Downtown, Essential DC, History, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

Celebrating 125 Years of National Geographic

The National Geographic Society was founded 125 years ago. Its purpose? To expand and share geographic and scientific knowledge through the spirit of exploration. That mission continues to drive National Geographic amidst more than a century of technological and scientific innovations. And for the next year, visitors to the Society’s Museum here in DC can celebrate and enjoy the most iconic moments in the organization’s history.

The exhibition opens with a colorful celebration of the Society’s iconic magazine. The entry arch is constructed entirely of hundreds of past issues in a variety of languages, a fitting tribute to the simple golden square that symbolizes the publication. As visitors walk down a short hallway, they are greeted with a colorful display that shows off the cover of every issue of National Geographic, including placeholders for the future editions to be published during the exhibition’s year-long run.

After a short look at the Society’s founding members—using an interactive portrait—the exhibition opens up to encompass the three areas of the organization’s focus in exploration: land, sea, and sky. The galleries are covered in colorful images that highlight fascinating stories throughout the Society’s history. Science and exploration are the primary focus, including ancient civilizations and cultures, paleontology, wildlife, oceans, and the environment. Continue reading

Downtown, Interviews, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

Behind the National Geographic Story (With Alice Gabriner)

Roman Frontiers

From “Roman Frontiers”; used with permission. The Porta Nigra, or “black gate,” still dominates Trier, Germany. A hundred feet tall, it was built in the second century as part of a wall system four miles long. Trier was a major city in the late Roman Empire, even serving as a regional capital under several emperors. “The light was so good from my hotel room that I put up a tripod and started taking pictures. The gate is surrounded by modern elements like power lines and a gas station, so I captured a variety of ways of looking at it. This was a way of combining both the old and the new.”

Tonight, National Geographic is pulling back the curtain of sorts. One of the organization’s acclaimed draws is its fantastic use of photography to illustrate various articles and exhibits. Many photographers, from amateur to professional, dream of a day when they see one or more of their photos published in the iconic gold-bordered magazine.

National Geographic magazine Senior Photo Editor Alice Gabriner will share with a select crowd at the museum’s Grosvenor Auditorium her process. (The program is sold out for the evening.) Guests will discover firsthand the work that goes in to curating a National Geographic photo show through an insiders tour, as well as a private viewing of Beyond the Story: National Geographic Unpublished 2012, an upcoming photography exhibition featuring unpublished images by photographers on assignment for National Geographic magazine last year.

I had the opportunity to talk briefly with Gabriner before the program this evening. She graciously took a few moments to answer some questions and shared some photos from upcoming projects. Continue reading

Business and Money, Downtown, Education, Essential DC, History, Life in the Capital, Opinion, People, The Features

A Conversation on Culture and Change Regarding the Washington [blank]s

Photo courtesy of BrianMKA
FedEx seats
courtesy of BrianMKA

By now, local Washington media has covered the internet with their summaries of a timely – yet still largely ignored – issue involving a particular football team located in this area. While Racial Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports spoke to the broader issues regarding Native American culture and peoples and their use as sports logos and traditions, make no mistake: the local NFL team’s moniker was a lynchpin in the discussion. The topic was subject of one-third of the day’s symposium, and itself is well-covered elsewhere. (You can watch the recording online in its entirety.)

I couldn’t attend in person, so I settled for the live webcast. And I’ve spent time re-watching the panels as well, because there was so much information and passion involved I couldn’t catch all of it the first time around. I could probably write several blog posts about the topic, and may yet in the future.

But what I wanted to really comment here and now, since other outlets are more focused on the local team aspect, is some key comments made by Director Kevin Gover at the start of the day. Thanks to NMAI, I received a full copy of his remarks; they provide a context that is important to the background of the overall discussion. While I won’t simply copy them all here – you can listen to Dr. Gover online for that – I did want to point out some relevant comments. Continue reading

Business and Money, capitals hockey, Downtown, Penn Quarter, Sports Fix, The Features

Hockey’s Back – Should We Care?

Photo courtesy of deejayqueue
Empty Verizon Center
courtesy of deejayqueue

In case you missed it among the news of yet another Washington sports team’s playoff collapse, the NHL lockout is over. Which means the Capitals will soon be plying their trade at the Verizon Center.

We’ve had a few people ask over the last few months why we’ve not posted any lockout news here on WeLoveDC. It’s a reasonable question, considering we’ve been covering the Caps pretty solidly since our site debut. But we’ll be honest: we just didn’t feel like it.

On Sunday, messages from various teams around the NHL hit fan inboxes. Around here, the missive from Caps (and Wizards) owner Ted Leonsis sparked a flurry of conversation between Tom, Addison, and myself. Rather than keep it to ourselves, we felt it only right to vent our collective frustration here. After the jump, we break our silence and share our thoughts on the lockout, the league, the Caps’ coming season…and what it means to be a hockey fan in a crumbling hockey town.

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Downtown, History, Interviews, People, Special Events, The Features

Crossing the Northwest Passage the Modern Way: Kite Skiing

Courtesy Sarah McNair-Landry and National Geographic

On December 6, an adventurous brother-sister team visits the National Geographic Museum to share about their experience kite skiing over two thousand miles through Canada’s arctic archipelago. Eric and Sarah McNair-Landry grew up with the Arctic Ocean and sled dogs in their backyard and have trekked across the polar regions since they were teenagers. Their journey saw them fend off polar bears and coping with extreme weather conditions along the way.

Their expedition traces the 1906 Roald Amundsen route through the Northwest Passage. That was the first time that it was actually successfully navigated by anyone following centuries of explorers hoping to discover a way through from the Atlantic to the Pacific north of Canada. The journey began in Tuktoyaktuk, located in Canada’s Northwest Territories and traveled east through Kugluktuk, Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak, and Arctic Bay, before finally reaching the finish line at Pond Inlet on Baffin Island.

Sarah stopped by WeLoveDC to talk about their experience. Continue reading

Downtown, Entertainment, Georgetown, Life in the Capital, Music, The Daily Feed, The District, WTF?!

That Time I Walked Around DC In A Gangnam Style Costume

Gangnam Style has certainly taken America by storm this summer, and if this week’s appearance at the American Music Awards says anything- Psy might be around just a bit longer to be more than a one-hit wonder. On YouTube the video is currently the second most viewed of all-time and is poised to beat out the Biebz as #1.

Recently I took to the streets of DC to bring some local flavor to everybody’s favorite galloping dance. Watch the video below to see what happens when you walk around The Mall, White House, and U.S. Capitol dressed up as your favorite Korean rapper.

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Downtown, Entertainment, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

National Geographic Live: Nov/Dec 2012

Photo courtesy of Enzofloyd
Emperador courtesy of Enzofloyd

As the year winds down, so does the Fall National Geographic Live programming. This fall has been packed with great programs and showcases, with still more to come. Thanks to National Geographic once again for offering two pairs of tickets to our readers, providing access to any one of the great programs listed below. To enter, simply put what two programs you’d most like to see in the comment section; make sure you use a valid email address and use your first name. Entries will be taken through Friday noon and winners will be chosen at random and contacted Friday afternoon.

Unless otherwise indicated, all programs are at the Grosvenor Auditorium, located in the National Geographic Museum building at 1600 M Street NW. Parking is free after 6 pm for those attending evening programs.

11/13; 7 pm

Think geography is just reading maps and memorizing names of places? Don’t tell that to Daniel Raven-Ellison. A self-described “guerrilla geographer” and Nat Geo Emerging Explorer, Raven-Ellison believes in encouraging people to experience the world around them in a more meaningful, surprising way, such as taking a photo every eight steps as they travel across the urban landscape. His Mission: Explore books challenge kids to take action to improve their worlds. Come along for the adventure, as this innovative, entertaining educator redefines what you think geography is—and shows how “guerrilla” artists, explorers, gardeners, and others use geography to find solutions. Reception follows. Continue reading

Downtown, Entertainment, The Features

Trick or Treat: Halloween 2012 Roundup

It’s the time of year for zombies, ghoulish pranks, copious amounts of candy corn and wondering how you can be the one sporting the best costume this year. So to keep building on that spirit, we’ve rounded up some of the places and events you should be checking out to get your trick or treat on. Click through for the full list after the jump.

