Archive for September, 2009

Social Safeway Enters The DC Social Media Scene

Safeway 2912-20090929-110318Real DC Locals know that we have the odd habit of giving alliterate nick names to our Safeways. In fact I’ve been sitting on a half-finished piece on all the DC Safeways that I hope to finish sometime before the Redskins lose 20 games in  a row.

The Safeway on Wisconsin Ave, also known as “Social Safeway” hasn’t been so social recently since the location has been going through renovations like much of the other area locations (the Spanish Safeway has been sporting bi-lingual “under construction” signs.)

I was happy to recently discover that the store has embraced it’s local nickname, establishing an online home at– even though I just ran into it recently, the site was mentioned back in January 2009.

The site has a short history of Safeway in DC as well as an explanation of it’s DC Safeway nickname. You can also check-in on it’s construction progress through a webcam on-site. While the cam just shows your typical cranes and dirt, the time-lapse feature is a really cool visual to watch as compiles all the photos into one quick montage of construction.

Some of the features of the new Social Safeway includes:

  • Expanded Wine & Beer Offerings
  • Wine Steward with Wine Cellar
  • Sushi Bar Island Deli
  • Jamba Juice
  • Starbuck’s Kiosk
  • Huge Organic Produce Section
  • Hearth Oven Fresh Brick Oven Store prepared Pizza
  • Two Levels of Free Parking

The store will be two stories and include indoor and outdoor seating with a balcony overlooking Wisconsin Ave. The plans sound like it may resemble the design of the Wegmans in Fairfax that I’m a big fan of. If that’s the case, then I have to say that the new Social Safeway will be even more sociable than ever.

According to DCist, Social Safeway is expected to be finished by March 2010.

Michael Moore In DC To Screen “Capitalism: A Love Story” Free At DC Labor FilmFest

I was watching the Iowa-Penn State game when a commercial for Michael Moore’s latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story, which opens nationwide on Friday.

However I found out that you can see the movie for FREE tonight at the DC Labor FilmFest. The fest, will show a preview screening and Michael Moore will be in attendance to speak before the film. The event starts at 8 PM at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring. The event is free but you need to grab tickets in person which should be available now at the AFI Box Office.

So if you got nothing better to do on this Monday, head on down to Silver Spring and catch the DC Premiere of Capitalism: A Love Story.


Redskins: Fire Jim Zorn Dot Com Goes Live

I was wondering when it would go live, but Fire Jim Zorn (at blogspot) went live today.

Redskins faithful, your favorite team lost to the Detroit Lions.

I’m sorry-maybe you didn’t hear me.  The DEEEEE.  TRRRROOIT.  LIIIOONNSSSSSS…..

While I do think that Jim Zorn isn’t helping the situation, and any responsible organization would fire him from being head coach tomorrow-let’s keep in mind that this is not a responsible organization.  I think we all know who is to blame for this “bottom of a public toilet” they call a football team here in DC-but since you can’t fire him…well…Zorn is going to go.  The question is just…when.

It’s kind of like throwing out your coffee mug because the coffee tastes bad when your $4.5 million coffee pot is broken-it doesn’t really make sense, but its all you can do.

In any event-Redskins fans, prepare for endless, endless talk about what is wrong with the Redskins from now until they beat an NFC East team via all forms of local media.  My deepest condolences.

Tracking the Media Meltdown

(Note: At 8:31p I don’t see an official story on the WaPo covering the game in my RSS feed.  Sad.)

Sports Bog: Someone’s got to go.

Sports Bog: Worst loss by a DC Sports team in 2009

This Is Just A Test: Arlington To Experience Mystery Mock Emergency Drill

Photo courtesy Flickr user niteowl7710

Photo courtesy Flickr user niteowl7710

Just got this Arlington Alert in my inbox about a mystery emergency drill: “Arlington County will conduct a mock emergency drill TOMORROW, Saturday, September 26th. Law enforcement and first responder agencies will be involved. There will be NO service interruptions, NO planned street closures, and minimal traffic disruptions. This is a drill only.”

Good to know that it’s only a test, but exactly what should we expect? A little research resulted that Arlington County’s drill is actually part of a bigger exercise involving Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. The exercises will consist of the following scenarios:

  • In Arlington/Alexandria, there will be a simulated vehicle-based bomb, targeting a large group of people in the vicinity of train tracks, creating multiple victims.
  • For Fairfax City and Fairfax County, a simulated police chase that originates in Loudoun County ends at the Route 50/Fairfax County Parkway interchange with a box truck that overturns. Upon inspection, there are several bombs and chemicals in the back of the truck.
  • The Loudoun County event will simulate a bombing at a Park and Ride near the Dulles Greenway.
  • The Prince William County event will have a simulated bombing at the Rippon VRE station with numerous victims.

