Archive for the ‘Penn Quarter’ Category

Get your creative juices flowing on Saturday at the 2008 Arts on Foot

On any given day, if you’re craving a little art and culture, there is always an exhibit or performance or demonstration to quench your appetite.

Well this Saturday, plan to venture to Penn Quarter for an extravaganza of art and crafts and performances.  Bombard your senses with 2008 Arts on Foot, a one-day visual and performing arts festival that kicks off the DC fall season.

In addition to the outdoor festival on F street between 6th and 9th Streets, the following venues will also feature activities, exhibits and performances:

Smithsonian American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery: The museums will host booths at the street festival that offer hands-on activities for children.

National Theatre: Come to the inaugural performance of Saturday Morning at the National. Carrie’s Dream is a true story of an African-American girl growing up in the rural south. This interactive show features sing-alongs and reflects the humor and struggles of a family coping with life in a segregated society. Performances are at 9:30 and 11:00 am. Though free, tickets are required and will be distributed 30 minutes before the show on a first come, first served basis. The Helen Hayes Gallery at the National Theatre is located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

Warner Theatre and Woolley Mammoth Theatre: Take a back stage tour of the theaters. See the Arts on Foot events schedule.

Old Post Office Pavilion: Enjoy live performances by the Levi Stephens Band (alternative soul), Phaze II (smooth jazz), Uncharted Waters (smooth jazz funk), and Kirk Lamkin & Pulse Level (smooth jazz). Performances take place on the Pavilion Stage and are free to the public.

Canadian Embassy: Picture enthusiasts will enjoy a collection of 330 images entitled – 50 Years of American Photojournalism. The photos capture moments from the civil-rights movement, the various wars from 1939 – 1989, and famous people.

Landmark E Street: The DC Shorts Film Festival presents free family films with genres ranging from animation to sci-fi to comedy to experimental. Free tickets will be distributed at the DC Shorts booth at 10:00 am on a first come, first served basis.

National Gallery of Art: At 12:30 pm, catch “O Dia do Desespero (Day of Despair),” a documentary style film about the final hours of Camilio Castelo Branco’s life. The movie speculates on the creative process of the 19th-century Portuguese writer.  Then at 3:00 pm watch “The Last Conquistador ” which follows the  controversy over sculptor John Sherrill Houser’s most important commission, the world’s largest equestrian bronze of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate. Filmmaker John Valadez will be present to lead a discussion after his film.

National Museum of Women in the Arts: Visit the NMWA booth on 8th and F Streets to create your own unique artist’s accordion book.  All materials provided for you to create a masterpiece.

In addition to all the arts activities, don’t miss the wine tastings and culinary demonstrations. A fun-filled day for all ages!

Market Day

FreshFarm Markets open this week, inaugurating the farmers market season. I’ve been anticipating this for a while, as last year I became addicted to my weekly pitstop at Penn Quarter on the way home to the Metro.

Open from 3pm to 7pm every Thursday starting today (until December 18) on 8th between D & E Streets NW, the Penn Quarter market features all sorts of goodies – fruits and veg, dairy, handmade soaps, flowers – and there are more locations across town.

Now, does shopping at a farmers market qualify under my new-found parsimony? Yes. Local farms + seasonal produce + high quality = worth every penny. The salad I get at Whole Paycheck or Ghetto Giant is dead on arrival. The living head of lettuce I get at the farmers market lasts a week, fresh and crisp. No contest.

Exposed 2008 Announced!

If you missed last year’s Exposed show, then now’s the time to get planning! DCist today announced their plans for Exposed 2008, which will take place March 7th-15th at Civilian Art Projects in Penn Quarter. With a friendly $5 entry fee, and a request of only 25% of final sale profits, Exposed is a great way to get your photos seen without having to come up with a bundle in jury fees.

Check out their new Flickr Group for Entries, and make sure to fill out the entry form.

And remember: unless you can capture it on fire, the Washington Monument is a bad subject.

Proof (that I have no willpower)

The last time I was at Proof, the “wine-centric restaurant” opposite the American Art Museum, a friend and I nibbled on an enormous charcuterie platter with meats and cheeses and honey and nuts and – an hour passed before we realized we were far too stuffed to try any of the entrees or smaller plates. Not to mention our indulging in the champagne cart made ordering more from the extensive wine list redundant. No matter, I thought, I’ll be back.

Friday night found me revisiting Proof with the always entertaining Don Whiteside (I have to reveal he drank only beer, dear reader, shocking!). I managed to explore one dish more, the smoked salmon flatbread, but just couldn’t pass up the prosciutto and cheese again. Nor could I really get past the bubbly. Completely failed at trying anything else, despite a very tempting variety. Oh well, this whole “wine-centric restaurant” deal confuses me anyway. No doubt it’s an economic decision to branch out beyond wine bar nibbles, and obviously it doesn’t bother me at all, I just wonder if I will ever get to try anything else on the menu. Willpower, whatever, this whole branching outside of your comfort zone is vastly overrated anyway.

A note on atmosphere – the first time I went was quite close to its opening, and it was jam-packed with your usual Washingtonian power suspects. Luckily that appears to have mellowed by now. With a sleek yet romantic design, ably managed by a cheerful and helpful staff, this is not an intimidating place to try wine. While we were there a girl asked the bartender for “just a glass of white wine” – and without raising an eyebrow he gently steered her to something she might like after a few questions. Education without condescension. Nicely done.

