Got Plans?: July 4th Celebrations, Artomatic, Wedding Receptions and Rants About the Real World

The Going Out Gurus
of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Thursday, June 25, 2009; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff discussed July 4th celebrations, Artomatic picks and FreeFest on Thursday, June 25 at 1 p.m. ET. We also posted your rants about the Real World.

____________________ Hey there and welcome to another week of Got Plans? What are you up to for the scorching hot weekend? The options seem endless between pool parties at Capitol Skyline, the Folklife Festival and the Caribbean Carnival, to name a few. And for all you type-A early planners with questions about the 4th of July, check out our handy dandy planning guide. The gang's all here and ready for your questions, so let's get to it...


Artomatic: Hi. I'm going to Artomatic this Saturday afternoon and have a limited amount of time to spend there. What are the "must-see" pieces? Thanks!

Stephanie: Hi there. Between the GOG blog and the Weekend section, we have you covered. Michael O'Sullivan got some picks from local art collector Philip Barlow, and you can read about some of my favorites on the blog. Oddly enough, with all that art, there was some overlap; we were both fans of Jessica Van Brakle.


Silver Spring, Md.: My friends and I are looking for a place to watch the Confederation Cup final on Sunday afternoon. The Lucky Bar is a soccer staple, but do you recommend any other places in or around D.C. to watch the match? Thanks!

Fritz: Lucky's a great place that should be packed with U.S. fans. I'd also expect a red, white and blue turnout at Summers and Molly Malone's, maybe Kitty O'Shea's or Elephant and Castle. When Brazil beats South Africa this afternoon, I will officially be able to tell you to go to the Grill From Ipanema to watch.


McLean, Va.: Hi Gurus, I'm planning on taking my girlfriend's parents to brunch on a Sunday in the next couple weeks, was hoping you could advise me on a can't-miss restaurant for brunch, preferably somewhere in Arlington or Old Town. Nothing too swanky but nothing too shabby either.

Julia: My top picks would be Vermilion, Eventide and Fontaine (the latter if you wanted a cheaper option).


Alexandria, Va.: I need GOG advice! According to Beausoleil's Web site, they're playing Saturday at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, yet I can't find any info on the Post or Folklife calendar. Do you have any information?

Stephanie: I do! Beausoleil is in fact playing at the Folklife Festival on Saturday at 7 p.m. They're part of the evening concert series, and you can get more info about other acts on the Folklife site.


Del Ray: So I thought I had the bachelor party plan all set but with late responses and other issues I wasn't able to try to make our dinner reservation (which will be in late July) until this week, when of course Brasserie Beck doesn't have space for 10 guys for dinner at a reasonable time. I was hoping you could offer up some alternatives in either Downtown, Foggy Bottom, or Dupont Circle that would be of comparable quality and price and still have a good beer menu and be knowledgeable about beer pairings as the groom is a big beer fan. Thank you!

Fritz: I'd try calling Birreria Paradiso and seeing if you can set something up there. (10 is the minimum number of people you can reserve for, otherwise it's all first-come, first seated.) I've been to a couple of beer dinners there and have really enjoyed the experience. Brickskeller and RFD have the beers to do the pairings, but the food .... ain't what you'd want for a memorable evening. Belga Cafe is another option -- they do a lot with beer pairings there, though it's all Belgian.

Just outside of D.C., I'd also encourage you to give Rustico a call, because they can do a heck of a job with pairings, and they have one of the best beer lists around.


FreeFest: I found the pre-sale password in my spam box about 90 minutes after they went on sale and . . . no dice. Are they all sold out? Say it ain't so.

David: There are no more tickets left for this round of the pre-"sale." There will be another one tomorrow, and then the regular "sale" on Saturday at 10 a.m. I'm trying to find out exactly what each allotment was, no luck so far. There will be at least some tickets left on Saturday, I think.


Fairfax, Va.: Gurus, I need your help! I'm getting married next spring and we want to have a cocktail style reception (open bar + hors d'oeuvres). I heard that having it at a restaurant rather than a hotel would save us money. Any suggestions of restaurants or other locations that might accommodate 100+ guests for this type of reception in the Northern Va. area? Thanks!

Julia: This story I wrote about rehearsal dinner spots is a little dated, but hopefully it'll point you in the right direction. Clarendon Ballroom and Eventide both do these kinds of events as well. You'll probably want a restaurant with a huge bar area so that they can accommodate your group without you having to buy out the whole dining room. I mean, particularly with some downtown restaurants, if you have to buy out the whole space that can cost you upwards of $10,000 in food and beverage charges and you probably won't hit that with just hors d'oeuvres and drinks for 100. (It's been a year since I got married and I still have all of these weird little details stuck in my head....)


Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus,

A friend wants to golfing, but is worried it can get pricey. I suggested a driving range. Is there some place around D.C. that is affordable, and fun for single ladies in their 30s? Thanks!

