I remember when M83 released their breakthrough album Dead Cities, Red Seas, & Lost Ghosts back when I was in college. M83 easily fit in my collection with groups like The Postal Service and The Notwist, yet the album had no vocalist to connect it with mankind. The occasional words were only samples; it was like a glimpse at a dystopian future, where maybe people weren’t even around anymore. I could imagine their core member Anthony Gonzalez in his French chateau, sitting at his laptops and keyboards, writing minimalist, electronic soundtracks for lonely bedrooms.
M83 has evolved tremendously since then; while their current music retains its electro roots, it’s all in all more varied, more approachable, more poppy, more epic. Their new material makes for a hell of a live show, too. They sold out two shows at Black Cat on Friday night; I stopped by the late show to see what they had to offer. The show had exactly what I want from live electronic music – infectious beats, atmospheric lighting, and an enthusiastic crowd. Continue reading →
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian opened its doors this past weekend to a new exhibition, “A Song for the Horse Nation.” The exhibition, nestled on the third floor of the museum, tells the epic tale of the how the return of the horse to the Americas changed Native culture, from lifestyle to war to art and beyond. “For some Native peoples, the horse still is an essential part of daily life,” said exhibit curator Emil Her Many Horses (Ogala Lakota). “For others, the horse will always remain an element of our identity and our history. The Horse Nation continues to inspire, and Native artists continue to celebrate the horse in our songs, our stories, and our works of art.”
To walk the exhibit’s path is to walk side by side with the conjoined path of Native and horse. Though horses were introduced to the Native Americans relatively late in North American history—the early 1700s saw the initial widespread explosion of the horse from captured Spanish mounts in the southwest—the image of Indians astride these graceful animals is one that is common to modern Americans. The “Horse Nation” quickly entwined themselves with Native communities, forever altering tribal culture and the Indian way of life.
The Smithsonian’s exhibit seeks to give us a view into that not-so-distant past. But it’s more than just a simply history lesson: subtly but surely, “A Song for the Horse Nation” reveals how interwoven both horse and man became among 38 tribal communities from the Plains and Western United States. The horse was more than a beast of burden or a tool; the animal became a part of Native culture that still resonates among the people today. Continue reading →
Our friends at 826DC wanted to make sure you were all aware that tickets for their holiday benefit, Baby It’s Cold Outside, are on limited pre-sale at a discount, $50 instead of $60 tomorrow, and $75 at the door, for their December party. Yes, it’s early to be planning for the holidays, but for such a great cause, how could you not? Plus, it says that “Beer, Wine and a specialty cocktail [are] included.” The literacy programs at 826DC are amazing, and they could use your help. Plus, you could use a fancy drink at The Gibson.
Good night, Tourmobile. You served our National Mall in an exclusive fashion for 42 years, charging high prices for on-and-off service for tourists around the National Mall, and while things have dropped off lately, you were always a welcome site for tourists in the area. Their service ends today, and the Park service will be evaluating new providers of service along the Mall in the coming months. For now, pedicabs and bikes will be the modes of transportation around the Mall.
The Nationals announced this morning that they have exercised Davey Johnson’s managerial option for the 2012 season, returning Johnson to the helm after a successful first half season as the manager. Johnson took over after Jim Riggleman resigned in a huff over contract negotiations during the middle of the 2011 season. With a 40-43 record for the second half, the Nationals finished third in the NL East, their highest finish since baseball returned to Washington.
Johnson has amassed a career record of 1188-931 in fifteen years as a manager (a .561 percentage) and lead the 1986 Mets to a World Series victory. Johnson has also been at the helm for five divisional titles, as well.
The talk this week is going to be about how far away the Redskins are from being a good football team. The Redskins do have a lot of holes, mostly on the offense, but last season they had even more holes and that included a lot on the defense. This past off-season the Redskins fixed a number of problem areas, but didn’t or couldn’t address others. In 2010 the Redskins defense was the second worst in the NFL. So far into the 2011 season the defense has improved to 14th in yards a game, and seventh in points a game. The big problem is as much as the defense has improved the offense might have taken steps backwards.
If the Redskins want to understand how a team is built look at the team that just beat them. Driving into work I heard from the radio that it would take five first round picks to find a running back, quarterback, wide receiver, and corner back to make the Redskins a complete team. Look at the Bills. Their quarterback is a seventh round pick that was cast-off by the Rams, and their running back is an undrafted free agent. Most of the players on their team were overlooked. Good teams can find overlooked talent in late rounds in the draft and in free agency. Players don’t have to be first round picks or big money free agents to be good. It just takes an organization that has an eye for talent.
