Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: The Conference of the Birds

The cast of The Conference of the Birds at Folger Shakespeare Theatre. Photo credit: Scott Suchman.

How easy it is to drop out of the journey of self-discovery, with all the trials and temptations surrounding us. Yet how rewarding to stay the course. In the 1970s, a visionary director led his company through rural Africa, performing an adaptation of a 12th-century Persian poem about the birds of the world on a quest to find their king. The legacy of his artistic journey is best summed up by The Guardian‘s Michael Billington: “to reinforce the centrality of the shared experience, to clear the stage of clutter and to realise the need for ecstasy.”

His journey transformed theater.

However, I’m not sure how necessary it is to know anything about that director, Peter Brook, before seeing The Conference of the Birds, or even to know anything about the Sufi mystic who wrote the poem, Farid Uddi Attar, whom Rumi considered “the spirit.” Inside all of us is that same desire for total transcendence. Under the helm of director Aaron Posner, Folger Shakespeare Theatre’s production has a gentle, exquisite beauty that is as difficult and rewarding as that journey. It deserves more than one viewing, and will haunt the mind beyond. Continue reading

All Politics is Local, The District

How to Vote For Your ANC (even if you don’t know what an ANC is).

Precinct Eighty-Eight (Day three hundred and six)

Voting! It’s so patriotic! I’ve never missed an election (even when I was studying abroad in Australia and generally tipsy the entire time). I get really into voting. Not so much into politics, what with the big bird, and the binders and all the yelling, but I feel extremely strongly about exercising my right to vote. And this, my friends, is my first big DC election.

Having resided in Arlington for most of my post-college twenties, I was used to um… normal politics.  You know, senate races that aren’t prefaced with the term “shadow” and local county elections. But DC is not… normal.  That’s why we love her. We have all kinds of whackadoo local representation, and earlier this month I decided it was time to buckle down and be a responsible citizen and figure it all out. So one day in early October, I sat down do ALL THE VOTING RESEARCH! And I came upon this weird thing called the ANC, and got rull, rull confused.

I’m a relatively smart person, and I pay attention, but I was seriously confused about my ANC.  There were letters, and numbers and oh my.  Was I voting for 4C? 7D? Why are there numbers? What does it do? Why is it there? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? (Oh. Well, that I know. 42.)

Anyways,  I got around to asking my smart, competent friends who live in DC about their ANC commissioner, and none of them really knew what an ANC was. Well, okay then. I vaguely recollected the ANC thing from a post Dave Stroup wrote for WLDC a while ago, so I started there. That was helpful. But I still had questions. So I did a whole lot of grilling of the WLDC staff, and a whole lot of googling. And the rest of this post is what I figured out, so that you, too, can be an informed DC voter.


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We Love Arts

We Love Arts: War Horse

Andrew Veenstra (Albert) with Christopher Mai, Derek Stratton, Rob Laqui (Joey) in War Horse / © Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

There are two sides to The Kennedy Center’s War Horse. On one side, we have animals; on the other side, we have people—and by the end of the play, it’s evident the two sides are not equal.

The story surrounds a young man’s journey into the depths of WWI to save his beloved horse Joey, who has fallen behind enemy lines. With puppetry, music, and film, the show portrays the tragedy of war and the horrific treatment of animals during WWI.

Military technology runs down magnificent horses as if they’re just another weapon to be decimated. Both sides of the war use creatures around them as pawns; and even the heroes who want to save the animals feel helpless to do so.

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Food and Drink, The Features

Surviving Sandy: Foodie Style

We all know what happens when the imminent threat of a natural disaster is on its way. First we panic, turn on every weather channel known to cable, open multiple tabs on our browsers to follow copious storm trackers, have flashbacks of all those natural disaster movies (I’m looking at you Helen Hunt in Twister), and then… well, we hit the grocery store. If you are anything like me, my over-preparedness resulted in two glorious days of browsing recipes, cooking, and baking. I am a cynic by nature (no pun intended) but somehow found myself following the crowd and stalking up on so much food I could have had a neighborhood block party (or four). I felt a need to make- and eat – everything, as if the world actually was going to end tomorrow…

But alas, Sandy spared us some monumental destruction (thank you), except for the few pounds we may have added to the scale (white girl problems), but the forced hibernation was a welcome moment of peace amidst the madness. Something about the sound of heavy wind and rain inspired unplugging and putting hands, and minds, to use elsewhere.

