Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

Posts in "Down Time"

April 23, 2014

DC Ducks Meets Roll Call After Dark

“There’s a lot of things you can do wrong,” said Capt. Bob, the DC Ducks skipper responsible for 19 souls in the “Rubber Duck” as it glided along the waterways of the Potomac, with Roll Call After Dark at the wheel.

ducks2 445x333 DC Ducks Meets Roll Call After Dark

The author, taking command. (Humberto Sanchez/CQ Roll Call)

DC Ducks boasts of being “guaranteed and safe,” but it doesn’t take a flight of fancy to imagine bad things happening in a vintage 1942 DUKW amphibious military vessel. But on Tuesday, the Potomac’s high seas were friendly, and the author was able to bravely turn “Rubber Duck” a few degrees here and non before ceding the con back to Capt. Bob.

If “Rubber Duck” could survive D-Day, it could certainly survive Roll Call.

By Jason Dick Posted at noon
Down Time

March 28, 2014

Calendar: Time to Make Outdoor Plans, Finally

Amazing what a couple of days above freezing will do for everyone’s disposition!

Whether it’s planning some fun runs, mussing about among the cherry blossoms or gearing up for the return of the Washington Nationals, it’s nice to be able to go outside without cold weather gear, finally.

Run, Run, Run

One of the biggest outdoor activities of the season brings together not just the Cherry Blossom Festival crowds but members of Congress and the physically fit. April 6 is the annual Congressional Federal Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, a massive foot race that raises money for charity that contains the Capitol Hill Competition race-within-the-race. Race organizers on April 3 will present the a check to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in Room HVC-200 at the Capitol Visitor Center. Expect current and former members of Congress to attend. Congressional Federal CEO Charles A. Mallon Jr., is touting the 41 senators and 189 House members who are serving as honorary co-chairs of the race, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio. The event starts at 10 a.m. Capitol Hill Competition runners can pick up their race packets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the same room. Full story

March 3, 2014

Snow Can’t Keep Down D.C. Movie Houses

Winter’s latest broadside to Washington has notched another snow day for the government and local schools, but hasn’t managed to totally shut down the movies, which is good news for moviegoers looking to catch up on Oscar contenders and winners that might have eluded them so far.

The 2014 D.C. Jewish Film Festival is in full swing, although it’s had to cancel a couple of screenings, but not all, for Monday. Among the casualties were Monday’s lunchtime talk with Dan Shadur at the Library of Congress about “Before the Revolution,” as well as the screenings of “The Sturgeon Queens” at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville, Md., at 7:30 p.m. and “Altina” at the Goethe Institut at 7 p.m. All the other screenings — “Master of a Good Name” at 6:30 p.m. the D.C. JCC and “Nothing Old About This Testament” at 8:30 p.m. at the D.C. JCC, and “Arabani” at the AFI Silver in Silver Spring, Md., are a go. For a complete list of screenings for the festival, go here.

The AFI Silver also has a pretty good complement of the Oscar winners and contenders on Monday, with showtimes for “12 Years a Slave,” “Her,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Nebraska,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Philomena.” They’ve also got some repertory fare, such as “The Crimson Pirate” and “Sorry, Wrong Number.”

Ditto for the E Street Cinema and the Avalon Theater in Chevy Chase (although they’ve canceled shows after 6 p.m. on Monday) and the West End Cinema. The Avalon and West End are showing a bunch of the Oscar shorts.

So if you thought “Philomena” looked kind of interesting or realize that it’s about time you saw “12 Years a Slave,” or you’re in the mood for a claymation film about a mystical rabbi from 17th Century Eastern Europe,  the snow day’s a perfect time for that, eh?

By Jason Dick Posted at 2:01 p.m.
Down Time, Movies

February 28, 2014

D.C. Jewish Film Festival Has Hill in Mind

The 24th annual Washington Jewish Film Festival is under way, with a full slate of films airing through March 9 at area venues and a series of talks at the Library of Congress for cinephiles on their lunch break.

Among the 64 films from 18 countries are offerings from familiar names such as John Turturro from the United States, with his film “Fading Gigolo” to more obscure fare, such as Kibwe Tavares’ short film from Tanzania, “Jonah.” The festival is focusing on films from Poland this year, a country with a rich cinematic history and a complicated, tragic history with Jews, as films like “The Man Who Made Angels Fly” and “Mamele” make clear.

The free noontime talks March 3-5 and March 7 at the Library of Congress provide a nice way for those interested in the films and the issues they bring up to break up the day, and lunch hour, on Capitol Hill.

