Arlington, We Love Arts

Interview with Playwright Beau Hopkins

Original Ugandan production of The River & The Mountain / Courtesy of Artisphere

Original Ugandan production of The River & The Mountain / Courtesy of Artisphere

British playwright Beau Hopkins wrote The River and the Mountain - the first Ugandan-produced play to deal with the theme of homosexuality. The controversial show, which premiered in Kampala in 2012, led to charges against and eventual deportation of producer David Cecil.

The River and the Mountain will make its US debut – and its first showing outside of Uganda – in a series of staged readings in the DC/Baltimore area, including a free staged reading this Saturday night at Artisphere. I recently spoke with Hopkins about the project and the current political climate in Uganda.

Joanna Castle Miller: Tell me a little about what led you to write this piece.

Beau Hopkins: I met (producer) David Cecil shortly after I arrived in Uganda in April of last year. And he introduced me to a theater company that suggested an interesting topic: the issue of homosexuality. It was something over which a blanket silence had descended that was politically motivated. And in their view, it was important to rupture that silence.

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The Daily Feed

Arlington Flea Market Reopens This Weekend

Photo courtesy of India Kangaroo
courtesy of India Kangaroo

Rummagers unite! The Arlington Flea Market opens its season tomorrow for the first of eight monthly events.

A NoVa tradition since 1986, the market takes up five floors worth of space in the I-66 garage in North Arlington next to Washington-Lee high school.

That’s four floors of saucers, necklaces, antique miniature spoons and other amazing crap.

Also known as The Civitan Flea Market, the event’s proceeds go to support the causes espoused by the Civitan Club of Arlington. So not only are you stocking up on obscure used goods and promoting recycling – you’re also benefiting volunteerism and helping people with developmental disabilities.

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The Daily Feed

Third Annual Week of Bacon at Restaurant 3

Photo courtesy of
‘a magic number’
courtesy of ‘christaki’

Let out a great big yell, “IT’S BAAAAACOOOON!”  From October 13 through 22 Restaurant 3 is hosting their 3rd annual Week of Bacon.

Kicking off the week is a pig roast on the 13th with pulled pork sandwiches. The rest of the pork-tastic week features a bacon tasting dinner menu for $30 per person that incorporates bacon through every part of the meal, including dessert with a maple bacon ice cream. Restaurant 3 is also offering bacon bites at the bar and bacon-curing demonstrations during happy hours from 4 PM til 7 PM during the week.

If you can snag a spot, you can keep the magic of the bacon week alive in your own home by taking a free bacon curing class on October 16th at 3 PM. The restaurant’s chef, Brian Robinson, will show you how to cure bacon, give you bacon samples and share some of his curing rub recipes. You can try to get into the class by emailing

And if that’s still not enough cured pork for you, you can also buy a pound to go of the restaurant’s house-cured bacon.

The Daily Feed

First Look: SOCCi

Photo courtesy of
‘SOCCi Sign’
courtesy of ‘A. L. Huber’

Often, hotel restaurants get a bad reputation that is sorely undeserved. There are many truly great restaurants that adjoin hotels that often get forgotten when thinking about fine cuisine – Blue Duck Tavern in Foggy Bottom springs to mind immediately. SOCCi, short for South of Crystal City Italian, is a new addition to that list of great restaurants in unusual locations.

Nestled in the lobby of the gorgeous newly-constructed Renaissance Arlington Capital View hotel, SOCCi boasts a 96-seat dining room serving chef David Creamer’s fresh, inspired take on classic Italian cuisine.
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Arlington, Food and Drink, The Features

Beer Dinners at Lyon Hall

Lyon Hall's Ommegang Beer Dinner

Beer dinners have been growing in prevalence and popularity in the area as the number of beer-inspired restaurants and bars continue to build. Pizzeria Paradiso, Birch and Barley, and Meridian Pint have all played host to beer-pairing dinners, and you may now add Lyon Hall of Clarendon to the mix.

Tuesday saw their first beer dinner since opening just under a year ago, and I was lucky to attend as a guest of the restaurant’s beer director, David McGregor. He’s long planned to do the pairings, which will occur on the first Tuesday of every month, and finally had the opportunity to start this week. Talk with David and you’ll sense his sincere passion towards all things malt and mash, and a genuine excitement to share in his explorations of their interplay with deftly prepared dishes.

For the inaugural dinner, David invited in Brewery Ommegang’s local director, Steve Cardello, and together with Lyon Hall’s chef de cuisine, Andy Bennett, put on a four-course meal catered to and built around the flavors and textures of Ommegang’s classic and unique offerings.

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The Daily Feed

First Look: Bada Bing Cheesesteak Truck

‘Bada Bing Truck’
courtesy of ‘foodtruckapp’

One of the latest entrants into the burgeoning DC food truck scene is the BadaBing Cheesesteak Truck, which patrols the Wilson Boulevard corridor in Arlington, looking for hungry customers.  When I found the truck on North Lynn Street in Rosslyn today, it was surrounded by almost  a dozen patrons, risking their body heat for a chance at a cheesesteak.

