Entertainment, Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Future Laureates

Photo courtesy of The Future Laureates

Imagine for a moment that you’re a class clown…but in a good way. You’re one of the nice guys who has a sense of humor. You also just so happen to play an instrument and sing on the side when you’re not making a wise-crack comment or hanging out with your pals. To me, this is the essence of what makes The Future Laureates work as a cohesive musical unit.

The Future Laureates are a five-piece folk-rock band out of Chicago that boasts the energy of a punk band with melodic hooks poised for pop success. The group started with three-founding members (Danny Surico on guitar/vocals, James Hyde on bass/vocals and Matthew Daigler on ukulele/vocals) and have only grown over time into what we now know as TFL.

This group of jovial rockers are making their second appearance at a D.C. rock club this coming Wednesday at The Velvet Lounge and took some time to chat with We Love DC via e-mail. Here are a few bits from that conversation:

Rachel: The Future Laureates hail from Chicago, the Windy City, what’s it like for you all when you hit the road and leave the comfort of home?  

The Future Laureates: You mean other than the hookers and blow?  Just kidding!  Our trips are usually pretty jovial and relaxed, and while our stays in new towns are shorter than we’d prefer, we are blessed to see and reconnect with friends and family and meet new friends who have been endlessly supportive.  We also have a rule that whoever sits bitch seat gets to choose the music in the TFL mystery van…so far that’s worked out pretty well!
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Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Taking Steps

Photo: Andrew Propp

Earlier this week I mentioned how much I love farce in our We Love DC Theater Preview. I blame Lauren Cochran, my high school drama teacher who managed to lure me away from the soccer team to the drama club through the works of Michael Frayn, Ken Ludwig, and Peter Shaffer. I don’t know if it is the frenetic action, the slapstick, or the absurd plot twists. There’s nothing more I enjoy than a good night of farce and when you add British accents, it’s just more cherries on top of the bacon sundae.

Constellation Theatre Company opened their 2012-2013 season with Alan Ayckbourn’s Taking Steps, a British Farce with many of the ingredients mentioned above. Armed with the right comedic elements and a unique theatre-in-the-round staging, the show does its best to rack up the laughs but suffers from a bloated plot and a lumbering pace.

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Food and Drink, Homebrewing, The Features

Homebrew DC: White House Homebrew

White House Homebrew! Party on, Mr. President!

I have been avoiding this topic on purpose. First, it’s that ugly political season and this is not a political issue. Partisan politics is good at driving people apart and beer is good at bringing them together. Whatever ills arise between people can often be soothed by a draught of beer and a cup of merriment. In fact, beer is so intertwined into the fabric of our nation that it cannot be neatly undone and cast aside. Beer is part and parcel of the American dream, a beverage whose roots are democratic, thus serving as a microcosm through which to view our nation, preferably while staring through the bottom of an upturned glass.

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Music, Night Life, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Laetitia Sadier @ DC9, 9/25/2012

photo by author

French-born singer Laetitia Sadier and her band played a beautiful, uplifting, fun set at DC9 Tuesday night. Sadier, currently on US tour, is the former front-woman of the UK-based experimental-indie-lounge-pop group Stereolab. She released her first solo album, The Trip, in 2010 after Sterolab went on hiatus, and released her sophomore record, Silencio, this year. Earlier this month I had the pleasure of interviewing Sadier, and you can check that out here.

Tuesday night brought Sadier and her trio (drummer James Elkington, and bassist Julien Gasc) to the small stage of DC9, where they were surrounded by adoring, attentive fans. Sadier’s presence onstage was graceful, happy, and quietly engaging. The group started off their set with the quiet, contemplative “The Rule of the Game,” which set the mood for the evening- introspective, melodic, lovely, serene. At times the group broke out with more spastic rock moments, or in the case of the song “Between Earth and Heaven” they took a turn towards samba. Though DC has a reputation for not dancing at shows, my friends and I couldn’t contain our glee, and wiggled and shook our way through the samba-infused number. Sadier rewarded us by thanking “the dancers” afterwards and smiling.  

While many of the songs on her latest album Silencio have strong political themes, and Sadier did speak a bit about her thoughts on the sad state of democracy today, it never felt heavy or preachy. For the most part she let the music speak for itself, and it rang out. Sadier’s presence, her smiles, and commentary to the audience added charm to what was a soulful, stimulating, soothing and ultimately satisfying performance.

Entertainment, Music, The Daily Feed

Hot Ticket: Gotye @ Merriweather, 9/30/2012

photo courtesy of Gotye

Australian artist Gotye performs live at Merriweather Post Pavilion this Sunday, September 30th! Tickets are still available via  Ticketfly. Opening the night will be Missy Higgins and Jonti. Gates open at 5:30pm, show at 7pm.

