Thursday, June 2, 1 p.m. ET

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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com Entertainment Guide
Thursday, June 2, 2005; 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.

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The Going Out Gurus: There are lots of watery eyes here at GOG headquarters today, and it's not just the allergies -- today is Alexa's last day in the office. She's leaving us to spend more time with little Zoe and Zoe's older brother Great 'Arry, and we're all a little jealous, and sad to see her go. This is Fritz, and while Maura's not here today, the rest of the Gurus are ready and willing to take your questions. One request: Help us help you. Rather than just ask us for "a great date spot in Northwest D.C.," tell us whether you're looking for dinner and cocktails, a leisurely afternoon activity, something outdoorsy -- any info you can give us is appreciated. And now, on to the questions.

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The Going Out Gurus: There are lots of watery eyes here at GOG headquarters today, and it's not just the allergies -- today is Alexa's last day in the office. She's leaving us to spend more time with little Zoe and Zoe's older brother Great 'Arry, and we're all a little jealous, and sad to see her go. This is Fritz, and while Maura's not here today, the rest of the Gurus are ready and willing to take your questions. One request: Help us help you. Rather than just ask us for "a great date spot in Northwest D.C.," tell us whether you're looking for dinner and cocktails, a leisurely afternoon activity, something outdoorsy -- any info you can give us is appreciated. And now, on to the questions.

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McLean, VA.: You guys probably get this question every year as the weather becomes warmer but...

Where is the nearest drive-in movie theater?

You guys seriously have saved my weekends numerous times; keep up the great posts!

Jen: The nearest drive-in, Bengies, is a bit of a haul. It's outside Baltimore but is totally old-school, so should be worth the trip.

If you go, write back next week and tell us how it was.

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Reston, Va.: Does anyone know of good power yoga classes nearby? I'd rather go to a specialized studio than commit to a gym membership.

Erin: Oh, I love power yoga classes and am still waiting for the perfect one to find me. In the meantime, Somafit in Georgetown, unfortunately a prime stop for Paris Hilton during her last jaunt to the District, offers some interesting classes. Ashtanga Yoga Center on Wisconsin, Health Advantage Yoga in Herndon and Sun and Moon Studio in Arlington may also have what you're seeking. Write back and let us know what you think.

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Logan Circle, D.C.: Hi Gurus! I'm putting together a bridal scrapbook for a friend who's getting married later this summer. Any good scrapbooking supply stores in the area?

Alexa: I'm standing in for Janet today, but she's sitting right here and we both agree that Pearl Craft or Michael's will fix you up nicely.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm looking for a really good date place, but on the less expensive side...any location in D.C.!

Erin: Oh, come on! McDonald's? Chipotle? The park? What do you mean by less expensive "place?" For an activity, you can take a date to a free show at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage or make excuses until Screen on the Green comes in mid-July. Now, as for restaurants -- Pasta Mia and Straits of Malaya in Adams Morgan are affordable favorite date spots. If you're more adventurous, go for Vietnamese in Georgetown or any number of the great Ethiopians (especially Queen Makeda). 2 AMYS or Pizzeria Paradiso for upscale pizza. Cafe Divan up Wisconsin in N. Georgetown is also pretty good. If you do plan to do a show and don't want a date to head for the hills because of your avaricious ways, hit up 1789 for the pre-theater menu.

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ISO Head Shots: I have no acting experience whatsoever. None. But I want to start checking out the scene. I saw last week you mentioned checking the Lively Arts section of the Post for auditions, and I thought I'd give it a shot...

But what do I do if they ask for head shots and/or a resume? My resume is strictly white collar professional. Any suggestions on where to get head shots and what to do when they ask for a resume?

Jen: If you're auditioning for community theater, you probably won't need a head shot or resume. Even if you go to an open casting call for extras, you don't always need them (sometimes, but not always, they take head shots of people at the audition).

If you plan on doing lots of professional auditions for film or theater, that's when a head shot and resume comes in handy. Consult with the folks at The Actors' Center in Arlington; they may be able to provide some good resources and advice about this sort of thing. Until you get a play or some extra work under your belt, I'd advise holding off on investing too much on head shots. It can get expensive and you don't want to spend the money until you're sure that you really like acting and plan to pursue it more seriously.

