Morals Across the Map: L'Histoire du Soldat Debuts at Russian Embassy

"Tonight isn't about international trade, or even international economics," suggested H.E. Manuel Sager (Ambassador of Switzerland) as he co-hosted an evening at the Embassy of the Russian Federation with H.E. Sergey Kislyak (Ambassador of Russia) Tuesday night.  "It's about international culture!" 

The political pair presented - in collaboration with the Swiss Global Artistic Foundation - Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier's Tale) to an intimate group in the Embassy's ballroom, preceeded (as well as followed by) a reception featuring some of Russia's best hospitality - vodka and caviar!

"[L'Histoire du Soldat] is seldom heard, and that's unfortunate," shared H.E. Sager. "But it's good for us here tonight!"

The story, based on a Russian folk tale, was written in French by a Swiss writer, C.F. Ramuz, whom Sager claimed - with some degree of sarcasm - was so lauded for his work that he was put on the country's 200 franc note.  In the parable, the soldier makes a trade with the devil and learns just what greed can get you.   
But if the audience expected all to end well, they were in the wrong place.  "That's the difference between Europe and the United States," said a Swiss Embassy official.  "We're not always expecting a happy ending."

Will (Shakespeare) Physically Comes to Washington

Photo by:
Nicole Geldart for STC
It's hard to make a personal appearance when you're centuries old, yet if anyone can do it, it's the timeless Bard.  On this trip, he won't be waxing poetic, however.  He'll just be waxing.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company today announced a partnership with Madame Tussauds to bring a wax figure of William Shakespeare to Washington, D.C. - the first U.S. public appearance of the statue - in celebration of STC's 25th Anniversary Season.

Shakespeare arrived just in time for the opening performances of his "Much Ado About Nothing" and will be on display to "meet and greet" at the Company's Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) through May 31, 2012.

Baby, You Can Light My Fire: DC's Favorite Fireplaces

Looking to cozy up to your own flame during the crazy colder weather ahead?  We've compiled our best bets for burning love... because it's tougher than you might expect to sneak in that snugglefest at a fireplace in DC - unless you happen to have one at home!

10) The roaring fire at the Jockey Club's Fairfax Lounge is a once.. and future... favorite.  Stroke the embers at this Embassy Row location that blazed in its glory days, and now gets the gas going again!

Courtesy, Tabard Inn

9) Would you believe you can get some cozy with your coffee?  Yep, two local Starbucks boast fires to go along with the caffeine fix.  Visit the locations on Capitol Hill SE and upstairs in Georgetown's M Street venue. 

8) To get some flames with your Asian-fusion - or to add some red hot to its winter white decor - check out the long fireplace in Oya's main dining room. 

7) Not one, but two, historic stone fireplaces add some atmosphere to the delicious seafood dishes at SeaCatch.  Turn up the heat while you enjoy that halibut!

6) The Washington Plaza Hotel and its International Bar fight against falling temperatures in the heart of the city (Thomas Circle) with special winter cocktails and noshes near its wood-burning wonder.

5) One part rustic lodge, the other, ritzy lounge, Cure Bar & Bistro is a perfectly relaxing place to hang up the winter hat and mittens while diving into traditional cured foods and that flaming fire you've been craving. 

4) Eight.  That's right, there are eight fireplaces in the Russia House... so you can rest assured something will be burning - if not the logs, then definitely the vodka as it goes down!

Courtesy, Ritz Carlton

3) Whether it's a gathering for telling stories of the ghosts that haunt this historic residence or just dallying before dinner, the fireplace at Tabard Inn has been a consistent off-the-beaten path favorite.
2) With its library, piano bar, spa and suites, there's almost nothing more you can ask of the Jefferson Hotel - except nestling into your own nook next to the fire in its Plume restaurant.  Most inviting!

1) One of the city's most famous hearths takes center stage in the lounge of the Ritz Carlton in Georgetown. Not only do patrons assemble for some welcome warmth, but the hotel takes advantage of its popularity by offering complimentary s'mores and hot cocoa.

The District Dish: Walish Gooshe, Winner TLC's "Who Are You Wearing?"

