Archive for the ‘Special Events’ Category

Screen On The Green Is Back!

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Lonelycelltheory

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Lonelycelltheory

You read that headline right!

When news spread that the sponsors of the annual summer tradition backed out there was a large outcry over the thought of a summer without a weekly visit to The Mall to watch a movie. I was one of them- I never got the chance to experience what thousands of Washingtonians have, and I was afraid I never would.

Up until now.

“Trust for the National Mall Partners to Bring Back Screen on the Green” read the e-mail subject that caused me to drop what I was doing and write this post. My friends over at the Trust for The National Mall gave me heads up that they are teaming with Comcast to help HBO bring the series back for a 10th year.

The city was screaming for an outdoor movie series and HBO was listening. In the Washington Post article that also just published Quentin Schaffer, HBO’s executive vice president for corporate communications said, “there was an outpouring of people concerned that this wasn’t happening…” The release I received reads, “fervent fans of Screen on the Green expressed strong support and enthusiasm for continuing the event . On Facebook, local blogs and Twitter, the Washington, DC community resoundingly asked for the popular series to continue this year.”

The power of the people… and The Internet… and blogs…coming together for the greater good.

Ok so here’s what you need to know about the series:

  • Screen on the Green will be back on Monday evenings at sunset from July 20th – August 10th.
  • Classic films will once again be shown on a giant 20′ x 40′ outdoor screen on The National Mall between 4th and 7th Streets.
  • The screenings will remain free and open to the public.
  • The first film will be Close Encounters of the Third Kind, with the remaining movies to be named at a later date (UPDATE: WP speculates that HBO may take from the lineup of Bryant Park’s Screen on the Green and include films Dog Day Afternoon or Rebel without a Cause.)

Backstage at Artomatic

p525031211Preparations for Artomatic are in full swing, but as you can see from the snap at left taken late Monday evening, not everyone has finished installation.  The deadline to get everything put up and nailed down is 10 pm tonight, so you can bet things will be in full swing at 55 M Street, SE all evening.

The show opens this Friday, May 29 and runs through July 5.   It couldn’t actually be more convenient; the building is right on top of the Navy Yard Metro and is just down the block from Nationals Park.  Despite the photo, things are actually mostly in place, and there is — as always — some breathtaking art interspersed with some of the craziest things you’ve ever seen.  But hey! There are four bars, four stages, and over a thousand visual artists and 600 performing artists.   And a Zombie Prom!  What could be more fun?  Artomatic will clearly be the place to see and be seen this June in DC.

Artomatic is a month-long art festival in DC that is free to the general public celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Monument Realty and the Capitol Riverfront BID have provided a brand-new 275,000 square foot building to host Artomatic, right next to the Nationals Stadium. The event features nine floors of visual and installation art, theater performances, dance and comedy, three music stages, street performances such as fire dancing and drum troupes, and a film screening theater. Workshops and seminars are held all month long and special events such as the Washington Post’s Peeps diorama finalists, Box Racing, body paint shows, and a no-holds-barred Art in Fashion Show.

WGA Reception Redux With Rachel

(Captain’s Note: Rachel from Rachel, Rachel I’ve Been Thinking was my lovely companion to last week’s WGA reception at the Newseum- here’s her take.)

Courtesy WGA East

Courtesy WGA East

Okay so I’m a little slow on the guest-blogging but last last Friday (that would be May 8th), Patrick took me as his plus-one to one of the many pre-/post-party events surrounding the White House Correspondents Dinner (aka journalist prom). We got to attend probably the funniest event of the weekend, maybe not including the actual dinner, because President Obama’s speech was hysterical.

Nonetheless, The Writer’s Guild of America, East hosted a reception, stand-up show and panel all packed into one evening at the Newsuem, highlighting the world of comedy news. There are many things to focus on from the night (open bar!) but in particular, the stand-up from writers of the Daily Show, Colbert and Letterman was pretty hysterical. They certainly knew how to play to the very liberal, very hip, urban crowd and the jokes were full of Obama-loving, Bush-hating rhetoric. And pointed cracks at their own awesomeness and general writing prowess.

