Friday, August 3, 2007; 11:00 AM
The staff of Weekend, the Washington Post's weekly entertainment guide, covers what's happening in the Washington area. We'll field your questions on everything in the
The Weekend staff was online Friday, Aug. 3, at 11 a.m. ET.
This week, we head north along 270 looking for night-life options; talk to punk pioneers Bad Brains; preview "Can a Sista Rock a Mic?"; and offer a heads-up on more Elvis DVDs than you can shake a hip at.
A transcript follows.
Read about the
Curt Fields: It's Weekend Now (NOT to be confused with ESPN's lame "Who's Now" segments)and some of the Weekend staff is here to talk fun, plans and entertainment with you. Only some because a few members of the staff have actually gone off to have some fun of their own. The nerve.
Anyway, a few of us are here, you're here, let's chat...
Northwest, D.C.: Hi,
I've heard some buzz about the budding H Street nightlife, but no one I know has been there (all my friends are either die hard Adams Morgan fans or Georgetown aficionados). Is there any place on H Street that generally attracts the 21-25 crowd? Or should I just venture there alone and report back to my friends?
Curt Fields: Yes, indeed there are several places to appeal to the 21-25 crowd, assuming they're good nightlife consumers.
We did a cover story on H Street just a few months back. Stick around and a link to it will appear in a bit. It has all the details you would want...
Washington, D.C.: I read in the Post about the great success of Tom Greaves's street installation "The Compliment Machine," which dishes out compliments to people as they walk by.
Then I read online about an Artomatic artist who had a similar machine called "Sycophant" a few years earlier but had very little notice.
Mr. O'Sullivan: Do you recall the Artomatic machine? Are they similar?
washingtonpost.com: The Art of Gratuitous Praise ( Post, July 21)
Michael O'Sullivan: I do remember "Sycophant" quite well. It was similar to the "Compliment Machine" in that they both dole out compliments, but "Sycophant," by Thomas Edwards, an artist who organizes DC's Dorbot meetings of tech/art people, was not just an impersonal box, but a robotic human head. It was rather hilarious, as I recall, saying things like, "You look really hot" and "I love your sweater."
Mount Pleasant, Washington, D.C.: Nice to see Bad Brains get some love. But it doesn't seem like nationally there's much respect paid to D.C. for its place in music history. Am I missing any books that tell the story and put it in context?
washingtonpost.com: Bad Brains: A Punk Powerhouse Reunited ( Post, Aug. 3)
Richard Harrington: Well, folks have been singing the band's praises for eons, and if that love could have translanted to a higher profile, they'd be headlining Virgin Festival. And, yes, there is a terrific book that tells the story of DC punk, "Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital" by Mark Jenkins, a regular contributor to Weekend, and Mark Andersen of Positive Force. In this exhaustively researched book, you can read all about Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Faith, Rites of Spring, Fugazi, and other DC hardcore bands and the social/musical movements they inspired. Great on the contextual front, as well. There's also "Banned in DC," which is more a collection of photos form that scene, as is the recently published "Punk Love," Suzie Horgan's record of the early punk era here. For a larger overview of rock history in DC, there's Mark Opsasnik's excellent "Capitol Rock," dealing with the music from the '50s to the '70s, and for a terrific go-go history, Kip Lornell and Charles Stephenson's "The Beat: Go-Go's Fusion of Funk and Hip-Hop," a title clearly meant to sell to an audience that doesn't know DC's indiginous sound. How many cities have this many books about their local music scenes? Just asking.
washingtonpost.com: H Street Life ( Post, Sept. 8, 2006)
Curt Fields: Here's the link to that cover story on H Street. Hope this helps!And by all means, you should check it out even if your friends are too stuck in a rut to try something new.
A.U. : So who's the can't miss at Can A Sista Rock a Mic?
Richard Harrington: The shows at Rock & Roll Hotel and Zanzibaron the Waterfront are both excellent; go to the Can a Sista Rock a Mic website--www.canasistarockamic.com--and you'll find soundbites for all of the performers (and many from previous festivals) and bio-links. It's pretty impressive and you might feel like checking out some acts you've not heard of before....
Curt Fields: I agree with Richard. I've been a fan of Bahamadia for several years. And of course MC Lyte is a pioneer.
Washington, D.C.: Hey Guys,
This isn't really a weekend question, but you guys always seem to have the answer for everything. There used to be dancing one weekday night a week at Eastern Market. I was wondering if that still goes on and where can I get more info about it? Thanks!
Michael O'Sullivan: I don't think any weeknight dance parties have been going there since the big fire damaged it this past spring, but a group called the Capitol Hill Communitty Foundation is hosting free Sunday morning concerts at 10:30. They should run through September. The CHCF is raising money for the building's restoration.