Fritz: Well, your cheap option is hitting balls into the Potomac from the driving range at Hains Point, which is a D.C. golf landmark. More fun might be the two-tiered Top Golf in Alexandria, which turns driving into a game, with targets, score-keeping, etc. It's pricey, though -- $35 for six games.


Dupont Circle: I wanted to second your reccommendation of Rustico for a beer pairings dinner. Though I rarely venture outside of D.C., Rustico is one place that's worth it!

Fritz: I agree -- Love going to Rustico, but I never drive there since, you know, the whole point is to imbibe. Taxis back to D.C. from Alexandria are about $20, so I look at that as something that's included in the cost of the meal.


Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! I had chemotherapy earlier this year and my hair is starting to hit the messy stage of regrowth. Do you have any recommendations for a stylist who specializes in short 'dos for young women? I don't want to end up looking like my mom!

Jen: Hey there. We hope you're recovering nicely and already feeling strong again.

Julia suggests that the folks at Bang can do some fun short cuts, maybe something of the pixie persuasion? I go to Salon A in Bethesda, where the stylist I have seen for several years *just* recently left. But there are some talented people working there, too, who might be able to hook you up. The other thing I like about the place: the shampoo chairs are massage chairs. So getting your hair washed is suuuper relaxing.

Readers, got other short cut suggestions?


Ceiba - Late Night Happy Hour: Saturday Night

Is it as good as it sounds?

Does it get crazy packed?

No Gnews is Good Gnews without Guru Gnews


Fritz: Totally.

Not really.

I've been when it's been busy (few seats at the bar), but not super-crowded. The complimentary bar snacks are real, and the $5 cocktails are probably the best deal in the city on Saturday nights.


Washington D.C.: What's appropriate attire for attending the Royal Ballet this Saturday evening at the Kennedy Center? Thanks!

Stephanie: I'm actually checking out the Royal Ballet tonight (and I'm wearing a skirt, if you're curious). On Saturday, you'll see people that have gotten all fancy for the show, but for every decked out ballet-goer, you'll see someone in jeans. I usually try to stick to the middle and wear a skirt or nice pants. For guys, a button down shirt should do the trick, but a blazer or tie wouldn't look out of place either.


Alexandria, Va.: Going to the Nats game tonight, and haven't been to the new park. Given it's a sellout, what's the easiest way to metro there and back from Rosslyn -- going to RFK and getting the shuttle, switching to the green line to Navy Yard, or getting off somewhere on the Orange line and walking to the stadium?

Julia: My advice would be to transfer to Green. The line takes you a block from the stadium . . . less room for error that way. It was crowded last night -- new park record! Thanks, Red Sox fans! -- and transportation moved smoothly both on the way there and the way back down.


Arlington: We're throwing our third BBQ of the summer and really running out of new options for food! We'd really like to do something cool in addition to the burgers on the grill and chips. At our last party, corn on the cob on the grill was a big hit. What is your favorite thing to eat at a BBQ?

Julia: Kebabs. They take a lot of prep work, but once that's done, they're really easy to cook and eat while standing. I also like brats. And, if you do burgers, it's kind of cool to have a bar full of toppings like coleslaw, onion straws, etc., so people can customize. It can also be cool to get different kinds of ground meat -- like lamb burgers. More inspiration? Check out our Recipe Finder.

Stephanie: I had a grilled portabello mushroom burger recently that was amazing. But I'd also throw in a vote for pretty much any veggie you can pick up at the farmer's market. Everything tastes better on the grill...


Re: Brunch In Arlington: Liberty Tavern on Wilson Boulevard near Washington Boulevard has a great brunch. I liked it better than Eventide.

Julia: I'll through in a vote for Liberty Tavern too. Good stuff.


Kalorama: I have a friend's birthday this Saturday. We are going to dinner in Georgetown, and after he wants to go out. He prefers a lounge type atmosphere that, will allow for a group of 10+ people probably around 10:30-11pm. Any suggestions (preferably in the Gtown, Dupont, Adams Morgan, U. St areas?).. Thanks

Fritz: If you get there on the 10:30 side -- and you have a mixed group, not just all guys -- you probably wouldn't do badly to hit the Shadow Room. Good scene, room to dance, and you can get yourselves on the guestlist via or, which should negate some of the velvet-rope tension. Also, you can get a VIP table for up to $10 with a minimum tab of $300 plus gratuity -- that's like $36 each, and I'm sure you'll drop more than that at the bar.


Stylists for Short Hair: Katie at PR @ Partners in Shirlington is GREAT! She's young, creative and really listens to her clients so they get what they like & what will work for them. She's also affordable ($40 for shampoo, cut & blowdry).

Jen: Another suggestion for our short haircut-seeking friend. Thanks!


Columbia Heights: Hey, do you guys know anywhere that does Spanish Karaoke? Thought I saw a place on 14th st. but last time I passed by it didn't look like it.

