This past week, DC’s Office of Tax and Revenue sent out the FY 2015 (which begins in October 2014) appraisals for property taxes in the city. That means: if you own a house or a condo or a plot of land, the city assesses the value of that land and property so it can tax it appropriately. Property taxes represent about a third of the annual budgetary pie for the District, and the largest single revenue line item on the city’s budget. This year, I got the assessment from the city and had to go find a place to sit down.
My assessment had gone up 20%, a growth of about $80,000 in assessed value, and at current property tax rates, about $680 in additional taxes. Now, I’m no Tea Partier, and I’m certainly a believer in the necessity of taxation, but it ought to be on a fair market value evaluation of the property, and this new figure just wasn’t coming up as kosher to me.
Fortunately, you can appeal the OTR’s assessment of your home, and the process for that is pretty straight forward.
Last night, playing in front of a sold out crowd at the 930 Club, Phosphorescent laid down a poignant, vibrant, and captivating show.
Matthew Houck, the sole member of Phosphorsecent, donned a cream white, eagle crested bolero jacket paired with a straw cowboy hat and glistened in front of the stage’s shimmering floor to ceiling metallic curtains. Backed by a seven person band, Houck pulled from his six albums to lay down a serious jam session set along the lines of the Allman Brother’s Jessica and Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir; one seriously got lost in the wonderous, free-flowing sounds Houck and his band created.
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
Yeah we’re a little late with our monthly concert round-up, but hey even we need a little R n R from concert going and writing. Nevertheless, there are still PLENTY of solid shows left in the month of January, so keeping reading after the jump for recommendations (St. Lucia, Cate Le Bon, Phosphorescent, Delorean, Pixies and MORE) on how you should kick off the first month of your 2014 DC concert goings.
With the latest blast from the Arctic slated for DC tomorrow night – and forecast to bring single digit temperatures and below-zero wind chills – I thought to myself: how the hell do you dress for that level of cold? I grew up in the Central Valley of California; we didn’t spend a whole lot of time below 32°F, let alone down below zero with the wind chill. My mother’s family, though, grew up on the shores of Lake Superior, and some of them have ventured further north into Alberta, Canada. My uncle would regularly work in Fort McMurray, Alberta, four hours north of Edmonton at 56 degrees north latitude.
I asked them to help us stay warm this week, and they came back with the following:
If 2012 was the year of upheaval, then 2013 was the year of recovery. I had a seemingly simple goal: to take time to pause, reflect, and allow my body to heal after a traumatic experience of complete heart block and two operations. I sold my house in Logan Circle, and moved temporarily to Petworth, hiding away in a Batgirl Cave on a street where sweet kids played on their bikes and friendly neighbors cooked out on the sidewalks. It felt like another city, one of families, far away from my usual frantic mid-city pace.
It felt like exile, too.
I’d lived in the same house for twelve years. It seems a luxury in urban living to have had the same address for that long. Then there I was, holding the splintered remains of my former life, feeling raw and broken and alone. Only I wasn’t. My city was still there for me. Eventually I would leave my little sanctuary and move back to Shaw, able to walk by my old house without flinching, happy it was loved by someone new. My mind can now be filled with snapshots of my DC in 2013: of a sunny patio, an audience’s gasp, passionate conversations, and much happiness over friends’ successes. Art, cocktails, and coffee. A lot of coffee. And late nights. Too much, probably, for someone struggling with major arrhythmia. For every moment I tried to rest and heal, I also pushed my body to deny it had failed.
Until finally, I forgave it. Continue reading
Photo by Emma Beck
When my dad, dog, and grandmothers all passed away in 2009 the world I knew was shattered. We lost my dad and childhood dog Coco that January and my grandmothers that summer. Somehow, in between the chaos, I managed to graduate from American University with a B.A. in print journalism and a minor in music. But the completion of that journey wasn’t a source of pride at the time. The good news is – the haze of it all settled after few years and We Love DC, honestly and truly, helped bring me out of my existential funk.
Here we are now on the last day of 2013. To me, New Year’s Eve has been a bittersweet holiday ever since my dad received a life-saving heart transplant on this date 14 years ago. I was 12 and in the 7th grade at the time. It’s crazy to think about how much has changed since that day. My family got just shy of nine extra years with my dad because of that transplant, and we can’t help but think of that memory each and every New Year’s Eve.
Now you’re probably thinking, “What does all of this stuff have to do with Rachel’s DC in 2013?” Not to worry, I’m getting to that. Continue reading
At the ripe old age of still under 40, I felt like I had a mid-life crisis of sorts in 2013. This was the year my outside frustrations and internal conflicts collided and I found myself becoming a bit cynical, bitter, and angry at things I couldn’t control and at complete strangers who I assumed were total jerks because they refuse to use their turn signal when switching lanes. Mid-year, it began to dawn on me that I was becoming the very person I was used to showing the middle finger to, and that scared me. I didn’t like being “that” person and I began taking steps to change. As 2013 comes to an end, I am pleased to announce that my mid-life crisis has ebbed and I am on the road to an existential recovery. And DC itself has been a great therapist in helping me sort out my personal predicaments and move forward towards a more positive me.