Wow that sounds more exciting than what the e-mail led on.

So if you see any Jack Bauer-like situations tomorrow morning, just be aware that it may only be pretend.

Inner-City Education Success Profiled In The Providence Effect

The Providence Effect opens in select theatres today

The Providence Effect opens in select theatres today

As September comes to an end and children around that nation go back to school, DC’s education challenges still remain in the forefront. The efforts to improve DC’s school system still remains in the spotlight with Sunday’s Washington Post profile on DC Education Chancellor Michelle Rhee. With cities all over the country working to improve their public school systems, there is an interesting story in Chicago of a school that boasts a 100% college placement record. An amazing feat in a country where only a third of high school graduates go on to college. This school, Providence St. Mel, is the subject of The Providence Effect, a documentary opening in theatres around the DC area today.

The story of the school starts with founder Paul J. Adams III, an African-American man with activist roots in the 1960’s civil rights movement. After moving to Chicago’s troubled West Side he got a job at the Providence St. Mel as a guidance councilor. When the school was in danger of closing its doors, Adams raised the funds to purchase the school from the Sisters of Providence and set about a new goal: to turn Providence St. Mel into a first rank college prep school. However the story isn’t really about Paul Adams, but the education model he’s created to foster success from K-12.

The film opens with the graduation of the class of 2007 where students were not only called by name, but also by their college and major they would attend in the fall. The secret to their success is no secret in the film, Providence St. Mel believes in a strong sense of discipline and vision. In the morning every student recites the school mission statement and the teachers are held to the same high standard as the students. I was surprised to see Principal Jeanette DiBella work not behind a desk shuffling papers, but going from class to class observing teachers and students. In one scene a student is discovered not working on an assignment and both the student and teacher were called out. As DiBella says in the film she considers herself the instructional leader of the school. On the school’s website she is described as chief education officer.

However the model of Providence St. Mel appears to be paying off. The school’s success is currently trying to be replicated in the Chicago Public School system with a spin-off charter school that is also profiled in the film. Graduates go on to attend prestigious colleges and universities and has produced success for its alumni, which includes White House aide Gregory Canty.

The Providence Effect offers a look at a successful education model that left me wondering if something like that could be the answer for DC’s education crisis.

The Providence Effect opens in Washington, DC today at Landmark’s E Street Cinema, AMC Magic Johnson Theater in Largo, MD and AMC Shirlington Theater in Alexandria, VA.

So Long, Zilla!

Olie the Goalie

Olie the Goalie

I know y’all are used to seeing sports posts from Frank and Patrick, but I just can’t help putting my two cents in on the news that Olaf Kolzig, beloved former goalie for the Capitals, has announced his retirement.

When I moved to the DC area in 1993, I was in dire need of a team to adopt!  I was raised in New York, where kids have to choose their team loyalties early (mine were, of course, Giants/Mets/Knicks).  Back then DC had no baseball, and pretty much all I could say was that I did know the difference between hockey and figure skates.

And so the Caps became my local favorites.  Over the years I’ve watched many a Caps game.  Olie was there through nearly all those years — from the days of carpooling out to the old Cap Centre in PG County (where said carpool driver once nearly ran over Dale Hunter by accident — thank God that didn’t happen), to the games in the new-fangled Phone Booth.  My friends and I learned the nuances of icing. I went to games wearing my #22 Konowalchuk sweater, as he rose from fourth-line to captain.  We griped when the uniforms changed to “Wizards” blue-and-gold, and cheered when they went back to their old logo.

Then!  In 1998!  It finally happened!  The Caps were able to help me check an item off my Lifetime List of Things to Do: seeing the Stanley Cup Finals.  Sure, the RedWings skated away with the Cup, but it was a blast and the team owed a lot of its success that year (and in other years) to their giant Godzilla-like keeper, “Olie the Goalie.”

The Post is polling its readership on whether the organization should retire #37.  I, personally, believe the correct answer to this question is, “Duh,” and it looks like there are those who agree (as of 4:30 PM the polling was 89% in favor)!  Sure, the Caps don’t have title pennants flying from the rafters, but in my opinion old #37 deserves recognition as the best goalie in franchise history.

What do you think, DC?  Share some of your favorite Caps moments and your opinion on whether the Caps should retire #37!

Regardless, let’s all say thanks for some great play and join in a virtual chant:  Olie! Olie! Olie!