AT&T announced this morning that it will bring its next-generation LTE service to the DC area beginning in early November, along with a pair of Android-based LTE phones. The phones are the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket and the HTC Vivid, both of which can use the new LTE service, which can achieve speeds of up to 42mbps (or, about as good as the fastest residential cable or fiber service), but tend to average about 25mbps (still, pretty darned fast) in tests made in the Houston market this September, which would be about 2-3 times as fast as their “4G” HSPA+ network.
Both Sprint and Verizon already have true 4G networks in the DC area, with Sprint’s available on the WiMax standard, and Verizon’s on the LTE standard. Confused yet? Yeah, me too. There’s a good guide from friend-of-We Love DC Dan Rowinski from earlier this year if you want to wade through it, but what it means is faster data service for smartphone and computer users in the DC area, as soon as there are devices to handle it.
Just before 4am, a loud boom woke me from a cold sleep. I got up, looked around, and lay back down until I heard the sirens of a significant police and fire response. Dressing quickly, I was outside about 4:15am this morning, to see Engines 15 and 17 fighting a car fire in my neighbor’s yard. The car had veered to the left, and collided with his retaining wall and fence. DCFD knocked the fire down in approximately 30 minutes, though the flames reached six feet in height, singing the lower branches of my neighbor’s maple tree.
Police on the scene reported a single occupant of the car, transported by EMS to Medstar with a serious gunshot wound to the back, which was likely the cause of the crash. MPD Captain McLean, responding to the incident, said that there was also a “shots fired” call on Saratoga near Rhode Island Avenue, and that it was possible that he had been chased up 17th to the accident scene. The driver was unconscious when transported to Medstar, and the Police were not optimistic about his prognosis, though he was moved there in under 15 minutes.
It’s the big day. A day of ghosts and ghouls. A day of thrills and chills. A day…well, a couple of months really, of candy. It’s all hallows eve! I hope you and your little goblins have some frightful costumes in store for trick-or-treating tonight. If you need to get ready for the big night, I suggest checking out the pictures below. A lot of people got a head start on the festivities this weekend. And snow is just oh so scary in this town. And before I forget: Happy Halloween! Continue reading →
When two high octane teams meet, goals will be scored. The Capitals got off to a slow start against the host Vancouver Canucks, then rallied to tie it after two periods, but were outgunned in the third to lose 7-4. Alex Ovechkin had a pair of goals to lead the Caps’ offense, but it wasn’t enough against the Stanley Cup finalist Canucks. Continue reading →
It wouldn’t be street art if it didn’t stand up to the elements, and even today’s (ongoing) icy rain couldn’t shut down Albus Cavus’ Monster Mash Halloween paint party at Garfield Park. The nonprofit art organization, which offers workshops and after school programs and curates a series of what they call “open walls” for graffiti artists, welcomed local artists, performers, skaters and the public at large to an all-day community “expression” jam: skateboarders rode the hand-made ramps of the skate park, members of Urban Artistry got a dance cipher going and, of course, everyone from little kids to pro taggers repainted the open wall spaces tucked beneath Southeast Freeway.
Fueled by frequent stops to the community fire pit (and candy bowl), and swapping spray paints and ideas with fellow painters, the graff artists produced some seriously stunning—and seriously different—stuff, themed for Halloween. Continue reading →
Georgetown Cupcake has unveiled the world’s largest cupcake for the Guinness Book of World Records at the Washington Harbour. Post record keeping/awarding administration, the 1000 lb cupcake will be sliced up, so head on down there for a taste of the world’s largest cupcake while it lasts.
One of my best friends was recently diagnosed with a gluten allergy, which has been kind of a drag for her – this is, after all, a girl who loves bread so much that she works for the French government. Nonetheless, this is as good a time as ever to be allergic to gluten, with many people choosing to go gluten-free even if they do not have to and more and more products coming available. After a recent, fairly successful evening of experiments in non-grain-based distilled spirits, she and I decided to make another appointment to try out gluten-free beers. Continue reading →
Ah, Virginia–home to part of the Blue Ridge mountains, the Virginia ham, and of course, the land for lovers. So to celebrate the greatness of Old Dominion, Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture and Woodlawn, a National Trust Historic Site, are hosting the second annual “The Vices That Made Virginia.”
