Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Moogfest Pt. 2 (Asheville, NC—4/24/14)

Janelle Monae speaks (Photo courtesy Moogfest)

Janelle Monae speaks (Photo courtesy Moogfest)

Generally speaking, I’m a night owl, and when I travel I revel in my rare opportunities to own the night–even if owlishly.

That said, my capacity for enjoying the day programming offered by Moogfest was admittedly limited. Out of intense curiosity, however, I was able to rise early enough on Thursday, April 24, to catch some of a presentation by Janelle Monae and her collaborators Chuck Lightning and Nate Rocket Wonder.

The session, titled after Monae’s work “The Electric Lady,” took me to the Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville’s Pack Place for the first time. The 500-capacity theatre is a great place to catch a chat or a performance of any sort, and I found myself comfortably listening to Monae recount her experiences on tour, creating a series of paintings on stage during performance depicting the self-titled “Electric Lady” in question.

Monae related some of her experiences around the art (music and painting), her feelings about it and her longing for some sort of perfection. She and her cohorts were humbled to report performing at the White House for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama a total of five times so far. It gave Monae perspective and inspiration to hear that the First Lady often listened to her music during workouts; she and the others agreed that it gave them an added depth of responsibility to consider the messages behind their music when they knew such influential people were listening to it.

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Featured Photo

Featured Photo

Bokeh is something that you’ll hear a lot of photographers talking about. Photographs with good bokeh have an appealing aesthetic; a quality that is as much because of the photographer as it is because of the lens the photographer used. When you isolate the subject and create a small depth of field the background becomes blurred and and the subject stands out. Shallow focus is a good way to achieve this, just set your aperture to wide open. If the subject has a stark color contrast to the background the effect can be even more dramatic as is the case in this lovely photo by Ian Livingston. Not only does the white tulip stand out against the red ones but the blurring of the background tulips makes it even more of a focal point. The photo looks like a pastel painting and would certainly look great framed and hanging on a wall. Well done, Ian.

Entertainment, The Daily Feed, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: The Threepenny Opera

Polly Peachum (Erin Driscoll) and Lucy Brown (Rick Hammerly) vie for the love of Macheath in “The Threepenny Opera,” now playing at Signature Theatre through June 1, 2014. Photo by Margot Schulman.

Polly Peachum (Erin Driscoll) and Lucy Brown (Rick Hammerly) vie for the love of Macheath in “The Threepenny Opera,” now playing at Signature Theatre through June 1, 2014. Photo by Margot Schulman.

Meh. That’s the best way to describe Signature Theatre’s production of The Threepenny Opera. But I can’t blame them for it. After all, it was written to be that way. Sort of.

Playwright Bertolt Brecht, who lived in Germany through the mid 20th century, believed that theatre was meant to be a forum for political ideas, in the hopes that it would result in actual social and bureaucratic change. Most notably authoring plays such as The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Mother Courage and Her Children, he is also credited with establishing the genre of Epic Theatre, of which almost all his plays, including The Threepenny Opera, are a part of.

Epic Theatre is based on the idea that a play should not create any type of emotional cartharsis or cause the spectator to identify emotionally at all with the characters or action on stage. By denying the audience any type of impassioned feeling, he believed it would instead allow them to adopt a critical socio-political view designed to provoke self-reflection and be moved to effect real change in the world.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Moogfest Pt. 1 (Asheville, NC–4/23/14)

Thundercat DJs the roof of the Aloft Hotel (Photo courtesy Moogfest)

Thundercat DJs the roof of the Aloft Hotel (Photo courtesy Moogfest)

I’ve always said that, compared to New York, D.C. is a small, sleepy Southern city. It was interesting then last week to somewhat put my money where my mouth is, and go to Asheville, N.C., a truly small Southern city, to attend Moogfest, the annual festival dedicated to the sounds of the synthesizer, and Moog devices in particular.

For five days, the city of Asheville is anything but sleepy, however, as visitors and residents alike rise at 9 a.m. for lectures, insights, demonstrations, presentations and performances, only to stay out until 2 a.m. every night, dancing their hearts out to the likes of Flying Lotus and Dan Deacon.