Gotye gained attention in the US with his single “Somebody That I Used To Know“, featuring Kimbra, which rose to the #1 slot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  He is currently on US tour in support of his newest album, Making Mirrors.

Entertainment, Media, Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: New Video from Deleted Scenes

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Deleted Scenes, one of my favorite bands who used to call DC home, has released a new video for their song “A Bunch Of People Who Love You Like Crazy” off of their album Young People’s Church of the Air, released this summer on Park the Van records.  The album is one of my favorites of 2012, and you can read me gushing about it here. Also, over the summer I got to chat with lead singer Dan Scheuerman, and you can read that here.

This video had its DC premiere at the band’s album release party this summer at Red Palace, where they played the song live to the eerie footage. It’s dark, arty, creepy, and totally awesome.  The video was directed by DC band Pree‘s Ben Usie, and also features a cameo from Pree’s singer May Tabol.

Sports Fix

Week Four Preview: Redskins at Buccaneers

Photo courtesy of theSuperStar
Super Bowl Champs Bucs Night Practice.
courtesy of theSuperStar

The Redskins and Buccaneers are both currently 1-2 but both got to this position in very different ways. The Redskins have scored the most points in the NFL while they have allowed the fourth most. The Bucs meanwhile are middle of the back in both offense and defense ranking 24th in points scored and 15th in points allowed. This creates a good match-up for the Redskins. RGIII and the Redskins offense will be able to deal with the Bucs’ defense while their offense should struggle to put points on the board.

Both teams have struggled this season in stopping the pass. The Bucs have allowed an average of 353.3 passing yards against while the Redskins have allowed 337.3. Giving the Bucs and Redskins the two worst passing defenses in the league. This will be a bigger problem for the Bucs as RGIII has passed for 223.7 yards a game compared to Josh Freeman at 149.0 yards a game. The Redskins weak secondary shouldn’t be an issue for any NFL quarterback, but Freeman and the Bucs haven’t been racking up the passing yards yet this season.

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We Love Weekends

We Love Weekends: Sep 28 – 30

Rebecca: Friday I’m headed to Penn Social to drink some fine brews, play skee ball, billiards, shuffle board, foosball and shoot some virtual big game via Big Buck Hunter. You know it!!! Saturday I’m checking out the Green Festival at the Convention Center. I’m particularly looking forward to DIY workshops like: Vertical Gardening Demonstration and Bike Maintenance101. Sunday I’m finally catching the George Bellows exhibition at the National Gallery of Art.

Carl: I have a meeting Saturday morning at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria. If you have never been there, it is definitely worth a tour. They take you all the way to the top and on a clear day, as Saturday is looking like it might be, you can see quite far. Saturday and Sunday will be spent working and putting together some promotional materials for my book that was just published about living in Buddhist temples in Thailand. Also beer. I need to get back on the homebrew writing horse again. I wonder what such an animal would look like.

Tom: This weekend is about enjoying all that Fall has to offer, and about celebrating the history of my neighborhood! Brookland turns 125 this weekend, and our neighborhood is celebrating with a grand parade up 12th Street on Saturday morning between Franklin and Michigan Avenue, and then having a community picnic lunch (food provided!) in the park at Turkey Thicket. It’s not every day your neighborhood celebrates its quasquicentennial. Count me in for another good long bike ride on Sunday, with the weather permitting.

Fedward: Wedding? What wedding? Oh, the one two weeks from Sunday? When we’re not trying to solve our cake problems and figure out our rehearsal dinner, the Social Chair and I will distract ourselves with some theatre, namely the opening night of Forum Theatre’s Holly Down in Heaven and the closing weekend of Round House’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. And we’ll enjoy one of our last brunches as a non-married couple at the Passenger. Aside from that, it’s 22 days to Puerto Rico!

Joanna: I’ve been wrestling with what to do this weekend, so obviously I have to start at Woolly Mammoth’s wrestle-heavy The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety. I’m also excited to head with the throngs to Opera in the Outfield on Saturday night. During the days, the husband and I plan to take the dog to Rock Creek Park for a little early fall wading; and we’ll be cooking and storing up soup for the winter, so hearty recipes welcome. To find the energy for all of that, I’ll probably head over to the Turkish Festival on Sunday for some serious coffee.

Don: With the weather as beautiful as it’s slated to be – small rainstorms be damned – my goal is to spend as much time outdoors as I can manage. The usual destination for us is Roosevelt Island but we’ve recently enjoyed some of the paths off the GW Parkway south of the airport. Perhaps Rock Creek – we’ve never taken the pup there.