The comics’ heavy-handed liberalness was a point in the panel discussion,when one audience member asked why the conservative media hadn’t jumped on the comedy news bandwagon. Certainly it could work in the same way that Daily Show and Colbert (obviously the two favorites of the night) make a point of mocking media and politics. A writer for one of the shows (I had a hard time keeping them all straight — it was an open bar after all) said that conservative comedy is out there — in the form of Fox & Friends every single day — and he had the unenviable job of watching every minute of it. No doubt comedic gold.

But the formula works. A very clear theme emerged during the course of the event: these guys (and it was almost all men) were largely unconcerned with making the kind of pop culture waves that they have so often made. When both the recent feud with Jim Cramer by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner were mentioned as great moments, not only for the shows, but for media and news in general, the writers simply said that, sure, they were really proud of those kind of results, for making people sit up and listen, but their goal on a day-to-day basis is just to make people laugh.

One writer said, we don’t expect to be educating anyone. We’re just there to shine a light on the things we expect our audience already knows.

That seems to be the key to comedy news success. To really poke fun, you have to know what’s going on in the first place. And only then can you really laugh at it.

Highlights from Bike To Work Day


Photo props to WABA

Photo props to WABA

WABA again did an excellent job with Bike to Work Day in downtown DC on Friday, May 15.  For those of you who aren’t hardcore cyclists, I have to say I recommend this event highly even if you only bike to work one day a year!  A few highlights:

  • Most importantly, the weather held out – perfect temperatures and no raindrops on Freedom Plaza!
  • The food was excellent – bagels and schmears, apples and oranges all nicely quartered, hot coffee and cold tea — and plenty of  it.  Yay, sponsors!
  • The Coast Guard contingent was particularly impressive, led by Admiral Thad Allen
  • A surprise visit by the Secretary of Energy and Nobel Laureate, Stephen Chu, who clearly knows his way around a bike.    Here’s hoping he has reversed the insane disincentives to bike to work at the Forrestal Building.
  • Excellent giveaways and raffles; the drawings are the only time during the event that everyone on the plaza pays strict attention.  Again, yay, sponsors!
  • A lot of other speakers (of varying degrees of interest) allowing plenty of time to chat with friends. :)  Amazing who you run into at this thing.  I swear, every year it’s someone else.
  • All kinds of kids, dogs, and bikes; a great opportunity to shop for new gear by talking to folks who already own it.
  • The Tune Ups, always a treat at BtW, did a memorable rendition of Smart Bike Ditty, which I am still humming.  Where’s your website, kids?  I want youtube videos!
  • I didn’t stick around to see Mayor Fenty (as I had to, you know, actually bike to work).  Just FYI, the festivities normally run from 8 to 9 am.

WGA Throws Pre-WHCA Bash At Newseum

Courtesy of WGA-East

Courtesy of WGA-East

Well tonight is the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, the dinner is known for more humorous moments such as Stephen Colbert ranting on the podium, and Karl Rove showing off his rapping skills. Tonight Wanda Sykes will be on the mic and I’m very interested to see how she does- I don’t think she’s holding back any punches.

The glitz and glam isn’t limited to the dinner tonight, there will be a slew of pre and post parties all weekend, just check out Politico for their party guide.

I had the opportunity of being invited to the WGA East’sWriters Speak!” event last night at the Newseum. I checked out the party with Rachel from Rachel, Rachel I’ve been thinking. She’ll be putting up a guest post on her take of the event later next week.

The place was packed as Hollywood and Washington came together for some stand-up comedy and a panel featuring  TV writers. The panel included J.R. Havlan (The Daily Show With Jon Stewart), Bill Scheft (Late Show With David Letterman), Anthony Jeselnick (Late

Anthony Jeselnick (Late Night With Jimmy Fallon) Courtesy of WGA-East

Anthony Jeselnick (Late Night With Jimmy Fallon) Courtesy of WGA-East

Night With Jimmy Fallon), Matt Goldich (Best Week Ever), Tim Carvell (The Daily Show With Jon Stewart), Opus Moreschi (The Colbert Report), Tom Ruprecht (Late Show With David Letterman), and Allison Abner (The West Wing)- the night was promised as a, “A Potentially Regrettable Evening With Comedy Writers”, but it will be one I won’t be forgetting too soon.

