Food Park: Alex McCoy @ Food Network Star — 7/12/15 (S. 11, Ep. 6)

Kerry Washington, Craig Robinson, and David Alan Grier, right, sit down for a meal in PEEPLES. David Alan Grier hosted the last episode of Food Network Star. (Photo by Nicole Rivelli)

Man, last week was a rough week for DC contestants participating in Food Network Star!

Chefs Alex McCoy and Emilia Cirker gave us little to feel good about, despite laughs from bona fide movie star David Alan Grier, who showed up to serve as guest host for a reality show challenge.

The latest episode of Food Network Star, “Improv,” saw the worst performance by Alex to date, although he continued to make some really tasty food. And Emilia finally got bumped from the program. Although there were still a few weaker contestants overall, she delivered a terrible second-act performance that sealed her exit.

We’ll recap that later. First, the remaining seven contestants faced off in an opening pizza challenge last Sunday. Under the guidance of guest judge Pastry Chef Duff Goldman, the contestants competed to impress Darin Harris, CEO of CiCi’s Pizza, with a pizza featuring “kicked up flavors.”

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Music Park: Mourn @ DC9 — 7/13/15

Mourn (Photo courtesy Captured Tracks)

Yes, Mourn are very young.

Much already has been made of the fact that three members of the alt-rock band from Barcelona are only 18 years old. The fourth member? Only 15 years old.

But their capabilities defy their age when they take the stage, as they did for a half-full room at DC9 on Monday night. Vocalists Carla Pérez Fas and Jazz Rodríguez Bueno front the band with guitars, and it’s said they take inspiration from PJ Harvey and Patti Smith. But to listen to the resplendent sound of their playing, you might believe them to be the progeny of the New York City 70s punk sound pioneered by Television.

Mourn also enjoy songs that are direct and to the point, meaning they often clock in at under 3 minutes. They are touring in support of their self-titled debut album, which contains the single “Gertrudis, Get Through This!” Mourn released the official video for “Gertrudis” yesterday, and it features a black and white video of the band in performance.

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Don’t Miss: Culture Club @ Wolf Trap, 8/10/15

Culture Club 1 - 2014 credit Dean Stockings
Culture Club (Photo by Dean Stockings)

Boy George has got the band back together, and Culture Club are touring the United States in support of a new album, Tribes, due next year! On this tour, Culture Club will perform at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap on Monday, August 10.

Mr. George himself stopped by the Conan O’Brien show Monday night to promote the tour, and performed an unusual number. Boy George teamed up with Jack Black and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger in a cover of “Hello, I Love You.”

Watch Boy George and Jack Black sing “Hello, I Love You” with Robby Krieger on CONAN on TBS:

The appearance by Boy George on CONAN was only the latest salvo in Culture Club’s recent media blitz. They appeared on the Today Show on July 2 in the program’s Throwback Thursday Edition of the Toyota Summer Concert Series.

On the Today Show, Culture Club performed “Karma Chameleon”, “Miss Me Blind” and “Do you Really Want To Hurt Me.”

Watch Matt Lauer recap the history of the band and then the performance of the three songs by Culture Club:

And don’t miss Culture Club at Wolf Trap on Monday, August 10. Tickets are available online.

Culture Club
Filene Center at Wolf Trap
Monday, August 10
Show @8pm
All ages

Don’t Miss: KATIEE @ Black Cat, 7/23/15

Katie Eastburn (Photo by Sabine Rogers)

Slinky and groovy vocalist Katie Eastburn, formerly of Young People, has launched a new project called KATIEE, which offers up some synthy noir for our listening pleasure.

KATIEE releases their first single on August 7 via Selfish Agenda, and the band performs backstage at the Black Cat on Thursday, July 23, in the run up to that release.

Listen to the upcoming debut single, “Passerby,” by KATIEE on Soundcloud:

Hailing from New York, Katie is joined in the project by her bandmates bassist Jim McHugh, saxophonist Jeff Tobias and drummer Jason Robira. If you’re not familiar yet with their work or that of Young People, you may know Katie as a frequent collaborator and guest vocalist for avant-garde composers Nick Hallett, Jason Cady and Ray Sweeten, and pop artist Nicholas Kyrgovich.

According to notes for Katie’s work, “If there were a lost scene in Blade Runner where a band played in a dive bar while Harrison Ford sweated and bought Sean Young a drink, it would be KATIEE. She would pull him onto the dance floor, and he would be a goner.”

Well, with such a soundtrack for a noir nightclub beckoning, how can we resist?

