Archive for the ‘Washington DC’ Category

Daily DC Item: Brad & Angelina Are In Town, Obama No Longer Sole Superstar In Town

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Angelina on set (Photo: Splash News)

I was going to write a commentary on a news worthy story- I swear. But in the middle of writing it I found out some juicier material: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are in town! As I type this Pitt should be on Capitol Hill meeting with Nancy Pelosi concerning, “Make It Right, a project launched in 2007 to construct affordable and environmentally-sustainable housing for low-income residents of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans who lost their homes as a result of Hurricane Katrina,” according to Pelosi’s office.

So what’s Angelina up to? She’s keeping busy filming scenes for her new film, “Salt.” Entertainment Wise has some photos of her running in costume for some sort of chase scene.

Alright so is there enough room for three superstars to be in town? If Angelina is filming scenes in town she maybe here for a few more days, any chance of seeing the two out on the town?

I’m amazed that it took a friend’s comment for me to learn about the news- I would of expected MSNBC to have live coverage of the photo op, and a little bit more buzz than today’s depressing economic news. Not even the friend that told me is really excited, “haha i guess its kind of exciting, im not about to up and leave my office but its neat.”

Is it really exciting or neat? Anybody going to flock to The frigid mall right now?

Wednesday’s child

After work yesterday, I was walking from the bus stop to the Swanky Safeway (I love you, Circulator) and spotted this lonely skeleton:

What once was useful, has been discarded

What once was useful, has been discarded

It’s not exactly providing the trash bin with shelter from the elements.  Why not fold it up before trashing it?   What color was the umbrella, before it lost its skin?  Did it have fun polkadots?  Was it the usual DC Black?  Did it bear the logo of one of this town’s myriad law firms?

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

Frank Warren: The Man With All The Secrets (Part 2)

As the front house staff let me in to the jealous looks of the crowd outside I felt a little extra special that night.

After our first conversation, Frank Warren encouraged me to come out and experience one of his PostSecret Live events and I agreed. So my friend Wendi and I trekked down to the Lisner Auditorium where he was about to speak in front of a sold out crowd.

I walked in and saw him onstage, playing with his MacBook as he tested some videos and slides to be used. At the moment I found him he was playing the Dirty Little Secrets video that features his PostSecret postcards.

I wasn’t the only one there to hang out with him, a camera crew was nearby busy filming his routine, a sign that his fame is growing by leaps, not bounds. Warren’s story is so unique: a man who collects secrets sent to him to share with himself and the world. As they are posted on his PostSecret blog, he becomes not only the most trusted man in America, but perhaps a conduit and sounding board for thousands. He is always willing to listen to anything that anyone would like to share with him.

As other press outlets show up and line up for interviews there’s still a sense of humbleness to the man behind the Germantown-based blog. Before retiring to his dressing room for interviews he walks to the back of the house to personally thank all of the ushers and staff working the event.

The dressing room backstage is a plain white room with leather couches. Frank invites special guests, press, and myself to sitdown with him as he gathers his notes for the presentation. There’s a coffee table in the middle of the room with a copy of the Washington City Paper. It was open to a photo of Frank and a story on tonight’s event opposite an article on former VP candidate Sarah Palin. As I point it out he dismisses it casually, “When I see my photo in the paper I don’t really see me, I see PostSecret.” He’s simply glad to see the project get some publicity and once again displays his humbleness.

After asking for a Coke he proceeds to talk to the various press members that fire off questions and record quotes to use later. A writer asks if he ever felt a burden to be the one that is sent so much personal information and thoughts. He jokes that while he doesn’t see it as a burden,”I have been having some recent back pain- maybe it’s from carrying all these secrets for so long.”

More questions probe into the secrets themselves, “Do you ever think some of the secrets are made-up? That people are making up secrets in hopes of making the blog?,” one reporter asks. To respond to that question he pulls out a small gray box and opens it. Inside are various e-mails and postcards. He pulls out an e-mail and reads it to the crowd, “Dear Frank, I sent you a secret awhile ago but I wanted to tell you that it’s no longer true.” For Frank the act of sharing secrets with him is just as important, if not more, as the secret itself.

“The act of sharing is one step in a personal story or journey.” He hopes that even just the act of sharing a secret with someone else is therapeutic and one step closer to helping one face one’s true fears.

Meanwhile the lobby fills with GW students and fans from far and wide that wait for the doors to open. At the head of the line are Carla and Katie, two students from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Not only are they fans of the website and art exhibits, the two trekked down the Beltway in hopes of meeting Frank to deliver him postcards of secrets they had designed and had tucked away in their bags.

Daria, a GW sophomore, traveled a bit further to see Frank. A native of Trinidad, she was a fan of the site back home before coming to the US to study at George Washington. Going to college in DC brought her that much closer to her favorite blog, “I’m a nerd for PostSecret… as soon as I knew I was going to GW, I wanted to meet Frank and maybe intern for him,” she said.