I for one am a huge breakfast person. So staying indoors meant staying in pajamas a little longer, making more breakfast than usual, and planning that night’s lunch or dinner before I even finished my last sip of coffee. One of my favorite comfort foods, which brings me back home to Colombia, is the arepa. For those of you who have never had one, it is a corn-flour tortilla of sorts, similar to a Salvadorean pupusa, which is a vehicle for anything and everything you wish. From avocado and cheese (I go for mozarella or queso fresco), to bacon and other forms of cooked pork (shredded always best), an arepa is a versatile, delicious, comforting staple of Colombian cuisine. Using just cornmeal flour and water, the dough becomes dense and easy to mold, rounded out and grilled on a stovetop. My favorite toppings include butter, melted mozzarella, avocado, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.

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Sports Fix, The Features

Hitting The Reset Button (Again): The 2012-2013 Washington Wizards Season Preview

There was at least one expectation that the Washington Wizards met last year.

Thanks to a late season win streak the Washington Professional Basketball Team managed to end the lockout-shortened season with a 20-46 record and  hit the over on Vegas’ line of 19.5 wins for the season. Congrats to those who had a sunny outlook on what became another dismal season for the Wiz.

Tonight the NBA season tips-off and the Wizards will begin their 2012-2013 season against the Cleveland Cavilers in Cleveland. For those that were too busy cheering for the Nats and RGIII, here’s what you need to know as we preview the upcoming season.

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The Daily Feed

High Heel Race Set for Tomorrow

  Photo courtesy of Rolenz
Drag Race
courtesy of Rolenz

The ever-popular annual 17th Street High Heel Race has been postponed until Thursday in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the region.

Via DCist comes this announcement:

Thanks to the Mayors office, the DC Police Department, Peter Rosenstein the race has been postponed to Thursday November 1st. from 7 to 9. Thank you everyone for being patient. The only thing that can go wrong is if the hurricane hits hard enough to ruin the impact of the area where the race will be held.

So, you’ve got a few days to find a killer pair of heels and the right dress, everyone.


DC Misses the Worst of Sandy

As the hurricane swirls northwest through Pennsylvania, Upstate New York and Canada, it leaves the DC area largely unscathed.  20,000 Pepco customers and 98,000 Virginia Dominion Power customers are currently without power. Large trees are down in the area, and a few have crushed cars, but the damage pales in comparison to the disaster ongoing in the New York City area.

Our thanks go out to those who worked tirelessly during the storm today, from the DDOT, DCDPW, DC Water and Pepco Crews, to the first responders of DC Fire & EMS and the Metropolitan Police Department. This city was ready for a major disaster, and thankfully only has had to deal with a minor one.

Our thoughts & prayers are with the people of New York City, New Jersey and other affected areas. If you get a chance today, donate to the Red Cross.

If you do still have downed power lines, please call 911 to report the location. If you have trees down on the public right of way, call 311. If you have a catch basin that is blocked, call DC Water at 202.612.3400.

Now: go check on your neighbors. 


Here she comes: Sandy Emergency Information

Rock Creek Overflow by Mark Segraves, WTOP

Rock Creek Overflow by Mark Segraves, WTOP

Emergency Storm Contact Information

Pepco’s 24 hour Power Outage Line: 1-877-737-2662
Pepco’s Downed wires emergency line: 202-872-3432

Pepco’s Storm Map
Dominion’s Storm Map

Call 311 for downed trees in the public space, 911 if it’s causing bigger problems

For any issues involving catch-basin flooding or backup, call DC Water at 202-612-3400.

Phone, Cable, & Internet Service

RCN Cable, Phone and Internet: call 1-800-746-4726
Comcast Cable, Phone and Internet: call 1-800-934-6489
Verizon Phone and Internet: call 1-800-837-4966
Direct TV: Call 1-800-531-5000 or visit their website
Dish Network: Call 1-800-333-3474 or visit their website.

Food and Drink, Special Events, The Features

America’s Test Kitchen & a Preview of the FOOD exhibit at the Museum of American History

The bespectacled and beloved Chris Kimball of America’s Test Kitchen, along with the show’s science editor, Guy Crosby, gave a little chat last week in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s preview of an upcoming exhibit, “FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000.”

