Archive for February, 2005

happy hour review: cloud dining lounge

oh it’s not just a lounge, but a “dining” lounge. it took me about 6 tries to get that right, but cloud has established what a dining lounge means to me. right in the heart of dupont circle, i checked out cloud last wintery thursday and it was a pleasure. cloud, (aka the former savino cafe), has opened its atmophere up to a lighter billowy feel, and drapes you in tapas and drinks galore.

glad to see that some of the savino bartenders are around. management is still working out the official happy hour specials, but the manager, jamie, was able to accommodate an alumni event for us. the tapas were all very pleasant and reasonably priced, and the crowd picked up as dinner time rolled by.

check it out! couldn’t be in a better location…didn’t see the late night activities or the bedlike decor, but i’m interested to see what happens in the clouds at night…


So after all my bitching about how DC doesn’t dance anymore, I finally went to a show at the Black Cat that lit up a crowd. Sadly, it seems the only music that gets people moving around here is souless drivel by a band called Ratatat. Apparently famous for selling a song to Hummer for one of their commercials, the band play boring generic beats peppered with really weak guitar lines sans vocals. Very uninspiring stuff.

However it did get the crowd moving. In fact the stage was swarmed by people partying like it was a corporate-sponsored Spring Break or something. I half expected some Budwiser Girls to spray the crowd with shaken beer bottles, I kept looking around for the Safe Sex free condom pile, and the Hummer promotional brochure booth. This was all kind of surreal to witness at the Cat. The strangest moment for me was watching this painted-up, pudgy, Jewish kid doing the Rodeo Butt-Fuck dance in the middle of a circle of on-lookers.

Ah anyway, last weekend I asked for dancing. And I guess I got it.

Next time I’ll be careful what I wish for.

(PS- The opening band, DC locals, The Soft Complex were great however. They’ve been playing about once-a-month and they get better each time out. I can only hope the crowd’s euphoric state was due to them.)

bouncers need a reality check

i’ve noticed a recent outburst of unneccessary excessive force by bouncers at dc lounges and nightclubs. over the last few months, more than once has a bouncer seem to cross the line. club managers need to realize what their staff is doing and address it appropriately. bouncers need to be trained, just as in any other trade-like profession. they have a lot of power and control, and in untrained hands, can abuse it.

i realize “bouncing” is a tough and dangerous job, but when you’re a bouncer who is usually larger and stronger in physical nature than your patrons, violence and physical action should be a last resort. i’ve seen situations where a good bouncer will calmly talk to a unruly person and either calm them down, or escort them civilly out the door.

on the other hand, i’ve seen situations where bouncers go too far. at vida lounge, the upstairs fills up and the line is usually guarded. now mind you, it’s lame location (topic for another entry), but of course people gravitate to where the illusion of a good time is. anyway, one person was on the stairs at the front of the line. he was trying to sneak by the bouncer (but doesn’t everyone?), at which point, the bouncer, brian, grabbed the person by the neck and proceeded to push him down to the ground. luckily this patron was smart enough to drop his hands to the side and not struggle. he realized he needed to de-escalate the situation — something the bouncer should have thought of first.

an even more outrageous incident happened at pearl lounge in dc. a group was escorting a somewhat drunken member of their party outside to sober him up and go home. the bouncer seemed to want to provoke the patron by beginning to drag him out the door. a fight ensued w/ fists flying and bouncers dragging people on the ground. fortunately, someone had the sense to call the dc police. the actions of bouncers were out of hand and only with police protection could the public be ensured safety. five police cars showed up to get the bouncers to back down and the police then made a sweep of the lounge to make sure things were clear.

during the altercation, neither the pearl lounge management, staff nor hosts made an attempt to alleviate the situation. they should have been the ones to either call the police or back down their own employees. i had been to pearl for many events, even back when it was murali’s, and i’m adamant in saying that is the last time i or my friends ever go there.

please feel free to share any situations you’ve experienced. i also encourage you to 1) contact the establishment’s management 2) post wide and far on washington post or aol city guide event reviews 3) get legal counsel if necessary.

Snow in the Forecast

We’re under a Winter Storm Watch again tonight through Monday, with a storm moving up from the Gulf into the cold front that’s sitting right over DC. Looks like it will begin around midnight tonight and should stop some time tomorrow evening, with expected totals around 4 to 8 inches. You wouldn’t want February to end any other way right?



