Archive for July, 2009

Before You Go To Screen On The Green Tonight…

Courtesy Flickr user Voteprime

Courtesy Flickr user Voteprime

Make sure you catch the tips offered by The Washingtonian, useful stuff especially for the newbie who’ve never camped out on The Mall before. The one tip I think they left out is the insider info on these weird dances I hear they do before the screening. I wouldn’t know- I still haven’t gone (I know I’m a loser.)

I’m enjoying  baseball game tonight so I hope the rest y’all have fun!

Arlington Drafthouse Bankrupt

photos-marquee1If Obama bails anybody else out this year, I hope it’s the Arlington Drafthouse.

The Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse has been a frequent destination of mine for cheap flicks and drinks. In fact I recently went there earlier this month to take in a screening of Adventureland. The place is a little out of the way in Arlington, located on Columbia Pike, a good distance from the Metro, but it always attracts crowds looking to enjoy the second-run screenings, stand-up comedy, or Redskins games during football season.

That being said, it was sad to learn that the Arlington Draft House has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to the Washington Business Journal, “Arlington Cinema Inc. listed assets of less than $100,000 and debt between $1 million and $10 million.” The report cites that the biggest chunk of that change is $5 million owed to landlord of the Montgomery Drafthouse, the failed expansion that was closed seven months ago.

While the lawyers representing the Drafthouse say that operations will continue under reorganization, I hope that the Arlington Drafthouse remains open for years to come. Like drive-in movies, the Drafthouse represents a unique movie-going experience that provides a needed alternative to the commercial monsters of AMC and Regal.

With everyone so down in the dumps over the economy we need entertainment more than ever, and that’s the value The Arlington Drafthouse provides to Arlington and the community.

Spring Awakening Rocks The Roof Off Kennedy Center

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Spring Returning

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Spring Returning

I’m not really into musicals.

Even though I try and stay active in the DC theatre scene, I just prefer straight plays. My mind was soon changed when I saw Spring Awakening with PQ for my first show at the Kennedy Center.

I walked into the lavish performing center with minimal knowledge on the show’s background. What I found was a show that challenged everything I’d usually expect from a traditional musical. No large casts, no fancy backdrops, no grand orchestra to fill the pit. Instead what I saw was a small but dynamic ensemble; a stage bare except for an interpretive brick backdrop and bleachers on both sides (more on that later); and instead of a large orchestra, a house band of musicians.

The story revolves around a group of teenagers in 19th century Germany and explores their sexual coming of age as they make the change from youth to adulthood. Jake Epstein (fresh from DeGrassi and in his first musical tour) stars as Melchior, a student who’s more enlightened than his peers about the birds and the bees. Christy Altomare palys Wendla, a girl who starts the show asking her mother where do babies come from. The two meet and well, you can guess where it goes.

In other words it’s like American Pie but classier and with music and dance. I mean with song titles like “Touch Me”, “My Junk”, and “The Word of Your Body”; you know there’s going to be a lot of awkward teenage moments. What’s really amazing is that the story is based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play. Wedekind was really beyond his time.

The production has already won 8 Tony Awards, 3 Drama Desk Awards, a Grammy and other countless accolades. I can assure you that the show is worth every one too.

The story has been well adapted and contains plenty moments that will make you and the audience roar with laughter. The music by Duncan Sheik breaks the mold of traditional musical fare and makes the show resemble a rock opera more than a musical. The dance isn’t overly flowery but instead a form of restrained emotion and energy. Lots of stomping and jumping could play into a metaphor of the student’s newly found emotions and feelings, not to mention raging horomones.

With a strong entertaining story and bombastic musical performances, Spring Awakening is one of the most energizing pieces to come to DC this summer.

