Don’t Miss: PINS @ DC9, 6/29/15

PINS, hailing from Manchester, UK, is a all-women rock band coming to DC to, well, rock you.

The band consists of singer/guitarist Faith Holgate, guitarist Lois McDonald, bassist Anna Donigan and drummer Sophie Galpin.

The PINS recently opened for Sleater-Kinney during the UK leg of their tour. Now they make the jump to the US for a short tour of their own.

Clearly because they are bold and emphatic, they spell their name in ALL CAPS. Their sound is rock and punk and should make for an entertaining live show.

Let’s see if they live up to the billing tonight at DC9.

Tickets are available online still and at the door. Get yours before the show sells out.


w/ Beverly
Monday, June 29
Doors 8:30pm, Show 9:00pm
All ages

Around Town: Get Ready for July Part 1

Viv wishes you a happy July 4th!

July is shaping up to be an incredibly busy month with no dearth of things to do beyond the 4th of July weekend. In the DC heat. No rest allowed.

Here are just a few of the many options you can consider:


Happy Hours
Happy Hour with Indiana Jones @ National Geographic Museum, 7/8/15
See the Indiana Jones exhibit after hours (6:00-8:00pm) and watch one of the Indiana Jones films (7:30pm).

Third Thursday After Hours Open House @ Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries, 7/16/15
See the latest exhibit and the Peacock Room after hours.


Beer and Food Events

Truckaroo @ The Fairgrounds, 7/10/15
A food truck extravaganza near Nationals Park.

DC BRGR Bash @ Gateway Park, VA, 7/18/15
Who can cook up the best burger and unseat last year’s winner, Willow Restaurant?

Brew at the Zoo @ The National Zoo, 7/23/15
Drink beer. See animals. Simple.


REI Outdoor Classes @ Wunder Garten in NoMa – July
Learn about camping and backpacking and join yoga and running groups.


Music, sports and movies continued in Part 2

Don’t Miss: Kopecky @ U Street Music Hall, 6/26/15


Kopecky, an indie-rock band from Nashville, hits the U Street Music Hall on Friday, 6/26/15.

They released their second album in May, Drug for the Modern Age, with the single “Quarterback”, that has a bit of a Vampire Weekend flavor mixed in.

They started in 2007 as The Kopecky Family Band. Vocalists Kelsey Kopecky (keyboards, bass) and Gabe Simon (guitar, horns) lead the way with a range of rock, pop and groove laden songs.

Repeated listens will get your head nodding and toe tapping, especially to the songs “Are You Listening” and “Heartbeat”.

Additional members include; Steven Holmes (guitar, lap steel guitar), David Krohn (drums), Markus Midkiff (cello, guitar and keyboards), and Corey Oxendine (bass, guitar and horns).

Come out to UHall on Friday and catch them live. It should be a good time.

They co-headline with The Shadowboxers.

w/ The Shadowboxers and The Walking Sticks
U Street Music Hall
Friday, June 26
Doors 6:30pm
All ages

Excursion: Capital Hiking Club @ Dellinger Gap, WV — 6/20/15

Dellinger Gap to Trout Pond
Hiking with Capital Hiking Club

I’ve done many hikes over the years with Capital Hiking Club. With over 20 hikes since 2009 to choose from, none were more interesting than the one on June 20, 2015.

Capital Hiking Club has been organizing hikes for 77 years. Every Saturday, regardless of season or weather, they host a hike, most often in Virginia or Maryland. You catch the bus in DC (or designated Metro stops in VA or MD), ride to the hike location, trek one of the two trail options, drink beer and eat snacks at the end, and drive back. It’s a good way to meet people and a great option to explore the surrounding area if you don’t have a car.

Within the last couple years, they moved their sign-ups to, to make the process more efficient and easier to manage for the hike organizers.

I highly recommend checking it out if you like to hike.

Capital Hiking Club
Virginia, Maryland and DC
Saturday (Weekly)
8:00am (bus pick-up in DC)
$25 members ($28 non-members)


Trip Report – Dellinger Gap to Trout Pond Recreation Area, West Virginia — 6/20/15

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Music Park: Jaga Jazzist @ Black Cat — 6/21/15

Jaga Jazzist & Sinfonia Rotterdam @ Motel Mozaique 2013
Martin Horntveth performs in Rotterdam in 2013. (Photo by Marcel van Leeuwen)

Jaga Jazzist, the eight-piece nu jazz group from Norway, closed their set at the Black Cat Sunday night with a tranquil piece of music called “Washington, DC Skyline.”

Well, it was actually called “Oslo Skyline,” but the group’s composer Lars Horntveth has been redubbing it after each city in which his collective performs as they have embarked on a U.S. tour in support of their new album, Starfire, released June 2.

