2012 Laureates Honored at Washington Business Hall of Fame Dinner

December 14, 2012

Last Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Washington Business Hall of Fame honored its five 2012 Laureates at a dinner at the Washington Hilton Ballroom. The 25th annual event was co-presented by the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Junior Achievement and Washingtonian Magazine and chaired by Robert P. Pincus, vice chairman of EagleBank. Fox News’s Bret Baier emceed the event.

The event had a record attendance of approximately 1,400 people and raised more than $1.3 million for Junior Achievement of Greater Washington. Proceeds will go towards financial literacy programs for area youth. Junior Achievement serves 52,000 youths during the academic year through 525,000 hours academic programs.

The 2012 Laureates are Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr., chairman, Patton Boggs LLP; Giuseppe Cecchi, president, the IDI Group Companies; John R. Darvish, founder and president, Darcars; M. Charito Kruvant, president and CEO, Creative Associates International, Inc.; and Ronald D. Paul, chairman and CEO of EagleBank. The Washington Business Hall of Fame recognizes business leaders for their lifetime achievements through the private sector economy in Greater Washington. Laureates must demonstrate and had outstanding business accomplishments, visionary leadership, integrity and strong core values and passionate community engagement. Past laureates include Ted Leonsis, Ted Lerner and Katharine Graham.

Recently, 2012 laureate Ron Paul visited Junior Achievement’s Finance Park. “Walking off Finance Park gave me the hope that our children will have a better feel for the responsibilities they’ll have in volatile, difficult times.” Paul was pleased that the park teaches “real life experience, not theoretical.” [gallery ids="101103,138222,138216,138180,138211,138187,138207,138194,138201" nav="thumbs"]

Making It All Click

December 10, 2012

With dizzying energy, Jack’s Boathouse owner Paul Simkin teaches students to move with the latest technology as the director of Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts, located in Georgetown. In his own way, he instructs them to stay current and focused on the big picture.

Because of the many media outlets in the nation’s capital and the digital media explosion, the center was established to meet the needs of 21st-century creatives. The center offers professional studies certificates in 3D animation, audio production, digital filmmaking, graphic and web design, digital photography and web development. The approximately 300 students enrolled in the programs are registered as full-time students or take classes at night as part-time students. The other programs include locations in Atlanta, Ga. and Waltham, Mass., west of Boston University’s main campus.

In addition to his work as a photography professional and educator, Simkin also manages and owns Jack’s Boathouse next to Key Bridge. Simkin, who bought the boathouse in 2006, rents out approximately 70,000 boats per year, he says. An avid kayaker, the Chicago native says the idea to buy the boathouse came to him while taking a conference call in the middle of the Potomac River.

As with anything in Georgetown, there is a historical context. Boston University’s CDIA D.C. campus is located in the Foundry building on Thomas Jefferson Street, in the space formerly occupied by the Foundry Cinema, which closed in 2002. The original Foundry building dates back to 1856.

The center’s spaces consist of administrative offices, computer labs and photo studios. Simkin’s office is on the ground level next to the C&O Canal, but the first thing you might notice is the skeleton that he uses as a coat rack. Equipment is everywhere. He has not yet fully moved in. One characteristic about Simkin is that he seems like he’s ready for anything.

“I can go anywhere in the world and shoot anything with that,” says Simkin, as he points to a pile of photography equipment.

Even though students pick one major on which to focus, multidisciplinary study is the name of the game.

“If you can show that you can put a site together, that you can put the illustration for your intention, whatever it is, you’re worth a million dollars to [people],” said Simkin. “It puts you light-years above all the other people of a similar ilk. That’s what we’re dedicated to.”

For Simkin, it is important to balance the practical and creative aspects.

“That creates a problem,” says Simkin, “because we aren’t teaching people to fix air conditioners and transmis- sions. We’re teaching art. So, on the one hand, we’re train- ing people to make money, but on the other hand we have to nurture a vision in someone.”

Instruction — and Structure

While at the center on Friday, Paul was approached by one of his students, Nouf Mallouh. She was working what the center calls her “Practicum.” Practicum is a student’s final project that requires them to provide work for non- profit, socially responsible organizations, which otherwise would not be able to afford such highly skilled digital work.

Mallouh is from Saudi Arabia. She’s studied both graphic design and photography at the center. For her practicum, she is working with the Literacy Lab, a non-profit organization that teaches reading to low-income students in Washington, D.C. She has a series of about 50 photos from a recent shoot
and wanted Simkin’s opinion.

