A Neighborly 4th of July for Georgetown

July 11, 2011

Whether you attended the reading of the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives or the parade along Constitution Avenue, the hometown parade along MacArthur Boulevard is also a favorite of Georgetowners. Add to that list the Citizens Association of Georgetown’s July 4th celebration at Rose Park, kicked by a sidewalk parade of toddlers around the block. The Image Band provided music and opened with a reggae “Star-Spangled Banner.” Sprinkles cupcakes, Häagen Dazs ice cream, a pie-eating contest and tug-o-war: what’s not to like? Later, many a Georgetown rooftop held groups cheered by the fireworks from the National Mall for America’s 235th birthday. [gallery ids="100224,106399,106425,106421,106404,106417,106413,106409" nav="thumbs"]

Weekend Round Up June 1, 2011

With the weekend around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start planning your weekend activities!

SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience

June 3rd, 2011 at 07:30 PM

$110 General Admission
Tel: 303-447-0816 x113

Now in its fourth year, SAVOR returns to Washington, D.C. as the benchmark of beer and food events, is a must-attend happening for beer lovers and foodies alike.
Attendees will sample craft beers from 72 small and independent craft brewers who team up with expert chefs to pair each craft beer with delicious savory and sweet dishes. Educational salons & private tasting salons will provide additional opportunities to interact with some of America’s most talented craft brewers and chefs.

National Building Museum
401 F Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

Lake Anna National Open House Day

June 4th, 2011 at 11:00 AM

June 4th, Vicki Johnston will be participating with other local realtors in the 1st annual Lake Anna National Open House Day! Hours are from 11 am to 3 pm and just about every waterfront and water access house for sale at Lake Anna will be open for your viewing pleasure.
Complimentary Boat Tours

Join Dockside for a complimentary boat tour of Lake Anna following the open house event. Since our Spring Flotilla got washed out a few weeks ago, we are looking forward to firing up the boats and showing guests how beautiful Lake Anna is from the water.
For more information visit www.vickijohnston.com

Lake Anna, Virginia

Live Jazz at Historic Henley Park Hotel

June 4th, 2011 at 07:30 PM

No Cover Charge, No Minimum
Tel: 202-638-5200

Nancy Scimone sings lively jazz and lush ballads by Mercer, Berlin, Jobim, Gershwin and Ellington. She’s sung at the Kennedy Center, Twins Jazz, Carlyle Club and sparkles on the intimate stage of Henley’s Blue Bar Lounge. Cozy tapestry seats and ambiance for conversation or listening. Classic cocktails, extensive wines, shareable small plates (tuna au poivre, pear bread pudding.) 7:30-11:30 pm Near Metro www.HenleyPark.com 202-638-5200 A prestigious member of Historic Hotels of America.

The Henley Park Hotel
926 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001

Find more event on our Calendar

Waterfront Gets Wet n’ Wild

The Georgetown BID sponsored the re-opening of the Georgetown Waterfront Sunday, after last April’s rain caused flood damage. The celebration consisted of food, live music, games, and a watery war.

The highlight of the festivities was the water balloon toss. Teams of two attempted to throw their balloons back and forth without getting soaked. After many rounds of toss matches, the joyful crowd made a splash, grabbing the reaming balloons and turning it into an all-out water balloon battle.

Georgetown BID Executive Director, Jim Bracco, believes the event will successfully bring guests back to the waterfront area. “This really was a great event, just a great day, and I’m happy,” he siad. “I’m dry.”

To watch a video recap of the revelries, click here.

Penumbra Theatre Company Brings a Legend to Life

July 7, 2011

Frank Sinatra. Sam Cooke. Elvis. Ray Charles.

Nat King Cole.

As singer, legend, as representer, as song stylist, as musical influence, Nat King Cole, silvery-voiced, haunting and as the title of one of his biggest hit suggests, “Unforgettable” had every bit the hit-making virtuosity that his contemporaries did.

Cole, who passed away from lung cancer at age 46 in 1965, is less well remembered today, although he could be said to have had another top hit when his gifted daughter Natalie Cole resurrected his sound and image with a powerful, moving video “duet” of “Unforgettable”.

