COTTONWOOD, Ariz. | On this, the Republican congressman and the frontman for Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer agree: The Verde Valley is a great place to make wine.
Rep. Paul Gosar, the two-term lawmaker who represents central and western Arizona, and Maynard James Keenan,the Grammy-winning and platinum-album selling rock star who happens to be the hands-on winemaker/founder of Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards, can’t say enough about the wine coming from the high-desert land here.
“Northern Arizona, particularly the Verde Valley, has the right climate to make some very interesting wines, and when you combine that with the natural beauty of the red rocks, the running creeks and rivers, the western vistas, and Arizona hospitality, it’s a recipe for success! I can’t wait to watch as this industry continues to develop over the next couple years,” said Gosar, whose official website is peppered with imagery of the valley and references to its viticulture efforts.
Keenan is counting on such sentiment, as his roots in the Verde Valley grow. His mission statement reads, in part, “My art and music has been described as ‘thick, dense, rich, complex, engaging, emotional, and spiritual,’ by those who are fans. And an ‘acquired taste’ for those kind others who are not. Arizona is ‘thick, dense, rich, complex, engaging, emotional, and spiritual,’ as well as being an ‘acquired taste.’ We are a match made in heaven and surely these qualities will be reflected in the wine that Arizona will present to us.”
In addition to his Caduceus and Merkin labels and their attendant vineyards, he has tasting rooms here, in nearby Jerome and Clarkdale; supports Yavapai College’s nascent viticulture program, the Southwest Wine Center in Clarkdale, and founded wine cooperative Four Eight Wineworks and co-founded Arizona Stronghold with fellow area winemaker Eric Glomski.
His efforts with Glomski were chronicled in the documentary movie “Blood Into Wine,” which, in addition to oneophiles and chamber of commerce types extolling the power of the vine, got a little star power from the likes of Milla Jovovich and Patton Oswalt, fans of Keenan’s music and now his wine.
Charles Wheelan, the scribe behind “Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread From the Data” and “Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science” swings by for Monday’s Roll Call Book Club to talk about his latest offering: “The Centrist Manifesto.” Wheelan, a Dartmouth professor of public policy, is a bit fed up with the gridlocked shenanigans of the Republican and Democratic parties and calls for a centrist third party that can focus on the big issues, instead of just run for re-election and trade partisan snipes. If you think this isn’t exactly a novel idea, hear Wheelan out. He is, after all, the guy who successfully marries nudity and statistics. “The terminology may sound intimidating, but Wheelan handles it well and is a patient teacher. If you’re the kind of reader whose flagging interest can be revived by cracks about the Kardashians or the author’s faux self-deprecation, you’ll enjoy Wheelan’s style,” our own Randolph Walerius wrote of “Naked Statistics” last year.
“People ask me if I put ‘naked’ in the title just to sell books. The answer is, ‘yes!’” Wheelan cracked. He’ll discuss his book at Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE starting at 6 p.m. We’ll serve snacks and adult beverages, and give out free copies of “The Centrist Manifesto” on a first-come, first-served basis. To register for this free event, click here.
Most Best of D.C.
The Washington City Paper’s Best of D.C. shindig is Wednesday at the historic Carnegie Library at 801 K St. NW, a block-party-worthy soiree of the city’s favorite beer, wine, burgers, oysters, bar, chocolate, gelato — you get the picture. Tickets are $80 for general admission. The $125 Very Important Person tickets are already sold out. Lots of local artists, performers and that admission fee gets you the open bar experience. For more information go to Washington City Paper’s website.
Undocumented Screening, Redux
Former Washington Post reporter Jose Antonio Vargas returns to the District for another screening of his compelling documentary “Undocumented,” which chronicles his uniquely American journey as an undocumented immigrant and his push for an immigration overhaul. On Thursday, he’ll host a screening of “Undocumented,” which has been updated since its initial release last year to reflect current events, at the Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The movie starts at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a panel discussion with Vargas, executive producer Janet Yang and FWD.us founder Joe Green. To RSVP, go to Eventfarm.
Not long for this world. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Then over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that the owners of several Capitol Hill watering holes, Barracks Row Entertainment, was filing for bankruptcy. Depending on how things turn out, this could affect the Hawk ‘n’ Dove, Senart’s Oyster House, The Chesapeake Room, Park Tavern, Boxcar Tavern, Lola’s Barracks Bar & Grill, Molly Malone’s, Pacifico Cantina and the not-yet-open Willie’s Brew and ‘Que.
Next on the chopping block? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Yipes. If you’ve got a favorite bar out there, better support it while you can.
PHOENIX — For convention delegates traumatized by long commutes, far-flung venues and disparate hotel options, the prospect of drama-free access this time around is highly appealing.
