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Weekend Staff
The Washington Post Weekend Section
Friday, October 5, 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 section to weekend getaways and kids' activities. We write about all kinds of fun things to do and we're happy to talk to you about it.

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They were online Friday, Oct. 5, at 11 a.m. ET to tell you everything you need to know about going on a camping adventure with the kids plus interviews with Brad Pitt, director Ang Lee, singer-songwriter Josh Ritter and a visit to the new Madame Tussaud museum's "Spirit of Washington, D.C." exhibit.

A transcript follows.

Read about the staff of the Weekend section.

Weekend Now Discussion Transcripts


Curt Fields: Welcome one and all and step right up to our weekly chat about fun things to do and see in the DC area.

On this side of the computer screen we've got most of the Post's Weekend section staff, ready to offer an opinion on virtually any topic (not a stretch, I sit with them every day and believe me, this is NOT the only hour of the week when they're opinionated).

On the other side of the computer screen is you. And it's your questions and comments that drive this thing. So chime in, offer an opinion, ask a question, take part.

We'll wrap up at noon which means if you're at work you'll be able to tell your boss you're heading out for a long lunch and then not come back until Monday. (Try it. It's not like your boss will be around to notice if your lunch is 3 hours or 3 days.) Your results may vary and they are not guaranteed nor are we liable for them. But still, it's Friday, hang with us for a bit, get some fun ideas and then go put them in practice.


20009: Can you suggest someone relatively quick and not too expensive to eat before the welcome to opera concert at the Kennedy Center tonight? Doesn't have to be in Foggy Bottom, but should be a close cab ride away. Thank you!

Jenny Abella: You can go anywhere in the city if you Metro to Foggy Bottom and take the Kennedy Center's free shuttle to the concert. I've never had to wait long for a shuttle to come by. Nearby is Tonic at Quigley's Pharmacy at 21st and G streets. Good comfort food. Anyone else have suggestions?


Arlington, Va.: Can you see the horses without going to see the actual Washington Horse Show?

Jenny Abella: The Horse Show has a free Pony Pavilion open Saturday from 11 to 1 in front of Hotel Monaco, right near Verizon Center. Kids can pet and groom ponies and take a ride, too. Have a good time if you go!


Green with envy: Brad, Paul Rudd, and a host of other hotties. Ellen, YOU are one lucky girl. Sigh. Do you realize it?

washingtonpost.com: Brad Pitt, Accepting the Price of Fame ( Post, Weekend, Oct. 5)

Curt Fields: She's even luckier than you know. She's not here today because she's getting some well deserved R&R.

And like you, I'm green with envy too, but not because of Brad (although he's undeniably hot). I'm envious because she got to talk to Scarlett Johannsen.


Washington, D.C.: I do not care what Brad Pitt has to say about anything.

Everywhere we turn, the world is plastered with Brad Pitt.

We do not need anymore Brad Pitt.

Curt Fields: So are you just anti-Brad and would prefer to hear from another celeb? Or are you anti-celeb in general?


Washington, D.C.: Where has O'Sullivan gone to?

Curt Fields: He's been recovering from an arm injury. Look for him to be back in Weekend's pages and on the chat in a couple of more weeks.


Washington, D.C.: Any ideas on the best places for apple picking this weekend?

Jenny Abella: Hmmm. I like Larriland Farm in Woodbine in Howard County. They have hayrides on weekends and other activities. In Virginia there's Crooked Run Orchard in Purcellville. We're posting a link to our list of orchards below. Make sure to call ahead to check availability. Anyone have a favorite orchard they want to share with the class?


washingtonpost.com: Good to the Core ( Post, Sept. 14)


Re: Brad Pitt: I'd rather hear from Brad than Sean Penn.

Curt Fields: Well, Sean is pretty interesting. Intense, but interesting. I'd read a good piece on either one.


Bowie, Md.: Not a question, just a comment. I'm a regular chat reader and Weekend reader too and it's mainly for one reason. Richard Harrington. I've asked him some questions in the past, a very cool thing for me, in the chat. I'm really into music and I enjoy reading Richard more than any other music writer out there and I'm including the big music mags too. THANKS RICHARD! for helping me know more about what I love.

Richard Harrington: Son, I told you to call me later....Seriously, thanks for your kind words. I'm blessed to have such an interesting field to write about, full of bright, creative talents. It never gets old.


Washington, D.C.: What has happened to the critics' picks?

Tracy Grant: I'm the new editor of Weekend and we're changing a few things. But critics picks will be coming back in a few weeks.