Founded in 2010 by Nicholas Terzella, a former executive chef trained at the New England Culinary Institute who has worked in cities like New York City and Miami, the BadaBing Truck offers two main types of sandwiches: cheesesteaks and spiedies (pronounced “spee-dee”). While cheesesteaks are a favorite, staple American sandwich, the spiedie is a little more of a regional favorite, that some people might not be as familiar with.  The spiedie originated with Italian immigrants in upper New York State in the early 1900s, who took cubes of marinated, skewer-cooked chicken or pork (spiedinis) and stuffed them in a hoagie rolls. The resulting sandwich was so popular it even spurred the creation of a regional spiedie festival, the annual Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally (now in its 27th year!) in Binghamton, New York.

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Arlington, Crime & Punishment, The Daily Feed

Robbery at BBT Branch in Rosslyn

Photo courtesy of
‘[116/365] Piggy Bank’
courtesy of ‘pasukaru76′

ARLNOW is reporting that the BBT branch in Rosslyn was robbed this afternoon by two men, one of them supposedly armed with a gun. The men fled the scene and dropped the money when a marking dye exploded in the bag as they passed the Holiday Inn parking lot.

Arlington, Food and Drink, We Love Food

First Look: Bayou Bakery


Sometimes I think that Courthouse is a dead zone for food. If I want actual chef-driven food I go to Ray’s, or I walk up to Clarendon. No longer! David Guas is here to save Courthouse and his new place Bayou Bakery is my new neighborhood gem for the area.

The New Orleans themed eat place serves up beingets, chicory coffee, and delicious sandwiches on fluffy hoagie rolls made from local ingredients. In the morning, people stop in for coffee and breakfast; Guas recommends the yogurt made from a Pennsylvania dairy topped with homemade granola. The lunch crowd rushes in for sandwiches and savory fare, sitting up front in booths and stand-alone tables. Settle down and sip some cider or hot chocolate in the back section with overstuffed chairs and couches and wireless internet. At night, Bayou turns into a date spot, with a good selection of beers and wines by the glass. Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Find The Perfect Bubbly For Your Holiday

Photo courtesy of
‘Champagne Cocktail’
courtesy of ‘Jenn Larsen’

The holidays are a time for sparkle: a festive sequined blouse, the lovely glow of the yule log. But it’s also time for the sparkler of my choice: booze.

EatBar is hosting their annual Sparkler Tasting and Sale on Dec. 11, a great time for you to sample all things bubbly and buy your favorites for the holidays. You’ll have your standard champagne, but Wine Director Juliana Santos (one of the most adorable sommiliers around) will serve up other sparkling wines made from Chenin Blanc and Malbec, as well as Moscato D’Asti and Prosecco from Italy, and Cava from Spain.

Not only will you go boozing, Executive Chef Barry Koslow will prepare small plates to accompany the drinks, including House-smoked salmon served on a savory waffle, Country pate with stone mustard, caramelized onion and anchovy flat bread with olives, and Dragon Creek Oyster chowder shooters. Tickets are $36, and you can buy them online, or by calling 703.778.9951.

The Daily Feed

Va. Phone Books Could Go Way of Dinosaur…Finally

Phone Book

In news from across the river, the fine folks in Arlington are all over an environmentally friendly idea: stopping phone books.

Verizon has said that by discontinuing the White Pages in Virginia, it can save 1,600 tons of paper per year. Results of today’s poll by show 95% of voters want to ditch the practice of tossing trees on every doorstep in a honking big book that only 11% of recipients will ever use.

Don’t want the Yellow Pages either? You can opt out.

Now there’s an idea that makes sense.

Alexandria, The Great Outdoors, Where We Live, WTF?!

Nature’s Fury: Braddock Road Edition

photo by author.

Alexandria got hit hard by yesterday’s freak storm.The worst hit area seemed to be the North/South stretch of Braddock Road between Old Town and Route 7. That stretch looked like it had been hit by a mini-tornado; trees down, roads closed, cars and homes struck. In the several hours it took me to drive home from DC last night, I got a tour of some pretty spectacular storm damage. Here are some shots I took that I think give a pretty good impression of how strong this storm was.

Stare in awe at the aftermath of nature’s fury.

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The Daily Feed

Beer Lovers Rejoice!

Photo courtesy of
‘the cask’
courtesy of ‘volcanojw’

Great news for those who love a good beer: a second Rustico is opening in the area soon, and this one will be Metro-accessible!  DC Metrocentric reports that the restaurant is slated to open at the end of August in Ballston at 4075 Wilson Blvd near Ballston Common Mall.  ARLnow reports that this Rustico will feature 400 bottled beers, 40 beers on tap, and two cask-conditioned ales, along with the great pizzas and hearty food that Rustico is known for.  Now here’s hoping Rustico’s excellent Oktoberfest and Festivus celebrations will take advantage of this convenient new location.

