Archive for the ‘Downtown’ Category

Holiday To-Do: Visit The National Christmas Tree

Photo courtesy of Flickr user cop4cbt

Photo courtesy of Flickr user cop4cbt

A popular holiday destination for tourists, locals, and couples on dates; the National Christmas Tree has been on display for a couple of weeks since the The First Family threw open the switch earlier this month. After writing about the online lottery for tickets to the tree lighting I decided to enter the lottery and ended up with tickets.

The lighting event itself was great, braving the cold amongst others reminded me of The Inauguration but luckily this Obama attended event was a whole lot shorter. The event was filmed for PBS (and can still be seen on WETA Christmas morning at 8 AM.) where Randy Jackson served as MC, an interesting choice as my friend Carrie and I guessed the over/under dawg references. He dropped the tag line only once.

I was also surprised to see friend, actor, and Maryland native Diego Prieto on the program. He played Santa’s elf sidekick and got to meet Obama and everything. So cool.

The entertainment line-up included names like Sheryl Crow and Jordin Sparks. Common was also on hand- making me wonder if he gets called to work every major DC event.

My pal Diego got to meet President Obama!

My pal Diego got to meet President Obama!

Even though the lighting is long over, you can still visit the National Tree at the Ellipse. Besides the tree there are various other holiday displays including 56 smaller trees which represent the 50 states and other territories of the United States.

You can also visit Santa in his workshop through Christmas Eve- check the National Christmas Tree’s website for hours.

Two tips for your visit: wait til evening when everything is lit for the best visuals, and take the Metro- parking is close to impossible near the White House. The closest stops are Farragut West and McPherson Square.

Golden Triangle Kicksoff Outdoor Holiday Film Screenings

Photo courtesy Flickr user Larry Miller

Photo courtesy Flickr user Larry Miller

Fans of DC’s outdoor film festivals don’t have to wait til summer to watch movies outside.

The Golden Triangle neighborhood will be celebrating the holidays by screening holiday films on the wall of the Tiny Jewel Box on 1147 Connecticut Avenue. Films start at 5 PM daily starting today and includes a classic lineup of holiday flicks:

It’s a Wonderful Life – Monday, December 14
A Christmas Story – Tuesday, December 15
White Christmas – Wednesday, December 16
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Thursday, December 17
The Nutcracker – Friday, December 18

It will be interesting to see how a film will look projected on a building full of windows, and I don’t know where you would be place a chair and watch the films but it will be an interesting sight to see as you walk around after the work day ends.

The Golden Triangle BID is also giving away free dinners and horse-drawn carriage rides in conjunction with the screenings, you can head over to the Golden Triangle BID site to register to win.

The Sports Guy Bill Simmons Kicks Off Book Tour In DC Tonight

9780345511768_500X500If you aren’t listening to Bill Simmons’ B.S. Report podcast, then you don’t know what you are missing.

Sports fans may know him as the ESPN columnist that’s a die-hard Boston sports fan (which appeals to me as a former Bostonian), I know him mainly from his daily podcasts that feature interviews with his friends, fellow writers, and the occasional GM or actor. His experience writing for the Jimmy Kimmel Show has given him a broad background and network that makes his podcasts entertaining for both fans of sports and pop culture.

So you can tell that I was thrilled to hear via Twitter that Simmons will be kicking off his book tour in Washington DC with a midnight signing at ESPN Zone. He’ll be there tonight to release his latest book, The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy, and he’ll be signing copies that you can purchase or you can bring in your own copies to be signed (he’s already recommended going to Amazon or Wal-Mart to get the best deals.)

So if you want to know where I’ll be tonight, I’ll be the one with the Red Sox cap standing in line downtown- however I have a feeling there’ll be a lot of Boston caps in line, maybe I should wear my Nationals hat instead.

UPDATE: It was great to shake The Sports Guy’s hand and get him to sign my copy of the book with an insult to my Alma Mater (which neighbors his Alma Mater of Holy Cross.) The event was so big that they didn’t have enough books for everyone, and the line rounded the corner and went down three blocks- glad to see DC has a lot of Bill Simmons fans!

Climate and change

Photo cred to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The lecture series at the Carnegie Institution for Science always has interesting stuff.  The latest is Margaret Tolbert from the University of Colorado, speaking on Hazy Skies on Early Earth:  Lessons from Saturn’s Moon Titan.  And I must add that the talks I’ve been to have unabashedly lobbied for carbon trading (which I personally believe is going to produce the mother of all unintended consequences), and it is generally part of the Q&A.  There; fair warning.

Saturn’s moon, Titan, is covered by a thick organic haze that completely shrouds the surface from view. Such a mysterious haze might have also been present on Earth billions of years ago. Comparing the hazes that form in these two distant lands can help us learn more about the climate and habitability of our own planet in ancient times.

PSA:  This month’s lecture is moved from the regular location to the
Grosvenor Auditorium at the National Geographic building, 1145 17th St NW (at L)
Thursday, February 12th
6:45 pm
Free and open to the public; no reservations needed

Inauguration 2009: Weekend of Destruction Day 4

Ah Inauguration Day, a day that started for many in the wee hours of the morning. For me I value sleep a little more. However I did have a plan to be on The Mall for Inauguration and I’m happy to say everything worked out relatively well.

I started out the morning well bundled. I wore many, many layers and had hand/toe warmers, water, snacks, and maps ready to go.

At 8:30 AM my friend Carrie and I proceeded down to the Clarendon Metro stop to check out that option, if everything appeared all right a possible entry route was to simple Metro into a station and walk to The Mall. While that option was the simplist it was also one of the most popular and I expected to see the Clarendon stop overflowing with people as we walk the short two blocks to the station. (more…)

Inauguration 2009: Weekend of Destruction Day 2

After a late night out Saturday I decided to spent Inauguration Sunday a little more low key.

I actually was thinking about the “We Are One” Inaugural concert kickoff but I previously made plans for lunch out in Tyson’s Corner.

Driving out to Tyson’s from Arlington was surprisingly quiet, I didn’t expect traffic leaving but I thought maybe with all the road closures that there would be traffic heading into the city. But everything looked smooth as Barack Obama.

I arrived at Coastal Flats only to hear that my original plans had fallen through. Well I decided to take the opportunity to enjoy lunch anyways (this time at Gordon Biersch) and walk around the suburbia that is the Tyson’s Corner Mall. (more…)

Sisterhood Of The Traveling Post-Its

Maybe it was the freezing temperatures that kept people at home that night. When I walked into Mackey’s Public House this past Saturday the crowds were light but cheery.

I was out on the town after watching the Wizards come so close but not close enough against the Lakers. At least they pulled off a comeback but I have a bad feeling when it comes to the future outlook of the home basketball team.

So I was at a table with my date when I see a server walk over and strike up a conversation with a table of women. He wasn’t getting drink order or phone numbers- but inquiring about the mess they appeared to have made on their table.

I glanced over and noticed that these ladies were drinking on a table covered in Post-It notes.

The small white company branded notes told me that the display wasn’t part of the bar decor. Laughter was the only understandable behavior as the women scribbled down notes on new post-it notes and stuck them on the table, their friends, and their own body parts. Was this some drinking game I’ve never heard of? Was it the result of a long happy hour that’s evolved to behavior too drunken to really understand? After the server left I had to do the same and I leaned over to find out.

I walked over and introduced myself, asking what was on these notes that were being exchanged. A blonde probably the size of my pinky told me that each note represented a different ex-boy friend and the night was spent exchanging stories while creating paper representations of old flames.

And just like that I was sucked into a scene fit for any romantic chick flick or episode of Sex and the City.

After the explanation I was handed a blank pad and a pen and asked to contribute. Any combination of words, sentences, or diagrams were permitted. As I write this I have thought of five better stories I could have recalled but I scribbled down the first thing that came to my mind that night.

I won’t disclose what I wrote but it was one word and it required no explanation once I slammed it down on the table.

The ladies hooted and hollered and stuck the note on my pants.

I didn’t get any of their names but found out that they all knew each other through a combination of roommates and classmates at various graduate and undergraduate studies. I’m actually glad I didn’t get a name for fear that I may become a post-it note, an inside joke scribbled on a piece of paper on a night of drinking.

The owner of the pad and originator of the spontaneous activity had two post-it notes stuck on her shirt. One read “Leggy”, which is apparently her nick name, and the other read “Emotionally Uninterested.”

She explained, “I dated this guy who told me that he wasn’t emotionally unavailable to women- he was just emotionally uninterested.”

Other stories that were told me that night included trickery to land a date in the Bethesda Metro, a proposal in the middle of the ocean, and a Marine who hasn’t made a move after three dates.

