Archive for August, 2004

“Your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate” or Nepotism Plug #1

So if you’re looking for some fun tonight and the Shoegazer show doesn’t strike your fancy then maybe you should go check out my girlfriend’s sister’s band. They’re called The Soft Complex and they’re making their DC debut tonight at the Josephine Butler Center in Columbia Heights ( 2437 fifteenth st nw). Their sound is a dash of Smiths with a hint of New Order. They are playing with Hott Beat and doors open at 7pm.

Amtrak Travel

Ok, ok, I’m not going to start a argument about whether D.C. is a better city than New York, but if you happen to be a frequent traveler to New York (like moi) and you take the train, you may want to consider signing up for Amtrak’s Rewards Program. It’s just like frequent flier miles for train tickets. Even better, you can redeem your Amtrak miles for airline miles on United, Continental and Midwest airlines.
Also, if you sign up for the Amtrak Rewards program and purchase a train ticket within 90 days of signing up, you’ll earn an extra 500 points.
They also have one of those Amtrak master cards where your credit card purchases go towards points, but I wouldn’t necessarily endorse that since you know the interest rate will be absolutely ridiculous. Besides, who takes the train that often anyway??? :-) I try to avoid Union Station as much as possible due to my “touristaphobia.” (fear of tourists who can’t stand on the correct side of the metro escalator and who wear “I love D.C.” t-shirts).
Happy trails!

Beer Swilling, fist raised, Irish punk sing-along

Last night the Stiff Little Fingers put on a strong show of force with a rocking set of politically charged anthems from their heyday that were oddly fitting to the politics of today. Jake Burns was in top form in singing as well as between song banter. The singer kept the evening playful, but always reminded the audience of their responsibility to make a better world. With mournful dedications to fallen friends and strong criticisms of Bush and Blair, Burns led the crowd through a rollercoaster of emotions. The moderately sized audience filled the Cat with a roar more fitting to a crowd three times its size. The sing-along quality and passion of Stiff Little Fingers’ music combined with a crowd of dedicated fans made for one of those good old fashioned punk rock parties that are sorely lacking these days.

Scythian Thursdays

First off, I’d like to thank Sean and Jason for allowing me to be a contributor to this site! I hope that readers find my posts informative and entertaining . . . or at least, not utterly boring and useless ;-)
Speaking of entertaining, the band to check out is Scythian. This irish-celtic-rock-reggae-klezmer mix has been playing at Fado’s in Chinatown every Thursday this summer.
I cannot say enough good things about this band. A few weeks ago, the Washington Post Weekend Section did an article on them. But if you don’t trust the Washington Post, you can read my review here. Scythian is the best thing to hit D.C. since Coach Joe Gibbs announced his return to the Redskins.
I can’t promise you that the skins will have a winning season this year, but I can promise you that if you go to Fado’s tonight, Scythian will show you a good time. Be prepared for great music, drinking games and tamborines.

DC is the Worst Place to Die.

Forbes has a new article out right now comparing states on what happens when you die. Good Lord, how morbid. However, it’s important to realize that DC is Dead Last, pardon the pun. What makes it so bad to die in DC? Well, what makes it so bad to live here? Taxes. How a town full of lawyers only gets a B on legal protection is beyond me. We’re ranked 37th in Health Care Quality.
Note to self, move to Utah before dying. They’re ranked #1.
Virginia finished #13, and Maryland #22.

Today in local news….

DC is finally going to get to work with the Feds to reduce the number of checkpoints and get traffic flowing again in DC. Pretty please?
Metro may not be able to keep its escalators working, and it may not be able to keep the trains running after a few days of rain, its station managers might assault the husbands of pregnant women, and it may not even be able to keep the operators ON the trains during a trip, but gosh darn it, their employees are at least going to get courtesy training. Oh goody, that’ll make it ALL better.
And because they can’t stomach the idea of hunting in Montgomery County, they’re going to control the deer population by little deer-doses of contraceptives. Depo-Provera for deer. This is what tax dollars pay for?

Stiff Little Fingers @ the Black Cat this Wednesday

I know, I know. You’re probably going through the same decision making process that I always do whenever a ’77 punk band does a reunion tour. Should I stay or should I go?
You wonder if they’ll be up to their old fury and fight or if they’ll just be a bunch of old codgers going through the motions. These days it seems like just about every old Punk act has been doing the reunion thing and if you play the odds you assume the one time you go out to see one it’ll be of the guitarist in a wheelchair variety rather than the amazing energetic thing a punk show should be.
Well, I can attest that tomorrow’s Stiff Little Fingers show is going to rule the known universe. Back in January I saw them open for the Dropkick Murphy’s, one of the bands they inspired, and the old Irish punks put up one helluva fight. Outside of Joe Strummer, I haven’t seen any of the old punks as happy to be touring again as Stiff Little Fingers. It’s going to be a great show.
$15 @ The Black Cat doors at 8:30

Is nothing sacred anymore?

Local Farmer’s Markets have long been one of my favorite things. A way to relax while shopping for produce. Farmer’s Markets beat the hell out of the often times limited produce selection at the grocery store. And you get samples. Everything from Pumpkin bread to slices of melon. You don’t have to wonder if the food you’re getting is ripe enough, fresh enough, or tasty enough.
Well, the days of samples might just be over. Virginia state agriculture officials began cracking down on the markets this season, according to a story in the Washington Post today.
It’s such a shame that one of the last remaining things you could do in this area without having to go through 100 levels of protocol or follow strict rules and regulations is even being affected by the “hightened security” climate.
At what point is it too much?

“Why don’t you pass the time with a game of solitaire?”

How much cooler a trigger is that than the one they came up with in Demme’s remake? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then maybe you should go see the original Manchurian Candidate to find out.
Scratch that. I command you to go see it. Take out a deck of cards and play solitaire until the Red Queen is staring you in the face. Then re-read that line where I command you to go see Frankenheimer’s version of the Manchurian Candidate.
Do you feel that irresistible urge to see it now? I thought so.
The original Manchurian Candidate is up for reelection this week at the Kennedy Center’s movie theater . It is playing twice a day for one-week starting today.

Forget Friday the 13th, how about Thursday the 12th?

Was anyone else caught in the dead-locked traffic on Duke Street in Alexandria yesterday around 730? Anyone know the cause?
I sat in it for about an hour rounding out a day of dealing with GWU Registar Nazi’s, locking myself out of my house, spending an hour getting keys from my girlfriend, stepping in gum, getting soaked in the torrential downpour, spearing my foot with a piece of broken glass and trying to heal my girl’s horribly burned finger.
All I needed was a psycho in a hockey mask and I’d be set for a new horror holiday.

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