I see. Well, March is just around the corner, but it looks like we won’t see 50°F until at least the 9th or so. But take heart, Spring is nigh. Three Weeks From tomorrow on your way to the office, Spring will have sprung.

She’s Crafty

If you want to shop in DC, all you have to do is step outside your front door. This city seems built on an infrastructure of department stores and consumer goods. However to find one-of-kind, unique, personalized gifts you have to wade through miles of designer boutiques and kitschy mall stores to find it. Thankfully, for those of us who are craft inclined, the Washington City Paper has added a new classified section where you can find everything from hand-made glass jewelry to handbags and totes embellished with your favorite book or album cover.

This is how we roll

Did you guys know there’s still a roller rink on Franconia Road in Alexandria?

We went to this place last night for a friend’s 30th birthday. It’s set back behind a gas station not far from the Kingstowne shopping center. I was excited, since I skating was one of my favorite things to do as a kid and I hadn’t been out to do it in a while. When we got there, I remembered why. I briedly wondered if the rinks I had skated in back home had been as ghetto is this one- well, yeah, they probably were.

I came to the conclusion that before there was LiveJournal, there were roller rinks. Scores of emo kids cussing at each other, playing out the archetypal dramas of pubescent life while ignoring the grownups trying to accomplish the utterly trivial task of renting skates at a skating rink. The older kid who hot-dogged by everyone else, backwards, forwards, with dance steps, who pwn3d that rink, but is no doubt the world’s biggest loser everywhere else. The eight year old who was pretty good on his blades, but will no doubt remember most fondly the couple-skate in which he got to spend a whole song holding his little crush’s hand.

Was I ever that young? Nights like that make me want to call my mother and apologize for my entire adolescence.

Ben’s Chili Bowl

So, I finally went to Ben’s Chili Bowl for the first time last night. It was great, although full of hipsters. Maybe because it was just before the Wilco show (which was awsome . . .). Anyway, I took some advice from co-blogger Narni to get the chili-burger. Although the chili was good and decently spicey, the burger took awhile to cook, and the chili made the burger soggy. I think chili works better on fries and dogs. My basket of chili fries were great, and my friend got a chocolate shake which he really enjoyed. The whole experience was pleasant, and I’m definitely going to go back.

DC Housing Appraises Higher

DC Property Values are up 14.6% from last year, it seems. Data shows that most of the poor and working-class neighborhoods are showing some of the biggest gains. It should shock no one that DC property values are up, especially since we’re in the high-turnover post-election property sell-off and buy-up! To see that Kalorama and Georgetown are up 94% in 3 years, or Alexandria up 113% since 2000, though, that is a shock to me.

There’s the ugly side to this, though, in the tax assessments that come with increasing value. As I’m sure Tiffany would say, any time you have to take out a loan just to pay your taxes, there’s something wrong. As property values climb, so, too, do the taxes based on those values, which puts many homeowners in the District in a bit of a pickle. With property taxes around 12-13% of the value of the property, that can sting pretty good.

If you’re interested in seeing the neighborhood by neighborhood breakdown, it’s available online.

Weather Wimps

Snowy Bench.JPG
The Post’s Steven Pearlstein has an editorial in today’s paper about our snow-phobic region:

Can someone explain to me why the capital of the richest and most powerful country in the world needs to be shut down by the mere threat of an eight-inch snowstorm? Are people in Buffalo or Providence so much smarter or tougher that a routine event that barely causes them to miss a step brings Washington to its knees?

While I am no fan of snow, I’m certainly amazed at how quickly we do close the schools and cripple the businesses instead of providing adequate training for bus drivers and other school personnel in case of snow.

You can read the rest of Pearlstein’s commentary at

I Smell Oscar

Could this be Martin Scorsese’s year to win that elusive Oscar gold?

The AFI certainly seems to be pulling for him. In acknowldgement of this American master’s great body of work the AFI Silver will begin a retrospective of his major films today.

All The Rage: The Films of Martin Scorsese will run through March.

I’m a big Marty fan, and looking at this schedule I could in theory watch Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and Mean Streets in a row on Saturday. But then I’d probably end up killing someone on the Metro ride home, so maybe I’d better space them out over the month.

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