Style, sophistication and .... reversible dressing??! Joining the hosts this week is local fashion and design celeb Greg Gaten Taylor!  Fresh from opening his Walish Gooshe boutique, the style savant dishes about his time on the design reality show and how that show helped him - or didn't! - to open a flagship in his hometown.

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Coy Koi... Needing to Be Caught

It's an unusual rescue mission.  The Washington Humane Society Law Enforcement team has lately been working hard to save the scaly instead of the scruffy, pets with fins instead of fluff.

Earlier this summer, a local resident dumped hundreds of koi into the pond and pools of Meridian Hill Park.  Those stunning swimmers have been delighting guests of the greenspace for months, but danger looms for the pretty pets.

The Park's pools are set to be drained for winter weather this Wednesday (11/30) and a daunting number of koi remain to be caught and relocated.

Wanna go fishing?  The Humane Society welcomes all cooperative rescue efforts - contact here!
*Photos: Washington Humane Society Law Enforcement

Meet the New Miss DC USA

The winners of Sunday evening's Miss Teen DC USA and Miss DC USA talk with K Street Kate immediately after their crowning at the JW Marriott.  Find out what they think they have to do differently to bring home the national crown.. and why Monique Thompkins, a Redskin Cheerleader and now Miss USA contestant, says she's a "cheap date."

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Black Friday Fete Decks the Walls

In the midst of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday were a duo of artistic divas out to sell some overstock. 
Maggie O'Neill and Dominique Fierro invited art appreciatives and the social set out to L2 Lounge Friday night for a gallery get-together of sorts in an effort to showcase their respective artwork, offering them as bargain buys. The pair, which has worked together on such local projects as Lincoln Restaurant and the upcoming Irish Whiskey Public House, not only needed to clean out their studio spaces for 2012 creativity, but also hoped to help their friends with some unique holiday shopping.

As attendees caught up with one another after Thanksgiving feasts, they imagined decking the walls of their own homes with Fierro photographs or O'Neill paintings... and wrapping them up as well. 

"These are all one of a kinds," said Fierro as she mingled through cocktailers to show some canvases.  "Giving something like this is fun and different."  

More Holiday Happenings... to Get in the Spirit

The Ford’s Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol” through December 31, 2011. In this celebrated telling of Dickens’ ghost-infused holiday tale, audiences hear familiar carols, encounter imaginative stage tricks and discover the goodwill, compassion and charity that inspire the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a transformative journey. Acclaimed Washington stage actor Edward Gero returns to play Scrooge in the production...

It wouldn't be Christmastime without a performance of The Nutcracker. The Washington Ballet's one-of-a-kind Nutcracker, set in 1882 Georgetown, stars George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker, King George III as the villainous Rat King, Anacostia Indians, frontiersmen, and many other all-American delights. Set to the iconic music of Pytor Ilych Tchaikovsky, the vibrant performance dances across the stage December 1 through 24, 2011 at the historic Warner Theatre

The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner boasts a life size Gingerbread Wonderland Boutique - through Christmas Eve - with a variety of delights, special gift ideas and exciting culinary creations to browse while shopping...

ZooLights...the Zoo's popular holiday program is FREE again this year, and has been expanded with new activities and added dates. (Weekends Nov. 25-27, Dec. 2-4, and Dec. 9-11, and every night beginning Dec. 16 – Jan. 1 (except Dec. 24, 25, 31).)  One of this year's most exciting features happens on December 11th, when Washington Capitals players Marcus Johansson and Mathieu Perreault skate (7 p.m. to 8 p.m.) on the ZooLights iceless skating rink, sponsored by GEICO, with 50 area-children. “Slapshot,” the Capitals mascot, will also be at the Zoo that evening to sign autographs, skate with ZooLights guests, and provide a unique photo opportunity.

Teen Actress Heather Braverman on Films, Fashion and Food Allergies

Teen role model Heather Braverman was one of the featured speakers at the 6th Annual Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN™) Teen Summit held last weekend at the Key Bridge Marriott.  The actress, who plays “Samantha” in the soon to be released film, Jeremy Fink and The Meaning of Life, addressed teens about living with food allergies.. and answered our questions about some of life's other fun and frustrations.