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Downtown, Entertainment, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

NatGeo Live: October 2012 Programs

Photo courtesy of quinn.anya
Lost in the music
courtesy of quinn.anya

It’s fall in DC and another month of great National Geographic Live programming. If you’re looking for something to do in the evenings, we highly suggest you check out some of this month’s offerings. And to provide further incentive, we are providing two lucky readers with a pair of tickets to an event of their choice this coming month!

To enter the drawing, simply comment below using your first name and a legit email address, listing the two events from the following program list you’d like to attend. (Note that there is one event not eligible and we’ve noted it for you.) Sometime after noon on Tuesday (October 9) we’ll randomly select two winners to receive a pair of tickets (each) to one of their selections. You’ve got until noon on Tuesday to enter!

(For ticket information, visit online or call the box office at (800) 647-5463.) Continue reading

Downtown, History, Interviews, People, Scribblings, Special Events, The Features

AZORIAN and the CIA Visit the Spy Museum

Hughes Glomar Explorer; photo courtesy Dave Sharp

In February 12, 2010, the CIA declassified substantial information surrounding one of its more secret Cold War projects, Project AZORIAN. The code name referred to the Agency’s ambitious plan to raise a sunken Soviet submarine from the floor of the Pacific Ocean in order to retrieve its secrets.

This Thursday at 10:15 am, the International Spy Museum, in cooperation with the Smithsonian Resident Associate Program, is hosting a special discussion on Project AZORIAN and the Hughes Glomar Explorer. The guest speaker is David Sharp, a former CIA employee who was part of the critical success of the Explorer’s mission.

The story of Project AZORIAN began on March 1, 1968, when a Soviet Golf-II submarine, the K-129 sailed from the naval base at Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula to take up its peacetime patrol station northeast of Hawaii. Something went terribly wrong in mid-March 1968 as the submarine suffered a catastrophic accident and sank 1,560 miles northwest of Hawaii with the loss of its entire crew. Interestingly, the CIA history is silent on the cause of the accident, mentioning neither how the agency came to learn of the sub’s demise nor the exact location of its resting place 16,500 feet below the surface of Pacific. Continue reading

Downtown, People, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

Desert Air Opens Tomorrow at NatGeo

“Crossing Arabia’s Empty Quarter” by George Steinmetz; photo courtesy National Geographic

An exhibition featuring images of the world’s deserts by award-winning National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz will be on display at the National Geographic Museum from Aug. 30, 2012, to Jan. 27, 2013.

The free exhibition, “Desert Air: Photographs by George Steinmetz,” includes breathtaking photographs of sand dunes, human habitation, wildlife and vast expanses of the world’s last great wildernesses. The photos will be displayed in the museum’s M Street gallery. An audio component will feature Steinmetz telling the stories behind selected images. Continue reading

Downtown, Fun & Games, Special Events, The Features

NMAI: Living Earth Festival 2012

Photo courtesy of bhrome

Bill Miller and Derek Miller at Living Earth 2010
courtesy of bhrome

Celebrate indigenous contributions to environmental sustainability, knowledge and traditions at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s third annual Living Earth Festival, presented from Friday, July 20, through Sunday, July 22. This year’s festival features an organic farmers market, an outdoor cooking competition, music and dance performances, hands-on workshops about gardening, goat cheese and basketry, as well as discussions about the impact of climate change on marine habitats and concerns over genetically modified foods. 

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Downtown, Food and Drink, Penn Quarter, The Daily Feed

Del Frisco’s Grille Opens July 14

Photo courtesy of wfyurasko
This used to be Les Halles
courtesy of wfyurasko

Who said DC was moving away from steakhouses these days? Del Frisco’s Grille, an American bar and steakhouse, announced yesterday that it will be opening its downtown location on Saturday, July 14. Del Frisco’s will occupy the old Les Halles space on 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

The Penn Quarter restaurant will feature 100 seats on their outdoor patio and a “wall of wine” with more than 5,000 bottles from more than 400 types of wine to choose from.

Leading the kitchen is a familiar face: executive chef Rob Klink, who was previously at the nearby Oceanaire. “The Grille definitely comes from steakhouse roots, but our menu is about variety, with a twist around every corner. From our prime burgers to our fresh seafood dishes, the focus is on quality and flavor,” said Klink in a press release. “I’m especially excited to introduce DC to its new favorite crab cake. After 20 years in the area, I have to say, there’s a new sheriff in town.”