At the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, Minnesota’s Penumbra Theatre Company brings its production of “I Wish You Love,” (the title of another of Cole’s numerous ballads and hits), a play which focuses on Cole at the height of his career when he was seen nation-wide in his own television musical show, and, not coincidentally, when the first stirrings of the civil rights movement were making themselves heard.

Lou Bellamy, the founder and artistic director of Penumbra Theatre, is directing the production, written by Dominic Taylor, and starring Dennis W. Spears as Cole, singing some twenty songs, a kind of musical hit parade.

“It’s not meant to be necessarily a one-man show recreating Cole’s music, although Spears does a wonderful job embodying Cole,” Bellamy said in an interview. “This play is about a moment in time, when the Ku Klux Klan made public statements threatening Cole, when Cole was one of the most popular musical performers in the country, with black and white audiences, but still had to deal with an atmosphere of racism. You have to remember, Cole was basically alone on television, in terms of that kind of musical show, so there was an enormous amount of pressure on him.”

Cole stretched boundaries and overcame barriers at least partly because his music was basically irresistible and omnipresent, much like Ray Charles, in the sense that their performances, songs and music was transcendent of race, as love songs and blues usually are.

“If you were growing up in the 1950s, or were young then, then you listened to Cole’s music,” Bellamy said. “Heck, it was something I could share with my daddy, who loved his songs. But as African Americans, we listened to the music and understood the pressures he faced. Racism wasn’t just a southern thing, it was everywhere.”

“The Nat King Cole Show” which made him famous debuted in 1956 as a 15-minute musical program (similar to other singers of the day like Patti Page), and expanded to half an hour a year later. His friends in the music industry appeared often on the show, making for a quite a roster of top talent—Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, Eartha Kitt and Mel Torme among them.

Yet the show, while popular, lasted just under three years, lacking major advertising, according to Cole himself. Yet his recording star continued to shine brightly with such hits as “Lazy Hazy Days of Summer,” “Unforgettable,” “I Wish You Love” (also made popular by Keely Smith), “When I Fall In Love” (which he sang in an appearance on the Jack Benny show), “Mona Lisa,” “Nature Boy,” “”If I May,” “Smile” and “Pretend.”

Cole worked with some of the top arrangers in the business including Nelson Riddle (also Sinatra’s go-to guy) and while he did not record rock songs per se, he was nevertheless inducted into the Rock and Role Hall of Fame, and had a Grammy Lifetime Achievement, was a member of the Downbeat Jazz Hall of Fame and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

His achievements were enduring and ground-breaking and voluminous: consider the fact that in 1991 Mosaic Records released “The Complete Capitol Recordings of the Nat King Trio,” which along included 349 songs.

“This play will I think satisfy Nat King Cole’s fans, in musical terms,” Bellamy said. “But I think it also places Nat King Cole, the musician, the performer and the man in the stream of history, a presence when all of our lives began to change.”

Bellamy founded Penumbra Theatre in 1976, as a company which specialized in plays by African American playwrights and with African American themes. August Wilson, the late Pulitzer Prize winning playwright (“Fences” “May Rainey’s Black Bottom” “The Piano Lesson”) was produced often by Bellamy and in fact, had one of his first plays staged there. “I Wish You Love” was produced with the assistance of the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays.

Weekend Round Up June 23,2011

Visit The Georgetowner’s Calandar for more event listings!

Live Jazz at Historic Henley Park Hotel

JUNE 25TH, 2011 AT 07:30 PM

Nancy Scimone sings lively jazz and lush ballads by Mercer, Berlin, Jobim, Gershwin and Ellington. She’s sung at the Kennedy Center, Twins Jazz, Carlyle Club and sparkles on the intimate stage of Henley’s Blue Bar Lounge. Cozy tapestry seats and ambiance for conversation or listening. Classic cocktails, extensive wines, shareable small plates (tuna au poivre, pear bread pudding.) 7:30-11:30 pm Near Metro www.HenleyPark.com 202-638-5200 A prestigious member of Historic Hotels of America.

DC Caribbean Carnival

JUNE 25, 2011 AT 11:00 AM

The DC Caribbean Carnival is annual Caribbean style parade and festival that will help encourage cross-cultural programs within the DC community. The carnival’s colorful parade features 30 participating groups representing the Caribbean, Latin America and the Diaspora, and more than 3,000 masqueraders parade in colorful costumes portraying different themes. The DC Caribbean Carnival also includes a “Tropical Arena” with foods, games, and live performances.

