Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Five Observations About The New-Look Wizards

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison
Nene, Jordan Crawford
courtesy of Keith Allison

It’s been awhile since I went down to the Verizon Center to check out the Washington Professional Basketball Team. Last night I went down to Chinatown to see Nene in person for the first time he arrived to the team in a trade-deadline deal that drastically reshaped the team. The look of the Wizards is now closer to the long-term vision that the franchise hopes to make reality. By shedding the ill-fitting pieces in JaVale McGee and Nick Young and gaining quality character in Nene, the team can now focus on developing their young core and acquiring more pieces in the upcoming draft (where they will most likely have a high pick).

Now the addition of Nene hasn’t changed the team overnight, with only 14 games left to play heading into Friday’s game against Philadelphia the team was in the midst of a five-game losing streak. However there were a few things that I saw and liked about the Wizards that helped them beat the 76ers 97-76.

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Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: iMusical Time Machine

Washington Improv Theatre’s “iMusical” has been a long-standing staple to the theatre’s slate of rotating productions. For several years the improvised musical has taken on new formats and wrinkles and the latest includes a trip back in time.

Last weekend I visited The Source on 14th street to see what happens when a group not only has to create comedic material on the fly but also add a little song and dance as well.

The show starts with the selection of the time period, which was done by a random audience member who chose among four mystery cards. In the show I attended the ensemble was sent back… to the future!

After collecting suggestions of futuristic themes and ideas (rocket ships and really small iPods), the ensemble got to work in creating a musical about a two families who become separated from their sons. Because it was in the future it was only appropriate that one family consisted of a brazen space explorer father and a half-human, half-cylon mother.

Things certainly got interesting that night.

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The Features

Google Maps Quest Mode turns DC into Zelda

It’s hard not to love April Fools’ Day at Google, where the good jokes actually get made, but today’s Google Maps 8-bit Edition gag actually turns DC into a Zelda-esque collaboration of awesome, with special glyphs for the Washington Monument and White House, as well as Google’s office on K Street, all pictured above.

Don’t forget to jump into street view, where all the pictures are rendered in perfectly crisp 8-bit display, perfect for your Nintendo.

We’ve added a couple shots below the cut here of the best parts of DC.

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Entertainment, Food and Drink, The Features

ARTINI Week Four Feature Nights

Cocktail created by Alexandra Bookless of The Passenger for ARTINI 2012. Inspired by Rob Fischer's "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" 2008. Photo by Dan Swartz

ARTINI 2012 is tomorrow night! Eleven talented bartenders have created cocktails inspired by works in the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Every Friday the We Love DC drinks team wrapped up the week’s feature nights with reviews of each ARTINI entry, to culminate at the (sold-out) gala on March 31st. Check out our notes from Week One, Week Two and Week Three, and find out what we thought of the final week.

ARTINI 10: Alexandra Bookless, The Passenger
Inspiration: Rob Fischer’s “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” 2008
Reviewer: Fedward

Alexandra Bookless, bar manager at the Passenger, has gotten where she is by having an encyclopedic knowledge of classic cocktail recipes combined with an excellent palate that allows her to create new twists on just about anything based on a customer’s mood. Approaching cocktail recipes as formulas (which I have pointed out before are magic) makes it possible to see where a substitution here or an extra ingredient there will create something all-new (or at least something that hasn’t been printed in a hundred different recipe books).

All of that is a really long winded way to say that if the Dance tastes kind of like a Margarita to you, well, that’s because it takes off from the Margarita formula. Served in a tall glass, the Dance takes its inspiration from Rob Fisher’s sculpture titled They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?. Continue reading

Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Sleigh Bells @ 9:30 Club — 3/27/12

Photo courtesy of Sup3r_Fudg3
Sleigh Bells
courtesy of Sup3r_Fudg3

There are an amazing number of things that Sleigh Bells does right.

When it works properly, the team effort of one male and one female often garners mass appeal through the use of their exclusive strengths. With Sleigh Bells, the Brooklyn-based duo has a formula to do just that. Alexis Krauss’ breathy sweet vocals float over Derek Edward Miller’s heavy guitar. It’s a winning combination in part because both play well to sexual archetypes. Krauss is punk-rock sexy and Miller is loud and cocky.

To add to the appeal, the simplicity of their chemistry is most often distilled into 3-minute rock songs. Their set Tuesday night at the 9:30 Club was pretty short. They played for about 30 minutes and then tacked on an encore that came so quickly that some in the audience didn’t realize that it was in fact an encore. But Sleigh Bells is a band with two albums — and touring in support of their second album Reign of Terror — and each album has 11 songs where a 3-minute song could be a longer one.

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The Daily Feed, We Love Arts

The Big Dance Hits DC Theatre With Monologue Madness

This weekend a beleaguered tournament will come to an end where only one will walk away with the title of champion.

Of course I’m not talking about the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament- that game is on Monday.

