We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Synetic’s Romeo and Juliet

Natalie Berk  as Juliet and Alex Mills as Romeo, photo by Graeme B. Shaw

Synetic Theater is closing out their Speak no More triptych with Romeo and Juliet. Their take on Shakespeare’s classic tale of thwarted young love is presented – as always – without dialog, relying on staging and dance to convey the story. Or are they presenting dance and framing it within a story? I keep waffling about what answer key to grade the production on, and my level of satisfaction with it depends on which one I’m inclined to use at that moment.

Grading on dance and visual appeal is a slam dunk win. If you like dance and it’s your primary reason for being there you’re golden. There’s nothing I can say about this production that Jenn hasn’t said in half a dozen past reviews. Irina Tsikurishvili’s choreography is lovely. Anastasia Simes’ set and costumes are lovely without being overly complicated. It’s hard to find a flaw with this production as a dance performance.

I’m less thrilled with this as a theatrical production. Parts of the story come through wonderfully; in particular Alex Mills and Natalie Berk have a chemistry that sparks. They convey the lovers’ arc from initial fascination and infatuation through a gleeful young love and eventual heartbreak with an almost palpable connection.

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Food and Drink, Night Life, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks (Lots of Them): Repeal Day Ball 2011

Fog Lifters
All photos by the author

We here at We Love DC are unabashed, unequivocal fans of the DC Craft Bartenders Guild and their annual Repeal Day Ball. So much so that, within about 48 hours of the announcement that tickets were on sale (by which I mean within about twelve hours, really), Jenn, Brittany, and I (and the Social Chair, naturally) had all bought our tickets for this year’s ball. It’s the biggest party of the year, it’s focused on craft cocktails, and it’s thrown by bartenders themselves. This idea intrigues me and I would like to subscribe to its newsletter.

The ball (8pm Saturday at Halcyon House) is sold out now, but those of you who are going for the first time are in for a treat. A continual supply of treats, to be honest. I won’t go over all the names (you can do that yourself) and I can’t predict what the drinks will be, but I can provide the voice of experience to get you to the end of the night with your dignity intact and your clothes unstained. Join me, won’t you?

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The Daily Feed

Food Truck Tracker

Photo courtesy of
‘Empanada Time’
courtesy of ‘yostinator’

Alright, chances are you’ve either run out of leftovers or you’re going to lose your mind if you see another yam or another slab of re-purposed poultry known as “turkey hash.” Put down the tupperware and get yourself to a food truck. Click through to see the map of where they are today.

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The Daily Feed

Rumors of Black Cat Bill’s death greatly exaggerated

Photo courtesy of
‘DC Streets: Your Mid-Afternoon Face-palm…’
courtesy of ‘pnzr242′

We are relieved to pass on the news that Black Cat Bill is alive and well.

Just about the worst thing you can do in publishing is report someone’s death when they’re still alive. We regret the error, and hope that we can atone for this in other ways. We will work to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Thank you to the City Paper for tracking down the truth that Black Cat Bill is alive and well.


The Winning Ticket: Jukebox the Ghost

This week we are giving away a pair of tickets to see [your blogger's ole' college chums] Jukebox the Ghost at the 9:30 Club on December 1st. Tickets for this concert are available on Ticketfly or at the 9:30 Club box office.

If today doesn’t turn out to be your lucky day, check back here each Wednesday for a chance to win tickets to other great concerts.

For your chance to win these tickets simply leave a comment on this post using a valid email address between 9am and 5pm today. One entry per email address, please. Comments will be closed at 5pm and a winner will be randomly selected. The winner will be notified by email. The winner must respond to our email within two hours or they will forfeit their tickets and we will pick another winner.

Tickets will be available to the winner at the 9:30 Club Guest List window one hour before doors open on the night of the concert. The tickets must be claimed with a valid ID. The winner must be old enough to attend the specific concert or must have a parent’s permission to enter if they are under 18 years old.

Life in the Capital

Pet blood donation

Photo courtesy of
‘Vet Visit’
courtesy of ‘captainpancakes’

Yes. This exists. Apparently. Who knew?

Well, Gene Weingarten knew. At the closing of his chat today he posted this call to action:

Molly’s veterinary clinic, one of the largest in the Washington area, is running low on cat and dog blood.  They desperately need donors.     They are the VCA Veterinary Referral clinic, at 500 Perry Parkway, in Gaithersburg.

The deal is, you call em up and make a free appointment for your dog or cat.   They will do a general exam and take bloodwork, and if your animal qualifies, it goes on a donor list for future lifesaving calls, on a case by case basis.

Call Adrian M-Th from 6 am to 4pm, to set up an initial appointment.     301 926 3300

Yay!  Do it.   Your pet will be grateful.

