Entertainment, Special Events, The Features

Summer 2012 Guide to Outdoor Movies

Photo courtesy of Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie
courtesy of Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie

Summertime in the city–the daylight lasts longer, the outfits get shorter and the city has so many things to offer you outdoors. We’ve rounded up the outdoor movies in the DC area and put them into one comprehensive guide. Break out the popcorn and blankets and get ready to see what films are rolling this summer.

Washington, DC:

Screen on the Green
Where: On the National Mall, between 7th and 12th streets, NW
When: Begins at sunset
Movie Lineup:

Monday, July 16th: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Wednesday, July 25th: It Happened One Night
Monday, July 30th: From Here to Eternity
Monday, August 6th: Psycho

Follow @SOTGinDC for updates and more information.

Capitol Riverfront Movies
Where: Tingey Plaza (behind U.S. Department of Transportation), New Jersey Avenue and Tingey Streets, SE
8:45 PM/Sundown
Movie Lineup:
Thursday, June 14: National Treasure
Thursday, June 21: The Goonies
Thursday, June 28: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Thursday, July 5: City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold
Thursday, July 12: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Thursday, July 19: The Da Vinci Code
Thursday, July 26:  Muppet Treasure Island

Follow @CapitolRvrFront for more information.

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Entertainment, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Swampoodle

Rachel Beauregard in Swampoodle by Tom Swift, presented by The Performance Corporation and Solas Nua. Photo credit: Ciaran Bagnall

“Warning: Swampoodle may contain eye-popping feats, roller derby smackdowns, big-track machinery, brass band music and scenes of a spectacular nature.”

It’s been two days since I’ve seen Swampoodle, the joint production by Irish company The Performance Corporation and DC’s own Solas Nua, a site-specific piece at the historic Uline Arena. I think the warning above that appears on all the press materials needs to be revised as follows:

“Warning: the Uline Arena may contain extreme mold spores, dust mites galore, pitted concrete, peeling paint, and the olfactory remnants of its days as a trash transfer station.”

Joking aside, my allergies are still in an uproar after ninety minutes inside the Uline, and if you suffer from mold allergies, I really do think you should know that it will affect you. But as fellow WLDC author Brian noted earlier, the arena has an amazing history and Swampoodle aims to bring that to life with its promenade style theater experience. It succeeds occasionally with scenes of evocative beauty that take advantage of the arena’s haunting decay.

When the doors roll open and you enter the darkened arena, its majestic demise is both shocking and breathtaking, like a Grecian temple gone to seed. In its heyday the arena could seat some 9,000 people – just glimpses of the bleachers remain as concrete steps in the corners. No wonder it was also at one time called the Washington Coliseum. As your eyes get accustomed to the dark you notice the peeling paint on the immense vaulted ceiling above, as a man in the distance (Michael John Casey as a Greek chorus-style janitor) calls you forward, his voice echoing across the gloom. It’s an impressive sight that will stay with me for a long time.

But as the performance went on and actors raced back and forth shouting about “the show must go on!” and “it’s a wonderful show!” portraying a forced anxiety over the lack of a script, well, I started to turn away from them and look to the Uline itself, its massive decline more evocative than anything else. Perhaps that’s the point, a friend remarked as we walked away afterwards to the gleaming New York Avenue metro, new office buildings and a shining Harris Teeter sprouting up around the dying concrete cavern. Perhaps there’s no point at all. Continue reading

Food and Drink

First Look: Watershed

ws 003
You have to admire people who take a risk. Opening up a brand new restaurant in a brand new hotel in a growing neighborhood is exactly that. However, if successful, you’ll not only reap the rewards, you also might be part of the force that helped reinvent a neighborhood. In this case, it looks like Chef Todd and Ellen Gray, along with their Watershed in NoMa are doing just that.

NoMa, of course, stands for “North of Massachusetts Avenue,” north of Capitol Hill and Union Station. It has one successful BID too; you can check it out on Twitter at @NoMaBID. The Grays are currently calling NoMa and the Hilton Garden Inn home as they work to get their second restaurant up and running. If you don’t know the restaurant is there, you’ll definitely miss it, but it doesn’t seem like that’s hindered anything thus far and there’s still a Grand Opening to come.

In what I found perhaps most interesting, Ellen tells me that Watershed is the only independent restaurant with Hilton.  What I found funniest is that Chef Todd is working on controlling his language (typical chef cooking) in the kitchen, as it’s an open kitchen and no one wants to scare away the customers. But now, on to the food.
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The Daily Feed

Tweet of the Week: Pound Coffee

Photo courtesy of
‘Pound the Hill’
courtesy of ‘Samer Farha’
I don’t know what it is about coffee shops catching my attention lately, especially because I don’t drink what they sell unless it tastes more like a chocolate milkshake than coffee. It must be because they are using Twitter like pros!

Pound Coffee, The Hill has been tweeting away for about one year and a half. The shop’s description has changed a bit though, since @PoundCoffee opened up on Capitol Hill the same day it closed in NoMa. Everything else social media wise has stayed the same: contests, special codes and general musings about life.

The “tech/social media geek” (his description, not mine) behind the account is Pound owner Karl Johnson. He says Pound’s food concept depends on the use of dynamic media daily to let people know what they’re serving and make them hungry enough to walk in the door. Pound, of course, serves a different lunch every day.

