DMV Office May Move Out of Georgetown Park

July 7, 2011

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 (
Best Cupcake: Baked and Wired (
Best Hair Stylist: Luigi Parasmo at Toka Salon (
Best Jazz/Blues Venue: Blues Alley (
Best Local College of University: Georgetown University (
Best Place to Buy Fur Handcuffs: Pleasure Place (
Best Salad: Sweetgarden (
Best Vintage Clothing Store: Tari

Best of D.C. Staff Picks 2011
Best Burger: Bourbon Steak (
Best Eatery to Attract Lemmings: Georgetown Cupcake (
Best Place to Buy a Bridesmaid’s Dress: Hitched (
Best Way-Far-Off-The-Beaten-Path Museum: National Pinball Museum (😉

“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.

Weekend Round Up June 30,2011

July 1, 2011

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The Festival is held outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Smithsonian museums. There is no admission charge. At the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, you will find many exemplary practitioners of diverse, authentic, living traditions—both old and new. The goal of the Festival is to strengthen and preserve these traditions by presenting them on the National Mall. Tradition-bearers and the public can connect with and learn from one another and, in a respectful way, begin to understand cultural differences and similarities. Tel: 202.633.1000


National Mall

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum 35th Anniversary Celebration

To see more on this event, Click Here

July 2, 2011

National Harbor Plaza Stage and Waterfront

Kick-off Independence Day Weekend by celebrating on the waterfront at National Harbor for America’s best birthday party!
Enjoy five bands including The Wailers, Blind Melon and Pat McGee, three DJs, multiple stages & party areas, and a spectacular fireworks show while overlooking the Potomac River!
More information and tickets are available now at:

July 4, 2011

Fireworks cruise on the Odyssey

07:30 am | $179.90 per adult | tel: 866.404.8439

Step aboard the Odyssey this Independence Day for front-row seats to one of the country’s most spectacular firework displays. On Monday, July 4, the Odyssey offers guests a romantic evening under an illuminated night sky, with a dinner cruise featuring live entertainment and dancing. Dinner is priced at $179.90 per adult and includes a premium open bar; sailing from 7:30pm – 11:30pm. All passengers must be 21 or older with ID. To book, call 866.404.8439 or reserve online.


600 Water Street
Washington, DC 20024

Fireworks cruise on the Spirit of Washington

July 4th, 2011 at 07:30 am | $149.90 per adult | tel: 866.404.8439

Step aboard the Spirit of Washington this Independence Day for front-row seats to one of the country’s most spectacular firework displays on Monday, July 4. Guests can dance the night away with the Spirit’s playlist of top dance hits, enjoy a premium bar and the Spirit’s renowned Grande Buffet. Dinner is priced at $149.90 per adult; sailing from 7:30pm – 11:30pm. All passengers must be 21 or older with ID. To book, call 866.404.8439 or reserve online.


Pier 4
Washington, DC

Atlantic City Commemorates Independence Day with the largest Continuous Fireworks Celebration

July 4th, 2011 at 09:20 pm | free

This 4th of July, one of America’s largest fireworks displays gets even bigger. This year, the Atlantic City Fireworks Spectacular will be even greater when two different fireworks displays will be set off within moments of each other for the first time in history. The illuminating display, which will be synced to music playing on 95.1 WAYV FM and inside all the casinos, will be visible from Atlantic City’s Marina and the Boardwalk districts.


Atlantic City, NJ

Want to see more events? Click on The Georgetowner’s calendar

Weekend Roundup July 7, 2011

Prints In Pieces: Views of South County Opening
JULY 8TH, 2011 AT 10:00 AM
After capturing the people and places along Maryland’s Western Shore with her camera, Frances Borchadt puts her photographs into mosaic-like pieces to create an intriguing display of repetitions and patterns. Be sure to catch this exhibit at The League Gallery before it closes August 1.

6th Annual HERA Climb4Life
JULY 8TH, 2011 AT 06:00 PM
From July 8 to 10, HERA Climb4Life invites climbers and hikers of all abilities and ages to participate in the 6th Annual HERA Climb4LifeSM Metro DC weekend. For the first time ever, this event will be held outdoors among the crags of the Potomac River, namely Carderock, Maryland and Great Falls, Virginia. The registration fee is $50 per person which includes an event t-shirt and goodie bag as well as entrance to various social occasions. Event proceeds go to raise funds for ovarian cancer research.