It is perhaps with this in mind that Arizona’s largest city is touting its light rail system and dense downtown footprint to lure either party’s 2016 presidential convention, a relatively unforeseen twist for a place often associated with car culture and urban sprawl.
Mark Halperin, co-author of “Double Down: Game Change 2012,” swings by the Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave. NE) Wednesday in a rescheduled Roll Call Book Club event that was snowed out last month.
Co-hosted by our partners at Hooks Books, the festivities get under way at 6 p.m. with some adult beverages and nosh, and our discussion with Halperin about the 2012 race, and possibly the 2016 one, will get started around 6:15 p.m. He’ll be on hand to sign some copies of the book until around 7:30 p.m.
Come hungry, thirsty and curious. Free copies of the book are available while supplies last.
Two candidates for Capitol Hill’s seat on the D.C. Council face off Tuesday night in a venue best known for booking top-notch bands and peddling $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboys.
Ward 6 Democrats Charles Allen and Darrel Thompson are headlining the 8 p.m. debate at Rock N Roll Hotel.
Billed as part of “D.C.’s most fun political debate series” and hosted by Washington City Paper, the event is sure to get rowdy. Plus, it’s probably the last chance to see Tommy Wells’ ex-chief of staff and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s former deputy throw down before the April 1 Democratic primary.
Washington City Paper’s Will Sommer, the Washington Informer’s James Wright, and DCist’s Sarah Anne Hughes will moderate. They will be taking questions from Twitter, Facebook and members of the audience, and the two candidates will get to ask one another questions for a potion of the evening.
Doors open at 1353 H St. NE at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m., leaving attendees with a full hour to take advantage of the bar’s happy hour. Entry is free, drinking is encouraged and the hosts remind you to tip your bartender.
For those of who like their brews in dark corridors, this has not been a kind year. The Lil’ Pub closed up shop in January, giving way to more toilet paper storage for neighboring CVS. The closing of a Pour House, which itself displaced dive Poli-Tiki, is just another blow for lovers of quaint. Boo!
They’re not making a big deal of it or anything, but two years in the hyper-competitive restaurant biz in D.C. is kind of an accomplishment. So congrats to Boundary Road, which celebrates its two-year anniversary tonight at 414 H St. NE.
From their website: “2/13: Boundary Road 2 Year Anniversary- regulars, neighbors, and everyone in between are all invited to celebrate what has been a magical 2 years since we joined H street! Enjoy 10% off your tab for the entire evening.”
Chef Brad Walker’s merry crew of culinary pirates and bartenders are a good bunch, willing to experiment with everything from artichoke recipes to Czech liqueurs like Becherovka.
Boundary Road likes to mix things up with local booze, among other comestibles. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)
“It’s open! It’s open! It’s open!” the young woman yelled, stopping short in front of Sona Creamery and Wine Bar along Pennsylvania Avenue near Eastern Market last weekend. It was actual word of mouth in motion.
The establishment, which features a retail cheese operation along with a bar and sit-down dining service, opened its doors for its soft opening on Jan. 29. By the time the weekend rolled around, word had gotten out, prompting Garrotxa consumption and Bichot Macon-Villages corks to pop.
Sona proprietor Conan O’Sullivan chats up a customer. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)
The business is the brainchild of husband-wife duo Conan and Genevieve O’Sullivan, who started construction and renovation on the old MotoPhoto and Sprint phone storefronts last year.
The Washington Press Club Foundation’s annual Congressional Dinner, now in its 70th year, unofficially kicks off the capital’s season of formal and semi-formal schmooze-fests on Feb. 5 at the Grand Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental. As any student of D.C. parties knows: This is the fun one.
The foundation, a nonprofit borne of the old Women’s National Press Club, raises awareness of the need for diversity in newsrooms and sponsors internships and educational projects for aspiring journalists. It also recognizes the accomplishments of sometimes underrepresented segments of the media, such as regional reporters in Washington through the David Lynch Memorial Reporting Award.
Plus, it’s a blast. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., will bravely take the mic to hoist a few zingers around the crowd of assembled pols, scribes and power brokers. They even got an early start by cutting a video debating who’s funnier.
Reception is 6:30 p.m., dinner and the program start at 8 p.m.
Wisdom Gin Club
Erik Holzherr, owner of Wisdom Cocktail Parlour, Church and State and Atlas Arcade is a man of many liquors, but there’s a spirit that is closest to his heart and he’s starting up the Wisdom Gin Club to show his love for the clear stuff.
On Feb. 6, he’ll let the world in on why he believes it is first among equals.
Twenty bucks will get you in for a guided tour of nine gins, including Leopold’s Gin, Half Moon Orchard Gin and local boys Green Hat Gin. Holzherr, Dan Searing and other specialists and ambassadors will be your guides. The club’s kickoff gets started at 7:30 p.m. at Wisdom, 1432 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. RSVP at Wisdom’s blog.