DC Video: Barack Obama On David Letterman

I’ve been swamped with all sorts of work to get to watching Barack Obama’s appearance on David Letterman this past Monday but I just caught it on YouTube and he wasn’t that bad, here are the highlights I think got the most buzz: his comments on racism against him and an unreleased Top-Ten list on, Top Ten Reasons President Obama Agreed To Appear On The Late Show.”


Obama showed some wit on the comments, but theTop-Ten list deserved to be cut:

Top Ten Reasons President Obama Agreed To Appear on the “Late Show”

10. Heard the lady with the heart-shaped potato was going to be here

9. Thought it would be fun to watch someone else get heckled

8. Has something to do with that whole “Cash for Clunkers” thing

7. Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has been here

6. In this economy, someone offers you $600, you take it

5. We told him Megan Fox would be here

4. Needed a place to hang out until check-in time at his hotel

3. Honestly, I have no idea

2. Said, “Yes” without thinking… Like Bush did with Iraq

1. Wanted to congratulate Dave on the big Emmy win

Obama’s Remarks At UMD: Good But Not Profound

Photo Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Photo Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Allow me to be somewhat cynical.

Last night I was driving home from a weekend out in Pittsburgh, the four hour trek gave me a lot of time to think and to catch up on podcasts and other pieces of audio. I loaded my iPod with a couple of recent speeches that President Obama delivered: the recent address to the joint-session of Congress and his speech at The University of Maryland from last Thursday.

I wanted to make sure I had a chance to hear both speeches, the joint session address has been newsworthy thanks to a certain impromptu comment from Representative Joe Wilson. It was almost Kanyesque the way he interrupted Obama’s remarks. I also wanted to hear his speech at UMD because someone at work told me it was one of the best speeches he delivered to the young audiences and it made The Pumpernickel say, “Whatever you may think about the health care debate, the man can give a speech. Not only that; he has the ability to inspire people.”

Sounds like a hell of a speech.

So I was listening to the UMD speech as I was cruising down I-76, and it consisted mostly of the same health care message points delivered in the joint-session address I heard previously. It doesn’t come at too much of a surprise, Obama is hard on the trail spreading his message and pleading his case so one could expect to hear a lot of the same points he spoke a week earlier in Congress. He did work his message to make more of an impact to the younger crowd; my ears perked up when he said, “under my plan, if your parents have health insurance and you’re currently on their policy, you will automatically be able to keep your coverage until you’re 26 years old.” As a quarter-lifer I know how health insurance becomes a sudden worry when you graduate from college.

It’s just that I thought I was going to hear something inspiring, the buzz around me led me to expect another profound, mind changing oration. While the speech was well delivered and Obama did a great job in speaking with the young audience (always cool to acknowledge the teeny-bopper that says, “I love you Obama!”), it’s the same message he’ll say at his next stop on the health-care reform trail.

Now I’m an Obama supporter and I  somewhat understand the idea and plans Obama’s putting forth, I just didn’t think that his particular speech is going to be in his Top-5 greatest spoken word moments as I personally come to expect. I’ll say that since I’ve been somewhat isolated from the political scene recently the expectations were mine alone, built up by the people around me. I’m sure to most others the speech was nothing more than the 24-hour news story of the day.

Barack Obama is a great speaker, I thought the best moment in his UMD speech was at the end when he retold the origins of his, “fired up” slogan/chant. He is an impassioned orator who’s complete body of work should inspire all of us around the country. I guess I am just not as super-enthused like The Pumpernickel who ended her post with, “I feel blessed to be living in Washington, DC at this time in our nation’s history, and to be part the American future President Obama says I will help him to create.”

Am I proud to be living in our Nation’s Capital? Hell ya (especially after spending the weekend in Pittsburgh!) Do I believe we are living in a historic time of change? Absolutely.

I hope however people look past the rockstar appeal Obama has and actually listen to what our President has to say after they are done snapping photos of him. Health care is a very important issue in this country and I hope young Americans pay attention to it.

I feel blessed to be living in Washington, DC at this time in our nation’s history, and to be part the American future President Obama says I will help him to create.

Boo-skins: Week 2 and Fans getting Fed-up

(At least Remy kind find a funny side of the ‘Skins.  If you can’t see the video, I got it via the Sports Bog.)

So the Redskins managed to win a game yesterday, a boring 9-7 affair that was supposed to be a confidence building blow out.  I even started Clinton “Fantasy Killer” Portis in my league this year (over Fred Jackson, btw) because the consensus was “the Skins were going to bounce back hard.” (Note:  I will never ever start Clinton Portis in a fantasy league again.)

