Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Madonna @ The Verizon Center — 9/23/12

Madonna and the Majorettes. Copyright and Courtesy Bill Ayres, Reel Film News.

When Madonna’s first album came out nearly 30 years ago in 1983, it was remarkable not only for its raw sexuality but for the infectious, bubbly optimism demonstrated in its best-known songs.

Songs like “Holiday” and “Lucky Star” are not only delicious post-disco dance numbers but they are forward-looking, feel-good statements of intent.

At age 54, Madonna today does a lot of looking backward as well, and it’s not always as fun and optimistic. But leave her to do what she does best and eventually she has a point to make — a better day is coming.

And so goes the narrative of her latest tour in support of her 12th studio album MDNA, which stopped in DC at the Verizon Center Sunday and Monday night. At the sold-out show Sunday night, she went through at least four different acts over two hours, which comes to an end with a totally giddy and exuberant celebration of all of the reasons the dance floor has loved her for so long.

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capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Islanders give Capitals a Rough Ride, win 3-0

Photo courtesy of bhrome
courtesy of bhrome

When the Capitals came into Tuesday night’s game against the New York Islanders at the end of an unusual homestand: every one of the four teams the Caps played had played within the previous 24 hours. Tuesday night, however, the Caps came out looking like the tired team and were shut out for the first time this season.
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Sports Fix

Capitals douse Flames, grab 3-1 win

Photo courtesy of bhrome
courtesy of bhrome

On the coldest night of the winter so far, Mike Green returned to the ice at Verizon Center warm Caps fans’ heart, as the Caps defeated the Flames, 3-1. Though he was not his usual sterling self throughout the game, with a little over 15 minutes of playing time, Green was back in action in the Red on Tuesday night in front of a a packed house happy to see him.

The Capitals struck early, with a power play goal in just the second minute of the night off a beautiful one-timer by Ovechkin, fed by Marcus Johansson, on a well-executed 2-on-1 after some strong neutral zone play.  The neutral zone would be the focus of the first period, with the Caps transforming gradually into the Dale Hunter-lead team that fights hard in the neutral zone to maintain control of the game through the middle part of the ice. For the most part they’d succeed in pushing for possession battles outside of their own end.  Ovechkin said post game, “Everybody’s buying into everything and working very hard. That’s the most important thing. No one is taking it easy.”

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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Foo Fighters @ Verizon Center, 11/11/11

photos by Andrew Markowitz.

When We Love DC was invited to cover The Foo Fighters on Friday night at the Verizon Center I offered it up to one of our other music writers because, frankly, I just don’t listen to their music too much. I have much respect for Dave Grohl and all of the interesting projects he is responsible for, or has been a part of, but of all the music he has made The Foo Fighters is the most vanilla to me. When compared to crap on mainstream radio The Foo Fighters shine as one of the last examples of successful good rock music. But when you stack the band’s output up against Killing Joke or Nirvana, Probot or Scream; I am much more interested in all of the above. So I was content to pass this show up (even though the triple bill with Social Distortion and The Joy Formidable was intriguing). Then last minute scheduling conflicts reared their ugly head and I ended up pinch hitting this one anyway.

So I found myself sitting in a damn good seat at the Verizon Center not really knowing what to expect. The Joy Formidable, Social Distortion, and The Foo Fighters are all bands that somehow I have never seen despite my prolific live music experiences and their reputations as excellent live acts. To be quite honest, like The Foo Fighters, Social Distortion is a band that although I respect I never really listen to either. I’m much more of a DK or Black Flag man when it comes to West Coast Punk. A friend of a friend has been trying to talk me into The Joy Formidable for a couple years now and I went into the show probably the most curious about them. A few days before the show I posted on FB about the show by saying, “I’m expecting to be either seriously impressed or completely bored.”

Guess which one it was?
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Entertainment, Interviews, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Cirque du Soleil Skip Roper Adrienn Banhegyi & Quidam

Title : Zoé, John, Target Picture credit : Matt Beard Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux ©2011 Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil’s travelling show Quidam is coming to the Verizon Center this week (November 16 to 20). This particular show’s premise is: “A young girl’s escape into a world of imagination.” That leaves room for some provoking theater combined with acrobatics, live music, and a killer light show (among other things).

Skip Roper Adrienn Banhegyi, 28, took the time to talk about Quidam over the phone, giving We Love DC the 411 about what makes this Cirque du Soleil show special.

Here’s what she had to say: Continue reading

Fun & Games, Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Glee Live 2011 at the Verizon Center

Sing // Photo by Rachel Levitin

The pilot episode of the award-winning Fox television program Glee describes the definition of its moniker within the first two minutes of run-time. “By its very definition,” the show reveals, “Glee is about opening yourself up to joy.” Two seasons and a few Billboard records later, Glee has gone beyond its namesake. It is a cult classic in the heart of its heyday.

