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Transcript

Got Plans?

With the Entertainment Guide Staff
washingtonpost.com
Thursday, May 27, 2004; 1:00 PM

Every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, washingtonpost.com's Entertainment Guide experts share their best bets for local flavor, great dates and family fun. Got plans? Great. Need plans? Just ask. We have the skinny on the bars and clubs, concerts, kitchens, theaters and special events that keep life interesting. We're going out gurus, and we're at your service.

Of course, we're happy to answer questions about local entertainment, but we need to hear from you, too. Introduce us to the coolest DJ or the fastest bartender you've encountered. Sound off on the week's best concert or the city's best burger. Tell us about the best place to amuse little kids or a big art fan. Together we can plan fun ways to spend weekdays, weekends, dates and holidays. The pleasure is ours, and yours.

Each week a different guru will act as host or hostess, but the entire staff is at your service. If you're looking for more ideas, see the Entertainment Guide.

Submit your questions and comments before or during the discussion.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

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The Going Out Gurus: Hello, everyone. We're all excited about the long weekend -- check our Memorial Day and Interns' Guides for all kinds of fun ideas. We're running a touch late, but the full group of Gurus is waiting to take your questions.

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Dupont, Washington, D.C.: Seeking public bbq spots!! Hi, oh wise gurus, thought you could help me locate areas in dc or close environs where you can picnic and grill (either they provide grills or you can bring your own). I know there are some spots in Rock Creek Park that allow such things, but wondered if you had any specific recommendations or knew of others that might not be as well known. Also, any chance that any of these places would allow alcohol consumption (I know Rock Creek doesn't). Thanks!!!! P.S. Do you think a lot of people will be trying to do the same thing this weekend, or will most washingtonians have fled the district as I wish I could.

The Going Out Gurus: Hi Dupont, with the World War II Memorial dedication going on this holiday weekend, I'd expect to see a lot of people in town and no doubt a lot of them will head for the parks. You might want to hit your favorite spot a little early. Now, as to the best places to picnic, check out this feature on Five Great Picnic Spots. Great Falls Park definitely has grills (and a $5 entry fee). George Washington Parkway (free entry) is a short walk from Rosslyn Metro Station on the Blue and Orange Lines, but it does not have any grills that I can think of (chatters who know differently, or who have other suggestions for Dupont, please chime in.) Cabin John Regional Park is another picnic option. And no, I'm sorry, there is no outdoor venue in this area where alcohol can be legally consumed. Lynette

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Van Ness, Washington, D.C.: Gurus please help! My folks are in town and to avoid the masses on Sunday, we plan on going to the Memorial Day concert rehearsal on Saturday but I can't seem to find the time the rehearsal starts. It is usually a little earlier than the show on the real day. Can you help? Thanks.

The Going Out Gurus: Smart thinking. The rehearsal starts at the same hour as the real NSO concert at the Capitol, but a day earlier. It may not end at the same time, since it is a real rehearsal, and the performers do redo some segments. It usually has the same security measures, too. -- Anne

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Washington, D.C.: When does the Intern Guide come out? I would like to distribute it to our 24 interns this summer. I am planning a Supreme Court tour and a Bowie Baysox game, but could use some new ideas. Does XM Radio offer tours of its studios and do they have any live concerts?

The Going Out Gurus: It's online-only again this year, Washington, but we've freshened up the content. Don't know about XM Radio tours -- and Rhome had a show there! Anyone familiar with the inner workings of XM, or want to share ideas for this intern coordinator? -- Fritz

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Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: We're planning on getting out of the city on Saturday.
What streets will be closed for the WWII memorial
ceremonies?

The Going Out Gurus: Dupont, as long as you head away from downtown, you should be all right. I'm having trouble finding the exact streets, but it looks like it will be all the streets surrounding the Mall. Here's more on traffic and

and security. -- Maura

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Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: When do you think traffic to the beach will be worse? Friday morning or Saturday morning?

The Going Out Gurus: Yes.

Friday traffic around here is always bad, and the holiday weekend should only make it worse, especially for beach-goers. Saturday may be a slight improvement, but not a huge one. The only way to avoid traffic entirely might be to leave at 3 in the morning. Although now that I've said that, the Bay Bridge probably will start backing up around 2:45 a.m. -- Jen

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Want to Ride the Rapids!;: My boyfriend and I were thinking of going white water rafting this summer. There seem to be some great places in WV, but do you guys know of any rivers/outfitters closer by? We were thinking we wouldn't want to drive more than 1.5-2 hours or so.

Thanks!;

The Going Out Gurus: Hi Rapids! Where do you live? That makes a big difference in driving times. From Washington, with moderate traffic, kayaking and rafting areas out of Front Royal are just within your driving limit. This weekend, driving might take a little longer, though. Get in touch with Downriver Canoe Company to go rafting on the Shenandoah. It won't be a whitewater experience, but for that you would have to drive to Harper's Ferry in West Virginia or further south into Virginia. And perhaps our other chatters have some suggestions, too. Lynette

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Arlington, Va.: Ohh Great Gurus of Going out I need a bit of help. My extremely Italian mother and her two sisters are coming to town next week. They specifically asked me to take them to the best authentic Italian restaurant in the area. These ladies are second generation with roots in Tuscany. If you could recommend a place that would dazzle their discerning pallets I would be forever indebted. Any area any price.