H Street!: Wow, I had no idea it had so much to offer. The last time I drove through there (a few years ago) it was a little scary even in the daytime.
Curt Fields: There are still some occasionally sketchy moments at night but it's definitely drawing more people to the area to hang out and bar hop. And with good reason -- a lot of the relatively new nightspots are pretty cool. (And it's not tired and overcrowded like some other nightlife "scenes")
Was Sycophant: the one next to the talking fish?
Michael O'Sullivan: Yes! That was the one. The fish--an altered version of one of the Big Mouth Billy Bass novelties--shouted out things like: "They're eating my eggs!" By the way, you can find more about the monthly DC Dorbot meetings (where art and tech collide) at http:/
Joyce Jones: Hey, if you haven't entered Weekend's Summer Fun Photo Contest yet, get going. The deadline for entries is Aug. 17 (two weeks away). We'll pick a winner and some other favorites to showcase in Weekend. There'll be a prize for 1st place and lots of Weekend T-shirts for a random number of entrants. And we plan to feature even more of the entries right here on washingtonpost.com/weekend.
The rules on are page 4 of today's section. And we'll post a link here.
washingtonpost.com: Point, Click and Win a Prize! Point, Click and Win a Prize!
George Mason University: Great story about the Washington Glory in today's paper. Awesome to finally see them get some publicity for all of their hard work and dedication. Just dropping a note that there's still time to see them play, tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. It's a major league atmosphere by way of the play on the field, but everything else is so much better than the Majors. Players talk and sign autographs all the time, the entertainment during the game is better than what you get at Nationals games and it's not expense to go! I'll be there the final three games, GO GLORY!
washingtonpost.com: The Glory of Women's Softball ( Post, Aug. 3)
Curt Fields: I enjoyed that story too. Read it on the way in to work this a.m. Have to confess that I didn't know about them before today but now I'll definitely want to check out their games. I used to attend collegiate women's softball games and they were always a fun, competitive atmosphere.
Take this chatter's tip and check out the story and games.
Northwest, D.C.: Thanks for the link. I'm going to try it either tonight or tomorrow night, and I hope I don't get lost. I'm not familiar with NE D.C.
Curt Fields: You're welcome. Hope you find a spot that appeals to you. Let us know next week how your explorations turn out!
Alexandria, VA: I just read online about a huge new art gallery opening in Old Town Alexandria with 22,000 square feet of space ... have you guys heard anything? Are they looking for artists?
Michael O'Sullivan: You heard correctly. Not all of that 22,000 will be gallery space however. Two thirds will be artists' studios. It's called Art Whino (www.artwhino.com), and plans to open in October at 717 N. Saint. Asaph St.
Alexandria, Va.: Hi,
We're heading to Rehoboth Beach this weekend and are wondering about some good dining options for brunch and dinner. Nothing too formal, but not fish and chips from plastic baskets either.
Joyce Jones: Cultured Pearl is a good one for dinner. Good sushi, nice atmosphere, good service.
I'm sure Eve will have more ideas....
Eve Zibart: It's almost one of those cases of too many options! Espuma may be the best of them; Nage on Route 1 (parent of the one here), the Irish Finbar or Stoney Lonen, the quirky Planet X (not all veggie like the old one), Dogfish Head brewpub, Dos Locos, Pig & Fish. And if you want REAL fish and chips, try Go Fish! the one with the London style telephone booth outside. Back Porch has a popular brunch, as does Blue Moon. Lori's is good for breakfast. Try some of the wines by the glass and small plates at Eden. Also try Fish On! up the highway toward Lewes and perhaps Venus on the Half Shell in Dewey at Dagsworthy and the bay; it has its own little beach. If Cultured Pearl is crowded, there's a little Japanese place on Rehoboth almost to the boardwalk that's got a lot of stuff. Whew!
K Street: Okay, submitting early because I really would love to get an answer -- even if it means the end of my weekend dreams once the answer is out: do you know of any hotel swimming pools that are open to the (paying) public? Recently a friend and I went to the Marriott pool (the little one on Connecticut across the street from the big Hilton), and we paid $15 (I think) for a day pass. The pool was okay, but narrow and small, so we were wondering if there are any other pools in the area ... Of course, we would love a pool with full-service, etc., so we can have a complete "weekend getaway" experience without ever leaving town (that is how lazy we are)!
Eve Zibart: Well, didn't find you much. The Fairmont at 24th and M has a $25 fee, but the best bet is the Loews L'enfant Plaza, which only asks $15 for the day.
Curt Fields: By the way, the person asking about H Street earlier made me think ... if you're tired of hanging at the same old spots every weekend, corral a designated driver and venture out of the city for something new.