For my part, I arrived on Wednesday, April 23, the first day, and journeyed to city center, the location of the Aloft Hotel, a Moogfest sponsor. The hotel hosted the Moogfest Urban Art Installation Activation, a gallery featuring 10 large-scale installations designed to enhance the experience of an audience by engaging multimedia and multi-sensory experiences of sound, structure, light and form.

I headed to the roof for an opening party DJ’ed by Thundercat, a recording artist on Brainfeeder who played at our own U Street Music Hall as recently as last Nov. 26.

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Sports Fix

Roark Throws A Complete Game Shutout, Nats Beat Padres 4-0

Photo courtesy of evegophotos
Argyle Field
courtesy of evegophotos

Washington Nationals right-handed starting pitcher Tanner Roark notched a career-first on Saturday afternoon when he threw a  three-hit complete game shutout to beat the San Diego Padres 4-0. Roark threw 105 pitches and 73 strikes while walking one batter and striking out eight as he led the Nats to their second win of the three game series.

An early offensive rally for Washington against the Padres’ right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner initiated the eventual win by putting the Nats up 3-0 in the first inning. After a leadoff fly out to right field hit by outfielder Denard Span, the next four Nats batters reached base.

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We Love Weekends

We Love Weekends – April 25-27

Tom: The perfect weather is here!!! With a weekend of sunny-and-70, it’s time to take that perfect bike trailer out on the town with Charlie in tow. The Nats have a homestand coming to a close against the Padres, and there’s a bike valet down there, which is great. Yards Park has Crawfish for Cancer on Saturday afternoon too, which has me thinking that heading down there, and then to Bluejacket for some of their tasty beverages. I’ve also been dying to get back down to the Anacostia trail to go sit in the parks at Poplar Point. Bring me your sunshine, DC!

Rachel: I’m kicking off this weekend by living out a long-time dream of mine. I’m shooting the official music video for the first single off my brand new EP due out later this year. My buddy Don Kim and I are gonna team up on this effort to shoot a video that I feel will be an accurate representation of where I am at this point in my life. We’ll shoot during the day on Friday and then catch some footage at my Friday night show at Ebenezers Coffeehouse too. The always wonderful Zia Hassan and Phillip Noss will be co-headlining the night along with yours truly so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a fun and memorable night. Then, Saturday will be a day at the ballpark as the Nats take on the Padres in an early afternoon match-up. I’ll likely wrap the weekend with a location search for my next weekly video. Good times ahead! Bring on that warm weather!

Don: Well the weather is great so of course there’s indoor activities I’ve been interested in for months now. The USA Science and Engineering Festival is this Saturday and Sunday, though some affiliated stuff (like SparkFun’s Robot programming session!) started Thursday. We’ll move our staring at the boob tube outside though and go sit in the picnic area at Union Market to watch Frozen. Since I couldn’t convince any of our heretic visitors to go with me to see the Nats face the Cards last weekend I’m hoping we can drag That Darned Toddler along for his first game since he was a hint smaller. Saturday’s supposed to be a hint warmer but with both games at 1pm and his cheapskate father liking to sit in the unshaded outfield I don’t think it’ll be a problem either day.

Rebecca: I’ve been up enjoying the spring weather in NYC all this week, so it’ll be great to be back home for the weekend weather. Friday I’ll head to the Verizon Center to cheer on the Wizards in their first playoff game against the Chicago Bulls. Saturday I’ll be gardening it up with some friends, after which we will all chill out at The Lot @ Union Kitchen for solid food, beer and music. Sunday it’s soccer, farmers markets, yoga and a sunset beer in the garden with friends.

Fedward:  Friday night might see us at Union Market with Don.  Saturday, uh: anybody figured out how to be multiple places at once?  We’ve got friends coming in from out of town to go to the USA Science and Engineering Festival (which Don also mentioned) and see TMBG in the process (which he didn’t), but I also need to go to the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild’s annual plant sale (mentioned last week) and the Friends of the Soldiers Home fundraiser at Annie’s.  Saturday night I’ll take those out of town friends back to the Passenger, which they enjoyed on their last visit.  Sunday morning we’ll have brunch at Petworth Citizen before they head back out of town, and I’ll probably complete my weekend with … another visit to the Passenger for another brunch.  Or maybe I’ll just try to work on the garden.