Up in Bethesda this Sunday a different kind of competition will unfold where 32 actors will only have 60 seconds to prove they are worthy to of the title of Monologue Madness Champion.

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Food and Drink, Homebrewing, The Features

Homebrew DC: Kölsch, Springtime’s True Delight

Photo courtesy of ilovebutter
Adding the hops
courtesy of ilovebutter

This is the second in a series of articles about homebrewing in the DC area by Carl Weaver of Want to learn about making your own beer? Keep an eye out for Friday homebrew features.

Now that springtime is upon us, it’s time to start drinking like it. I brought this beer to fellow We Love DC authors Tom and Tiff’s house recently for a barbecue and it was met with a standing ovation. Well, most people were standing anyway, and truthfully there was no real ovation, but people expressed their desire to have more by, well, having more. Another almost-empty keg…

A Kölsch is an ale that is light, crisp, and great to drink. I think of a kölsch as a great springtime drink, cool and refreshing, clear, malty, and with a definite but not overpowering hoppy flavor. This is a pretty simple homebrew recipe, using some grains, but relying mostly on malt extracts. It’ll make you the popular house on the block on those warm spring nights. Continue reading

Cherry Blossom Festival, Entertainment, Special Events, The Daily Feed, We Love Arts

This Saturday: Samurai Cinema Triple Feature!

Photo courtesy National Geographic

Want something a little different to make this year’s cherry blossom visit truly magnificent? How about a great samurai triple feature?  The National Geographic Museum will be presenting three classics of Japanese cinema, all featuring the iconic Toshiro Mifune and presented in stunning 35mm! Presented in conjunction with the National Geographic Museum exhibition Samurai: The Warrior Transformed, the films will be introduced by Michael Jeck, veteran film programmer notable for commentary on Criterion DVD releases of Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood.

Admission to each film is $5, though you can see them for free with paid admission to the new samurai exhibit. (The offer is valid only for exhibit tickets purchased for Saturday, 3/31; there are a limited number of tickets available.) Warning—these films all have some pretty violent content. Film details after the jump. Continue reading

We Love Weekends

We Love Weekends: March 30-April 1

Photo courtesy of Tony DeFilippo
Getting into the Holiday Spirit
courtesy of Tony DeFilippo

Carl: My general plans include racking the Pirate’s Ale into a secondary fermenter and doing the final calculations and ingredients list for a pilsner using an ale yeast. If you are a beer nut like I am, you know that is totally nuts. It’s not as nuts as cannibalism resulting from cabin fever, but still – it’s damned crazy. I was invited to give a talk Saturday morning at a Masonic lodge about The Book of Ruth, of all subjects, so I will be doing that as well, and then having dinner with Beautiful Girlfriend and her friends I have not yet met. Good times will prevail.

Photo courtesy of mosley.brian
09 Kite Festival – Free as the Wind – 3-28-09
courtesy of mosley.brian

Mosley. Annoyingly, I’m not in town this weekend due to a business trip. It’s annoying because I’m missing one of my favorite events of the year: the annual Kite Festival at the foot of the Washington Monument. I love it because of the pictures I get; the sight of hundreds of kites in the air; even the Bubble Wright is awesome! It’s a truely DC event and I recommend everyone goes to it. If you’ve never gone, please go for me and have a great time. Continue reading

News, The Daily Feed

Choral Arts Society chooses new maestro

Photo courtesy of Il Primo Uomo
courtesy of Il Primo Uomo

For its entire 46-year life, the Choral Arts Society of Washington has had one artistic director: Norman Scribner. This morning, the Choral Arts Society will name Cornell University’s Scott Tucker to the position. Tucker has been with Cornell since 1995, where he has had a distinguished career leading both the Men’s Glee Club and the Women’s Chorus, as well as the University Chorus, and was named the P.E. Browning Director of Choral Music.

While at Cornell, Tucker was involved in the commissioning of 30 different pieces by modern composers, including Libby Larsen, Ernani Aguiar, and Carol Barnett, amongst others. Tucker is also no stranger to fundraising, and given the current state of the non-profit economy in Washington, this is likely a welcome development for the Choral Arts Society.  The organization is one of the largest choral groups in the United States, and has a budget exceeding $1 million.

In a statement released by the Choral Arts Society, Scribner says of Tucker, “Scott’s gifts are manifold, embracing an intense natural musicality, a consummate technique, a fabulous ear, and a vast reservoir of knowledge and experience in virtually all periods and styles, together with a clear vision for the future of music in our own time.”

Scribner retires in August, and Tucker will take up the baton beginning in the Fall, for the 68th season of the group.

