News, The Daily Feed

Choral Arts Society chooses new maestro

Photo courtesy of Il Primo Uomo
orchestra
courtesy of Il Primo Uomo

For its entire 46-year life, the Choral Arts Society of Washington has had one artistic director: Norman Scribner. This morning, the Choral Arts Society will name Cornell University’s Scott Tucker to the position. Tucker has been with Cornell since 1995, where he has had a distinguished career leading both the Men’s Glee Club and the Women’s Chorus, as well as the University Chorus, and was named the P.E. Browning Director of Choral Music.

While at Cornell, Tucker was involved in the commissioning of 30 different pieces by modern composers, including Libby Larsen, Ernani Aguiar, and Carol Barnett, amongst others. Tucker is also no stranger to fundraising, and given the current state of the non-profit economy in Washington, this is likely a welcome development for the Choral Arts Society.  The organization is one of the largest choral groups in the United States, and has a budget exceeding $1 million.

In a statement released by the Choral Arts Society, Scribner says of Tucker, “Scott’s gifts are manifold, embracing an intense natural musicality, a consummate technique, a fabulous ear, and a vast reservoir of knowledge and experience in virtually all periods and styles, together with a clear vision for the future of music in our own time.”

Scribner retires in August, and Tucker will take up the baton beginning in the Fall, for the 68th season of the group.

Food and Drink, News, The Daily Feed

2012 RAMMY Award Nominees Announced

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
RAMMY Awards Ballroom courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

They call it the “Oscars of DC restaurants,” a yearly event that brings together the District’s top restaurateurs, chefs and other industry players to recognize the amazing work they do everyday to make this city a culinary capital. The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) hosted the nomination party last night to announce this year’s nominees for its annual RAMMY awards. Cocktails by all of the selected nominees for best beverage/mixology program were flowing (Restaurant Eve’s “42 cloudy” was particularly delicious), and hors d’oeuvres by the nominees for best new restaurant ranged from burratta with cippolini onions and aged balsamic (Graffiato) to foie gras torchon and split pea soup (Fiola).

We Love DC extends a big congratulations to all the nominees, thanks for keeping us well fed and hydrated.

For the full list of nominees read on.

2012 RAMMY Finalists:

Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year
The Ashby Inn & Restaurant
Bourbon Steak
Marcel’s
The Oval Room
Rasika

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

And the Blossom Bloomtime Is….

DSC_0191

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!

News, The Daily Feed

Play at Fort Reno this summer!

Photo courtesy of yostinator
The Evens
courtesy of yostinator

Do you want to play as part of the Fort Reno concert series this summer?  It’s your lucky day. Get your demo together and submit it to Fort Reno’s Amanda MacKaye, and that does mean physical media, so get your record on, garage bands of DC and get ready to play DC’s most awesome free stage.

News, The Daily Feed, The District

Trump Takes On Washington – A hotel at least

Photo courtesy of Mondmann
Ghost Traffic
courtesy of Mondmann

One of Pennsylvania Avenue’s three most recognizable facades is that of the Old Post Office, located at 12th and Pennsylvania, and sporting DC’s third highest pinnacle at 329 feet. Yesterday, the General Services Administration selected the Trump Hotel Collection to refurbish the historic building and turn it into a 250-room luxury hotel including a fancy spa.

The name that the Trump group will give the hotel is similarly jarring: “Trump International Hotel, Old Post Office, Washington, D.C.” Is it just me, or does that sound like a bad Europhone translation of what we’re seeing here? I know that like a dog in the park, Trump likes to mark his territory, but wouldn’t just calling it the Old Post Hotel be a lot more “Washington” and a lot less “Jesus Christ, That’s Opulent”?

Ah well, it’s going to take a while before the bedraggled food court is ousted, and the new hotel goes in, with construction not beginning for two more years, and a 2016 date is posited for opening.

News, Technology

Dear Virginia & Maryland: We Need Your Help

Photo courtesy of theqspeaks
Occupy DC – Soapbox
courtesy of theqspeaks

Good morning, everyone. This post is specifically for Virginia and Maryland readers today, which means it’s sorta the opposite of what we strive for here at We Love DC, but for reasons that will become clear in a minute, we need your help, and all our friends that live in the District can’t help us the way that you can.

You’re going to see a lot on the Internet today, if you haven’t already, about a bill in front of Congress called SOPA or PIPA, depending on if they’re talking about the bill in the House or the Senate. It’s a pretty bad bill. Sure, its heart is in the right place, trying to stop online piracy, but the way they’ve chosen to go about doing it is pretty well awful. They’re going after a fly with a sledgehammer, and frankly, it’s just not going to work to stop piracy.

If you’ve got a second today, could you call your Congressperson and Senators and let them know it’s not cool to break the Internet?