Del Frisco’s Grille menu will feature flatbreads, hearty salads, fresh seafood, sandwiches, prime steaks and “shareable sides,” according to a press release. At the bar, you’ll fine your usual beer, wine and cocktails along with signature shots on tap, such as the Honey Badger, a mix of Tuaca and pineapple.

Del Frisco’s Grille will be open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM and for dinner from Monday through Thursday from 5 to 11 PM, Friday and Saturday from 5 PM to midnight and on Sunday from 4 to 9:30 PM. The bar will stay open a little longer–until 11 PM on Sundays, midnight Monday through Friday, and 1 AM on Saturdays.

Downtown, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Cuba Libre Hosts Pop-Up Paladares Dinners

Photo courtesy of amarino17
cuba libre
courtesy of amarino17

So you can’t jet off to Cuba that easily for a bite to eat, but perhaps you’ll find the next best thing in DC next week. Cuba Libre is hosting their second series of Pop-Up Paladares dinners June 12 through 14.

Cuba Libre’s chef and partner Guillermo Pernot is teaming up with chef Alain Rivera Santana from Doctor Café in Havana to create a four-course prix fixe dinner. Some of the dishes will include a fresh cod escabéche with lamb tongue and a beet salad, chilled mango soup, grilled yellow fin tuna and a fresh corn pasta cannelloni with a crabmeat filling. And since Cuba Libre is partially a rum bar after all, you’ll get to enjoy some of their rum ice cream for dessert.

The Pop-Up Paladares dinner is available at 6 PM and 8:30 PM on June 12-14 and is $45 per person (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity). Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 202-408-1600.

Downtown, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

District Taco: Now Actually In The District!

Photo courtesy of dmbosstone
District Taco (Washington, DC)
courtesy of dmbosstone

Last time I went off my beat and wrote about food truck District Taco, a lot of comments complained about the fact the taco totin’ food cart wasn’t actually located in The District. There was also a random accusation that I was a secret spokesperson for the local establishment. Sorry to say they don’t pay me, I’m just a fan.

Even though it would be wicked awesome if they did pay me to eat their tacos- that would be a great gig.

I’m happy to report that District Taco can now fully embrace their namesake. This week DT founders Osiris Hoil and Marc Wallace opened a new District Taco location near Metro Center near 13th & F St NW. The new store is the latest step of a remarkable story for Hoil, who was laid off from his construction job in 2008 and decided to start a Taco business with his best friend and neighbor Wallace.

I took some photos at a sneak peek of the restaurant last week check them out past the cut.

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

We Love Music: Patrick Watson @ 930 Club, 5/8/2012

Patrick Watson, all photos by Matthew Carroll

Patrick Watson set an intimate mood in the 930 club Tuesday night, starting their set in the dark. Five players all together were onstage- Patrick Watson singing and on piano, Robbie Kuster on drums, Mishka Stein on bass, Simon Angell on guitar and Melanie Belair on violin.The Montreal-based band is on tour now opening for Andrew Bird, in support of their latest release Adventures in Your Own Backyard, which came out in Canada April 17th, on Secret City Records/Domino.

Patrick Watson
 Eventually the stage was lit, but softly, making it feel like you could be in the band’s living room, or back yard. Watson’s vocal delivery is delicate for the most part, lilting and floating amidst tinkling piano or softly strummed guitar, violin tremelos. In livelier moments the band had an almost circusy feel, like a gypsy carnival, though still subdued.  To take things to an even more intimate place, the band gathered around one mic in the middle of the stage and played a couple of songs in an old-timey radio way, including the sweet, tender “Words In A Fire.”
Highlights of the set included the spooky, ethereal “Quiet Crowd,” the bouncy “Into Giants,” with its lovely layered vocals, and the Spaghetti-Western feel of “Adventures in Your Own Backyard.”   The band closed their set with a dedication to the recently deceased Maurice Sendak, playing their song “Where The Wild Things Are,” ending with a jammed-out, dark-circus frenzy.
Patrick Watson


Downtown, Entertainment, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

National Geographic Live: April 2012

Photo courtesy National Geographic

April looms large in front of us and so does a beautiful spring. While tourists flood the Tidal Basin, why not check out the April programming for National Geographic Live? The National Geographic Museum is offering WeLoveDC readers a chance to enjoy one of their premier events in the coming month. We’re giving away two pairs of tickets to readers this Friday; look through the great programs listed below and pick two you’d like to attend. In the comment field, simply enter your choices. (Make sure you use your first name and a valid email address!) Winners for April will be chosen at random after noon on March 30.

