We Love Music

Noa and the Washington Jewish Music Festival

Sunday kicked off the 14th annual Washington Jewish Music Festival, presented by the Washington DCJCC’s Morris Cafritz Center for the Arts. Israeli icon Noa opened the festival at Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center with a performance as versatile as it was contagious, including operatic pop, adapted children’s songs, and tin cans.

Achinoam Nini (Noa)’s Israeli-Yemenite-Bronx sound has become an international sensation. On Sunday night she was backed up by long-time collaborator Gil Dor, The Yoed Nir String Quartet, and Gadi Seri on percussion. The performers used a modest stage of two platforms and some chairs – plus a rug for Noa’s bare feet – to produce a huge sound spanning continents.

Their eclectic collection – including the theme song to Life is Beautiful along with songs from her Yemenite heritage and the Israeli songbook – was a perfect start to what will likely be a wild mix of world music this year. Here are some other events to look out for (see the full schedule here):

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Weekend Flashback

Weekend Flashback: 4/26-4/28

Last days of April are here. Only four weeks till Memorial Day. At least we have Cinco de Mayo to hold us over. But to get to the fifth day of May, we’ve got six others to deal with first. Let’s get the week rolling and that means you checking out the great pictures from a beautiful weekend. Let’s get to it! Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Nats Drop Series Finale 5-2 to the Reds

Photo courtesy of Danny Dougherty
Werth strikes out
courtesy of Danny Dougherty

Coming into Sunday’s game against the Reds it could be argued that Ross Detwiler had been the Nats best starters, or at least one of them, as his 1.38 April ERA was among the tops in the NL. As they say in baseball, all things eventually regress to their mean, and Detwiler would have his first rough outing of the season. In the first inning he would get Choo to strikeout, before falling behind the next three hitters and giving up three straight base hits. All the balls were hard hit, but Cozart’s single ticked off of Espinosa’s glove, and Votto’s double just found chalk.

This is how it would go all day for the Nats and Ross Detwiler. Before the day was over Detwiler would give up 4 runs on 11 hits and 10 would be singles with more than a few of them having some luck tied to them. Take for instance Detwiler’s fourth inning in which he allowed his fourth and final run of the afternoon. Corky Miller would lead off the inning with a weak infield single that just happened to land where no fielder could reach it. After a sac bunt and a ground out moved him to third he would score on a Cozart single.

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Sports Fix, The Daily Feed, The Features

Nats Beat Cincinnati 6-3 For Their Third Consecutive Win

Phillies vs Nationals 8/1/12courtesy of Matthew Straubmuller

Right-handed starting pitcher Dan Haren threw his longest outing of the season Saturday afternoon leading the Washington Nationals to a 6-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. The game was a much stronger outing than the last time he faced the Reds during the first week of the season. The Nats lost that match-up 15-0, but Haren’s start and Washington’s offense gave the Nats their third consecutive win.

Washington made right-handed pitcher Mike Leake work hard early. After a three up, three down first inning, seven of the Nats’ starting nine faced him in the second while scoring two runs to give Washington a 2-0 lead.

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The Daily Feed

Jordan Zimmermann One Hits Reds in Nats 1-0 Victory

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison
Jordan Zimmermann
courtesy of Keith Allison

Most of the focus on the Nationals coming into 2013 was placed on a pitching staff that finished first in the NL in ERA, but most of that focus was on the third place finisher in the Cy Young voting, Gio Gonzalez and the non-shutdown pending phenom Stephen Strasburg. Back when Jordan Zimmermann was drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft, the same draft as Detwiler, there was a lot of talk about his upside and how he could be a top of the rotation star. Tonight in one hitting a dangerous Reds line-up Jordan Zimmermann showed why he was the man who could have been the Ace.

With the Nats offense struggling to score runs and facing a pitcher that shut them out the last time they saw them Jordan Zimmermann was going to have to be on the top of his game. Instead of giving the Nats that he elevated his game. Earlier this season in Miami Jordan Zimmermann pitched a complete game win, but it was not a shutout. Against the Reds he pitched what may be the most dominate performance in Nats history. He allowed one hit on 91 pitches with 59 of them being strikes.

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We Love Weekends

We Love Weekends – Apr 26-28

Joanna: With family in town this weekend, a traditional visit to Shelly’s Back Room is in order. And since these Castles are Irish Jews – rare as leprechauns – it’s guaranteed we’ll also stop by Star and Shamrock. If we weren’t doing that Friday, I’d probably check out Dramathon at Theater J, which raises money for The Theatre Lab’s scholarship fund through readings of 10-minute plays by local playwrights. I’m also seeing Mary T. and Lizzie K. at Arena Stage somewhere in there, which the Great Jenn says is a Great Show. On Sunday I’m watching the fab Lauren Boston in Listen to Your Mother at Synetic Theater before heading out to Silver Spring to hear Noa open the Jewish Music Festival. Oy! That’s a lot.