In our environment here, we use some pretty cool tools to bring you all the news, including sites that open themselves up to host content, like Flickr, and YouTube, and other related sites. These are sites that could be paralyzed under SOPA and PIPA, and replacement companies couldn’t be created because it would require an army of lawyers just to get started.

Don’t take our word for it, see what Google has to say, or learn more about the blackout today, and then call your congresspeople.

It just takes a second to call Congress, and you don’t even have to get worked up. Just call their office, tell them your name and that you live in their District or State, and then just say, “I oppose SOPA and PIPA, and I don’t think you should vote for them.” Remember you’re talking with volunteers, and be nice, but do give them a call.

And, if you’re feeling a bit brave, or a bit cheesed off, ask for some voting rights for your friends in the District?

News, The Daily Feed

An end to corporate donations in DC?

Photo courtesy of nevermindtheend
VOTE
courtesy of nevermindtheend

Well, at least part of DC life.

Local political advocates Bryan Weaver (you remember him from his At-Large and Ward 1 council campaigns), Sylvia Brown (An ANC in Ward 7) and Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells are teaming up to put a ballot initiative on this November’s general election ballot to end Corporate Political Donations for local campaigns.  Should the measure get on the ballot (not a certainty), and pass (doubly so), DC would join 30 states and the Federal Government that forbid corporations from donating to local campaigns.

The group would need at least 20,000 signatures in order to get the measure on the ballot, but first it must pass some oversight by the Board of Elections & Ethics, and survive a challenge period.  Should it do those things, it would end up on the November general election ballot.

There’s been a lot of focus on the national stage about the role of corporations in politics, and I would expect that this measure would draw out a number of groups both for and against the corporate contributions. This will be one to watch.

We had hoped to get the text of the proposed amendment, but Mr. Weaver did not return contact ahead of this story breaking at the Post this morning.

News, The Daily Feed

DMV’s Ticket Amnesty Program End January 27

Photo courtesy of maxedaperture
Amount Due
courtesy of maxedaperture

If you own a car in the District, you are probably quite familiar with that sinking feeling upon returning to your vehicle and seeing that little piece of paper tucked behind your windshield wiper, with its red underside just glaring and sticking its tongue out at you. Hey, at least they didn’t tow your car. And maybe you forgot about that last ticket or angrily shoved it in a drawer somewhere thinking to yourself that you were really “sticking it to the man.”

Well, all those tickets have to be paid eventually; and if you were issued a parking, moving violation or photo-enforcement ticket prior to January 1, 2010, you can pay it off without any late fees. You can pay online or over the phone at 866-893-5023. Additionally, you can pay in person at the DMV Adjudication Services located at 301 C Street, NW, open from 8:15 AM til 4 PM, Monday through Friday.

The Ticket Amnesty Program ends on January 27, 2012.

News, The Daily Feed

Day of Action Against Guantanamo This Wednesday

Photo courtesy of ElvertBarnes
Assemblance.WitnessAgainstTorture.GTMO.NW.WDC.7January2012
courtesy of ElvertBarnes

If you were surprised by all the underwear-clad Metro riders on Sunday, don’t be one of those people surprised by the orange and black human chain during lunch break on Wednesday.

On Jan. 11, activists from around the country will be locking arms from the White House to the Capitol to protest the 10th anniversary of Guantanamo Bay prison. Organizers need/expect at least 2,771 people to complete the chain, which equals the number of detainees still held at Guantanamo and Bagram.

The protest starts at 12pm with a rally at Lafayette Park and is sponsored by Amnesty International and a bunch of other organizations. To get involved, register with any of the sponsoring groups, wear black or orange on Wednesday, and keep up with the campaign via the hashtag #closegitmo.

Oh yeah and eat an early lunch. I doubt it’s polite to break the human chain for a Chop’t run.

News, The Daily Feed, Ward 5

Thomas to resign Council seat in morning

Photo courtesy of tbridge
Councilman Harry Thomas and BNCA President Caroline Petti
courtesy of tbridge

Harry Thomas Jr, seen above at Brookland ribbon cutting, tonight released a statement that he intends to resign his Ward 5 council seat in the morning, and plead guilty to two federal crimes related to $383,000 of city money that was misappropriated by a charity that Thomas operates. In his statement tonight, Thomas said, “Tomorrow morning I will plead guilty to committing two federal crimes. I am resigning my position as a member of the Council effective immediately. I made some very serious mistakes and exhibited inadequate and flawed judgment. I take full responsibility for my actions. I am truly sorry.”

Thomas is expected in court at 11:15am tomorrow for a plea hearing in Federal Court to answer for the charges that were filed against him this morning. A plea deal has been rumored by several media outlets for the last few days, and may contain up to 3 years for Thomas in prison.

