Entertainment, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

The cast of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." Photo by Scott Suchman.

The cast of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Photo by Scott Suchman.

Although Broadway musicals throughout history have been written about a tireless myriad of topics and events, few plot lines seem weaker or less full of suspense at the onset than The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. With the entire storyline centering on the events at a Midwest American spelling bee, the only initial enthusiasm for the show seems to be in wondering who the winner will be. Yet despite the fact that the entire plot really is exactly what it seems to be—contestants competing in a small-town spelling bee—The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a work of musical genius and one of the most amusing and entertaining shows I have ever seen.

The cleverness of the show lies in its complex simplicity. The plot is simple, with the audience knowing that as the show progresses, each of the contestants will be eliminated from the competition until there is only one winner. But book writer Rachel Sheinkin and composer/lyricist William Finn have added a wonderful layer of complexity to the show by leaving the audience asking more than just “who will win,” but also “what will cause the others to lose”, “how did the contestants come to be at the spelling bee in the first place”, and “how will this one event shape the remainder of the contestants lives (if at all)”. To be answered through short musical vignettes woven in between the actual bits of competition, and to all be done in a way that is uproariously hysterical is sheer brilliance. Continue reading

The Nationals

The Nationals in 2014: A Season Prediction

The grind begins today.

The Nationals take the field at 1:05pm against the Mets, having spent last October at home and out of the playoffs, and with all manner of new perspective that failure amid the predictions of greatness. Last year, there were quite a few that put the Nationals atop the NL East and heading deep into the postseason, but they fell far short. This year, the expectations game is different. While the critics are predicting many accolades, there are just as many asking hard questions about the core of the Nationals lineup. 

After the fan euphoria of 2012, and the attendant disappointment that went into 2013, Nats fans going into Opening Day 2014 are a lot more sanguine about the franchise. They have every reason to be excited, but yet they understand what it is to be humbled by a 162-game grind that puts even the most well-trained professional athlete through a brutal ringer. That’s not to say that all fans are fatalistic ones, that they toss blades of grass into the wind to find their direction, but rather that this might be the sort of realistic season where the sine curve of fullest rabidity and fullest despair are not vacillated between in an hour. 

Continue reading

The Daily Feed

2014 DC’s Elite Eight – Cast Your Vote

So some MAJOR upsets in the Sweet Sixteen with some top seeds taking a beating. DC’s “Mayor For Life” was upstaged by Mexican food hangout Lauriol Plaza. Schneider’s took a shellacking from the usually refined and reserved National Gallery of Art. The Hill’s Top 50 and Repeal Day took things down to the final seconds with booze ultimately winning out. Zoolights just did not show up and Ben’s Half Smoke rolled on over them. Our #1 seed – The DC Music Scene – looks strong with Food Trucks and the Annual DC Sports Playoff Collapse still in major play for the Final Four. There are no easy matchups for the Elite Eight, so choose wisely and get your vote in by March 31st.

#1 The DC Music Scene: The 9:30 Club, Black Cat (mainstage and red room), DC9, Rock N’ Hotel, U Street Music Hall, Gypsy Sally’s, Patty Boom Boom, Echo Stage, Flash, DAR, The Hamilton….I could and should go on but there are just WAY too many awesome DC music venues to list. You want an intimate show? You got it. You want a sell out ~20,000 person experience? Done. You want to get your dancing sweat on in a darkish, light parade? Boom! And it’s not just that they’re great places to see music, it’s that they bring in an utterly fantastic array of acts. On any given night, there are nationally known groups, up-and-comers, awesome cover bands and true indie artists showing us their stuff. What. To. Choose?!!!! Did I mention that the venues have awesome food and drink, and that they’re staff are some of the coolest people in DC?


#8 Capital Weather Gang: This gang of weather nerds is the area’s go-to team for (mostly) accurate news and information on the region’s weather. Actually, it’s really one guy surrounded by a bunch of weather-loving people – but to us, they’re the Gang. They do their own forecasts, analyze models, insert physics, and use their own knowledge in formulating forecasts that are more often than not, right on target. They update their blog on WaPo with reader photos and comments, stay on top of updates during big weather events, and are highly interactive. They’re clear without being condescending; they answer all your questions without your even asking. They tell you what they know and what they don’t. They know they’re not perfect and aren’t afraid to admit when they’re wrong. Best of all? They show you how the science is relevant and uncover its beauty for all to enjoy.