The Going Out Gurus: If you are prepared to plop down large chunks of cash then you could go for the sure-thing at Laboratorio del Galileo. Better though, might be to have a simple but glamorous lunch from Galileo's very reasonable bar menu. Obelisk is pricy too. But 2 Amys might suit nicely. Those salt cod balls! That gorgonzola with honey. My idea of bliss. -- Alexa

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College Park, Md.: Help! We want to get out of town and go biking this weekend, but we don't have a bike rack. Right now, we don't have the cash to buy one; do you know of any places that rent them?

The Going Out Gurus: College Park, Md.: Help! We want to get out of town and go biking this weekend, but we don't have a bike rack. Right now, we don't have the cash to buy one; do you know of any places that rent them?
Hey College Park, Roll with this feature to find places that rent bikes.

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Washington, D.C.: My 16-year old niece will be visiting me this summer from Europe. She can't wait to go "clubbing" with me. I just read the "Where to Go if You're Below 21" online article, but it doesn't refer to kids below 18. She's used to dancing at clubs geared toward minors in her country. Any similar establishments here in the metro DC area?

The Going Out Gurus: Well, Washington, most of the venues here aren't targeted at those below 18; I think almost all of the dance clubs mentioned in the "Under 21" article at least require a drivers license and/or passport to prove that patrons are at least 18. Exceptions, of course, include live music venues like the Black Cat, Birchmere, Galaxy Hut and 9:30 Club, but I don't think that's what you mean by "clubbing." -- Fritz

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Washington, D.C.: I have a combination GOG/HAX question and since the latter is gone its up to you to help me out!
There is this guy that I dated for a little bit. Things didnt work out but we still see each other and hang out occationally as friends. I found out this week that after Memorial Day weekend he's moving away for 6 months, possibly longer. I dont think he's told many people about it, he tends to keep personal stuff to himself (one of the reasons things didnt work out with us but i digress). Here's the question: Should I organize a few people for a goodbye night out? I feel like I shouldnt be the one to do it but I think if I don't, no one will. And if I do plan something - what says goodbye without looking like I'm still hung up on him? He's more a beer person but i dont just want to go to the Big Hunt you know? Any advice for the girl in a strange spot?

The Going Out Gurus: Does this person chafe at having attention focused on him? If not, I'd say go ahead and put something together that's really low-key. What is the concern with appearances though? Keeping it all casual should keep those issues at bay though. Why don't you hit the roof of the Reef EARLY (before it gets mad crowded) and depending on the mood after some snacks and brew, you could continue the party elsewhere on the 18th St strip. - Rhome

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Washington, D.C.: Some friends and I have been meaning to check out New Vegas Lounge forever, and we're finally going to go this weekend. Is it the same act every night, or are there different performers Friday and Saturday? We're still undecided about which night to go. Anything else we should know about it? I hear the cover has gone up to $15, but we figure we've got to try it at least once, right? Thanks!

The Going Out Gurus: It's the same band on Friday and Saturday nights, but don't let that dissuade you from checking out the live blues and R&B. I like New Vegas's food and New Orleans atmosphere, but if the cover's $15 ... I'd almost consider going somewhere else, like checking out Thad Wilson's live jazz at the cozy little HR-57 on Saturday night. -- Fritz

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Washington, D.C. 20008: GOGs please help!!! I am in desperate need of good barbeque. It's something about warm weather that makes me crave good, smoky, heavy on the sauce, spareribs. If you know of a place close to a metro that would be great!!! Thanks!

The Going Out Gurus: I like it at Old Glory. People say good things about Rockland's but I've not been. There's also an ace little hole-in-the-wall up on Van Dorn Street in Alexandria called Annette's BBQ Heaven, though this might not suit for this particular occasion. -- Alexa

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Best sushi in town?: Hello Gurus, Submitting early today b/c I have a meeting during the regular chat time... how dare they?! Am a regular reader and absorber of all your great info but first-time submitter. Here's the deal: I have a group of five mid-20s women with a craving for good sushi and good times. Prefer downtown and metro-accessible if possible. I've heard great things about Sushi-Ko and Kaz, but haven't been to either... what do the wise gurus suggest? Or is there another place I'm missing? (Please don't suggest Cafe Asia, we've been there several times.) THANKS!!

The Going Out Gurus: Sushi Ko is a great sushi place and if you haven't been there, you should go. Not really metro accessible though as it's on Wisconsin in Glover Park (take the bus). Another good place is Spices in Cleveland Park and that has the added benefit of having a Pan-Asian menu for anyone who doesn't necessarily want sushi. There's also Sushi-Sushi (on Macomb near Cactus Cantina.) The place is a little odd, but the sushi's good. Any readers want to recommend their favorite sushi spot? - Joe

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Silver Spring, Md.: Where can a fellow take his pregnant wife for her cravings for a totally girly, VIRGIN blended fruity drink (and not smoky, so a restaurant would be good. Or Montgomery County.) Many places seem to have the alcohol mixed in. Any suggestions? The more umbrellas and pinepple wedge garnishes, the better.

The Going Out Gurus: I bet you could ask your favorite tiki bartender to leave out the hard stuff -- outside at Island Jim's, the smoke doesn't have to get in your eyes. St. Ex is still smoke-free in the restaurant until late. And as you say, anywhere in MoCo could work. -- Anne

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Philadelphia, Pa.: Hi!; You guys do a great job. I'm going down to DC this weekend to visit my boyfriend and was wondering if there are any places to rent rollerblades.