Among the highlights, Kimball explained that unlike other cooking shows, he embraces showing failure on America’s Test Kitchen in order to remove any fears about cooking. “You never see food shows go, ‘This sucks!’” he said. The mission is often to find out why bad things happen to good recipes, he added. Throughout the presentation, Kimball made the case for why recipes should be tested scientifically and why he chooses to use his head rather than his heart when cooking. Additionally, the duo answered the audience’s cooking questions and dispelled various cooking myths such as searing the meat locks in juices and marinating meat makes it more tender.

After the presentation, we caught a sneak preview of the FOOD exhibit (see a few photos after the jump) that is currently being installed at the National Museum of American History and set to open to the public on November 20th. The 3,800-square-foot exhibit will examine major changes in food production, distribution, preparation and consumption in America from 1950 to 2000.

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Sports Fix

Steelers defeat Redskins 27-12

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison
Pierre Garcon
courtesy of Keith Allison

Kai Forbath hasn’t missed a field goal yet in his short NFL career, and that might be the only positive to take from Sunday’s 27-12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nearly every aspect of the Redskins looked lackluster at best. The pass rush couldn’t get to Ben Roethlisberger, the secondary could stop the Steelers receivers  and at times it appeared RGIII wasn’t just trying to beat the Steelers but the ineptitude of his own offensive unit. Eight dropped passes is tough to overcome. Especially when the Steelers could seemingly score at will against the beleaguered Redskins defense.

The first drive of the game was a methodical dissection of the Redskins defense by Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. The Redskins could do nothing to stop the Steelers from imposing their will on them. Short pass after short pass led to big yards as the Redskins defenders insisted on lazily trying to arm tackle the Steelers strong wide receivers. Third string running back Jonathan Dwyer was able to run the ball down the throat of the Redskins gaining over 100 yards on the day, and Ben Roethlisberger ran the dink and dunk offense of the Steelers to perfection passing for three touchdowns.

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Music, The Daily Feed

Hot Ticket: Hurricane Sandy Nixes Shows, 10/29/12

Photo courtesy of TalAtlas
Sandy’s on the way
courtesy of TalAtlas

As the National Weather Service warned Sunday that Hurricane Sandy would likely bring powerful winds and strong rains to DC, major concert venues postponed their scheduled shows for Monday evening.

The 9:30 Club informed fans on its Twitter feed that Monday night’s Grouplove concert would be postponed until further notice. The Black Cat took to Twitter to say that its scheduled concert for Bear in Heaven was completely cancelled.

On its webpage, The Howard Theatre announced that early and late shows of flamenco queen Buika were postponed Monday night to a future date to be announced.

The Rock and Roll Hotel remained silent about its plans early Monday morning, but Shiny Toy Guns announced that the band and MNDR were unlikely to appear on Monday night.

On its Facebook page, Shiny Toy Guns said, “[W]ashington DC show is most likely going to now be on Sunday night, Nov. 4th. [W]e just received this information now. our tour bus is moving quickly through the night to the city of Baltimore, where we will be standing by while Sandy makes landfall in Atlantic City and turns north. So B-more will be our home for a few days while we pray our NYC show isn’t moved around. Baltimore party time!!!!”

The postponement or cancellation of major shows in Washington, DC, came as little surprise after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced it would run no trains or buses on Monday due to Hurricane Sandy.

While waiting for confirmation of the rescheduling of Shiny Toy Guns, read our interview with the band’s founder and keyboardist Jeremy Dawson.

The Daily Feed

Sandy: Drinking Water

Photo courtesy of Curtis Gregory Perry
courtesy of Curtis Gregory Perry

Tom has some good advice over in the left column, but here’s my top tip for you as someone who used to live in a hurricane zone.


You can skimp on almost everything else (except a safe place to be) but you cannot manage without water. It’s also a huge boon to you in a lot of ways.

You need it to drink and you shouldn’t assume you’ll be able to drink what comes out of your tap. The safety of our municipal water supply depends on it maintaining positive pressure.  Meaning that your water company keeps sufficient power and resources to keep the system pressurized well enough that water seeps out of the system rather than in from surrounding ground… which may or may not be safe without boiling. Which, if you’re without power, you may not be able to do.

So fill some containers. You don’t need to brave the crazy grocery for bottled water. In some ways you don’t want to – fill some junky old containers, leaving some room for expansion, and put them in your freezer. They’ll help keep it cool for any period of time your power is out and you can drink it. You can survive without food for many days, but you need drinking water.

Out of room in the freezer? Put them in the fridge. Same principle. Your physicist buddies will tell you that it’s water’s high specific heat, allowing it to resist temperature changes, which helps you here. Once you cool it down it tends to stay at that temperature, keeping the things around it at a similar temperature.