Rachel: This weekend is a standard spring weekend for me — music and baseball. Friday night there’s a concert at Ebenezers Coffeehouse that I’d never miss in a million years. My buddies Zia Hassan, Don Kim, and Dave Farah are playing an acoustic show along with Kiirstin Marilyn. They’re all fantastic songwriters in their own right and they all have spectacular voices that’ll leave you wanting more. I strongly recommend this show. If you come, I promise there’ll be free hugs and plenty of laughter! Then, I’ll be heading to Nats Park on Saturday for some day game baseball as the Nats face the Cincinnati Reds before a night in Rosslyn spent celebrating my favorite dog’s (yes, a real dog, I have no shame) birthday party. Afterward, I’m sure the human attendees at that party will end up out and about in the Court House area — most likely at Ragtime or Four Courts. Next up is softball Sunday at Stoddert Field with the GPCSL. Good times indeed.

Tom: Weeeeekeeeeeeend! After last week’s successful trip to Chicago, I’m thinking there’s a lot to accomplish here. But first, priorities, and that means the Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival which runs all afternoon & evening on Saturday. There will be pickin’ & chunkin’ and that’s going to be marvelous. Also on the docket is a longer ride through perfect cool morning weather that morning, possibly out the W&OD Trail toward Vienna.  This is also a perfect barbecue weekend, so I’ll be firing up the grill with some deliciousness from various local purveyors.

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Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

National Geographic Live – May/June 2013

NGS Picture ID:1034497

The first American team ascends Mount Everest in 1963. (Photo courtesy National Geographic)

National Geographic Live’s spring programming winds down in May with several great events. As usual, our friends at the National Geographic Museum are offering two pairs of tickets to our readers. To be considered for the random drawing, enter your name and which two events you’d most like to see in the comments area. On Tuesday, April 30 at noon we’ll draw two names and get you set up with one of your chosen events. (Note that there are two events listed below that are ineligible for the drawing; the evening with Buzz Aldrin and the Beer Tasting.)

For those unable to attend these great programs, you can now view them online a few days after the live event. All programs are at the Grosvenor Auditorium at the National Geographic Museum on 17 and M Street, NW; parking is free for program attendees after 6 pm.

Isabel Allende: A Portrait in Sepia ($22)
May 1, 7:30 pm
Spend an evening with one of the world’s greatest writers when Isabel Allende, author of The House of the Spirits and most recently Portrait in Sepia, comes to National Geographic. A Chilean author whose books established her as a feminist force in Latin America’s male-dominated literary world, Allende spins stories of family, politics, and human rights that transfix audiences. She’ll converse with National Geographic Traveler’s Don George, editor of the new travel anthology, Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers, which features her work.

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Get Out & About

Get Out & About: The Arlington Loop

Continuing with the bike path meme, our next stop is the Arlington Loop, a contiguous 16.5-mile loop that runs along four trails: Four Mile Run, W&OD, Custis and Mt. Vernon. This loop, depending on where you pick it up and which direction you go will either be about a 5 on the difficulty scale or it’ll be an 8. Clockwise, starting from the 14th Street Bridge, and you have a good ride with light to moderate ascents and some quality downhill. Counter-clockwise starting from Theodore Roosevelt Island, you have a brutal ascent up the Custis Trail, followed by relatively flat descent to National and back around.

Personally, because I hate hills except to go down them, I chose to pickup the Mt. Vernon Trail at the 14th Street Bridge on my way through town. This approach is one of three I’d recommend: Starting in DC, head to the Mall, then down & around 15th street past the Jefferson Memorial and then up the bike path over the Potomac there. At the foot of the bridge is the Mt. Vernon Trail, and you can head North if you love a good steep climb up the Custis Trail, or you can head South past National Airport.

I opted for the latter not because I’m afraid of hills, but because my knees just aren’t all the way down with the standing climbs necessary for a few of those Custis beasts.. If you want that extra cardio workout, though, go North by all means. The Mt. Vernon Trail along the Potomac is serene, with some incredible vistas.

My favorite part of this whole ride, though, is right at Gravelly Point near the Airport. Depending on the wind and the aircraft direction, planes will be taking off and landing right over your head, and the photographic possibilities from here are absolutely endless. Don’t miss this one if you can avoid it. It’s worth your time & attention. There are also a couple portapotties here, making it one of the few likely restroom breaks on this particular route. Your other options are pretty limited in this regard.