The Going Out Gurus: Hi Philadelphia, take a peek at the answer above to College Park looking to rent a bicycle. That same feature includes places to rent blades. The closest DC location is Ski Center/Spring Valley Patio (don't let the name fool you). Thanks.

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Arlington, Va.: Oh wise and powerful gurus, what should I do this weekend? I've lived here long enough that I have no desire to join the crowds at the monuments or concert. In fact, I'd like to avoid DC altogether. I don't care if I get away for the whole weekend or just an afternoon, but there has to be something to do that's a little off the beaten path (bonus if it's cicada-less!)

The Going Out Gurus: For those who wish to avoid the cicadas, take a peak at this feature.

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Washington, D.C.: Went to Dream last weekend for the first time and was not impressed. The staff was rude, and jonsing for tips (the bartender looked at the singles my friend was putting in her purse and said rather menacingly - come on, give me those too.) And one more vent - why is this town so segregated in its dance floors, and nights? I've never seen anything quite like it.

The Going Out Gurus: Can't comment from personal experience on the staff issue, but I also can't say I'm surprised. As for the segregation thing, we've analyzed it and pilloried it often. It is what it is though, and it's hard to dig up the origins. This town is really diverse in every parameter: race, earnings, profession, geographic and national origin. Everyone prefers to stick in their own tribes. The services that cater to them (especially entertainment) capitalize on this by tailoring their offerings to these ingrained insular mentalities... which makes them more persistent. It's a cycle. Most folks I encounter are so brainwashed by this that they never resist the structure, it is actually affirming to them. Just one Guru's opinion. - Rhome

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Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: Hi, I've always wanted to have a drink (or two, depending on the price) at a real old-style hotel bar like the Willard or Mayflower. But how expensive are these drinks, comparably to Helix, Bar Rouge hotel bars? And will I be out of place b/c of my age and in business casual attire if I go after work. (I'm a guy in my mid-20's). Thanks.

The Going Out Gurus: They're about the same price. Sadly, $10 is becoming the standard for a well-made martini in Washington. Age and dress won't put you out of place; after all, the Mayflower caters to all sorts of tourists.

I like the old-school hotel bars better, I have to say. Better cocktails and less posturing. (Though Helix's new patio is fun, decorated with garden gnomes and animal-shaped shrubbery.) -- Fritz

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Living the 'burbs in your early 20's is rough. Any advice on how to meetup with other suburbanites in Montgomery county?

The Going Out Gurus: It can be rough, but I'm sure there are plenty of people your age out in the burbs. As far as how to connect with them, I think you go about it the same anyone else does. Try to find activities or groups in your area that interest you. Do you belong to a gym, or could you take some sort of class, fitness-related or otherwise, near your house? Maybe you can start a book club with co-workers or other friends who may know other people who live near you. And of course, if you go out to restaurants and bars in the city or close to it, you stand a decent chance of meeting people from your 'hood. Plenty of twenty-somethings from Gaithersburg go to bars in D.C. It's just a matter of finding them. -- Jen

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Silver Spring, Md.: My husband and I want to take a day trip sometime during the three-day weekend with our two dogs. We were thinking of hiking, or something outdoorsy -- any tips on where we should go?

The Going Out Gurus: Hi Silver Spring, The Thurmont, Maryland area is within easy driving distance for you. That area offers Catoctin Mountain Park with 25 miles of hiking trails, and the adjacent Cunningham Falls State Park . In the Houck area of the state park you'll find the refreshing hike to the falls and a small lake where you can swim, fish or rent a canoe or paddleboat. Just across the highway from the Manor area of the state park is the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo if you need a break from hiking. And nearby Frederick has plenty of decent restaurants just off the highway. Lynette

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Washington, D.C.: Fort Hunt Park - on the GW Parkway, just north of Mount Vernon - is a picnic spot that allows beer and wine. I think you need a permit for a keg but that is all.

The Going Out Gurus: For the picnicers.

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Home of the Cicadas, Washington, D.C.: Hey GOGs - love your chat everyweek. Posting early due to meeting. Question; I met a girl who loves steak. So, for our first date tonight I thought steakhouse. However, is there such a thing as a trendy/hip yet romantic (read - dimmly lit)steakhouse in DC? I was thinking Capitol Grille (but they're booked). Morton's, too chainy? Caucus Room, too birthday party? Your advice is much needed and well appreciated!

The Going Out Gurus: Did you check out Charlie Palmer and his cuts? You're certainly too late for Ray's which is a shame. -- Alexa

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Bethesda, Md.: You guys do a great job. Just wanted to say keep the good ideas coming and to tell everyone that tonight at Tommy Joes in Bethesda there is a charity event to raise money for the Moffitt Cancer Center. Guest bartenders will be working, HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS are in effect, and the Lloyd Dobbler Effect will be playing. HH starts at 6 and the band comes on at 9.

The Going Out Gurus: Consider it plugged.

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Woodley Park, Washington, D.C.: My friends and I have this great idea to go tubing.

Do you wise and all-knowing gurus know where we can do this somplace not too far from the city?

Holla.