On March 3, Dan Shadur discusses his documentary “Before the Revolution” in the Mary Pickford Theater in the LOC’s Madison Building. On March 4, Diana Groo discusses her documentary, “Regina,” along with Alan Reich, in the Pickford. On March 5, Karen Kohn Bradley, Pierre Dulaine and Diane Nabatoff discuss “Dancing in Jaffa” in Room LM 642 of the Madison Building. And on March 7, Jason Hutt and Salo Levinas will talk about “Sukkah City” in the Madison’s Law Library Multimedia Center, Room 240.

And there’s no way we can skip mentioning a movie from South Africa called “Noye’s Fludde,” a short film by Mark Domford, based on the Noah flood story, but starring South African opera star Pauline Malefane as a female Noah and sung entirely in Xhosa. Wrap your head around that one!

February 6, 2014

Max Baucus Is Running … the Beijing Marathon (Maybe) (Video)

Just moments after being confirmed on Thursday to be the United States’ top envoy to China, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said he was considering running the Beijing marathon in October. “I’ve actually got my eye on the Beijing Marathon,” he said on the floor, noting his longtime affection for running.

baucus 445x296 Max Baucus Is Running ... the Beijing Marathon (Maybe) (Video)

Baucus, left, is thinking about running the Beijing Marathon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Baucus likes to hoof it. He made headlines in the 1990s when he walked the length of the Treasure State, more than 800 miles. In 2003, he ran a 50-mile ultra-marathon. It was during that 2003 race that he fell and banged his head. The bruising on his face when he returned to work was ghastly. He eventually had to have surgery to fix some bleeding in his skull, which stemmed from the injury.

Nearly 11 years later, Baucus doesn’t sound like he’ll seek out anything more than the standard 26.2 miles. He even joked on the floor that he might need to settle for the half-marathon in Beijing.

That might not be such a bad idea. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who came to the floor after Baucus was done signing off, reminded him of the horrific pollution levels in Beijing, which come from monitors “on top of the U.S. embassy.”

Word of advice for the new ambassador: If you run, you might want to don a mask, as many marathoners there do. And watch where you step. Because of the lack of public facilities, many runners urinated on the walls of the Forbidden City last year.

No shame in the half-marathon, 9K, or mini-marathon (4.2K), senator!

January 13, 2014

Ode to Capitol Hill’s Li’l Pub

The Li’l Pub at 655 Pennsylvania Ave. SE closed its doors one week ago, but it’s still a sad sight to behold — its signage gone, along with another link to Capitol Hill’s gritty, working-class past.

lilpub 251x335 Ode to Capitol Hills Lil Pub

Dead and gone. The former Li’l Pub on Capitol Hill. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Prince of Petworth reported last month that the building was sold to the CVS next door, and the pub’s last day in business would be Jan. 6. Aside from the loss of something else that was simply quaint, it was one of the last places on Capitol Hill to shoot a game of pool.

It could be a surly spot — clashes being a bit inevitable when young urbanites and old contractors inhabit the same cramped space — but it was also a unique destination amid the general gussying up of Capitol Hill and its Eastern Market area.

It was a place bartenders and servers could go after their shifts. It was a place Bud wasn’t consumed ironically. It was a place that, several years after indoor smoking was banned, still smelled of tobacco. And it was one of the last connections to the old Little Tavern hamburger spots that used to dot the Mid-Atlantic. When you are featured in a Zippy the Pinhead comic strip, you know you’re true-blue Americana.

There are a few of the old repurposed Little Tavern buildings left here and there — a Subway sandwich shop near Union Market, a doughnut and burger place in Laurel, Md. — but the loss of this establishment feels particularly sad. The thought of it being used to store more toilet paper or topical analgesics just kind of stinks.

Adios, Li’l Pub.

By Jason Dick Posted at 2:10 p.m.
Down Time, Drink

November 26, 2013

Boundary Road Will Put an Egg on It for Black Friday

Boundary Road is going to put an egg on Black Friday.

If you’re looking for a watering hole on Thanksgiving night or a place to re-engage your taste buds the day after Turkey Day, the H Street bistro is opening up the bar at 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving and open for its Black Friday FRANKENLunch.

Along with booze, wine and beers on Thursday, some sort of sandwich-like endeavors will be available for purchase, just in case you didn’t get enough turkey, dressing, yams, cranberries, green beans, etc., in the hours before. It won’t be the regular late-night bar menu, staff says, but something of the moment.

Then on Friday, the full lunch menu is available, with the option of putting an egg on everything for one dollar. Make sense? Lunch, plus an egg, mixed up … maybe. It does, though, remind us of the timeless Portlandia skit, “Put a Bird On It.”

By Jason Dick Posted at 4:04 p.m.
Down Time, Drink, Eat

November 25, 2013

Calendar: A Different Kind of Holiday Music

Looking forward to this holiday season’s soundtrack of “Jingle Bell Rock” and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch’s “8 Days of Hanukkah”?

