Entertainment, Special Events, The Features

We Love Rallies: Our Reactions to Rally To Restore Sanity

Photo courtesy of
‘Rally to Restore Sanity’
courtesy of ‘vpickering’

As the tourists head back home and the porta potties make their way off The Mall, a few We Love DC writers and I look back at yesterday’s event and offer our experiences and instant reactions. Be sure to also catch Karl’s reaction and discussion of the attendance numbers as well.

Tom: When it became clear at 10am that crowds were already streaming into the grounds on the Mall, we decided that our best bet was to watch the events from a bar. As reports streamed in citing capacity metro trains and overfull metro buses, we decided to risk driving to Church Key, figuring that parking would be possible where mass transit was not. We arrived just after noon as Church Key opened, taking a center booth while the Roots and John Legend warmed up the crowd. As soon as we saw the wide shots, we knew that we were much happier with some tater tots and Aventinus beer than we would be, unable to hear or see at 11th street.

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News, The Daily Feed, WMATA

Rally for Sanity breaks 19-year Metro Saturday ridership record

Photo courtesy of
‘After the Game’
courtesy of ‘Karon’

If you thought yesterday was a zoo on Metro, you were right. Metro has announced preliminary ridership numbers for yesterday’s rally insanity, and they were through the roof.  825,437 Metrorail trips were taken yesterday by first count, eclipsing the record from the 1991 Desert Storm rally, which drew 786,358 trips.  The stories from Metro yesterday were of a system well past its breaking point, with long lines to enter the stations, and longer lines still to use the farecard machines.

I suspect that Metro could’ve raked it in if they’d decided to charge peak fares yesterday, or to charge for parking at their facilities, which would have helped a system facing serious deficits in their budget.  I would’ve also bet money that Metro could’ve sold boxes and boxes and boxes of $15 SmarTrip cards for $20 apiece if they’d thought about offering them in exchange for exact change at the various stations.  Sadly, Metro did neither, and missed out on a real opportunity to reap benefits in the crunch.

Essential DC, Featured Photo, Life in the Capital, The Features

Fright Night at the National Zoo

Krusty the Clown (and all other photos) by Max Cook

Usually the scariest things at the National Zoo are the lions, tigers, and screaming little kids, but as the animals slept in their cages Friday night, a different type of terror infiltrated the wooded hillside.  Clowns, zombies, skeletons, and other nightmarish creatures mingled together at the annual “Night of the Living Zoo”, a spectacle I felt compelled to document.  With live bands, freak shows, and loads of beer, it was a great way for hundreds of lunatics to let loose and kick off DC’s epic Halloween weekend.  As with most costume events that I’ve attended, people were more than willing to pose for my camera, the results which I share with you in hopes that you have a good laugh or better yet, a good nightmare.

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The Daily Feed

Stewart’s Rally for Sanity Causes Crowd Size Insanity

Rall for Sanity
Photos courtesy of Author

60,000 people were expected, according to the permit filed with the NPS by Comedy Central, yet 150,000 were planned for when it came to the uber-important decision as to how many portable toilets were needed. Jon Stewart started out the rally with his satirical people count swag of 10,000,000. But how many people really were there? Well, you knew this was coming and we’ve only seen the beginning of the insanity over the sanity. Rough estimates from various sources say somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 people were in attendance for the Rally for Sanity and/or Fear hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Saturday afternoon. Check out this crowd pic. If those numbers are accurate, however, it puts the rally size right around the same size as the Glenn Beck Rally to Restore Honor from a few months ago. Allow the great debate to begin. Who’s more popular? Stewart or Beck? Honor or Sanity?

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Entertainment, Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: A Date with Idina Menzel & The NSO Pops

Photo courtesy of
’2009 05 17 – 6179 – Washington DC – Kennedy Center’
courtesy of ‘thisisbossi’

Tony award winner Idina Menzel — best known for her portrayal of Elphaba in the original cast of Wicked — is an undisputed face of Broadway today. Since her professional debut as Maureen in Rent over 15 years ago, Ms. Menzel’s voice, stage presence, and personality has grown from a young 20-something eager to grab life by the horns to a wife, mother, and tenured performer who continues to do the same.

