Kitty Kelley

May 23, 2011

There’s a temptation on my part, sitting in Kitty Kelley’s sun-drenched Georgetown office, to say “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.”

?About every half decade or so, we sit down to chat in the stormy aftermath of the publication of one of her books in which she has taken on the mighty, the powerful, the awesomely famous, rich, and legendary, and rendered them very human in her inimitable way, which delights hordes of readers and infuriates not only the subject of her books, but any number of apologists and high-minded critics.

?Inevitably, I ask yet again: So, what’s next? Kelley swears and vows, probably with her fingers a little crossed behind her back, that she’ll never write an expose again, or put herself through the eye of what is a self-created storm.

?This time that storm is “Oprah,” the mega-bucks talk show host, friend to presidents, the nation’s literary guide, magazine publisher and, in some mass-communication way, probably the most influential African-American woman in the world. In other words, another unauthorized biography full of controversial, highly inflammatory and often negative information about a woman who’s mostly revered, adored and admired by millions.

?“I don’t know why I keep doing this,” she says again. “This one was especially difficult to do, maybe the most difficult … maybe you noticed: no CNN, no Larry King, no Walters, not much television. There’s a reason. Everybody is very loyal in this business, and with Oprah, also afraid. They pretty much told me as much.”

?Kelley, a small, stylish, blonde woman who can trade barbs, stories and humor easily, has charm that’s undeniably genuine. But while there are lots of cat figures in the living room of the office, and while there have been cat-and-catty jabs at her from some less-than-kind critics, there’s no question that she can defend herself when necessary. Even a suggestion that some material in her books might be off target draws a heated defense of her work. “I’m a biographer,” she says. “I write unauthorized biographies. It’s not a term I entirely like because the reputation of the word makes it sound like it’s merely sensational. And that’s not true. I’ve never been forced to make a retraction about anything in any of my books. I’m a trained researcher, that’s what I did when I worked in newspapers.”

?Inevitably, she shows me the room containing the nearly 3000 files of interviews, references and material that accumulated during the course of putting the book together. Similar volumes of raw material emerged in writing her previous books.

?“It’s like living in somebody else’s life for, what, five years now,” she says. “And Oprah is endlessly fascinating. I admire her, she’s accomplished so much. But, for one thing, she didn’t come from the dire poverty she’s always talked about. And that’s just one thing.”

?There are stories that emerge in the book that, if they’ve existed at all, came from out there in the dimmest reaches of rumor land, including the assertion that the man she’s always claimed as her father isn’t really her father, and that she had a child out of wedlock as a teenager.

?Part of the problem with a subject like Oprah, and for that matter, Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Nancy Reagan, Frank Sinatra, the royal family and the Bush family, is that so much is out there already. Kelley’s subjects are the supernovas around which a planetary system of scribes, sycophants, biographers, paparazzi, gophers, family members, and history itself rotates. With Oprah, this is also true, only much more so. She is her own supernova. In her daily talk shows, she has talked so much about herself, her problems and triumphs, her family, her struggles and dissatisfactions with her weight and looks, that it seems her life is an open, tearful and triumphant book of its own.

?Who, then, needs a Kitty Kelley book about Oprah? Well, we do.

?“She’s done enormous good in the world, and I think she’s an influence for good,” Kelley says. “But she’s also hidden a lot of her life, she has a darker side. She’s not a saint.”

?“Oprah” is a terrific read, much in the same way that all of Kelley’s other books work. They have a monumental speed to them, they rush and throw accumulations of detail that in the end give you a big picture. The “tell” stories aren’t as important as they appear at the book’s arrival — it’s the overall weight of material, painstakingly accumulated and acquired, that is telling. In this case, they round out the story, like a very big Paul Harvey “rest of the story.”

?In the long run, all her books are about fame, they’re very American in their focus, even the book about the royal family, which of course included a hefty section on Princess Diana. They’re about fame and its flipside, infamy, about the importance of success and celebrity in American life. One of the telling things about all the books, whether they concern royal Brits, American singing legends, political dynasties, movies stars or billionaire talk show hosts, is how they bring out an essential homegrown vulgarity that seems to be as natural a by-product of fame as breathing itself.

?And every book is a pain, a project fraught with dangers and difficulties. In these efforts, she has a dogged, persistent quality that can only be called courage.