As Mallouh goes through the photos, Simkin gives both positive and constructive criticism.

“Nice shot,” he says. “That’s a beautiful shot. Thank you. You’re very good at capturing faces. Take a compli- ment when you get it. She’s mugging for the camera. Next, please.”

Simkin gives Mallouh a lot of tips about where to crop photos but compliments her ability to capture faces and hands. After about 20 minutes, we leave the computer lab. Moments like those are what make the job for Simkin, who became director of the center in September. “One condition I made when I accepted the job was that I get to do stuff like that,” Simkin says.

As the center’s director, Simkin might not be expected to be as available to his students as he is and that he would leave that sort of work to professors.

“When they kick my ass like that, it makes me a better photographer,” Simkin says. “She had a very good sense of feeling, of kids. I freeze up around kids. I can’t just get in and be tight and be part of a scene. She has a natural incli- nation for that. So, I get to see a point of view that I would otherwise miss.”

“I really couldn’t imagine a better mentor,” says Erin Schaff, assistant director at CDIA’s D.C. campus, and who views Simkin as a great resource for photography students.

Schaff, who is from Red Hook in upstate N.Y., graduated from Kenyon College in May 2011 with a
B.A. in political science and came to Washington to pursue a career on Capitol Hill. After working in the office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and other jobs, Schaff began working part-time at Jack’s Boat- house in June and fell in love with the river.

“I had a full-time job, and I quit to work for him full-time,” says Schaff of Simkin. “It was kind of a big leap for me, because everything was kind of stable. Everything was going very well in the direction I thought I wanted to be going. So, it was a big leap, but it has totally been worth it.”

As someone who runs two large operations, it is no surprise Simkin needs someone to help keep him organized. Schaff provides that structure.

Never Getting Old

Boston University began opening its three CDIA campuses as film photography was being replaced by digital as the de facto medium for professional photographers.

“When we started five to six years ago, it was the end of film,” Simkin says. “It was the end of the dark room. These folks had the vision to make great photographs but at the same time to realize the end was there — and that it was not a defeat. It was a great opportunity to make great art.”

The school was founded on the principle that technology is constantly changing. This means that the center’s curriculum is continually changing. The center’s classes resume in January.

“Two years in digital stuff is huge,” Simkin says. “So, if we just stuck to the same one [process], we’d be in big trouble.”

This dedication to technology has been a constant for Simkin. When he was 24 years old, he was work- ing as a photo editor at the Associated Press. Then, he made a decision about photography.

“I’m editing photos, when I see these dark room guys. These are guys in white jackets who would print photos,” Simkin says. “I ask one of these guys, who were about as old as I am now, ‘How much back- ground is there to being a dark room guy?’ It turns out that the guys were photographers earlier, and they had shot on 4 by 5, the kind of stuff you’d shoot Marilyn Monroe with in the ’50s and the ’60s. Those pictures were great. The quality was great. So, when the 35 millimeter [film] came out, they didn’t want to shoot 35 millimeter, because it was so small and the pictures were grainy. They held on to their 4-by-5 view of things, and then the world passed them by. And they were printing my pictures.”

“I made the decision I was never going to get old as it related to the image.”

Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts will be partnering with the Georgetowner for its
fourth annual photography contest. Email submissions to photography@georgetowner.com by Jan. 8. Winners will be honored at a Jan. 17 reception. For more information, visit www.Georgetowner.com.
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Coach John Thompson, Jr., Honored at Nike Georgetown Debut

November 15, 2012

Sports legends were on hand to open the new Nike store in Georgetown Oct 25. The Vornado-owned building that formerly housed Barnes & Noble is now a three-story, 31,000-square-foot store that carries a wide range of Nike’s athletic gear at 3040 M St., NW.

Homages to Georgetown University athletics are present in numerous areas of the store. Displays include gear from Georgetown’s track & field team and a display case of Georgetown University Air Jordans.

In the entrance of the building is a commemorative display honoring former Georgetown University men’s basketball head coach John Thompson, Jr., who coached at the school from 1972 to 1999. A neon-sign quotation by Thompson reminds athletes not to ignore life beyond the court. “Don’t let the sum total of your existence be 8-10 pounds of air.”

Before the event began, coach Thompson and former Hoya Patrick Ewing were on hand for a few words. “It’s a great store,” Ewing said.

Tim Hershey, head of North American retail for Nike opened the ceremony. Hershey manages Nike’s 202 stores in North America. He explained how the store received 4,500 applications to work there, which were eventually whittled down to 500 interviews, and finally, to 171 employees working in the store today. One employee said he was in three weeks of training for his sales position.