Tracy Grant: what I meant to say was they'll be coming back in a new format


Silver Spring, Md.: Hi! My older sister (late 20s) is coming into town to visit next weekend and I haven't the slightest idea what we can do. She went to school here so we've done museums and the mall already. Is there anything going on next weekend worth attending or doing? I'm thinking of something free and new and if you have any great suggestions for a place to have a nice dinner at with great food (she's a food snob) that would be excellent. We are both willing to try new things and it doesn't necessarily have to be cheap, but perhaps a new place worth checking out? Also, willing to driving anywhere.

Jenny Abella: Good thinking to plan ahead... There's tons of stuff to do next weekend, including the Solar Decathlon, where solar-powered homes are built on the Mall. The Annie Leibovitz photo exhibit opens at the Corcoran next Saturday too. In the non-museum/Mall vein, there's the Taste of Georgetown next Saturday so maybe you can sample before you decide where to eat dinner.

And speaking of dinner, y'all can try G-town's Hook, which specializes in sustainable seafood. There's also Mediterranean-themed Proof downtown on G Street. Both opened not too, too long ago. Have fun with the sisterly bonding!


Sean is pretty interesting: Okay, he's interesting. But a bit holier than thou. I do want to see "Into the Wild," and apparently he was very respectful of the family's wishes.

Curt Fields: Yes, I think he may end up like Eastwood, that is turning into a quality director in the latter part of his career and getting more respect for that than his acting career.

And I do agree that drinks with Brad would be more fun than drinks with Sean.


Silver Spring, Md.: What suggestions would you have for great Halloween parties or events in the area for adults? I'm new to the area and Halloween is my favorite holiday!

Tracy Grant: There are LOTS of great things to do for adults as well as kids. Here are two things to check out, both are downtown.

Ghost Story Tour of Washington October 19th and 26th and 28th at 8:00pm

October 20th and 27th at 6:00pm and 8:00pm

Meets at Vermont and I (eye) Streets NW, right across from the McPherson Square Metro Station.

Cost: $10 adults, $5.00 under 16 (recommended 8 years and up)

No reservations needed

Call: 301-588-9255

At the National Building Museum

October 6, 11, 18, 29, 31

Ghost Tour

8:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Explore the haunted past of the National Building Museum! See a different side of the Museum on this lantern-light tour led by costumed Civil War veterans. Who are the irritable rider on horseback and the footless figure? Why are there mysterious faces swirling in the 75-foot Corinthian columns? And, why do these ghosts (and more!) call the National Building Museum their home? All will be revealed on this behind-the-scenes tour of the mysteries of the Museum. Tours offered from 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. on 10/6, 10/11, 10/18, 10/29, 10/31 & 11/4.

$12 Museum members; $14 nonmembers. Recommended for ages 10 and older. Prepaid registration required

There are also LOTS of haunted places to visit. Markoff's Haunted Forest is one of the best. the number is 301-216-1248


Washington, D.C.: Hi, I hope you can take my question -- I didn't know who to ask about this! I'm heading down to Fredericksburg for the weekend, but have never tried to make the drive on Friday afternoon/evening. I know the traffic is going to be horrible, so what time do you think I can leave and not catch too much of it?

Jenny Abella: As a veteran road-tripper, I'd say leave super early (3 maybe) or super late (8 or 9). Either way, make sure to bring your fave CDs, audio book or iPod playlist to keep the drive fun. What's a road trip without a little traffic?

Curt Fields: And if you can, get a friend to go to so you can legally use the HOV lanes. That's always helped save a few minutes for me in the past.

And have fun in Fredericksburg. There's lot of great little vintage shops and fun dining options.


Washington, D.C.: The wax Brad Pitt on the cover of Style and the actual Brad Pitt are just as plastic. Why not focus some of that celebrity spotlight on some great women who are trying to educate the world --¿and spare us Angelina and Madonna, we don't need more of them.

Artists, not entertainers. Thinkers, not just pretty faces. I'm thinking of women like Julie Taymor, Dr. Candace Pert or Ellen Lupton. Who? People want to read the paper to learn stuff.

What does anyone learn from the overexposed actress/actor that is mostly famous for reading a script .Let's hear more from people who write their own scripts.

Curt Fields: Thanks for your point. Personally, I like to read about both -- the thoughtful writer who came up with an indie script that says something AND the trainwreck celeb who keeps messing up. And all the ones that fall between the two on the spectrum. I like serious, I like fluff. One doesn't have to exclude the other.

Any other opinions on this out there?


Washington, D.C.: Anyone who lives in D.C. with kids knows that the Halloween party is on Lamont St in Mt Pleasant -- and it is totally FREE.