200th Birthday of The Greenhouse at Oatlands

JUNE 26TH, 2011 AT 02:00 PM

The celebration will commemorate the 200th birthday of the greenhouse, built in 1810 by George Carter. The Loudoun Master Gardeners will be on hand to diagnose plant problems and provide gardening advice. Oatlands will offer half-price tours of the Mansion all day on the 26th.
The party is complete with cake and balloons.

Rammy’s 2011

JUNE 26TH, 2011 AT 05:30 PM

RAMMYS is an annual awards gala and fundraiser that recognizes the exceptional talent of the restaurant industry in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. Celebrating the 29th annual event in 2011, a lively awards presentation precedes a bountiful dinner reception and dancing. Fifteen awards are given annually in categories such as: Fine Dining Restaurant of theYear, Rising Culinary Star, New Restaurant, Restaurant Employee, Beverage/Mixology Program.

Great Georgetown Water Balloon Battle

JUNE 26TH, 2011 AT 12-3:00 PM

The Washington Harbour will being hosting Georgetown’s first ever water balloon battle from 12 – 3 p.m. All are welcome to toss hundreds of pre-filled water balloons and compete to win prizes.
The festivities will occur at Georgetown Waterfront and Super Soakers or any other water toys are permitted.

DMV Office May Move Out of Georgetown Park

Attention, commercial real estate agents: The District is seeking space for a new Department of Motor Vehicles location. Georgetown Park landlord Vornado Realty Trust is renovating part of the M Street mall, and its plans may include the DMV offices on the lower level.

The DMV is hedging its bets (though its lease continues for two years) with this announcement:
The District of Columbia’s Department of Real Estate Services (DRES) is seeking offers of buildings or space to be occupied by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This solicitation reflects the immediate need for a 6,000 to 7,000 square-foot replacement of the current Georgetown DMV, currently located at 3222 M Street, N.W.

Offered space must be located within the Northwest or Northeast quadrants of the District, and within 1,500 feet of District of Columbia Metrorail Station. DMV requires easy access for the public with preference being given to first floor retail space with entry from the street. Offered space must be contiguous within the building. The full Solicitation for Offers (SFO) with detailed instructions is posted on the DRES website under “Solicitations”. RFO responses are due by 4 p.m., EDT, June 23.

Questions regarding this SFO should be submitted via email only to Sheryl Ponds, Department of Real Estate Services.

Opera House Puts on One “Wicked” Performance

If you want to look at a show that’s a true picture of the creative and commercial engines that run mainstream Broadway, you don’t have to go any further than “Wicked,” the road show juggernaut now sitting pretty and green (in more ways than one) at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House.

That is, if you can get a ticket.

“Wicked,” the super-spectacular show, is a kind of adult-ish back story of what goes on in the wonderful world of Oz. The show is getting big audiences, a good chunk of them adolescent girls who imagine themselves with green skin putting on a black witch hat, holding a wizard’s wand, bonding with the popular girl.

How big is “Wicked?” It’s the main musical heavyweight on Broadway, there are currently seven world-wide touring companies, including two in North America, it sells out everywhere it lands. And you know what? It’s terrific entertainment. Big and splashy in sets and spectacle, but also heart, not to mention voice. It’s got music and lyrics by Broadway veteran Stephen Schwartz (“Godspell” and “Pippin”), it’s directed by veteran Joe Montello, and it has a wonderful seasoned cast who could probably do this in its sleep, but makes it seems as fresh as opening night on Broadway.

And it has the practically universal national memory of “The Wizard of Oz.” A memory, thanks to novelist Gregory Maguire, which it turns completely upside down and inside out in a way that doesn’t destroy the Judy, Dorothy, Toto MGM fable, but adds an adult and somewhat dark, contemporary edge and depth to it.

Even Dorothy might have enjoyed this tale, a kind of origin story of Glinda the Good and Elphaba, the outsider with emerald green skin and a secret power. As a story, its strongest element is its unlikely bonding story, as Elphaba, the ultimate outcast with her sickly green looks and monotone black and grey style ends up having to room at an Oz prep school with Glinda, the perfect popular posh girl, blonde, radiant, condescending, shallow and proud of it.