Two killed by Metrobus in Downtown Accident

WAMU is reporting two people were struck and killed by a Metrobus at the corner of 7th St. NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. WJLA is confirming the story, though saying that only one of the two pedestrians was fatally injured. is short on details, as usual, and local news stations are also fairly devoid of information.

Yet another major tragedy involving the Metro system…

Nature’s Bounty

Today is the last day to enjoy the weekly Freshfarm Market in Penn Quarter!

Held from 3-7pm on 8th Street between D and E Streets, this little pocket of local produce goodness could be just the thing to kick-start your Thanksgiving Day menu planning. A bounty of organic fruits, vegetables, honey, and cheeses ready for the table. You could also stop by the happy soap ladies booth to pick up some yummy scented handcrafted soaps for your guests (what? you won’t have guests? you aren’t cooking for your entire family plus in-laws this year? am I truly the only insane person in DC? what have I gotten myself into?? sigh. shoot me now.)

If you can’t make it this afternoon, never fear – the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market is open Sundays year-round in the PNC Bank parking lot from 9am-1pm.

Hot Pads

Perhaps if Wayan’s couch guest is still looking for a place to stay, he should take a gander at HotPads appears to be a mash-up between google maps and wikipedia, offering a user-friendly at-a-glance look at available housing options inside the beltway.

Users can customize their search requirements by zip code, city, county or state, using a variety of variables. A quick Georgetown search turned up not a whole lot, whereas a quick search of my home zip code turned up two rental possibilities.

Looking for a roommate? You apparently can use that feature too, although it turned up zilch for me. This appears to be a great tool for relocation professionals who know naught about the new city they’ll call home. Doing a quick search of cities such as Seattle and Boston turned up a whole lot of useful information.

These three Notre Dame former college roommates moved to the D.C. area and created HotPads in early ’05, relaunching the site last month. The best thing about HotPads? It’s totally free.

Between HotPads and The D.C. Crime Map newcomers to D.C. can learn much more about prospective neighbours before they even put down a deposit. Say ‘sayonara’ to moving in sight unseen, suckers.

So-Flo? Oh No!

Now that DC’s getting all gentrified and everything, there’s a push to rename areas so residents can have hip new ways to call the places they live. Redevelopers like to give places new names so that people don’t associate their expensive condos with rundown neighborhoods. According to NBC News what used to be called Waterfront is now to be officially known as The Yards. Swanky huh?

All this started with the recent addition of Penn Quarter to downtown DC, and apparently now the Chamber of Commerce is pushing to create a NoMa area North of Mass Ave. and a SoFlo area South of Florida Ave.

But will these new names resonate with the community in the same way traditional names like DuPont Circle, Adams Morgan, and Capitol Hill have? Personally, I think that you can’t push names on people from above. Neighborhood names need to come from the bottom up, from the people who live and work there. They need to be organic, they can’t be induced by corporations or city officials. It just sounds fake.

But what the hey, in the spirit of renaming places, I decree that K Street shall hereby be know as LobbyLand, North of Pennsylvania can be NoPe and everything past Tysons Corner will from now on be referred to as East West Virginia.

Hide Behind Your Lens

Even though I’m an avid Apple hater, I love this candid shot taken by Flickr user furcafe. This guy seems to have a camera attached to his eye socket, judging by the number of photos he takes around town, and this one is absolutely made for an Apple promo. Doesn’t it make you think that owning a MacBook is cool? Just chillin’ at your local coffee shop, surfing the net, sipping on a latte, hanging out with other cool people…you dig?

The photographer’s use of black and white is great here, and the lighting, especially the glow of the laptop on his face, really adds to the mood. I like that this photo tells a story about one of our local establishments while at the same time holds on to its anonymity. The depth of field (i.e. what’s in focus and what isn’t) focuses the viewers’ eye on his subject, some cool dude just chillin’.

As for the legality of candid photos, don’t ask me. Unlike the rest of DC’s population, I’m not a lawyer, but my best guess is that as long as you don’t sell your photos or use them for commercial use, you’re in the clear. So next time you’re chillin’ at your local establishment, fire away and see what gems you and your camera come up with.

Of Cheese and Crocodile’s Tears

Yesterday: Sampling decadent artisan cheeses, offered by a friendly cheesemonger in a crisp white uniform, in a clean bright shop that could be straight out of Paris.

Eleven years ago on the very same spot: Abandoned by a callous ex in front of the Fifth Column, I desperately begged a cabbie to take me back to Brookland even though I didn’t have enough cash to pay him. All the while being serenaded by a lurking crack addict.

Surreal just about covers it.

Cowgirl Creamery is at 919 F Street, NW, on a block that once housed nightclubs, porn shops, and sketchy characters. Now it has nightclubs, fancy hotels, and condo construction – ah, the power of revitalization to remake memories. In any case, I highly recommend a stop here for cheese lovers of all kinds -blue, creamy, smelly, goat, sheep, cow. Whatever direction your fromage-o-meter tilts you can get it here, presided over by an extremely knowledgeable and congenial staff. Bread is delivered from Breadline every Thursday, and there’s plenty of additional accompaniments like honey and preserves to make a killer party assortment.

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