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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Friday Happy Hour: Springtime Scotchtails

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about what to drink this spring, tequila, aperitivi, all the drinks at Lupo Verde, but I’ve saved the best for last. What could it be, beer gardens? Tiki drinks? All good, but no. This time of year, when I’m not drinking a Bicyclette, I’m drinking scotch.

I know, weird, it’s finally warm out and I’m suddenly in the mood for scotch, arguably the most wintery libation of them all. And usually I’m a purist; scotch, neat, maybe with a drop of water. Never with ice, and (until recently) never in a cocktail. But this season all those nice cocoa, dried fruit, and coconut flavors have been creeping their way into my spring cocktails.

The Mcqueen
2 oz blended scotch, I use Dewars
¾ oz dry vermouth, I use Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry
¼ oz white creme de cacao, Marie Brizard works fine

Build in a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with a lemon zest.

Total guilty pleasure drink for me. Steve McQueen has been one of my style icons since I was a kid. Though I’ve got dark hair, so I do more of a Burt Reynolds thing, ah well. But that’s not going to stop me from coming up with a Steve Mcqueen styled drink. Nothing fancy, simply a blond rob roy, smooth as jazz but still with a bit of edge, e.g. McQueen in Bullitt. Continue reading

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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.

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Perfect Winter Forecast from Goldenbear

As we all dig out from last night’s snowstorm – the first all winter to hit the Boom side of Capital Weather Gang’s forecast – this forecast is pitch perfect given the bizarre nature of this winter. We’ve had 25-odd “snow events” this winter, and we’re up to second or third on total winter snowfall. While the numbers won’t be final for a bit, it looks like the greater DC area got 5-10″ after a prediction of 1-6″ or so, and so that means some heavy digging this morning.

All this after it was the 60s as late as Friday.

I feel much like Kate Woodsome does in this video, ready to the tear the script in half as I just can’t believe what I’m seeing.

Bravo to DC-based Goldenbear for perfectly nailing how completed boned this winter has been.

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Top Drink Picks for Spring

Pay no attention to forecast of snow, spring is upon us. Now is the time to start thinking about what you’re going to be drinking. I get excited about a few very specific things once the weather warms up, mainly wine and spritzes. Weird, I know, but don’t knock it until you try it.

Winter is the time for brown spirits and red wine. Come spring and summer I do a total 180 and switch almost exclusively to white wine. This season I’m most excited about the whites coming out of Greece. Last month I was raving about a crisp assyritko from Santorini, since then I’ve been exploring whites from all over Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. Turns out they’re damned good and easy to find in DC. My favorite spots have been Iron Gate in Dupont and Dunya in Shaw, which has one of the best roof decks in the city.

The rocky soil and salty sea breeze make for great wines to pair with light springtime fare. Look for a wine with light citrus notes and a great minerality to pair with a golden beet and goat cheese salad. Or that salty assyritko with any seafood. My favorite is fried oysters. Totally non traditional, but it’s the best fried oysters and white wine you’ll ever have. And albeit the first fried oysters and white wine you’ve ever had.

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Entertainment, The Daily Feed, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Beaches

Alysha Umpress as Cee Cee (left) Mara Davi as Bertie (right).  Photo by Margot I. Schulman.

Alysha Umpress as Cee Cee (left) Mara Davi as Bertie (right). Photo by Margot I. Schulman.

For a number of years, Broadway musicals based on their respective movies have been a staple on the Great White Way. In fact, more than one-third of the musicals currently on Broadway were films before they were ever stage productions. While some of these live adaptations fare very well with audiences, producers often find that taking a beloved film, musicalizing it, and then putting it on stage is a risky venture. One of the major reasons new productions are put through a series of workshops and premieres before opening on Broadway, in fact, is to gauge the potential success it will have and to edit and make changes along the way.