There are several entry/egress points for this ride, with clear access at the 14th Street and Memorial Bridges, as well as the Teddy Roosevelt Island path entrance from Rosslyn at Lee Highway & North Lynn Street. The Custis Path has a number of Arlington access points and listing all of those would take quite some time.  The W&OD Trail also has a number of access points, but the clearest are along Four Mile Run Drive in South Arlington.  From there, the Four Mile Run trail also has a number of entry points, including Shirlington, South Glebe Rd, and near the sewage treatment plant. 

Don’t forget to hydrate and fill your bottles before you get on the trail, your opportunities for refreshment are pretty few & far between on this ride. 

Featured Photo

Featured Photo

How a photographer orients their camera can have surprising effects on the finished product of a photograph. That sounds like an obvious statement yet most people never move their photos beyond portrait or landscape compositions. But once one realizes that photographs can be oriented however one wants, a whole new world of art can be opened up.

Let’s take Patrick’s photo above. Rather than simply composing the shot as a regular landscape shot, he set the escalator’s handlebar as the plane of the photo. This small change suddenly makes all the people look as if they are carrying or pulling heavy loads. Combined with the grim black and white treatment, it really does look like they are enduring some sort of punishment. If we imagine what this shot would look like with a typical orientation it would lose much of its interest.

Music, People, She/He Loves DC, The Features

He Loves DC: Chris Naoum

Photo Courtesy of Chris Naoum

Photo Courtesy of Chris Naoum

She/He Loves DC is a series highlighting the people who love this city just as much as we do.

If you frequent any of DC’s vast array of performing arts venues then you’ve likely seen Chris Naoum’s face around town before. Since co-founding Listen Local First DC in 2011, Naoum’s spent his time fully immersed in DC’s music scene. With a law background, Naoum specializes in copyright, media and telecom law, and policy. He’s also a staunch advocate for independent musicians, artists, and businesses.

As part of his Listen Local First duties, Naoum helps coordinate, execute, and host events in conjunction with DC businesses and artists. The events range from educational sessions to live shows including the Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival which is happening this weekend.

What is it about DC that makes it home to you?

The people and the feeling of community. DC is a relatively small city. Everybody knows everyone and most people are very friendly. People are also doing really neat things. Whether it’s the start-up tech scene or the people working for non-profits that are trying to better the world, I’m always amazed to find out what people do for a living. Those that do not work in those sectors and work for the government or big firms are still really engaged with their local community and cultural development.

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Sports Fix, The Daily Feed, The Features

Nats Bats Are Quiet Again, St. Louis Wins 2-0

pitcher of lightcourtesy of philliefan99

For the second time in that many days, the Nationals fell to St. Louis, losing 2-0 Tuesday night, on six strong innings of work from left-handed starting pitcher Ross Detwiler. Detwiler gave up two runs on eight hits, walked two, and struck out two on 93 pitches (60 strikes).

Washington’s defense was the strongest positive worth noting in a game where their bats fell short. In the first five innings, the Nats turned four successful double plays to rob St. Louis of additional runs. But not even spectacular defense from shortstop Ian Desmond, second baseman Danny Espinosa, first baseman Adam LaRoche, catcher Kurt Suzuki, and Detwiler could win them the game. Continue reading

Get Out & About, The Great Outdoors, Travel

The Insider’s Guide: Bear. Church. Rock?

When I’m hit with an urge to get outdoors, you might find me cruising down Route 29 towards Shenandoah National Park. Shenandoah is the most extensive wilderness space easily accessible to DC, and encircles almost 200,000 untouched acres of Northern Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

The places that I visit most often in the park are Old Rag Mountain, a challenging day hike with rock scrambling sections and breathtaking summit views, and Skyline Drive, a 105-mile undulating, ridge-hugging highway that’s best to drive in the spring or fall when tree colors are changing. I’m sure I’ll be returning to both spots soon, but on an early spring day I convinced a couple of friends to try a destination we’d never been to before.

We got a late start on the day (as we usually do), and overshot our intended noon departure time by almost an hour, sailing down Constitution Ave heading west out of the city. As anyone familiar with I-66 might expect though, we quickly found ourselves in traffic. How that road has backups on it seven days a week I’ll never understand, but it did eventually ease up and we decided that with the sun staying out well past 7:00, we’d still have time to complete the four hour hike as planned.
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The District

Vote Today. It’s Important

The exercise of your franchise as a citizen is the simplest task. Show up, prove who you are (photo ID not required, most times), push buttons or circle in ovals, file your ballot, and walk out whistling a happy tune. The whole thing can be a process, I know, but today you have the benefit of voting in a special election, which means turnout across the city is going to be light, which means there will be no lines. 

Don’t know where to vote? No problem.

Not sure if you’re registered? No problem. (If the answer is no, also no problem, you can vote in DC on a same-day registration. You need a District ID, a lease or utility bill with your name, or a bank statement in your name, a paycheck with your name and address, or another government document with your name and address.)

