Archive for the ‘The Mall’ Category

Pillow Fight Planned For This Weekend On National Mall, Dupont Circle

My pal P.Q. sent me an invite to what appears to be a pillow fight scheduled for tomorrow at The National Mall. In recognition of International Pillow Fight Day, Capital Improv is organizing the local fight in Washington, DC. According to the invite over 400 people participated in last year’s fight and there’s already well over 1,500 RSVP’s for the event. It’s no surprise that the success of the snowball fights this winter have fueled interest in flash mob-type events like this one.

If you are interested make sure you read the complete rules on the Facebook invite: no down pillows, respect people with cameras.

The invite states to arrive with a pillow but keep it out of sight. Head towards the World War II monument side of the Washington Monument and wait for a fake shouting match to occur- that will be your cue to take sides and get in on the action. The fight will last for 15 minutes and then attempt to move to Dupont Circle.

Really ambitious for a pillow fight to move across the city.

American History Museum Announces Extended Holiday Hours

Are you, like me, going to be kicking around DC over the next couple of holiday-filled weeks and looking for something to do?  Well, the Smithsonian is here for you, my friend!  You can take the opportunity to visit Tai Shan before he has to go, or the new(-ish) Sant Ocean Hall.  Best of all, the National Museum of American History will be offering extended holiday hours this year.

  • Dec. 26-30 and Jan. 2, close at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, close at 5:30 p.m

America’s favorite collection of free museums will be closed on Christmas Day, but is open the other 364 days of the year.

Star Spangled Banner_Moving Light Table courtesy flickr user catface3

Celebs Raid Adams Morgan, We Forget About The Real World DC For A Minute

Making a Movie

Is DC jumping the Hollywood shark?

All of a sudden we’ve become the new Toronto or Vancouver in terms non-LA filming locations. Forget about the slew of reality shows including Real World DC which should of started filming at their house on the corner of S & 20th. Forget about SilverDocs, the film festival that’s eaten most of my time this week. We got a new Hollywood distraction in town this weekend!

If you have been living under a rock (or maybe the Bethesda Metro Station), filming on Untitled James L. Brooks Project (however it’s speculated that the title is How Do You Know?) has been under way in Adams Morgan for the past few days and will wrap up at the end of next week.

The cast is packed with names like Jack Nicholson, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd. Which has caused everyone in DC to momentarily stop planning ways on how to get into the MTV hot tub and into Paul Rudd’s pants. My friends have already had their own personal encounters with the cast: The Pumpernickel made eye contact with Rudd and my friend Sarah got to go on a bike ride with Owen Wilson.

According to DCist, “other scenes will be filmed inside the lobby and outside of the office building at 875 15th Street NW, aka The Bowen Building, for big chunks of the weekend — a security notice sent to workers in the McPherson Square-adjacent building says they’ll be there pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday, and then again overnight at the end of next week.” The film is expected out this December.

Here are some clips of the filming, note Paul Rudd was filming a scene for the movie and probably wasn’t really hit by a car- but when you are trying to walk DC it’s totally possible.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-U3Rasnfws[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Erx0_WGhF5k[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D42jOTJOQk[/youtube]

Smithsonian Offers Extended Summer Hours

SS-20 on display at NASM*

The three most popular museums on the Mall are now open from 10:00 AM through 7:30 PM daily (except when there’s a special event scheduled).  Hours apply at the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the National Museum of Natural History until Labor day!  If you, like me, have still not been to visit the newfangled Star-Spangled Banner exhibit, or the Einstein Planetarium, or the new Ocean Hall, because you’re just too tired after a hard week’s work to fight the crowds on the weekend – now is your chance!

I have taken full advantage of the later hours (11:30 AM – 7:00 PM daily) at the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum on 8th Street.  It’s thisclose to my Metro stop, Gallery Place, so I visit quite often in the winter when I commute on the bus and train.  In the summer, I bike commute, and my ride takes me down the Mall past the three biggies each workday.  Now, when I’m overcome by the urge to visit the SS20 missile at the Air and Space Museum, I’ll be able to stop in on the way home.

So, DC, take advantage of your free museums, and if you’ve got any touristy visitors coming this summer, be sure to let them know!

*photo by flickr user ptufts, used under a Creative Commons license

Daily DC Item: Not Everybody Knows The Washington Monument

70924387_1397c41085_b

Can you believe there are some people out there that don’t know what The Washington Monument looks like?

In fact there are, albeit they are probably tourists from outside the United States and tourists that also don’t know who The President is.

