So long, Thanksgiving. Hello, holiday party season! This week the Senate may be away, but the festivities are in play, starting with the lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the West Front and the Capitol Hill Chanukah Celebration at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Capitol’s Mansfield Room.
And even if you’re not into indulging your inner Scrooge, there’s still plenty to do around Capitol Hill this week, including taking a look at some of the capital city’s dark secrets through the eyes of its most storied detective, and a concert at the Library of Congress by country royalty Rosanne Cash, daughter of the Man in Black.
Bill Press sits down on Tuesday at Hill Center with Terry Lenzner, arguably the District’s most seasoned private investigator. Lenzner has a memoir out, “The Investigator: Fifty Years of Uncovering the Truth,” which the two will discuss. Lenzner’s seen it all in a long career, including the murders of civil rights workers in the South, Watergate, the Unabomber and any number of high and low crimes. Lenzner will sign copies afterward. At the Hill Center’s Abraham Lincoln Hall at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 7-9 p.m. Free, but register at Hill Center’s website.
LOC to Cash In
Roseanne Cash will be at the Library of Congress for a three-day residency that starts Thursday and goes through Sunday, a project that will reveal to the public her new album, “The River and the Thread,” and include a “round robin” with other singer-songwriters and talk with a fellow Southerner, Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. The eldest child of the late Johnny Cash has a more-than-three-decades-long career and is a country legend in her own right. The fact that she’s kicking off her tour in D.C. at the library speaks to her enduring cultural imprint. On Thursday, Cash will premiere her new album in a concert at the Thomas Jefferson Building’s Coolidge Auditorium at 101 Independence Ave. SE. The tunes start at 8 p.m. The concert is free, sort of: You have to get tickets through Ticketmaster, which will charge a processing fee. The LOC says advance tickets are sold out, but there should be a decent number of “rush” tickets at the door. Friday’s round robin with Cash, John Leventhal, Cory Chisel, Rodney Crowell and Amy Helm is at the Coolidge at 8 p.m. Her Saturday conversation with Trethewey at the Jefferson Building’s Whittall Pavilion is free.
Eat, Drink, Vote, Read
The Roll Call Book Club wraps up its 2013 series with Marion Nestle, who’ll drop by CQ Roll Call HQ at 77 K St. NE on Thursday night to discuss her new book, “Eat Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics.” Co-hosted by our pals at Hooks Books, drop by at 6 p.m. for a little wine, some cheese and a discussion on what’s on everyone’s mind: What’s to eat?
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.
(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.
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.
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.
Now that the shutdown is behind us, the full parking lots around the Capitol complex show clearly that Hill staffers have come back to work in full force this week. Because the next shutdown and debt crisis won’t start developing for a couple more months hence, there’s plenty of time to settle back in to regular life on Capitol Hill.
Karaoke in the Capital
The American Association of Political Consultants’ Mid-Atlantic chapter is putting on its third annual Karaoke in the Capital at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Wednesday. Hacks, flacks, lobbyists, pros, Democrats and Republicans are all welcome to belt out a few tunes at 1353 H St. NE. Proceeds go to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, a charity that donates instruments to schools and helps bring musical education to kids who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to it. It’s $15 in advance or at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the alleged entertainment begins at 8 p.m.
Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital will be a hothouse for documentary films this week. “The Graduates/Los Graduados,” the story of several Latino students in the United States, screens Tuesday at 7 p.m. On Wednesday, “Herman’s House” screens at 7 p.m. The movie is about Herman Wallace, a prisoner who spent more than 40 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana and worked with artist Jackie Sumell on a “dream house,” as well as the human rights issue his case has brought to the fore. And on Friday, the Smithsonian Channel’s “Incredible Flying Cars” series will touch down for a showing of “Vertical Take-Off.” All screenings are free, but registration ahead of time on Hill Center’s website is appreciated.
Middleburg Film Festival
The maiden voyage of the Middleburg Film Festival gets under way Thursday, and the intimate venues and vibe in horse country provide a full slate of great looking movies for the capital’s cinematic set. Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska” kicks things off on Thursday, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday are packed with fare such as Alex Gibney’s documentary “The Armstrong Lie” about Lance Armstrong’s doping, “Capital,” the latest political thriller from legendary director Costa-Gavras, and “August: Osage County” by John Wells.
Every good production needs a playlist, and here’s one for the superdupercommittee, House Republicans’ proposal to sit down and talk, really talk, about the debt limit, government shutdown, maybe the best oyster mushroom stuffing recipes for Thanksgiving.
