 9:30 Club.

Night #4 of a 5 (five!) night stand.

Hadn't been to a show in ages, but this one made it all worth the wait.

Incredibly positive evening all around.

New Year

Well, hello there 2010.
What a shiny new thing you are. All futuristic and optimistic. The Century's greatest story continues ...
Here's how I rang in my New Year:
An Evening with the Wainwrights. Loudon III. Lucy. And Rufus.
Pretty sick, huh?
Highlights: Rufus testing "Heart of Ice/Heart of Stone" -- Rufus singing "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" to Jörn ... and the audience thinking he asked us to sing along -- "Zebulon" -- Rufus telling the audience that we (not "we" but "Utah" but really "we") are ridiculous ... and then singing "Gay Messiah" -- and a "One Man Guy" family affair ... great way to end the year.

UPDATE: Devastated to find out that Kate McGarrigle died last week. Incredibly sad. My thoughts will be with the family.