I spent the first three months of 2013 outside of DC. I had been cast in two shows at a theatre in a different city and was very excited to leave the winter weather, the hustle and bustle of the beltway, and enjoy some time in a place where the weather was warm and the pace of life a lot slower. And to be honest, I really did enjoy my time away. A break from the rat race of the District was a nice change of pace. The people I met were lovely, the food was amazing, and the lack of traffic was heavenly. But being away also helped me gain perspective on the city in which we live. Continue reading
All of my fondest memories of 2013 have happened in a bar. Whether I was on the good side or the better side of the bar, I’ve loved every minute. I got offered three jobs (including this one!) just going out for a drink. And I took all of them, along with one more, because I want to see as much of this city as I can. Sometimes it can be exhausting and emotionally draining, and it beats the crap out of your body (what’s that, four AM yoga so my neck isn’t stiff as a board tomorrow?), but it’s the best job I’ve ever had
On bad days, tending bar can feel a bit like lion taming–at least I wish I had a whip whenever someone orders half a dozen mojitos (back, you animals!). And I may have developed bartending-induced ADD. Continue reading
Guys, the truth is, I spent most of 2013 with my focus turned inward, ever since late January when the second line appeared on the stick. New bar opening? Whatever, I can’t drink. Food trucks? Sorry, gestational diabetes. Major database release at work? I’m going to be on leave for that entire quarter, suckers… Even the government shutdown barely registered since it started the day after we brought the Bridgelet home from the hospital. All of October is a blur of sleep deprivation and constant feelings of incompetence.
Still, in the middle of doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds and baby showers and midnight feedings and planning for daycare and college funds, I managed to pick my head up once in a while, and when I did, I found my love for DC being renewed all the time.
Some highlights, big and small… Continue reading
So far, my life has pretty much followed the trajectory of this Oatmeal comic about celebrating Christmas. Last year, the only way any of Tom’s gifts got wrapped is if I paid Amazon to do it, and we had a Christmas tree primarily because friends of ours with a kid were going to get one and we wanted to hang out with them.
This year, when we are a family of three, it’s like we’ve suddenly rediscovered Christmas. Must light the Advent wreath! Must find the perfect Baby’s First Christmas ornament and stocking! Let’s all stomp around together in the mud at the Christmas tree farm! WE ARE MAKING MEMORIES, DAMMIT; never you mind that the Bridgelet is not actually capable of forming specific memories yet.
But even with me still home on maternity leave, between the demands of baby care, the minimum of housework needed to keep our home from sliding from “happily imperfect” into “abject squalor,” Tom’s job, and then Christmas prep on top… we haven’t had that much time to engage in actual, you know, holiday fun.
So, as they say, we need a little Christmas. Right this very minute, even. Here are my picks for some stroller-friendly ways to celebrate Christmas DC-style (or just look at some pretty lights, if Christmas is not your holiday) as a family without wearing yourself out (and with the weather forecast looking positively balmy this weekend, it’s a great time to get out there). Continue reading
According to a New Zealand man, this is “Katie” (this is not our Katie), and she hails from DC. He met her in Hong Kong while they were both lost, and the only thing he has from the encounter is a first name, a city, and a charge, “Find me.” There’s more in a Facebook Group, and the AP in New Zealand has a piece with the organizer, Reese McKee, so this doesn’t appear to be a Diane-in-7A hoax like the one we saw over Thanksgiving.
So, do you recognize this face?
Do you like dancing? Do you like disco? Do you like flashing lights? Do you like live ensemble bands? Then Escort at the Blackcat this Friday is for you.
The ensemble (we’re talking like 17 people!) released their first album last year and made it onto Rolling Stone’s top 40 albums of 2012, so they’re legit. The album is chock full of disco-based tracks that artfully take the musical genre modern with tribal beats, synth-based remixes and electrifying energy. But make no mistake this is a disco, so if that’s not your thing, this isn’t your show. If you’re looking to get your weekend started with a live music dance party, then I’ll see you there.
Today, we are giving away a pair of tickets to see Ha Ha Tonka at the Rock N’ Roll Hotel on Saturday, November 16th. Simply leave a comment on this post using a valid email address by 9pm on 11/14. Feel free to leave any comment; they are VERY MUCH appreciated. One entry per email address, please.
Unfortunately, I’m unable to catch the crisp guitar pickings and fast paced tempo of this veteran band who just released their fourth full-length album. BUT YOU can experience the part Americana, part indie rock, part modern country act that is Ha Ha Tonka. The band showcases tried and true vocals, musical prowess and instrument dexterity –think Arcade Fire and Trampled By Turtles with a twist of Langhorne Slim.
For the rules of this giveaway… Continue reading
Last night, despite a 10pm set time, a frigid Monday night and a developing cold, I bundled up and hit the 9:30 Club to check out the Seattle group The Head And The Heart (THATH).