Curt Fields: thanks for the tip


Bethesda, Md.: This may fall out of your area of expertise, but I'm headed up to Lancaster, Pa., for a holiday weekend with my parents (they're driving down/I'm driving up). Any can't-miss events going on or wineries/orchards I must visit? Restaurant suggestions? We have no set plans. Thanks!

Curt Fields: Actually I was in Lancaster just a couple of weekends ago. Cherry Crest Farm (I believe that's the name)could be a fun stop. It's got a corn maze, several things for kids if you have any as part of your party, etc. Very fall festival-y.


If anyone in your group is into trains then check out the toy train museum and the Strasburg train station. It's a fun glimpse of Americana.


And if you have any serious shoppers in the family, there are several excellent outlets in the area.


Washington, D.C.: Richard,

Do you recommend any of those Starbucks discs?

Richard Harrington: well, they're not great or terrible, if you're talking McCarney, Mitchell vs compilations. Seems to be a new haven for veteran artists who have lost the confidence of major labels, and/or are resisting those labels' marketing accommodations. I like both the McCartney and Mitchell albums but they are not among the best works either has produced. They are a reflection of where they are now in their lives and careers .And long time fans will appreciate that.


Herndon, Va.: Do you know if the White House still have the individual tour? I'd like to visit the White House with some friends and the group is less than 10 people. Thanks.

Twila Waddy: In the past you could stand in line the day you wanted to visit the White House and get tickets. And it could be for groups smaller than 10. Just like you do for the Washington Monument. Now, they still have public tours but they have to be for groups of 10 people or more. And you have to submitted a request for tickets through your Member of Congress. You can get more information at 202-456-7041. If that does not work for you, try going to the Washington Monument or the Capital. They are not the White House but they do have very interesting tours.


washingtonpost.com: White House Tours


Fells Point Festival: Thoughts? I'm new to the area and never have been but my sister (20 yrs old) is in town for the weekend and thought maybe it would be a way to show her a good time? what exactly does it entail? The Web site isn't the most helpful -- are food and drinks ridiculously expensive? Thanks!

Jenny Abella: It definitely looks like a good time, but then I'm always up for a street festival. Has anyone out there been before? Let's hear from you!

And I wouldn't worry about the food and drink at the festival. If you don't like it or it's too pricey, there are tons of places in the neighborhood -- and nearby at the Inner Harbor and Little Italy -- to try. Go explore, then come back and tell us where you ate!


Artists, not entertainers. Thinkers, not just pretty faces. : C'mon, this is Weekend section. Brad has a movie out.

Curt Fields: thanks


Washington, D.C.: Are the first Friday art gallery events happening tonight?

Curt Fields: I haven't been able to reach anyone for OFFICIAL confirmation but it appears that yes, they are taking place.


Washington, D.C.: I think Joe Milenky was an out of touch infant in the 80 sand he has to get drunk now to be able to say that REO Speedwagon and Journey is all that he was ever exposed to in his crib in Rockville - but hey, he likes it, and hey, it's so ironic, let's play it at the Hirschhorn, let's get drunk and pretend to look at the paintings on the wall too Please -- where's a critic when we need one?

Richard Harrington: These situations are essentially critic proof. Start talking irony, caricature, spoof, cultural mockumentaries and if you come down too hard, you appear churlish or defensive. It's just a harsher twist on the swing revival, where kids of one generation tapped into the popular music of another era and had some fun with it. In that case it was both physical and cerebral; and often, folks end up appreciating what they started out making fun of.


Mt. Pleasant, Washington, D.C.: Hi! I love autumn activities! Could you suggest something my boyfriend and I could do this Saturday that is filled with autumn activities and autumn food? I'm thinking along the lines of apple cider, possibly cider donuts (that I hear are delicious though I've never had any) and perhaps anything involving fall festivals. The only glitch is we are both poor grad students so money is tight, though we are willing to drive or walk anywhere! Thanks!

Tracy Grant: We wrote today about the Waterford Festival, which is a bit of a drive out into Virginia but is like a trip back in time, with great food. It's $15 a head which is sort of steep, but hey you'd spend that if you went to a movie. Another spot that's a lot of fun for apple and pumpkin picking with great hot cider is Larriland Farms in Howard County. Finally, if you're up for a bit of a drive you can do what I did last weekend, go up to Cunningham Falls State Park in Thurmont. It's about 15 miles north of Frederick, the drive is gorgeous and once you get north of 270 there are lots of roadside places to stop for mazes, pumpkins and apples. Or you can just pack a picnic and hike to the Falls, which to be honest are a bit anemic these days because of the drought but it's a beautiful spot for hiking and climbing and just sitting on rocky outcroppings and people watching.