Rhome: Sounds like El Paraiso. I've dip in there sometimes for a quick snack & margarita fix. Anyone else have experience with their karaoke night?


Washington, D.C.: Are there any sushi restaurants that offer brown rice sushi? Every other seems to in NY but so far, I have only found it in grocery stores down here!

Julia: Drawing a blank on this one... chatters? There must be some place I'm overlooking.


Bethesda, Md.: I would normally take Metro to the Caribbean Festival Parade on Saturday, but I assume that it still will be operating at reduced speeds and reduced capacity over the weekend, so I don't want the hassle of taking the Red Line to the Green Line. Do you have any suggestions for a good place to park a car near the parade route that would be walking distance to the festival itself?

Fritz: The problem with driving is that a large section of Georgia Avenue is closed to traffic for the parade, so parking is at a premium. (There's also a bar crawl on U Street that will eat into valuable parking.) I'd suggest parking the car somewhere near Howard University -- maybe Sherman Avenue, which runs parallel to Georgia near the festival grounds.


Va.: Hello, can you please help? I want to surprise my son (10) with a limo trip for this birthday. Any ideas where we can go? We have to rent the limo for at least 2 hours. I am thinking driving around DC and the Mall, but would like to maybe stop somewhere near the waterfront and enjoy the view? Maybe get some really special ice cream somewhere? Any other ideas? Thanks a lot.

Julia: I think the Mall is a must. As for some waterfront stops, I think you could try the section of Ohio Drive right across from the FDR Memorial, or the Georgetown waterfront. Old Town Alexandria (and the Torpedo Factory Art Center) might be cool for a 10-year-old too -- if a little tight for the limo on those streets. For ice cream, I'd opt for Max's Best in Glover Park. So good. Or you could check out one of the other ice cream spots on our Best Bets for Ice Cream list.


DCers drinking haterade as usual: Gurus, why is everyone (not saying you guys necessarily) hating on the Real World? It is so obnoxious. About a million other places have linked to Fritz's article about bars that "won't let the real world in."

More broadly, why is everyone in D.C. such haters? I am from the Midwest and people there are much more live and let live and much less judgmental. Not everyone is uber-intellectuals like all of us here in DC. Even though us DCers are not at all superficial, let's cut the RWers some slack.

One conclusion -- I think that the response that DCers are giving to the Real World is consistent with the overall judgmental, unfriendly way that DCers are in general.

Julia: First of all, it's worth mentioning that this post could very well be from the MTV Real World people themselves, but all that aside, I kind of like the substance here. I am so beyond indifferent to the arrival of the Real World in D.C., but I am a little surprised at the backlash. Who cares? I mean, look, do I want a camera in my face when I go out? No, so if I see that going on, I'll just leave. Beyond that, I don't care whether MTV's chosen few move in with cameras in tow any more than I cared when my new next door neighbors moved in and had a bunch of loud parties. Live and let live, man. What's the problem here?

David: The RW backlash is an odd phenomenon. It's like everyone feels a need to assert their superiority over the idea of the whole thing. "We are above this! We are better than these people!" Then just avoid it. I dunno, what Julia said.

Fritz: Part of the annoyance is the way the Real World/MTV/B&M hasn't reached out to the community -- they didn't send a rep to a "community meeting" with neighbors, elected officials and folks from the Mayor's office, they've been taking up 12 -- TWELVE -- parking spaces without letting anyone object in a neighborhood where residents fight over parking, etc.

Part of it is that people want to be able to go to their neighborhood bars or favorite hangouts without worrying about TV cameras in their faces.

And part of it is that the cast members of "The Real World" have a well-deserved reputation for not-so-nice behavior when they go out on the town. Anyone who watched the season premiere of the new "Real World: Cancun" last night saw a whole bunch of vomiting, falling over, etc. in VIP areas of clubs. (Cue Julia: "That sounds just like Adams Morgan.")


DC: El Paraiso -- Yup, this is the Spanish karaoke place.....the only English song is Hotel California. Seriously!

Rhome: Sounds like fun!


Brown rice sushi?!?: Methinks the unrefined-grains thing has perhaps gone too far. I love both authentic Japanese-style sushi and American twists on sushi (like the tuna with toasted almond at Kaz Sushi Bistro)... but brown rice sushi just negates the whole taste and aesthetics of sushi.

Julia: To each his own, dear chatter. I'm a fan of the white-rice variety myself, but some people want to eat the brown rice kind and who are we to deny them? (I'm in a live and let live mood today, as you'll see whenever that Real World question gets posted.)


Worknight conundrum: Hi Gurus! Trying to find a low key activity for this Sunday night hang out with an old friend I've fallen out of touch with. Are there any events going on that would allow a casual distraction to keep us out of the awkward-ran-out-of-things-to-say-zone, while still allowing us to catch up (aside from Artomatic)? Nothing on the WP events calendar has jumped out at me, but I'd like to skip the usual dinner/drinks hang out if possible. Either DC or VA would work. Thanks!