Esther:  Once a year, Georgetown transports itself to Paris for the Georgetown French Market, complete with street performers, French food, and shopping.  So that’s where you’ll find me on Saturday afternoon.  Saturday night, I’m continuing to immerse myself in the French culture and I will be at the Avalon Theatre, on Connecticut Avenue NW for the DC Filmfest showing of Mood Indigo, directed by the innovative Michel Gondry.   Sunday, I’m ditching the Francophile in me and turning my attention to the archaeologist in me, visiting the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s Fossil Hall, before it closes Sunday for an extensive 5-year renovation. Always one of my favorite exhibit’s, once it closes, seems like the only skeletons in DC for the next 5 years will be the ones in the closets of Congress.

Sports Fix

Former Nat Xavier Nady Lifts Padres over Nats in Extras

The Padres 4-3 twelve inning victory over the Nationals Thursday night ended in fitting fashion. Bryce Harper led off the bottom of the twelfth with a double. The Nats needed him to score in order to tie the game, but the Nationals had been unable to muster a single hit with runners in scoring position all evening, and they had plenty of opportunity with 16 hits and all. There Bryce Harper stood with the few fans left in the stands hoping the Nationals fortunes would change, but it was not to be as Jose Lobaton hit a liner that seemed ticketed for left field and a tie game, but Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera drifted back, caught the ball, and doubled Harper off second.

It was another frustrating night for the Nationals, and another game in which they did more to beat themselves than the other team. As anyone how many runs a team should score when they have sixteen hits in a ball game and it is doubtful their answer would be three, but that is what the Nationals scored. The Nationals offense is off to a good start to the season in most major category except they lead the NL in runners left on base and have trouble getting hits with runners in scoring position.

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Adventures, Education, Essential DC, History, Life in the Capital, The District, Throwback Thursday

We Love Throwback Thursday: 04/24/14

3c02388r-1This week’s throwback photo illustrates that even tall people (6′+) can get the short end of the stick. Before 1925 men 6′+ couldn’t join the President’s police force, but eventually were allowed to protect our POTUS despite their “giant-ness.”

With the great weekend weather, let’s get you out of your neighborhood rut and exploring the neighborhoods you’ve heard of but for some particular reason haven’t made it to. And bless WeLoveDC alum, Shannon, for doing the hard work for you with her Where We Live series.

  1. Did you know Takoma Park got its start back in 1883 as a commuter rail suburb of Washington? Me neither! There’s so much more to this awesome, quaint hood. So hop on metro and check it out in Where We Live: Takoma Park.
  2. Step back in the past and see how U Street has changed since Shannon profiled it back in 2010. Where We Live: U Street Definitely worth reading before you
  3. In my weekly Sunday jaunts to the Palisades Farmers market I have some to love the neighborhood, and you’ll understand why with Where We Live: The Palisades.
  4. If you think U Street has changed, then check Where We Live: H Street from 2009 for a complete blast from the past on this transformed DC neighborhood.
  5. Generally speaking, I try to avoid the West End because, cough college students, but it’s rich with history, intrigue and non-college shenanigan awesomeness, Where We Live: West End.
Adventures, Essential DC, Georgetown, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital

11th Annual Georgetown French Market

If you’re looking to play hooky Friday or for an outside activity Saturday, then look no further then Georgetown’s 11th Annual French Market, which brings bits of Paris to Georgetown’s Book Hill neighborhood and runs Friday and Saturday, April 25th & 26th, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For two days, this small strip of Wisconsin Avenue offers a quaint, wonderful stroll full of fashion finds, French fare, home and antique shops, as well as the opportunity to explore the art galleries and listen to live music.