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Van Ness, Washington, D.C.: Hi GOGs! I was just sitting here wondering how I could possibly get any more information about the "Live 8" concert to be held in Philadelphia at the Museum of Art on July 2nd. You guys are always able to answer my questions, so I thought I'd give you a try! I understand that it's not technically for charity, as it's going to be free, but is supposed to draw public attention to the poverty crisis in Africa at a time that coincides with the G-8 summit. Any word on how to obtain tickets? Or will it just be the kind of show where people show up and hope to find a spot among the crowds? Thanks GOGs - always a pleasure!

Joe: Here's Richard Harrington's Live 8 story from yesterday's Post. They haven't finalized details as to whether or not tickets will be required, but it will be a free event. The one in Philadelphia will be held on the steps of the Art Museum and the crowd will be all along the Ben Franklin Parkway, a beautiful stretch of space. I know I should be more enthusiastic about this event, but I'm a bit cynical this time around. I mean, 50 Cent doesn't exactly strike me as a performer with a great deal of concern about what's going in the rest of the world.

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Washington, D.C.: My boyfriend and I have been together for a couple years in D.C.. We're in our late twenties and getting bored of doing the same thing, going to the same places, and have already done D.C. things like the monuments and museums. What is a fun thing to do during this weekend or next weekend for a couple that feel's like its seen and done it all?

Rhome: "Same things, same places".... "done it all" - does not compute! How can you have sampled everything this city has to offer if you're not varying your routine? My unwavering response whenever various iterations of this question come in is to pick one thing (every weekend, once a month, whatever works for you) you've never done and give it a try. Do you generally stick to draft beers? Try a wine bar. Do you only dance to top 40 music? Try tango. Already done the monuments and museums? There are exhibits that come and go all the time. The Celia Cruz one at the American History Museum actually made me a bit moist around the eyes, have you seen it yet? Have you ever been to a Smithsonian Resident Associate event?

http://www.residentassociates.org

I could pull tons of stuff for the next couple weekends from our database but I'd need to know more details about what you're into. In the meantime, how about signing up for our email newsletter?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?node=admin/email

You get our best picks organized by day right in your inbox.

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D.C.: Are all of the gurus nice or are some of you mean?

Joe: I'm the only nice one. The rest of them are snakes.

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Washington, D.C.: I have to say I am quite disappointed with your intern guide. What about mentioning happy hour specials at places like Red River Grill, Froggy Bottom, Lucky Bar, Karma, Ozios, Rumors, Tequila Grill, Buffalo Billiards, Cafe Citron, Front Page, etc?? How many interns are really going to go to "cheap eats" at fancy, adult places like Morton's over say Lucky Bar or Front Page??

Did I miss something because I am clueless as to why you picked the places you did and ignored so many options interns would actually go to and not feel out of place.

-D.C. Intern

Fritz: Sorry you're disappointed. For starters, I didn't mention happy hour at Red River Grill because it closed last year. If you read the happy hour story again, I mentioned the deals at Lucky, Front Page and Tequila Grill, though I'm still waiting for TG's manager to confirm the details of their Free Beer Happy Hour on Tuesday nights.

As for "fancy" places like Morton's, I don't really think it's that much more intimidating than Ozio, and the deals are much better.

Last week, a chatter wrote in to complain that we'd recommended too many bars for 21 and 22-year-olds. It's a very delicate balancing act, but I hope that most people will find something that appeals to them.

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Gaithersburg, MD: Good afternoon! I need some help. I am recovering from being sick for quite some time. These sicknesses left me with very little hair. As a girl, I'm sort of embarrassed. Can you or the nuts advise me of some hairstylists that work with former chemo patients or are sensitive to these sort of things?? Thanks!

Alexa: Janet and I think a spa might be gentle place to begin -- somewhere like Aveda, or Elizabeth Arden might be good. We are told that Mina, at the Bethesda Red Door (240-644-1319), has experience with this kind of consultation.

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Dupont: Good Afternoon! When is Bar Pilar opening?