Entertainment, Music, Night Life, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Gossip @930 Club, 9/24/2012

photo by Rankin

It’s easy to be impressed by big stage productions- stunning light shows, elaborate screen set-ups, jaw-dropping hydraulics, bells and whistles. So sometimes, like Monday night, it takes a band with a bare stage, wearing jeans and t-shirts, or in Beth Ditto’s case a dress from Avenue*, to prove you don’t need anything fancy to blow the sock off of your fans, you can do it by just being ****ing amazing, and singing, dancing and rocking your ass off! The Gossip brought it like none other on Monday night to the 930 Club, shaking, dancing, screaming, sweating and rocking their way through a super-fun, energized set to a full house of adoring fans.
Originally formed in Olympia, Washington, The Gossip has a sound that blends bluesy rock, soul, punk and synth-dance-rock. The resulting combination makes for non-stop hip-shaking, head-bopping, fist-pumping exuberance. The group started off their set with the dancey “Love Long Distance“, and got the crowd moving and shaking right away. After that song front-woman Beth Ditto looked up to the backstage balcony and said “Well Ian was clapping, so that’s a good thing.” (referring to the Make-Up frontman Ian Svenonius, who was clearly enjoying the show, though ducked out of sight when he was called out.)
The dancing and shaking never really stopped, except for in-between some songs when charismatic Ditto would have conversations with audience members, or tell stories or jokes, or rant. That was an equally entertaining part of the show- her personality is larger-than-life.
While The Gossip played plenty of great original material, Ditto liked to mix it up by throwing in lines or choruses from other bands’ songs, making for some fun mash-ups. Highlights included their song “8th Wonder” mashed up with Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” (complete with dedication to Bikini Kill drummer Tobi Vail), their song “Listen Up!” mashed with Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”, and their disco-drenched “Get Lost” with an interlude of Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita.”
The Gossip delivered a short but powerful encore- first a super-charged cover of the song made famous by Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” which had the audience going crazy and belting along to the chorus. They ended the night with their biggest hit, the knock-down, drag-out “Standing In the way of Control”, and Miss Ditto was not out of steam yet, starting it off with a soul-wrenching howl, and even turned this hit into a mash-up, throwing some of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” into the mix partway through.  The Gossip had everyone in the club jumping and singing along to the very end, and of course left their fans full of joy, but starving for more.
*Avenue is a clothes store for big girls. Beth Ditto gave a shout-out to all the big girls in the audience and let them know she got her dress, a curve-hugging shimmery black number, from Avenue, on sale “really reasonable” and advised them to go get it themselves. Work it, gurl.
Food and Drink, We Love Food

Infographic: Founding Farmers’ Urban Apiary at GWU

In news you probably didn’t know, September is National Honeybee Month. To pay homage to the tiny creatures that have been toiling away on the rooftop of The George Washington University to bring honey to Founding Farmers, we put together an infographic as a sneak preview of the larger feature we’re working on about honeybees.

The university and the restaurant have had a partnership for about a year and a half now. The way it works: students in the biological sciences department get to study, raise and tend to the bees. Then Founding Farmers gets to use the honey that’s harvested and bring you sweeter dishes.

Check out the stats after the jump and stay tuned for the full feature.

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Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: WLDC 2012 Theater Preview (Part 2)

Earlier this week the We Love DC Theater team talked about the upcoming DC Theater season. We couldn’t discuss the upcoming season without also reviewing a hot issue heading into it: how the Capital Fringe Festival impacts local theater.

See our thoughts about Fringe, as well as the role of smaller theater companies in DC, in the video below.

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Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: The Government Inspector

The cast of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of The Government Inspector, directed by Michael Kahn. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Such likable scamps, these petty small-town bureaucrats scheming about the stage. Such roguish buffoonery in their bright outlandish clothes and rotund stomachs, as they plot to keep the sick and the helpless underfoot. They’re almost too likable. Where’s the grime those colors are meant to conceal? If there’s a flaw in Shakespeare Theatre Company‘s production of The Government Inspector, it’s simply that it leans heavily on the side of the buffoons, while neglecting the grotesques. In a town “where people eat soup with their hands,” everyone sure looks clean.

But they are very funny…

“You’re going to tell her about the birds and the bees now?” a mother despairs, “That’s like handing ammunition to a sniper.”