Continue reading

Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Lupo Verde

I hope our last article got you in the mood for aperitivo hour, because that’s what’s on the menu this week. Specifically, the menu at Lupo Verde; and with Campari, Cocchi Americano, Zucca, and Fernet all in their rail (best rail in the city, I tell you), it’s going to be aperitivo time for a long time.

But first, I have a confession: I don’t like Negronis. They’re Italian cocktails 101, I know, and this must seem like blasphemy, but it’s the truth. I’ll freely admit they taste great, but I can never appreciate the gin, it just gets lost amidst the campari and vermouth. At home I don’t waste the gin and mix Americanos. When I’m out, if I want something a little more high test, I go for a Negroni Sbagliato instead.

But the Negroni at Lupo Verde is a Negroni worth mentioning. The addition of Barr Hill gin in the Annarella is a total game changer. The earthy honey flavor makes the gin take center stage. I could be biased, Bar Hill is my favorite gin, I just can’t get enough of that honey infused junipery goodness, but this is the most memorable Negroni I’ve ever had.

And speaking of riffs on classic Italian cocktails, an Americano variation? Hell yes! Classic juniper bite from the gin, interesting earthiness from the addition of pisco, but the muddled coffee beans are the all star. Especially since they’re left floating in the cocktail. Forget your vodka Red Bull, this is how I’m going to get my late night buzz from now. Continue reading

Adventures, Essential DC, Fun & Games, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, The District, Throwback Thursday

We Love Throwback Thursday: 03/27/14

Pennsylvania Ave. with snow (estimated: 1913-18)

Whoever said DC hardly gets snow needs to take a long look at the Library of Congress archives because there seem to be plenty of photos, like the above shot of Pennsylvania Avenue dated somewhere between 1913-18, showing the white stuff all over our fair city. And I’m not gonna lie, they look to be handling the snow a tad bit better than we do currently. With this photo’s snow a distant memory and I’m hoping it puts some distance between us and the cold weather and, in that vein, this week’s reincarnated posts focus on moving into spring.

  1. You know that know-it-all guy who swears DC was built on a swamp? Yeh, well, he’s wrong. DC Mythbusting: Built On A Swamp?
  2. It’s time (hopefully) to get your gardens ready for the season, so soak up some super useful tips from Meredith Shepard of Love & Carrots.
  3. Maps! Maps! Maps!  We’ve amassed a great collection of DC maps that will be useful for navigation and for decorating your walls.
  4. Ok, we complain about tourists, but deep down we truly love them (cough) and want them to love our city, so pass on DC Mythbusting: Tourist Tips and be sure they have a good time.
  5. If we’re gonna rip on tourists, then we’ve got to rip on ourselves and our Breakdown of the “Sh*t DC Says Video” does just that. You have to laugh at yourself sometimes.
Adventures, Entertainment, Essential DC, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, Special Events, The District

DC’s 2014 Sweet Sixteen – Cast Your Vote

In the spirit of March Madness, we’ve decided to create our own Sweet Sixteen bracket to find out who (or what) you think should be DC’s 2014 champion. Culled from a rather large author submitted list, these sixteen contestants represent the heart and soul (and headslaps) of our fair city. We’ve randomly paired them up in eight killer match ups where you get to decide who makes it to the Elite Eight. Voting goes until tomorrow night (the 27th at 12am) with the next round opening up on the 28th.

#1 The DC Music Scene: The 9:30 Club, Black Cat (mainstage and red room), DC9, Rock N’ Hotel, U Street Music Hall, Gypsy Sally’s, Patty Boom Boom, Echo Stage, Flash, DAR, The Hamilton….I could and should go on but there are just WAY too many awesome DC music venues to list. You want an intimate show? You got it. You want a sell out ~20,000 person experience? Done. You want to get your dancing sweat on in a darkish, light parade? Boom! And it’s not just that they’re great places to see music, it’s that they bring in an utterly fantastic array of acts. On any given night, there are nationally known groups, up-and-comers, awesome cover bands and true indie artists showing us their stuff. What. To. Choose?!!!! Did I mention that the venues have awesome food and drink, and that they’re staff are some of the coolest people in DC?