The show’s drawn a devoted group of fans who have deemed themselves “Gleeks.” They are a proud group stretched over a wide range of demographics preaching the same message of acceptance and love of music over all else. Whether you’re a fan of the program or not, it’s impossible to deny the influence Glee has had on an expansive American audience. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Glee Live In Concert Comes To Washington

Photo courtesy of
‘Glee Second Season’
courtesy of ‘John Ashbrook’

D.C. area Gleeks were snubbed the first time Glee decided to do a live tour aka last year. A Gleek’s only hope was once a long-shot chance of scoring an Easter Egg Roll ticket for a trip to the White House. Until this morning, that was the same case for D.C. Gleeks in 2011, unless they scored tickets to the shows in Philadelphia or New York City.

Good news, Gleeks. Glee live in concert is coming to the Verizon Center Thursday, June 9!

The second season main cast including Lea Michele (Rachel), Cory Monteith (Finn), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Kevin McHale (Artie), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), Mark Salling (Puck), Dianna Agron (Quinn), Naya Rivera (Santana), Heather Morris (Brittany), Harry Shum, Jr. (Mike), Chord Overstreet (Sam) and Darren Criss (Blaine) are scheduled to perform. Continue reading

Sports Fix, The Features

From hockey to basketball at Verizon: A familiar routine

Photo courtesy of
‘Verizon Center change over’
courtesy of Max Cook

Last Saturday was a busy day for the bull gang at Verizon Center.

Then again, the operations crew working in the hub of Chinatown is always busy.

Yet, last Saturday was a little bit different. Verizon Center makes multiple switches every week from a hockey arena for the Capitals to basketball for the Wizards with modifications for both Georgetown and the Mystics. Normally, it goes from basketball to hockey, a familiar process for the crew. On Saturday it was a quick afternoon turnaround though from hockey to basketball as the Caps played an uncharacteristic early-afternoon matinee at 12:30 p.m. and the Wizards had a later-than-usual start at 8:00 p.m.

Both teams lost. Badly.

It turned out to be a marathon day for this reporter. It came to the point where our fearless leader, Tom, was set to dispatch a St. Bernard to the Verizon Center with one of those little casks tied around its neck as part of a rescue team. Being a working Saturday, I naturally told Tom to have the St. Bernard’s cask (in my mind I called him TimBo) filled with tequila. A working man has a powerful thirst, you know.

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The Daily Feed

CANCELED: Linkin Park @ Verizon Center, Tonight!

Well I’m sure this news is going to disappoint a lot of people…

“Linkin Park has been forced to cancel their February 10th show in Washington DC at the Verizon Center. Lead vocalist Chester Bennington is ill and under doctor’s orders to refrain from performing. The band sincerely regrets this unavoidable cancellation and apologizes to fans for any disappointment caused. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase beginning February 11th.”

The Daily Feed

Hot Ticket: Linkin Park @ Verizon Center, 2/10/11

“A Thousand Suns” cover.

Two time Grammy Award winning rap/rock group Linkin Park comes to the Verizon Center on Thursday night. Formed in Agoura Hills, California in 1996, the band has sold over 50 million albums worldwide, including “Hybrid Theory” and “Meteora”. What more can you say about a band that has spawned hard hitting songs like “One Step Closer,” Crawling,” and “Numb”? Touring on the strength of their latest album, the politically charged “A Thousand Suns”, Linkin Park promises to bring a high energy performance to the stage.

Also on the bill is Pendulum, an drum and bass band from Australia and Does It Offend You, Yeah?, a British electronic rock group. Both opening bands have been garnering considerable buzz overseas over the past two years.

If you’d like to get a preview of the concert, you can head over to and get a free EP download of official bootlegged songs from the current tour featuring all three bands. Thursday night promises to be one of the most memorable concerts for the first quarter of 2011 and tickets are still available!

Linkin Park
w/ Pendulum & Does It Offend You, Yeah?
@ Verizon Center
$42.50 – $72.50

Sports Fix, The Features

Capitals snooze and lose in Hannan’s first game at Verizon

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘bhrome’

Perhaps this is not what Scott Hannan had in mind for his first couple games in as a Capital.

Get traded to a first place powerhouse, an offensive juggernaut that could deeply use another top-four defenseman and … lose. That has been the case so far in the Hannan-era. The Capitals have scored two goals in his two games and have lost to Dallas and Atlanta, showing little spark in the process.

On Saturday Washington was dropped 3-1 by Atlanta, the second straight time (after a 5-0 embarrassment in Atlanta Nov. 19) they have lost to their division rival and third time of the season. Hannan was not around for the first four meetings against the Atlanta yet the Capitals’ shiny new defenseman (at least to them) had little to say about the outcome. Hannan played 17 shifts for 14:33 of ice time registering one hit and one blocked shot while posting a plus/minus ratio of -1.