The Going Out Gurus: That is a great idea, Woodley Park. Here's a feature, Go Tubing, and a list of places to go. Lynette

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Arlington, Va.: Is it silly for me to drive out to the beach (Rehoboth) just for the day for relaxation on my own?

The Going Out Gurus: It depends on what day you want to do it. This weekend it might not be worth it. The beach will be crowded, and driving back and forth probably will be a hassle for such a short stay. I'd say wait for a non-holiday weekend. If the traffic isn't outrageous, a day-trip is a fun idea. -- Jen

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Atlanta, Ga.: Hello Gurus. I am moving to DC at the end of June and am looking for a croquet club to join. Know of any?

Thanks!

The Going Out Gurus: Hi Atlanta, good question. I'm throwing this one out to the peanut gallery. Chatters: Washington DC croquet clubs -- anyone have any ideas?

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gogs!; Going to NYC this weekend and I will propose to my girlfriend. Anybody have any reccomendations for a private proposal? I was thinking about top of the Empire State Building, but thought there might be too many tourists there. Any ideas? Thanks!;

The Going Out Gurus: You're right about there being too many tourists at the Empire State Building. Not only that, but half of them will be tourists who are proposing to each other. We recommend the back of a cab. That would be magical. Or maybe at a vendor cart? Anyone want to send in a suggestion?

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Washington, D.C./Ireland: I recently returned from Ireland and fell in love with Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) sports - Hurling in particular. The Hurling Championships are over the next few weeks. Are there any venues that play GAA sporting events? I've looked all over the web, called several places but can't seem to come up with any solid leads. The Hurling semi-finals start on Sunday. Thanks in advance!!!

The Going Out Gurus: If you want GAA events, there's nowhere better than Flanagan's Irish Pub in Bethesda. They show the All-Ireland football and hurling finals, as well as most other matches. Call the pub to get a schedule. -- Fritz

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Washington, D.C.: Hi, I liked your page on beaches in the area, but I was wondering if there are any lakes around that I can check out? Thanks!

The Going Out Gurus: I (Jen) am not sure if this story was the page you saw before, but if you scroll down, there's info about a couple of lakes worth visiting.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I just found out that I have a cousin I never knew about, and he's coming to visit on June 11! He's 18, and he lives in Alabama, and he's nuts about computers. I thought the Spy Museum would be a good place to visit, but after that, I'm at a loss. He's going to be here for a week. Got any suggestions for uniquely DC experiences?

The Going Out Gurus: Sounds fun, Silver Spring. The Spy Museum is a good bet. If he hasn't been to D.C. in a while, find time to hit the memorials some evening and check out our interns' guide, including where to go if you're under 21. And give him a taste of the neighborhoods too, Capitol Hill, U Street, etc. -- Maura

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Dupont: I need to hear some jazz. Where can someone go to hear some good live jazz on a Friday night?

By the way, Rhome, I checked out Anzu based on your recommendation, and really liked the music. Not so crazy about the fashion conscious door people, but you can't have everything.

You GoG's rule!;!;

The Going Out Gurus: Hi Dupont. Why don't you try Twins on U Street, Blues Alley in G'town or HR-57 on 14th. Those three are pretty reliable.

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Washington, D.C.: Gurus, Planning a theme party. What are your favorite Washington D.C.-related songs, foods and drinks? Thanks!

The Going Out Gurus: Are we invited? Here's a start:

Songs: "D.C. Don't Stand For Dodge City" by the Go-Go All-Stars, "Chocolate City" by Parliament-Funkadelic, "Mount Pleasant" by Tuscadero, "You're My Miss Washington D.C." by the Nation of Ulysses, "Washington, D.C." by Magnetic Fields, "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" by the Postal Service, half of the Fugazi catalog, "The Washington Post March" by John Phillip Sousa, and while they're not ABOUT D.C., we'll always associate "Da Butt" and Chuck Brown's "Wind Me Up, Chuck" with this city.

Food: Half-smokes. With chili.

Drinks: Foggy Bottom beer, Courvoisier-and-Coke (a favorite of Mayor Barry's).

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Dewey Beach, Del.: What's up with Vince Vaughn in Dewey Beach this weekend?

The Going Out Gurus: What's up is this: According to today's Names & Faces column in Style, he and fellow "Swinger" Jon Favreau are hosting a comedy charity event at the Bottle and Cork on Saturday night. Vaughn's still filming "The Wedding Crashers" on the Maryland shore, which is why he's in the area. And who knows who else might show up at the Bottle and Cork that night? Perhaps co-stars Owen Wilson or even Christopher Walken. Seeing Walken in Dewey: Now that would be surreal. -- Jen

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Two shy girls wanting to go out and be fabulous: One of very good friends is coming down to DC to visit me. Neither of us are particularly social or fantabulous, but we're trying to change that. We were planning on DC Coast (I've been there before for a business lunch and it was tasty!) or Georgia Browns (she's got a fondness for she-crab soup) for dinner at around 7 pm. But then..what? What do two girls who aren't SatC fabulous but are TRYING to get there to do? I'd like to get drinks, but no place too pretentious and, you know, intimidatingly snobby. Just a place for two girls to hang out, chill, have a few tasty drinks, gossip and watch the pretty people, but not feel too out of place. It's got to be metro accessible since I live out in NoVa and we're metro-ing in.