#16 Swachos at American Ice CompanyThe concept is a simple one, but it’s the execution that makes this salty bar favorite into something that I crave. The house-made queso is rich but not too thick, the jalapeños are spicy, but not overwhelming, and the house pickle brine they’re steeped in has just the right balance of sugar and vinegar to bring out their playful flavor. And then the pork. Oh the pork. The shredded pork is the king’s crown atop this marvelous plate. Wash it down with a DC Brau Citizen and a Bulleit Rye pickleback, and you have my favorite bar meal in the entirety of the city on a warm spring day on their patio. This is a reminder that simple can be good all on its own, when executed with diligence and care.

Continue reading

Entertainment, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Loveland

Loveland at Arena Stage

(Ann Randolph in Loveland Photo: Teresa Wood)

As she struts up and down the imaginary aircraft cabin on the stage of Arena’s Kogod Cradle, Franny Potts (Ann Randolph) achieves a level of adorkable that dates back before Zooey Deschanel put on a pair of plastic frames. I’m not talking about today’s awkward yet cute look, I’m talking about an unfiltered mouth passionately spouting out factoids about America’s National Parks. I’m talking about a mouthful of adult braces and the lisp it causes. I’m talking about proudly and unabashedly being a dork because you love it and you don’t care what everybody else thinks.

The protagonist in Randolph’s Loveland reminded me of Molly Shannon’s Sally O’Malley character on SNL, down to Franny’s black stretch pants. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Potts spoke about her love of kicking, stretching, and kicking while shouting, “I’m 50!”

Loveland is a semi-autobiographical tale of humor, love, and loss. In this one-act, one-woman play, Randolph is awkwardly hilarious, occasionally endearing, and is very comfortable in her pair of stretchy pants.

Continue reading

History, Opinion, Sports Fix, The Features

Hey R**skin Fans, Snyder Cares! (Not Really)

With little fanfare, Washington pro football team owner Dan Snyder slipped a letter out to the team’s fan mailing list this past Sunday. It was a masterful work of self-service. In it, Snyder finally realized there were problems in Indian Country, based on a supposed 26 visits to various reservations around the country. The visits – all cherry-picked to councils who “agree” with him about the “non-offensive” nature of the team’s moniker – apparently opened his eyes to the plight and ills of reservation residents.

Let’s set aside for a moment that Snyder refuses to meet with tribal councils who oppose the name, including the still-open invitation from the Oneida Nation in New York. Snyder quickly jumped to the “hey, there’s more important issues to deal with than changing a football team’s name” defense, pointing out the horrific poverty rates, unemployment, poor health, and abysmal education found on many Native reservations. And yes, these are real problems. Big ones. Continue reading

Featured Photo

Featured Photo

While we’ve been dealing with snow, way too much, we have been having a few of those Spring days that make living in DC oh so worth it. They have been too few and far between, but we have had them. And Streetamatic got one of those great sights of DC in Springtime. Why did these women bring lawn chairs out to Gravelly Point? Are they aviation enthusiasts? Given the fact that it’s DC, they might work for the FAA and enjoy plane watching in their free time (tell me that’s not possible in this town!). Certainly, the plane landing gives location and uniqueness to the photo; without it, this sight could be anywhere. All around, a great shot!

Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Blouse and Dum Dum Girls @ Black Cat — 3/22/14

Dee Dee Penny of the Dum Dum Girls (Courtesy of Sub Pop Records)

Dee Dee Penny of the Dum Dum Girls (Courtesy of Sub Pop Records)

The Black Cat hosted two female-fronted bands well worth an evening of listening on a sold-out Saturday night.

Blouse, a synthpop trio from Portland, Ore., recently traded their keyboards for guitars on their second album, Imperium. They opened for the Dum Dum Girls, the increasingly popular quartet from Los Angeles celebrating a third full-length release with Too True. This music reporter was pretty happy with both bands overall thanks to the shades of 80s post-punk that shown through in the music of their two sets.