He later tweeted: “If your pet is chosen as a donor, you get a free annual exam & heartworm pills!”

I wouldn’t start taking my pet to an out-of-the-way clinic for this, but if you’re already in the Gaithersburg area and your pet isn’t too wigged out by the vet it certainly seems like a good deed with some positive payoff. Above and beyond the good karma, that is.

The Features

Growler Hours: The Rise of DC Beer

Photo courtesy of
‘Chocolate City’
courtesy of ‘tbridge’

Ward 5 may claim to be a “dumping ground” for that which the city does not care for elsewhere: strip clubs, marijuana cultivation, and parole facilities, but that same industrial character has given rise to a new phenomenon that’s much more palatable: breweries.

This past Saturday, DC saw its only two truly local breweries open their doors for “Growler Hours” for the first time. Named for the 64oz jugs, Growler Hours are an opportunity for local institutions to sell their product directly to the public without going through a distributor, or needing a full bottling operation. Growler Hours are a recent development in the District, thanks to DC Brau, the first of the city’s new brewing culture, who worked with DC ABRA to identify the conditions under which growler sale is legal (i.e., heat-sealed containers, not to be consumed on-premises), which has paved the way for others to move forward. Growler Hours allow for a brewery to raise some quick capital to put back into their business for new brewing supply, as well as build some customer loyalty with friendly atmosphere for camaraderie with the brewers.

Saturday’s events at DC Brau on Bladensburg road near the District line felt more like a gathering of extended family members more than anything else. DC Brau’s friends at 13th Street Meats were out manning the grill and providing tasty eats to go with small tasting cups of their four different brews. Tours of the Brewery were on the half hour, taking the group past the mash tuns, the fermenters and the canning line.  Friends and family were gathered in a social atmosphere with the brewers themselves, talking about malts and hops, and relaxing on a Sunday afternoon.

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We Love Music

We Love Music: Puscifer @ Lisner Auditorium, 11/26/11

All images courtesy of Puscifer

Are you a Tool fan? How about A Perfect Circle? Well, I hope you skipped your chance to see their front-man Maynard James Keenan on Saturday night. Maynard brought his solo project Puscifer to the Lisner Auditorium for what was supposedly a large production – part multimedia experience, part cabaret. The entire show fell far short of the high bar he set with his other bands. The whole performance wasn’t engaging; the humor seemed to be aimed at 15-year-olds.

Maynard describes Puscifer as a “sketchpad of ideas”, which is an apt description of this collection of half-baked thoughts. This is Maynard unfiltered! I actually enjoy some of their music, for those rare moments where I could just rock out and enjoy the songs; but the entire content of the show was a waste of potential. The whole performance struck me as more sarcastic than passionate. Maynard didn’t even seem to be having a good time; it’s like the whole band were just going through the motions of performing. I go to concerts all the time and watch bands desperate to have their voices heard, desperate to connect with the audience somehow. So I found it a bit insulting for Maynard to think that the detritus of his creativity was enough to sell to us at $45 a ticket.

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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, Penn Quarter, The Daily Feed, We Love Food

We Love Food: Quick Update on Restaurant Happenings

Photo courtesy of
‘America Eats Tavern- Washington, DC’
courtesy of ‘Plantains & Kimchi’

For those of you who avidly follow the food scene, this all might be old news. But to those of you who don’t eat, sleep and drink DC food coverage, here’s a little roundup on some of the latest restaurant happenings around DC.

Have no fear about not getting to José Andrés’ America Eats Tavern in time before it closes. The restaurant announced that it will be staying open through July 4, 2012–closing exactly a year after it first opened this past summer. Don’t forget that the “What’s Cooking Uncle Sam?” exhibit, which served as inspiration for the restaurant concept and of which Andrés is the chief culinary advisor to, will close on January 3rd.

In “ancient” news by classic journalistic standards, Mike Isabella is opening a restaurant in the former Hook space in Georgetown. Hook and its sister restaurant, Tackle Box, had been closed since a fire in late June. Eater DC has a full recap of the drama behind how the story of Isabella’s new restaurant broke. All of that aside, Bandolero will be a “modern Mexican small-plates concept,” with dishes such as salsas, ceviches, tacos, and Isabella’s version of fajitas, according to a news release. Bandolero is set to open in early 2012.

Staying in the Georgetown area, PAUL Bakery has launched a second location in DC, which officially opened its doors on November 21st. The french bakery has enough seating for 30 to 40 patrons in Georgetown, or you can just grab a baguette to go seven days a week. PAUL had opened its first DC location in May 2011.

And lastly, unlike the other news about restaurant openings, The Washington Post reported that Ba Bay in Eastern Market closed its doors. As Tim Carman reported, Ba Bay closed “due to circumstances beyond our [the owner's] control.” No word on whether owners and cousins Denise Nguyen and Khoa Nguyen will open another Vietnamese-style restaurant or another Ba Bay elsewhere.