?“None of the people I wrote about ever submitted to interviews,” Kelley says. “Not that I wouldn’t have loved to talk to Oprah, but she, like everybody, gave no interviews.”

?“It was hard to get some interviews,” she says. “You’d be surprised how afraid people are. She has a powerful bully pulpit in that show, she knows so many people. But in some ways, she was my best source, from the shows and the magazine.”

?Sinatra apparently was not amused to be made into a Kelley title, a book that for many people made it less fun to listen to a song like “I Did It My Way.” The Bush family closed ranks, and mounted a negative attack campaign prior to its publication, which just happened to be near election time in 2004. Matt Lauer put Kelley through a grinder in two interviews on the Today Show, which she handled deftly.

?She’s one of those people who’s proud of some of the enemies she’s acquired — they’re a kind of validation of the work. No amount of attacks, criticism, charges of sloppiness or inaccuracy deter Kelley or her readers. “We’re debuting number one on the New York Times bestseller list,” she says, indicating that being number one makes for a good Sunday morning.

?She and her husband, Dr. Jonathan Zucker, still live in Georgetown, where she just held a book signing at St. John’s Episcopal Church on O Street, the proceeds of which went to charity.

?“It’s my home,” she says. “I love Peacock Café, I like the gym at GU, the streets, the old homes, the shops, the people. What’s not to love?”

?Listening to her talk about her work, over the years, is to recognize that while she may complain about the mountainous work involved, she’s also driven by keen curiosity, and a pride of profession. She doesn’t much rely on decorative style or literary allusion, just stories, anecdotes, dug-up facts, cross-references. Gossip and rumors, the daily diet bread of our lives, are the spice in that mountain of stuff, not its essence.

?She has no plans for her next book, and says she won’t do another. We’ve heard that one before.

Signed copies of Oprah’s book are available at Proper Topper (Georgetown, 3213 P St., Dupont Circle, 1350 Connecticut Ave. and online at All proceeds will go to the D.C. Public Library for the Peabody Collection — and matching funds from a generous donor. [gallery ids="99126,102655,102649" nav="thumbs"]

Streetcars Nixed, Resurrected

When it comes to talk of the District’s streetcars, you better not blink.

DCist reported at noon today that the city council voted to effectively halt the massive downtown streetcar project by stripping from it $49 million in funding designated in the 2011 budget. However, less than four hours later, WeLoveDC reported the council immediately backpedaled after a deluge of angry phone calls and emails from irate constituents, eventually reinstating the project.

Earlier in the day, Mayor Fenty, who was once an outspoken supporter of the streetcar network, suddenly seemed to desert what seemed like his pet transportation project, saying debate over how to best power the cars had yet to be resolved, along with the question of whether the infrastructure would connect with Union Station. The council’s original vote would have shelved the project until 2014. Several million dollars and over 37 miles of track have already been invested in the system.

The streetcar scheme still isn’t out of the woods, yet, though. After the uproar, the council immediately reinstated only $10 million of the original budget, with a projected $37 million forthcoming.

Still, talk about democracy in action.

The 2011 Patrons Party, Hosted by Leslie Morgan and Perry Steiner

May 4, 2011

The annual Georgetown House Tour has long marked the start of the social season. Begun by St. John’s Episcopal Church as a program to help those in need, the House Tour has since become one of the most anticipated events of spring. Keeping its stamina throughout the years, the Tour continues to be touched by the hands of those who are passionate about Georgetown and desire to give back to their community.

“The House Tour is a great event for tourists or anyone in other parts of DC who love how beautiful Georgetown is in the spring,” said Leslie Morgan Steiner, the hostess of this year’s Patrons Party.

Steiner, who was born at Georgetown Hospital and has lived in the neighborhood for most of her life, is the perfect example of the spirit of the House Tour and the more fortunate giving back. An acclaimed writer and author of two books, Steiner, who’s “crazy busy” life now revolves around her small kids, still takes time to enjoy and be involved in the community, where she can be found helping out at Little Folks preschool, or taking care of herself at Down Dog Yoga. “I really love Georgetown and love living in a place where I have strong roots,” she said.

Steiner, a longtime friend of Frida Burling, was asked by the House Tour matriarch last year if she would open up her home for the Patrons Party, which kicks off the Tour on Thursday April 28. The Patrons Party was established 11 years ago by Burling as a new way to raise more money for the agencies benefitted by the Tour. Patrons Party hosts have included former Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee and his wife Sally Quinn, author Kitty Kelly and D.C. developer and mega-mall owner Herb Miller and his wife Patrice.