KSK:  How did you find out you had food allergies?
HB: I was 4 years old. I was at a TCBY and I pointed to peanut butter chips to put on my yogurt. I took one bite and immediately got sick...and learned I had life threatening food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish.

KSK:  What's the worst thing you are allergic to... and how does it affect you?
HB: When I was younger I couldn't have the birthday cakes at all the parties I attended because they could contain nuts or have cross contamination. I can't eat in bakeries or have baked goods where other products with nuts are made. So at the parties I would have to bring a "safe snack" to have while everyone else enjoyed the birthday cake.

KSK: That is sad! How about now that you're older?
HB: Being a teenager, I face new challenges. I now have started dating...which means kissing. I have to be sure my boyfriend has not eaten nuts or shellfish or I can possibly have a reaction from a kiss. This is...very frustrating!

KSK:  You're an ideal spokesmodel for this cause because you're in the public eye.  So, let's talk about your acting. What has been your favorite role?
HB:  My favorite role so far had to be playing Sabrina Farber in Law and Order SVU. It was very challenging to be in a closed trunk of a car in 90 degree weather covered in fake blood -- if only for a few seconds. The best part was when Christopher Malone saves me and and pops open the trunk and carries me like a baby to get help.  I loved the cast and especially getting my makeup done with all this blood and cuts.

KSK:  And you have a new movie coming out.  Are you a fashionista like the role you play?
HB:  I loved playing Samantha in Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. Samantha is a true fashionista... and I have to say that Samantha and I are very similar. We both love clothing, accessories and makeup. The movie is great -- except for the fact that the main character loves peanut butter and speaks about it throughout the movie. He even says his sweat smells like peanut butter because he eats so much of it. Well of course when I was around he could not be eating that!

Talking Turkey... and Presidential Pardons

What would the star of this holiday supper be most thankful for?  A Presidential pardon, of course!  Each year (and especially since 2002),  a special ceremony spares a pair of birds from slaugher and sends them on their merry way to a long life of leisure and luxury. 

So what's the story on these grateful gobblers?  Well, this year's birds are from Minnesota - interestingly, the largest turkey producing state in the U.S. - and yes there are two of them.  Only one is a performer in the pardoning ceremony; the alternate gets pardoned as well, but is more of a "stunt double" of sorts, in case the main attraction gets antsy... And (watch out!) this year's turkey is "a bit of a flier,” according to W Hotel  publicist Barbara Martin

How would she know? Well, tonight (Tuesday), just as last year, the young trotter will enjoy his/their own custom suite at the W, gorging on berries and acorns before dressing up to head to the White House where he's traditionally pardoned in the Rose Garden in what last year President Obama joked was "one of the most important duties [that I carry out as President]." 
And then... well, here's where he'll get really thankful.  Post pardoning, the birds are off to George Washington's estate, where they will continue to celebrate holiday festivities with much fanfare through December 6, and then live out their lives without any fear of ever sitting next to anyone's Thanksgiving cranberry sauce and stuffing.


Soupergirl Zucchini Soup
Let's talk Soup.

It's the season:  The sniffles.  The drizzles.  The times it's harder to get out of bed with every progressive day that ends in 'y'...  Those old wives were wise about the chicken noodle, but as it turns out, other soups can also save the day!

Enter Soupergirl : DC's first local soup shop - now with delivery service.   

"Soup is the ultimate comfort food anytime of year," says Soupergirl founder Sara Polon.  "What better way to show you care!"   

When your friend has a cold, send a soup care package!  Or, be the hero of a holiday feast.   When life gets hectic, order up some homemade comfort craves.... Because we all know a case of the blues could use a bisque just as well as a bouquet.

Masters of Illusion

Is it impossible, or is it illusion?  The award-winning television series Masters of Illusion: Impossible Magic escaped from the screen to the stage for a series of LIVE shows this weekend at the Strathmore Music Center. 