“We had some energy there in the first but it just didn’t seem like we could bury our chances and they buried theirs when they got they got the chance,” Hannan said. Continue reading

Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Caps notch Overtime win against Philly, 3-2

Title Card

Sunday night’s early evening game against the Flyers was full of opportunities for the Capitals to assert their dominance, but it was Philly that struck first.  Nikolay Zherdev scored on the breakaway against Braden Holtby in his first NHL start.  Holtby would block 23 of 25 and earn the second star tonight, including three beautiful back-to-back-to-back saves against a Flyers onslaught in the third period.

Eric Fehr and Alexander Semin would chalk up regulation goals in the first and the second for the Capitals, in an offensive performance that was mostly lackluster.  The Caps would pepper Bobrovsky with 39 shots, striking just three times tonight.  Worse were the missed connections from the Caps offense, which just couldn’t connect on the cross tonight, and had a number of difficulties clearing the puck.

The best chance for the Caps to finish off the Flyers came with 3:55 remaining in the third. Chris Pronger got booked on a double-minor for high-sticking, as he swatted defenseman Dave Steckel in the nose.  The physical game was almost entirely in Philly’s corner tonight, with the Flyers outhitting the Caps 30-17, and that’s what got them into the situation that cost them the game.  The Caps started overtime playing 5 on 3, and just 29 seconds into the period, Mike Green beat rookie minder Bobrovsky high on a laser shot to claim the victory.

Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Star Wars In Concert @ Verizon Center 7/17/10

Star Wars: In Conert Verizon Center 7/17/10
photo by Don Whiteside.

Earlier today you may have read my interview with David Iskra, the curator of the Star Wars: In Concert traveling props and costume exhibit. While it is not necessary to read that article, I do suggest reading it first for two reasons. One, this article is a review of the musical half of Star Wars: In Concert experience; all of our exhibit photos and most of the information about the traveling exhibit are contained in this morning’s post. Two, the prop exhibit greets the audience as they arrive for the concert and provides at least an hour of entertainment before the music even begins. To better put yourself in an attendee’s shoes, I suggest checking out our exhibit photos to get yourself ready for the adventure that lay ahead!

The original Star Wars trilogy is composed of three of the most beloved films of all time. The prequel trilogy that followed many years later is made up of three of the most divisive. Two common threads connect these six films and Star Wars: In Concert is an event designed to celebrate them. First and foremost, the event is about celebrating the brilliant music of composer John Williams; who scored all six films over a 30-year period. Even the most critical fan must acknowledge that Williams’ music is the most beautiful, artistic thing to come out of the prequel trilogy and that his themes from the original trilogy rank among the most memorable and effective film scoring of all time. Second, the event is about the lineage of characters that populate the six films and the human themes that they evoke in the viewer. Another Planet Touring created Star Wars: In Concert to celebrate John Williams’ music and to explore how it was as important in creating these characters as the writing and acting. It is a touring multimedia event unlike any other film music event I have ever attended. It was a great afternoon full of nostalgia, visual delight, and thrilling music.

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Entertainment, Interviews, Music, People, Special Events, We Love Music

An Interview with David Iskra, Star Wars: In Concert Exhibit Curator

Star Wars: In Concert
photo by Don Whiteside.

Star Wars invaded Washington DC last Saturday when George Lucas and Another Planet Touring brought their phenomenal multimedia road-show, Star Wars: In Concert, to the Verizon Center for two very special concerts. The concerts featured a massive orchestra and choir performing selections from John Williams’ historic run as score composer of the six Star Wars films.

Another major element of this event is a traveling exhibit of original props and costumes from all six Star Wars films. The exhibit filled the hallways of the Verizon center with exotic costumes and strange creatures from a galaxy far, far, away. My review of the concert portion of this event will go live later this afternoon. But first, here is a transcript of an interview I conducted with David Iskra, the curator of the Star Wars: In Concert traveling exhibit.

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Entertainment, Interviews, The Features

The Harlem Globetrotters take to the capital’s courts

Blakes on the ice with Capitals players
“Buckets Blakes” with the Washington Capitals
Courtesy Washington Sports & Entertainment

In early December, I sat down with Harlem Globetrotter “Buckets” Blakes over some tacos and salsa—the spicy garnish as well as the flavorful tunes playing overhead at Rosslyn’s Baja Fresh. A warm soul with a wide smile, Blakes arrived all suited up and with his basketball perched nonchalantly on his hip. When the behind-the-counter Baja employee jokingly extended his hands for a pass, Buckets playfully tossed the ball his way, afterward posing for a photo with the ecstatic fan.