The neighborhood’s delicious restaurants, in particular Patisserie Poupon, Cafe Bonaparte and PAUL Bakery, will be on hand with butter-based pastries, sandwiches, crepes and more. Macaron Bee will be offering complimentary teacakes with any purchase, while wine lovers can score 15% of all wine and enjoy wine tastings at Bacchus Wine Cellar.

There are also some serious shopping discounts to be had from DC boutiques like Dandelion Patch, Ella RueSherman Pickey and Urban Chic. If you’ve got weddings, showers or races coming up, then this is a great opportunity to score that frock you’ve been hunting for. Personally, I’m looking forward to the awesome fresh flowers from the English Rose Garden, as I’ve decided having flowers around my apartment makes me happy.

While this is not a large street fare, it’s a sweet, spring-filled, happy event definitely worth adding to your weekend itinerary.

Sports Fix

Nats Rally in the Ninth to Beat Los Angeles 5-4

Photo courtesy of dmbosstone
Nationals Walk-Off Win Vs. Mets
courtesy of dmbosstone

The Washington Nationals were left with two outs and down 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels when Wednesday night’s game took a positive turn. The Nats ended up beating the Angels 5-4 thanks to a walk-off RBI-single hit by first baseman Adam LaRoche sending outfielder Jayson Werth home as the go-ahead run.

Given how the rest of the night (and the series) went for Washington, that ninth inning was the turnaround they desperately needed to avoid a three-game sweep.

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Two Tickets to Marketplace, Pack Your Bags and Leave Tonight

29prolu jpg

If I had to pick one public radio program that I could not live without, it actually wouldn’t be any of the ones produced by NPR at all. It would be American Public Media’s Marketplace hosted by Kai Ryssdal, which airs on WAMU at 6:00pm on weeknights. Full of witty and smart banter about the financial world, this is one program that makes you a helluva lot smarter at the end of the day.

Marketplace has taken their show on the road, and they’re doing an episode of Marketplace live at Strathmore tomorrow night, and we’ve got two tickets to give away. Enter below using your name and email and leave a comment, and we’ll close the contest tomorrow at 12pm, and notify the winner immediately. If you’d rather, though, we’ve also got access to a few half-price tickets as well, so click through if you are looking for a deal.

This show promises to be a real fun one and will feature Kai Ryssdal, weekend host Lizzie O’Leary, and regular reporters Rob Schmitz, Adriene Hill, Stacey Vanek Smith and Paddy Hirsch, and there will be a live interview with Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff, and Congressional Budget Director Douglas Elmendorf.

Marketplace Live
Thursday, April 24th at 7pm
Strathmore Center
Bethesda, MD

Sports Fix

Pujols Hits 500, Nats Fall to Angels

This was Albert Pujols night. In the first inning Taylor Jordan gave up a chalk line double to JB Schuck followed by an Anthony Rendon error on a Mike Trout ground ball. To the plate stepped Albert Pujols and after one swing he was one home run away from the magic number of 500 and the Nats were down 3-0. Taylor Jordan would allow one more run before the inning was over and would push the Nats total of first inning runs allowed to 25.

Of those 25 first inning runs 11 have been given up by Taylor Jordan who now looks like the pitcher who will be leaving town when Doug Fister returns to the rotation. Earlier today Fister threw his second simulated game and is scheduled for a rehab start in Potomac on Sunday. It isn’t an accident that he lines up with Taylor Jordan’s spot in the rotation and the Nats could use him back as soon as possible.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Boy George @ 9:30 Club — 4/21/14

As Boy George covered a song by Yoko Ono, “Death of Samantha,” in the first song of his encore Monday night at the 9:30 Club, two gents broke out in dramatic dance in front of the coffee bar upstairs. They, like much of the audience at the sold-out show, had giddily enjoyed the entertainment and could no longer hide it. So they seized what opportunity they could to throw themselves into it.

Similar sentiments broke out around the club as Boy George received a hero’s welcome from a diverse crowd of young and old, gay and straight, black and white. Concert-goers expressed their enthusiasm in generally raucous cheer, happy to receive the maverick performer who clearly had been missing from the United States for far too long.