And what makes long meetings late into the night go better than some good tunes? Without further ado, here is the inaugural Roll Call After Dark Superdupercommittee Playlist:
1. “Super Trouper” by Abba. Don’t the Swedish supergroup’s lyrics tug at the superdupercommittee’s whole reason for being? “There are moments when I think I’m going crazy/(Think I’m going crazy)/But it’s gonna be alright/(You’ll soon be changing everything)/Everything will be so different.”
2. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones. It’s always a good idea to go into negotiations with realistic expectations. This could be the Democrats’ theme.
3. “Mo Money, Mo Problems” by Notorious B.I.G. Superdupercommittee members would be wise to remember that more money can’t solve everything. This reflects the GOP view.
4. “Whip It” by Devo. Popular with Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Steny H. Hoyer and Sens. Richard J. Durbin and John Cornyn: “When a problem comes along/You must whip it/ … Now whip it/Into shape/Shape it up/Get straight/Go forward/Move ahead/Try to detect it/It’s not too late/To whip it/Whip it good.”
5. “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)” by Quiet Riot. This sums up how we’ll all feel after a season of superdupercommittee: “Well I’m frustrated/Outdated I really want to be over-rated/ … I got the boys to make the noise/Won’t ever let up/Hope it annoys you/Join the pack/Fill the crack/Well now you’re here/There’s no way back/Bang your head!”
Guerilla Union put out a release that stated: “First and foremost, it is with great sadness and disappointment that we must cancel the Washington, DC and New York City Rock the Bells dates due to lack of ticket sales. I, along with our staff, the artists, and all of the sponsors, media partners, local promoters, and radio stations involved are thankful for our supporters and the fans that planned on attending. It’s extremely unfortunate that we can’t complete the last half of the 10th Anniversary Rock the Bells tour. We did everything in our power to save the show. Unfortunately, the financial loss would have been devastating. This festival has been ten years in the making. I am truly sorry we could not produce the show for all the fans who did buy their ticket in support of.”
Ooof. It’s hard to imagine, especially because the Rock the Bells website listed individual days as sold out, that it shook out like this. The stage and grounds were all up and running at last check on Thursday morning as well.
Wu-Tang Clan is among the many rap icons performing this weekend at Rock the Bells at RFK Stadium. But if you just can’t wait until Saturday to see the Staten Island, N.Y.-based hip-hop institution, along with a hologram of the dearly departed ODB, you can always check out the Satellite Room (2047 9th St. NW) for Wu-Tang Wednesdays.
“It’s a fun, nostalgic night for people to come out, see what that era of hip-hop was like,” said Graham Jackson, Satellite Room’s in-house Wu-Tang expert. From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. (closing time), DJ Baronhawk spins all things Wu. “Not just the original, but side projects, remixes, music inspired by,” Jackson said. Wu-Tang Wednesdays have been a part of Satellite Room’s repertoire since March.
And are they expecting any Wu-Tang members to possibly hop by, with Rock the Bells around the corner? “You never know,” Jackson said.
And now let’s pause for a moment to recognize the martial arts films that first inspired the Wu-folk, specifically “Shaolin and Wu Tang.”
It’s time, once again, for the shutdown showdown morass we’ve all grown to know and loathe, which means anyone associated with Capitol Hill will likely be on high alert all week.
What better way to cope with the craziness than to check out some local happenings that have nothing to do with fiscal debates?
Václav Havel Lives
The late Václav Havel was one cool dude. An avant-garde playwright and poet who was an imprisoned political dissident in Cold War Czechoslovakia, he went on to lead his country through the Velvet Revolution, helped bring down the Iron Curtain, got elected president and set the stage for the peaceful dissolution of his country into two republics, then became president of the Czech Republic. He died almost two years ago. The Atlas Performing Arts Center is staging the Alliance for New Music-Theatre’s double bill of his plays “Antiwords” and “Unveiling.” Just so you know: They’re weird, but pretty cool. Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. at 1333 H St NE in the Atlas’s Paul Sprenger Theatre. Tickets are $30 for general admission, $20 for students, educators and seniors. To purchase tickets, go here.
Baseball in Washington
Frederic Frommer talks about his new book, “You Gotta Have Heart,” a history of baseball in Washington that looks at the whole megillah, from 1859 to 2012. CBS newsman Bob Schieffer will lead the discussion at Hill Center DC on Thursday. There’s a lot to discuss, from the early days of play to a World Series championship, Negro League ball, losing the Senators to both Minnesota and Texas, the uber-drama surrounding the Montreal Expos’ relocation here and last year’s playoff run. From 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Free. To register, go here.