Don’t have tupperware? Zip-seal bags work too if you’re sufficiently gentle with them.


Be Ready for Sandy

Weather Underground's View at 11am Sunday

We’re inside the window for Hurricane Sandy, and the storm’s earliest effects are now arriving in the DC Metro area. Winds are picking up now, and the first rains are already in Ocean City and are moving their way westward into the Metro area. We’ll see this continue over the next several hours. The storm is expected to bring with it high winds (50mph+) and a lot of rain (3-8″ is forecast) and that’s going to mean power outages across the metro area as trees come down.  Here’s a few things you should be prepared for:

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All Politics is Local, Business and Money, Talkin' Transit

Ax grinding 102: Sparks off the grindstone

I swear I’m done with this metaphor after this.

Senator Durbin has fired back at Parkmobile over their Dodd-Frank posturing. It brings us to a point in the discussion where everyone gets to be right, maybe, depending on what your perspective is.

Durbin accurately states in his letter, below, that the Durbin amendment only addressed debit card fees. He also states, sort-of correctly, that it didn’t cause Parkmobile’s processing fees to rise.

However what Parkmobile originally said was “increased costs triggered by recent federal legislative reform enacted by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s Durbin Amendment.” That triggered by is so ambiguous as to be unassailable, though it’s similarly meaningless when it comes to assigning real blame.

For example: “Dennis the Menace’s mid-grocery meltdown, including wailing and juice-box-throwing, was triggered by his mother demanding that he stop urinating in the cereal aisle.” I don’t think it’s the trigger to blame there; Senator Durbin certainly doesn’t feel his amendment is to blame either.

As I pointed out yesterday, the management staff of Fontinalis probably feels differently about regulation. Founders have worked at Goldman Sachs, UBS, Highbridge Capital, Booth American, and other equity firms. On a whole these are people who aren’t going to be be regulatory fans, and where Durbin points the finger at processing firms for making up lost revenue by jacking up other charges the Fontinalis folks just see the person who originally pushed down on the lump in the waterbed.

Durbin’s letter below the jump.