Thanks!

Fritz: It was supposed to open yesterday, but they're still working on the interior. I'm sure another self-imposed "deadline" or two will come and go before the place is ready.

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Adams Morgan: Hello GOGS,

I'm looking to go dancing this Saturday night. I don't want to go to any of the enormous clubs like H2O or Dream. I'm looking for hip hop - top 40 is ok but I'm more interested in some old school hip hop and reggae. Where can I go that's in D.C.? Also, any word on when DJ Dredd's restaurant is opening? Once it opens, does that mean he won't be spinning out Blue Room or Aroma anymore?

Rhome: This is the big hole that currently exists on the scene now: fun, hip-hop/urban type dance spot on a Saturday night that isn't one of the huge clubs.

When somebody puts an event like that together, it will win big. All of us looking to boogie on a Saturday night have to make other plans these days, like live shows, movies, house parties, etc. Fortunately there's no shortage of suitable alternatives.

Vegetate is in progress. That's all we know. Dredd did stop doing the Prince parties but we haven't gotten word on how the restaurant will change his other bookings.

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Arlington, VA: I need to get a pair of pants hemmed...just an inch or two off the bottom. Never having done this before (I miss my mom!) I don't have any idea where to take them. Any suggestions?

Alexa: Most dry cleaners will hem a pair of pants and shouldn't really be charging much more than $15.

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Washington, D.C.: Jen, obscure question, but I'm going to Williamsburg this weekend to visit the in-laws. I desperately need highlights and a haircut. Any recommendations for a good salon in William and Mary country?

Jen: I'm not sure how helpful this will be, but when I was in college, I got my hair cut at a salon on Prince George St., next to what is now A. Carroll's Bistro. Of course, I can't recall the name of the place and I'm not sure it's there anymore ... that's some award-winning "Going Out Gurus" advice right there, isn't it?

I can tell you that I got at least a couple of decent haircuts there. My first ever short 'do -- which I was inspired to pursue because of Jane on "Melrose Place" -- was created at that salon. Any other Williamsburgers who might be able to give post-1990s haircut suggestions?

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Rock and Roll: Can you recommend any good, relatively cheap shows that are public transportation/ easy to get to sans-car this summer (Wolftrap is about as far as I am willing to travel)? The music I prefer is blues (I enjoy Madam's Organ when they have a good act), rock and roll (white stripes, widespread panic), but mainly I enjoy seeing good musicians display their talents. For example, the National Capital BBQ Fest had some pretty good acts that I have enjoyed the past few years. Thanks!

Joe: Hello Rock and Roll. You'll have tons of opportunities to hear good music at relatively low prices this summer. The Weekend Section of tomorrow's Post is the summer music edition and will have listings for all the area venues and for a slew of free and cheap concerts as well. We'll have a link to it on the music section of our Entertainment Guide by early evening so please do check back.

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Wash, D.C.: Rhome, you can probably help with this.

Ever since Chief Ike's stopped doing their Thursday Night hip hop nights I have had an empty hole in my weekly old school hip hop possibilities. My friends and I like to party during the week sometimes and are looking for a comparable type event. Anything?

Thanks!

Rhome: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?node=entertainment/profile&id=1094768

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College Park, MD: I want to take my boyfriend out for a nice steak dinner in D.C. to celebrate some recent accomplishments. Where can we go for around $100 total? I've heard great things about Ray's the Steaks but have also heard it's very hard to get a reservation there. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

Erin: First, it's not that hard to get a res. at Ray's. They just have awkward times -- you can only call Tues-Thurs from 2-4. I called Tuesday and got through on my 2nd try. If that doesn't work: Bobby Van's is tasty and will suit your budget if you're cautious about sides and wine. Capitale Grille, the Prime Rib and Ruth's Chris are all good, but I'm most curious about the new Old Homestead Steakhouse in Bethesda. Hope this offers a little insight!

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Kensington, MD.: I have a 10-month-old and am looking for a nice public pool to go to around my area. We live in Kensington.

Thanks!