Michael Jackson, who played point guard on Georgetown’s 1984 NCAA championship team, is now Vice President and General Manager of Basketball in North America at Nike. Jackson remarked on the new store and presented Thompson with a one-of-a-kind, commemorative jacket honoring his career in the basketball.

Thompson, who is on the board of directors at Nike, was characteristically to-the-point. “I’d rather eat a bug than what I’m doing right now,” he said.

Thompson spoke about Nike’s commitment to Georgetown University’s basketball program when the team needed support. “Nike was one of the few corporations who jumped in when we needed help,” he said.

On his quote in the store, Thompson explained how he convinced his former player, Jackson, to leave the NBA to pursue a career off the court. He emphasized that there is more to life than basketball. “If that’s what defines you totally, you’re a damn fool,” Thompson said.

Current Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson III also spoke about the new store.

After the ceremony, Thompson, Jr., was joined by his son, his two grandchildren, Michael Jackson, Tim Hershey and Jack the Bulldog for the ribbon cutting. Afterwards, eager shoppers poured in to see the new store for themselves. Along with sports gear in other sports, such as that of the Washington Redskins, the store will manage a running club.
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Something’s Brewing in Virginia

November 6, 2012

It’s hard to believe that summer is really winding down. One of the best things about summer dining is pairing a seasonal beer with seafood or barbecue. With fall and Oktoberfest just around the corner, take a look at these breweries and gastropubs in northern Virginia. Interested in making our own homebrew? You’ll find everything you need and more.

Beach Brewing Company, Virginia Beach
This microbrewery and tap room is open six days a week for hopheads to taste and shop their selection. The husband-and-wife team of Justin and Kristin McDonald have operated the brewery and tasting room. The Hammerhead IPA and Hoptopus Double IPA should provide the hoppy flavor enthusiasts vie for. The SeaDevil Stout is a darker beer to enjoy moving into the fall. Summer is coming to a close, but there are plenty of reasons to get back to Virginia Beach. Beach Brewing Company is located at 2585 Horse Pasture Rd. #204, Virginia Beach, Va. 23453. For more information, call 757-563-BEER or go to www.beachbrewingcompany.com

Blue Lab Brewing Company, Lexington
Blue Lab Brewing Company is a brewery and tasting room that has the ultimate small town feel. The brewery periodically hosts live musicians and is deeply rooted in its community. Both founders are affiliated with Washington and Lee University. Tom Lovell is the assistant director of alumni affairs and Bill Hamilton is an associate professor of biology. The two are quick to discourage anyone under 21 years old from even thinking of drinking their beer, as they mention on their website. Blue Lab’s chocolate coffee stout uses local coffee beans, chocolate and hops to create a delicious dark beer. Blue Lab Brewing Company is located at 123 South Randolph St., Lexington Va. 24450. For more information, call 540-548-0146 or visit www.bluelabbrewing.com

Holy Brew Brewing Company, Leesburg
Holy Brewing Company is a rock-and-roll branded brewing company located in Leesburg. Its Honey Blonde Ale, Brown Ale and “Liquid Confession” are distributed around Virginia. Check them out at www.holybrew.com

Beer Run, Charlottesville
This gastrobpub in Charlottesville is about as full-service as you can get. Serving lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and a gourmet brunch on Sunday, the restaurant carries hundreds of beers from around the world. The gastropub even sells kegs. Weekly events include Pint Night on Tuesdays, free beer tastings on Wednesdays, free wine tastings on Fridays, and Belgian beer night every Sunday. Beer Run is located at 156 Carlton Rd. Suite 203, Charlottesville, Va. 22902. You can reach the pub at 434-984-BEER or at www.beerun.com

Horse & Hound Gastropub, Charlottesville
Horse & Hound Gastropub features a gourmet dinner and brunch menu that pairs craft beers with fine dining. The pub offers customers the option of ordering beers in six-ounce glasses to maximize the number of tastings during their meal. Chefs Luther and Brooke Fedora are the founders of the Horse and Hound. Both chefs trained at the Culinary Institute of America. Executive chef Luther Fedora worked for several years in London as a chef, and has served as a sommelier at classic London spots such as the Savoy and Drones. Brooke worked as a pastry chef in Manhattan before the couple moved to Charlottesville in 2003.