But this is a very strange Oz, where munchkins are a joke, animals talk, the wizard is a cynical manipulator who rules with the aid of Madame Morrible, a full-blown maliciously wonderful macabre personality played with unabashed high dudgeon by Randy Danson, the former Arena Stage star who’s making a triumphant homecoming.

In addition to flying monkeys, an Oz that looks more like a sometimes sinister, sometimes splendid New York club, there is tragedy aplenty, there’s Elphaba’s beautiful, wheelchair-bound sister, there is, of course a prince, for whose affections the witches vie, there’s a wonderful professor who’s a goat who becomes a scapegoat, there is revolution and conflict, as Elphaba becomes a very active protector of animals and foe of conformity.

I’ve seen this show in its first – and blockbuster – go around, and for the life of me, I didn’t remember much about it. This version, however, is, if not unforgettable, certainly a wowser, and a big Broadway show that manages to engage heart and mind, maybe not in a Shakespearean way, but in an old-fashioned way.

Some—heck a lot—of the credit goes to Dee Roscioli as Elphaba (she’s performed the role more than any other actress) who not only sings the part with a remarkable rangy and powerful voice, but plays the part in a way that’s engaging, tart, intelligent and entirely convincing. She’s well matched with Amanda Jane Copper as the bright-eyed, high-energy Glinda who becomes—ruefully—Glinda the Good Witch.

Schwartz’s songs and music—including “No One Mourns the Wicked,” “Popular” (which is a showcase for Glinda and which Cooper deftly knocks out of the park) and the signature “Defying Gravity,” the breath-taking act-one number which Roscioli owns, lock-stock-and-lungs—move the story along, without necessarily being the kinds of songs that will, decades later, find their way into a karaoke bar.
I have to say that I’m not that big a fan of songs like “Gravity,” which are showcases for lung power and sound awfully like an Olympic competition for So-You-Wanna-Be-an-Opera-Star or Who-Can-Hold-This-Impossible-Note-the-Longest rally. They’re becoming increasingly a part of Broadway musicals, it’s the kind of thing where the audience holds its breath for as long as the note holds, then jumps out of its collective seats.

That being said, it’s the whole package that counts here, and if you get to go, you get your money’s worth, which, we hear, is quite a bit of money for many of the seats.

“Wicked” is here for an extended run through August 21 at the Opera House.

New Public Transportation Sails onto DC Metro Scene

A new alternative to crowded Metro tunnels, clogged streets and pricy cabs is quickly gaining popularity along DC’s waterfront: water taxis. The American River Taxi (ART) service launched its first two yellow, bus-like boats in 2010, which service restaurant-goers, concert attendees and Nationals fans traveling between Washington Harbour, The Wharf and The Yards.

ART President and founder Shaun Guevarra launched his idea for water taxi services in 2008 as a solution for overpopulated streets and what he describes as an “underutilized river.” The company aims to provide quality service to the expanding industries along DC’s waterfront. Now, ART has plans to add two more taxis and four more stops at Poplar Point, Reagan National Airport, Alexandria and National Harbor by next year.

When designing the taxi service, Guevarra said that he looked to European transportation for inspiration. He also kept the environment in mind, trying to minimize the impact of the taxis by using hybrid, low emission engines, boats with shallow hulls to protect the shoreline and partnering with the Potomac Watershed Cleanup. ART has also taken steps to remain unobtrusive among the canoes, dinghies, rowboats and motorboats that already populate the Potomac.

“We work with our captains and our crew to make sure they’re very mindful of the kayakers and anything else that’s going on,” Guevarra said.

The taxis seat 25 to 75 people, run Mondays through Saturdays, and can accommodate bikes and dogs although not all the boats are wheelchair accessible. A ride takes 30 minutes on average and costs $9 for the general public and $7 for children under 12 and senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased upon boarding the taxi and, starting in July, customers will be able to buy tickets in advance online and at kiosks located at Washington Harbour and The Wharf.