Featured Photo

Featured Photo

Photo courtesy of
‘National Harbor 2011.11.26 3.jpg’
courtesy of ‘JasonianPhotography’

A long exposure can make for an excellent photo. By keeping the shutter open for a few seconds, a photographer is able to pick up a wider range of lighting than in a fraction of a second shot. It can also give some great lighting effects, like the starbursts from the very bright street lights and spotlights. JasonianPhotography certainly shows us what kind of lighting is around National Harbor and the Awakening statue, does it to great effect.

And, of course, the photo helps us get into the Christmas spirit!

Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Daily Feed

Where I’ll Eat: Elisir & More

After spending an amazing 8 days in Ecuador and eating ceviche, patacones and arroz con menestra like I would never eat again, I want to make sure my week of food this week is just as good.

Here are the places I plan to visit this week in no special order:
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Dupont Circle, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Casa Nonna’s Tavola 12

Photo courtesy of
‘Chef Amy Brandwein of Casa Nonna’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

If you told me that there was a restaurant in town where I could get a delicious, savory 12-course meal for $55, I’d at least raise an eyebrow at you. But Casa Nonna in Dupont Circle is offering just that at their new in-house concept, Tavola 12.

The 12-seat tasting bar is available on Fridays and Saturdays and showcases executive chef Amy Brandwein’s culinary talent. You can leisurely sit at the bar while chatting with Amy, watching each course be prepared by the chef and listening to the chef explain each course. You can add wine pairings to the dinner for an extra $30 per person.

While the menu changes based on what the chef wants to prepare for the night, you’ll find a quick recap of some of the highlights I tasted at Tavola 12 after the jump.
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Thrifty District, We Love Arts

Theater Ticket Deals Aplenty

Photo courtesy of
‘Manhattan Day coupon or ticket’
courtesy of ‘The Field Museum Library’

Is there anything for sale anymore other than via coupon? If there is it’s not theater.

There’s a nice flex deal running right now for seats at Woolly Mammoth for the remainder of the season. 6 tickets to use in whatever combination you like – take 6 friends to see the Second City show or take your sweetie to the next 3 shows. At $150 it’s only a hair above $20 a seat which is a big cut off face value.

You can do that well via various day-of deals but this is a nice buy-and-be-done way to get seats. The only exclusions listed are pay what you can and opening nights or New Year’s Eve – any seat still for sale 24 hours or more out and you can use these. I’ve grabbed this deal and am going to take my visiting family to see Spoiler Alert: Everybody Dies after xmas.

Studio also has a package deal – seats for all three upcoming shows. You can even be anti-social and only by for and take yourself. Hey, you’re not supposed to talk during anyway, right?

Alternately they’ve got plenty of deals for specific shows at other theaters. The touring Spamalot at the Warner. Or Hairspray at Signature in Shirlington. You, Nero at Arena – a deal you don’t have to wear a toga to get. Traveling show Elephant Room at Arena. Studio’s Golden Dragon, and a bunch more that have the misfortune to get excised because I’m tired of typing. Go look for yourself.

Sports Fix

Redskins defeat Seahawks 23-17

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Homer McFanboy’

Twice in the fourth quarter the Redskins needed the defense to come up big to put the game away and both times the defense answered. On fourth and five the Seahawks offensive line was overwhelmed and Tavaris Jackson was sacked with just over two minutes left to play. The Redskins played conservative and settled for a field goal which gave them a six point lead and the Seahawks a chance to drive down the field with just over a minute left on the clock for a game winning touchdown. On the third play of the drive Jackson was picked off by DeAngelo Hall and all the Redskins had to do was take knees and they had their first victory since week four.

The Redskins scored on the opening drive and the Seahawks were handed a touchdown courtesy of a Rex Grossman interception that gave them a short field to work with. Aside from those two scores the game was tied most of the afternoon with neither offense able to mount much of a drive. It will not go down as one of the better football games anyone has watched unless it was the first football game they’ve watched. The overall staleness of the game was made worse by having Jim Mora Jr. prattling on about dance floors, the size of Rex Grossman’s hands, and how he may or may not have once looked like David Cassidy.