The Going Out Gurus: I'm perplexed, ladies. What is your real goal? To look cute and have dudes sweat you? To look cute and have women be envious of you? To just go out and have a good time at a cool place and be unconcerned about making waves socially? Do you want any activity (dancing, music) or do you just want to make your presence felt? No matter what, you can do much worse than to start out at DC Coast or Georgia Brown's. If you want to stay in that general area, I think Palette might fit your other requirements, but remember: fabulousness comes from within, there is no road map to it. - Rhome

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Beach: Can you post the link to the beach pages?

The Going Out Gurus: Sure.

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Arlington, Va.: Love the chats!; You guys have helped me out so much in the past. I'm hoping you can do it again...

I'm moving to Del Ray in about a month and don't know a lot about the neighborhood. Can you please fill me on cool places to eat and drink and any other tidbits of knowledge you must have?!;

The Going Out Gurus: There are a lot of very good things about Del Ray. Here are a few: The custard and sorbets at the Dreamery; the burger and the reuben and the cozy little back bar at The Evening Star; the homemade sausage pizza from Fireflies; the Saturday morning farmers market; the very reasonable vintage gear from the Remix. You'll like it. -- Alexa

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Bethesda, Md.: Any word on AIR? Is it open yet for the season? If not, where do you recommend going for at least a partially outdoor music/dance experience (other than H2O)?

The Going Out Gurus: AIR starts next week.

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Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: What are the other rooftops other than Reef?

The Going Out Gurus: Where? In D.C.? Check our Outdoor Bar reviews. Outside of the Reef, we like Perry's, Five, Madam's Organ and maybe the roof at Bricks Tavern.

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Upper NW Washington, D.C.: Roof-top sculpture Garden at the Met or the Cloisters...anything but the Empire State Bldg, dude. Good Luck!;

The Going Out Gurus: More proposal suggestions...

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College Park, Md.: Hey Gurus!; I would like to try trick roller blading (half pipes, ramps, etc). Can you recomend any place near CP where I won't get laughed at when I fall on my butt?

The Going Out Gurus: Hi College Park, Here's our list of skateparks. Whether people there will laugh at you, well ... anyone who's mastered a sport did it by being willing to fall on their butt as many times as it took to learn a new move. So don't worry about it. Get out there and skate! Lynette

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Washington, D.C.: I second the motion of going to the "old-school" hotel bars for a really nice drink. I am in my mid-30s and love to go to "Off the Record" with my girlfriend from work for a drink or two. It is so nice and calm in there - a cool oasis in the summer and cozy and inviting in the winter. Also, they serve a pretty large glass of wine and are very gracious.

The Going Out Gurus: And John Boswell is such a fantastic bartender. Very discreet, too.

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Washington, D.C.: Any idea who is coming to the Live on Penn concerts? The website's schedule is empty. I saw on the band's website that the Old 97's are coming July 10, however.

The Going Out Gurus: They say they'll divulge the full schedule soon. Thanks for the Old 97s info.

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Washington, D.C.: Going to a late dinner at the Little Fountain Cafe on Saturday night. Are there any mellow bars close by that you would recommend for a drink before hand?

The Going Out Gurus: Blue Room, Soussi, Rendezvous.

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Re: BBQ: For BBQIn Clarendon, accross from the Metro is Red Hot and Blue, In between Ballston and Va Square is Carpool and Rocklands.

Both are good, but Red Hot and Blue is Memphis style BBQ sauce dripping goodness!;

Rocklands is great but a little drier. plus really good beer and pool. mmmmmmm

The Going Out Gurus: Sounds like you know a thing or two about ribs.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi, guys. Submitting early because I will forget until too late.....my sister & her boyfriend are coming for a visit. Where do I send them during the day, while I am at work? I have a list of the museum exhibits, a map of the monuments, & of course the nearby waterparks. They are young so will need to do things on the cheap. Do you have any suggestions???? Thanks!

The Going Out Gurus: Arlington, you sound pretty prepared. Will they have access to a car? If so, maybe a hike out of the city would be nice. Try some D.C. theater and movies on the cheap too. -- Maura

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Metro-ite, D.C.: Do ya'll know of any Metro accessible parks in the area that would be good for a picnic. . . or other park-like activities, other than the Mall?

The Going Out Gurus: Hey Metro-ite, George Washington Parkway and Theodore Roosevelt Island are just a short walk from Rosslyn on the Blue and Orange Lines. And perhaps our chatters have some suggestions too. Lynette

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Bethesda, Md.: Hi Gurus...
I was wondering if you know of any lounges/bars in Old Town that you can recommend for music that makes you want to move and a group of 20-30 people to visit? No sports bars please...something a little more swanky.
Thanks so much!

The Going Out Gurus: About the only place I'd recommend is the upstairs lounge at Cafe Salsa -- live salsa music on the weekends and great mojitos -- but I wonder if it might be a bit small for your group. Same with Las Tapas. Choosing between the two, I say Cafe Salsa. -- Fritz

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Washington, D.C., 20009: Hi GOGs!

Love the chats and never miss 'em!

My girl and I are thinking of taking a day trip this weekend (perhaps an over-nighter) to Annapolis, Baltimore or someplace similar (within a close proximity to DC ) that has fun and delicious dining destinations as well as some day time/night time activities as background. High-brow or low-brow, it doesn't matter. Just a new experience beyond the tiresome Beltway. Any thoughts? Thanks so much!