From 4 to 8 PM on November 5th, you can indulge in bourbon, oysters on the half shell, cigar rolling, as well as other “vices” from the state. In addition to specialty drinks from local distilleries, brewers and winemakers, chefs Nathan Anda, Kyle Bailey, Bertrand Chemel, Tiffany MacIsaac, Steve Mannino and Rob Weland will be serving up a scrumptious autumn spread. Dishes include local lamb, corn spoon bread with leeks and cheddar, spiced apple-oatmeal crumble and much more. Some of the local purveyors showcasing their ingredients in the chefs’ dishes include New Frontier Farms, Kilmer’s Farm & Orchard, Meadow Creek Dairy and Rappahannock Oysters.
Get ready to get your vices on at the farm next weekend, fellow Washingtonians. Tickets are $125 per person and all proceeds from the evening go to support Arcadia and Woodlawn.
out of the earth / I sing for them
A Horse nation / I sing for them
out of the earth / I sing for them,
the animals / I sing for them.
~a song by the Teton Sioux
Emil Her Many Horses is, by first appearance, a quiet, unassuming gentleman. A museum specialist in the office of Museum Programs at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), he is responsible for the facility’s latest exhibition “A Song for the Horse Nation.” A member of the Ogala Lakota nation of South Dakota, his expertise on the Northern and Southern Plains cultures is well served and seen in the exhibit that opens to the public tomorrow.
NMAI’s latest offering is a touching and brilliant display of how the horse has deeply impacted and affected Native cultures since their introduction to the Americas in the 17th century. “The exhibit tells the history of the horse; that they were here once before, migrated to Europe, and returned as the horse we know today,” explained Her Many Horses. “They changed Native culture. The horse had a major impact on hunting, warfare, travel, spirituality. These were big changes.” Changes that extend beyond the European vision of the animal.
Seen as a beast of burden, a tool, a weapon, the horse was brought and used by European explorers and colonists early in America’s “New World” history. And their introduction, according to many Natives, was probably one of the biggest positive changes brought about by the white man.
Brandt Brauer Frick are a trio of German musicians creating a unique sound that is often described as “acoustic techno”. Using primarily non-electronic instruments they craft intricate pieces that somehow find a common ground between classical music and the dance-floor. Their avant-garde concept and non-traditional approach seem intended for the more cerebral listener but through sheer charisma and compositional genius they manage to lend it a delightful pop sensation. On their latest album “Mr. Machine” BBF have expanded into a larger ‘ensemble’ to create a moody, rhythmic, cinematic masterwork.
It is a bit of a mystery whether or not the full ensemble will be on hand tonight. Word on the street though is that whatever formation Brandt Brauer Frick take in their live shows, they are always very special affairs that are not to be missed. BBF are in the US to perform at MoogFest in North Carolina this weekend and are hitting DC on their way down South. I highly recommend taking the time tonight to catch a rare US appearance by this one-of-a-kind band.
The narrative that comes out of this Sunday’s game against the Bills will either be the Redskins got their season back on track or it is continuing to fall apart. Narrative is important to most fans but it is based too heavily on preconceptions. Before the season began the Redskins were predicted by most major sporting news sources to win between two and three games. At 3-3 the Redskins are better than what most people expected, but for some reason this is seen as a negative. Some have already begun the Shanahan is on the hot seat talk. Yet another coaching change is the last thing the Redskins need. If they hope to ever become a winning franchise hitting the reset button every two or three years is not the way to go.
A lot of meaning is being put into this game against the Bills, but it shouldn’t be. In order for the Redskins to win this game they are going to have to have a lot of players play over their heads. The injury list is growing by the week and a lot of the names aren’t good. The two worst players to have out this week though are Santana Moss and DeAngelo Hall. Secondary and receiver are two of the Redskins weaker areas, and missing their best cover corner and best pass catcher is not going to help. Tim Hightower is also out with his knee injury, but he has not performed up to expectations and his production can be replaced by Torain and Helu.
Today is the second annual Global Champagne Day (that would be #ChampagneDay for the geekier drinker) and there are several ways to celebrate this most auspicious occasion around Washington.
At Proof, rare and wonderful Champagnes will be available – at every price-point from $10 to $60 per glass. Wine Director Sebastian Zutant’s selections include Jean Moutardier Rosé, Jacques Selosse Initiale, Louis Roederer Cristal 2002, and Salon Le Mesnil 1997 – only the 36th vintage of Le Mesnil to be released in a century.
If just a glass of Champagne is not enough, Marcel’s will be hosting a special French meal of three courses, each paired with a special Champagne, for $100. Reservations are available by calling the restaurant at 202-296-1166.
Of course, it is always Champagne Day in my heart.