Stephanie: If you think having some sort of activity might help keep the conversation flowing, then what about playing nine holes at H Street Country Club or bowling at Lucky Strike? That way, if you run out of things to say, you can always start trash-talking.


Washington, D.C.: I'm a carnivore and I think I need a butcher. Do they still exist? Im really looking for blood sausage, but do they even make that in the U.S.? Do you know of grocery stores or a market that sell a wide variety of sausages? I'm metro-dependent but could zipcar for the right place to stock up. Thanks so much, Gurus!

Fritz: Many, many people in D.C. swear by Pam the Butcher at Wagshall's in upper NW, who used to get me all kinds of custom cuts when she worked at Brookville in Cleveland Park -- rabbits, quails, pheasants, even a Cornish game hen. You should also take a browse through the butchers at the newly reopened Eastern Market this weekend -- I always see interesting things there.


Re: Getting To Nationals Park: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ! If you're comfortable with walking 3/4's of a mile and taking the Orange or Blue line, get off at Capitol South. It's much easier than fighting to transfer at L'Fant Plaza and fighting the crowd at the Navy Yard. Also can get off at Eastern Market and walk 1 mile.

Fritz: Or you can get off at Eastern Market, get some drinks, then hop the Circulator bus directly to the stadium.


Brown Rice Sushi: For the question on brown rice sushi - if you're willing to come out to Alexandria, Yamazoto is now giving you the option.

My question for the gurus - heading to Wolf Trap with the girls on Saturday for some Riverdance. Since it'll be hot, what would the Gurus want to see as part of the picnic offerings? Frozen grapes? Watermelon? Icy watermelon mint iced tea?

Julia: Thanks for the sushi tip. And as for your menu, it sounds divine! I'd probably opt from some rose (just like our chatting friends from last week, Jimmy and Yvonne). Something with cucumbers? Somehow there's nothing more refreshing than cucumbers in summer.


D.C.: Fritz, tell me more about this U St. bar crawl.....

Fritz: There will be more about it in this afternoon's Going Out Guide Newsletter (you can sign up right on, but Sagra 09 is a Peroni-sponsored crawl with $3 beers and specials at eight bars (Saint-Ex, Nellie's, Policy, Stetson's, etc.), demos by Vespa and Maserati, prizes and other good stuff. There's a $5 cover, which goes to charity. Should be a good warm up for Sunday's Festa Italiana, where I'll be playing bocce on Pennsylvania Avenue.


Fireworks, D.C.: Any idea where to purchase Fireworks in D.C.?

Rhome: Ride out on N.Y. Ave and you'll see like 20 plywood stands as you head towards Bladensburg. Those insta-shacks usually start popping up around this time on Georgia Ave. too.


Washington, D.C.: Been to H St Country club? What's your verdict? And can you make a fun Friday night out of H st? Tips are welcome.

Fritz: I really enjoy the Country Club, though I'd probably want to play Sun-Wed before braving the weekend crowds. My review (with pictures and tips on playing all 9 holes) is here.


Washington, D.C.: I'm heading to the Folklife Festival on Sunday afternoon but won't have more than an hour or two to spend there. What are the must-see things to do/see this year?

Stephanie: I'd make a beeline for the fried plantains, hit up the salon de baile and drop in on the accordian workshop. But it really just depends on your interests. Are you more of a sit and listen to stories type of person? More interested in craft Welsh art? Or would you prefer getting your dance on to merengue? Check out the schedule and see what jumps out at you.


Eastern Market to the Stadium: Or, if you are in Barracks Row, you could take that cool electric vehicle that runs from the bars to the stadium. Some of the bars also have pedi-cabs that are running from BR to the game.

Fritz: I've tried to do that, but have never been able to flag down the Molly Malone's/Ugly Mug shuttle. I've seen them, and I've had them STOLEN from me, but never taken one. I usually give up and walk. Or just go to The Bullpen.


Re Real World: I'm with Fritz on this. I'm sure they're all lovely people who won't draw attention to themselves and interfere with everyone who is in their vicinity, by choice or more likely not. Nevertheless, for a city that is in the public eye every day, I do think that D.C. folks are more comfortable with understatement when not at work (I'm talking you, Congress), and so the whole premise of the Real World is antithetical to D.C. This is, as I've said many times before, the only city in America where even liberals are conservative. And while I've certainly hosted parties and events with the stated purpose of pulling the stick out of...well, I'm not opposed to livening things up, but I am opposed to forcing others to deal with things for which they didn't sign up.

Rhome: Fritz hit my points but another one is that maybe there might be a leeetle bit of resentment that the Real World franchise repeatedly snubbed D.C. until well after it became superfluous.


RW: Not only is it difficult to park, they make it difficult to -drive- on the narrow streets. When you disrupt peoples' lives like this and act like you're doing them a favor it's not surprising people backlash.