All programs (unless otherwise noted) take place in Grosvenor Auditorium at 1600 M Street, NW. Tickets may be purchased online at, via telephone at (202) 857-7700, or in person at the National Geographic ticket office between 9 am and 5 pm. Free parking is available in the National Geographic underground garage for all weekday programs that begin after 6 pm. Continue reading

Adventures, Cherry Blossom Festival, Downtown, Special Events, The Features

Celebrating 100 Years of Blossoms

Photo courtesy of katieharbath
Cherry Blossoms
courtesy of katieharbath
It’s cherry blossom time! This year is the Centennial anniversary of Japan’s gifting of the cherry trees to the U.S. and the National Cherry Blossom Festival has planned a whopping five weeks of events to celebrate. While the festival officially kicks off this coming Sunday, some events are already unfolding this week – not to mention we’re smack in the middle of the peak bloom time of the trees.

We’ll provide you a weekly listing of events here on WeLoveDC so you can keep up with all the fantastic offerings. There’s so much going on for the Centennial that we can promise there’s something for everyone! (And don’t forget to drop your photos into our Flickr pool!)

Tonight is the sold-out 2012 Pink Tie Party at the Mayflower Renaissance. Chefs José Andrés and Roy Yamaguchi, innovators in the culinary community, will host the evening, exemplifying the international collaboration and creativity at the heart of the Festival. The sixth annual fundraiser and kick-off to the Centennial Celebration and the “season of the blossoms” will feature area chefs’ spring-, cherry- and blossom-inspired cuisine and cocktails. An auction contributes to the Festival’s fundraising efforts offering everything from weekend getaways and yacht charters to concert, sporting, dining, and theater experiences and blossom- and Japanese-themed jewelry and apparel. Continue reading

Downtown, Entertainment, Interviews, Music, People, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

Celtic Air: Moya Brennan

Photo courtesy of Marvin (PA)
Moya Brennan – Triskell – Trieste
courtesy of Marvin (PA)

What better way to truly celebrate the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day than to join a céilidh? Since such intimate gatherings are a bit tough to come by here in the DC area, the next best thing would be going to National Geographic and immersing yourself into the music of Moya Brennan. On her last stop of a brief U.S. tour, Moya will be filling the air with her ethereal voice and Irish and Gaelic music tradition.

Known best as the front singer for Clannad, Moya’s solo career has flourished over the last two decades. (My wife – herself of strong Irish heritage – and I have been a fan of her music since Moya’s first solo album Máire, which came out in 1992.) Bono of U2 describes her as “one of the greatest voices the human ear has ever experienced.” Her seemingly otherworldly voice mixed with her mastery of Irish and Gaelic musical traditions have made her into a master of taking traditional, cultural music and making it “new” for the modern age.

I had the extremely blessed opportunity to chat with her about her life, traditions, music, and Saturday’s sold out concert. Continue reading

Downtown, Essential DC, News, Special Events, The Daily Feed

And the Blossom Bloomtime Is….


This year marks the centennial anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to Washington, DC and the enduring friendship between Japan and the United States. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is celebrating in style this year with a five-week calendar of events. Considered the nation’s greatest springtime celebration, this year will feature diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit.

Among some of the events are the Pink Tie Party on March 20 with Chefs Jose Andres and Roy Yamaguchi and the Cherry Blossom Parade on April 14, co-hosted by Katie Couric with special correspondents Alex Trebek, Leon Harris, and Alison Starling.

The biggest news, however, is the bloom prediction by NPS Chief Horticulturalist Rob DeFeo. Due to the light winter and continual warming trend, the peak bloom prediction this year is from March 24th through the 31st. In the coming weeks, watch for updates from WLDC on the exciting Cherry Blossom events and plans to come!