A special election would take place on the first Tuesday after 114 days from the certification of the vacancy of Thomas’ seat, which would likely place the election on May 8th or 15th.  Candidates have already begun to appear, with at least six possibilities emerging as prospective candidates in the last few days, to include some of Thomas’ former challengers, including Delano Hunter and Kenyan McDuffie.

Life in the Capital, News, The Mall

Best of: DC Protests 2011

Photo courtesy of theqspeaks
Occupy DC – In the Capitol’s Shadow 2
courtesy of theqspeaks

It’s been the year of the protestor in DC, and that’s after a 2010 filled with Tea Parties and Rallies for Sanity. We’ve seen protestors on our walks to work, outside and inside our memorials, sitting in the middle of the street and, yes, in our jails. Some protests have gone really well: they’ve raised awareness or made for some badass photo opps, or both.

Others have utterly flopped: did you hear about the Occupy The Art Institute of Washington protest? Yeah neither did anyone else.

So here they are! Relive the all the obnoxious traffic, repetitive catchphrases and handcrafted signage of the most memorable protests of 2011!

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News, The Daily Feed

Rest in Peace, Black Cat Bill (Updated: He’s Still Alive.)

Black Cat Bill by Erin Williams

Update (8:30am, 30 November 2011) Black Cat Bill is alive. Ryan Little from the City Paper was able to track down Bill in the Deanwood Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, and confirm he’s still with us. Sorry, Bill. We’re glad you’re alright.

Photo, with permission, by Erin Williams

Dave Stroup reported on Twitter last night that Black Cat Bill, unofficial doorman for the Black Cat on 14th street, has passed away. Bill was an institution on 14th street for years and years, panhandling in front of the rock club, his signature call of “Black Cat, Black Cat, how bout a little change for the homeless,” is familiar to anyone who ever caught a show at the Cat.

In 2009, Bill sat down for dinner with Erin Williams, who documented it for her blog, Journal of Rock Photographer, and the piece is too good to spoil with even a pull quote.

Peace, Bill. 14th won’t be the same without you.

There’s word brewing that there might be a benefit for homeless charities at the Cat in coming days, but no details are yet available.

News, The Daily Feed

United’s Dwayne De Rosario named MVP

This morning, midfielder Dwayne De Rosario became D.C. United’s fourth league-wide MVP in franchise history, and their third in six years. “De Ro” as he’s known to United’s fans, was a shot in the arm for the struggling club when he was acquired from the New York Red Bulls in June, and in 18 games, scored 13 goals and had seven assists. Across three clubs, De Rosario had 16 goals and 12 assists on the season and became the first MVP in North American sports to score with three separate teams in a season.

While some would say that no player that didn’t lead his team to (and perhaps through) the playoffs would deserve that honor, anyone who saw United before De Ro and after, would disagree. De Ro was the field captain that United needed to make a playoff push, and push they did, right up until the end. De Rosario is under contract through the end of next season, though it’s expected they’re rework the deal to keep De Ro well past that mark.

Congratulations, De Ro!

News, The Daily Feed

Key Bridge Occupied without incident

Photo courtesy of
‘Occupy McPhearson Square’
courtesy of ‘MrStinkhead’

While hundreds were arrested in New York and Philadelphia today, and other cities also saw arrests, DC was a bright spot for the Occupy movement, with a significant march from McPherson Square to the Key Bridge through Georgetown. MPD escorted the protestors through the streets without incident, and ensured that the marchers stayed on the sidewalk as they arrived at the bridge.

DCist’s Martin Austermuhle was in attendance, as was local political pundit Chuck Thies, each have their take on the effectiveness of the group as a whole, and the protest, but one group earned high marks for their work today, and that was MPD, who escorted the protest without incident.

News, The Daily Feed

Autonomy, With Restrictions?

Photo courtesy of
‘Darrell Issa – Caricature’
courtesy of ‘DonkeyHotey’

The news broke yesterday that Congressman Darrel Issa (R-CA) was interested in granting the District greater autonomy to spend their own budgeted funds as soon as they’re allocated, instead of spending a month or two in limbo while Congress votes to approve or disapprove the funding, so long as the District does not spend that money on abortion for residents. Is it worth it to trade a small measure of autonomy for a larger one?

It’s certainly hard not to consider increased autonomy a boon to the District, when with it comes the ability to better control its spending, without having to wait on Congress to say yes. It would also bring the Hyde Amendment to DC as policy, despite that local revenues were being used for the abortions that were later stripped out of the budget when the President used DC as a bartering chip this summer.

On one hand, this would give the city more permanent control, but placing restrictions on what should be rights has never been an attractive option for local politicians.

News, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Restaurant Owner faces federal charges after getting 65 kilos of cocaine in package

Photo courtesy of
‘Warning’
courtesy of ‘Rukasu1′

Anacostia’s Uniontown Bar and Grill has been the subject of a lot of favorable coverage and attention for bringing new life to the Martin Luther King Jr. Ave strip in Historic Anacostia. Unfortunately this morning the coverage will be different, as its owner Natasha Dasher is the subject of federal drug trafficking charges, as she and two co-conspirators apparently had 65 kilograms (140lbs) of cocaine delivered to a Fort Washington office.

There are a lot of unanswered questions right now, especially given the future of the restaurant. The Post’s coverage revealed that Dasher is behind on the rent for the restaurant, which is not a good sign.

Music, News, The Daily Feed

9:30 Club wins Billboard “Club of the Year” award

Photo courtesy of
‘Foster The People @ 9:30 Club DC’
courtesy of ‘specimenlife’

Congratulations to our friends at the 9:30 Club! Last night, the club was selected the most attended club in the nation by Billboard, besting the House of Blues at Disneyworld, and the House of Blues in Chicago. This is the fourth time in five years that the 9:30 Club has won the award, with other wins in 2007, 2009 and 2010.

Club owner Seth Hurwitz said in a release early Friday, “There is nothing like the magic of seeing a band at the club. The audience knows it, the bands know it, and they feed off each other. I just love seeing everybody having those moments.”

Congratulations to all our friends at the 9:30 Club!

We Love DC regularly runs promotions with 9:30 Club, and I work with them on a regular basis for my day job. That doesn’t meant they don’t kick ass.

News, The Daily Feed

Occupy DC calling press conference over weekend incident

Photo courtesy of
‘TAKEOVR’
courtesy of ‘jasonepowell’

This past Friday evening, four pedestrian protestors were struck in the street near the convention center by a driver trying to leave the area that had been surrounded by the protest.  Three of them were issued citations for blocking the roadway, one of which was served at the hospital.

Yesterday, a hastily called press conference was delayed when Chief Greene was late to arrive, and under-informed concerning the situation.

Today at 12:15pm at the Convention Center Skywalk (between 7th and 9th on Mount Vernon Place) the Occupy DC protestors will hold a press conference concerning the incident and will demand a full investigation into the incident. I would bet good money on a march to depart from McPherson Square around 11:30 or so, on foot to the Convention Center.  If you’re intending to drive through the area at that time, 1) DO NOT hit the protestors with your car. Your hurry isn’t that important, or you’d have a motorcade, 2) Plan on roving road closures in the area.

Overall, MPD has largely kept a respectful distance from the protests, not behaving as, say the Oakland PD (who’ve sent protestors to the hospital), or the NYPD (who are reported to have directed misbehaving vagrants to Zuccotti Park), but Friday’s incident was certainly a case where they don’t seem to have given the protestors a degree of respect they deserved. The MPD owe an explanation in full to the city for what happened, and why the driver was allowed to leave the scene uncited. You can’t just run into people, even if they’re in the street you need to cross.

News, The Daily Feed

High-Pressure Gas Leak in Dupont

Photo courtesy of
‘fire truck’
courtesy of ‘volcanojw’

The twitter account of the Firefighters Union, @IAFF36, is reporting this morning that there is a high-pressure gas leak at 2121 Massachusetts Avenue this morning in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, with hazmat trucks in response.  The buildings in the surrounding area have been evacuated as a precaution.

The area near the address includes at least three embassies (India, Estonia, and Mali) and is near the Phillips Collection art museum. 2121 Massachusetts Avenue is home to the Cosmos Club, a private social club.

Traffic is shutdown in the area, so if you’re heading to Dupont by car today, consider adding some time to your schedule.

News, The Daily Feed

Early Morning Shooting, Crash Wakes Brookland

IMG 4093

Just before 4am, a loud boom woke me from a cold sleep. I got up, looked around, and lay back down until I heard the sirens of a significant police and fire response. Dressing quickly, I was outside about 4:15am this morning, to see Engines 15 and 17 fighting a car fire in my neighbor’s yard.  The car had veered to the left, and collided with his retaining wall and fence. DCFD knocked the fire down in approximately 30 minutes, though the flames reached six feet in height, singing the lower branches of my neighbor’s maple tree.

Police on the scene reported a single occupant of the car, transported by EMS to Medstar with a serious gunshot wound to the back, which was likely the cause of the crash.  MPD Captain McLean, responding to the incident, said that there was also a “shots fired” call on Saratoga near Rhode Island Avenue, and that it was possible that he had been chased up 17th to the accident scene.  The driver was unconscious when transported to Medstar, and the Police were not optimistic about his prognosis, though he was moved there in under 15 minutes.

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