What makes Menzel a role model and an icon in the music world isn’t just her powerful voice. What makes Menzel a role model and an icon is her ability to connect with a room full of people she doesn’t know.

Thursday night’s opening Pops performance of “A Date with Idina Menzel” featuring the National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Marvin Hamlisch at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall is proof. Continue reading

News, The Daily Feed

Emergency at Metro Center: person injured on the tracks

Photo courtesy of
‘but of course…’
courtesy of ‘Barbara.K’

It’s not currently clear if the person currently underneath a red line train at Metro Center jumped or fell in front of the train, but the response has been the same: DC Fire & EMS is currently working with WMATA and WMATA Police to extract them from underneath the undercarriage of the train.

The Red Line is closed between Dupont Circle and Judiciary Square while they work on the tech rescue.  Trains are turning around at Dupont and Judiciary Square, according to tweets.

DC Fire & EMS are currently evaluating one adult male, priority 1 (highest priority), who is under the train, and is also evaluating a bystander who assisted.  We’ll have updates as they come.

Update: 9:05pm Metro is now saying that the person put themselves on the track intentionally in the incident.

News, The Daily Feed

Carjacking, Shooting in Brightwood, Metro Access vehicle involved

Photo courtesy of
‘Yafa #4′
courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

A Metro Access vehicle was stolen at gunpoint this afternoon in Brightwood on the 500 block of Shepherd Street NW, according to TBD, shortly after the suspect shot three people, including two children, in the 500 block of Madison Street NW.  The car and the suspect were last seen in the 4900 block of New Hampshire Ave.  As of yet, neither the suspect nor the victims have been identified.

Police are searching for the Metro Access vehicle, a Mercury Grand Marquis, with DC Tags C71165, Metro Access number 3910.  Please call 911 if you have information concerning the incident or the whereabouts of that car.  Do not approach the car, the suspect has already shot three people, you don’t need to be number four.

Update: 6:05pm: The suspect in the afternoon shootings was picked up, along with the stolen Metro Access sedan off Kenilworth Avenue near Polk & Olive NE near the Deanwood Metro.

News, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

A new act of security theater coming to a Metro near you?

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Dan Dan The Binary Man’

According to WTOP via Slate, this week’s foiled terrorist plot (though how much of a plot is some video and a diagram you could get from any metro station?) may have Metro Police starting random bag searches of riders on the system. I’m not sure how random searches are going to do anything but scare people and/or piss them off, but since Metro has been ignoring general safety for some time, I guess they’re planning to scare people into not using the system another way?

Use your head, WMATA, don’t do this. This is just a joke posing as security.

The Daily Feed

Anthropologie Accessories Opens

The Anthropologie in Friendship Heights may have opened only a few months ago, but it seems to be having so much success that it’s spawned a next door shop dedicated solely to accessories. Opening today, Anthropolgie Accessories will feature shoes, jewelry, handbags, hats, scarves, sunglasses, small home furnishings and GALORE!

Time to get your expensive hippie look on!

Essential DC, Interviews, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Philip Barlow

Philip Barlow and Simon Gouverneur’s ‘Welkin’ (and all other photos) by Max Cook

Art is a strange beast that defies definition.  It is everything you want it to be as well as everything others say it isn’t.  You may see a painting at a garage sale and think, “Wow, that’s terrible,” but when it’s hung in a gallery it can attract admiration, spark controversy, or in the end cause someone to say, “Wow, that’s terrible.”  And it is, and it might be, and it isn’t.  More often than not the quality and value of art is decided by others, by the resume of the artist, by which gallery they’re represented by, and by the artist’s ability to talk about their work, but the true indicator of its value is whether you like it.  It’s that simple.

Buying a piece of art, much like asking a girl on a date, can be intimidating if you don’t have prior experience.  How do you know if a piece is priced too high?  How do you recognize when something is priced too low?  Who should you talk to when you’ve made the decision to buy? Should you ask the gallery for a discount?  Are you buying on impulse or will you still love it when you wake up the next morning?  Collecting art is something that can take time to learn, just ask Philip Barlow.