Food and Drink, We Love Food

We Love Food: Adour’s New Lunch Menu

Amuse-bouches All photos by the author

Capitalizing on his new cookbook Nature, as well as an economy in the early stages of recovery, Chef Alain Ducasse is launching a new lunch program at Adour at the St. Regis hotel. I was invited to attend a preview of the new “simple, healthy, and delicious” lunch menu hosted by the chef himself. Having enjoyed one of the best meals of my life at another of his restaurants, I jumped at the chance.
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Downtown, Entertainment, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

National Geographic Live: April 2012

Photo courtesy National Geographic

April looms large in front of us and so does a beautiful spring. While tourists flood the Tidal Basin, why not check out the April programming for National Geographic Live? The National Geographic Museum is offering WeLoveDC readers a chance to enjoy one of their premier events in the coming month. We’re giving away two pairs of tickets to readers this Friday; look through the great programs listed below and pick two you’d like to attend. In the comment field, simply enter your choices. (Make sure you use your first name and a valid email address!) Winners for April will be chosen at random after noon on March 30.

All programs (unless otherwise noted) take place in Grosvenor Auditorium at 1600 M Street, NW. Tickets may be purchased online at, via telephone at (202) 857-7700, or in person at the National Geographic ticket office between 9 am and 5 pm. Free parking is available in the National Geographic underground garage for all weekday programs that begin after 6 pm. Continue reading

Sports Fix

2012 Washington Nationals Season in Preview

Photo courtesy of Max Cook
Zimmerman Wins It
courtesy of Max Cook

In a week and a day Stephen Strasburg will take the mound at Wrigley Field as the Washington Nationals begin their quest to have the most successful season in franchise history against the Chicago Cubs. Everyone has expectations and if we listen to Davey Johnson, Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, and a few other Nationals then those expectations are for the playoffs. The big question is clear: is that is realistic? On paper, the Nationals have one of the better pitching staffs in the NL, and one of the weaker offenses. That formula has worked before, but can it work for the 2012 squad at Nats Park?

This past off-season, Mike Rizzo added Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson while Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann look to give the team more innings. Add this all up and it puts the Nats in a position they are unfamiliar with. This is a team after all whose last three Opening Day starters were Livan Hernandez, John Lannan (twice), and Odalis Perez. John Lannan is now opening the season as the fifth starter due to an injury to Chien-Ming Wang, Livan Hernandez is on the Astros, and Odalis Perez was last seen headed for parts unknown.

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capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Sabres Cut Down Caps, 5-1

Photo courtesy of bhrome

Jason Chimera can’t beat Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres.
courtesy of bhrome

In a game rife with playoff implications for both teams, the Buffalo Sabres humiliated the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center last night, handing the home team a resounding 5-1 defeat in front of a large contingent of boisterous Buffalo fans. Coming into the game tied in the standings with Buffalo for the eighth and final playoff spot, the Caps were out played at both ends of the ice and failed to mount a serious challenge.

With just five regular season games remaining before the playoffs begin, the Capitals are now on the outside looking in. The Caps face the top three teams in the Eastern Conference (Rangers, Bruins and Panthers) as well as recent playoff nemeses Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning. Washington will have to win nearly all of its remaining games and hope that some higher teams falter down the stretch. Continue reading

Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Thomas Dolby @ The Birchmere — 3/25/12 (or “Yes, He Blinded Me With Science”)

Photo courtesy of randomduck
Hands flying
courtesy of randomduck

Thomas Dolby’s fifth studio album, A Map of the Floating City, came out last year and it was somewhat appropriately named as you practically require a map to assess all of the influences that go into Mr. Dolby’s musical compositions these days — from blues to jazz to calypso to zydeco. He passed through the DC metro area Sunday night in support of the album in a tour that gives one an opportunity to reflect on his strengths and weaknesses over the years.

A Map of the Floating City is Dolby’s first album in 20 years, so some growth and divergence in his sound is expected. Not surprisingly, as an older artist, he is much more sedate in his composition and performance. With his first two magnificent albums — The Golden Age of Wireless and The Flat Earth — Dolby was associated with the subgenre of music then identified as New Pop. It was bombastic and heavy on synthesizers, having grown out of the pure synth arias of the New Romantics. Producer Trevor Horn championed New Pop and his label ZTT Records supported the likes of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Grace Jones.

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National Cathedral Tower Climb

Photo courtesy of mosley.brian
National Cathedral – Tower Climb – Narrow Staircase – 03-24-12
courtesy of mosley.brian

This weekend the National Cathedral reopened their central tower for the first time since the August earthquake, and Brian and I were there to climb it. Saturday’s dreary weather meant you could see clouds passing through the windows at the top; still, it’s the highest point in DC, the bells can ring in any weather, and even in the fog the views are exquisite.

First things first: This is not the tour for you if you’re claustrophobic or afraid of heights. The first half of the climb takes you up narrow winding passages, and because of people stopping in front, you might end up stranded in tight places for a bit. The last third of the climb takes you up an open spiral staircase that wobbles as you walk. In other words, don’t test your fears this way. That’s what trapeze school is for.

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