Last year the party was held at the historic home formerly owned by the late Evangeline Bruce, whose current owners are Debbie and Chairman of Georgetown Bank, Curtin Winsor. This year the party takes place on Q Street.

Steiner and husband Perry have lived in their Federal style red brick home for 10 years. The house, built in 1808, is “a little unusual by Georgetown standards,” according to Steiner. The house went under two major renovations after being purchased by the Steiners in 2001. Dale Overmyer is the architect of the Steiner’s two-story house. The interior is wide with four large open rooms on each story. The historic house is unique in that it still extends from Second Street to Orchard Lane. This was the way all old houses around it once appeared before the carriage houses were sold and the master homes subdivided.

Steiner’s home is “very much a kids house,” she says, admitting that most people think they have to leave Georgetown when they start a family. And she has a point. Few houses in the city can accommodate an indoor basketball court, a large grassy backyard with a sports court, swimming pool and pool house. The Steiners even have more parking than you can find in the city, with their garage that can hold six cars. “We have all these benefits, its almost like living in a suburb,” said Steiner.

The Patrons Party will be the Steiners first time hosting a society event, as they put down a soccer ball in exchange for a wine glass, all in the name of charity. The Steiners admire the Ministry of St. John’s and the work they do for DC. Although not members of the church themselves, they are heavily involved in other facets of the community.

Steiner is on the board at Maret, the school her kids attend, and the halls she once roamed herself. She is also a member of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, a group she describes as, “amazing, and something we all benefit from.” Steiner also works with Weave DC, a women and children’s domestic violence charity that provides legal advocacy and shelter. Her husband is an active soccer and basketball coach with the Jelleff Boys and Girls Club.

The couple is evidently heavily involved in the neighborhood, balancing family, community, and now taking their first step in the Georgetown’s infamous society events. We wish them the best of luck.
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Celebrate the Royal Wedding in DC

April 21, 2011

Can’t make it to the royal wedding where Prince William will marry Kate Middleton? There’s an app for that. Westminster Abbey has released a new app ahead of the Royal Wedding, giving users the chance to virtually tour the Abbey. On April 29, Prince William of Wales will marry Middleton, who he met at the University of St. Andrews. Their relationship, widely covered in the media, spans eleven years and includes a Lifetime movie portraying their relationship, William & Kate, which premiered on Monday evening.

A total of 650 people were chosen to celebrate at the Palace: 50 guests received their invite directly from the Queen, 250 were invited by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and 100 by the Middleton Family. William and Kate have invited 250 of their friends and family. Only 300 of the guests will stay for the evening reception hosted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. Westminster Abbey, the venue of the Queen and Queen Mothers wedding, will host the Marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, on Friday 29 April at 6 a.m.

The wedding will take place at 5 a.m. EST, which may be too early for you to hold your own viewing party, so we suggest a few places to go and celebrate.

But if you weren’t one of the handful of invitees, here are a few things to do around town to catch the big day:

Aylesbury Antique Center and Tea Rooms in Loudoun is featuring Royal Wedding Celebration Teas throughout April. The teas ($19.95/person) include a variety of traditional English sandwiches, home-baked scones, sweet treats and Yorkshire tea. For reservations, call 703-868-6935 or go to

The Ritz-Carlton will offer guests the opportunity to watch the “Wedding of the Century” in style at a breakfast and viewing party. Guests who don’t want to make the trek down in the early morning can also stay overnight for $429 (the breakfast is $40), including the price of the breakfast buffet that will include scones with clotted cream and jam, English rasher & bangers and black pudding. The breakfast also includes 18 Carat Sapphire Cupcakes from the hotel’s executive pastry chef Daniel Mangione and a specially commissioned Twinings Royal Wedding Commemorative Blend, sourced from Catherine Middleton’s home county of Berkshire. To book a reservation for The Royal Wedding Breakfast & Viewing Party, please contact Restaurant Reservations at 202 974-5566.?

Over at AGAINN, a Chinatown gastropub, donated teapots to the restaurant during April will get you a free appetizer or dessert. The restaurant plans on displaying and serving tea in all of the donated teapots. Aside from British fare of scones and finger sandwiches, AGAINN will be serving Prince William’s favorite cake (chocolate biscuit cake) and the traditional royal wedding cake (fruit cake). Proceeds from the cakes will go to PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland, a DC-based charity the royal couple is donating to as well. You can enter to win a tea party for you and your friends if you’re getting married like Ms. Middleton.

Across the river in Old Town Alexandria, Mystique Jewelers is throwing a Princess party on April 28 from 5 to 8 p.m., complete with tiaras, champagne, cupcakes and jewelry fit for a princess. The event is free, but register at

Union Jack’s in Bethesda is opening extra early, at 5 a.m., to ladies in hats and men in trousers. Enjoy a complimentary champagne toast as the couple says “I Do,” in addition to $10 bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. All 25 TVs will be set on the event and Baltimore’s WBAL-TV will be here broadcasting with live interviews. They’ll continue the celebration during happy hour starting at 4 p.m. with wedding-themed door prizes and raffles of such items as wedding bouquet and centerpiece from The Flower Basket, lingerie from Bra-La-La, Silpada jewelry, gift card and hair products from Victoria & Albert and Ghost Tour for 13 in Ellicott City.

The British Pantry in Alexandria will be holding special wedding teas the week of Tuesday, April 26 through Saturday, April 30. A raffle will be held daily and each tearoom patron will be entered to win a commemorative royal wedding gift. At $25 per person, you’ll get mini tea sandwiches, scones and cakes at either two times during the day: from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1:30 to 3 p.m.

If you can’t make any of these events, you can always celebrate the royal wedding in style at various tearooms across the city. For $25 at the National Cathedral, you tour it and then follow it with a traditional English tea with sandwiches, scones and a scenic view of Washington. Tour and Tea is offered every Tuesday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. Reservations with payment are required in advance.

At the Henley Park Hotel near Mt. Vernon square, you can order a traditional tea in the Wilkes drawing room that comes complete with a fireplace. Trios of finger sandwiches including Scottish smoked salmon, watercress/cucumber and egg salad are among the treats on the tea menu. Call 202 638-5200 for reservations.

The Hillwood Estate and Gardens in Van Ness offers an afternoon tea every Sunday at Hillwood Café, which for $20 includes a glass of sparkling wine, a selection of teas, sun-dried cranberry-walnut chicken salad & roasted pear and Roquefort blue cheese blini finger sandwiches, cheesecake lollipops and éclairs. Call 202 686-5807 for reservations.

DC Lives Green

April 20, 2011

Five years ago, amid the fragrant scents of vegan and vegetarian dishes at Java Green, a few loyal patrons of the restaurant began to talk. Many of them were environmentalists and the topic on their menu was green business. The goal was to make green living accessible for all DC locals.

Steve Ma, a DC resident who has been doing environmental work for the past 21 years, was one of those patrons. “The owner [of Java Green], D.J. Kim, had this vision of a greener world,” Ma said. “He said, we need to have more green businesses, more green people. We need to be living in green places, working in green places, and we should start a group to do that.”

Ma took that vision to heart. From those conversations the idea for DC Live Green, an online organization designed to make green living simple, was born.

Since its launch in 2008, the site’s mailing list has swelled from about 1,000 to 26,000 subscribers, and the organization has partnered with more than 75 green businesses throughout DC, from cleaning services to yoga studios. To capitalize on its rapidly growing success, the organization was awarded the Environmental Excellence Award in 2009 by Mayor Adrien Fenty, along with many of the businesses that Live Green sponsors.

Through its website,, DC Live Green works as a tool for residents to help them find affordable, quality services that are also eco-friendly. For $13 per year, members are given discounts to many of the businesses the organization sponsors. DC Live Green also recently launched its sister site,, a deal site for green products. The system operates similarly to Groupons; each week, Live Green offers subscribers a 40 to 70 percent discount at one of its sponsored green businesses.

“We want people to try green businesses out and know that we screen for not only whether the business is green, but we also make sure the business is high-quality and affordable,” said Ma, whose official title is now Board President and GEO (Green Executive Officer) of DC Live Green. “We want to make sure you realize that being green doesn’t mean you have to lose out on quality or price.”

From their small, wind-powered office building, the DC Live Green team works in a shared space, clustered around desks made from reclaimed doors where they search out, screen, and partner with an ever-expanding list of businesses.

Each candidate is put through a vigorous five-part selection process. This ensures not only that a business’ products are 100 percent green, but that its operations are green, its goods or services are high in quality, their products are competitively priced, and that the business is socially responsible and active in the community.

“We look at all of those things, and when they pass our screening, we know that they are truly on a leading edge. They are what we would identify as triple-bottom-line businesses,” Ma said. “These are businesses that run on the concept that they’re gonna do good for the planet, do good for society, and make money at the same time.”

Yet Ma says DC Live Green is more than just a helpful website. It’s also a place to strengthen and grow Washington’s green community. Aside from its role as a forum for green-minded people, the organization also hosts regular events such as last February’s Single Green Mingle, a chance for eco-friendly singles to meet and exchange ideas and phone numbers. Live Green also helps budding businesses through the greening process, linking them up with other DC businesses that can provide them with environmentally friendly energy and other services.

“We want to build a community,” Ma said. “We want to pull it offline as well; we want people on the online community to interact with each other. I think it can be difficult to think about all of these things and incorporate these things into your life, but when you have a supportive community and know that other people are doing it with you, it makes it a whole lot easier.”

Ma himself works hard to make sure that his personal life is also a good example of green living for the environmentally conscious community. He is a practicing vegan, he walks or bikes most places and, although his neat green button-down and jeans would never betray it, he buys almost all of his clothes from Goodwill and other second-hand stores.

At the age of 17, Ma was introduced to the green community when opportunity literally knocked on his door in his home state of New Jersey. The local Public Interest Research Group was going door-to-door raising awareness about the state’s use of toxic chemicals. Ma seized his chance and joined the campaign, starting his journey from a teenager who ate McDonald’s once a week to a man tackling environmentalism in the nations’ capital.

This year Ma is going even further in his mission to make people aware of the impact they have on the environment by keeping an open record of all his purchases and acquisitions, excluding food, on the Live Green website. He hopes this exercise will not only force him to think twice about the items he buys, but will also inspire others to do the same.

“It’s just a good reminder that one of the things we can do to be green is to reduce the amount of stuff that we buy, and when we do buy things to make sure that they’re either used, or we’re buying the green version of the things that we need,” Ma said. “This is not about telling people that they shouldn’t buy anything ever. I think the point is when we do buy things, just buy them more intentionally.”

But DC Live Green’s objective is not just to help you green your purchases, but your whole life. According to Ma, there are five important aspects to being truly green: transportation, food, energy, stuff and impact. He points to alternatives such as Zipcars, eating less meat and dairy, finding offsets for your home’s energy use, and buying green or used items as simple ways to make your life greener on the whole. Impact refers to the number of people that you encourage to go green with you such as friends, family, or coworkers, from cooking communal vegan dinners or carpooling.

“When you can find those things that are not only easy, but also impactful and very affordable, I feel like that’s where we can spread this movement to millions, to the masses, to all of us. And that’s ultimately our mission,” Ma said. “We want to grow a thriving green economy and transform this struggling, unsustainable economy to one that’s doing very, very well.”
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Georgetown House Tour: Benefiting the Georgetown Ministry Center

According to longtime Georgetown House Tour chairwoman Frida Burling, the annually anticipated House Tour has chosen to benefit the Georgetown Ministry Center “for what seems like forever.” Burling admits that it is an organization she “just adores,” and for whose services she is greatly appreciative.

The Georgetown Ministry Center is a small organization that has quietly been making a difference in the Georgetown community for years. They are a unique social service continuing to better the neighborhood they serve, with one main goal: to get the homeless off the streets.

“We’re not content with just helping people be comfortable,” said Gunther Stern, Executive Director of the Ministry. “We are looking for ways to get people off the street, to connect with them with access to resources and a real intent to help.”

Wearing many hats at the Ministry, from administrative work to in- house barber, Stern stands clear on that mission.

And his mission is a difficult one. Many of the clients that walk into the Ministry, on Wisconsin Avenue, have a mental illness they often aren’t comfortable admitting. The Ministry sees between 30 to 50 people a day, seven days a week. Their hours are currently 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., but Stern hopes to complete some construction on the facility soon to allow the Ministry to stay open until 5 p.m.

During their drop-in hours the Ministry offers counseling, information and referral services. Showers and laundry are also available to clients and typically run between eight and 10 a day.

In addition, the Ministry offers computers for client use. The computers turn off after an hour of use and clients are generally happy to share. “People will be using a computer, but will get up and willingly offer it to someone else if needed,” Stern said. “Its really neat to see.”

In an effort to keep with the Ministry’s intentional helping hand, a psychiatrist lends professional help to clients daily. In addition to seeing people inside the Ministry, he also reaches out to those on the streets and in the alleys of Georgetown.

The Ministry has a unique outreach in which the staff literally hits the streets in effort to reach the most vulnerable and withdrawn of the homeless, lending an ear and a hand or, if nothing else, preventing hyperthermia in the colder winter months.

The Ministry’s Winter Shelter is a safe haven for the homeless who face living on the streets in harsh weather conditions. The program runs from November to mid-April, rotating semi-monthly among member congregations in Georgetown.

And the ministry’s presence in Georgetown has not gone unnoted. The community has given back to the Ministry with events such as The Spirit of Georgetown, The Taste of Georgetown and Help the Homeless, which was a great success this past year.

Help the Homeless, a walk to end homelessness, was put on by Fannie Mae this past fall, and according to Stern raised $176,000 for the Ministry. Proceeds from the walk and other events fund the Ministry’s general operations.

As the Ministry strives to continue to improve the community and move the homeless off the streets, Stern’s long-term goal is much different from other organization’s. “If we didn’t have any homeless on the street, and we were put out of business by this time next year, we’d be happy,” Stern said.

Until then, Georgetown Ministry Center will work towards their goal of ensuring everyone has somewhere to call home, and the House Tour is a wonderful community event to show off the homes of those more fortunate, while not forgetting those who are down on their luck.

Weekend Roundup, April 14-17

April 18, 2011

The spring weather is here to stay, and the city is buzzing with events. With the sun shining, there’s no reason not to hit the town. Here is what’s going on this weekend, straight from the Georgetowner’s online events calendar. And as always, we encourage you to get involved with your community by uploading your own events or any we may have missed.

TONIGHT: DC Zoning Commission Hearing on GU Campus Plan
April 14, 6:30 p.m.

Georgetown University will officially present its hotly disputed 2010 Campus Plan to the DC Zoning Commission tonight. For those who cannot make it to the hearing but still want to see the outcome, you can watch the meeting live from the DC Zoning Commission’s webcast on their website. Click here to go to the webcast page.

The hearing will take place at the DC Office of Zoning at 6:30 PM. The office is located just outside the Judiciary Square Metro Station. Office of Zoning Hearing Room 441 4th Street, Suite 220-S (Judiciary Square Metro).

Prima Materia: Vernal Matrix Opening Reception
April 15, 5 p.m.

The Old Print Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Susan Goldman’s new show, Prima Materia: Vernal Matrix. Showcasing the amphora, Goldman’s woodcuts celebrate our connections to the natural world and ancient civilizations. Swirling and blossoming, her vessels mirror the female silhouette as it generates and nurtures new life. Using vibrant colors and dynamic patterns, Goldman’s prints are apt for spring’s arrival. Wine will be served. The Old Print Gallery is located at 1220 31st Street, NW. 202-965-1818

‘Miles of Hope’ for Wounded Warriors
April 16, early morning

400 bike riders will take part in “Face of America,” a 110-mile bicycle ride, starting April 16 at the steps of the U.S. Capitol and ending on the battlefield of Gettysburg, Pa., the next day. At least 80 of the riders will be military members who were wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan. (The first-day miles will take riders past the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington and over the Key Bridge to Georgetown and up Canal Road towards Frederick, Md.)

Look for the bicyclists coming over Key Bridge at M Street early Saturday morning—and salute some real American heroes. For the full article by Robert Devaney click here.

78th Annual Historic Alexandria House and Garden Tour
April 16, 10 a.m.

Six of Old Town Alexandria’s finest historic homes and gardens are open to the public in this highlight of Alexandria’s spring season. The tour is part of the 78th Annual Historic Garden Week in Virginia, the oldest and largest house and garden tour in the nation. 703-746-3309

Samuel Beckett at the Kennedy Center for this Weekend Only
April 14-17

Master director Peter Brook has assembled and staged a selection of Beckett’s one acts for a one hour event of avant garde theater at its finest. Titled “Fragments,” the show is in town only through this Sunday, so don’t miss it while it’s here. For more information visit the Kennedy Center online, or check out Gary Tischler’s exclusive interview with Brook.

