Music Park: The Concert for Valor takes over the National Mall — 11/11/14

141111-D-DB155-027Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl

Hundreds of thousands of people came out to the National Mall on Veteran’s Day to experience The Concert for Valor.

From my vantage point (next to the Hirshhorn Museum), far fewer people than expected braved the perfect weather to witness some of the biggest artists and celebrities honor our veterans.

My guess is the pre-concert buzz of hordes of 800,000 to a million concert goers crashing the Mall scared off most people. The reality was…still a lot of people, but the whole affair turned out orderly, civilized and the city of DC proved to be well prepared. My favorite feature was the ‘family reunification’ station.

The Concert kicked off with Jennifer Hudson singing the National Anthem. Underwhelming start, but a number of performances stand out.

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Don’t Miss: Thomas Dolby Supporting Amanda Palmer @ Sixth & I, 11/12/14

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Thomas Dolby (Photo courtesy Conqueroo)

Thomas Dolby, the English musician best known for his ubiquitous new wave hit “She Blinded Me With Science,” now lives in Baltimore.

Dolby moved there earlier this year to accept a faculty position from Johns Hopkins University as its first Homewood Professor of the Arts.

The move, undoubtedly an intellectually stimulating endeavor for Dolby, also is proving fruitful for music enthusiasts like myself as he settles into the region and continues to experiment and expand upon his musical repertoire.

The professor makes one of his first appearances as a local tonight as a guest of Amanda Palmer during her The Art of Asking Book Tour at the Sixth&I historical synagogue in DC. Palmer’s book is described as, “Part manifesto, part revelation, The Art of Asking is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet.”

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Grapevine: Sam Fitz Leaving Pizzeria Paradiso

Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown

The Young & Hungry columnin the Washington City Paper (which abhors the name Washington but uses it anyway) revealed today that Sam Fitz, beverage director at Pizzeria Paradiso, will soon depart after only a few months on the job.

Jessica Sidman reported: “Beer aficionado Sam Fitz is leaving his position as bar manager of Pizzeria Paradiso over the next month to open his own place with his sister Rachel Fitz. He’s not revealing a lot of the details at this time, but the business will be in D.C. and take inspiration from a cider-focused trip he took to the French and Spanish Basque country last February. He’s registered an LLC for Basque Bar.”

In a statement to the City Paper, Pizzeria Paradiso owner Ruth Gresser said, “Sam’s tenure at Pizzeria Paradiso was always seen as a transitional one, both for him and for Pizzeria Paradiso.”

Longtime Paradiso manager Josh Fernands is slated to take over the beer program after Fitz’s departure sometime in the next month.

Music Park: Le Butcherettes @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 11/5/14

Teri Gender Bender, lead singer of glam-punk trio Le Butcherettes, has put less shock and more seduction into her act these days.

Before I ever saw them, sources like Allmusic.com say the band burst into Los Angeles with shock tactics and depictions of women as slaves. But today, Ms. Gender Bender is all about putting herself into her music, as she demonstrated in a recent show at the Rock and Roll Hotel.

At various times, she might purr or hiss, sway or strut, whisper or howl, depending on the song. The audience, a very nearly sold-out crowd on Nov. 5, was enraptured.

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Around Town: George Takei @ FedTalks 2014, 11/6/14

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Actor George Takei addresses FedTalks 2014.

To many of us, he’s a virtual presence known for his social media following.

But George Takei visited DC in person last week to serve as the keynote speaker at FedTalks 2014, held by media and conference company FedScoop at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium.

In his remarks, the Star Trek actor discussed his experiences in a Japanese-American internment camp as a young boy during World War II. He rolled the discussion of being inspired by his heroes in the Japanese-American 442nd Infantry Regiment and his parents.

His memories and research into that time led to him starring in a musical, Allegiance, which will head to Broadway in 2015. Takei credited his social medial clout with bolstering awareness of the play and its related issues.

“By trial and error, I built my small base of sci-fi geeks and nerds into a bigger one,” Takei told the audience, saying he started the conversation with his Twitter followers and others through humor, and later addressed social justice issues.

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Don’t Miss: DC United playoff tilt @ RFK Stadium — 11/8/14

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RFK Stadium – Come on DC, you can do better.

I get it, America. Soccer just isn’t our sport. Someday, we say. If only the games were more exciting with more goals, we say.

That’s fine. But…

That someday has come. That exciting game is this Saturday.

Your DC United squad is playing for their MLS Cup playoff lives.

They are down 2-0 to the New York Red Bulls in their two-game aggregate playoff series.

They need to win 2-0, to force a tie and overtime. Or 3-0 to win the series outright.

DC United must score a lot of goals. Exciting for everyone.

Soccer attendance will always take a back seat to other professional sports, but if your team is the 3rd best team in Major League Soccer and making a run on its 5th championship (which would be a record), then you better take notice.

Saturday is the day. Tickets are available. Show your support.

 

MLS Cup Eastern Conference Semifinals: New York Red Bulls @ DC United

RFK Stadium

Saturday, November 8

@2:30pm

Tickets

Food Park: Soft Opening @ El Camino, 11/5/14

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Bloomingdale residents have long been anticipating a splash of new restaurants opening in their rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, and El Camino (108 Rhode Island Ave., NW, DC) became the latest to welcome them last night.

The section of Rhode Island Ave. NW in Bloomingdale, labeled by at least one observer as “Hipsters Row,” is cultivately what I consider to be a wonderfully cozy selection of bars and restaurants, and in this aspect El Camino doesn’t disappoint. You walk into the restaurant/bar under a sign that still advertises the space as a uniforms outlet, but once inside, you are greeted with warm browns, reds and blacks adorning a comfortable dining space.

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