Well a 2 point win with no TDs against what is clearly one of the worst teams in the league during your home opener isn’t going to build a lot of confidence in your football program.  Which may be why some fans were booing the Skins yesterday at FedEx field-to which I say good, they deserved it.

Yes, despite the effort by the NFL and its franchises to engender a truly familial feeling between its team and its fans, the brotherly love has been seeping out slowly and surely since Dan Snyder took over the team.  Sunday some paying fans decided to express their feelings about that, and I applaud them for doing so.   Not only has this team underperformed on the field, but there has been well documented mistreatment of the fan base off the field as well.  Any fan, or non-fan really, has the right to voice their displeasure in any way they see fit (See: First Amendment).

Skins fans have seen this dance before, and they’ve been watching it for years now.  Close wins in games that should be blow outs, barely losing games they have no business in all to either not make the playoffs or make the playoffs and then do nothing.  Skins fans know that a team that cannot get into the end-zone against the Rams at home, could very well lose to Detroit on the road.  They weren’t booing a victory, but that they’ve been duped into watching a rerun.  Again.


The Office’s Melora Hardin To Screen Her Directoral Debut Tonight In DC

You The FilmThis will be my 200th post for DC Metblogs and I’m really excited.

Not because I’ve shilled my way to 200 on the post count, but because of the magic of social media which led to the coolest star interaction yet (sorry LeBron, you were cool but she’s been in more films.)

Of course I’m talking about my conversation yesterday with the lovely Melora Hardin (actress, singer, dancer, and most notably Jan from The Office), who is in Washington, DC to attend the DC Prism showcase and screen her new film, You. Our talk was arranged not through press requests sent to the Metblogs inbox (which you can find here if you do want to reach out to us) but through a Twitter conversation we had last month.

Now we all have probably sent a tweet do celebrity like Chad OchoCinco or Barack Obama, and if we are lucky we get a reply.I must have the best luck in the world to get more than a reply, but when talking to Melora on the topic she actually thinks social media is underused, and is fully embracing it for the release of her latest film You. “Grassroots is kinda the way we are releasing the film- so for us it’s really exciting to be interviewing with people that live [in DC],” Melora told me, “I would like more people to reach out when I’m coming to their city and say I’d really love to interview you for my paper or my website or whatever…I’m really approachable and available and interaction and it’s what I want to do for my movie.” Hardin is also taking a grassroots approach to the film’s distribution by releasing the film on iTunes and Amazon.

Melora-DirectsGoing the extra publicity mile for the film, You, is only the start of Melora’s work on the project, which she also directed and produced. The film was written by her husband, Gildart Jackson, who wrote the screenplay while away on an acting job; Melora was so moved after reading it that she wanted to take her husband’s screenplay from paper to film and asked if she could direct. It was at that moment that the project became more than a film, but a family affair.

Hardin reached out to her family to work on the film, like her mother and father who also act. She asked friends like Brenda Strong, and Alex Mack to play parts and got her best friend Paula Cole to contribute to the soundtrack. It was clear that for Hardin and Jackson, this wasn’t an ordinary film, but an intimate and emotional expression, “It’s just a beautiful beautiful love story, an amazing love letter from me to my husband…I feel that my husband wrote a love letter to me with the film and I wrote a love letter back to him with the film that I made.”

The film revolves around a recent widower (Jackson) who raises his daughter on his own while dealing with the loss of his wife (Hardin.) The film is a coming-of-age film for both father and daughter and Melora told me that the film is more than a piece that deals with grief, but one that really celebrates love and the ones you love. “It cracks the heart wide open and says to appreciate the people in your life that you love and that love you and I think that’s an amazing message.”

Unlike Melora’s past big studio projects like The Office, Hannah Montana: The Movie, and 17 Again; You became a personal endeavor that was produced on a much smaller scale. Besides directing, acting, and producing; Melora took on even the most smallest of jobs such as craft service, all while financing the film out of their own pockets, “we made the film in 18 days with our own money and in our own home as well as many locations donated by friends and family. Though it was fast and furious, we were determined to make it a good experience for all and Gildart and I frequently scrambled eggs in the morning (while simultaneously getting hair and makeup) so that everyone would have a hot breakfast! Other friends brought their signature dishes for lunches and dinners.”

In the end though Melora told me she’s proud and exciting about the end product, she hopes that You reaches out to audiences and touches them the same way the project touched her family. “It’s my way to make a difference and inspire other to celebrate life- it’s a wonderful by-product of what I do for a living and what I do for a passion.”

You can check out the film,You, which is already on out on DVD or on-demand. You can also send Melora a tweet on Twitter, be sure to tell her I sent ya.

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