I read an article in The Washington Post about plans for a new signage system on The Mall that would help identify the many attractions, everything from the Lincoln Memorial to the Jefferson. While the National Park Service sees the need to help direct and point out these places, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and local residents disagree.

The article goes through both arguments of the planned improvements, the Park Service would like to make The Mall more accessible for those that visit it, and others feel it may detract and that the landmarks are so famous that identification marks are not needed.

Isn’t it a tad presumptuous to think that everybody knows The DC monuments? Sure if anybody that lived in the city didn’t know these places we’d ask if they have been living in a cave. However we do need to consider that while word of these places have reached many countries and the tourists from these countries that visit, they may not know exactly the location of them or what they look like.

We have to come to terms that those outside the U.S. just aren’t as smart as us when it comes to knowing U.S Landmarks. What do you think?

Didn’t It Snow This Week?

dsc01940 Remember Monday? You know that day we were either happy to not have school, or somewhat cranky that we only had a two-hour delay at work. Ya that day it snowed… a lot. Now all of a sudden it’s 70 and wonderful outside. I went out to the Natural History Museum with friends and I just walked all over downtown without a coat on. That was only a week after I was bundled up trying to scrap ice off my car.

While it may have been nice this weekend, it looks like the weather is going to get cooler as we get back to work tomorrow. It won’t get back up to 70’s but it will stay above freezing at least.

That’s what I love about DC, we get a winter but it doesn’t stay too long for us to hate it.

Anybody else do anything interesting with the warm weather out?

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: Operation Celtic Renegade Is In Effect

Right now I’m going to say I’d rather get up late, walk to my TV or go to a watch party, and enjoy the ceremony. To me it looks like a hassle to even try and get into town.

Those were the words I wrote in my last post, as I decided at the time I wouldn’t try to go on the mall.

However something funny happened. I made the decision confident that I was falling into the position held by many other of my friends. However upon talking with them on Inaugural plans I found out that I am actually one of the few. All my friends know the risks and perils but still intend on giving it the old college try on Tuesday. (more…)

Inauguration 2009: Inauguration Estimates Cut In Half

Did estimates of up to 5 million people scare you from coming out to see the Obama Inauguration?

Well how about 2-3 million? Does that number sound more appealing to you?

Inauguration officials are now revising earlier estimates of Inaugural attendees by half. According to the Washington Post, “turnout could easily reach 2 million, officials said, far outstripping the 400,000 who attended the 2005 inauguration of President Bush.

It doesn’t surprise me that only 400,000 people came out to see Bush swearing in again. I wonder how many of them were protesters.

The WP article notes that 5 million people may come into the DC Metro area, but it seems unlikely that the entire 5 million will actually make it to The Mall and parade route. So does that mean that a fallback plan of watching the festivities at a local pub may not be smart? Trying to fight through the other 2 million that came into town but didn’t want to go the extra mile to be there in person may make leaving my house a nightmare no matter what I do.

I also wonder if this story will entice even more people to try and see the events in-person. Next thing you know we really do have 5 million people in DC because they thought, “5 million people? No way! But 2 million people… maybe I will try and make it in…”

Now for some more Inaugural news.

Obama’s playing the part of Lincoln very well

So the Obama’s got the Lincoln train ride thing down. He’s also kicking off Inaugurapalooza with a concert at the Lincoln memorial. And of course we all know Obama’s from the “land of Lincoln.”

He wants to make sure we get the whole Lincoln metaphor down with his decision to use the Lincoln bible to take his Inaugural oath. The bible hasn’t been used in over 150 yearsm since- you guessed it- Abe Lincoln used it. With the announcement the Lincoln bible came out for a little photo op and CBS has some video of it on display.

More Inaugural Weekend Details

It looks like the Inaugural committee has released some more details on the events that weekend, here’s the latest details from the Presidential Inaugural Committee:

Sunday, January 18th
No new details on the welcome event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial except that it will be in the afternoon

Monday, January 19th – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
The President-elect, Vice President-elect, and their families are going to honor Dr. King through various community service activities. The earlier reported youth concert at the Verizon Center will be held that evening.

Tuesday, January 20th – Inauguration Day

The festivities will start at 10 A.M. but officials say that if you have tickets that you should try and get into the areas around 9. Remember that there’s no overnight camping on The Mall and that you can’t stake a parade spot til 7 AM.