You can head north up 270 or out to the NoVa exurbs. In today's Weekend we've got a guide to some spots from Rockville to Frederick that might strike your fancy, depending on what you like. And a few months back we explored some places in No.Virginia.
We're posting links to both in case you want to try a nightlife roadtrip. (But again, if you do, make sure you have a designated driver. We don't to lose any more readers!)
Links are coming up shortly...
Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: Hi -
My sister and brother-in-law are coming in from N.Y. for the weekend. Where can we go for early cocktails, preferably outdoors, with our kids (4 and 2)?
Eve Zibart: Well, if you don't mind the heat...Jury's has some $5 happy hour specials. Raku has a covered area that might be a little cooler. Kramerbooks/Afterwards, Childe Harold and Zorba and Circo all have some outdoor seats...Lauriol Plaza wouldn't be all that far. Front Page is open all day.
Farragut North, Washington, D.C.: Good Morning! Have any of you had any experience with the Chinatown buses? I'd like to take a day trip up to Philly but I'm not sure how to go about it.
Thanks and have a happy weekend!
Michael O'Sullivan: My wife has taken the Chinatown bus to NYC a few times and has no complaints. It's a good deal. Check out www.apexbus.com for more information on departure location, schedule and tickets between here and Philly. I believe there are a couple of departure points in DC's Chinatown neighborhood near Sixth and H streets NW.
Chevy Chase: Thank you, thank you vurra much for Elvis.
Curt Fields: You're welcome. There are a ton of movies/concerts coming out on DVD in connection with the 30th anniversary of his death. You'll need a LOT of fried banana sandwiches to make it through them all.
(we'll post a link to the story soon)
Centerville, Va.: Hi everyone:
Has anyone been to Blue Water Grille in Centreville? I was reading the weekend section and saw that Monster Band is playing there tonight. Any idea if it would be a good time?
Joyce Jones: I live out Centreville way but I haven't been to Blue Water Grille yet. Took a look at the Web site, the menu sounds yummy. I suggest you give it try (then next week, tell the rest of us whether we should check it out).
washingtonpost.com: A Whole Lotta Elvis Is Goin' to the Small Screen ( Post, Aug. 3)
ISO Chocolate Buffet: There was a segment on a chocolate buffet in D.C. in the Food Channel recently. A group of us want to try it out, but none of us caught where it was. Can you help direct us to memorable chocolate experience?
Michael O'Sullivan: The Ritz-Carlton in the West End offered a chocolate buffet on Friday evenings, but it only runs Feb-April. I think the Food Network did a piece on it. Don't know of anything like that available on at the moment.
Northwest, D.C.: Thanks for your comment on designated drivers. I always cringe when the Weekend Section (or the Gurus) recommend far-flung destinations, describe in detail the range of alcholic options available and even refer to the roads you have to drive to get there ("I decided to leave the Beltway behind, making trips up Interstate 270 to Frederick...")
Fritz even commented yesterday on his chat:
"Just a comment: I hope all these people heading to happy hours or bars that are off the Metro lines are taking along a non-drinking friend. I keep all my drinking within walking distance of the Metro.
Fritz: That's really limiting yourself, isn't it? All things in moderation."
What really irks me is that these Washington Post chats are very cautious about, say, recommending drinking on National Park property or sneaking into a hotel pool. These to me are perfect examples of victimless crimes that almost everyone indulges in on occasion.
Driving up 270 when you are full of beers is definitely a crime, and certainly not a victimless one.
Curt Fields: Yes, we're all for trying places wherever they may be if they're fun. But there's no fun in driving if you've been drinking, only stupidity. Take turns being the non-drinking one and try places. But if you can't take a designated driver and you can't walk there, don't go. It's that simple.
Bethesda, Md.: We love LaLa Land in Rehoboth: La La Land.com
Eve Zibart: Yup, another old and quirky favorite. You gotta like the color purple, though.
Northwest, D.C.: Thank you Curt. I haven't been this motivated to try something new since my boyfriend and I took a road trip to Dover two months ago.
Curt Fields: You're welcome. It's why we here, to help folks find new things to try and enjoy. If you venture to uncharted (for you) territory this weekend, check back next week or thereafter and let us know what you found and if you'd suggest others try it too.
Early Friday Evening? : What can I do tonight right after work (5:30ish) around Dupont Circle? I just realized the highlight of my week was getting a new copy machine on my floor and it made me sad. I'm thinking I need a free wine tasting, or some kind of book store event, I'm not sure what. I've got be home tonight later, so I need something quick and fun right after work. Thanks!
Eve Zibart: How about sake/sushi happy hour at Uni? I've had the happyhour mojitos at Gazuza and that was a scene (and nice sidewalk views for people watching). Firefly always has fun new cocktails. And while not all the galleries may be participating in First Friday because it's August, at least the Washington Printmakers Gallery is, for one. You might try to call around and see who's open. Or you could go to the KramerBooks happy hour and see who's reading what.