See the winning tweet after the jump.
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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

This Week in Food

Photo courtesy of
‘Hank’s Oyster Bar’
courtesy of ‘jichen2’
Running Indefinitely: Kushi Izakaya & Sushi will donate 100% of the sales of its popular Buta Bara Kushiyaki (Pork Belly Kushiyaki) to the Japanese Red Cross to support earthquake and tsunami disaster relief in Japan. The Pork Belly Kushiyaki, made with North Carolina pigs and cooked sous vide for several hours, is Kushi’s best-selling menu item averaging monthly sales of approximately $7,500.00. 

Getting Bigger…Come May Hank’s Oyster Bar will double in size, adding a bar & lounge as well as a private dining room. So what does this mean? Late night hours! Two am on weeknights and 3 am weekends. Our devoted readers might also remember that restaurant partners Jamie Leeds and Sandy Lewis from Hank’s sold CommonWealth Gastro Pub in Columbia Heights last month.

Opening: Because I live for press releases with a lot of adjectives and love the movie Burlesque…”From the restaurateurs behind distinctive dining concepts OYA and SEI comes SAX, an exclusive lounge and restaurant with provocative live entertainment designed to amuse, please and divert the senses with opulent grandeur.” Look for it in May.

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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Free Lunch Day at Roti on Thursday


Picture Courtesy Roti

What’s better than a free meal? A free meal for a good cause.

If you live/work in NoMa, or if you’re lucky enough to take lunch away from your “work neighborhood,” you should head out to Roti Mediterranean Grill this Thursday. The newly opened Roti will sponsor a Free Lunch Day from 11am to 1:30pm, where all customers will receive a free sandwich, salad or Mediterranean plate, and be able to make a voluntary donation to DC Cental Kitchen.

This year marks DC Central Kitchen’s 22nd year fighting hunger.  DCCK works to provide low-income individuals and families with nutritious food, assist local farmers, help chronically unemployed men and women and reach out to people living on the streets.

Seems like Roti is quite the do-gooder. The restaurant’s first DC location also partnered up with DCCK for Free Lunch Day just last year. Thumbs up. Oh, and look for Roti to keep expanding in DC. So head out, eat, give and enjoy!

Roti Mediterranean Grill is located at 1275 First Street NE. The closest metro station is New York Avenue (Red Line). For more information call 202-618-6969.

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

This Week in Food

Photo courtesy of
‘Pork Loin with Kumquat Marmalade @ Ardeo’
courtesy of ‘jimcollins’

Talk about an empire. DCMud.com reports that restaurateur Ashok Bajaj, the man behind Bombay Club, 701, Rasika, and Ardeo + Bardeo could soon sign a lease for the retail space at 22 West in West End. Bajaj somewhat hinted at a new project in a chat last month with my fave food critic, Tom Sietsema.

My favorite news of the week comes via The Washington Post: Whole Foods Market and a D.C. real estate firm want to build a new store in Navy Yard, “but the developer says that luring the grocer would require $8 million in tax breaks.”  WaPo reports that William C. Smith and Co. is proposing a 39,000-square-foot Whole Foods in the 800 block of New Jersey Ave. SE as part of a building that would also include 375 apartments.

In other Navy Yard news, JDLand writes that a beer garden might soon be on its way to Southeast. The ANC6D (Advisory Neighborhood Commission) voted 6-0 “to support the Bullpen’s plans to open an additional 632-seat beer garden at Half and M, across from the Navy Yard Metro station’s west entrance just north of Nationals Park.”

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The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: H Street

Photo courtesy of
‘H Street Life’
courtesy of ‘NCinDC’

Welcome to another edition of Where We Live.  This week we’ll be looking at a whole section of the city that is rapidly changing: the section of Northeast DC north of Massachusetts Avenue and south of Florida Avenue.  This area has a LOT of different names: Near Northeast, H Street, the Atlas District, NoMa (for NOrth of Massachusetts Ave), North Capitol Hill, and the list goes on.  This part of town is known for the new office buildings in NoMa, the retail/theater/restaurant district on H Street NE, and the quiet, residential neighborhoods that surround them.  

History: Florida Avenue was once called Boundary Avenue, and was the northernmost boundary of Pierre L’Enfant’s plan for Washington, so this area was part of the original City of Washington.  H Street NE has been the site of major transportation milestones in the history of the city: the Bladensburg Turnpike was a tollgate and entrance to the city, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad was constructed in 1835 and the proximity to Union Station transformed this area, in 1849 H Street itself was built, and the H Street Streetcar was opened in 1872.  The streetcar spurred a great deal of development in the area, and streetcars were running along the corridor until 1949.

Throughout the 1900s the area was a major commercial hub of Washington, with department stores, theaters, and restaurants lining H Street.  However, the riots in 1968 following Martin Luther King’s assassination devastated the neighborhood, and many businesses, theaters, and restaurants moved out to the suburbs.  On H Street, the suburban-style, car-oriented development created pedestrian-unfriendly environment, and the lack of a nearby Metro station meant that the area remained a car-focused corridor.  However, in the last several years, the area has seen a resurgence in development.  It is now home to a thriving theater scene, a variety of restaurants, and a growing number of shops.  It is once again becoming a pedestrian-friendly district, and with plans of a streetcar in the future, it may one day regain its status as DC’s main commercial district.  Next door, NoMa is also rapidly changing from an old warehouse district to a major employment center with over 1,000 hotel rooms, 8,000 residential units, a new grocery store, and new restaurants and shops.
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