Buckets Blakes (#15), now in his eighth season with the Globetrotters, clearly enjoys these press junkets he’s sent on as one of the team’s more experienced players. He kept busy during this past DC/VA tour—taking to the ice rink with the Capitals (learning “just how bad he is at hockey”), gift-wrapping at Tysons Corner, surprising Horton’s Kids youth with free eyeglasses and even, to the delight of some Wizards fans, swiping tickets at the Verizon Center (“Hey, I’ve got to make some cash somehow!” he joked). Blakes returns to the area with his teammates next week as they take over the court December 29 at Fairfax, Virginia’s Patriot Center at 7 p.m. and then at downtown’s Verizon Center December 30 at 7 p.m.

The Harlem Globetrotters are as American as apple pie. Who doesn’t hear Brother Bones’s whistled version of “Sweet Georgia Brown” and envision those red, white and blue-clad, towering magicians miraculously spinning basketballs atop long fingers and catapulting balls into the net from a court’s length away? The group, formed by London-born immigrant Abraham Saperstein, evolved in the 1920s on the South Side of Chicago where the original players grew up. The team (then called the Savoy Five) turned professional in 1927, later getting a new name when promoter Saperstein wanted to give the impression that the all-black team represented that mostly black New York borough. Famed for their unique combination of athleticism, theater and comedy, the Globetrotters have fluctuated between playing competitively and for show, resulting in one of the best-known sports entertainment franchises in the world.

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News, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Verizon Center Toy Drive To Honor Abe Pollin

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘rutlo’

The Verizon Center is honoring the late DC sports owner and local philanthropist, Abe Pollin, on Tuesday with a memorial service and toy drive.

If you’re feeling charitable this holiday season and would like to commemorate the life of a man who served this community, feel free to drop off new/unwrapped toys at the Verizon Center’s entrance on F Street from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m tomorrow.

Pollin’s memorial service begins at 7 p.m. and is free to the general public. Speakers include Mayor Fenty and NBA Hall of Famers Wes Unseld and Earl Monroe.

News, The Daily Feed, The District

Sen. Corker’s Daughter Carjacked Near Verizon Center

Photo courtesy of
‘Slow Down’
courtesy of ‘spiggycat’

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker’s oldest daughter Julia, 22, got carjacked last night at the corner of D and 7th Streets NW (near the Verizon Center) by two attackers. One of the men stopped to ask Corker where Gallery Place was while the other opened her driver’s side door, pulled her out of the vehicle, choked her, and threw her to the ground where she then lost consciousness.

She awoke from her brief stint of a black out only to find the attackers driving away in her SUV. Lucky for Corker, her SUV was equipped with OnStar and police were able to track the men down and arrest them.

Corker was not seroiusly injured in the attack.

Fun & Games, People

He Loves DC: Crickett The Clown

Photo courtesy of
‘Just hanging out’
courtesy of ‘afagen’

As many of us are aware after the parade yesterday, the circus is in town! I had a chance to catch up with one of the clowns in the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Crickett. Crickett hails from the DC area, and I was able to  talk to him all about what it’s like to be a clown, what he misses about DC, and even about that mysterious bearded lady…

Katie: Tell us how you and DC intersect, how long you lived here, what your early memories are?

Crickett: I moved to the DC metro area when I was in 10th grade from New York and simply fell in love with it since I got here. Over more than a decade, I have lived here off and on while working and studying. Many of my early memories consist of taking the metro into the city and riding the trains with friends and just hanging out and seeing all the free sites.

Any favorite places you miss?

Of course! After I have lived/ played/ entertained (I hesitate, for obvious reasons, to call what I do work) in large arenas, such as Verizon, I enjoy being entertained as opposed to doing it myself. The Palace of Wonders is my favorite place to go in DC. It’s a tiny little club that hosts regular nightly entertainment, both amateur and professional in vaudeville, burlesque, comedy, variety and such. One of my favorite groups, the Lucky Daredevil Thrill Show performs there regularly. It’s a great place to meet up and coming performers, relax, or see weird sideshow ephemera such as Fiji mermaids, swords, and other oddities. Other than that, I love the Smithsonian and the masses of other free museums DC has to offer, especially the Air and Space Museum or the Zoo

Name the best part of DC, in your opinion?

The cherry blossom trees when they’re out. On a sunny spring day, there is no better place to be or better company to have than the cherry blossoms.

How did you wind up a clown?

While I was attending University in Newport News, VA, I happened upon a now-defunct traveling sideshow. It was then I realized I could act outrageous, tour, color my hair, wear makeup, and have fun touring without being a rock star (or a drag queen for that matter). This appealed to me because I can’t keep a beat to save my life!

More on Crickett’s career as a clown, and where you’ll be able to find him while he’s in town after the jump. Continue reading