In the event you might not be, there are some marquee shows playing in the District this week to provide  some respite from the usual suspects. Full story

November 21, 2013

Ride the MARC, Drink for Free

Anyone looking for a cheaper ride back and forth to Baltimore on the weekends cheered earlier this year, when Maryland announced it was extending MARC service on Saturdays and Sundays come December. And to sweeten the pot even further, Kimpton Hotels is offering up a deal that scores weekend MARC riders a discount at one of the their hotels at either end of the terminus, as well as some free vino.

The “MARC a Night of It” deal involves 15 percent off the room rate at the Hotel George in D.C. and the Hotel Monaco in Baltimore. It also comes with a free bottle of wine. All you have to do is wait for Dec. 7, book for Thursdays through Sundays and show your Penn Line MARC ticket when you check in. You can book online  (rate code “MARC”) or call 1-800-Kimpton.

For some reason, it brings to mind the Destination DC “Get a Room” ad campaign from earlier this year.

November 8, 2013

Weekend Calendar: Winston Groom, Bridesmaids and The Gettysburg Address

It’s a long weekend, but there’s plenty to do around Capitol Hill, starting tonight with the Roll Call Book Club and continuing through the weekend, when visitors to the Library of Congress can see a copy of the Gettysburg Address.

Winston Groom’s ‘Aviators’

“Forrest Gump” author Winston Groom’s latest book, “The Aviators,” came out Nov. 5, and the author himself is dropping by the Roll Call Book Club on Friday to discuss it and sign his books at CQ Roll Call, 77 K St. NE at 6 p.m. For this nonfiction book, he tells the story of the early years of aviation, focusing on how Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle and Charles Lindbergh helped shape things. The event is sold out, but keep checking Eventbrite’s listing, as some folks have had to beg off, leaving a couple spots here and there for the taking.

Mothers, Lock Up Your Sons

The Union Market Drive-In wraps up its fall Encore Series season Friday night with a screening of “Bridesmaids,” which was chosen by patrons via social media. And what does that say that the popular choice is rated R? That we love comedies about Gen X slackers who are afraid of commitment and drink too much! As Union Market says on its website, the film is “not recommended for children.” Hey, they might as well know what life has in store, no? Free. Gates open at 6 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Four Score and …

The Nicolay copy of the Gettysburg Address, which many historians presume to be the first draft, will be displayed at the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building’s Great Hall, starting Friday through Nov. 19, the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s delivery of the address in Gettysburg, Pa. On Nov. 20, the Nicolay copy will head to the LOC’s Civil War in America exhibit on the second floor of the Jefferson Building. First Street and Independence Avenue SE. Free.

Jury Notice for an Art Show

The first annual EMULSION: East City Art regional juried show opens on Nov. 9 at Gallery O on H, at 1354 H St. NE. The opening reception is at the gallery from 7 to 10 p.m. the same day. The exhibition runs through Jan. 18. With so many neighborhoods opening up for artists in the eastern part of the District, this could be a landmark event.

November 7, 2013

Tortilla Coast Before It Was a Capitol Icon

Tortilla Coast might have been destined to become an icon on Capitol Hill.

Tortilla2 445x241 Tortilla Coast Before It Was a Capitol Icon

Bartender Mike Cumming serving lunch and drinks back in 2002. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Twenty-five years before Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, assembled conservative House firebrands in its basement to discuss shutdown strategies, Tortilla Coast opened to diners on the Senate side of the Capitol, at the location that now houses Union Pub at 201 Massachusetts Ave. NE. The reaction to the then-exotic idea of Mexican food played out in our own pages, under Thomas Head’s “Head Table column” on Nov. 6, 1988.

“Tortilla Coast, Capitol Hill’s newest Mexican restaurant, is located on the culinary map equidistant from Houston, Acapulco, and Walt Disney World,” Head wrote. His reaction to the name and decor suggested a mixed review might be coming. Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:37 p.m.
Down Time, Drink, Eat

November 5, 2013

Union Market Continues World Domination Plans

Union Market continues to proceed with what can only be regarded as a plan to take over the world. Need evidence? How about its plans to be open six days a week and having The Walkmen play at the buzzy food and food-stuffs market.

Meal Ticket 9 101912 2 445x295 Union Market Continues World Domination Plans

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Starting Nov. 12, the market will expand from being open five days a week to six. Currently, the market is open Wednesday through Sunday with current hours from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. On Nov. 12, the market will open on Tuesdays from here on out.

But the new hours are just the latest expansion into the D.C. consciousness. They pick people up for lunch with their Roadie shuttle, host a pop-up Toki Underground stall, project drive-in movies, provide a landing zone for Crafty Bastards and are even clearing some space for The Walkmen to help inaugurate the new second-floor performance space, Dock 5, on Nov. 30.