So. What are you voting for?

First up is the easy one: an amendment to the District’s Charter. This amendment, if approved, would grant the District direct control over revenue paid by District residents.  Currently, all revenue for the District is subject to the interference by the Congress, where we have no representation. This amendment would allow the District Government to directly appropriate tax dollars collected by the city instead of passing them to the Federal government and requesting them back. 

This one’s a no brainer.

The next one is a lot more interesting, and a lot less clear: an At-Large member of the Council of the District of Columbia. When Kwame Brown resigned, and Phil Mendelson filled his chair in the November election by popular vote, his own At-Large seat went vacant. It has been held since then by Anita Bonds, who put there by Democratic Party fiat. The election today fills that seat until the 2014 general election, the rest of Mendelson’s original term.

Who’s running? Anita Bonds (D), Matthew Frumin (D), Elissa Silverman (D), Paul Zukerberg (D), Patrick Mara (R), and Perry Redd (SG). 

That’s four Democrats, one Republican and a Statehood Green. I can’t tell you who to vote for – that’s not our job – but many say that this is a three-way race between Bonds, who represents an older, more traditional DC, and Mara and Silverman, who each represent reform for the city Council. Mara is on his third run for the council, all three from the Republican side of the aisle, something the council hasn’t seen since Carol Schwartz was bounced during a primary (she lost to Mara). Silverman is on her first run for the council, and is on leave from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, a think tank that works on DC budget issues.  Before serving at DCFPI, she was a Loose Lips columnist for Washington City Paper.

Mara, Silverman and Bonds are likely going to duke it out over a very few votes, so if you want to feel like you have outsize influence in a local election, today’s your day to go out and vote. Go vote, you’ll feel better no matter what happens.

Sports Fix, The Daily Feed, The Features

Dan Haren Looks Stronger, But Nats Fall 3-2 to St. Louis

long drive home
courtesy of philliefan99

Nats starter Dan Haren pitched one of his finer games of the 2013 season on Monday night but Washington fell just shy of a win over their National League foes from St. Louis. The Cardinals one upped the Nats wining 3-2 in the first game of a three game series.

In the clubs’ first match-up since the 2012 postseason, Haren held the Cardinals to six hits and three runs on 98 pitches, 56 for strikes, through five innings plus four batters. He walked three, struck out three, and hit a batter — a play which sparked the rally that won St. Louis the game. Continue reading

Entertainment, The Daily Feed

Local Comedy Group LYGO Hopes To Bring On The Laughs With Second Weekly U-Street Show


As I walked up to Desperados on U Street, I was greeted by a man collecting tickets who describes himself to be “5 foot, 19 inches”. He appeared to be just a guy manning the front door until I found out he was Richard Bennett, LYGO DC co-founder and host of the comedy show I was attending.

As I went into the basement bar/restaurant I immediately spotted the stage: a small black wooden crate that couldn’t have been more than two feet long with a height of probably six inches. Behind the makeshift stage was a long sheet of black plastic that resembled a shower curtain. To say the set-up of the event was no-frills would be an understatement, but it is the bootstrapping approach that has helped the local group grow from a brunch-time comedy show at to quickly growing addition to the DC comedy scene.

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Special Events, We Love Drinks, We Love Music

DC Toasts the Black Mixology Club

At this point you know how we feel about Dale DeGroff, Derek Brown, Garrett Peck, and the Museum of the American Cocktail.  You also know how we like fancy parties with good drinks. So I’ll be brief: all those people (and more) are organizing DC Toasts the Black Mixology Club, a benefit for the Museum, May 10 at the Howard Theatre. The Chuck Brown Band will perform.

The discount for early ticket sales has been extended through tonight. Regular tickets at the early access price are $65; VIP tickets with early admission are $90. For more information, check out the Washingtonian’s Best Bites Blog, this Kojo Nnamdi interview with some of the organizers, or the event’s about us page.

That is all.

Weekend Flashback

Weekend Flashback: 4/19-4/21

Nothing happened this weekend. And I think we are all happy about that. I won’t dwell on the nothing happening, so let’s just go straight into the photos. As always, our contributors were out in force the previous three days and have some excellent work to show off. So, put your feet up, continue to ignore that intern who’s trying to quietly get your attention, and enjoy some great photography. Continue reading

Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: WLDC 2012-2013 Theater Review


Spring is in the air, Cherry Blossoms are coming and going, pesky tourists return to stand on the left side of the escalator.

As the temperature goes up, the DC Theatre season is winding down. With a couple of months to go til we enter the “Summer Reruns”, the We Love DC Theater team got back together at The Passenger to look back at what we said in our earlier preview and how it all shook out.

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