Showstopping magicians, escape artists and illusionists - including Mark Kalin, Jinger Leigh, Farrell Dillon, Darren Romeo, Kevin James and Aaron Radatz - brought mesmerizing magic, slight of hand... and even exotic white tigers... daring spectacles of dexterity, awesome juggling acts and audience-led levitation (you have to see to believe!).

Here, Farrell Dillon - who later stole the show with his straight jacket surfing! - perpares for some audience participation.  Video embed:

Beaujolais (and Beauty) Nouveau

by Casey Valerie Linsey

“Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!” The new Beaujolais has arrived! To celebrate the arrival of the purple-pink, fruity wine, the Alliance Française hosted its annual Beaujolais Nouveau party at the historic Washington Club on Dupont Circle Friday evening.

Despite the night's freezing temperatures, DC’s francophiles came in full force to give a nod to Fall and the fruits of this year’s harvest. Attendees enjoyed modern music and classic jazz, a silent auction, dinner buffet, and of course, toasted with lots of wine.

Not to be outdone by the great grapes, French fashion also took center stage during the event as fashionistas had the opportunity to view sample pieces from the Woodley Park-based boutique Carbon and take some style tips from its chic owner Katherine Limon

“I see a lot of good variety. There are people here who are hip and willing to take a risk by wearing colored tights with their evening gown," noted local fashion designer Jennifer Elizabeth Miller.  "Then, of course, there are those who are more subtle and go with clean lines. For the most part, DC has got stylish and interesting people.”

Beaujolais and beauty... cheers to that!

The Washington that Would Have Been

Ever wonder what Washington would be like if politics (and Politics) hadn't given us the pretty city we have today? Unbuilt Washington, a new exhibit at the National Building Museum (opening November 19th) tells how the Capital City we take for granted might have looked had designs been different... and it can be a bit disorienting!

The exhibit is a collection of could-have-beens that would have drastically changed the architectural character of the capital, featuring original and replicated renderings of unused plans for most of DC's best loved landmarks.

What if... the Capitol dome was instead a clucking chicken?  The White House were replaced by a palatial mansion on Meridian Hill? A statue of Washington sat atop the first stump of the obelisk when his monument was halted about halfway through (in 1856)? Memorial Bridge looked more like London Bridge? Or DC had a National Sofa?

These and other unrealized designs from 1791 to the present challenge common assumptions about the appearance of the city and some of its most prominent buildings, and they highlight the complex decisions and debates that actually built Washington... and makes Unbuilt Washington seem so unfathomable.

Related Programming: Tours start (December 19th) showcasing some of the most unusual of the proposed city plans that thankfully did not determine the shape of DC on December 19th.  The City Unimagined (an Unbuilt Washington Film Festival) kicks off Feb. 22, 2012 at the AFI Silver Theatre, and a lecture with exhibit curator G. Martin Moeller, Jr. takes place Feb. 15, 6:30 - 8:30.


If you've ever seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you know it's not your typical juggling, clowns and trapeze circus... but a show of human agility, strength and bravery.  It's also usually a "circus" with a story.  Well, kind of.

Quidam, one of Cirque's original repertoire, returns to DC - this time creating a "big top" at the Verizon Center for eight performances only - to tell the scattered story of little Zoe, who longs for the fun and excitement she feels is just beyond her reach.

In ten acts, including aerial contortion, skipping rope, hand balancing, diabolos and banquine (you just have to see it) Zoe dives into an eerie reverie and a universal spectacle.

Still not sure of the story?  Well, when you're mesmerized,  those details are just distracting.

Here, the performers practice the ten acts of the show, while some secrets from the tour are shared.

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Jerry 'Occupies" the Scoop

Rejected from over 25 medical school programs and on his last dollar (or two), Jerry Greenfield and his middle school bestie Ben Cohen split the fee for a $5 class on how to make ice cream... and the rest is history, shared Greenfield at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington's annual Network Event Wednesday evening at the Wardman Park Marriott.

The duo, which has since sold their ice cream company (Ben & Jerry's) to Unilever, continues to create creams with unique flavors and entertaining names.  And they're still scooping... traveling the nation, providing free ice cream for "occupy" protesters - groups of which they are "very supportive."