Bell (Hip) Hopping
That bass you’re going to be hearing coming from the eastern side of Capitol Hill on Sept. 28-29 will be hip-hop extravaganza Rock the Bells, which has already been setting up for days on the grounds of RFK Stadium. The old school/new school lineup is pretty impressive and features veterans of the game like KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane and Wu-Tang Clan (who will bring alongside a hologram version of the late Old Dirty Bastard) as well as newbies like Kid Cudi and local boy done good Wale. Tickets range from $128 to $338. To purchase, go here. Prices go up at the door.
It’s the last weekend of summer and Capitol Hill has much to offer. Here’s a selection of cool stuff to do.
H Street Festival
Washington’s epicenter of quirkiness celebrates its annual street festival on Saturday, and the word is it’s going to be enormous, with some folks estimating more than 100,000 people will come to listen to bands, drink craft beer, buy ridiculous T-shirts, eat street food, eat organic farm food, dance in the street and just plain have a good time. From noon to 7 p.m., from the 400 block to the 1400 block of H Street Northeast.
Nader Majd, director of the Center for Persian Classical Music in Fairfax, Va., and Chakavak Ensemble perform classic Persian music on Sunday at Hill Center DC. WAMU’s Mary Cliff moderates a discussion with them to start things off. From 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE in Hill Center’s Abraham Lincoln Hall. $15. To purchase tickets, go here.
I was Told There Would Be No Math
Hill Center DC is showing “Do the Math” on Sunday, a documentary film by Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott on climate change that focuses on the efforts of environmentalist Bill McKibben to take on the fossil fuel industry.
It’s a heady topic as the Keystone XL Pipeline debate continues to loom over Congress and the administration. The 50-minute film is followed by a panel discussion with directors and Kate Colarulli of the Sierra Club and Robby Diesu of 350.org, McKibben’s organization. From 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Free. To register, go here.
Last Call for Baseball
The Washington Nationals are not out of it yet, but just in case they fall short of the playoffs this year, make sure to check out their last regular season homestead of the year, with three games at Nationals Park against the Miami Marlins. The Nats beat the Fish in a squeaker Thursday night, 3-2, so they’re on another roll. There are 7:05 games Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday’s bounce game is at 1:35. The Nats finish up the season by hitting the road for St. Louis and then Phoenix, so this might be the last chance to see them in 2013 if they don’t get a few breaks to make it into the post-season.
All good things … Thursday marks the beginning of the last homestead of the year for Hill Country‘s Backyard Barbecue series at the National Building Museum.
It’s cruel, I know. But just like outdoor pools closing (something I never had to worry about growing up in Arizona) at the end of summer, so will come to a close Hill Country’s outdoor celebration of live music and smoked meat on the lawn of the museum on Fifth Street Northwest, between F and G streets.
If you ever found yourself walking or biking past the downtown spot throughout the summer series, it was nearly impossible to resist going in.
Tonight’s hootenanny music starts at 5:30 p.m., with the Harikaraoke Band performing its live-band karaoke and the Hill Country folks serving up their regular menu plus the $10 Pitmaster Special of brisket plus salad.
On Friday, Jonny Grave & the Tombstones (Perfect band for Friday the 13th!) will play. The Pitmaster special, again $10, is whole hog plus a side.
Then on Saturday, it’s farewell, my lovely. Lots of beer, lots of barbecue and Crushed Out will be playing.
For all three events, doors open at noon and the music starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m. And even though the Backyard series is ending, Hill Country is definitely not going anywhere. So if you crave smoked meat and tunes, you can head indoor at their D.C. mothership at 410 Seventh St. NW.
An eclectic bunch of local music types and Capitol Hillers will assemble tonight to raise some cash for their pals at Frager’s Hardware, the Hill establishment destroyed by a fire on June 5.
American Legion Post #8, at the northwest corner of 3rd and D streets Southeast, will host the Friends of Frager’s “Honky Tonk Good Time,” which is also helped along by Quicksilver Productions. Since the fire, the Capitol Hill community has come together to host fundraisers to help Frager’s get back on its feet at places as diverse as Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, 201 Bar and the Fridge DC.
The hoedown, which gets under way at 3:30 p.m., features food, music, a cash bar and lots of activities for kids. Music starts up at 6 p.m. and features jazz band The Captones, rock group The Side Dish, Americana group The Truck Farmers and ska/reggae band Free Lobster Buffet. Suggested donation for individuals is $20 and proceeds go to the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, which is aiding the rebuild Frager’s movement.
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