Anne: The Glenmont Pool is pretty close to you and has a small pool just for tots. Just think, one day, your little one can graduate to the pool with sprays, slides and fountains.

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Leesburg, VA: I signed up online for absolute addiction which is supposed to give free/reduced admission to several local clubs and bars (1223, five, vida, etc) with a wristband. I was wondering if the clubs/bars actually honor the wristband or make you pay twice?

Fritz: Yes and no. Check out this story I did on Club Hop -- of the seven promised clubs, my friends and I got into three without a problem, were asked for additional cover at three, and gave up on the lines at one other.

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Washington, D.C.: I enjoy going to the Kennedy Center but recently, I've been given different seats than I paid for. That is, last night, Samson and Dalila, I pay for an aisle and I get against the wall. The answer was from the old troll head usher that it is on the aisle, it's just against the wall. Help, Michael Kaiser, wherever you are.

Jen: That's a bummer. But I think the usher might be right; any seat at the end of a row is probably listed as aisle even if it's against the wall. Misleading, perhaps, but that's probably the way it's done. This is an unfortunate way to learn an important lesson: Always look at a seating chart before you purchase tickets. The Kennedy Center's Web site has a chart for the Opera House that gives a sense of where seat numbers are located. Sometimes you may still wind up disappointed, but at least you can tell whether an aisle is truly an aisle.

Sorry you had a bad experience, but hopefully next time will be better.

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Washington, D.C.: Are there any rave clubs/events in the D.C. area and how do I find out where they are?

David: Find the guy with the crazy big pants wearing an Adidas visor and ask him. But seriously, depends what you mean by "rave" events. There's always Buzz, er, Cubik at Nation Friday nights. Look out for any events that Ultraworld promotes. Tons of top DJs roll through the area, (Sasha at Fur on 6/4, John Digweed there on 6/18), but not sure how "rave"-y that will be.

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Washington, D.C. : GOGs,

I know this question has been asked, but I cannot find the answer in the archives. My husband is looking for a place to get a good haircut for $20-25. He is currently going to Bubbles and they are charging more than that. We live in Logan Circle, but anywhere on the Metro is fine. Thanks so much!

Alexa: The Hair Cuttery? But as Janet points out, turnover is so rapid at these kinds of places that you never quite know what you're getting. No old time barber for him?

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Silver Spring, Maryland: Where is the Intern Guide?

Fritz: Right here

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Arlington: Hello,

I am in need of a happy hour. Do you know of any restaurants that have specials on food and drinks. Not looking for bar food, but instead something a little nicer. Only District please!

Thanks!

Erin: In our recently posted Interns Guide , we listed several places with good happy hours. My favorite is Heritage India on Connecticut with half-priced Indian Tapas and $4 martinis.

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Washington D.C.: Where's the metal in D.C.? Death Metal, Hair Metal, SPeed Metal, Doonm Metal, any kind. Just moved to the city from Fairfax, so Jaxx is too far for me.

David: The Warehouse Next Door is a very good place to catch some metal, mostly of the doom/stoner variety. You just missed Woolly Mammoth, who played there last night, but they usually have a few metal shows there each month. Just looking at their schedule for June I see Medic on the 12th and Immortal Avenger on the 18th. Darkest Hour and Hidden Hand are playing at the Black Cat on 7/2. That'll be a loud one. Rawk!

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Adams Morgan: It's supposed to rain this Saturday. What's there to do inside this weekend?

Anne: This weekend is the Dupont-Kalorama Museum Walk , a great time to sample some of the city's smaller museums because admission will be free and each one will host special activities. For example, you could hear live Latin music at the Fondo del Sol Visual Arts Center or learn how to knit at the Textile Museum. And there's a free shuttle service from one museum to another, so you don't have to run between the raindrops.

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Washington, D.C.: GOGs, I would like to meet up with a friend in a parking garage in Rosslyn, just over the Key Bridge, to get some information. Where should we have a cup of coffee afterward?

Joe: The problem with the parking garage in Rosslyn is getting there. You have to take two taxis and then walk a few blocks. Not worth it. I mean, seriously, how important could a meeting like that be?