Women by Women
JULY 8TH, 2011 AT 06:00 PM
Please join Heiner Contemporary for the opening reception of Women by Women, Friday, July 8th, 6-8 pm. Women by Women is a group exhibition of work by women portraying women. The exhibition runs from July 8th – August 20th 2011.

Art Deck-O: DC Playing Card Originals
JULY 8TH, 2011 AT 06:30 PM
Fifty-four of Washington DC’s finest artists created unusual designs to form a playing card deck exhibit unique to our area. The deck is composed of a fantastic array of genres and mediums, which are a big hit with artists, magicians, game players and art lovers everywhere. Exhibit runs from June 29 – July 29.

Havoc in the Harbor
JULY 9TH, 2011 AT 07:30 AM
M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, will be invaded by Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam® the world’s premier monster truck series, creating “havoc in the harbor” on Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Art & Live Jazz Saturday
JULY 9TH, 2011 AT 05:00 PM
Join us for an evening of live jazz, wine and the opening of Art-To-Wear Trunk Show by Peggy Russell of iro Design. Live Jazz starts at 5 PM with Ivor Heyman on keyboard, Nathan Garrett on bass and Richard Parrell on tenor sax. Wine tasting by Delaplane Cellars

The Quill Cocktail Competition
JULY 10TH, 2011 AT 02:00 PM
Its inspired mix of classic concoctions and signature drinks has made Quill, the elegant lounge at The Jefferson, Washington, DC, a treasured enclave for those in search of the enlightened cocktail. On July 10, 2011, six of the capital’s finest drink dons will prove their worth with Tequila Ocho Plata Single Estate at the third Quill Cocktail Competition. Tickets are $50 per person, which includes a sample from each competitor’s inspired libation (guests’ votes are tallied with the judges), tastings from Quill’s own signature cocktail menu and an assortment of canapés and cheeses.

Three More Stars are Lost

June 30, 2011

When someone makes us laugh, when someone – as a member of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band said once – “sets your feet to tapping,” then the passing of that someone, famous, infamous, well-known or just a little known, is felt by strangers as a loss.

It’s a keen kind of feeling in celebrity-adoring, star-struck, time-tossed America where nostalgia does battle with a minute ago on a regular basis. With the passing of Clarence Clemons, the man responsible for Bruce Springsteen’s signature sound with his soaring sax, and Ryan Dunn, the insanely anarchic sidekick to Johnny Knoxville who together made up the spirit of “Jackass,” that dichotomy split apart.

Knoxville and a host of media types and buddies showed up at a memorial service for the 34-year-old Dunn who was killed (along with a buddy and passenger) when he lost control of his sports car on a road in West Goshen Township, Pennsylvania. Wikipedia says “he died after receiving injuries” in the crash, which doesn’t begin to imagine what could happen when a car blows up at over a hundred miles an hour. He was 34 years old.

Clemons died of complications from a stroke he had suffered. He was 69. There is a story that goes around—both the man known as The Boss and Clemons told it, apparently—that when they met, Clemons walked into a restaurant framed by storm and lightning. Musically and otherwise, it was deep friendship and love at first sight.

Clemons—who had a career separate from the inimitable E Street Band and Springsteen—provided something that most big and popular rock bands lacked, a signature character, a sax sound, a horn. You might have heard one every now and then—Sly and the Family Stone should have had one even if they didn’t since they had everything else and there was Bill Haley and the early tuxedo saxes of just-before Elvis rock and of course a guy named King Curtis who was with the Coasters and produced a record called “Yakety Sax.”

But the skinny kid named Bruce and the black guy from New Jersey—and former very large 6 foot 6 inch football player —made an odd match on the surface, but also a hopeful one because it was clear they had each other’s back. Springsteen acknowledged cheerfully that Clemons’ playing and his very presence gave the band’s music a deeper meaning, a kind of American potential story as rock and roll, high powered poem.