Customers will also be able to buy membership cards, which operate much like Smartrip cards, and discount 20 percent off of taxi fare. Members will also have access to various promotional deals in addition to the deals that ART offers to the general public, such as discounted tickets to Nationals games and 10 percent off meals at Tony & Joe’s and Nicks. The full list of promotional discounts will be available at a later date.

Currently, most of ART’s customers are people hoping to avoid traffic jams and parking fees at concerts, plays and Nationals games. Guevarra said that in addition to providing people with a different view of the city, water taxis are a less stressful back way to commute.

“Our guests would say that it’s a lot more relaxing,” he said.

ART operates year-round and in inclimate weather, although service is suspended during thunder storms and when wind speed rises above 30 miles per hour. To-the-minute weather updates can be found on the company’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Guevarra said that ART tries to keep customer service at the forefront of its mission. As a company that was born in DC as a response to its transportation needs and remains based in the southwest waterfront, ART is open to suggestions from the neighborhood it services.

“We’re trying to focus on being DC’s water taxi,” Guevarra said.

Georgetown tops many “Best of D.C. 2011”

Georgetown Business Improvement District announced that 11 “Best of” awards were given to Georgetown businesses from “Best of D.C. 2011” in Washington City Paper. Georgetown won the “Best Neighborhood for Shopping” a second year in a row. Six Reader Picks and four Staff Picks sums the total awards given to Georgetown businesses.

Best of D.C. Reader’s Poll 2011
Best Burger: Five Guys Burgers & Fries (http://www.fiveguys.com/)
Best Cupcake: Baked and Wired (http://bakedandwired.com/)
Best Hair Stylist: Luigi Parasmo at Toka Salon (http://www.tokasalon.com/)
Best Jazz/Blues Venue: Blues Alley (http://www.bluesalley.com/)
Best Local College of University: Georgetown University (www.georgetown.edu/)
Best Place to Buy Fur Handcuffs: Pleasure Place (www.pleasureplace.com/)
Best Salad: Sweetgarden (www.thesweetgarden.com/)
Best Vintage Clothing Store: Tari

Best of D.C. Staff Picks 2011
Best Burger: Bourbon Steak (www.bourbonsteakdc.com)
Best Eatery to Attract Lemmings: Georgetown Cupcake (www.georgetowncupcake.com/)
Best Place to Buy a Bridesmaid’s Dress: Hitched (http://www.hitchedsalon.com/findus.html)
Best Way-Far-Off-The-Beaten-Path Museum: National Pinball Museum (www.nationalpinballmuseum.org/😉

“Best of D.C. Readers’ Poll” awards were voted on by readers of the Washington City Paper from Feb. 16 to March 15 online. “Staff Picks” were selected by individual writers of the Washington City Paper, and include wackier categories such as “Best Local Take on Click and Clack” or “Best Use of a Whole Pig.”

Check out a full list of 2011 winners at Washington’s City Paper’s website:

Marriot Stays Help Pay for Mall Restoration

Those who are lucky enough to reside so close to our nation’s “Front Yard” may not feel inclined to take a stroll down the National Mall regularly. However, if you did, you may notice russet lifeless grass, broken dilapidated sidewalks and dirty, green water in the once clear pools.

These conditions have raised many eyebrows as more than 30 million people come every year to visit the National Mall and its monuments.

To put it simply, the current cost of maintaining the Mall exceeds the existing budget. In order to help rectify this situation, Marriott hotels in the Washington, D.C. area are teaming up with the Trust for the National Mall to help preserve this national treasure.

Participating J.W. Marriott, Renaissance, and Marriott hotels in Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland are sponsoring the Check In to Help Out Package. This voluntary package will take a $5 donation from every nightly stay and contribute it to the Trust for the National Mall towards restoration. The package is available now through Sept. 5, 2011. The rates range from $134 to $224 per room, per night, excluding tax and gratuities. Donators will receive a complimentary breakfast for two adults and all children under 12 along with a keepsake Trust for the National Mall viewbook.

The participating Marriott hotels combined with the ongoing efforts of The Trust for the National Mall aim to raise $350 million towards revitalization and preservation for future generations.

The Trust for the National Mall, a non-profit partner of the National Park Service, has already raised enough money to revitalize the Jefferson Memorial tidal basin and the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool. The Trust has also raised over $2.2 million needed to introduce an interactive visitor signage to the Mall.