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Hip Hop dancing: Ever tried Chief Ike's in Adams Morgan or Aroma in Cleveland Park? Both small-ish places w/ hip hop, Aroma definitely does old school

Rhome: Right, but not on Saturdays (if this is a follow-up to my earlier response).

I haven't checked out who is playing at Chief Ike's since Reunion shut down. Can anyone vouch for who is playing hip-hop there and when? I'm kind of uppity about that sort of thing, which is why you all come to us! If I haven't heard them, I can't make the call.

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Washington, D.C.: The plastic, S-shaped hook/clasp thing on my bathing suit top broke this weekend--too much fun in the sun, I guess. Do you know any place where I might be able to get this fixed? I assume a regular tailor would be able to do the job, but would I need to supply my own hook? If so, any ideas about where to look for one?

Alexa: Go to Target with a pair of scissors? We jest, of course. It sounds like it was a favorite swimsuit, so the collective suggestion here to buy a new one won't be helpful. G Street Fabrics? JoAnn Fabrics? No, we don't think you'd have to supply the hook yourself.

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Red River Grill: Please, please tell me that the new Red River Grill is going to open soon

Fritz: Like Bar Pilar (and one or two other places), it was supposed to have opened already.

But I just talked to the owner, and it's slated to reopen as Union Pub on June 27. He's promising "clean lines" and an "upgraded" space, with American food, 10 draft beers and a larger selection of frozen drinks -- and some of the same drink specials. Personally, I'm looking forward to that patio,

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Dupont Circle: For the poster looking for a $25 male haircut - VSL in Dupont is a great choice.

Alexa: Oh lovely, Dupont. Thanks for helping out.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! I hope you can help me. I am looking for a place to take a darkroom class. I have a car, so anywhere in the area is fine, and I've already checked out CHAW. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

Erin: Glen Echo Park offers a variety of courses. If you don't find one there, try community colleges or the Northern VA Photographic Society can offer up some advice on just what you're looking for.

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Metro Center, D.C.: I know you get these questions so often, but I can't help it, it's my turn. Four or five hip, single ladies, mid 30s, finally have the time to get out on the town together Saturday night. There are several new places for us to hit -- Eyebar, Modern (yes, Modern is new for us), etc. But are any in areas with other places around so we can possibly hit a couple should we need to? Eyebar seems to be off by itself, for instance.

Also, any general suggestions beyond the lounge/club scene?

LOVE this discussion, thanks!

Rhome: Eyebar isn't too far from Karma (19th&I NW). If you're downtown, you can make a circuit of Zola, Indebleu and Poste.

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Re: Haircut in Williamsburg: I agree with Jen. I got my haircut at the hair salon next to A. Carroll's as well, when I was in William&Mary, and that was last year. I don't remember the name of the place but I know it's still exists and the women there do a great job!

Jen: Excellent. Another endorsement for the Williamsburg hair salon whose name no one can recall. Thanks for sharing this.

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Darnestown, MD: This may be kind of an odd request, so please bear with me...and no, this isn't Gene Weingarten. And thanks for helping us out by answering our questions and offering ideas on a weekly basis. My wife is turning 40 in a week and I want to do something, ah, different, to celebrate. In her younger days, before we were married (12 years and counting!) she was kind of, well wild. She still has that streak in her, though it's somewhat muted since we're married. I'd like to take her someplace wild, where we can let our hair down and possibly meet similarly open-minded people who don't subscribe to a Puritan (or Islamic) morality when the libido is involved. I know D.C. doesn't have anything like Plato's Retreat, but is there anyplace where we can go to dance and perhaps let loose for an evening? I realize this isn't the sort of question you get normally, but I'm hoping you can help without passing judgment on us (or me). Many thanks.

Rhome: Saturday nights at Bar Nun , homie. We've seen a few similar things come through our nightlife email queue but we couldn't even link to them here. Just head down to Helix on a Thursday evening and asking DJ Bosque about the "special" parties that he plays for.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi. I just have a quick question concerning area restaurants. I am graduating at the end of July, and I would like to host a nice dinner for family and friends. There will be about 25 of us, and I would like a place that is classy but not stuffy. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Erin: B. Smith's could be fun at Union Station -- I love that venue. My favorite private dining affair in the area was at Teatro Goldoni on K St., but that could be labeled "stuffy." Chef Geoff's, Cafe Milano or Caucus Room could suit and seat your group!