Ben & Jerry's early struggles made them sympathetic.  In their own way, they hope to help "occupiers" to lick it!

Investing in Women: "Women's Liberation is Men's Liberation"

by Jordana Merran 

The Polish Embassy took a hit during DC’s freak earthquake earlier this Fall; but that didn’t stop the Foundation for Social and Cultural Advancement from celebrating its third year boosting women’s education across the world. Moved to the Center for American States, last night’s benefit gala, entitled “Investing in the Whole Woman,” highlighted the nonprofit’s mission to empower women within their communities.

“A lot of programs focus on teaching a girl how to read, but what good is that really going to do [without also giving her the need or desire to do so],” explained Dr. Sophia Aguirre, President of Foundation SCA and Professor of Economics at Catholic University. That’s why Aguirre and her colleagues around the world identify local education programs that “focus on the whole person,” and provide funding and technical support.

Though Aguirre hopes to expand to different types of programs in the future, targeting women’s education has been a priority because of its “multiplier effect”—investing in women delivers results for them but also for their communities.

Guest speaker and distinguished philanthropist Edward W. Scott, Jr. gave a different reason. “Women’s liberation is men’s liberation!” he joked.


It's the birthplace of the Beale Street Blues.  Famous for Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.  But who knew it could barbeque with the best of the South?

Memphis BBQ owners Chris George and Yolanda George Turman have taken their Tennessee roots and turned them into a family restaurant, opening up a semi-formal establishment for 'que enthusiasts who want more than just meat on the menu.

By George! Salmon, shrimp and crab 'que creations flavor up the fare... though the Smokey Mountains have more smoke than Memphis' singular BBQ sauce.  The Memphian owners, who have also spent time in more southern states, confess that BBQ baby back ribs are personal favorites -- and these are the most perfected of their plates.

But, in a surprise twist on Tennessee, it's a rich roux app that steals all of the attention.  Absolutely do not miss the Gumbo - likely the best all of the appetizers straight from Appalachia.

*Memphis is located at 320 South 23rd Street in Arlington, VA in what was formerly Mackey's Public House.

Sculpture Garden Ice Rink Opens this Weekend

CC - Photo by:AgnosticPreachersKid
Opening weekend for the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink is here!  Saturday, November 19th, DC's favorite public open-air ice rink reopens through mid-March.

Scope out the sculptures while skating and listening to music or enjoy hot chocolate from the nearby Pavillion Cafe.  Passes are available for two hour sessions (on the hour) for $8/adult and $7/child (12 & under).  Season passes available.  Check here for hours and skating lessons.

Welcoming Winter, On the Warmer Side

Snow bunnies, hot rum toddys, ski simulators... and all of the s'mores you can stand when temps are in the mid-sixties.

Tuesday at the W Hotel's POV Lounge, Winter wonderland met fiesty Fall, with an invite for VIP guests including McLean Robbins, Mark Drapeau and Svetlana Legetic to guzzle some of the venue's latest seasonal cocktail innovations, sample from the heavier bites menu, pamper with items from the W's Bliss Spa, and play the night away.

Nothing said Apres Ski -- or a break from the slopes on the Xbox Kinect -- like Pumpkin Cider, picture time in the Onomonomedia photobooth, and shopping the season's latest Ugg boots.

All the best to prepare... before Sir Snow actually does settle in!

aka: The OTHER H Street Hangout

 Also known as an extended stay hotel, AKA White House is now your spot for hanging around on H Street NW.  Because who needs a suite (aka has 141 of them) when "living room" renovations on the first floor are so accommodating?

The hotel, just steps from that other White House, just finished a full remodel of its parlor entry and will welcome lounge guests starting next Monday (11/21) with a fireplace, wifi, and craft coffee and cocktails (also known as your daily cravings).

You may just run into KenCen performers, foreign dignitaries or Washington-is-their-second-home politicos (also known as: aka residents).

**ALSO Did you know: AKA White House makes cocktails with its own vodka, called a.vod (also known as: a smooth sipper)?

Cards & Cheer, R. Nichols Says Holidays are Here

Sure, sure.  One holiday at a time.  But if this really were the case, your cards would get there late and you'd be scrambling for gifts even after the New Year. (Happens regardless? Well, read on.)  This year, you can at least get your greetings on time.  And if that's a first, well, this collection is, too!