Curt Fields: And never underestimate the pleasure of a new copy machine on your floor. It's the little things in life that add up after all ...
Washington, D.C.: The daughter of a friend of mine died on 270 after drinking.
It does happen ...
Curt Fields: Yes. Far too often.
Washington, D.C.:1. I like classical music.
2. I'm broke.
Which leads to my question: I know that there's a lot of free classical music in D.C.; the problem is finding it. Is there one central Web site or something similar that lists it all?
Joyce Jones: Each week in our Concert listings, we have several free classical events,everything from performances by the National Gallery Chamber Players to recitals at around town. This is a slow time of year for the arts in general (relative to the bustling spring and fall), but today in our lists we have a few free events, including this one: BACH SINFONIA Wednesday at 7. Free. Gudelsky Concert Pavilion, Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda. 301-581-5100.
And several recitals. DC is a good place to feed your classical appetite on a budget.
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.: Hi everyone. With all the new movies coming out this week, which movies do you guys planning on seeing this weekend?
Twila Waddy: I plan on seeing The Bourne Ultimatum. I really enjoyed the first two Bourne movies and look forward to this one.
Local 16: Thank you, Weekend Staff, for your guidance.
I've heard some buzz regarding Local 16, and I'm thinking of making a reservation on Saturday. Do any of you know anything about the place? What's the vibe like? Is there dancing? If so, what kind of music do they play?
Curt Fields: It's a pretty cool place. Has gotten props in some magazines and has a rep as a good place to meet people.
Classical Music: The "President's Own" Marine Band does concerts around, too -- you can get on their e-mail list.
Curt Fields: thanks
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.: Buses -- I don't know about getting to Philly, but I would NEVER recommend the Chinatown buses to anyone.
If you're going to NYC there are several other options that are cleaner and significantly safer and better regulated. For such a short trip, Amtrak might not be a bad idea too.
Twila Waddy: I have never taken the buses. But, I always wanted to try it. I have a few friends who have taken it and say they are okay, depending on which one you pick. I have taken the Amtrak, it is nice, but can be as expensive as an airplane ticket.
Michael O'Sullivan: Amtrack ain't cheap, even for a short trip between here and Philly. The regular buses that depart from DC bus terminal are a good compromise between the train and the Chinatown bus.
Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: Tonite is 1st Fridays and Dupont Circle galleries will be open 6-9 p. m. -- most of them anyway
Michael O'Sullivan: Well, some should be, but you better check first. August is typically a slow gallery month, with not much going on.
I really doubt: Fritz meant that you should go to the burbs, drink, and then drive home. I take his response "limiting" to mean that it's good to try some new places, and not limit yourself only to places you can walk home from because you want to get wasted.
Curt Fields: I think your interpretation is probably correct.
Washington, D.C.: What to do in D.C. with a Civil War buff? We have seen Stonewall Jackson's arm and gone to places in Virginia and Pennsylvania, but what can we do here in D.C.? I feel bad for my MIL who drives up from S.C. only to have to go on day trips up to Gettysburg. Any suggestions of Civil War history in the District?
Eve Zibart: Afraid most of it is pretty dry, especially with the American History Museum closed. But there's still the Lincoln summer cottage at the Soldiers Home National Monument. You didn't mention Maryland--have you done Antietam? My personal favorite, and that puts you near Harper's Ferry, etc. Closer in, I assume you've done the Lee-Fendall House in Old Town Alexandria, but have you been to Fort Ward off Braddock? There's a National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick;
Re: designated driver : Do we really have to put a disclaimer out every single time a bar not near a Metro is recommended? Doesn't it go without saying that you should have a designated driver? If people are going to drink and drive, a caution in the Weekend chat not to is going to stop them. I don't want to start seeing this disclaimer every time I read the chat. Take Metro, take a cab, walk home, crash at a friend's (but only if you can take Metro, a cab or walk)...
Besides, many people reading the chat live out in the burbs and might be taking the bus, walking, or a cab to the burb bars. And they should also have a designated driver is they're coming to a D.C. bar and not taking Metro, a cab, or walking.
Michael O'Sullivan: Or how about simply: Don't drink to excess? Operating a motor vehicle after nursing one beer over the course of 20 chicken wings and an hour or two of conversation shouldn't render most people unable to operate a car.
Curt Fields: And I don't think there'll be a caution every time we mention a bar. Just in this case since they're far flung, it seemed to make sense.
Plus, walking in the burbs is pretty dangerous too, dude. I know, I live there.
Curt Fields: Okay, that wraps up this week's chat. Thanks for stopping. Have fun and come join us again next week. Bye.
Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.