People, The District, The Features

My DC in 2013: Rachel

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

People, The District, The Features

My DC in 2013: Esther

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

People, The District, The Features

My DC in 2013: Paul

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

People, The District

My DC in 2013: In a Family Way

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

Essential DC, Fun & Games, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, The District

Baby in the City: Need a Little Christmas?

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

The District

Do You Know This Katie?

Do you know this lady?

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?

Entertainment, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, Music, The District

Hot Ticket: Escort @ Blackcat, 11/22/13


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.

London escorts can be absolutely hilarious, provocative, just perfect, surprisingly good… I guess, rather like sex itself,” is what Jenn wrote in an e-mail after we got word that the Air Sex World Championships Tour were thrusting its way into H-Street’s Rock & Roll Hotel this past weekend. I’ve heard of the event before, if you think the idea of an Air Guitar Championship is silly, I don’t want to know what you think of the idea of pretending to have sex on a stage. In front of a crowd of people.

What I saw that night was more than petty stage humping or imaginary love-making, honestly I don’t know how to describe what I saw that night.



Entertainment, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, Music, Night Life, The Daily Feed, The District

Winning Ticket: Ha Ha Tonka @ Rock N’ Roll Hotel, 11/16/13

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

Entertainment, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, Music, Night Life, The District, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Head And The Heart @ 9:30 Club – 11/04/13

The Head And The Heart

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.

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Concert Round Up, Concert Roundup, Entertainment, Essential DC, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, Music, The District

November 2013 Concert Round Up

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.

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Concert Roundup, Entertainment, Essential DC, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, Music, The District

The Winning Ticket: San Fermin @ DC9, 10/24/13


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

Adventures, Entertainment, Essential DC, Fun & Games, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, Technology, The District

DC Fall Foliage Gets Digitized & Meaningful

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.Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 10.36.32 AM

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Adventures, Entertainment, Essential DC, Get Out & About, Life in the Capital, Music, Night Life, The District

Hot Ticket: White Denim @ Rock N Roll Hotel 10/18/13

YouTube Preview Image

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.

Five Favorites, The District, The Features

Bigtime Bentzen Ball Giveaway

Bb landing page update
Bb landing page update1

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:

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The District

Why DC Should Defy The Shutdown

We’re about a week away from a threatened government shutdown. Should Congress not get their act together, and force a shutdown of the Federal Government, because DC is not a state, the District local government is facing the possibility of a shutdown that would put a third of the local city government workforce on furlough without pay, and drastically affect services for residents of the District. That means trash pickup would be curtailed, licensing and permitting would stop, and you won’t even be able to get your driver’s license renewed.

Fortunately, however, the DC City Council (spearheaded this morning by David Grosso) are considering an option that may declare all DC City workers as “essential personnel” allowed to work during a shutdown. In addition, Chairman Mendelson believes he has the votes to do something the DC Government hasn’t done before: tell Congress to take their dictat concerning the closure of the local government, shine it up real nice, turn it sideways, and shove it up their candy ass

Now, if they did just that, Attorney General Irv Nathan has warned the Council that they may be subject to federal charges under the law, each facing 2 years in jail for violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act, which basically says that if you’re authorizing expenditures not approved by Congress, you’re wasting the peoples’ money.

Here’s the thing: If there is one place where it is absolutely crystal clear that DC deserves measures of local autonomy over itself, it’s right here and right now. And I’ll say this much: if Attorney General Holder wants to arrest the Council for continuing to provide needed city services while Congress has its little partisan squabbles, then he’ll have to put me in jail before he gets to the rest of the Council and the Mayor. Add in the very high potential for jury nullification in the event he brings any charges, and the DC City Council should tell Congress where to put their indignation while we try to go on with our lives.

A shutdown of the Federal Government would have disastrous effects on the regional economy, which is why I’m rooting against it, but if the opportunity for DC to demonstrate civil disobedience arises – especially in a form that every American would understand and appreciate – this is an opportunity to get arrested in a way that would actually make the country take notice of the District’s unique plight, instead of some show arrests that won’t mean a damn thing. And there’s no way in hell any jury of District residents would convict.

Go get ‘em, Mr. Mayor and Councilmembers.