The Going Out Gurus: Maybe I'll see you in Charm City. I'm heading to the Walters this weekend to see the Grafton Tyler Brown exhibit before it closes. One of the big events in Baltimore this weekend is the reopening of the Maryland Science Center, an outdoor festival at the Inner Haror with a concert by They Might Be Giants at 6:15. For dining, the plates at the American Visionary Art Museum's restaurant are fittingly eclectic and attractive. Bit pricey there, but worth it, I'd say. But that's one city -- explore more options in the Escapes column. -- Anne

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Re: Italian Food: Everyone always touts Galileo as the best. But I live in Georgetown, and I everyone there swears by Filomena. I've never been to either - ehich one's better?

The Going Out Gurus: I've not been to Filomena. Anyone care to weigh in. -- A

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No Question Here: I just wanted to submit praise for Rhome. Once upon a time, I asked a question about a former flame and awkwardness and he rose to the occasion with his response (everything turned out perfectly). And now again, for another reader. I just wanted to acknowledge the good advice and say that we appreciate all Rhome brings to the table!;

The Going Out Gurus: Word! And I'm not a girl either! And I speak just the way that I write! (One can never have too much clarity.)

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Downtown: Where can I get a list of activities in Dewey Beach this weekend? We are debating making the trek over the bridge.

The Going Out Gurus: Here's a Web site I just found with some of the concerts and events happening this weekend in Dewey. According to this, Owen Wilson definitely will be at the Bottle and Cork with his Hollywood compatriots. -- Jen

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Buzzard Point, Washington, D.C.: I think you misread "College Parks" question, I beleive they waned to know about renting bike racks, not the bikes.

My suggestion: U-Haul or some similar store...

The Going Out Gurus: Hi Buzzard Point. Thanks for pointing that out, and for your suggestion. I don't know if renting bicycle racks is possible. You might also check with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association to see if they have any suggestions (or cheap racks for sale). Lynette

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Re: Good Barbeque: Rocklands in Glover Park is the best. But I think there's another place in Chinatown that's pretty good too - Capital Q or something like that?

The Going Out Gurus: Barbecue suggestions coming through

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For DC 20008 looking for BBQ: As a transplanted Texan, I am always on the quest for good BBQ - you can't miss with Capital Q - right off the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro. Very yummy - and very laid back, casual. Next to Matchbox (look for the longhorn sign with Chinese writing).

The Going Out Gurus: ... and praise for Capital Q, of course.

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re: Fabulous, shy girls: To the girls who want a fabulous night out, but are a bit shy, I wouldn't recommend Palette. While it's supposedly a "Hip, Hot-Spot," they lie. My boyfriend and I went for dinner last weekend and it was DEAD on Saturday night. Also, they made us dine in the lounge b/c he was wearing denim, even though it was fashionable and trendy. What kind of hip, hot-spot doesn't allow fashionable people in their dining room? They were a bit snooty, without having a right to be. Good luck.

The Going Out Gurus: Field recon is always helpful. I can't think of anything else "fab" in that area though, she'd have to move on to a different part of town. Perhaps Gazuza? Leftbank wants to fulfill the 2 shy girls needs but we think the jury is still out. - Rhome

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Re: Best Sushi in Town: I've always loved Kaz Bistro on I street.

But I just went to this new place in Woodley Park called Sake club, and it's delicious. It may be my new favorite.

The Going Out Gurus: Thanks for the tip.

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For Sushi Seeker...: Not sure if I already posted this - - received an error message - - if so I apologize. But the 20-something year old woman should take her friends to Dragonfly in Dupont. Great sushi, great drinks, fabulous/trendy atmosphere (white walls that serve as a screen for continuously reeled Kung Fu movies), very chic, near a metro and near great bars - - 18th St. Lounge is across the street. Unlike Cafe Asia, it actually has good sushi.

The Going Out Gurus: Mmmm. more sushi.

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Adams Morgan, D.C.: Hey Fritz--do you know anything about the joint that's just replaced Cities? I can't tell if it's a bar, diner, coffeehouse or what...and the monochrome, cafe minimalist decor gives no indication. And have we lost Cities forever? I kind of liked getting a drink there from time to time.

The Going Out Gurus: It's called Left Bank, and I'm as puzzled as you are. It looks like a mod cafeteria, and I'm not hopeful.

Sadly for you (and Lloyd Grove), Cities is gone for good.

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Falls Church, Va.: Thank you for holding these chats every week, it really helps us plan our weekend. Now for my question: I have out of town family members visiting this weekend, and I was wondering about the museum at Navy Yard. Is it open to the public? I've heard that it was closed since it is on a military base. Thanks

The Going Out Gurus: You can tour the Navy Yard museum, but reservations are required. -- Maura

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Re: sushi downtown: Kaz Sushi Bistro on Eye Street is a lot of fun, close to Farragut West metro

The Going Out Gurus: Yes it is.

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NYC Engagement: How about on the back of one of those bike carts-
of just strlloing through central park- gorgeous scenery
Or at the Today set- mayeb theyw ould get you on tv-

The Going Out Gurus: Nothing says love like the Today show.