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HELP!!!: My parents are coming this weekend and our original plan was jazz in the sculpture garden tomorrow and then Shakespeare in the park on Saturday. Can't do Shakespeare, but looking for another cultural-type thing to do on Saturday evening, preferably outside. HELP, please.

David: How about the Washington Folk Festival at Glen Echo ? It runs until 10 on Saturday, seven stages with musicians, craftsmakers, storytellers, dancers, workshops, etc.

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McLean, VA: GOGs: I'm submitting early because of a meeting during the chat. I tried asking Tom this question, but he didn't get to it. Does anyone know of any place that has real Italian gelatto? I'm having such a craving, but so many places just give you regular ice cream that they call "gelatto," and it's not the same thing! Thank you!!

Erin: Have you tried Isee Icy on Wisconsin in Georgetown? I got hooked on it when I meandered by and noticed that their banana is gray. I know how that could sound unappetizing, but the #1 gelato rule of thumb is that real banana gelato takes on a gray hue. Fake flavoring is yellow.

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Washington, D.C.: The haircut question: Try Diego's Hair Salon on P Street just off Dupont Circle (I think between 18th&Conn.). I go there occasionally for a barber shop experience. I think they charge $22.

Alexa: More hair suggestions...

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Cathedral: Sorry to do this to the audience, but do you, the GOG'S or the peanut gallery have ideas on really nice, inexpensive spas etc for waxing?

Alexa: Skin Beauty Lounge near Barracks Row

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RE: Wash, D.C.: to the guy looking for hip hop on week nights, try zebra lounge (in Georgetown on Wisconsin and macomb) on Tuesday nights. real cool and laid back, and of course hot tunes.

Rhome: Fritz and I have been meaning to check that out. Has anyone else been yet? We'll have a report soon.

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Arlington, VA: My girl and I are going into D.C. after work tonight to meet up with another couple in town to take in the excitement that is the National Spelling Bee today. It was my assignment to find a unique place to meet up for dinner and drinks, cheap to moderately priced. After searching the Post's restaurant guide, my thoughts were to hit up Sky Terrace at the Hotel Washington. With the weather like it is now, I doubt a rooftop evening would turn out that great. Can you recommend a place (preferably with walking distance from the orange line) for 2 couples to get together and enjoy some drinks and conversation?

Anne: I'm fascinated that you're going out tonight to celebrate the National Spelling Bee, because the final round winds up this afternoon - so I'm not suggesting you go to a bar playing ESPN tonight. Are you previous bee-ers yourselves or are you cheering for a particular speller? I'll suggest places between Metro Center and the Gallery Place area, where the bee is happening *right now* at the Grand Hyatt: Oya, Ortanique, maybe the bar at Zola if you can find a spot. If you're looking for food in addition to drinks, the pizza happy hour at Ella's is always lively, and that kid-friendly space may appeal to the spellers and their families as well. You could spot a celebrity.

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1st_date_tomorrow, VA: Besides Cafe Asia, where are some other sushi places to go to in the Arlington/Rosslyn area? are there any places that have more than just straight sushi (other items on the menu besides just the raw edibles)? I've heard of a place that has a sushi buffet, but can't remember the name...

and since this is a first date, any suggestions on some chill things to do afterwards? she's not much of a drinker. thought of seeing Boogiehawg at Whitlow's, but don't know if that'll be her scene or not...

thanks GoG's

Erin: The sushi buffet is Appetizer Plus on 19th. After dinner, how about Continental for some pool?