The house opens, the auditorium quickly fills up, and Frank walks out to the cheers of hundreds of adoring fans. His talk explores the PostSecret project further, with videos and postcards that weren’t allowed to be published, what Frank calls “the secret Secrets.” Along with the visuals, Frank offers his own personal thoughts and insights on the impact of his project and what he’s learned about humanity and the idea of sharing one’s intimate details.

At the end of the show he shares with the audience a personal secret of his own, but there is one secret that is left to be discovered after the show is over. Before the show Frank took 200 actual postcards sent to PostSecret and inserted them into the PostSecret books that were for sale in the lobby. As fans pick up copies to have autographed at a post show signing, a surprise awaits them between the pages of secrets.

Kristen Adams and Lisa Lustig from Fairfax, VA are two George Mason alumni who decided on attending to the show after hearing about it days before. They were lucky to grab tickets before it completely sold out. After getting their books signed they thumbed through the newly purchased items and ran across the postcard. At first they take it for as a promotional item. “I thought the secret was fake, but when I took it out, I realized it was a real secret. I feel special that I’m not entrusted with someone’s secret!” remarked the surprised Lustig.

Tamara and Rebeka, two GW freshmen were so excited to find an actual PostSecret postcard that they are reconsidering the purpose of their recent purchases- as gifts for family members. Rebeka explained, “This was going to be a gift for my sister but now that I have a real PostSecret secret- it’s mine now!”

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…)

Photos from Manifest HOPE Party

I snapped a few shots of the main acts at the Manifest HOPE party tonight – Santogold, De La Soul, Moby

Santogold at Manifest HOPE

De La Soul at Manifest HOPE

Moby at Manifest HOPE

Full set is on flickr.

Inauguration 2009: Weekend of Destruction Day 1

I almost feel like the CNN team with all the Inaugural posting we have going on right now. DC Metblogs certainly has things covered with our team captain Anthony throwing parties at midnight in order to stay up and try and get to today’s concert. We also have Metblogs creator Sean in town who’s also chiming in with his perspective.

That also means that I won’t be remaining quiet this weekend, in fact I’ve already declared my weekend a “Weekend of Destruction.” That means every day til Wednesday will probably be a day I will rock out- leading to a destruction of my health, morals, and what little social life I had to begin with. It only makes sense I declare this a Weekend of Destruction- after all DC is technically in a state of emergency.

So let me share with you my nightlife last night.

While DC has been pretty satisfied with the extended bar hours, the crowds are only starting to come out. On my way to Dupont Circle the metro was packed from the Caps game that just ended however I did see a lot more suitcases than usual in my crowded car. I also noticed that there were a whole lot of tour buses dropping folks off when I got to Dupont.

The Big Hunt was terribly crowded but I was out pretty early at the point- the crowds grew as the hour approached midnight- luckily there was still a whole lot more nightlife to go.

I met up with some friends at Columbia Heights house party which was ok but the keg was kicked soon after my arrival and my crew and I were soon walking over to The Wonderland Ballroom which would of been cool since I’ve never been there but when we arrived we found out they were one of the unlucky ones that decided not to go for the late night license.

That reminds me, make sure you check out the Washington Post’s list of bars open late so you don’t make the same mistake we did.

We ended up grabbing a taxi over to U-Street where Local 16 was finishing up a priviate Inaugural party on their deck (it looked really nice all tented and heated.)

It was great being able to stay out til 4 AM last night- what I didn’t like was trying to get a taxi to get myself back into Virginia. It appears that a few cabs that we stopped didn’t want to leave The District. Concerns over security? Did anyone else encounter this?

Well today should be a little more chill- unlike Anthony I won’t be heading out to the concert but I will be enjoying the Ravens/Steelers game tonight and maybe try out another neighborhood.

Manifest HOPE opens this weekend

Yosi at manifest hopeLast night I went to the opening reception for Manifest HOPE: DC and so so much Obama art I could barely process it all. In case you aren’t aware of it yet, Manifest HOPE is an exhibition which examines how “art plays a pivotal role in creating cultural momentum” by collecting political and progressive works by artists from all over the country – more than a few of which you are probably already familiar with.

Specifically focusing on the areas of workers rights, healthcare reform and the green economy, the show includes pretty much everything you can think of from sculpture to photography to painting and everything in between. You can see some of the works online here. It’s a massive group show so as to be expected some stands out from the others and some will leave you scratching your head but it’s worth seeing for sure, and you only have a short time to do that. The exhibition runs from today, January 17th through the 19th and is viewable from 10:00am – 6:00pm. It’s in Georgetown at 3333 M Street NW (More info here).

[image top right: Event organizer Yosi Sergant at the opening, introducing Shepard Fairey. Full disclosure, I consider both of those guys friends.]

Run DC

Spotted this in Adams Morgan today, it’s pretty much the best thing ever.

Run DC

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