Signature Theatre has been instrumental over the years in assisting these budding new shows find footing by producing their world premieres in its Arlington facility, with almost 40 productions to date, including their current musical, Beaches. Based on Iris Rainer Dart’s 1985 novel, which the 1988 film with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey was adapted from, Beaches follows two friends through a 30-year friendship. One a brash performer, the other a WASP-y blueblood, these seemingly different women forge a powerful companionship when a chance meeting on the beach as young girls in the 1950s leads to a lifelong friendship that tests the bonds of sisterhood and shows the strength of friendship. Continue reading

Entertainment, The Daily Feed, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin

Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin. Photo credit Joan Marcus

Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone onstage. Photo credit Joan Marcus

If a musical theatre lover were to create a bucket list, it would be a very safe bet to assume that seeing Patti LuPone or Mandy Patinkin perform live would be on the list. Both of them are Tony-award winners and legends of the stage and screen, with numerous credits to their names, so the opportunity to see LuPone and Patinkin individually on stage is enough to send shockwaves of excitement through any artistic community. To see them perform together, though, is tantamount in the theatrical community to the winning of the powerball lottery or finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. And if a person were lucky enough to see them perform together at a venue like the Eisenhower theatre in the Kennedy Center, and if it were not only every bit as good as you imagined, but even better (if that were possible), it would be a very safe bet that the bucket list would then have be retired completely, as the chance to see anything like it ever again is as rare as Haley’s comet.

Fortunately for the DC community, the above hypothetical situation is a current reality, and an amazing one at that. An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin, directed by Patinkin himself with choreography by yet another Tony-award winner, Ann Reinking, and musical direction by Paul Ford, is in town for eight performances only and is worth cancelling all other plans this weekend in order to see this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Continue reading

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We Love Arts: Richard III

Drew Cortese stars as King Richard in Folger Theatre’s production of Richard III. At the Folger Theatre January 28 – March 9, 2014. Photo by Jeff Malet.

Drew Cortese stars as King Richard in Folger Theatre’s production of Richard III. At the Folger Theatre January 28 – March 9, 2014. Photo by Jeff Malet.

The Folger Theater has transformed their faux Elizabethan courtyard into a theater in the round to produce Richard III, Shakespeare’s scenery-chewing tale of a conniving back-stabbing (and front and side and…) villain who claws his way to the top of the pile only to lose everything. It’s a curious choice of staging given Folger’s unique space and probably the most adventurous choice made in the production. The result is an enjoyable and well-acted production that doesn’t really excel in any particular manner but passes the time and showcases Richard’s willingness to mow down everyone in his way.

The production staging is minimal by necessity, given the audience on all sides in seats without a lot of rise above the action. A half-dozen chairs or the occasional bier come and go quickly during scene changes and corpses get tipped, dropped, or lowered into traps in the stage. Deaths are quick and bloodless, which on the one hand tends to minimize their immediate impact, but the matter-of-factness with which they get carted off underscores the body count and Richard’s willingness to remove any obstacle.

Richard (Drew Cortese) pleads with Lady Anne (Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan) in Richard III, at the Folger Theatre January 28 – March 9, 2014. Photo by Teresa Wood.

Richard (Drew Cortese) pleads with Lady Anne (Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan) in Richard III, at the Folger Theatre January 28 – March 9, 2014. Photo by Teresa Wood.

Drew Cortese’s Richard is therefore a much calmer and less rage-filled man than some productions might choose to present, as well as charming and charismatic as he carefully unfurls his schemes. He’s suave enough to make his wooing of the Lady Anne believable even as her husband’s corpse sits off at her elbow as a reminder of Richard’s sword-work. He’s also good looking enough that you have to assume that if he’s telling the truth that “dogs bark at me as I halt by them” then they’re likely saying “dude, you’re hot – dress up a bit better and get yourself some orthopedic shoes and you will get MAD LOVE from the ladies.”

The end result is a production where it’s entirely believable that Richard would manage to ascend to the top and the only thing that could unwind him is failing to attend to the demands of the co-conspirators who helped him get there. Or course he’d underestimate the need to hand out the favors he’s promised – when has anything stood in his way? It’s an entirely plausible arc, but the emotional punch of the end largely works out to a “yeah, okay.” It’s more an intellectual payoff than a visceral one, which left me with a sense more of “that was well done” than any sort of feeling in my gut.

Folger Shakespeare Theatre’s production of Richard III runs through March 9. Located at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003. Closest Metro stop: Capitol South (Orange/Blue lines). For more information call 202-544-7077.