Entertainment, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, Music, Night Life, The Daily Feed, The District

Hot Ticket: Walk The Moon @9:30 Club 09/26-27

Walk The Moon

From a ticket perspective, the upcoming Thursday and Friday night Walk The Moon shows at the 9:30 Club are the definition of a “hot ticket” as both are sold out. But don’t be dejected about the ticket situation because this “hot ticket” goes WAY beyond mere paper tickets.

If you’re unfamiliar with Walk The Moon, it’s likely you’ve heard their most popular track “Anna Sun” which spent a good while on top of the charts in 2012 and was featured in an HBO Go Campaign. You may have also seen the viral YouTube music video. YouTube Preview Image Continue reading

The District

DC State Fair Photography Contest & More

This year’s DC State Fair has a bunch of great contests: from pie making, to knitting and crocheting, to homebrewing, and even fermenting veggies (mmmmm…sauerkraut…). But the one that’s near and dear to my heart is the photo contest. I won third place two years ago (with this photo) and I’ve been wanting to enter again; but I can’t, because I’m living in Maryland now. However, if you’re living in the District, and you take great, Featured Photo quality photos, then this is the contest for you! And we all know the photo contributors of this site take some amazing photos. So, be sure to enter by midnight this Saturday, September 21st. Good luck! And if someone wins with sauerkraut, could you please send me a big container of it?

Essential DC, Fun & Games, Music, Night Life, The Daily Feed, The District

STRFKR @9:30 Club – 9/4/13

Last night, STRFKR, the absurdly named and spelled Portland-based electronica group, put on an energy-filled show at the 9:30 Club.

You knew the night was gonna get weird – in a funny/ridiculous way – when the lead singer Joshua Hodges (aka Sexton Blake) walked out wearing what can only be described as the dress Norman Bates wore in Psycho; in fairness, Sexton’s frock was prettier. Continue reading

The District, The Features

Five Things Jeff Bezos Needs to Know About the District

1) The District Has a Very Vibrant Local

This one should be obvious in the way that it would be in any big city, but it needs to get said: the District’s local culture is inimitable, no matter how much NYC or Philly like to pound on this city, or Chicago, LA and SF like to ruffle their feathers. It’s easy to look at the District and see just the Federales, Congress and all the regrettable sorts the States send to represent themselves in our government. It’s easy to look at federal contracting and make wanking gestures like, “Oh God, that’s so boring,” or “That’s not much of an economy.”

Don’t make that mistake. This is a city with vibrant professional bloggers, a public radio station that’s regularly breaking news ahead of the print and digital outlets, not to mention some bastions of independent reportage, good local TV news, and a whole lot of news to work with. Let’s be honest, Jeff, there’s a reason you bought the Washington Post instead of the Boston Globe which you could’ve had at a third of the price. Part of that reason is that this is a town that loves the news. Not just the National bureau, though, my book-selling friend, but the Local Metro.

2) This is a Town You Cannot Ignore

We are the Capital of the Western World, and the Capital of the United States. This is a city whose life, whose goings on, you cannot ignore. Yes, that means covering the occasional soul-sucking ANC meeting, or the occasional grandstanding Congressman, but it also means you get to write stories like Nikita Stewart’s profile of Jeff Thompson that made me buy a digital & print subscription for the first time in my adult life. While most of us are reading online in my generation, show us you’re worth a subscription, and we’ll buy in, even if we’re just cutting coupons on Sunday and clicking ads.

You cannot ignore the District and all who live here. The work of The Post has continued, since the days of Eugene Meyer, as “the newspaper’s duty is to its readers and to the public at large, and not to the private interests of its owners.” The public service that the Post has done through covering the life of this vibrant capital cannot be underscored, though the paper has gone through ebbs and flows.

3) This is a Town That Embraces and Eschews Change.

Though we’ll party at the change of an office, we’ll also rally to save an old building or stop a new amphitheater. We like change until we don’t, and there’s very little predicting which way it will go if you’re not paying attention. There are a lot of people who don’t take kindly to outsiders telling them how to run their lives, their neighborhoods, or their families, and I suspect your editorial page is going to be in for some of that over the next few years. But, if you play your cards right? In a decade or two, you’ll be absorbed into the collective, provided that you spend time here, and get involved here.