The indie-rock faves, all of whom are D.C. natives, will perform with Sunwolf and DJ Will Eastman.

Tickets start at $25 for the gig and can be purchased at Ticketfly. Doors open at 7 p.m., tunes at 8 p.m.

November 4, 2013

Calendar: D.C.’s Musical Heritage Gets a Listen

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Washington has long been an epicenter for bluegrass and jazz. If you’re interested in checking out both proud genres on Capitol Hill, Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital is hosting some fine performers in its Abraham Lincoln Hall this week.

Bluegrass on Pennsylvania Avenue

First up is Jim Hurst, a performer who has been shortlisted for the 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitarist of the Year, who will play at Hill Center on Monday at 7 p.m. To prime the pump, Hurst will be on local station WAMU’s bluegrass program at 9 a.m. with Katy Daley (which can be found at 105.5 FM in D.C.) It’s $15 in advance and $20 at the door at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. To get tickets, go to Hill Center’s website.

Jazz Things Up

On Wednesday, bassist Eric Wheeler will perform a variety of jazz styles at Hill Center that show the range of the form — particularly how it relates to jazz musicians in the District, such as Duke Ellington, Billy Taylor and many more. Wheeler is a District native who leads the Hill Center Jazz Ensemble and is a fixture at such jazz venues at Bohemian Caverns on U Street.

Winston Groom Stops By

Winston Groom is set to helm the latest installment of the Roll Call Book Club on Friday at 6 p.m. The author of “Forrest Gump” has a new book out this week, “The Aviators,” which takes a look at the early years of aviation and three men who helped define it: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle and Charles Lindbergh. The event, at the CQ Roll Call offices at 77 K St. NE, is sold out and bulging at the seams, so if you’ve RSVP’d “yes” but know you won’t be able to make it, please let the folks at Eventbrite know so that others can come see Groom and get their book signed.

The Last Picture Show

Friday is the last show of the season for Union Market’s fall drive-in movie series. The summer series was so popular that the folks at 1309 Fifth St. NE arranged an autumn go-round, and gave us free outdoor showings of “Caddyshack,” “Julie and Julia,” “Good Will Hunting” and “Evan Almighty.” So what’s on tap for Friday? That’s up to you. Union Market is hosting a people’s choice vote for the flick — you can cast your ballot via their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the show, whichever it is, begins at 7:30 p.m.

October 25, 2013

Weekend Calendar: Prepping for Halloween

Halloween isn’t technically until Oct. 31, but it’s always a good idea to get a head start. Lucky for us, Capitol Hill obliges a-plenty. Here are a few choice options to get ready for All Hallow’s Eve.

The Fridge, the multipurpose gallery/performance space on Barracks Row at 516 1/2 Eighth St. SE is hosting a little Halloween carnival: Alley Cats Halloween/Dia de Muertos Artists Market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The Fridge bills it as a place to pick up “some inexpensive, but artsy, party favors for your Halloween shindig” and a place to meet folks from “D.C.’s unique art community.”

What better place to hang out this time of year than Congressional Cemetery? Last week, the cemetery hosted its annual Dead Man’s Run 5K. This Saturday, they’ve got their Ghosts and Goblets Soiree. A general admission ticket for $60 gets you four drinks, live entertainment, a heated tent and “visits from some of the 65,000 local ‘residents.’” At 1801 E St. SE. Purchase tickets at eventbrite.

Belga Café’s Halloween plans coincide with their ninth anniversary celebration. Saturday brings their Pajama Brunch, which will provide those who dress in their jammies some free bubbly, while Sunday brings their Early Halloween Brunch. Come in a costume and the restaurant says they’ll have a surprise. Trick or treat, or moules frites? At 514 Eighth St. SE.

October 1, 2013

Attention Tourists: Nonessentials Will Help You See the Sights

shutdown 004 100113 445x278 Attention Tourists: Nonessentials Will Help You See the Sights

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tourists: They probably didn’t anticipate locked doors and barriers when they planned their trips to Washington, D.C., this week. Furloughed, nonessential feds: They’ve got some time on their hands. Perhaps they can combine forces for the greater good?

That’s the sentiment, at least, for scores of furloughed federal workers who are making themselves available on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (10th St. and Constitution Ave. NW) for a “Shutdown Guide for DC Tourists.”

The Washington D.C. Metro Council of the AFL-CIO is helping coordinate furloughed union members to distribute copies of the union’s “Federal Worker’s Guide to Shutdown DC” a handy-dandy pamphlet about seeing sights that aren’t closed down.

Afterward, perhaps the visitors can buy a nonessential fed a cold one at any one of the many friendly establishments in town that are providing comfort stations for the furloughed among us. We’re all in it together.

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