Jesse Ferguson Happy Hour
Friends, frenemies and colleagues welcome Jesse Ferguson, deputy executive director and communications director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, back to D.C. on Feb. 7 at the Hawk ‘n’ Dove for an extended happy hour.
“Let’s celebrate Jesse for showing cancer who’s boss the best way we know how: with a happy hour,” USA Today scribe (and Roll Call alumna) Susan Davis, head of the “Jesse Ferguson Return Happy Hour Organizing Committee” implored greater Capitol Hill recently via email.
Ferguson has been shuttling back and forth from his family’s home in Richmond, Va., and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center since discovering cancer in his cheek and neck. He announced earlier this month on his personal blog that his doctors feel they have nipped the frightful situation in the bud.
The libations in the upstairs bar at 329 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. get under way around 5 p.m.
Erik Holzherr, owner of Wisdom cocktail parlor, Church and State, and Atlas Arcade is a man of many liquors, but there’s a spirit that is closest to his heart, and he’s starting up the Wisdom Gin Club to show his love for the clear stuff.
If you’ve ever been to Wisdom, you know they can mix a mean cocktail from any booze you choose. But it’s also a temple of gin, and Holzherr is its chief evangelist. On Feb. 6, he’ll let the world in on why he believes it is first among equals.
Twenty bucks will get you in for a guided tour of nine gins, including Leopold’s Gin, Half Moon Orchard Gin and local boys’ Green Hat Gin. Holzherr, Dan Searing and other specialists and ambassadors will be your guides. The club’s kickoff gets started at 7:30 p.m. at Wisdom, 1432 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. RSVP at Wisdom’s blog.
And how does one withstand the latest polar vortex assault? Hunker down, hang out, listen to music, watch movies, eat beet fries and hoist a few drinks.
Real Life Monuments Men
The National Archives on Thursday, is showing a documentary about some of the real-life Monuments Men who helped safeguard Europe’s great art from the Nazis during World War II.
The Archives will screen “The Rape of Europa” at noon at the William G. McGowan Theater, a 2006 documentary about the Allies’ attempts to protect the continent’s cultural heritage.
Sound familiar? That’s the premise of the highly anticipated film by George Clooney, “The Monuments Men,” which is set to be released Feb. 7.
Both flicks look like they’re worth a gander. Free. The Archives is at Constitution Avenue, between Seventh and Ninth streets Northwest.
Toki Gets Taken Over
Austin-based food-trailer-turned-mini-dynasty East Side King roars into town Friday to take over Toki Underground at 1234 H St. NE. Visiting ESK chefs Paul Qui, Moto Utsunomiya, and Jorge Luis Hernandez will sling away for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. until closing time. No reservations, and space is, as any visitor to Toki knows, small. It’s a first-come, first-served shot at noshing at some of ESK’s Thai Chicken Karaage, Beef Tongue Kare Kare Buns, Beet Home Fries, Fried Brussels Sprout Salad, Liberty Rie and Tori Meshi.
Get a ‘Rope’
Hill Center and Friends of the Southeast Library are showcasing some of Alfred Hitchcock’s pre-”Psycho” work over the next month, starting on Friday with 1948′s “Rope,” a Jimmy Stewart flick about the consequences of philosophical musings.
Future screenings will bring “Shadow of a Doubt,” “Strangers on a Train” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” to 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Discussions will be lead by Tom Zaniello, facilitator of Capitol Hill Village’s Cinephiles film discussion group and author of a forthcoming book on Hitch. They’re all free, but register ahead of time for a spot at hillcenterdc.org.
District-based U.S. Royalty celebrates the release of its newest album, “Blue Sunshine,” this Saturday with a show at the Rock and Roll Hotel at 1353 H St. NE, followed by an after party at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar just down the street at 1104 H St. NE.
The show is $15 at Rock and Roll Hotel, with doors at 7 p.m. and show starting at 8 p.m. Spires opens. No cover at Little Miss Whiskey’s, where the party is slated to start at 10 p.m.
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.
It’s Restaurant Week Jan. 13-19 in Washington, and with scores of establishments to choose from, it’s important to winnow the list to a manageable number. Capitol Hill and its immediate environs have a healthy number of tables available for the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s three-course winter feed. Here’s a handy list of nearby places for that $20.14 lunch or $35.14 dinner.
Roll Call After Dark is about what Washington does when it's not at work.
The District of Columbia is a cultural capital where you can you get your kicks from movies projected on the National Mall, lectures on vermouth or Russian avant-garde art. There's always something to do.
Jason Dick is the Hill Life editor for Roll Call and has also worked at Greenwire, CongressDaily and National Journal Daily during his time in Washington. @jasonjdick