Julia: For sure, if you live in that neighborhood (and it sounds like you do), this filming is going to disrupt your life in an annoying way at times and I totally commiserate with you on that. If I lived in that neighborhood, I'd be annoyed too. But there does seem to be an intense amount of backlash on this. And everyone who is mad can't live in a 10-block radius, so really, what gives?


El Paraiso karaoke: Yes yes yes! My friend and I (2 girls mind you) walked in here late one night (it was either Fri or Sat, cant remember) and were both gawked at and welcomed with open arms. (After sitting down at a table and ordering beers we were beckoned to the bar for free tequila shots.) Obviously this is partly because we are two seemingly single girls, but overall I got the vibe that they are very welcoming of new business.

There was karaoke going on and a very lively atmosphere, so it was fun to watch. Now whether you would feel comfortable participating is another thing - these are all native Spanish speakers mind you.

Rhome: An even more detailed report. We like those.


Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus, I'm looking to invite friends to celebrate my birthday at a bar on a Thursday evening in mid-July. I'll probably invite 20 or so people, but it'll be the kind of thing where 10-15 people wander in and out throughout the course of the night. Any ideas for a place -- I'd love a place like Breadsoda, but more convenient to get to for my metro-ing friends from all over town. Thanks!

Fritz: Like Breadsoda in terms of pool/shuffleboard/Wii activities with a cool jukebox, or like Breadsoda in terms of the overall cool vibe? I'd say either H Street Country Club, Rocket Bar or Atomic Billiards for the former, if your friends need to keep themselves occupied, or Science Club, Local 16 or Russia House for the later.

(Yeah, I know H Street isn't exactly "Metro-convenient," but there's a free shuttle, plus the X2.)


To the person who hates "DCers": Please go back to the midwest. And stop saying "DCers." We don't appreciate it.

Julia: I hope this is sarcasm. Otherwise, D.C. haterade -- there it is, folks!


Brown rice sushi: Nooshi on 19th NW

Julia: Oh no way! Nooshi does this? Good to know. I like that place.


Petworth: First -- parking for the carnival. Dude, don't even try. Seriously. It's just crazy and roads open and close randomly. Ride the red line to Tenley and take an H bus across town if you don't want to deal with the rail transfer.

Second -- "I think that the response that DCers are giving to the Real World is consistent with the overall judgmental, unfriendly way that DCers are in general."

Uh-huh. I don't know where YOU live, but I have found that people who say that kind of stuff are in many ways bringing it on themselves. Smile and say hi to your neighbors and you'll be astounded at the positive response you get. I love this city, and I especially love its people. I have never found it to be an unfriendly place.

Fritz: Wise words on both accounts from Petworth.

(FWIW, I don't have trouble meeting people in D.C. and I don't think people are any more judgmental here than anywhere else, but everyone seems really stressed out half the time, which probably plays a part.)


Grill Idea: Cajun catfish sandwiches: get some catfish fillets and marinate them in Cajun seasoning (or buy pre-marinated), grill them, and serve on toasted crusty bun with lettuce, tomato, and mayo - yum! Catfish holds up great on the grill and is hard to overcook unless you really aren't paying attention. Tilapia works well for this too. An easy marinade is just to mix some dry Zatarain's seasoning with olive oil.

Rhome: *drool*


Arlington: Sorry not a going out question, but I believe you can help. I have 2 video tapes that I'd like to convert to DVD. Do you know any store that has this service? Thanks.

Julia: You know? I've seen a sign on a little shop on Columbia Road right next to Chief Ike's, but I've never used the service. And, judging from the outside, it almost doesn't even look like a shop that does this -- looks more like a bodega. Ritz or Penn Camera maybe? Anyone have a tip?


Anyone Pro Real World?: I think that its actually a good thing that the RW is coming to D.C.! People tend to think of DCer's as stuffy, boring, workaholics so maybe this will show people that we can relax and have fun!

Fritz: Anyone who thinks we're stuffy, boring workaholics has never been on U Street, Connecticut Avenue, 18th Street or Wisconsin Avenue any day between Thursday and Sunday after 10 p.m.

The other thing is ... I have to admit I watched a bunch of the Paris season with a friend who used to live in Paris. When I go to Paris, I'm going out pretty much nonstop ... and they showed almost NOTHING of Paris' super-vibrant nightclub/bar scene, other than a few token shots at a gay club (Queen, I think) on the Champs Elysees. Anyone who's expecting TRW to show how awesome D.C.'s nightlife culture is will probably be in for a rude awakening.

I hope I'm wrong, though.


Real World Backlash : I do think D.C. folks, generally, can be on the judgmental, snooty side.

However, I do think some (a lot?) of the backlash stems from the behavior of people on the Real World. Very few of the participants seem likeable at all, and often they come off as entitled, sloppy alchoholics. So there's just a distaste there, the same way I get annoyed at someone littering on the street or getting so wasted that they won't stop dancing in to me at a bar.

Fritz: Yep.


