Stars and Bars: Miracle on 7th Street @ Mockingbird Hill, 12/1-12/24/15

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Miracle on 7th Street’s Gretchen, Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen, served in a frosted glass. (Photo by Joy Asico)

For the month of December, Mockingbird Hill owner Derek Brown will transform his sherry bar (1843 7th St. NW, DC) into a Christmas bar.

And Derek and company are really going all out to do it.

Borrowing the concept from Cocktail Kingdom and barman Nico de Soto of Mace and Miracle on 9th Street in New York City, Derek will introduce a line of 10 Christmas-themed cocktails and a shot from Tuesday, Dec. 1, to Thursday, Dec. 24.

Miracle on 7th Street bar will feature daily Christmas and Hanukkah-themed happy hours.

“Guests can expect to enjoy Christmas classic movie nights, Manischewitz Pong competitions, and cookie baking shenanigans. The holiday pop-up will serve up everything from live Christmas carolers to cocktails served in outrageous Santa mugs, adorned with frosty evergreen trees and gingerbread men,” according to a press release.

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Music Park: Jessie’s Girl @ Howard Theatre — 10/16/15

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Jenna O’Gara leads the girls on stage for “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” at the Howard on Oct. 16, 2015.

“Jessie is a band/
Yeah, I know it’s been a good 80s cover band.”

Usually closely held by denizens of New York City, Jessie’s Girl brought its brightly lit guitar solos to the Howard Theatre on Friday night to an ardent audience happy to dance their hearts out.

The seven-person ensemble rocks out with a wide variety of tunes from the ’80s, ranging from artists like Prince, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, A-ha, Loverboy, and more. Friday, they bound onto the stage with intro music borrowed from “The Final Countdown” by Europe and then proceeded to dive headlong into kinetic tributes to musicians who defined a decade.

Early in the show, the band jumps into “Working for the Weekend” by Loverboy, encouraging the crowd to hop around the room, hands raised in celebration. Singers Jenna O’Gara and Mark Rinzel trade off vocal duties for the song, pumping up the shamelessly lyrical fun of the song’s mission statement: Take a few days off to party!

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Don’t Miss: Back to the 80s Show w/ Jessie’s Girl and Rob Base @ Howard Theatre, 10/16/15

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Jenna O’Gara of Jessie’s Girl killing it at the Canal Room in New York City (Photo by Manish Gosalia)

If there’s one thing my old friends know about me, it’s that I like an ’80s dance party. (Check out my Parklife DC list of 80s parties if you want some evidence!)

And that’s one reason why I absolutely must check out a performance by New York City’s biggest ’80s cover band, Jessie’s Girl, who are visiting DC to perform at the Howard Theatre in a late show tomorrow night, Friday, Oct. 16.

And they are bringing along with them Rob Base, the hip hop artist perhaps best known for the ’80s hit “It Takes Two” with the late DJ E-Z Rock. In concert with Jessie’s Girl, Rob Base has performed his signature songs “It Takes Two” and “Joy & Pain” (…are like sunshine and rain)!

Watch Jessie’s Girl get a little new wave with their cover of “Take on Me” by A-ha on YouTube:

And lest you make the mistake of thinking that Jessie’s Girl are heavy on flash and light on talent, watch this charming acoustic studio cover of “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper:

Tickets are available online. This is a great opportunity for all of us to see this fun cover band in our own backyard. See you there for a totally awesome time!

Back to the 80s
Jessie’s Girl
Special Performance by Rob Base
Howard Theatre
Friday, Oct. 16
Show @10pm
$20
21+

Sports Park: Navigating the DC Social Sports Scene – ZogSports

ZogSports VolleyballSmile, you’re a winner!

Social sports are a big deal in DC. Since there are so many options, how do you determine which league to join?

The sport you want to play and where you’re willing to play at will impact your decision. Unfortunately, there are no Whirlyball leagues at the Verizon Center quite yet.

Let’s continue to look at three leagues you should try out. See Part 1 here.

Part 2: ZogSports DC

I’ve played sand volleyball (6×6 and 4×4) with ZogSports DC since 2014.

Sand volleyball is a lot of fun. Although the season for league outdoor volleyball is winding down, on weekends, there is usually a big turn-out at the Lincoln Memorial Sand Courts for free pick-up matches.

The sign-up fee for ZogSports DC includes six matches (with playoffs if you qualify), a team t-shirt and the winning team each week gets a free pitcher or bucket of beer at the sponsor bar. The top two teams in each league gets a donation (from ZogSports) sent to the cause/charity of their choice. I also like that the website tracks the standings and archives any past leagues you have played in.

The locations of the different sports are all across the city, so you should have no trouble finding something that is convenient for you.

Kendra Hansen, General Manager of ZogSports DC, chats with Parklife DC:

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Music Park: Donald Cumming @ Echostage, 7/29/15

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Donald Cumming (Photo by Kat Villacorta)

Catching a show by Donald Cumming is sort of like hanging out with a casual friend that you really like and want to get to know better.

The unassuming former frontman of The Virgins visited DC from New York City to perform at Echostage Wednesday, opening for Brandon Flowers, himself a displaced frontman.

Donald performed his first single, “Game of the Heart,” singing of the struggles of love, fixed to the center of the stage with his guitar and surrounded by a simple but talented band — guitar, bass and drums, which spun jangly and affable psych rock.

The singer-songwriter is a very precise guitarist, taking care to craft intricate melodies that might sound a little bit like Elvis Costello or a little bit like Tom Petty on occasion. He’s perfectly relaxed and comfortable in his own skin, which lends itself to his own unhurried identity, however. Although Donald only started performing solo this year, we have to keep in mind indeed that he toured two albums with his former band before he officially gave up on the outfit in 2013.

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Don’t Miss: Donald Cumming (Opening for Brandon Flowers) @ Echostage, 7/29/15

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Donald Cumming, Out Calls Only (Photo courtesy Tell All Your Friends PR)

When I last saw Donald Cumming, he was on tour with his former band, The Virgins. And the band was opening for The Killers at Merriweather Post Pavilion in August 2013.

Now Brandon Flowers, frontman of The Killers, is coming around to Echostage on Wednesday, July 29 in a tour to support his solo efforts, and he’s bringing newly solo Donald around with him. Donald released his first solo album, Out Calls Only, in June on Razor & Tie subsidiary Washington Square.

As a solo artist, Donald’s voice and his guitar remain distinctive. And his songs still sound to me like they carry hallmarks of early Elvis Costello. (And I still think of The Cars when I hear Donald play for some reason!) But on Out Calls Only, Donald certainly sounds more lovelorn, and perhaps more grown up?

Donald recently released a video for his latest single, “Game of the Heart,” a jaunty song that suggests “Somebody wins everybody else loses” in the struggle of love.

Watch the video for “Game of the Heart” on YouTube:

I had the pleasure of interviewing Donald in 2013 when I was blogging for We Love DC, and he said his meeting with The Killers and then Brandon came about quite unintentionally.

All the same, it’s good to have one of New York City’s finest guitar players in town, so get to Echostage early on Wednesday and catch Donald in his DC solo debut.

Donald Cumming
(Opening for Brandon Flowers)
Echostage
Wednesday, July 29
Doors @7pm
$43.45
All ages