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We Love Weekends

We Love Weekends: Oct 26-28

Tom: This weekend, we’ll be hanging out with two newly-married couples, as long as Blizzardcane Sandy doesn’t obliterate the coast. Much love and well-wishes for Jaime & Geoff and Eve & Dave, who are both entering wedded-bliss territory.  Were we staying in, though, I’d likely be carving pumpkins with natitude for the Nationals’ Halloween Contest. I’m also sorely in need of a good zombie drink, so count me in for the Passenger’s Saturday Night Freaky Tiki event or BYT and the Temple of Doom. I haven’t been excited about costume parties since I was in college, but these are two that have me rethinking my weekend choices.  Give ‘em a go.
Natalia: In case you didn’t know, I am in love with fall, everything about it is just wonderful. Pumpkins, changing leaves, hues of orange and red, crisp weather, apple cider, bourbon (well that last one goes with any season). So to enjoy my favorite time of year, I get up and get outdoors. Saturday we are headed out to Homestead Farm to pick our own pumpkins. I tend to go on a cooking craze with all things gourd. From carving to roasting to mashing it into a perfect dessert, its versatility mixed with a desire for creativity, makes for a perfect afternoon of cooking, windows open and apple cider sipping. Saturday night, I’ll be headed to a friends birthday dinner at Ethiopic on H – because nothing says Happy Halloween like a bunch of people in costume sharing wat. (right?!). Sunday, a little overdue cultural exploration. I’ve been dying to check out Ai WeiWei’s exhibit at The Hirshhorn, and weather permitting, a picnic on the mall to follow.
Jenn: There are so many parties going on over the next few days – private and public – that I plan to release my inner vampire and sleep during the day. Thursday saw me channeling my other inner vamp – flapper, that is – judging the costume contest at the Woodrow Wilson House’s 1920s Speakeasy bash. With gin cocktails provided by DC’s own New Columbia Distillers and jazz by Laissez Foure, this party to benefit the District’s only presidential museum had  to be fun. Friday’s top party is definitely BYT’s Temple of Doom at the kooky Sphinx Club, with so much mayhem packed in it’ll obliterate you. Saturday will be about private house party-hopping before heading to The Passenger’s always insane Halloween bash. This year the gang creates The Trail of Mahiki, the Hawaiian path to the land of the dead, and that means Tiki drinks, roast pig, human sacrifice, and zombies! After all that, I’ll need some art – seeing Folger Theatre perform an adaptation of the beautiful Sufi poem, The Conference of the Birds, on Sunday night. Maybe if my vampire strategy works, that will be followed by a visit to Tropicalia to dance to the Balkan beats of Raya Brass Band, with Gogol Bordello’s Thomas Gobena DJ-ing. What an endurance test!
Alexia: What I want to do this weekend: Friday: Omaha’s The Mynabirds (so good) open the night tonight at Black Cat, the headliner is AC Newman from The New Pornographers. (Check out my interview with Mynabirds front-woman Laura Burhenn, and with current guitarist J. Tom Hnatow!) Across town at Comet Ping Pong check out the indie-rock grooviness of Deathfix (featuring Brendan Canty of Fugazi and Richard Morel), as well as another Dischord band Soccer Team, and Berlin’s FensterSaturday: From noon til five there’s what sounds to be a kick-ass Punk Rock Flea Market at St. Stephen’s church on 16th & Newton, NW, hosted by Positive Force DC. In addition to cool vendors there are also bands playing from 3-5, including local favorites of mine weirdo-electro-rockers Heavy Breathing. Saturday night I’ve got invites to a couple awesome sounding Halloween house parties, one which features live bands. If you’re into the goth scene, or just feel like going there ’cause it’s Halloween, goth dance night Midnight will be hosting their 10th annual Halloween party at The Meeting Place, complete with costume contest, candy, cake…creepiness?  9pm, $5. What I’ll probably do this weekend: Practice every waking moment for my upcoming show with Black Hills at The Phillips Collection on November 1st, and my show with The Torches for the Dia de los Muertos party at The Torpedo Factory on November 2nd. 
YouTube Preview Image
Don: With the uncertain weather it may be a call to do some indoor close-to-home drinking. Where that is may be up for grabs and I might be tempted out by the call of the Tiki Gods. After all, the birds sing and the flowers bloom in the Tiki (Tiki Tiki) Room. I was all set to hit up the Ai Weiwei exhibit that Natalia mentioned until I heard they wouldn’t be restaging the above video.
Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Saint Etienne @ U Street Music Hall — 10/25/12 (or “Hey, NYC! I’ve Got Your Music!”)

Hey, NYC. This is your little brother DC talking. I’m not one to talk trash much (particularly when it comes to concerts), but I’m going to talk a little trash to you. You see, we just hosted a once-in-a-decade event at a cool little joint we have here called U Street Music Hall. The show was none other than Saint Etienne, the amazing disco/house band from London.

We sold that out and it was all kinds of amazing. (At least I think we sold it out, Mr. Eastman?) I see they are playing at Webster Hall tonight and somehow there are still tickets available. Now I know you get bands like Pulp and New Order up there and you know how to treat them right, right? Then, don’t miss out on Saint Etienne!

Let me tell you what you would be missing.

Sarah Cracknell (vocals), Bob Stanley (synths) and Pete Wiggs (more synths) are simply the smartest, lushest Eurodance band ever to hit the stage. Let me not fail to mention their capable fourth touring member — Debsey Wykes, formerly of UK post-punk band the Dolly Mixture, on backup vocals and cowbell! Now, Saint Etienne are indeed English, so they are a bit proper — and Cracknell, bless her, seemed earnestly embarrassed by the adulation she and her bandmates received at U Hall, as we fondly call it. But they earned every moment of frenzied screaming throughout their 17-song set.

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Sports Fix

Week Eight Preview: Redskins at Steelers

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Beall
Ben Roethlisberger
courtesy of Jeffrey Beall

The Steelers vs. the Redskins is always an interesting match-up. Not because the talent on the field in recent seasons has been comparable or even all that close, but because no two franchises are more opposite. Since Chuck Noll took over the Steeler in 1969 they have had three coaches. The Redskins on the other hand have been a revolving door and while the Steelers stand as the model of consistency and patience. The Redskins are the model of inconsistency and overreaction.

It is a different era now. RGIII has been nothing short of dynamic. His mere presence on the Redskins have given them a chance to win every football game this season. The Steelers want to be the first to put a true beat down on RGIII and the Redskins. With Fred Davis now out for the season and Pierre Garcon possibly headed that way the number of targets RGIII has to throw to are dwindling. In recent weeks Santana Moss has stepped up and looked like the receiver he was when the Redskins first acquired him. A quarterback as accurate as RGIII rarely lacks targets.