Dinner at Artomatic: suggestions for good place to eat for a date night which includes Artomatic? Bonus points for vegetarian friendly! Thanks!

Stephanie: I think we covered this a couple weeks ago, but Capitol Hill is probably your best bet. Matchbox has great salads and pizzas, so that would be veggie-friendly. Sonoma is also delicious, but I'm guessing Cava has more vegetarian options.


Pa.: Hey Gurus,

This has probably been covered ad nauseum, and maybe there's a guide that you could point me to, but plans have changed and I'm planning on going to D.C. for the 4th. Do you have tips on what to avoid? Transportation/dining? I know there are a ton of things going on, but if you can point me in the right direction as far as a guide, that would be great. Thanks!

Fritz: Let me play proud papa and point you to our brand-new Fourth of July package, which has all the info on major events and festivities. We'll be adding more links -- restaurant deals, nightlife events, etc. -- but this is where you can find all the updates.


More broadly, why is everyone in D.C. such haters? I am from the Midwest and people there are much more live and let live and much less judgmental.: Well who is being judgmental here? You're casting a blanket generalization over all people in D.C.

Fritz: When you point out ironies like this, most haters will accuse you of hating on them. Just sayin'.


Leesburg, Va.: Gurus,

The Northern VA Brewfest is this weekend at Morven Park in Leesburg. I'm trying to get a group of 6-8 people there and back safely, with no DD (i.e. none of us would be driving). I'm not sure that Cabs are going to be a viable option considering the amount of people and just the logistics and layout of festivals I've been to at this park before.

I'm stumped, do you have any ideas on how to shuttle me and my friends to this thing safely? Thanks!

Julia: Oooh, just got off the phone with the organizer and sadly, he wasn't much help. The had lined up a shuttle bus, but it fell through at the last minute without giving them enough time to book a new one. There are shuttles from downtown Leesburg, but depending on where you're coming from, that probably won't help.


VHS to DVD: I've used a place in Rockville called the Video Editor (on Rockville Pike, near Chicken Out) and I saw that Costco is now doing this for $19.99, too.

Julia: Thanks for the tip!


I'm sure they're all lovely people who won't draw attention to themselves: Hahaha, have you ever SEEN a Real World episode?

Fritz: Apparently not. Jesus. I was watching last night -- well, at like 2 a.m. -- and wondering where MTV finds these people.


VHS to DVD: Yep, the Ritz at 18 & L (Farragut North) has a sign saying they do this. I think in only 24 hours.

Julia: Sweet, thanks again! Love you guys!


Washington, D.C.: I'm hating the RW because every time I've flipped by it on MTV, someone is vomitting, making out with someone in front of a camera, or generally behaving in a way that is gross and obviously only done for attention on national TV. The last thing I want to do is walk outside and see it in my neighborhood. The fact that it's already glorified on TV is bad enough. Sorry, everyone's entitled to their rant.

Fritz: This seems to be the common consensus.


DCers DCers DCers!!!!!!!!: I am the person who said "DCers" and I don't think the person who told me to go back to the Midwest is joking. I think I feel some sort of camaraderie with the poor Real World cast. They are going to be judged and treated very rudely during their time here, and I think that is a shame. It is going to reflect terribly upon the city. But that is the true nature of many DCers which is unfortunate.

And I don't hate it here, I like it here. Whenever people say "Its so hard to meet people in D.C." I disagree - but that is because I am friendly, approachable, and don't act like I have a stick stuck anywhere or that I am better than everyone else.

If I see the RW cast out, I will be the first to step up to the bar and buy them the fratty shots of their choosing, with no judgment whatsoever!!

Julia: Word. Can't we all just get along?


Capitol Hill: GOG,

I've got family visiting for the 4th and they mentioned that they wanted to go swimming? Any place where the sister-in-law and the 7 yr old nephew can swim, but I can still get a drink and catch up with my brother?

Also, any restaurant recommendations for the Inner Harbour in Baltimore? We might be heading up to the Aquarium...

Thanks. Uncle Drinks-A-Lot

Fritz: How about the Capitol Skyline pool parties? Kids can go swimming and play with all the fun pool toys, adults can lounge and sip cocktails and eat burgers.


Arlington: Quick...I need a restaurant in Arlington for my boyfriend and sister and hubby and me. something fun and casual...suggestions??

Thanks, you guys are rockstars!

Fritz: Gotta say -- I was on the patio at Yaku last night, and it's really awesome. Fun cocktails, good Chinese-Peruvian fusion food (really more clever and interesting than it sounds), lively vibe. From the owners of Chi-Cha, Mate, Gazuza, etc., and just down the street from our office.


Thats it!: I am moving back to Chicago!!!!


Stephanie: Don't go!


Arlington: To the person going to the Sox/Nats game. I went last night. 60 min from Clarendon, switching to Green at L'Enfant metro until I walked out of the Navy Yard station (which was a disaster at 6:30). Avoid switching at Navy Yard at all costs. Get off at SW waterfront and walk. It will be quicker. My advice is go early if possible.

Julia: I walked out at 6:45 and I didn't think it was a disaster at all. (Even had time to sneak a few Surfside tacos before my friends showed). I guess it all depends on when you get out. I really think Navy Yard is easier for a first timer who may not be comfortable figuring out the walk from the Waterfront for the first time tonight, but yeah, this is also an option.


Still Pro-RWDC: "However, I do think some (a lot?) of the backlash stems from the behavior of people on the Real World. Very few of the participants seem likeable at all, and often they come off as entitled, sloppy alchoholics."

This sentence could also be used for the students at any of the colleges in the area. Yes, the cameras tend to go to the castmembers heads but I think that this is a really great opportunity for the city of D.C. to show itself for something other than politics.

Fritz: Did you watch the Brooklyn/Paris/Miami/whatever episodes and come away thinking "Man, that city looks really awesome! I was so wrong about Austin!" or did you think "What a bunch of alcoholics with emotional/personal issues!"


Interning in D.C.: My boyfriend has invited a whole group of our friends to go to Phase 1 in Eastern Market tonight for their Bud Light Beeramid. Are they open to patrons of all sexual orientations and genders, or is it a ladies-only kind of place? We don't mind who else is there but don't want to crash the party.

Fritz: As a guy, I've felt really uncomfortable at Phase 1, like I was crashing a party I wasn't invited to. It's also worth noting than every man must arrive with/be accompanied by a woman for entry.


When you point out ironies like this, most haters will accuse you of hating on them. Just sayin'.: I don't consider myself a hater! I don't mind if Real World comes here. But I don't like when people talk about how everyone is so much nicer from where they're from, and everyone in D.C. is so awful. I have made a lot of nice friends here.

Julia: Totally. I'm from here and I consider myself really nice. My husband is from here. Our friends and families are from here. We're all really nice people. So, don't think for a minute that I think D.C. is made up of jerks. I do think that we -- collectively, as a city -- get really uptight about a few things. My pet peeve: people who get offended when you ask what they do for a living. Like, whoa. Wasn't trying to start an internal investigation, just trying to make conversation. This Real World backlash strikes me as another example of something here that people are getting somewhat needlessly worked up over.


Washington, D.C.: I know, in my case, it is less the Real World and more D.C. reality fatigue in general. I have a feeling these shows will combine to make our city look worse than the Members of Congress do... and that really isn't saying much.

Julia: Brilliant.


I hope I got in on time: A week or so ago you guys mentioned the practice fireworks on the 2nd and 3rd. Do you have more info b/c my boyfriend will miss the actual 4th of july fireworks.

Fritz: The "Practice" on the Mall on July 2 and 3 is for A Capitol Fourth, which is the big concert on the Capitol's west lawn. There are no fireworks shot off on those nights. Instead, you can try these small-town celebrations, which will have fireworks and entertainment on the 3rd instead of the 4th.


Phase 1: No, no. Please don't go unless you are lesbian. My straight girlfriends and I had a rough time there, and we were told that we weren't welcome.

Fritz: Just passing this along.


Artomatic + food: Cross Sonoma off that list - it closed.

Stephanie: This is how rumors get started! Julia just talked to the hostess and they're open....


Planning Ahead: Hi - I have a big group (10-15ppl) in town for the 4th of July, and was thinking of going to the Capitol Fourth rehearsal on Friday night. We dont need super-prime seating, but how early should we arrive (so not to be accused of being squeezers)? Also, where can I find out what picnic items are allowed? I assume no alcohol, but anything else (like glass or unsealed containers), that I should be aware of?


Fritz: No glass or large coolers, either. I think if you're there by 6 or 6:30 for the 8 p.m. performance, you should be fine. (Gates open at 5.)


Welcome to my life, tattoo: Any advice on good D.C. places to get tattooed? First-timer, far more concerned with quality than price. Thanks!

Julia: We're not a very inked bunch of gurus but most of us have friends who have had good work done at Jinx Proof in Georgetown. And hey! You might even see a fight!


Late Theater Question: Really want to see a play this weekend. Been awhile since I've seen any good live theater. What would you recommend that still has availability?

Stephanie: Since we're winding down, I don't have time to see what has tickets left, but I'd say King Lear is a good bet, followed by the Year of Magical Thinking and 1001. The Source Festival is also underway, so you could check out some 10-minute plays.


Phase I: My general rule when advising non-gays about going to gay-lesbian bars is that if you can see in from the street, you're generally welcome (i.e. they have windows). If not, and invitation and chaperone are generally advised.

I'd say that Phase falls into this category

Fritz: Yep. I've felt way more comfortable at lesbian events at other bars (ie A Different Kind of Ladies Night at Gazuza or Fab Lounge) than Phase. Not to say Phase is a bad place, but I'm obviously not the target audience.