The Government Inspector is a 19th-century farce by Nikolai Gogol, but Washington audiences won’t find it dated. Sadly, we can still be in thrall to demagogues and doublespeak, and those who make obscene wealth off the sweat of the poor (at least we don’t have serfs, right? Right?) When the corrupt officials of a remote town learn they are being secretly inspected by a government agent, their ridiculous attempts at cover-up would make a Watergate operative blush, let alone more recent shammers. Throw in a case of mistaken identity and watch them all squirm. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Is DC government services’ technological capability from aprox 1987?

Photo courtesy of Newsum Antiques
courtesy of Newsum Antiques

If you’ve finished laughing from Ron Linton’s assertion that the Taxicab Commission can’t just put up these documents in online places for folks to view because they can’t find the storage space for them, here’s another one: the DC police won’t release the 911 call from the FRC shooting because they don’t “have the technological capabilities to modify the audio recording” necessary to provide the caller sufficient anonymity.

Let me help you out, aspiring DC government audio engineers. Since you don’t want to google “free audio editing software” I’ll just suggest you use Audacity. It’s free and runs on Windows and Mac computers and has existed for a decade or so. You’ll need a machine running at least Windows XP or 2000 – I’m assuming that you’re a mostly Windows operation – which means you need to sift through your hardware and only use stuff from the last 11 years. I bet there’s one or two around.

Now, if you really mean that you just don’t want to, despite your repeated claims that locking us all out of the radio systems won’t be an issue because you’re going to keep us all informed and stick to your quality past of openness and legal honor, well, that’s a little more believable.

By the way Mr Linton: if you can’t find the amount of storage space for your various proposals on DC servers (you know, the amount that sells for about $5 in blister packs at the checkout aisle of Best Buy) then you could try something like Scribd. They seem willing to host other DC government generated documents but perhaps you don’t like the company they’d keep, like this one about how people rank DC taxi service fair or poor (78%) and worse than other cities (69%).

Or maybe Mary Cheh could change her baffled acceptance of that nonsense excuse to a suggestion of using Scribd, given that it’s her office that uploaded the above document…

Entertainment, Night Life, The Features, We Love Music

The Winning Ticket: Dance for the Dying, Ugly Purple Sweater @ Red Palace, 9/29

photo courtesy of Dance for the Dying

Today We Love DC is giving away a pair of tickets to see Dance for the Dying, Ugly Purple Sweater, and  Fire and the Wheel at Red Palace, this Saturday, September 29th! Tickets are on sale now through the Red Palace website or Ticket Alternative, and tickets can be purchased at the door. This is an EP release party for Dance for the Dying. Check out Dance for the Dying’s song “Thug Love“, and Ugly Purple Sweater’s “The Water’s Edge“. 

For your chance to win these tickets simply leave a comment on this post using a valid email address until 4pm today. One entry per email address, please.

For the rules of this giveaway…

Comments will be closed at 4pm and a winner will be randomly selected. The winner will be notified by email. The winner must respond to our email in 24 hours or they will forfeit their tickets and we will pick another winner.

The winner will be on the guest list (plus one) at Red Palace 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 be accompanied by a parent or guardian if he/she is under 18 years old.

Saturday, September 29th

Dance for the Dying (EP Release)

Ugly Purple Sweater

Fire and the Wheel

Red Palace

Doors 8pm/show @ 9pm/$8/18+

Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Madonna @ The Verizon Center — 9/23/12

Madonna and the Majorettes. Copyright and Courtesy Bill Ayres, Reel Film News.

When Madonna’s first album came out nearly 30 years ago in 1983, it was remarkable not only for its raw sexuality but for the infectious, bubbly optimism demonstrated in its best-known songs.

Songs like “Holiday” and “Lucky Star” are not only delicious post-disco dance numbers but they are forward-looking, feel-good statements of intent.

At age 54, Madonna today does a lot of looking backward as well, and it’s not always as fun and optimistic. But leave her to do what she does best and eventually she has a point to make — a better day is coming.

And so goes the narrative of her latest tour in support of her 12th studio album MDNA, which stopped in DC at the Verizon Center Sunday and Monday night. At the sold-out show Sunday night, she went through at least four different acts over two hours, which comes to an end with a totally giddy and exuberant celebration of all of the reasons the dance floor has loved her for so long.

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Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: WLDC 2012 Theater Preview (Part 1)

The We Love DC Theater team: Don Whiteside, Patrick Pho, Jenn Larsen, and Joanna Castle Miller.

Fall is in the air and that means one thing…


Oh ya and Theatre.

As new seasons across the District kick-off, the We Love DC Theater team got together at The Brixton to talk about the upcoming year in theater – and I got some of it on video! Find out which shows we are excited about in the first of two videos below!

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