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News, Talkin' Transit

Ax grinding 101: Parkmobile goes full Dodd-Frank

DCist and GGW have both weighed in on today’s Parkmobile email blaming an increase in their service costs on Dodd-Frank. If you’re scratching your head about what a law largely addressing Wall Street behavior has to do with your parking meters then you’re a pretty reasonable person.

Here’s the answer as it’s grounded in reality, though you need to follow a chain of events: one of the few Dodd-Frank aspects that came close to directly impacting consumers was an extension of authority to the Federal Reserve to make sure that credit card swipe fees were “reasonable.” The swipe fee is the base charge the merchant pays when you buy something by credit or debit card – you swipe and the merchant pays a base processing fee plus a percentage of the purchase.

If you’re buying a flat-screen tv then the percentage, called a discount rate and usually in the 2% range, is the big chunk. If you’re selling gum or slurpees, however, then the approximately $0.30 swipe fee is the big deal. But you as a merchant suck it up and accept it because consumers are paying more and more with plastic even while the credit card companies spend millions to run commercial that portray people paying with cash as slow line-clogging buffoons.

However one thing that has stuck in a lot of people’s craws for a long time was the banks continuing to charge swipe fees on debit card purchases that were just as high as the credit cards. They felt that since the bank had instant access to the consumer’s balance and were at a lower risk for fraudulent charges that they should see some decrease in their side of the equation too. Card processors said no thanks, we kinda like this billions-a-year with low-risk thing.

Schumer’s Durbin’s amendment was just one more salvo in this war which has included lawsuits and other sabre-rattling. The Fed was now in the business of setting a price and they settled on around $0.21 though there’s some additional complexity.

The common-sense reaction to this, then, would be “then why didn’t my Parkmobile costs go DOWN?” Well, because debit cards aren’t the only part of the equation. The banks liked their profit margins, so when that revenue stream dried up they took two actions – they cut back on debit card rewards programs and they raised prices in some other areas… including costs related to charge cards.

You can argue whether or not it’s a good thing that those other areas had been cheaper when money was being made off the debit card users. Certainly if your style of credit use meant you are now paying more then it seems like not such a great move. But the bottom line is this: Parkmobile is raising costs because, presumably, the bottom line went up.

So if you get to here and ask “then why didn’t Parkmobile just say that the fee was going up because credit card processing costs were going up rather than mentioning Dodd-Frank?” Well, that’s where the ax grinding part comes in. When you’re a company under a larger umbrella that works in areas of “product management, domestic and cross-border expansion, government relations and the capital market” and your founding partners have been in bed with Goldman Sachs and other private equity firms… then maybe you’ve got larger feelings about financial regulation than just what a credit card charge costs. So why not stir the pot and point some fingers at something you’re not all that fond of anyway?

UPDATE 26 October 4:23p – I mistakenly identified this as an amendment to Dodd-Frank originated by Schumer; that’s incorrect, it was Durbin.

Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Psychedelic Furs w/ Lemonheads and The Chevin @ The Howard Theatre — 10/22/12

Brothers Richard and Tim Butler have such a strong love of performance that it’s not hard to see why they keep touring the Psychedelic Furs despite the band’s last album dropping in 1991.

To be fair, the Psychedelic Furs went through an intensively creative period in the first half of the ’80s, putting out timeless post-punk gems like “Love My Way,” “Heaven” and of course “Pretty in Pink.” When the Furs tour, they hit those highlights as well as “Heartbreak Beat” and “Highwire Days” naturally. Richard Butler, theatric and emotive, sings with his whole body, literally walking the audience through the songs on occasion. Bass player Tim Butler, silent in shades, stands behind his famously emotive brother, looking like the muscle in the room suggesting, “Yeah, you better listen to what he said.”

And what Richard says, or sings rather, is a well-loved catalog of songs about heartache and cynicism all delivered softly, lyrically and passionately. The Furs have a new song, “Little Miss World,” which fits in smartly with their better-known older songs. My personal favorite “All of This and Nothing” gave us a sharp saxophone solo from Mars Williams, who brilliantly solves the challenge of being in a six member group by taking a break from the stage when he’s not needed there. But the band and singer come together very well and Butler’s message to an ex-lover, “you didn’t leave me anything that I can understand,” always hits me in the gut. The Furs still sound great live and they perform well, easily justifying their longevity.

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