Arlington, Crime & Punishment, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Say Cheese and Pay Up

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

Remember those red light cameras that Arlington installed for your safety, last month?  Well, today is the day of reckoning. Arlington PD will start issuing $50 infractions to drivers the cameras catch blowing red lights.  To be fair, this is a significantly lighter fine than would be issue by a cop catching you doing the same, and you won’t get any points on your license.  Remember, citizens, these cameras are there for your safety, and are in no way a revenue generator for the city’s budget.

And, in case you’re wondering, the cameras are at the intersections of Lee Highway – Fort Myer Dr, and  Lee Highway – North Lynn St.

The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: Columbia Pike

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Arlington County’

For those District residents who don’t own cars and don’t like MetroBus, the extent of the Washington region is limited.  Sure, you can get to a lot of major attractions via MetroRail, but you’re missing out on a lot too.  Take Columbia Pike for example– it has a vibrant, fun “main street” feel to it, but many Washingtonians haven’t been out there (except maybe to catch a movie at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse).  Even though there isn’t a Metro station nearby, this area is definitely worth a visit.

History: Columbia Pike has always been a major thoroughfare through Arlington County since it was chartered in 1801.  It was originally a streetcar suburb, with a streetcar stop at the intersection of Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike and a direct bus connecting to the District.  But during the 1940s, the area became much more suburban and car-friendly, with lots of car dealerships and gas stations.  This pattern of development continued for the next fifty years.

The important thing to note here is that many of the neighborhoods in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor developed similarly, but they got Metro stations in the 1970s.  This led to a surge in land value, which then led to compact development and reinvestment right around those stations.  Columbia Pike didn’t get a Metro station, so there was no catalyst for urban development.  But the story isn’t over: a streetcar is coming to Columbia Pike in the next decade, which can finally bring the reinvestment that the area has been waiting for.

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The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: Crystal City

Photo courtesy of

‘Crystal City – Lightning Ball’
courtesy of ‘Mo Kaiwen è�«æ¥·æ��’

Welcome to another edition of Where We Live. This week we’re hopping on the yellow line, crossing the river, and checking out Crystal City.  When I started looking into Crystal City for this feature, I wasn’t too sure what I would find– a neighborhood named after a chandelier that claims to be Arlington’s largest downtown?  All I knew of it was that there were lots of hotels and office buildings.  But what I found was a lot of people who absolutely love living in Crystal City.  Read on to hear what’s great about Crystal City, as well as some recommendations about what to check out next time you’re in the area!

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Arlington, The Daily Feed

Mystery Object Found in Shirlington

Shirlington Mystery Object

I was waiting on a friend in Shirlington the other day when I saw this contraption. Anybody have an idea what it is? It is rather reminiscent of things I remember from history class, like stocks and pillories. In fact, the first thing I thought when I saw it was a photo I recalled from the Boxer Rebellion. No joke.

Anyway, hopefully this is some sort of useful device under construction, and not a form of public humiliation for lawbreakers, although honestly I don’t think that would be so bad. Any thoughts?

The Daily Feed

Russian Spies Arrested in Arlington

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘bhrome’

The FBI and the Justice Department brought down 10 suspected spies this afternoon across the country, including three from right here in Arlington. Several sources are reporting the details, including this article from CNN, and talk to the fact that these Russian secret agents were reportedly sent to the US for long-term operations and were to fully adapt to our way of life (marriage, kids, house, mini-vans…and the true American dream of  balloon mortgage payments says Wonkette). The article also includes details of some of the intercepted and decrypted messages that Russia reportedly sent to these agents.

Your education, bank accounts, car, house, etc. — all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e., to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in U.S. and send intels (intelligence reports),” the document said.

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The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: Clarendon

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘blakespot’

In this week’s Where We Live, we’re venturing back out to Arlington into the heart of the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor. Clarendon is one of those places that always has something going on, and with a wide selection of bars, restaurants, and shopping, you’re never at a loss for something to do. But it’s also a great place to live– our very own Patrick says moving to Clarendon was the best choice he ever made! Read on to find out what’s so great about Clarendon.

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The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Where Does Your Recycling Go?

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Ever wonder happens to your recycling once it leaves the bin?

Arlington County recently released a video that takes you inside a recycling facility. It shows how items are sorted, where they go, and what’s made from them.

Your host? A bathrobe-clad man carrying a coffee cup labeled “dork.” Check it out for good info and good cheesy fun.

The Daily Feed

Still Time to Contribute to Relay for Life Arlington

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I’m sure many of We Love DC’s readers are familiar with regional events related to Relay for Life, one of the most well-known charity events for the American Cancer Society. The locally-based Relay’s often happen at universities, but this event is actually designed to go beyond campus and into the DC/VA community contribute against the disease. The Arlington Relay will be held at Wakefield High School, June 19th and 20th, and so far, it has raised nearly $40,000 for ACS.

Even if you don’t have time to throw a team together, there are still plenty of opportunities left to contribute, rght up until the day of the event. There will be a silent auction on-site at the Relay on June 19th from 3-7pm, including rounds of golf at exclusive country clubs (Old South CC and Hidden Creek CC), Redskins Box Tickets, signed Alex Ovechkin Capitals jersey and gift certificates from some of the nicest Arlington-based restaurants.

For more information, check out the details at the Relay for Life website.