Archive for the ‘Dupont Circle’ Category

"Sounds in the Square" 2008 Concerts

Photo courtesy of stgermh

The Golden Triangle BID announced their summer lineup for their popular “Sounds in the Square” concert series. The concerts are free at the Farragut Square Park on Thursday evenings in May and June from 5:00 to 7:00pm. Rain dates will be held in September.

This year’s series will feature concerts by some of the area’s most popular bands like No Second Troy, and local favorites including Everyone but Pete and JunkFood. So if you’re looking for some great local music fused with warm summer evenings in the middle of downtown DC, this might be your thing.

The current schedule is:

May 8 No Second Troy
May 15 Justin Jones & The Driving Rain
May 22 Everyone But Pete
June 5 JunkFood
June 12 The Kelly Bell Band
June 19 Crowded Streets
June 26 Reflex

You can check for any updates at the Golden Triangle’s website and if you’re myspace-savvy, add them as a friend.

OmegaBand, courtesy of stgermh

Hi. So Where’s the Alien?

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Every week I get together with a couple of friends for dinner to try out new restaurants, talk about our personal lives, drink alcohol. You know, it’s your basic bonding night. We even try to throw in “an activity” every now and then to try to experience new things in the city and broaden our horizons a bit. Sometimes we’ll go to a gallery to view some art, listen to panel discussions, and once we decided to check out Camelot since none of us had been there before. Meh. I’ve seen better.

Well last night we decided to go in for a tour of the Church of Scientology in Dupont. We all live in the neighborhood and walk by it nearly every day, but none of us really knew what it was all about. Sure, we’d heard about the protests, how people think Tom Cruise is crazy for jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch, and how an alien is supposed to show up one day and save them all, but that’s a pretty naive way of evaluating a “religion” if you ask me, so we decided to hear all about it from the horse’s mouth.

As soon as we walked through the front door we were greeted by a friendly looking fellow who said, “Hi, would you like a tour?” Why yes, as a matter of fact we would. Coincidently enough, his name was Tom, and he was probably the nicest person I’ve met in a long time. Never at any time did he try to sit us down or sign us up for anything. He repeatedly said, “If you have any questions about anything, anything, don’t hesitate to ask.”

Our 30 minute tour began inside their main lobby where numerous pictures of their founder, L. Ron Hubbard, are hanging. Tom explained to us that Hubbard was an engineer and was therefore very logical and thorough in his thinking. He was a pilot, was in World War II, and had even written some movie scripts. This didn’t sound like the founder of a religion to me. One interesting fact that Tom brought up was the meaning of the word “Scientology”. He said that most people see the word and think “science”, but rather (and I quote from their website) “it comes from the Latin word ‘scio’ meaning ‘knowing in the fullest sense of the word’ and the Greek word ‘logos’ meaning ‘study of'”, in other words, “the study of truth”.

Our tour continued as we walked down into the basement. “Oh sweet,” we were thinking. “Now we get to see where they keep the alien.” Not quite. This is where they have a “cleansing room” where members of the church can go to rid their body of drugs and alcohol by sweating it out. Evidently Hubbard figured out that when one takes drugs, the toxins get trapped in the our fatty tissue, so by going into a room and exercising you can sweat out the toxins and life is good again. That sounds too simple to be true, but Tom didn’t go into much detail as to what really goes on behind that closed door. Also in the basement was what appeared to be their welcome center. This is where you can go for your “free stress test” (which we didn’t partake in) and involves using an E-meter. This device is used to measure the electrical resistance in your body and is what they use when they do something called “auditing”, a way to clear your mind of something that is blocking you from reaching your full potential. Or something. Also in this room was a table stacked high with copies of Dianetics, the bible of Scientology written by Hubbard himself. Tom recommended that we read it to understand what Scientology was all about, much like you would read the bible to understand what Christianity had to offer. Or something. He gave us all free informational DVD’s to watch and then we headed back up to the main floor.

Next up was a tour of an air conditioned room that was basically a replica of Hubbard’s office back in the day. They keep the room at a lower temperature (and what felt like a high humidity) to preserve the shrink wrapped books that are on the shelves, books that actually belonged to L. Ron Hubbard. I know this is bad, but I thought to myself, “I wonder how much one of these would fetch on eBay?” It’d probably fetch me the rest of my life in the cleansing room in the basement. No thanks. The office has a signed original copy of Battlefield Earth, a science fiction book written by Hubbard (and terribly acted out by John Travolta). It also had one of the sweetest globes I’ve ever seen and a framed photo of the Jefferson Memorial surrounded by cherry blossoms. How apropos. Tom pointed out another book which is about a quarter of the size of Dianetics and is more like a Scientology primer or Scientology for Dummies. He recommended that we buy a copy online or even go check it out at our local library. Little did he know that I only like to read photography magazines and James Patterson novels. I asked him why they didn’t just put their books online for everyone to read, but he inferred that they had to make money somehow, just as other religions pass a collection plate or hold bake sales.

At this point, my friend decided to step it up a notch by asking Tom some tougher questions involving celebrities and aliens. Tom just sort of smiled and said that a few bad apples had decided to spread rumors about the church and that none of it was true. Oh and again – read the book because it explains everything in there.

So that was it. No pressure to join, no pressure to give them money, no pressure to stay and talk, no pressure to leave, although I couldn’t help but notice that everyone inside the church kept looking at us with a cautious eye as if to say, “Why are you people in here?” or “How long do you plan to stay?” Clearly we didn’t look like we belonged there. Could it have had something to do with the fact that I was wearing a baseball cap and drinking a Red Bull? Maybe. It could have also been that they thought we were snooping around and trying to uncover the secrets of their church.