Fermentation Trap, Barboursville
Many of the brewers here began their businesses when curiosity pushed them to brew their own beer at home. With some basic equipment and knowhow, you too can begin crafting your own signature beer. The Fermentation Trap sells starter kits, ingredients and more advanced equipment for making beer and wine. Everything in the store is also available online for those interested in browsing their selection. The website also hosts the GHRUB club—Grapes and Hops Unedited Banter. The club’s website hosts forums, newsletters and podcasts all devoted to the making of beer and wine at home. The Fermentation Trap is located at 6420 Seminole Trail #12, Seminole Place Plaza, Barboursville, Va. 22923. For more information, call 434-985-2192 or visit www.fermentationtrap.com
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Citronelle Under Construction As Chef Michel Richard Expands To New York

Even as Hurricane Sandy was quickly approaching
the nation’s capital this Saturday, groups
were holding steadfast for their reservations
at Central Michel Richard. One group outside the
restaurant was eagerly waiting for French chef
Michel Richard’s American restaurant to open, but
Kulene DiCerce fondly remembered her experience
at Citronelle.

It was “one of the most memorable meals of my
life,” said DiCerce.

If DiCerce is right, Richard’s cuisine is about
as memorable as the man himself. Inside Central,
Richard was thrilled to hear about his fans’ enthusiasm.
He clasped his hands and asked, “Where
is she?” Richard has been getting praise like hers
from Washingtonians since Citronelle opened at
the Latham Hotel in 1993. The restaurant closed in
July for repairs to the structure of the Latham Hotel
caused by water damage.

Richard did not expect the repairs to take as long
as they are. “One morning, they called me,” he said.
“They said, ‘Michel, we are going to be closed a
few days.’ And in a few days, now it is becoming a
few months or a year.”

The renovation of the Latham Hotel and
Citronelle is already in process. Citronelle has been
gutted, and Richard is excited about its rebirth.

“They are going to have to hire a designer to
redesign the restaurant. I want that restaurant to be
a fresher version. A new Citronelle,” said Richard.
“That’s what I want. A nicer, a better looking restaurant.”

A designer has not been chosen yet for the redesign.
Mel Davis, Richard’s spokesperson, said she
expects Citronelle to reopen in the second quarter
of 2013, in time to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Meanwhile, Richard has been plenty busy.
Central has introduced a pre-theatre menu, and he’s
just been invited to open a new restaurant at the
New York Palace Hotel. The new, yet-to-be-named
project is something of a homecoming for Richard,
who opened his first pastry shop in New York when
he first came to America in the 1970s.

“I’m going back now, 38 years later. The accent’s
still the same. L’accent is still the same. Same
French accent. I am very excited. And, you know,
the reason I am so excited is that I’m opening a
pastry shop.”

Richard will be making numerous trips to New
York to prepare to open the restaurant but reassures
us that D.C. is his home. “My wife loves it,” said
Richard. “It is a nice town. I love to be next to the
president.” [gallery ids="101042,136308,136303" nav="thumbs"]

Man Invades Georgetown Home, Strikes G.U. students.

Early Saturday morning, Oct. 20, two Georgetown University students were assaulted in their home on the 3500 block of O Street.

A public safety alert was emailed to the campus community at 9:45 a.m.
on Saturday by the university’s Department of Public Safety. It reported the two students noticed the intruder around 3:45 a.m. He struck the two students and retreated towards campus. The email describes the suspect as a 5-foot-10, 21-year-old weighing about 160 pounds, having brown hair, and wearing a light blue shirt an blue jeans.

The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the incident.

Mavis Staples Rocks the Hamilton

October 20, 2012

“We own The Hamilton,” said R&B legend Mavis Staples. “We were the first to stand on this stage.”

Indeed, last January, Mavis Staples and her band opened The Hamilton as the first performers at the then brand-new supper-club. Wednesday night, the audience settled in with dinner and music by Lea, a soulful singer-songwriter from D.C. As an indication of her performance, she had sold out of her CDs by the end of the night.

Staples’ band exuded cool when they made their entrance on stage and would continue to support Staples throughout the night. The Hamilton’s great sound let their musicianship show.

After their first song, an a cappella gospel tune, Staples informed the audience that one of her back up singers was bed ridden, and that she herself was not feeling at her best. She pointed to her throat and referred to it as her “cold voice.” Despite feeling under the weather, Staples powered through the show. Her skills as a performer and entertainer were amazing.

One especially exciting number was Staples performance of The Band’s “The Weight,” this rendition with Staples singing lead. Staples offered her respects to The Band’s Levon Helms, who died earlier this year.