Given my predilections, you’ll have to excuse me — when I first heard Blouse, I absolutely was hooked by their first album, and it’s been difficult for me to fairly judge their second by the standard that it set. I took notes during the show only to find myself scribbling praise for the songs from the band’s first self-titled album from 2011.

Continue reading

Entertainment, Life in the Capital, Music, Night Life, The District, We Love Music

We Love Music: NO. @ DC9 – 03/20/14


Try to Google “NO.” and you’ll have a hard time finding this LA – Echo Park specifically – based rock group. But keep looking (hint: add “Echo Park”,) the extra 5 seconds of typing/navigation will land you with a band that, after their performance at DC9 last Thursday night, is a strong contender for my artist of the year.

I stumbled across this relatively unknown indie rock group after returning home from another concert and mindlessly turning on my basic cable TV while I fixed myself some noms. Unfortunately, Carson Daly was on. Fortunately, NO. had just begun their set.

Continue reading

Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Cut Copy @ Echostage — 3/20/14

Cut Copy (by Michael Muller)

Cut Copy (by Michael Muller)

The first time I saw Cut Copy, the band performed with The Presets at the 9:30 Club in a September 2008 show that people universally remember as being really damn good.

Part of the reason for the success of that show was some pretty strong material the band released earlier that year in its sophomore album, In Ghost Colors, which was all around a great album. Indeed, I’ll go so far as to hail it as one of the Very Important Albums of the past 10 years—a definitive moment in the full embrace of New Wave-inspired dance music as indie kids again were deciding that dominant synths were not only socially acceptable but completely desirable. At Echostage on Thursday, March 20, the audience still gave its biggest reaction to “Hearts on Fire” and “Lights and Music” in the Cut Copy setlist, underscoring how those songs have managed to stick in the collective consciousness of the dancehall masses.

Continue reading

Weekend Flashback

Weekend Flashback: 3/21-3/23

Today’s Weekend Flashback is full of great photos. The photo group is full of even more great photos. Maybe it’s the light at the end of the cold, snowy tunnel that got everyone’s creative juices flowing. Maybe it’s the lead in the water. Whatever it is keep it up guys and gals! Click through to check out the rest. Continue reading

Week in Review

Week In Review: 3/17-3/20

Two weeks ago, I wrote Week In Review and the description I put in could describe this week as well. So I’m just going to say: I’m sick of snow for the year; can we have Spring now?

Despite the spirit-crushing-snow, our photo contributors submitted some great shots this week. Check them out and then go enjoy the brief amount of warm weather we are getting this weekend. Oh, and take your camera! Continue reading

We Love Weekends

We Love Weekends: Mar 21-23

Don: In my mind I’m dancing through green fields, even if Capital Weather Gang’s projections are kind of reserved. But who cares, it’s not snowing and after so long with near-freezing temps I’ll feel like I’m in the sub-tropics when it’s in the 50s. So the name of my game is going to be finding some outdoorsy stuff to do, though the spring uncertainty will mean a lot of playing it by ear. Our one concrete activity is a Sunday pickup of our third foster dog for PetConnect Rescue. We worried that we’d have an issue getting attached but it’s been fun being a part of getting dogs out of high-kill shelters and connecting them with homes.

Fedward: Like last weekend, the Social Chair and I are double-booked.  Friday night we have a friend’s birthday party, and Saturday night another friend’s going away party.  Without those plans we’d be moving into the Kennedy Center temporarily for the World Stages Festival and the opera I know as L’elisir d’amore (note to WNO: stop it with the English titles already – you’re never going to make fetch happen). We would also be making time for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Sunday’s brunch at the Passenger will round out our weekend as usual, double-booking or no.

Rebecca: Saturday looks to be BEAUTIFUL so I’ll spend my day outside soaking up the rays. First I’m in need of a bike to ride around the city, so I’m checking out the Used Bike Sale at Big Bear Cafe from 10-2pm. After it’s out to the town of Sharpsburg, MD for some fresh air and history.