As a staple figure of the DC arts scene, I’ve spoken with Philip at least a dozen times over the years at various gallery openings, artist talks, and other events.  At 6’4” he’s hard to miss and can seem intimidating (if you don’t see eye to eye with him as I do), but he’s one of the nicest and most accommodating people you’ll ever meet.  An average conversation with Philip goes just as it would with any other person, but when he starts to talk about the art in his collection, you see where his true passion in life lies.

It would be unfair of me to talk about Philip without also including Lisa Gilotty, his partner and co-collector of twenty years.  When I first heard about their collection, which consists solely of art that is either made by local artists or purchased in local galleries, I was intrigued to say the least.  Recently I was fortunate enough to view their collection, talk to them about their philosophy on collecting, as well as hear about the background behind many of their pieces.

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Adventures, Business and Money, Entertainment, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, Special Events, The Daily Feed, The District

Zombies Invade Farragut North And The Mall

As part of a promotion for its new show “The Walking Dead,” which premieres Sunday night at 10pm, AMC released a horde of zombies around the Farragut North Metro Station on Tuesday morning.

No word on if any brains were eaten.

The Daily Feed

Obama’s Daily Show as President Among Most Watched Ever

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘ekelly80′

DC is Jon Stewart’s world this week. We’re just living in it.

Proof? There were roughly 550 brave souls rewarded for spending nearly all of their Wednesday waiting outside the Harman Center for the Arts and granted admission into the taping of The Daily Show that featured President Barack Obama as a guest. And, joining the laugh track those hundreds provided were millions more at home when the show aired Wednesday night at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central. From TV by the Numbers:

The Washington Post’s Lisa de Moraes reports that Wednesday night’s Daily Show on Comedy Central where Jon Stewart interviewed President Barack Obama averaged just under three million viewers and was the third most-watched Daily Show ever.

The two shows ahead of it were also Obama-related.  The most-watched episode of all time was in 2008  and drew 3.58 million when Stewart interviewed then presidential candidate Obama.  The second most-watched episode was also in 2008 when Stewart interviewed future first lady Michelle Obama.

Any guesses for television audience size of Saturday’s rally?

The Daily Feed

Hot Ticket: Robert Randolph and the Family Band @ 9:30 Club 10/29 & 10/30

Pedal steel guitar master Robert Randolph and The Family Band is coming to town for two shows on Friday and Saturday night at 9:30 club. Ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time, Randolph is touring to promote his latest studio album, “We Walk This Road”. “WWTR” mainly consists of original music but also features covers of songs by Prince, John Lennon and Bob Dylan.

Citing Stevie Ray Vaughan, Sly and the Family Stone and Earth, Wind and Fire as main influences, Randolph brings an eclectic mix of funk, blues, soul and gospel to the table. Known for lively concerts that are full of crowd interaction, Robert Randolph promises to put on an amazing show. If you’re an electric guitar fan, this is a concert you won’t want to miss.

Robert Randolph and The Family Band
w/ Tauk
10/29 & 10/30
@ 9:30 Club

All Politics is Local, Entertainment, Media, Special Events

The Rally To Restore Sanity: Why We All Need To Stop Analyzing It And Just Enjoy It

Wednesday night I was having dinner at the Gordon Biersch in the Cleveland Airport when the gentleman at the table next to me decided to strike up a conversation.

His name was Rocky Ray, and he worked for Michigan State University. He was on his way back to his home in Lansing but mentioned he was bringing his family to DC on Friday to attend the Rally To Restore Sanity. When he spoke about bringing his kids to The Rally he had an enthusiasm that a Dad would have keeping his kids up for a No-Hitter in baseball. He talked about his past family trips to DC for the past two Inaugurations and his excitement for The Rally made me realize how high this event has risen.

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The Daily Feed

Could a Republican House change DC for good?