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NYC Proposal: The Beekman Tower Hotel at 49th & 1st Street (not far from the U.N.) has a restaurant and bar on its top floor (called "Top of the Tower" or something) with 360 views around the city. Open late, usually a piano playing, fun yet intimate atmosphere. I've never eaten there, but have gone many times for drinks -- the bar area is composed of lots of small tables, where you can sit and nurse a single drink for a very long time, if you are so inclined.

The Going Out Gurus: If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere.

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Burtonsville, Md.: Hi Gurus,

My birthday is coming up soon and I wanted to get some friends together at AIR. But with the unpredicatability of this weather, I need to have a back-up. Any other AIR-like options? It obviously doesn't have to be outdoor, but it should be a place where people can dance if they would like to and be able to talk to each other if they would like to do that instead. Any ideas? Thanks!

The Going Out Gurus: How about H2O? It's got dancing indoors and a large outdoor patio for folks who want to hang out and talk.

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Washington, D.C.: Hello,

What do you know about Robert Duvall's restaurant in VA? Where is it? What is he serving? I've heard about it in passing, but no one seems to really know anything about it and I haven't found anything online.

Thanks!;

The Going Out Gurus: I don't think Duvall owns it anymore. But he used to and still frequents. It's called the Rail Stop and it's pleasant. I'm going this weekend. -- Alexa

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Serial dater in Washington, D.C., 20009: Dear Gurus,
Due to my recent forays into the world of online dating, I have been going out on lots of first dates. So far, I've been to some of my fav places like Helix and Chi Cha Lounge but I don't want to keep going back there with all my dates (you can imagine the potentially embarrassing situation if I were to bump into one of the "old" guys while with a "new" guy!;) So, I am counting on you to help me 'diversify' by recommending some new spots in the area that would be fun and flirty for a first date. Thx.

The Going Out Gurus: Is this the Washingtonienne??

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Bethesda, Md.: Hey y'all. Going on a critical third date tomorrow night and wanted to go to a bar/lounge with some decent live music - preferably something in the blues/classic rock genre, either acoustic or with a good horn section. Haven't made it in to the city in a while and I'm at a loss. Hoping y'all have some ideas in the city or MD suburbs. Thanks! Y'all perform a vital service for us painfully unhip suburbanites.

The Going Out Gurus: New Vegas Lounge, for a start -- we love Dr. Blues and the Out Of Town Blues Band. Great brass section, good drinks and Southern cooking.

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Leaving D.C. :(: Hey Gurus, love you guys and will miss you, as we just found out that we will be leaving D.C. at the end of the summer- good and bad, and we know we'll return to visit, but we want to make the most of the summer months- what are the places and experiences that, in your opinion, cannot be missed? Restaurants, museums, day trips- we want to do it all!;!; Thank you so much!;!;

The Going Out Gurus: We'll miss you too. You know, it's hard to make an all-star list. It's better if you and your fellow readers can make it, and thankfully, some people have already been compiling one. Here's last year's winners from the readers choice contest (you can make your nominations for the current contest now). Or, browse the column "You Haven't Lived Here If You Haven't ..." and play with the archives. -- Anne

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Guys and Gals, You often mention Bar Nun as a chill place to go hear quality hip-hop. What's the crowd vibe like? Chill and positive like the Spitkicker Tour at 9:30 club a few years ago or testosterone-crazed like the Raekwon show I nearly died at a few years back? And about the racially-segregated cultural stuff mentioned earlier; You all have pull - Can't you fix it? It's so dull and tiresome.

The Going Out Gurus: We were talking specifically about Fridays at Bar Nun. Upstairs: Boho's, artsy types (it's a popular destination for urban arts scenesters), a few canoodly couples, dominoes players, folks taking a break from the hot and crowded downstairs. Downstairs: Throwback jerseys, dudes on the prowl, skin-tight denim, stilettos and weaves. It's a celebration! Both floors skew mostly black but not completely. The changing face of U Street seems to feel comfortable partying in a spot with a prime location across from The Ellington.

As for the dreaded D.C. Silo Mentality, we can't do much. The promoters that keep people breathlessly waiting in cattle-like lines outside their clubs have much more influence than we do. All we can do is constantly reassure our readers that IT'S OKAY to stop going to the same meat market bar every week and try something different. None of the (insert unfamiliar scene here) folks are going to bite you. - Rhome

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Northern Va. in Need: Hey guys, I'm turning 21 next month and need some suggestions on a good place to go with a few friends. I'm not a big drinker, but I want the traditional celebratory cocktail at a semi-vibrant and trendy place with good food. Anywhere in NoVa or DC would be good. Thanks!!

The Going Out Gurus: NoVa, an early Happy Birthday to you. In Arlington, you could sip a cocktail at Gua Rapo or Harry's Tap Room. In D.C., I'd aim for a more celebratory rooftop cocktail.

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D.C.: RE: Filomena. It's been coasting on an undeservedly loyal clientele for way too long. The food simply isn't that good, and the service is terrible. I used to love the place, but finally stopped going after one too many disappointing experiences.

The Going Out Gurus:

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Re NYC proposal: Dude, save the coin on the trip to NY and just propose to her at Adams Mill, because if you're asking a bar chat for advice on how to propose to your GF you no doubt hang out there.

The Going Out Gurus: Hey, we resent that. This isn't a bar chat, despite Fritz's attempts to monopolize it as such. We're here to answer all of life's big questions. And if we can throw in info about a couple of happy hour specials, well that's just a bonus.