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Perfect Pairings at Flight

This photo perfectly sums up my night at Flight, DC’s newest wine bar in Chinatown. From the moment I stepped through the door, I was seduced by the simple, yet sophisticated amber-washed interior. So seduced that I forgot to take enough photos of the amazing food and wine. Sometimes drink writing is harder than it looks.

Luckily I snapped a photo of the tomato soup cake before we devoured it and drank all the madeira. I’m sure you’re a little curious, just like I was, as to what exactly tomato soup cake is. Put simply, think carrot cake only made with a can of tomato soup instead. But that just doesn’t do it justice. I was with a professed carrot cake hater who went crazy for it. I did too, of course. It’s spiced and sweet like carrot cake, but with a great tomato zing to it.

Spicy, sweet, a little fruity? Sounds like a perfect match for a glass of madeira. And hats off to Mike behind the bar for the awesome recommendation. Continue reading

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Week in Review: 1/27-1/30

We’ve reached the last day of January 2014. I don’t know about you but I’m glad tomorrow is February. It’s like the 4-day work week of months. Soon it’ll be March and we’ll start getting excited about the signs of spring — flowers, warm temperatures, cherry blossoms, outdoor dining, tourists. Well, maybe not the tourists, but certainly the rest of it. Thanks for the memories, January, it’s been real.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at today’s Week in Review.  Continue reading

Adventures, Entertainment, Food and Drink, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed, The District

We <3 Snow Days (Part 2): Solid Places To Hunker Down

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 2.40.12 PM

Got cabin fever already? Wow…jeez….yeah…..us too. Here are a few spots to escape to – that is if you can make it there safely. Yes, all listed below are open. I checked. If you’ve got other recos, post ’em in the comments section or reach out to me @digibec

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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed, The Features, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Tacos and Tequila at El Rey

I’m done with this cold, rainy nonsense. It’s time for spring, people! I want to see more balmy temps, cool drinks, sundresses, and cherry blossoms. But most of all, I want tequila and tacos because nothing quite puts me in the spirit of warm weather quite like drinking tequila and eating tacos under the sun. So I’m sure you can imagine my feelings towards the opening of El Rey last week, Shaw’s new U Street tacqueria/beer garden. It went sort of like this (only replace “bacon and eggs” with “tequila and tacos”).

I walked into El Rey’s soft opening, having done shameful little to no homework, with a very short check list. First order of business: lots of tequila. Yeah they got that. Second: tacos. I think so. Lastly, not cold. It might have been rainy and nasty all week, but under those heat lamps you could have fooled me. Close my eyes and I’m back to undergrad, eating tacos off a truck and lounging on the sunny quad. Only this time there’s tequila. Continue reading

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Week in Review: 1/13-1/16

On Wednesday the winners of the 2014 Exposed DC Photography Contest were announced. The show doesn’t open until March 19 but you can see all the winners listed here and check out their winning photos here. You may recognize some of the names as photographers whose work we have shown on our site. We want to congratulate all the winners and encourage the rest of you to get out and start taking some photos! Now click on through and check out the Week in Review. Continue reading

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New York defeats Washington 20-6

It’s over. That is the best thing that can be said about this afternoon’s game. It was a boring, long, excruciating game to end a boring, long, excruciating season. The Mike Shanahan era looks to be at an end and now the real fun will begin. Washington will once again be looking for a new coach. That has been the Dan Snyder era in Washington. New coaches, new quarterbacks, and no stability. It has been painful to endure and its end may never come.

The terrible game against New York did end, but Kirk Cousins who was the darling of some Washington fans a couple weeks ago has done nothing but lose and throw interceptions. When it comes right down to it he isn’t that much different than Rex Grossman or John Beck. Starting him did nothing but lower his value and whereas Washington would have done good to get a second round pick for him before he started they will now be lucky to get much more than a fourth or fifth round pick.

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Dallas defeats Washington 24-23

This was not the narrative we were promised. What happened to the Romo in December that throws interceptions and can’t win the big games? With under two minutes left and Dallas needing to convert a fourth and goal it looked like the narrative would live. Romo did have an interception on the day. Then with the Redskins pouring throw his offensive line Romo rolled right and found DeMarco Murray for the three yard touchdown. It was a moment of shock and disbelief. Tony Romo had lead Dallas not only in a come from behind victory but to a victory in December with the division on the line.