Tickets are available online and at the door.

w/ HD Sunrise and Time Is Fire
Black Cat
Thursday, July 23
Doors @7:30pm
All ages

Music Park: SOAK @ DC9 — 7/12/15

SOAK performs at Rough Trade East in London on March 28, 2015. (Photo by Aurelien Guichard)

When Bridie Monds-Watson was 14-years old, a friend of hers was being bullied by another girl at school in Ireland.

Saddened by the experience, Bridie, now better known as SOAK, took to writing a song in a stream of consciousness manner to deal with the resulting feelings.

“I don’t understand/what her problem is/I think she’s just a fish!” SOAK wrote of her friend’s tormentor in a song that came to be called “Sea Creatures.”

That sort of quirky train of thought runs throughout all of SOAK’s songs, which she writes primarily to deal with things happening in her life. She delivers those songs in a soulful booming voice that belies her diminutive, now 19-year-old, stature. On stage, she’s friendly and warm with a touch of shyness as she strums a guitar that accompanies her haunting voice.

At DC9 on Sunday night, SOAK opened her show with “Explosions,” and the very full room immediately fell silent upon the opening notes of the sad folk pop song.

Watch SOAK perform “Explosions” for The Sunday Sessions, recorded live in The Workman’s Club, Dublin, on Oct. 19, 2014:

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Don’t Miss: Little Boots @ U Street Music Hall, 7/25/15

Little Boots (Photo courtesy High Rise PR)

I am beyond excited that U Street Music Hall will welcome Little Boots (born Victoria Hesketh) on Saturday, July 25 as she tours in support of her new album, Working Girl, which she released last week on her own label, On Repeat Records.

I first encountered Little Boots back in 2009 with her single “New in Town” from her debut album, Hands, thanks to its regular rotation at Liberation Dance Party at DC9. I continued to be impressed by that album, which featured a duet with The Human League’s Phil Oakey as a bonus to synthpop nerds like me, and its follow-up, Nocturnes.

Working Girl may be her most exciting offering to date, however, as the bright dance album offers abundantly lovely synths and a decisive theme around which to rally — the corporate work day. All of the videos released for singles from the new album have been quite clever, and feature Little Boots adorned in the best of office fashions, such as with the latest “No Pressure.”

Watch the video for “No Pressure”:

Little Boots isn’t afraid to explore what happens after the workday either, such as with her humorous video for “Better in the Morning,” which takes her on a “walk of shame” after a night of partying too hard.

Watch the video for “Better in the Morning” (and prepare to chuckle and fall in love a little bit):

To my knowledge, this is the first performance of Little Boots ever in DC, although she is a regular visitor to Brooklyn from England, and she nearly made it here on a few previous occasions. Don’t miss what is sure to be a great performance.

Tickets are available online.

Little Boots
w/ Prinze George
U Street Music Hall
Saturday, July 25
Doors @ 7pm
All ages

Food Park: Alex McCoy @ Food Network Star — 7/5/15 (S. 11, Ep. 5)

Former Miami Dolphins football player Eddie Jackson (above) teamed up with DC Chef Alex McCoy last week. (Photo courtesy Food Network)

Today, on the Food Network at 9pm Et, catch the sixth episode of Food Network Star, Season 11.

The competition includes two chefs from the DC area — restaurant owner Alex McCoy and blogger Emilia Cirker. The two survived last week’s episode, “The Perfect Match,” and they both did particularly well in that episode’s challenges. Here at ParklifeDC, we’ve been behind Alex this season, so we are going to recap his progress last episode to bring you up to speed before tonight’s challenges.

In the opening challenge last week, Alex and seven other remaining contestants faced a cook and critique challenge. Each contestant chose their favorite ingredient, and Alex chose Asian five spice powder (Sichuan pepper, fennel seeds, cloves, star anise and Chinese cinnamon). But instead of cooking with that ingredient, each chef swapped ingredients with a partner after a surprise announcement by Food Network Star hosts Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis.

Alex swapped ingredients with contestant Dominick Tesoriero of Staten Island, who chose ricotta as his favorite ingredient. With Dom’s ricotta, Alex chose to make a Smoked Salmon and Ricotta Sandwich. But after the contestants prepared their dishes, Bobby and Giada surprised them again and asked them to switch back so that the original selector of the ingredient would critique the meal made from it.

Dom called Alex’s sandwich “classic” and said he would enjoy eating it at a brunch. Alex hailed Dom’s Beef Noodles with Five Spice Broth as good — an Italian chef’s take on an Asian dish. Both men performed well in the challenge, but neither won it.

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