Had THATH been some sort of electronica, disco-pop, techno-ish band, then I would have been tucked away in my apartment downing Nyquil, but as I was familiar with the group, I knew to expect country/indie folk ballads with a kick of ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” The Beatles “A Day in the Life,” and Dexy Midnight Runner’s “Come On Eileen.”
The band took the stage shortly after 10pm, played about an hour and 15 minute set and produced a show identical to their recorded albums. Now when I see someone, I don’t expect a group to sound incredibly different or even “better,” but I do expect something – a tone, a sound, an energy, a vibe, a connection – that differentiates the performance from what I can listen to in my living room. Personally speaking, this show was a bit of a let down.
Heeeyyyyyyyyyyy kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiddddz! It’s time for Mickey, Rachel and I to give you our thoughts and recommendations for the DC shows you should check out this month. I have to admit that October was a killer month in the DC music scene. But we think November can hold its own as there are WAY too many solid acts and they all seem to be coming back-to-back. So, get your daytime naps in, get your proper nutrition and hydrate well because you’re going to need to be in peak concert going form.
After the jump, Albert Hammond Jr., The Limosines, Kate Nash, Steven Kellogg with St. John, Minor Alps, Tiffany Thompsen, and many, many more.
Today we have a pair of tickets to give away for tomorrow night’s San Fermin show at DC9.
San Fermin, pronounced [SAN fur-MEEN], and their self-titled, debut album is the brainchild of Brooklyn music composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone who wrote the album in the Canadian Rocky Mountains over the course of six weeks. Tracks on the album alternate between female and male lead vocals allowing Leone’s concept for the album – a dialogue between an earnest, unhappy man and a cynical, elusive woman – to come to life. The inspiration for this concept was Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises which explains the album’s title, the bull-theme photos and the Spanish song titles.
Not surprisingly love anchors the issues explored in the album, but there is also a strong Biblical tie, in particular to forgiveness, hopelessness, lamentation and pilgrimage. These themes are acutely emphasized by the musical deftness of the eight-member group composed of Allen Tate and Rae Cassidy on lead vocals, Rebekah Durham on vocals/violin, Stephen Chen on saxophone, John Brandon on trumpet, Mike Hanf on drums, Tyler McDiarmid on guitar and Ellis Ludwig-Leone on keyboard. Whew. Hope I covered everyone there. Continue reading
If you’re like me, you’re in love with infographics because they take spreadsheets, lists, tables and large amounts of data and make them meaningful, useful and sometimes – when done right – beautiful. Case and point are two interactive infographics created by Casey Trees that are a leaf peepers dream.
The first infographic, which for me is the more useful of the two, suggests DC routes leaf peepers should take for maximum fall color viewing. On hover over, users are given the route’s length, walk or drive recommendations, number of colored trees along the route, types of trees along the route and expected level of color users will see.
I’m straight off the plane from Austin City Limits, where I had planned on catching White Denim on Day 3. Unfortunately, Day 3 was cancelled due to severe flooding and thunderstorms, which was a total bummer, but totally understandable. Fortunately, White Denim is playing this Friday at Rock N Roll Hotel, but you better act fast because tickets to see this awesome American rock band are limited.
White Denim, an Austin grown group, has put out a handful of records since they formed in 2005 with the upcoming Corsicana Lemonade to be released later this month. The group’s tracks are heavily based within the Southern rock genre with prominent percussion and bass riffs and vocal male harmonies. In my opinion the group gives off a Dire Straits and Eagles vibe but with updated, modern influences and signatures.
This show will definitely be a good start to a chill Fall weekend.
Today’s the first day of the 2013 Bentzen Ball, a collection of awesome comedy shows all over DC that feature some of the nation’s greatest comedic minds. This year’s set of shows is curated by the amazing Tig Notaro – she of the amazing set last year about cancer that broke all of comedy’s rules – and the slate is nothing short of masterful. Tonight’s opening show at 9:30 Club headlines with Notaro, and she’s joined by Doug Benson (Last Comic Standing), Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show), Heather Lawless (Flight of the Conchords), and one of my favorite locals, Brandon Wetherbee to kick things off, and the rest of the weekend is just as awesome.
Of all the days of the festival, though, Saturday’s lineup is nothing short of astonishing. I don’t think DC will ever have been as funny to the world as it will be Saturday, with big shows at the Lincoln Theatre, Howard Theatre, and U Street Music Hall. There’s an Improv show, a comedy music revue and a straight up comedy battle, all with price tags under $25 a piece. These are shows featuring Rachel Dratch, Garfunkel & Oates, Christylez Bacon, Nancy & Beth (with Megan Mullally), Nick Kroll (The League), DC’s favorite Seaton Smith, and tons more.
When I first saw the lineup, I couldn’t believe that they’d gotten all these folks to come, but more than that, where are you going to find such a diverse crowd of comedians? This isn’t some Andrew Dice Clay misogynist’s gallery, this is a group of amazing funny people in one place, so get your laugh on, folks.
We’re going to get one lucky winner a pair of all access passes to ALL of Saturday’s shows. Why?
Because we love you. And DC. And Laughing. Because we could all use a laugh about now.
So, here’s how it works: