We are about to be knee-deep in art openings/parties/talks this weekend, so naturally, the Going Out Gurus turned to art and culture maven Philippa Hughes to help us wade through it all in this week’s Got Plans? chat.
“I'm calling it Artpocalypse 2,” she optimistically told one reader before proceeding to lay down what must be the perfect must-see list: FotoWeek’s two openings at the old Borders at 18th and L and the Corcoran; then, on Saturday, Civilian Art Projects’ opening of “Hard Art DC 1979,” then over to H Street to the opening of Victoria Gaitan’s photogaphy exhibit at Conner Contemporary, and finally #DCResidence @DCWeek.
What else did we gab about? Read on for some of the best excerpts, or just check out the full Got Plans? chat with Philippa Hughes here, and be sure to join us Nov. 10, when two funny Fringe performers, Vijai Nathan of “Good Girls Don’t, But Indian Girls Do,” and Sheldon Scott of “Shrimp and Griots” join us live to take your questions in our weekly Got Plans? chat.
Q. Hi Gurus, hoping you can help me out. My family will be in town this year for Thanksgiving for the second year in a row, and my mom’s birthday follows the Monday after. Last year we got her mini cupcakes from Crumbs -- looking for something different (does not have to be a cake per se) this year. Anything you can recommend that is a particular standout? Thank you!
Philippa Hughes: How about a Dangerously Delicious pie? Pie is the new cupcake.
Q: Ok, ready? Bottomless mimosa brunch in the city....GO!
Jess Righthand: Definitely check out Vinoteca or Masa 14 for something on the classy side. Getaway is a local, neighborhoody spot, and Front Page is the best destination if what you’re really after is copious amounts of booze. El Centro DF also has $35 all you can eat and drink too!
Q: So which museum parties are about the art and which are about the parties? I’ve been to the Corcoran after hours, where the focus is on browsing art as much as the drinks, and I’ve been to some after-hours parties at the Hirshhorn, Artomatic or 14th street galleries where more people seem to care about music and cheap wine more than the artists and their works. Is there an easy way to tell which is which?
Hughes: Any after-hours event at any kind of arts venue is going to offer party stuff like wine and music along with the art. I think it’s a great way to get a feel for the art while having a fun, social experience. But I always recommend that people return to the art venue when it’s quiet and there are fewer people around so they can actually see the art and study it a little. As fun as they are, after-hours events are not the best way to view art. It’s only a way to get a taste for it. That said, I’d look at the listing for the after-hours event to see what’s being offered. I really like performance art and interactive art, and sometimes that stuff happens only at the after-hours event.
Q: So glad to hear that the Tune Inn is finally reopening, but do you think it will be the same as it was before? After all, the pub next door will still be called the Hawk and Dove despite the new owners, and when I saw the photos of it on Prince of Petworth, my stomach just dropped. It seems like a lot of old favorites are changing these days and not for the better. Look at Ireland’s Four Ps in Cleveland Park, which is turning into McFadden’s. What’s going on? Is there anything that can be done about it, other than boycotting these places? I won’t be going to the “new” Hawk and Dove anytime soon.
Fritz Hahn: Like everyone else, I’m also glad the Tune Inn is reopening on Friday. There are a bunch of photos in that link, so you can see that there are still taxidermied deer heads and bears and Natty Boh signs on the wall.
Now, the bar did suffer some damage in the fire, which meant that, yes, the owners had to replace the old booths, some paneling and other items, and it won’t be as dark and dank as the old Tune Inn, but again, it wasn’t like they said, “Let’s make the Tune Inn into some fancy fern bar,” but they needed to replace the damage. I’m comforted by the fact that the patty melt is still on the menu, the chef is moving over from Hawk and Dove, and that you’ll still be able to get PBR on draft.
As for the situations with the Hawk and Dove and the 4Ps, well, that’s capitalism at work. Here’s a simplified rundown: In both cases, the bar’s “owner” didn’t actually own the building his business was in. In both cases, the lease was up. In both cases, the landlord increased the rent. The occupants couldn’t or didn’t want to pay what the landlord wanted them to pay. This has been happening to bars for years. It’s not to say that the Hawk or the 4Ps was not a viable business, and it is a shame to see both of them go, but I’m not sure what could be done about it. Forcing landlords to charge/accept below-market rates for their properties? Can’t see that one going anywhere.