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Favoloso Gelato?: To relive a long-ago memory, I seek some gelato from a DC or NoVa establishment. Not a restaurant, just a place for great gelato. Been to Lazy Sundae, no it's not ice cream I want. Thoughts? Ciao bella!;

The Going Out Gurus: Tnere is a gelato bar with an impressive range of flavors at the Cascade Cafe in the National Gallery of Art. We were just talking about it this morning. No, Lazy Sundae won't fit the gelato bill. But you might want to give frozen custard (the Dreamery?) a go because that, like gelato, is denser, has less air. -- Alexa

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Washington, D.C.: Is there any place in the D.C. area I can catch DJs playing some trip-hop?

The Going Out Gurus: Anywhere Christine Moritz, Desmond Williams or the FunkDC crew are playing, although they'd probably prefer the label of "downtempo" for their style. Local 16 is a good place to start. - Rhome

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Buzzard Point, Washington, D.C.: For the proposal query in NYC...

My suggestion, there's a nice park by Gracie Mansion. Over looks the East River, shouldn't be too mobbed.

And to whoever suggested the Today Show. Fuggehdabouutit!;!;!;

The Going Out Gurus: Though if she says no, you might not want to be too close to a river.

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Maryland: I'm going to go to the Corcoran tonight to see the Four Freedoms exhibit. Where can I go afterwards for a drink? I'll be by myself. I'm more of a beer drinker than a cocktail afficionado, but like nice places, too.

The Going Out Gurus: It's tough, Md. If it isn't too late the tiny bar at Taberna del Alabardero is a gem. Otherwise, you're fine flying solo at Off the Record in the Hay Adams or Town and Country at the Mayflower. -- Maura

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Silver Spring, Md.: My grandfather and his wife will be attending the dedication of the WWII memorial on Saturday, and want to take me to dinner (yay! free food!). They've decided that I should pick the restaurant, since "I know the area". Sadly, living in Silver Spring for 3 months does not make me an expert on dining near their hotel on 19th and Connecticut, so I thought I'd ask for reccomendations.

Mid-range price, probably fairly mainstream (my grandfather is relatively adventurous, but he's bringing friends I don't know), not noisy. I'm looking for something less "metro-accessible" and more "with handicapped parking" -- he has a bad knee and a handicapped permit.

Ok, so it's not happening nightlife, but I'm at a loss for ideas... any suggestions?

The Going Out Gurus: How about Kinkaid's (enter through the Mall side), Olive's, David Greggory, McCormick & Schmick's or Morton's? They're all nearby and (we think) fairly accessable. Just call ahead to make sure.

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Alexandria, Va. via New Jersey: GOGs need your help. Just moved down from Jersey and I'm having a group of 25 year oldish friends (15-20) over for a BBQ next Sat. I wanted to go to a lounge-type place afterwards to talk, drink, and dance. I'm hoping for a laid back spot in either Old Town or a metro accessible place in DC. Do you guys know anywhere that doesn't have a strict dress code (since we'll be coming from a BBQ) that could tailor to my needs? Should I book a private room (do places do that on Sat night)? Thanks!!!

The Going Out Gurus: The No. 9 in Del Ray springs to mind. There's music, but I don't know if people dance. I can't imagine anyone turning you away for dress code reasons. With 20 people, you'll nearly fill the place. If you're Metro-ing around, the dress code policy at Gazuza can be hit-or-miss. I've seen people wear flipflops. -- Anne

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Eastern Market - new bar?: Alrighty, I swear y'all mentioned a new bar coming to the Eastern Market area. Any more word? I thought someone mentioned it would have a Belgium beers?

The Going Out Gurus: It's called Belga, I'm told. It was going to open in June, but I heard last night that it's being pushed back to September while more work is done. But the focus will still be on mussels and Belgian beer. -- Fritz

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Washington, D.C.: Re: Segregated venues and nights:
I believe it will take more forward thinking owners of club, bars, lounges etc. to change this in DC. I've always thought about how ridiculous this is and that owners should be thinking about more than the initial economics and look more long term. From conception venues have to be designed to create diversity and appeal to more then one race, sex, economic class. Places that draw diverse crowds are more interesting to me and have a cool vibe that celebrates our locale. In the end this will be more profitable both economically and culturally then the short term profits that owners experience from segregating patrons.

The Going Out Gurus: Oft-heard sentiments here, but generally from a small minority of folks. This city has tremendous variety but can be stubbornly regressive. - Rhome

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Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: My husband and I are moving to the south in a few months and I always promised him we would go out dancing at a club while we're still in the "big city." We're both into techno/house-type music. We've done Black Cat, 18th St Lounge, Five, Nation, and Red. Where can we go to get a fun club experience (or not so fun so I can tell him that we weren't missing out) this Saturday? Would prefer a place where the bouncers aren't too snobby, a married couple in their late 20s won't stick out too much, is not a total meat market, and there's not a heavy reliance on hip hop or international music. We were thinking Home or Dream? Or was Five as good as it gets?
Thanks guys! You're the best!

The Going Out Gurus: Mantis and Anzu are both small, but they have fantastic house music DJs and cool crowds. But for what you want, it's hard to beat Five. -- Fritz

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The Going Out Gurus: Thanks to everyone for joining us this afternoon. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day. Be nice to tourists and please stand on the right.

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