Curt Fields: If you take the Thurmont option you could also stop off and wander through the Catoctin Zoo. A small but fun place to visit.


Boat show: I am going to the Annapolis Boat show this Saturday. Can you suggest a good place to grab lunch? I don't want to eat fried fish and french fries.


Jenny Abella: Have you tried 49 West on (duh) West Street? Coffeehouse with good food anytime of day.


RE: WDC: Get off your high horse. I'm with Curt -- I enjoy both and don't see how it has to be either or. You can find all that in more if you take the totality of items covered over time. Geesh, seems like some people have no sense of humor.

Curt Fields: It's so rare when people agree with me! Thanks.


For Lancaster...: Just remember some places may be closed on Sunday, especially if they're Amish-related.

Curt Fields: Good tip. I was there for a Thurs-Friday trip so didn't run into that. Thanks for the reminder.


Washington, D.C.: Ms Grant -- Since Halloween seems to create such a religious uproar in many local public schools, I would like to you do a cover story for all those who do not celebrate Halloween.I am not anti-Halloween, but I am sure that you are leaving a large part of your readership out, and even offending them, by having such a focus on Halloween every year.

Tracy Grant: With all do respect, you're suggesting we tell people how NOT to celebrate Halloween? I think that's pretty obvious. If you're not into it, don't do it. I would argue however, that there are many autumn festivals and traditions, picking pumpkins, for example, that are Halloween-related but that can be enjoyed by people of any religious or non-religious persuasion.


Arlington, Va.: Arts on the Avenue this weekend in Del Ray. Worth a visit?

Tracy Grant: Yes! It's a great event in a lovely part of town with works for sale that are beyond the ordinary. I shudder to say this since it's barely October but there are worse places to get a headstart on holiday shopping.


Washington, D.C.: Have any of you been to Blocktoberfest at RFK? Just want to know what to expect... Thanks!

Curt Fields: I haven't been but a friend of mine went last year and had a good time. Lots of music to choose from, plenty of different tent "scenes" that you can wander between. If you're remotely interested it sounds like it's well worth checking out. There's bound to be some fun to be had there.


Washington, D.C.: I think I remember reading a few weeks back, either here or in the Going Out Gurus chat, about an apple festival out in Virginia this weekend. Now I can't seem to remember what or where it is supposed to be. I promised some folks I'd take them! Now I'm feeling the pressure!

Twila Waddy: There is one Apple Harvest Festival in Winchester, VA. It is at the Marker-Miller Orchard. They can be reached at (540) 662-1980. It is about an hour and half from DC, so it is kind of a drive. But, it does sound like fun. There are activities for adults and kids like a wagon ride and barrel train. Of course you can pick your own apples and pumpkins. They will also offer wine tasting. And they have all things apple, apple pie, cider, pies, donuts, ice cream.


Frederick, Md.: Speaking of senses of humor, I like Curt's! He makes these chats (and his DVD picks) fun to read.

Curt Fields: Why thank you! Between the earlier compliment for Richard (entirely deserved by the way) and now this one for me (probably less deserved but I'm taking it anyway!), it's a regular lovefest here at Weekend Now this week.

Anyway, thanks for the props and even more thanks for being a regular reader and/or chatter.


washingtonpost.com: Marker-Miller Orchards


White House Tours: If you aren't originally from the area, you might have better luck with your hometown congressperson. I'm from the west, and since there aren't as many visitors to Washington, they'll help you come up with a group of 10.

Curt Fields: thanks for the tip


RE: Get off your high horse. : Exactly. What will we do when Weekend stops writing about entertainers?

Curt Fields: Choose between Outlook, Sports and the Auto classifieds?

(Or read Defamer online!)


Re. W.H. Tours: You don't need a group of ten, usually the congressional office has other requests that you will be grouped with. Keep in mind that there is a long wait for tickets. Also, for Capitol tours, during the week congressional staff give them. On the weekends, you need to wait in that long line. Your best bet is to call your congressman's office.

Twila Waddy: Thanks for the info. I was lucky when I visited the White House with my family you could get tickets through your congressman office or waiting in line the day of. I decided to wait in line, which started at 4:30 in the morning. You are right call your congressman is the way to go.


Curt Fields: Well that ends this week's chat.

Good luck with your looooong lunch plans (e-mail me the most stunningly successful ones so I can try them out here).

Have fun this 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.

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