“We’ve been dating for a month and after three dates he hasn’t even kissed me- isn’t that weird?”

After looking at the owner of the note I wondered myself and it sparked debate and further stories between me, my date, and her.

The conversation between the ladies soon turned to dancing so my date and I returned to our table to enjoy our drinks and watched four ladies and a pad of post-it notes out in Washington DC.

As I finished my drink the DJ puts on Beyonce’s latest track, a catchy dance beat called “Single Ladies.”

I laughed as it was an appropriate theme song of the night, as the ladies sang, danced, and displayed their bare ring fingers.

Happy Birthday Madame Tussauds!

A year ago I was excited to see that there would be a Madame Tussauds in Washington DC, now a year later the wax museum is celebrating it’s 1-year birthday. According to the Going Out Gurus you can visit museum for only $1 (which is a whole lot cheaper than the standard $20 ticket price.)

There is a catch however- you have to sing happy birthday to the museum.

Call me spoiled from all of DC’s free museums but I am not a big fan of the expensive prices of some of the other museums here and I will definitely take advantage of this deal while it lasts (it ends Saturday.)

Now time to find someone that can actually go out during the museum’s tourist (but not local resident) friendly hours.

Five Line Flush

DSC_1124

First off, if you’re a Nats fan headed to the game with the Orioles on Sunday, good luck. You’re hosed.

Heads up to everyone travelling across the District this weekend: every single Metro line is seeing major track work and rail testing from Friday night through early Monday morning.

Blue Line
Sad to say, this one’s been hit the worst. First, customers traveling between the Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street Metrorail stations should add up to 30 minutes of travel time for their trips because of track maintenance. Inbound and outbound trains between these locations will share one track from 10 p.m. to closing (3 a.m.), Friday, June 27, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., Saturday, June 28, 10 p.m. to closing (3 a.m.), Saturday, June 28, and 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., Sunday, June 29.

Additionally, if you’re traveling between the Pentagon City and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Metrorail stations, you should add 15 minutes of travel time for your trips because of track maintenance. Inbound and outbound trains will share one track between these locations from 10 p.m. to closing (midnight), Sunday, June 29.

Yellow Line
You get to piggy-back on the Blue Line’s woes. See above for sharing issues between Pentagon City and Reagan National.

Orange Line
Riders traveling between the Stadium-Armory and Cheverly Metrorail stations should add up to 20 minutes of travel time for their trips because of bridge repairs. Inbound and outbound trains between these locations will share one track from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, June 28.

Green Line
If you’re traveling between the Greenbelt and College Park Metrorail stations, add 15 minutes of travel time for your trips because of rail car testing. Inbound and outbound trains will share one track between these locations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, June 28.

Red Line
And finally, riders traveling between the Friendship Heights and Medical Center Metrorail stations should add 15 minutes of travel time for their trips because of track maintenance. Inbound and outbound trains will share one track between these locations from 9 p.m. to closing (midnight), Sunday, June 29.

Hysteria & Hypochondria

It may seem a cliche to use adjectives like “witty” and “frolicking” to describe a performance of a Moliere play, but those are precisely the proper words for Shakespeare Theater Company’s “The Imaginary Invalid,” now at the Lansburgh Theater through July 27.

Helmed by a wonderfully expressive Rene Auberjonois and a sparkling Nancy Robinette, this is one of the strongest ensembles I’ve seen at STC in a long time, with so many hysterical key moments for the cast it’s unfair to detail any in particular. But Auberjonois’ rendering of the hypochondriac Argan and Robinette’s saucy maid Toinette set the comic pace, playing off each other perfectly. A showpiece for the intimacy of the Lansburgh, it’s also exquisitely designed, with sets and costumes evoking the period without being slavish (Simon Higlett and Robert Perdziola respectively). Director Keith Baxter chose to reinstate the masques and commedia interludes that often get cut, with the result that audience members truly feel transported to Carnival 1673, right down to an appearance by Le Roi himself.

“The Imaginary Invalid” has the distinction of being the last play Moliere performed in, as he expired after the fourth showing. Written at the end of his struggle with tuberculosis, it contains a scathing indictment of the ignorance and arrogance of the medical profession of his time (with pertinent echoes to our own era’s uneasy dalliance between pharmaceutical companies, doctors, and their nervous boomer patients). And yet it is a supremely enjoyable piece – as all great comedy comes with a sting in its tail. Definitely worth it.

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