Running over a leisurely 5 minutes, “Oslo Skyline” is a snappy, brassy jazz tune that might not be unlike the end result of a composition by Henry Mancini in the ’60s had he been armed with a synthesizer. The track appeared on the band’s 2005 album, What We Must, which was released just after the band’s last DC appearance 11 years ago.

And so it was a rare treat indeed for an ardent group of enthusiasts to bring the Cat to half capacity Sunday and to listen intently to compositions from the new album, which run anywhere from 7 to 14 minutes roughly. With numbers generally running that long, Lars and company managed to fit in about 10 compositions in about 90 minutes of stage time, performing three out of five selections on the new album and revisiting past favorites, particularly from What We Must and 2010’s One-Armed Bandit.

The band opened their set with the sweeping “Starfire,” the title track from the new album, clocking in at about 9 minutes. In so doing, Jaga Jazzist set the tone for a sparkling instrumental cascade of resplendent horns and guitars.

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Food Park: Alex McCoy @ Food Network Star (S. 11, Ep. 3) — 6/21/15

Alex McCoy in Food Network Star, our DC choice to win this thing! (Photo courtesy Food Network)

We’re back with an update on the third installment of Season 11 of Food Network Star, where we’ve been cheering on DC hometown Chef Alex McCoy, one of 10 contestants to compete in this episode.

Alex again survived to fight another day, avoiding elimination in this reality show contest, where chefs must demonstrate some cooking chops as well as camera skills. In avoiding elimination, Alex kinda slipped up in one challenge and then bounced back in a second challenge, which has been a bit of a pattern for him recently!

This third episode of the 11th season was called “Trendy Dinner,” and Food Network Star hosts Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis explained that their television network sometimes focuses on trendy or flashy food. So for the first challenge, the chef contestants faced the task of making photo-worthy food that would compel them to taste it from the picture, following the trend of young diners posting picture of their meals on social media.

Alex answered the challenge with crabcakes, giving some love to our area state of Maryland. But to remind folks he’s “the sandwich guy” in the competition, Alex made crabcake sliders — specifically, crabcake sliders with sambal remoulade and rocket radishes.

And the crabcakes looked terrific! Until Alex capped them with the buns, obscuring the yummy crabcake from view.

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Food Park: Grand Opening @ Claudia’s Steakhouse — 6/19/15

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Executive Chef Brad Race sets the pace at Claudia’s Steakhouse. (Photo courtesy Bulldog Public Relations)

Claudia’s Steakhouse (1501 K St. NW, DC) opened to the public Friday, merging classic American-Latin fusion with a high-end steakhouse in a setting certain to please K Street lobbyists and downtown diners alike.

In a grand opening preview party last Thursday, Executive Chef Brad Race greeted guests personally as he dashed from table to bar to kitchen to ensure that everything was just right.

Formerly executive chef at Spike Mendelsohn’s Bernaise, Chef Brad was clearly suited to the new steak concept, opened by restauranteurs Claudia Rivas and Charles Adams

Grand opening guests dined on steak skewers with red pepper, salted cod balls, a generous assortment of charcuterie and cheeses, and empanadas while sipping champagne at the restaurant’s preview.

Claudia’s Empanada was a particular draw. It’s a crispy small plates item served tapas style featuring steak, olives, raisins and egg bundled in a tortilla. It represents the sort of dish that Race and Rivas seek to spotlight at Claudia’s Steakhouse: classic American with authentic Latin twists.

Those empanadas and the steak skewers sampled by guests were absolutely delectable.

“The essence of Claudia’s food preparation is rooted in my family tree that dates back four generations,” Claudia Rivas said in a statement. “I am creating a genuine dining atmosphere and want to share the tastes and influences of original Latin cuisine. Claudia’s is not just a sit-down dining experience, it’s an all-evening affair.”

Hailing originally from El Salvador, Ms. Rivas inherited her passion for cooking from her grandmother, Julia Aguilar, a professional chef. Ms. Aguilar imparted recipes with influences of El Salvador, Argentina and the Caribbean to her granddaughter.

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The dining room at Claudia’s Steakhouse. (Photo courtesy Bulldog Public Relations)

At 7,500-square feet, the steakhouse has a seating capacity of 300 and a maximum occupancy of 400. Large parties can reserve two private dining rooms that can accommodate up to 120 people for events like fundraisers, birthdays, and receptions.

With a design by Grizform Design and Adams Restaurant Group, the restaurant space serves as a bar and lounge as well as a formal dining spot. It’s sleek and modern and comfortable enough to be welcoming with a minimalist design that avoids being too stark. The design incorporates Italian Murano glass wallpaper, snow white quartzite ledgestone tiling, modern furnishings with leather royal back chairs, and red leather bar stools.

For more information on Claudia’s Steakhouse (including its menu), visit

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Brad Race and colleague at work at Claudia’s (Photo courtesy Bulldog Public Relations)

ParklifeDC attended this event as a guest of the establishment. Should you like to invite us to attend your establishment’s event, please contact us via email at parklifedc AT