Can't we all just get along: I don't go around saying that Midwesterners a bland vanilla beans who have no opinions. I -like- that people here are feisty and have the courage of their convictions. Please don't judge us for it -- as we don't judge you.

Julia: Hold on a minute. "Fiesty" and "having the courage of their convictions" are very different from being like "Ugh -- there are going to be drunk people in our bars that have cameras following them."


Arlington, Va.: I think you will find a certain amount of snooty people from every major city. I asked a buddy of mine from Chicago if ever visited other cities in the Midwest like St. Louis or Milwaukee and his response was " I lived in Chicago why would I go there?

Julia: Good point. There is a bit of this everywhere.


D.C. is half and half: "DCer's as stuffy, boring, workaholics" I am stuffy, not boring, am a workoholic. I do not want MTV in my neighborhood bars, but I wouldn't mind Daisy of Love. Now, thats a show.

Julia: Totally.


The fact that it's already glorified on TV is bad enough.: Remember when they were in Hawaii and that one girl so clearly needed help for alcoholism? That was really bad.

Julia: Never saw that one, but Miami was a rough one to watch too.


Brown rice sushi : Probably not what the chatter was looking for, but Sunflower in Falls Church and Vienna serves a very limited selection of vegetarian brown rice sushi.

Julia: Thanks!


Chemotherapy: For the person whose hair is in the awkward regrowth phase: the non-prof Look Good Feel Better helps patients dealing with cancer treatment-related side effects get free make up and hair advice, all donated by professionals:

Julia: Hey thanks for this. Great tip.


Palisades: The economy is bad and friends are breaking up, but at least it's summer. Any ideas where a few early 30s girls can go to have some cheap fun and maybe dance (dive bars preferred over clubs)? D.C. or Arlington works. Thanks!

Fritz: Like I said earlier in the chat, I'm digging the patio at Yaku in Arlington, with $3 drinks and $5 appetizers/dim sum on the patio every day until 7:30. I also think the cheap drinks on Wednesday and Thursday at Clarendon Ballroom's rooftop are fun, because you're launched into a crowd, it's a lively atmosphere, and you're outside enjoying the weather. There's also Eleventh, which has a DJ in the basement on weekends.

Oh, and it's not divey, but the 80s party at Tattoo on Wednesdays, with open bar for women and lots of good music, would be a blast.

On the divier tip, try socializing at the Red Derby, Bedrock Billiards, Jay's, maybe blow off some steam at one of the H Street bars (Country Club, Argonaut, the Pug, Palace of Wonders), though they're not big for dancing.


Fiesty: But the midwesterner said that D.C. was generally judgmental -- my point is: to each their own. I don't go dissing midwesterners and some people like 'dcers' just the way we are.

Julia: Ah okay, I see what you're saying now. Thanks for the clarification.


Holding True to Pro-RWDC: Actually, I did! I had never even thought of Austin or Denver before and now they are places pretty high up on my vacation list.

Fritz: Okay. Let's hope people see how fantastic D.C. is once the show airs.


FYI: Looks like metro has a cracked green line rail--might complicate/slow down service more than usual for the Nats game.

In fairness, my first exposure to Boston/San Fran/Seattle came from the RW. Hope that people see D.C. as a cool place to live or visit and it's not negatively impacted by these reality shows.

Fritz: Yep. Looks like there's a cracked rail at West Hyattsville.

The city's going to come to a grinding halt one of these days.


DCer: Mid-Westerner, What!?! He says, I quote: "They are going to be judged and treated very rudely ... that is the true nature of many DCers which is unfortunate." -- "I am friendly, approachable, and don't act like I have a stick stuck anywhere or that I am better than everyone else. "

OMG, you most definitely act like you are better than everyone in D.C.! He/she is the worst example of hater in this chat. Please, practice what you preach.

FYI, I grew up in the mid-West and have lived in the city of D.C. for over a decade. Yes, people are different here. Not better. Not worse. Different city. Different circumstances. Different lifestyles. I don't think the other poster was wrong to say if you can't accept the people here, maybe you should move back to somewhere that is more your cup of tea. Best of luck to you.

Julia: And that's the last take on this issue for today folks. Thanks for chiming in.


Washington, D.C.: Any suggestions where to celebrate Canada Day complete with Molson beer on July 1 in the Dupont area?


Fritz: Well, you can check the official Canada Day Web site (seriously) for local events.

If you have other ideas, please send em' to me. fritz dot hahn at washingtonpost dot com.

_______________________ Feel better after unloading your true feeling about the Real World, Midwesterners and the occupants of this fair city? We sure do. In any case, have a nice weekend of avoiding camera crews, and we'll chat with you next week.


The Going Out Gurus write about restaurants, bars, movies, the arts, special events and visitor attractions, and they're out every night to keep you on top of the D.C. entertainment scene. Check in with them throughout the week on the GOG Blog or join their live Q&A every Thursday at 1 p.m.

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