Spring Awakening will be performing at the Kennedy Center until August 2nd. Besides tickets in the house, you can also get tickets ON STAGE. A limited number of onstage seats are available at $35 from the Box Office or through Instant-Charge. They are not available online.  Onstage seating offers a side/rear-view of the performance, with the action of the show taking place all around you. When I saw the audience members on stage watching the show from feet away, I was thinking how cool it would be to get those tickets. For complete details on that, check out the Kennedy Center website.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_Bl9NIBvY8[/youtube]

Spring Awakening
Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theatre
July 7, 2009 – August 2, 2009
Tickets: 202-467-4600
http://www.kennedy-center.org


Romance Writers Of America National Conference Opens With Lusty Autograph Session

Photo courtesy of Flickr user meratspain

Photo courtesy of Flickr user meratspain

I don’t read books with Fabio or other scantily clad men on the cover, however my friend Lusty Reader does.

She told me about the Romance Writers of America, the trade association for romance writers, and how excited she was that their national conference was going to be in town starting today:

I had this idea it was like Comic-Con but for romance novel lovers. Hubby has taken to calling it “Rom-Con” ever since I mentioned it.

Makes sense, if you can imagine tons of male geeks hoarding a convention center over comics, then the inverse must be a hall full of women lusting over… well lusty literature.

The idea of a convention for the genre most associated with Supermarkets and Italian fashion models really piqued my interest. So I talked with the RWA and got some details of their big public event, The “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing.

Most of the conference is really geared towards the industry, with workshops and sessions for writers, agents, and publishers; but there is one public event that is sure to draw a huge crowd of hopeless (or hopeful) romantics. More than 500 romance authors will be signing books at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Exhibit Hall tonight from 5:30 – 7:30.

Admission is free and proceeds from book purchases from the event go towards ProLiteracy Worldwide. Since the book purchases are going to a good cause, it’s encouraged that you show up and buy your books rather than bring a whole stack of novels to get signed. If you do bring a book or two to get signed, think about making a donation, which will also be accepted as well.

For complete information on the event and a complete list of participating authors check out the RWA’s website.

And if you do check it out, I won’t be there but do say hi to my friend Lusty Reader.

13-Colonies Bike Ride

13colonies

Yes, all of them.

On the July 4 weekend, we plotted and executed a bike ride through all thirteen original colonies.  It seemed a patriotic thing to do!  (Yes, we mean the streets, not the actual, you know, states.)  We’d seen the WABA map showing 13 colonies in 15 miles and thought we could do better, and we did, managing it in just over 11 and a half miles.  Kudos to G for excellent planning.  See the map at right for the actual route.

The best part of the ride?  Stopping at Eastern Market for a pickle break.  A nice salty, crunchy snack is the perfect thing between North Carolina and New Jersey!

Coming up in August:  All 50 states in about 45 miles.  Y/Y?

Daily DC Item: Hole In Plane Causes Flight Makes Emergency Landing, Passengers Recieves Free Pizza

071309111622_swplane1

Courtesy WBOY

Here’s an interesting story for your morning: it appears that a Southwest flight heading to Baltimore from Nashville had to make an emergency landing in Charleston, WV after it lost pressure due to a hole in the plane. All 126 passengers and 5 crew landed safely after a football sized hole was discovered, causing the plane to lose pressure and deploy oxygen masks in the cabin. According to the Washington Post article, “witnesses described the hole that apparently led to the depressurization as about the size of a football and located on the side of the airplane, near the top.”

The Boeing 737-300 is being inspected, as well as all other 737-300s in the Southwest fleet. The passengers were so glad to make it down safely that they hugged the pilot.

Upon hearing this story I had to make the following wisecrack to my friend Maxie (who lives in West Virginia):

Patrick: What’s worse: a hole in your airplane or having to land in West Virginia?
Maxie: hahahaha shut up

Eventually another airplane was dispatched to send the passengers to their final destination, and while they waited at least they got some pizza. According to the CNN report, “airport spokesman Brian Belcher said a local pizzeria provided food for the passengers as they waited.”
I suppose I could put up with a hole on my plane if I got some Pizza out of the deal.