Photo courtesy of
‘Rep. Gohmert’
courtesy of ‘ryanjreilly’

Jeff Surrell believes that a GOP House win wouldn’t be all bad for the District, as many have claimed.  Specifically, Surrell points to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) who wants to remove the Federal Income Tax from District residents, putting them on par with Guam, Puerto Rico and other US Territories, which are neither taxed federally nor do they have voting representation in the House. I’m not so sure that’s the right path to take.

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Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

November’s Best at NMAI & SAAM


Some great stuff’s going on this month at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum (SAAM) and the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). While there’s a ton of events and exhibits happening at both locations, I’ve highlighted some of the more interesting things you may want to check out. Got a free afternoon or in need of some distractions for visiting relatives? Well, there’s something here for everyone.

The following activities and events are at the National Museum of the American Indian, located at the eastern tip of the National Mall at 4th and Independence Avenue SW. (All activities are free.)

Native Dance: “Native Pride Dancers”
Nov. 5, 10:30 a.m. and noon (Discovery Theater); Nov. 6, 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (Rasmuson Theater)
Authentic regalia.… rhythmic drumming… skilled footwork… experience the excitement of a Native American powwow! World Champion Fancy Dancer Larry Yazzie of the Meskwaki Nation, and the Native Pride Dancers perform music and movement celebrated by their American Indian cultures. Reservations are required for Friday’s performances. Call Discovery Theater to reserve seating for groups and individuals: 202-633-8700 or visit http://discoverytheater.org. Saturday’s performances are open to the public, first come, first seated.

Family Celebration Harvest Festival
Nov. 6-7, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm
The whole family is invited to kick off the Smithsonian’s celebration of American Indian Heritage Month with a weekend-long festival exploring how Native communities throughout the Americas celebrate the harvest. It includes harvest-related dance and theater performances, cooking demonstrations, and hands-on activities.

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All Politics is Local, Business and Money, Entertainment, Essential DC, Fun & Games, History, Life in the Capital, Special Events, The Daily Feed, The District

Commander Salamander to Close. This Time For Realz

CS finally closing

We’ve been covering the Commander Salamander store closing situation since January 20, 2010. At first it appeared the historic and nostalgic shop was closing, yet the “going out of business” remained in the windows and the doors remained opened. Then about a month ago, the signs disappeared leaving the fate of the shop unknown. Now, according to City Paper, and as confirmed by the above storefront signs, Commander Salamander is indeed shuttering.

Merchandise is being HEAVILY  discounted. So if you’re in town for the “Rally To Restore Sanity” or if you’re just a fan of a store’s punk/hipster/preppy/raver gear, the shop (located at 1420 Wisconsin Ave NW–between N P St & N O St, is definitely worth a stop in.

The Daily Feed

Wizards Drop Opener to Orlando

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘zugaldia’

The NBA’s Southeast Division, as mentioned in yesterday’s season preview, is not exactly a fun place to try and rebuild a team. The same can probably be said for how the team was forced to begin the 2010-2011 campaign against Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter and a Magic team opening a brand new arena. The Magic came into the game as a top team from the preseason, where they went undefeated, and the expectations are so high that some have even picked them to beat Miami and Boston to win the East.

After the first quarter, it was pretty clear that the Wiz were outmatched, and there wasn’t much good to report on after the team’s 112-83 loss in the new Amway Center. Even though John Wall posted 14 points and nine assists, one off of starting his career with a Double-Double, he still looked shaky when shooting from anywhere outside the lane. Yi Jianlian, Al Thornton, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche were bad at times, awful at others and just seemed to stand there while the Magic bigs had their way under the hoop. Orlando significantly outrebounded the Wiz, 53-25, and even though Washington came away with 21 turnovers, it wasn’t enough to overcome the body size and shooting efficiency of a major conference player.

The Wiz head to Atlanta on Saturday against another Southeast Division opponent before coming back home for the Verizon Center opener next Tuesday against Philadelphia, and Washington stands for a significantly more even match with the 76ers to try to improve to 1-1. Just remember: the Verizon Center wasn’t built in a day. Or a season.