Dunn and the Jackass crew—they did other movies, had other ambitions—specialized in making film and video in which they jumped off bridges, got on skateboards, bycicles, golf carts and collided with things, to the sound of sometimes breaking bones. They were the gang that couldn’t fly straight, land safely, stand up move in a straight line and everything they did managed to produce some sort of physical pain. And everybody laughed: this is slapstick with real blood and scabs. Look at a collection of Jackass stunts and you will laugh and feel a little funny doing it.

I suspect there will be mourning for both, roses at the crash site, music and eloquent words and saxophone music played for keepsakes and memories. Clemons’ death is a loss like the last notes of a song. Dunn’s death is a tragedy that says too much about everybody. Born and died in the U.S.A.

Oh, there’s just one more thing.

That would be the death of Peter Falk, who had a rich and varied acting career on stage, screen and television, but who will always be “Columbo,” the stogie-chewing homicide detective who wore a rejected-by-Good-Will trench coat, and, with the murderer just about to let out a sigh of relief, would inevitably turn around and say:

“Oh, there’s just on more thing.”

That one more thing was the end for the killer, the man or woman who thought they’d committed the perfect crime, it was finis, stick a fork in them, the end of the end because:

There was just one more thing.

Falk’s Columbo became him—he won several Emmys for the role—and in the end, he became Columbo to anyone who had watched television the last three decades of the 20th century. It was an ingenious impersonation of a man who was a bag of ticks, that rumpled hair, the distracted manner, the endless curiosity about things that didn’t seem to manner, even the affection for some of the suspects, not to mention a Peugeot that barely made it out of the drive way.

There’s some irony in Falk’s enduring fame as a rumpled cop. He was always considered something of a serious actor and got a breakout Oscar nomination for playing a stone-cold killer in “Murder Inc.” about a much-feared mobster organization which specialized in killing.

There were also his great performances in the late director-actor John Cassavettes’ docu-style cinema verite in your-face dramas like “Husbands” and “Woman Under the Influence” opposite Gena Rowland, and numerous appearances in the live drama series that constituted television’s “golden age of drama.” He and Alan Arkin starred in “The In Laws,” a riotous comedy whose luster a remake starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks could not dim.

Mostly, this one-eyed son of Jewish New Yorkers, appealed not so much because he could play killers, but because he had a mensch quality about him that no matter what he showed on screen big and small, there was a generous soul inside.

One of his later films was “The Princess Bride,” in which Falk played a grandpa type reading to a reluctant boy the saga of a would-be prince, an avenging swordsman, a cruel tyrant and a princess in need of rescue. The boy finally was persuaded to listen to a story in which, also, there was always “just one more thing.”

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Hays Family Honored With Lifetime Award From Georgetown Business Association

June 29, 2011

The Hays family — and their store, The Phoenix, on Wisconsin Avenue since 1955 — was given the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgetown Business Association at its Senior Advisory Luncheon on June 15. The business, founded by Bill and Betty Hays, has been continued by John and Sharon Hays — and now their Samantha. Presenters, including Brad Altman, Jim Wheeler and Sonya Bernhardt, publisher of the Georgetowner, speaking for last year’s awardee, retired publisher David Roffman, told stories about the Hays family, the neighborhood and the Phoenix, “more than a store.”

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President and Daughters Get Ice Cream in Georgetown on Father’s Day

First father, President Barack Obama, treated daughters Malia and Sasha, along with his niece and nephew, to ice cream at Georgetown’s Thomas Sweet Ice Cream at Wisconsin Avenue and P Street, N.W., June 19. (The first daughters will accompany the first lady on their trip to Africa.) Obama and his daughters had already visited Georgetown within the last two weeks: he, at 1789 restaurant; the girls, at Georgetown Cupcake.

Among the presidential gawkers along Wisconsin Avenue was chef Ris Lacoste on her day off — and Bridget Berry, a computer technician from Red Bay, Alabama, visiting D.C. with her husband Chris and their daughters Carlee and Mattee. (Berry provided one of the photos of the scene at Thomas Sweet.) She and her family, visiting friends Robert and Sharon Shoffner, have already been to the National Zoo, Cactus Cantina, Dean & Deluca and, of course, Georgetown Cupcake.

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