Wednesday evening, 6-8 PM, Nick Hanzlik, the artist behind celeb-loved stationery company R. Nichols (we hear Tyra and Sheryl Crow are faithful fans), launches his first-ever collection of DC-themed holiday cards at Neiman Marcus in Chevy Chase.  The Sidwell Friends alum - who has since graduated to L.A. - will be signing limited-edition prints of his cards for one night only (but you can still buy 'em after at NM or in Bethesda at Ginger).

"I couldn't be more excited about my trip to Washington and appearance at Neimans," says Hanzlik, whose cards are infinitely cuter than the typical DC-monument-in-the-snow scene.   "I grew up there, and haven't been back in awhile, so this collection - and that city - are really special to me."


So what else does "St." Nick have to say about the holidays?

KSK: Which of the national monuments/DC landmarks do you think should be Santa's favorite to visit?
RN: I'd have to say the Washington Monument.  Tactically, I just think the frozen reflecting pool would make such a perfect little runway for the sleigh.

KSK: Does DC strike you more as the "Happy Holidays," "Merry Christmas," or "Season's Greetings" kind?
RN: All of the above.   They should all be shouted all the time .  You can never have enough holiday cheer.

KSK: Do you advocate for real trees or artificial ones?  What's your favorite/iconic Christmas tree?
RN: This is a tough one and my position has changed over the years.  Today I would say artificial - HOWEVER - should you come upon a Christmas tree lot after December 22nd - PLEASE give one (or several) of those pitiful, passed over and forgotten trees a home.  I swear I can hear them softly sobbing and calling to me when I drive by - it's almost worse than a trip to the pound...
Growing up we used to go to The White House every year for a Christmas party (my Dad worked in several administrations), and the tree in the Blue Room was always my fave.

KSK: Are you a strictly white lights guy, or do colored lights get some Hanzlik love?
RN: I think colored lights reek of the 70's (they're in all of our family Christmas photos).  But that's not a bad thing.  I've been using white lights for years (they work with my very edited designer aesthetic) but I do have a penchant for that era so it just might be time to switch (I've been thinking a lot lately about the elaborate layered parfaits my Mom used to labor over to serve at her DC dinner parties growing up - I'd like to revisit those too).

KSK: Who should be #1 on your list of holiday cards to send?
RN: Anyone you are upset with, mad at, or holding a grudge against.  I believe in sugar, not vinegar.

Fashion's Fight Against MS Becomes Family Affair, Features Alexandria Hilfiger

Model Shannon Rusbuldt holds the 2nd annual Fashion's Fight Against MS (remember last year??!) featuring a runway show of designs by NAHM founders Nary Manivong and Alexandria Hilfiger (yes, that's Tommy Hilfiger's daughter).  Rusbuldt explains why she started it all, while NAHM's design duo lets us in on why "water" is going to be their main business while in the Nation's Capitol.

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Tweed... and Tweets

It's a rough, unfinished weave of fabric that's making a fashion comeback... as well as a trendy social takeover.  Tweed.

Photo from Tweed Ride 2010
Courtesy Pat Ryan,
Over 800 people in "vintage garb"  participated in Sunday's 3rd annual DC Tweed Ride, a fancypants gathering traditionally organized by the Dandies & Quaintrelles (and now supported by various and sundry sponsors).  It was a day for mustaches and mid-length skirts, jodhpurs and suspenders, fascinators and sport coats; "refined style and purposeful living..." as the social group attempts to convey.

It was also a day for taking clothing trends and making conversational ones.  Tweeders in DC succeeded at creating a trending topic for a short while on Twitter.  Character count and thread count collide!

The annual bicycle ride (or run as has been adopted in some surrounding states) is a complementary social celebration to its warmer weather Seersucker Social in the Spring.

The District Dish: Carly Pippin, Silk Road Society

DC's newest young professional's society for those interested in... Asian Art!  Carly Pippin of The Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Galleries introduces this new group... and the upcoming Dress to Empress Gala.

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Jersey Boys, Hit Songs and Must-Hear Story "Works its Way Back" to Washington

"I like to think that the story is just as important as the music," shares Joseph Siravo (who plays Gyp DeCarlo and others) in the much anticipated return of Jersey Boys to National Theatre. The Tony award-winning hit musical has "Work[ed] its Way Back" to Washington, still turning audiences into jukebox song singing fanatics... and the tale between those tunes commands their attention, too.

The cast, at an afterparty at Carmine's in Penn Quarter
Jersey Boys, a docu-musical about the life and times - and eventual break-up - of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, uses the group's own hits (but only 33 of them!) to explain their rise, and demise.

You "Can't Take [your] Eyes Off" of the small cast (just over 50 total), most playing multiple parts with quick changes (Mary Delgado gets just 9 seconds to get into her robe for "My Eyes Adored You").

Separated into four seasons, each narrated by a different band member in his own perspective, the audience is "Beggin'" to learn more about this band which went head to head with the Beatles, sold 175 million records worldwide (all before they hit the age of 30) and got out of Jersey, even if they just couldn't get the Jersey out.

"Oh! What a Night!"  Jersey Boys plays at National Theatre through January 7th.

DC's Toughest Restaurant Reservation

Every so often (well, all the time, actually) there's a mania over Minibar.  This Jose Andres restaurant, located over what is now Andres' America Eats Tavern (405 8th Street NW), has Washingtonians salivating over its famous 26 course, $200+pp menu and interactive chef experience.

But it's not just the culinary curiosities and the small space (this place only has six seats!) that have local foodies in a frenzy.  Reaching someone to make a reservation can be as frustrating as Facebook's constant layout changes!

"The best way to secure a reservation is to call at 10:00 AM -- and keep calling until someone picks up," said a representative of the restaurant, who also suggested that date flexibility is ultimately helpful.

Special occasion reservations are next to impossible to accommodate, but most dedicated callers (who claimed they got through within a few busy signals or after being placed on hold) landed a seating within about 2 months of the call-in date. And cancellations happen, so always say yes to the waitlist!

Ready to try?  Call 202.393.0812 and whet your appetite for the show.

American Heroes!

Senator Scott Brown (R-MA, at left) might have stolen the show, but it's tough to compete with an American Idol and a roomful of men in uniform. 

Brown was on-board (so much so that he was greeting guests and pointing out the coat closet!) for both the cause and the spirit of celebration Thursday evening at the City Tavern Club for the American Heroes Ball, a night in recognition of Veteran’s Day and to support the Wounded Warrior Project.

The inaugural event featured a live performance by American Idol Finalist Ayla Brown - yes, that Scott's own daughter (above left) - and her band from Nashville, playing original tunes and some covered country favorites.

Chair Philip Ballard joined guests David Miller, Cherie Short, Seda Atam, Caroline McMillan, and Jim McInerney for drinks, dancing and a silent auction of coveted prizes, like Philadelphia 76ers basketball tickets, spa baskets, an I.Gorman necklace and a private tour of the Capitol... by Senator Scott Brown!

Knock Out Abuse/Fight Night: Charity Parties Collide

After the annual Fight Night and Knock Out Abuse philanthropy dinners, its an annual tradition for the guys and gals to meet up at the Ritz Carlton for some frisky fun.

This year, James L. Jones III (Fight Night Chair) led his entourage of men from the Washington Hilton - who had been scotching, cigaring and sparring over the annual boxing entertainment, all for childrens' charities - to the Ritz Carlton, where the Jaci Wilson Reid's (Knock Out Abuse Chair) group of women - who had been feting best selling novelist Linda Fairstein and combatting domestic violence - were anxiously awaiting.

Some 800 women in "St. Tropez Chic" and a larger number of tuxedoed men came together for a cash bar, lively dance floor and to relive the evening events' major moments. 

Among those in attendance at the afterparty: Mayor Vincent Gray, chef Jose Andres, Cindy Jones, John Cecchi, Sharon Bradley, Winston Lord, Maggy O'Neill, and Councilmember Vincent Orange.

"Street" Style

Nomatter on which side of the street he struts, a man in DC has style options these days.  That street style is the raison d'etre for the HMX Group's new "Streets" concept, which opened in Georgetown in late September, yet held its grand opening event Wednesday night.

Designer Joseph Abboud made a personal appearance, greeting such guests as Donald Syriani, Ebong Eka, Don Patron and Jimmy Lynn at the second U.S. Streets store (the first is in Beverly Hills), explaining how each location fits its fashions to its locale.

"Streets of Georgetown," located in what was formerly Reiss at 1254 Wisconsin Ave, brings all six of HMX's labels under one roof - with two levels of "look."  Casual trends take the bottom floor, with more tailored options on high.

It's where retail hits the road.

WSJ Mag Editor Deborah Needleman Prefers Things "Imperfect"

Deborah Needleman, founding Editor-in-Chief of the former Domino magazine and current Editor of WSJ Magazine, loves to host in her own sitting room, but she made do with the staged living rooms - and flowing libations - at14th Street's Room and Board showroom to greet fans and sign copies of her new book, The Perfectly Imperfect Home, Wednesday evening. 

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Geek2Chic: Who Walked It Best?

Geek2Chic, a runway event held Tuesday (11.8.11) at Bloomingdale's in Chevy Chase, featured man candy couture on some local titans of tech.  So, who walked it best?  Check out Thrillist DC's Leo Schmid, GoVenga's Winston Lord, GeniusRocket's Peter Lamotte, Facebook's Andrew Noyes, TroopSwap's Blake Hall and so many more of DC's most digital and and dapper.

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Literary Death Match

by Jordana Merran

DC9 packed a full house Tuesday night as it played host to the critically-acclaimed literature read-off known as Literary Death Match, now halfway through a nineteen-city tour across North America. Four writers—including Huffington Post blogger Sean Carman, author Sacha Scoblic, comedienne Vijai Nathan, and two-time Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam Champion Jamaal May—each performed seven-minute segments of their most eclectic writing, ranging from memoirs to political satire to poetry; while a panel of three judges (armed with Velcro darts if ever the performers went over time) provided comedic value and thoughtful critique.
“We’re having fun but we’re serious about the kind of fun we’re going to have,” explained LDM creator and Opium Magazine founder Todd Zuniga. Seeing a need to make literature more accessible and exciting to the public (and hoping to sell a couple magazines along the way), Zuniga launched the LDM circuit in 2006, to “’trick’ people into seeing great writers read their own work.”

“I think DC is interested and hungry for this kind of thing,” he said, citing last night’s show as one of the best he’s seen. “A lot of people came up afterwards and asked, ‘How could you have judged that story against the other story?’ That’s sort of the point.”

But don’t tell that to Scoblic. She was declared winner, after all.

As J. Edgar Goes to Theatres, His Estate Goes to Museum

J Edgar Premiere Clint
Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, J. Edgar director
Clint Eastwood and National Law Enforcement
Officers Memorial Fund Chairman & CEO Craig W. Floyd

The Hollywood Oscar buzz has already begun, but J. Edgar's story - and estate - will always be a Washington one.   
"Embracing the idea of shooting a film about J. Edgar Hoover was quite an interesting project because he was such an interesting man and there’s always been a lot of discussion around him,' said Clint Eastwood, on hand at the Newseum Tuesday evening to debut J. Edgar with the National Law Enforcement Museum and Warner Bros. Pictures.   
The film is an in-depth examination of the life of the first FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, as portrayed by actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
“Law enforcement is a very underrated profession," said Eastwood before the evening's film preview.  "The dangers are always there and we’re thankful for the people who keep us safe."
A (mostly underground) museum to honor those people - law enforcement - is set to open near Judiciary Square in late 2013... when the J. Edgar obsession will move from movie to museum.
As announced in tandem with the film preview, the National Law Enforcement Foundation has donated more than 5,000 items from Director Hoover’s estate to the new venue, including his office desk, chair and telephone, presentation items, awards, photographs, correspondence, books, recordings of his speeches, and numerous other items that relate to his personal and professional life, including his tenure as director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972.
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