Not Invited To The Correspondents Dinner? Catch The Politics On Film Festival Instead!

Courtesy Politics on Film

Courtesy Politics on Film

It’s an odd weekend that’s packed with parties, politicians, and celebrities. And I’m not just talking about the annual White House Correspondents Dinner.

This weekend also brings the Politics on Film festival, an annual weekend of bipartisan films that cover a wide range of issues. Last night the festival kicked off it’s inaugural run with an opening night party on the rooftop of 101 Constitution Ave. Among the party attendees were actors Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager) and Peter Riegert (Damages/The Sopranos/Animal House)  who both star alongside Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show) in “The Response“, one of the festival’s official selections.  Dan Glickman, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America and Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) were also on hand as they accepted awards from The Bipartisan Policy Center, the organization behind the creation of the new festival. The non-profit formed in 2007 was founded by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and George Mitchell. Unfortunately none of the founders were on-hand- I was really hoping for the off-chance to shake hands with Bob Dole.

While I’ve never been in a room with a mix of Washington insiders and west coast creative-types, I learned that they have a lot more in common than they thought.

David M. Edwards is the director of “Sprawling from Grace“, and he tells me that documentary is much more than simple story telling- it’s also a business. His feature documentary covers the today’s urban sprawl and the consequences on our infrastructure. A self-described “prorector” (A producer/director/editor) he essentially created his film mostly on his own, however he made some strategic partnerships in order to secure funding and support. Edwards explains by finding groups and organizations that share the same message and vision, you can create relationships that reduces the burden of creating a feature length indie without big studio backing.

“Sprawling from Grace”  looks at various growing areas of the country and points out how we need to change the way we design and develop our cities to run more efficiently. Arlington and Washington DC were used as locations in the film and we chatted about the role of public transportation and growing areas like Arlington. “You can expand a congested highway [think I-66] and for a little while traffic will go down, but next thing you know the traffic is back,” explains Edwards. He suggests focusing on public transportation like buses and metro, “It’s actually a great thing when you hear stories of The Metro reaching capacity, we should celebrate it.”

Other selected films in this year’s festival include Abraham Obama, an artist’s journey to plaster walls with images to support the Obama campaign; and What’s the Matter with Kansas, a documentary based on the book by Thomas Frank. The films will be screened all over DC, with many of the screenings held at the E-Street cinema.

Check out the Politics on Film website for complete schedule and ticket information.


Daily DC Item: Embassy Opens Doors At Passport DC

"Embassy Row" courtesy of Flickr user joseph_a

"Embassy Row" courtesy of Flickr user joseph_a

It’s no secret that Washington, DC is the hub of foreign diplomacy where within the city limits there are 174 or so embassies. Now you’ll be able to take a step inside and look around some of these foreign posts as Passport DC kicks off it’s annual Embassy Open House.

30 embassies located around the city will be opening their doors and welcoming visitors. These diplomatic posts will be offering music, food, and tours of their facilities. Visit the Embassy of Sri Lanka and try some Ceylon Tea; observe a Taekwondo demonstration at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea; listen to traditional African music at the Embassy of Botswana. Did I mention that it’s all free?

The Embassy Open House is going on from 10 AM – 4 PM tomorrow, Saturday May 2nd. There will be shuttles leaving from 1900 Massachusetts Avenue, NW (Dupont Circle) and will loop Massachusetts Avenue, Connecticut Avenue, and lower New Hampshire Avenue. The open house is truly city wide- not just Embassy Row, so take advantage of the transportation and the chance to get a little cultured.

Puppy Watch: The World Can Now Breathe- The Obamas Have A New Puppy!