Washington is no threat to Dallas for the division, but if they had lost this game then their season finally against Philadelphia wouldn’t have been for the division. It was a year ago that Washington was finishing the 2012 season in a similar do or die fashion against Dallas and were able to pull off the victory and win the division. It is amazing the difference a year makes. Instead of being hailed as a hero RGIII is sitting on the bench and watching Kirk Cousins manage Washington’s offense.

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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Champagne Cocktails

We bartenders love to talk about the drinks we loathe to make–mojitos, dirty martinis (my personal nemesis)–but we rarely talk about the drinks we really enjoy making. For every drink that makes me cringe when it’s ordered, there are a dozen that I will always volunteer to make, no matter how busy I am. These drinks never follow any rhyme or reason; sometimes it’s because they’re simple (chartreuse, splash of soda, my unyielding respect) and sometimes not so much. Not sure why, but I love to make Old Fashioneds, maybe there’s some kind of zen in taking the time to muddle the sugar cube and slowly stir the whiskey that mentally takes me out of the weeds for a precious minute. One of my all time favorite drinks to make behind the bar, for all the right reasons, is a Champagne Cocktail. It’s timeless, it’s classy, it’s quick to make, and it’s one of the sexist drinks ever. That wild effervescence from the sugar cube, that luscious pink color from the bitters, that dry, sweet taste like your mouth after you’ve just been kissed; sorry Cosmos, Slippery Nipples, and Sex On The Beach, this cool classic blows you all away.

The Champagne Cocktail is so stupidly simple I’m still surprised by just how perfect it is. Possibly the easiest cocktail recipe ever, all you need to do is fill a champagne flute, add a dash of aromatic bitters like Angostura, and drop in a sugar cube. No fancy technique, no esoteric ingredients, no chilling or stirring or shaking required. Simple, easy, tastes great, and–the best part–it’s infinitely customizable. Continue reading

Entertainment, Music, The Daily Feed, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: A Q&A with The Jewbadours

Photo Courtesy of The Jewbadours

It can be tough being Jewish around Christmas time, especially when Hannukah ends shortly after Thanksgiving like it did this year. And while some of my fellow members of the tribe may or may not agree with that sentiment, I still choose to offer up a suitable celebration option for the end of 2013.

Upon scouring the internet for a fitting night of entertainment to combat my craving for an epic holiday season, I stumbled upon a listing for The Jewbadours on Jammin’ Java‘s website. The name reeled me in at first sight so I took to YouTube to find some of their performance footage.

The end result is a soulful albeit entertaining routine executed by a couple of fun-loving Jewish jokesters from New York… who also opted to do a Q&A with We Love DC so all of us can get to know each other a little bit better before they come to town this weekend. You can check out The Jewbadours on their first tour this Saturday night — December 21 — at Jammin’ Java (tickets are still available) in Vienna, VA.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t ask this right off the bat — The Jewbadours is a unique name for a band. Where did it come from, why did you end up making that choice, and how did the two of you end up making music together?

It was one of those glorious moments when an idea crystallizes in a couple of words. We’d love to take credit, but we were named by our manager, Stew Jackson. The three of us were sitting around eating pizza and watching the Knicks, talking about the kind of cover band we would be in. And then Stew said, “you guys should be called The Jewbadours.” We knew right then we had to make this band a reality.

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Atlanta defeats Washington 27-26

Washington is out of it and can no longer make the playoffs, they are sitting last season’s first round pick and rookie of the year in favor of back-up quarterback Kirk Cousins, and when they had the chance to tie the game with an extra point they choose to go for the win with a two point conversion. There has been a lot of speculation this week that the reason RGIII was shutdown was due to Mike Shanahan trying to maneuver his way out of town. That he wants to be fired by Daniel Snyder and hold onto the $7 million that is owed him.

Embarrassing the team’s quarterback was supposed to do it for him but it didn’t. There Shanahan was on the sidelines today having to coach a team that can’t do anything right on special teams, with no offensive line, and a secondary that would be picked apart in a backyard holiday pick-up game. Shanahan has no one to blame but himself for the players he has. He was given total control of the team and the draft picks and free agent signings he made to fix the secondary and the offensive line have failed. Despite all this Washington played a competitive game and seemingly scored a game tying touchdown with less than thirty seconds to go.

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