I appreciate that Amazon will require some of your attention. Then again, you probably know exactly what this Metro area buys from your company, which gives you some insight into our city. I swear, I only bought that movie as a joke.

Getting to know your audience, which you seem intent on doing, is going to win you some respect. Listen more than you talk for a while, and that’ll keep going. We know there are changes coming, and we know there are going to be missteps. Don’t expect a lot of leniency because you’re new at this. This is a town that will vote with its feet. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of other options, which is something you would benefit from. Don’t abuse it.

4) The Littlest Things Matter Here

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the District is that the little niceties are what people will protest loudest against. Mike Debonis (who you should give a raise to) wrote yesterday that he would miss picking up the tab and invoking Don Graham. J. Freedom du Lac wrote that he would miss the praise from Mr. Graham. You are taking the helm from a beloved local figure, and every little thing you do will be watched. I’m a Westerner, like you, where things are less high strung. Where memories are not permanent. Where even the accidental sleights are held for a long time. Learn from my mistakes: focus on the little things.

5) The Local Voices Are Good Ones.

There are a lot of amazing voices in the pages of the Post, and you’re going to come to know them over the next few months. Don’t be in a rush to move them around. Don’t be in a rush to be heavy handed. Watch and learn from one of our venerable sports franchises. When the Nationals, a 98-game winner, had a struggling closer, they bought up the biggest closer on the open market to bring in. It wasn’t something, necessarily, that GM Mike Rizzo (Marcus Brauchli is playing Rizzo in our analogy) wanted, but rather that ownership directed him to do. The consequences for Storen, and the Nats’ chemistry, has been startling this year, and it all came to a messy head last week. 

These are a good group of reporters and writers, these men and women. They are telling it how it is in this city, and doing it well. It’s not perfect. There will be bad moments. But they’re ours, and folks like Clinton Yates, like Adam Kilgore, like Debonis and Stewart, like Weingarten, and even Petula Dvorak, make this city into what it is. 

You’ve got a big challenge ahead. We’re all watching closely, because if there’s one constant in DC, it’s our grey lady. Like the statue of freedom that stands atop this city and watches over her, the grey lady on 15th Street is part and parcel of who we are, and how we see ourselves.

Good luck.

Essential DC, The District, We Love Weekends

We Love Weekends: July 4th and beyond!

Happy Independence Day!

From all of us at We Love DC, we wish you a fantastic Fourth of July, and very special thanks for reading us. Our own humble founding was on July 4, 2008, and after five years we still love this city and strive to share our experiences of DC life with you. Here’s what some of us are up to this weekend, as we all celebrate the birthday of our country, and what it means to be free.

Mosley: Ah, the Fourth of July weekend that’s nearly as long as a week!  If I had a job I’d be in heaven. Anyways, I’m planning on spending the morning of the Fourth either going to the parade on Independence Ave or to the 11am Nats game. And then the fun begins with the fireworks! I’m setting up next to the Reflecting Pool on the Lincoln side of the Mall; if you see me, say hi. Friday I’m planning on continuing the patriotism by seeing Gettysburg at the AFI in Silver Spring; it’s going to be an all day event.  Saturday and Sunday will be interchangeable; one will be going back down to the Mall for the Folk Life Festival and the other will be a pool day. Which will hopefully be the hardest decision I make for the week.

Alexia: Friday night is a long-anticipated night for me – The Torches are finally releasing our first full-length album, “The Authority Of,” and we’re throwing a big ol’ album release party at Iota! Joining us for this celebratory occasion are The Green Boys (RVA), The Nighttime Adventure Society (NY), and locals Two Ton Twig will be providing foot-stomping musical interludes between bands! Show starts at 9pm, admission is $10. Saturday The Torches play a free show at noon at the DC Meet Market, on 15th & P as part of the summer kid-friendly rock show series Rock-n-Romp! Saturday night I’m thinking of heading to Old Town Alexandria for a chill evening. Sunday I’ll be celebrating the birthday of my favorite 2-year-old in a park in Arlington. Hoping the weather isn’t too swampy for that!

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