0412_obama_dog1This past weekend as I was walking around the Newsuem I came across an series of coin collecting tubes with a display on possible non-allergenic breeds that President Obama could choose to become the lucky new puppy for Malia and Sasha. Apparently the Museum of News was holding a public penny war to see who visitors wanted as first pet. Seeing how I had to pay $20 to get into the Newsuem I wasn’t about to give them more cash.

However after I got home I saw that I had to wonder about the Presidential Puppy no more. I first saw the Politico article that cited that the Washington Post was given the exclusive story in exchange for keeping quiet on another exclusive that was given to the New York Times- news that the White House was going to plant a vegetable garden.

Ok so let me get this straight, The White House had to keep the Washington Post away from that uber hot vegetable garden story that they already promised to The Times, so they give The Post the Puppy story… wow it’s like anything this administration touches is gold in a newsworthy sense. I wonder who will get the scoop on Obama’s choice of basketball when he has those weekend pick-up games.

The White House wanted to have a big debut on Tuesday but it looks like The Internet is at it again with their news leaks. A website sprouted up called First Dog Charlie and the site had leaked photos of the dog, complete with Hawaiian Lei. TMZ is already all over it calling the event Puppygate.

So here’s what you need to know, the Puppy is a Portuguese water dog named Bo. He was a gift from the family of Senator Ted Kennedy. The Obamas originally said they wanted to get a dog from a shelter but they will be instead making a donation to the D.C. Humane Society.

Welcome to DC Bo!

Aliens Always Welcome


I’ll admit it:  I’m a big old geek.  I’m not particularly good at it, but I think science is cool, fascinating stuff.  So, when I heard about Yuri’s Night — a worldwide collection of parties and celebrations, commemorating Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s April 12, 1961 launch as the first man in space — I thought it might be interesting.  Plus, as a former student of the Soviet Union, I was particularly interested in celebrating a cosmonaut.  Then, I saw the key, deciding factor:  the party’s web site stated that “Sci-Fi Attire is encouraged”.  So, on Saturday night, I went to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to join the Yuri’s Night celebration.  It was a geek-fest of epic proportions!

Aliens Always Welcome

Aliens Always Welcome

DC’s party happened at the Goddard Visitor’s center, which usually plays host to schoolkids, with occasional visiting dignitaries (on Queen Elizabeth II’s most recent visit to the US, she stopped by for a few hours).  Saturday night, however, the place was filled with Jedi knights, cosmonauts and astronauts, Sith Lords, Anime babes, a giant Hubble-shaped cake, and NASA staffers wearing “I am a Scientist!” pins who wandered around the Center’s museum space answering questions and flirting.

Indeed, as soon as my friend and I pulled in to the parking lot, I knew it would be a great night.  There was a fully-armored Endor Storm Trooper waiting for the shuttle bus!  The Star Wars geek in me squealed with joy, but was sort of sad that I’d left my light saber at home (it didn’t fit in my purse).  When we got off said bus, more Storm Troopers were waiting with silent greetings, along with some Jedi knights and Darth Vader.  Once we got in to the building, we heard (over DJ Scientific’s spins from the dance floor and Middle Distance Runner rocking another room) the Lost In Space ROBOT warning Will Robinson.  Fantastic!

We wandered around, had some cake, and found our way into the Goddard’s theatre, where “Science on a Sphere” was projecting the Earth in all its blue glory.  This cool piece of tech consists of a carbon composite sphere on which four projectors around the room can display images of all kinds.  We got to see different satellite images of the Earth, Sun, Moon, and Mars, and the stars.  Outside, a few folks had set up their telescopes to share the real thing with anyone who wanted to see.  One of these kind astronomers let me have a look, and I got up close and personal with the man on the moon.

I highly recommend giving the place a visit.  And I hope to see you at next year’s Yuri’s Night celebration!

DC Video: Cherry Blossom Madness In Metro

I couldn’t avoid the crowds as I tried to make my way to a Heat/Wizards game over at the Verizon Center. These were the crowds I had to put up with at Metro Center.


Now this is why I stay away from the Cherry Blossoms.

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