I have to say that it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in a church, although I still left with a funny feeling in the back of my mind as if maybe Tom was trained to say certain things and hold back on others. Either way, I don’t see what all of the Hubb-ub is about. Do you?

Jill Foster and the Karaoke Cab Driver

Local DC Media Maker Jill Foster got serenaded in a cab yesterday on the way to work. Hear the troubadour’s song here. Jill writes:

I got into a cab today where the driver says “Welcome to my karaoke cab miss.”

He then asked my name and began singing – as in sang with portable mic wearing a cowboy
hat – fun songs during the cab fare. I was cackling as he agreed to make a mobile
podcast right there via Utterz.com using my cell phone.

Does it get any better than this? Thanks, Jill, for sharing the joy!

Wine is for Classy People

Corkscrew

If you love wine but only know that it sometimes comes in red and other times in white (and sometimes it comes in a box), you should really think about taking a Wine Class for Beginners at the Whitemore House in Dupont. From the GiraMondo Wine Adventures website:

    This class will cover the following topics:

    – Where do wine flavors and aromas com from

    – How are these aromas categorized

    – How to pair food and wine

    – What are the main differences between old world and new world wines

    – Basic wine etiquette (restaurant, liquor store, party at home)

When it comes to wine etiquette, is there much more than pulling the cork and taking a swig? Well, besides letting the wine breath sometimes? Anyway, tonight’s class has done sold out, but there is another one scheduled for April 16th and 7:00PM. Until then, happy drinking! I know I’m looking forward to the weather warming up so I can crack open my Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. A glass or two of that up on the roof deck, well, it just doesn’t get much better than that.

Photo by F1.4

Sunday Salsa Assassination

Today there was a brutal attack on the 1400 block of P Street NW.

An innocent recycled glass jar of vegan, Fair Trade, organic, heirloom tomato salsa was smashed against cold, unforgiving concrete.

A cry was heard from the scene – bystanders thought it was either the anguish of the rehabilitated child soldier subsistence farming cooperative that hand-crafted the salsa.

Or the socially conscious, environmentally aware, enlightened consumer who just lost $12.99 + tax to the mean streets of Washington DC.

DC’s Getting Smart

As if DC wasn’t smart enough, we seem to be getting even smarter. Aren’t we considered to be the most educated city on the planet or sumthin’? Well leave it to us to be early adopters of the space saving, environmentally friendly Smart car. Made by Mercedes and starting at just $11,590, this little scooter is likely to be the next Mini Cooper, that is, you’re going to start to see them zooming around everywhere. I remember the first time I saw one of these in London about five years ago, I couldn’t believe my eyes. “You can actually drive that thing? A grown adult can actually fit in there?” Amazingly, they have more room inside than you might think, although you probably won’t be using it to take that new 50″ flat screen TV home from Costco. The beauty of these cars, especially for those of us who have to deal with parallel parking on a Friday night, is that they’ll fit into the smallest of spots that even a Mini couldn’t fit into.

While probably not the safest car to be in with a Hummer speeding behind you, the Smart is a brilliant car designed for city dwellers like us and I expect to see them flood the area over the next few years.

Photo by yospyn.

Dupont Circle House Tour

Why anyone would open up their house for the public to walk through is beyond me, but I’m sure glad they do it. If you’ve never been to one of DC’s house tours they are a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. They give you a chance to see inside many of the homes you walk by every day. Sometimes they are surprisingly nice, other times they are a big disappointment, but overall it is a great chance to take in some history of the area and even get some decorating ideas for your own home.

So if you don’t have any plans this Sunday, be sure to check out the Dupont Circle House Tour from noon to 5pm. Unfortunately the DCCA’s website doesn’t list the homes on this year’s tour, but in years past there have been amazing places like the O Street Mansion. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the tour. Check here for a list of places to purchase tickets.

See you there!

DC’s Smallest Concert Venue

Potbelly

You know you’re somewhere between performing on the street with an open guitar case and signing a Quincy Jones recording deal when you’re playing at the miniature stage at the Potbelly Sandwich Works on Connecticut Avenue in Dupont Circle. Blink and you’ll miss it, the stage is so small, and if you’re over six feet tall you’ll have to crouch up there like an elderly woman with osteoporosis. Your music will be piped all throughout the restaurant, and if you’re lucky someone might actually look up towards the rafters and realize where the music is coming from. I have to say, it sure was nice listening to some acoustic Sade today while I ate my Italian on wheat.

Love It or Hate It, Say Goodbye

It was a sad day for me when the Washington Post reported that the AMC Loews Dupont 5 Theater would be closing its doors for good on January 13, 2008. You see that’s my neighborhood theater and it takes me less than 10 minutes to walk there, so despite the uncomfortable seats, small screening rooms, and unfriendly staff, I’m truly going to miss it.

The trend in theaters has been moving from smaller venues to giant megaplexes – places where big groups of noisy people can go and see the latest blockbuster movies and sit in luxurious stadium style seating. With the Dupont Theater leaving, the only other choice (that I know of) for seeing whacky foreign films will be at the E Street Cinema, which is a great theater but not the easiest to get to.

When I asked my friends if they’d heard about the theater closing their reaction was either, “What?! No way! That sucks and is so not fair,” to “Eh, who cares. That place was a dump.”

What’s your reaction?

Photo by cyaneyed

And God Said, “Let There Be Pavement.”

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I may have questioned before as to where my tax dollars were exactly going. Well this summer I found out when they started repaving S street. What used to be like driving on the surface of the moon is now one sleek, smooth, stretch of pavement. Thanks, DC! Now when winter comes, please take care of your shiny new street by plowing the snow instead of letting it turn into a giant sheet of ice. Then I’ll really be impressed!

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