Daily DC Item: Endeavour’s Delay And The End Of The Final Frontier

Courtesy Of Nasa

Courtesy Of Nasa

Yesterday my co-worker Lisa tweeted about the NASA’s updates as they attempted to launch the space shuttle Endeavour for the 4th time. Unfortunately weather once again delayed the launch.

However what interested me wasn’t the weather down in Florida, but the follow-up story The Washington Post had on the International Space Station, the reason the shuttle was going up into space in the first place. Construction on the station is almost complete but now there’s been talk that the station could be shut down and allowed to burn in Earth’s atmosphere as soon as 2016.

According to the article there’s no long term plans for the station past 2015.

I think that’s kind of ridiculous, I’m not a space aficionado by any means but to me Space Exploration has been something that has defined not only our country as a leader, but the recent accomplishments as a human race.

Now of course the de-orbiting of the ISS doesn’t mean that there isn’t another plan. With the space shuttle fleet to be retired in 2010, it’s only going to make way for the next generation of space travel vehicles. But so far I’m not hearing any plans for a replacement for the ISS, once it’s gone we’re going to lose a key presence in the heavens.

I agree with Senator Bill Nelson’s comments on the situation, “”If we’ve spent a hundred billion dollars, I don’t think we want to shut it down in 2015…My opinion is it would be a travesty to de-orbit this thing…if we get rid of this darned thing in 2015, we’re going to cede our leadership in human exploration.”

So my question is, what is the U.S. Government’s next plan post space station?

A Different Kind of Urban Blight

maple

A maple tree in our neighborhood has been marked with the orange dot of death by UFA, and even has the “don’t park within 150 feet” sign posted on it.  Looking at the foliage (or lack of it), it’s clear there’s blight at work, but it’s still sad to see what was once a beautiful street tree turned into mulch.

Several other maples on the block are showing similar signs.  Sadness.

Daily DC Item: Made in Hong Kong Film Festival Kicks Off

sparrow_poster_04You don’t need to check the tag in the back to find out where all these films were made.

All the films in the Made in Hong Kong Film Festival all hail from the Chinese city and the festival kicks off tonight with a screening of The Sparrow, a comedy about, “a gang of debonair pickpockets who come undone when a beautiful stranger enters their midst with a con of her own.” The festival will continue through August 23rd with a selection of films that have won me over based on titles alone. Such hits include My Mother is a Belly Dancer and Tokyo Gore Police.

While most of the films will be shown in Cantonese or Mandarin, they will be subtitled in English. Best of all, it’s all FREE (however tickets are required, get the tickets at the theatre an hour before showtime to avoid the Ticketmaster service fees.)

All shows are at the Freer & Sackler Galleries.

Daily DC Item: Not New News, DC Traffic Sucks

Photo courtesy of Flickr user megandafille

Photo courtesy of Flickr user megandafille

Lots of DCers don’t have cars. I do, and I’ll never go anywhere without one.

I’m probably one of the reasons the traffic is terrible around the Beltway region, and despite a push to go green and rising gas prices, D.C. has the second worst traffic in the nation.

Are you surprised?

The Texas Transportation Institute concludes that despite a small reduction in traffic nationwide, D.C. traffic actually increased compared to last year. L.A. still reigns king in terms of worst traffic, but that still gives us the crown for worst traffic on the East Coast.

The Washington Post article on the topic acknowledges that steps have been taken to address the issue but questions if they are really making a difference. The study concludes that sitting in traffic cost the Washington area almost $2.8 billion in 2007. Ninety million gallons of gas and 133 million hours were spend slowly crawling around The District. Think of how many podcasts I could of listened to in that time.

This is why commute is a big reason why I enjoying living in Clarendon, where I also work. I’d be really nervous if I ever ended up working somewhere where I’d have to touch a highway to get there. Maybe I’ll stick with the Fail Rail Metro if I needed to get somewhere for my daily commute.

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