Musical groups to perform include The United States Marine Band, Aretha Franklin, The United States Navy Band “Sea Chanters”, The San Francisco Boys Chorus, and The San Francisco Girls Chorus. John Williams will conduct an ensemble including Itzhak PerlmanYo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill.

Here’s a the current rundown of the ceremony:

  • Call to Order and Welcoming Remarks: Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • Invocation: Dr. Rick Warren
  • Musical Selection: Aretha Franklin
  • Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will be sworn into office by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, the Honorable John Paul Stevens
  • Musical Selection: John Williams, composer/arranger with Itzhak Perlman, (violin), Yo-Yo Ma  (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano) and Anthony McGill (clarinet)
  • President-elect Barack H. Obama will take the Oath of Office, using President Lincoln’s Inaugural Bible, administered by the Chief Justice of the United States, the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr.
  • Inaugural Address
  • Poem: Elizabeth Alexander
  • Benediction: The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery
  • The National Anthem: The United States Navy Band “Sea Chanters”

President Obama will escort President Bush to a departure ceremony then attend a luncheon in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

The Inaugural Parade will march down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. Here’s a preliminary list of parade participants that have been invited.

Wednesday, January 21st
No new news on the prayer service that will take place that day.

How cushy is an Honorary Co-Chair role?

The committee has also announced their Honorary Co-Chairs which include former President Carter, Clinton, and Bush (the first one.)  Mayor Adrian Fenty and Colin Powell are also on the list. While I don’t know what exactly an Honorary Co-Chair does at the Inauguration- I bet he/she will have really good seats.

Talking about seats I was showing a friend around DC last night and we visited the White House where we saw the VIP Grandstand still under construction.

The work looks top notch and there’s a round frame at the top- probably for the Presidential Seal. I also noticed glass partitions installed in the front and center rows. I bet those are probably bullet-proof. There’s also another grandstand structure opposite of this one. That’s probably as close as  I’m going to get to the parade- or anything Inaugural for that matter.

More Inauguration Links

The Inauguration Committee on Twitter: http://twitter.com/obamainaugural

Volunteer for the Inauguration: http://www.pic2009.org/page/s/volunteer2

Inauguration 2009: Jim Webb’s Early Lump Of Coal For Me

On this Christmas Eve let me I got an e-mail from my local senator, Jim Webb. It wasn’t a holiday greetings or a solicitation for money but a response to my earlier request for Inauguration tickets:

Thank you for contacting Senator Webb’s office regarding Inauguration tickets.  As you may know, the Senator’s office has received more than 35,000 total ticket requests and has been allotted only a few hundred tickets.   Unfortunately, at this time, we are unable to accommodate your request for tickets to the Inaugural Swearing-In Ceremony on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol. However, please note that the remaining sections of the National Mall will be open to members of the public who were unable to obtain the limited tickets available.  These areas will have large screens to ensure that the general public can easily view the ceremony and festivities.

We wanted to give you this status update well in advance of Inauguration Day so that you can plan accordingly. Please also be aware that in addition to the public viewing area on the National Mall, there are a number of events during the week, including the Inaugural Parade, that do not require tickets.

Due to the extraordinarily high interest in the Swearing-In Ceremony, Senator Webb has sent a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, requesting additional tickets to account for Virginia’s proximity to Washington D.C.   Should Senator Webb receive additional tickets from the Inaugural Committee or any other source and be able to accommodate your request, we will be sure to let you know.

The Swearing-In Ceremony is the only Inaugural event to which our office has received tickets.   Please see the links below for updated information on other Inaugural events that may interest you:

www.inaugural.senate.gov

www.pic2009.org

Thank you again for your interest.

Sincerely,

Kathryn Wilmoth

Administrative Director

Office of Senator Jim Webb

I’m not surprised that I didn’t get any tickets, but it’s a bit of a bummer to get on Christmas Eve. If his office sent it on Boxing Day- then it’s another story. I wonder if thousands of others got the same e-mail on Christmas Eve.

There are some tidbits to glean from the letter. We know that the tickets will be impossible to get and that Virginia, Maryland, and DC are already trying to a bigger slice of the ticket pie. We also know that even without tickets we can expect people to flock to The Mall so they can say, “Hey I was there!”

However there has only been speculation about possible accommodations for the general public and now this is the first “official” word on having screens on The Mall. Of course no further details on how many and where.

Well I hope everybody has a happy holidays- I’ll be checking my inbox to see if any of the other members of congress I requested tickets from come through. It would be a Merry Christmas indeed if I was one of the lucky ones.

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