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Weekend Flashback

Weekend Flashback: 11/24-11/27

Photo courtesy of
‘Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger 5K 2011′
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

For a weekend that was half the week, a whole lot was accomplished. We survived the Attack of the Killer Turkeys, where it was eat or be eaten. I hope you took out as many turkeys as you could. Then we survived the “Day That Should NOT Be Named” on Friday. I don’t care how good the sales are, that many people rushing for a cheap TV, that early in a day, should be against the law! And, lastly, some of us got to see the new Muppet Movie; 80s Robot was a particularly awesome spot. Before you dig into that pile of work on your desk (and by that I mean all that online shopping), take a few minutes to look at how our photo contributors spent their weekend. Oh, and good luck with Cyber Monday…I mean, “work.” ;O)
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capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Alumni Dale Hunter New Head Coach

Photo courtesy of
‘Hunter and Gartner Banners’
courtesy of ‘clydeorama’
Early this morning the Caps dropped a major post-holiday bombshell. (Not that we didn’t see it coming.) Former Caps captain Dale Hunter has been announced as the team’s new head coach, replacing Bruce Boudreau. The change comes on the heels of a horrific November for the team, including a 5-1 loss to an overly injured Buffalo Sabres team. (A game we didn’t recap because it was that bad.)

Hunter played 19 seasons in the NHL, appearing in 1,407 games and tallying 1,020 points (323 goals). He is one of only four players to have their numbers retired by the Capitals. The new coach, recently of the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League, will make his bench debut tomorrow night as the Caps host the St. Louis Blues.

Under his guidance, the Knights won their first Memorial Cup Championship in 2004-05. Hunter is the fastest head coach in OHL history to record 300 and 400 career bench wins; he also possesses the highest winning percentage in league history with a record of 451-189-23-24 (.691) in his 11 seasons with the team.

We wish the new coach well in jump-starting the Caps back to their winning ways; he definitely has his work cut out for him.

Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Caps struggle on Black Friday, lose to Rangers 6-3

Photo courtesy of
‘washington capitals vs dallas stars at verizon center 11/08/2011′
courtesy of ‘jennifer.walters’

It might’ve been the tryptophan hangover, but the Capitals sure had a black Friday against the Rangers, dropping the matinee 6-3. Surrendering four goals in the 2nd period, and two more in the third did them no favors. The Caps got sloppy on Friday, and gave up some ugly goals, including getting stripped in their own zone. It’s no wonder that in the post-game press conference, Bruce Boudreau said that the Caps were lacking in confidence. Ruslan Fedotenko notched a pair for the Rangers, and Ryan Callahan picked up three assists as the Rangers picked apart the Capitals defense and made opportunities into goals.

The Caps’ Jekyll/Hyde inconsistency this season is something they’re going to have to sort out if they want a shot at the Cup, and while they made strides toward fixing a few of their problems tonight, they were struggling in others. As much as the Caps were making mistakes tonight, the Rangers were just as quick to strike while they had the opportunity, turning missed covers by Neuvirth and blue line turnovers into goals.

After the game, defenseman Karl Alzner was quick to identify their issue: “We’re getting too down. As soon as we get a goal scored against us it kind of feels like it’s the end of the world… we’re killing our momentum by having them score and the giving up another one.” The Caps put together such a strong first period, especially on the penalty kill where they were 3-for-3 in the first, that they were just waiting for their moment to strike as they headed out for the second.  John Carlson said after the game, “I don’t think too many things are going our way. We kind of sensed that we could get back in the game,” and he was spot on. The Caps struck back down 3-0 with goals by Troy Brouwer and Carlson to bring things near to even, but Brian Boyle fired one home toward the end of the period to let the air out of their rally, striking on a rebound that Neuvirth should have controlled.

It was disappointing to see such an unpolished performance from the Caps defense, especially given their Monday and Wednesday performances. The Caps head to Buffalo tomorrow night, and will face a tough Buffalo team looking to right their own ship, having lost two in a row. Confidence issues will be front and center as they head into one of the toughest visiting venues they face.

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Sports Fix

Redskins Preview Week Twelve: The Seahawks

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘KellBailey’

Every week I look at the offensive stats expecting the Redskins to be worse. The Redskins offense is still one of the least productive offenses in the NFL ranking 27th in points per game and 23rd in yards a game. The Redskins have one of the worst offenses in the NFL, but every week I watch them constantly go three and out and turn the ball over and it is hard to believe they aren’t the worst offense in the NFL. They are certainly one of the worst offenses I have ever seen. I wonder who could possibly be worse than this Redskins team. The Seattle Seahawks rank worse than the Redskins in yards per game averaging 298.5 compared to the Redskins 313.0, and rank directly above the Redskins in points per game averaging 16.8 compared to the Redskins 16.0. This is a match-up between two of the worst offensive teams in the NFL.

After years of being set at quarterback with Matt Hasslebeck as the franchise quarterback the Seahawks moved on to Tavaris Jackson. With Jackson now hurt the Seahawks are deciding between Josh Portis and Charlie Whitehurst to lead their offense on Sunday against the Redskins. The transition has not been an easy one for the Seahawks as they now feature a bottom ten pass offense. They have also allowed 34 sacks which ties them with Miami for the second worst in the NFL.

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