Tiff: I’ve got friends in town for the annual Scope It Out walk benefiting colon cancer research, and they’ve got little kids, and we’ve got a little kid, and anyway, there will be a passel o’ strollers, probably playing tourist on the Mall if the weather holds out. (Please? PLEASE?) And then grilling, because nothing says “Winter, go away” like cooking outside with fire. Sunday finds us getting our local politics on at a neighbor’s meet and greet for Phil Mendelson‘s campaign for Council Chair.

Adventures, Education, Essential DC, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, The District, The Mall, Throwback Thursday

We Love Throwback Thursday: 03/20/14

Senate Majority Leader crowns Cherry Blossom Queen.

courtesy of the Library of Congress

In honor of the first day of the 2014 Cherry Blossom Festival, I’ve pulled the above photo from 1939 of then Senate Majority Leader Alben W. Barkley placing festival the crown on the head of Peggy Townsend, Cherry Blossom Queen. Super retro. Super cool. Ah, the good old days. Now let’s reach back to this week in bygone WeLoveDC years to surface five oldie, but goodie articles that will make your week sing.

  1. Get edumacated on the history behind the cherry blossoms with Monumental: Cherry Blossoms 
  2. Learn how Katie (a non-runner) learned to love it by training for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler. On Running and Falling In Love. 
  3. Psst…the Tidal Basin isn’t the only spot for cherry blossom viewing. The Insider’s Guide: Cherry Blossom Bliss. 
  4. Farmer’s markets are about to explode with produce and fare as we emerge from winter. Here’s your to-go guide: We Love Food: Farmer’s Market Tips
  5. There’s just something right about spring and poetry. Check out Acacia’s serenade to DC with “I Love DC: An Ode”
Featured Photo

Featured Photo

Did you know DC has a roller derby? Have you ever gone? Maybe you should so you can try your hand at some panning like pablo.raw. Panning is one of the more challenging techniques in photography. The goal is to clearly capture the subject while blurring the background to give you a sense of movement. We’ve posted other photos that give an example of this but Pablo’s photo really demonstrates how much movement you can get. It’s more challenging to pan indoors or in low light conditions so photogs will use a flash to help freeze the moment. This is called slow sync flash and it allows for a slower shutter speed with more light coming into the camera. From there it’s up to the photog to decide if they want to sync the flash with the front or rear curtain as both give different results in the final image. Some sleuthing on Flickr will give you some great ideas about how this feature can be used. After trying your hand at it make sure you post your best shots to the photo group!

P.S. Tonight is the opening of Exposed DC at Longview Gallery. As someone who has previously had photographs in the show and attended many of the opening night festivities I can tell you that it’s a super fun awesome good time. That’s not even including all the yummy noms that will be offered. The show runs until April 6 so if you can’t make it tonight you’ll have ample time to check it out later. The photographs are for sale as well so it’s a great, and relatively inexpensive, way to begin your private art collection. Tickets are $15 ahead with a limited number for $20 at the door.

We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Exposed DC Opens Tonight!

There’s no question that the District has its photogenic side, from the federal-style buildings, to the landmarks that dot the landscape, to the incredible urban environment that we all know and love. DC is a city that shows its good side more than most I’ve known, and tonight the photographic community celebrates its best at Exposed DC, a show that runs from tonight through until April 6th at Longview Gallery.

Tickets to the opening are $15 until 1pm today, so act quickly before they’re all sold out, it will be $20 at the door. There will be food and drink starting at 6pm from Bluejacket Brewery, Tel’Veh Wine Bar, Boxwood Winery, Founding Farmers and Farmers Fishers Bakers, Everlasting Life Vegan Restaurant, and Cavanagh Family Imports. There’s even an After Party at The Passenger with specials from El Buho Mezcal and Rhum Clément. The opening runs until 10pm, and the After Party starts at 8, so plan your attendance appropriately.

Many of the photos you see on We Love DC are by DC Photographers who will likely have spots on the wall at Longview, so be supportive of the amazing photographers that power the visual aesthetic of this and so many other DC websites that you know and love.

The exhibit runs until April 6th, but don’t dally and miss it.

Congratulations to Exposed DC for all their hard work, and make sure to get out to the exhibit!