An Easter Concert Celebration
April 16, 6 p.m.

The Kosciuszko Foundation presents Krystian Tkaczewski, Polish virtuoso and laureate of the piano, who has performed in competitions and festivals throughout the world. He is the founder of Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford, CT. The evening will feature works by F. Chopin, W.A. Mozart, and F. Schubert. Wine reception with Polish Easter treats will follow. The Kosciuszko Foundation is located at
2025 O Street NW. 202-785-2320

WIS Spring Bazaar
April 17, 11 a.m.

The Washington International School’s (WIS) Spring Bazaar is a chance for the family to get out together and enjoy a variety of activities on the WIS Tregaron campus hilltop. Activities include carnival games, vendor tables and much more! Visitors should come hungry so they can enjoy the International Food Court with tasty choices, such as crêpes, samosas, high tea, or hot dogs and hamburgers. 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. 3100 Macomb Street NW 202-243-1800

Julliard’s Afiara String Quartet
April 17, 2 p.m.

The Afiara String Quartet debuts on the WPAS Kreeger String Series on Sunday afternoon. The quartet will be performing Hayden, Beethoven, and Berg at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets $35

Premiere: Hardy School Band at Cherry Blossom Parade

Georgetown’s Hardy Middle School Marching Band got its inaugural chance to shine and be heard toward the end of the shutdown-threatened National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, after a parade car had caught fire, and Bob Ryan, Fred Flintstone and Thomas Jefferson had moved by, waving along Constitution Avenue, April 9.

Considering the big boys, such as Ballou or Cardozo, it was a huge honor for the school’s marching band, organized only two years ago by director Joseph Chisholm. [gallery ids="99645,105278" nav="thumbs"]

DC Circulator Service Changes Take Effect April 1

April 11, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) On April 1, 2011, the DC Circulator will implement service changes affecting the Smithsonian-National Gallery of Art route, the Union Station-Navy Yard route, and the Convention Center-SW Waterfront route. Public notice of these changes was made on March 2 and a public meeting was held to discuss them on March 17. Details of the changes are as follows:

All service will end on the Smithsonian-National Gallery of Art route. Last year, an average of 2,427 passengers per month – fewer than 11 passengers an hour – utilized this route. The District was subsidizing each passenger an average of $11.50 per trip and has decided to end the service because it did not meet ridership or financial targets. (All historic ridership metrics can be found on our performance measures dashboard located at Visitors to the National Mall should consult or the Metro Trip Planner at to discover alternative public transit options in the National Mall area.

Savings gained from ending the Smithsonian-National Gallery of Art route will be reinvested to extend hours on the Union Station-Navy Yard route, providing a great travel option for evening activities on Capitol Hill and in the Capitol Riverfront area. Beginning April 1 through September 30, 2011, this route will operate Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and on Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

On Nationals home game days, the Union Station-Navy Yard route will continue to operate later into the evening and on Sundays in order to transport fans to and from baseball games. A 2011 baseball schedule with Circulator service hours can be found at under the “Where We Go” tab.

In the Southwest Waterfront area, service will be moved off Water Street, SW and onto Maine Avenue, SW, a very short distance away. Circulator stops will move to Maine Avenue at 7th Street, SW and Maine Avenue at 9th Street, SW. This change is made necessary due to pending construction of the Washington Kastles stadium on Water Street that will narrow traffic lanes.

For more information about all of the Circulator routes please visit You can also follow @DCCirculator on Twitter for alerts about service disruptions and other updates.

G.U. Drug Lab Students Get Suspended 6-Month Sentence; 3 Years’ Probation

April 5, 2011

Two students arrested at Georgetown University in October 2010 for creating a drug lab in a Harbin Hall dorm room will spend three years on probation and perform community service, according to the Associated Press. Charles Smith and John Perrone were sentenced in federal court here, March 18. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly sentenced the pair to six months in jail, but suspended the sentence and ordered them to complete three years on probation and 200 hours of community service, the AP reported. The two pleaded guilty last month to manufacturing the illegal hallucinogen DMT. The sentence was recommended by prosecutors and the teens’ attorneys. At the time of their arrest, Smith was a freshman at Georgetown University, and Perrone was a freshman at the University of Richmond