“Levon,” said Staples, “had to leave us, but he is in a better place.”

Another great number was the title track of You Are Not Alone, her Grammy-winning album with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy.

Before her encore, Staples’ band played two instrumental numbers. One was an excellent rendition of the spiritual “Go Down Moses.” Staples’ performance exhibited a clear Gospel influence. Three-part harmonies and extended interludes were built into every song. Staples often interjected political statements into her songs, and said that people were “mixing up the Kool Aid and passing it off as tea,” referring to the Tea Party.

Near the end of the show, Staples chided her sick band mate “She’s probably feeling better, now that she knows that we are working, and she is not.”

Staples encore, “I’ll Take You There” brought the audience to their feet. Staples gave her regards before she left the stage.

“We’ve been taking you there for 62 years, and we aren’t finished yet.”

Georgetown University Dedicates Regents Hall

October 15, 2012

Georgetown University administrators, alumni and others gathered Oct. 4 on the fourth floor of Regents Hall to dedicate the new science building. The five-story, 154,000-square-foot facility was finished at the end of this summer. The new building is the home of Georgetown’s biology, chemistry and physics departments. It also houses numerous student lounges and a café.

The building is named for the university’s board of regents, a group of 100 individuals who disperse information about the university and build upon both new and existing relationships to galvanize support for Georgetown University.

The ceremony opened with a performance by the Georgetown Chimes, a men’s a capella group.

During his invocation, Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., the university’s vice president of mission of ministry, called for a moment of silence in remembrance of the Whiting-Turner employee killed during the construction of the building in March 2011.

University president John DeGioia welcomed attendees, and Chester Gillis, dean of Georgetown College, remarked on the new building. “Georgetown is serious about science,” Gillis said.

Jane Dammen McAuliffe, a former dean of Georgetown College and the current president of Bryn Mawr College, remarked on her efforts as dean to make the building a reality.

The new building is the most environmentally friendly structure on campus. The university is seeking its first LEED Gold certification.

A reception followed the ceremony with catering by Susan Gage. Laboratory beakers and multicolored cocktails were served in keeping with the spirit of the dedication of the new science building.
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John Fluevog Brings Funky Footwear to the District

This Wednesday, footwear company John Fluevog celebrated the opening of its ninth U.S. store at 1265 Wisconsin Ave. NW. The shoemaker, founded in 1970 in Vancouver, CA, makes funky, comfortable shoes that are popular among creative types. Company founder John Fluevog was at the event, where fans old and new were checking out the new digs.

“We’ve been doing business in New York since about 1990,” said Fluevog. “Our website’s really busy here, so [opening a store in Washington] seemed like a natural thing to do.”

Katherine, the D.C. store manager, said that the company had been looking for a storefront in Georgetown for about two years. Previously, D.C. shoppers could find Fluevog shoes at Smash!, the punk music and clothing store that used to be at 3285 1/2 M St. NW, where Jinx Proof Tattoo is currently. Smash! is now located in Adams Morgan at 2314 18th Street, NW.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on being a little different,” said Fluevog. “We’ve never really been in, like, a mainstream area. So, this is the closest to a mainstream shopping area that we’ve been in.”
The company is planning to open another new store in Minneapolis.

Washington has a reputation for dressing conservatively, especially when it comes to footwear. Amber Smith, a sales associate at the store, is also a lawyer for the IRS. Even though her job calls for suiting up and buttoning down, Fluevogs work in her office environment.

“I’m not a heels person,” said Smith. “I like a Doc Martens-comfy sole. I was thrilled when I got into this more conservative work world and learn that I could actually wear comfortable shoes.”

John Fluevog shoes are handmade around the world, and the company offers many vegan options.
“There is really good conscience behind the shoe,” said Smith. “It’s all about construction, durability but also fair labor. The standards are very high.” [gallery ids="101003,133550,133521,133543,133531,133538" nav="thumbs"]

Donovan Mellows Out at the Hamiton

October 11, 2012

British singer-songwriter Donovan appeared at the Hamilton this Saturday, Oct. 6. The “Sunshine Superman” took the packed house on a trip down memory lane, recounting how the Carter family taught him clawhammer picking and how he joined the Beatles on their life-changing trip to India.

Donovan will be performing next Sunday, Oct. 14, at This Land is Your Land, A Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration Concert at the Kennedy Center. The concert, in collaboration with the Grammy Museum, will celebrate the life and work of folk singer and icon Woody Guthrie with performances by John Mellencamp and many others.
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