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Arlington, VA: Well, I discovered a little something about myself a few weeks ago. I am not a club girl. I had a chance to go to Blue Gin a few weeks back through someone I know, so I could get in free, and I found the club...horrible. The cocktails are superexpensive (more than the Bellagio in Vegas!), and not THAT good (for twelve bucks I expect something special). The crowd was...awful. Really really awful. Terribly pretentious. One woman, in the upstairs room (and I don't care what they say, that is definitely a "VIP" room) insisted on dancing - like eight count lindy hop type dancing - in a very small crowded space, with a lit cigarette, no less. Masses of squat men in expensive suits smoking giant cigars, many of whom were hitting on women young enough to be their daughters. PDA on a Britney/K-Fed level on the dance floor. Horrible horrible music. Really, just such a bad experience for me. I will hie myself back to Iota and Eleventh Street where the drinks are more reasonable and the other patrons at least acknowledge my existence. I can see why people like the place, I guess, but it is not for me. I think next time I want to go to a club, I'll try to find one that plays music I like better, and isn't quite so full of self consciously elegant people.

Fritz: That's what I love about this city: everyone can find someplace where they really feel comfortable. Kudos to you, though, for checking the place out before you dismissed it at expensive and pretentious.

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Chevy Chase: Going to dinner tonight with my mom in Chevy Chase (D.C. side) do you have any recommendations? We're up for anything but my mother is not a fan of Asian style foods. Thanks!

Erin: And you'd like to get away from Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano's? How about Marcella's (on the MD side), Bambule , or Parthenon in the C.C. 'hood or wandering down CT until you hit Palena or Sorriso ?

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First Fridays: Wanted to check out First Fridays tomorrow. Never have been. Is it fun? Do the places really have wine and food?

Anne: They do have wine, sometimes even live music. Just don't expect to find dinner here -- think pretzels or something to tide you over. Why not give it a try? It's free, after all. I'm going to tomorrow to Alex Gallery to see who attends its highbrow exhibit opening of New Yorker covers. Maybe I'll see you there?

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Gelato: Also, the National Gallery. They have so many flavors, and it's an excuse to check out what's new in the museum.

Erin: Right, and Dean and Deluca offers some good flavors seasonally!

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Photography Class: Arlington County Adult Education offers great photography classes for beginners or advanced photographers. cheap too and available to everyone, not just Arlington county residents.

Erin: Ahh, snap up advice from a fellow shutterbug.

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Silver Spring, MD.: My son has his fourth birthday tonight and I'd like to take him to a Chuck E Cheese/Jeepers kind of place, but not those two establishments. I am particularly interested in something that is not as madhouse-y.

Thanks for the great service.

Erin: I've been dwelling on this question for quite some time, but all that I can come up with is Rainforest Cafe in Tyson's or Towson. That would involve shuttling a group of youngsters for an hour-long ride, though!

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Alexandria, VA: Hey folks,

I am leaving the beltway for Italy at the end of the summer. Poor me. Before I relocate, I'd like to hit as many of the uniquely D.C. restaurants, bars, and music sense as I can. I am thinking on the line of hole-in-the- wall Ethiopian, Ben's, Saint-Ex, Bukom, SounD.C.lash etc. I want to leave D.C. with a pleasant taste in my mouth, you know? I like everything and am more interested in the experience. What should be on my list?

Erin: Oh, gracious -- you poor thing! Well, I'm just going to chuck out a few random thoughts. I spent a semester in Italy and found myself missing a few things in particular. For one thing, enjoy Asian food now! I missed Thai, Chinese and sushi a great deal when I was there. D.C. has some amazing Thai places that are often overlooked (Sala Thai and Neisha come to mind). One thing that will make you nostalgic is smoky bars! I wouldn't spend too much time hitting up bars to get your D.C. fill -- there are some great great scenes in Italia!

Rhome: Hit the open mike at Bar Nun . Get some wings and mumbo at a carry-out. Try some Foggy Bottom Ale on draft, most spots have it, or you can get some at a Nationals game add on to your uniquely Washington experience. Check out Raheem Devaughn&friends on a Sunday night at Takoma Station or dance to Sam Burns at Red .

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20004: Unless it recently reopened-- Appetizer Plus has been closed for a while.

Erin: Right -- I should have said "the sushi buffet was Appetizer Plus."

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The Going Out Gurus: That about wraps things up. It's time to say goodbye to Alexa -- we're sure you all will miss her, but not as much as we will. See you back here next Thursday at 1.

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