George, for his part, was a professional and gracious performer. At a point about two-thirds through the main set, he attempted to engage audience enthusiasm for an acoustic cover of “It Ain’t Me Babe” by Bob Dylan. After realizing that the dance-hungry crowd wasn’t going to focus enough for the quiet hush of the song, George merely used it as an interlude to segue into other songs from his new album, This Is What I Do, and the new material was very well received by those looking for more of what they expected from the former Culture Club frontman.

That’s not to say Boy George has become a one-trick pony at this point in his career. He wasn’t afraid to go glam or even country from song to song. His voice these days has a husky sweetness that suits the older George, a little weathered, a little wiser. And he used it well in the reggae-flavored dance tunes that dominated most of his set.

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Entertainment, Special Events, The Features

A 2014 Helen Hayes Awards (Drama Prom) Diary

Helen Hayes Awards 2014

Last night marked the 30th anniversary of the Helen Hayes Awards, and theatreWashington spared no expense in creating a blow-out bash. The annual celebration of Washington DC Theatre, aka Drama Prom, sported a new format and venue. Moving from the Warner Theatre to the National Building Museum gave the awards ceremony a much more casual feel as patrons mingled about throughout the three-act show. Victor Shargai received the Helen Hayes Tribute and Woolly Mammoth’s Stupid Fucking Bird, Ford & Signature’s Hello Dolly!, and Olney Theatre Center’s A Chorus Line went home with Best Resident Play and Musical honors.

However if you want a complete list of the winners you can find those here. Instead I offer you a tradition now four years running: my complete breakdown of my day (and night) with Helen (and others).

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Sports Fix

Clippard Implodes, Nats Fall 4-2 to Angels

Photo courtesy of MudflapDC
courtesy of MudflapDC

A game that was well-within the Washington Nationals’ grasp got away from them on Monday night during an eighth inning implosion from right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard allowing the Los Angeles Angels to win 4-2 in D.C.

Clippard’s 2/3 innings of work resulted in three hits, a walk, a strike out, and four unearned runs. Manager Matt Williams emphasized that he thinks Clippard is making quality pitches but he hasn’t found much consistency with his fast ball and couldn’t find his change-up either. Williams is confident that Clippard is still the Nats’ eighth inning man but with more outings like Monday night’s he’ll really have to start to find some consistency if possible. Continue reading

Entertainment, The Features

Five Awesome Things About Awesome Con

01-R2A major science-fiction and comic book convention came to the Washington Convention Center over the weekend in the form of Awesome Con, which boasted about 40,000 attendees, according to reports.

The second-ever Awesome Con grew quickly with the help of a Kickstarter campaign and thus offered enough, perhaps barely enough, spectacle and content to fill an exhibit hall and related rooms dedicated to panel discussions during its three-day run from Friday, April 18, through Sunday, April 20.

And so here are in our opinion five things that helped make Awesome Con pretty awesome.

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Weekend Flashback

Weekend Flashback: 4/18-4/20

It’s Monday again but that’s okay. There are worse things in life than “suffering” through another Monday; unrelenting tooth pain for one (ask me how I know…). We’re still looking for a few good writers to help out with our photo posts and if you think you’re up to the task don’t hesitate to drop us a line. We’re waiting to hear from YOU! And with that you are now free to enjoy the Weekend Flashback at your leisure. Happy Monday! Continue reading

Sports Fix

Nats Beat The Cardinals 3-1 in a Friday Night Pitching Duel

Photo courtesy of ekelly80
perfect night for a game
courtesy of ekelly80

The Washington Nationals secured a much needed 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Friday night thanks to a strong pitching performance from left-handed starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez and a few timely hits. The night’s victory helped snap the 8-0 losing skid between Washington and St. Louis, which dates back to 2012.

Gonzalez threw 101 pitches and 65 strikes against St. Louis over seven innings. The Cardinals managed four hits, one run, and a walk against the lefty but Gonzalez fought back with seven strike outs on the night. That strong outing was exactly what the Nats needed in order to fend off a hot-hitting and defensively sound Cardinals squad.

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