Never mind those predictions of that Mid-Atlantic weather phenomenon, wintry mix. Brave the outside for a couple of cool holiday traditions on both sides of the Potomac: Old Town Alexandria’s Scottish Christmas Walk Parade and the Southwest Waterfront’s Parade of Lights in the District.
On Saturday, rain or shine, a whole mess of Scottish clans in tartans, with bagpipes, will turn Old Town into one big holiday hootenanny. Starting at 11 a.m. at Wilkes and St. Asaph streets and proceeding through the King Street district, it’s a unique celebration of the season. The bars and taverns in the area are more than willing to provide season and culturally appropriate libations.
Later on Saturday night and across the river, the Washington Waterfront Association and the Old Dominion Boat Club will put on the Parade of Lights along the Southwest Waterfront at Water and Seventh streets SW. Things kick off at 6 p.m. with music, a bonfire, some Santa Claus sightings and other holiday this and that. Around 7 p.m., decorated boats from the Alexandria Vote group will start to arrive at the waterfront, and folks can vote for their favorites. Promoters say it’ll all happen rain or snow. 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.
That chill in the air this month is even more reason to stock up on stuff to do around Capitol Hill. Dwindling light doesn’t mean dwindling cool things to do.
Hill Center’s Pre-Code Cinema Series
Hill Center debuts its series looking at the racier side of early Hollywood on Friday night with the 1933 Barbara Stanwyck flick “Baby Face.” Critic Nell Minnow and writer Margaret Talbot will lead discussions of the movies, which represent a tone and time in cinema when the Hays Code guidelines for themes and behavior the movies could portray was for the most part disregarded. Free, but register online at hillcenterdc.org. 7 p.m. at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.
The Hillys Are Here
The 2013 Hillys Award Gala, which honors the Capitol Hill area’s favorite businesses, including restaurants, health and beauty services, home and garden services, retailers, nonprofits and art venues, among many categories, are Saturday night at Nationals Park’s Stars and Stripes Club, from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. A production of CHAMPS, Capitol Hill’s Chamber of Commerce, tickets start at $125 for members. For information about attending or to buy tickets, go to champ.memberclicks.net.
Days of D.C. Dining Past
Sure things are hopping in Washington’s restaurant scene right now, a remarkable turn of events for a city that felt somewhat culinarily stagnant in the recent past. But the current boom taking hold in places like 14th Street and Barracks Row is not the first one to take hold in D.C. John DeFerrari is talking about his latest book, “Historic Restaurants of Washington D.C.” at 2 p.m. Sunday at Hill Center. In addition to a fascinating sociological look at Washington’s development, dating back to the 19th century, DeFerrari’s book is a nicely put together document that should be of interest to any dining buff or local historian. Free.
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.
Happy Day of the Dead! There’s no way around it now: We’re firmly in the grip of fall, hurtling toward winter. Before we get to the really cold stuff, there’s time to do some autumn-appropriate stuff right here on Capitol Hill.
An Almighty Drive-In Experience
Union Market continues its fall season drive-in series on Friday with an All Saints Day showing of “Evan Almighty” at the Union Market Drive-In encore series. God, played by Morgan Freeman (no one else is allowed to play the big guy), asks Rep. Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) to build an ark in anticipation of a flood. The congressman obliges. In 2007, when the movie came out, this seemed far-fetched. In 2013, after observing the last few collections of freshman who have been elected, it seems feasible.
Gates open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30. Free, at 1309 Fifth St. NE.
Pottery on the Hill
Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital is hosting Pottery on the Hill this weekend, starting with a reception on Friday and extending into the weekend. The exhibit will showcase 16 artists, and folks will have the opportunity to both view and buy. Among the potters is former Washington Redskin fan favorite and renaissance man Chris Cooley, who seems to be holding up just fine in his post-NFL life.
Tickets to Friday’s reception are $25 and available here. That shindig starts at 6:30 p.m. at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Cooley will also be giving talks at noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday about his life as a sportsman and artist.
Street Level View
If you’d like your art in a different medium, check out the new exhibit Above the Radar III at The Fridge on Barracks Row. The exhibit shows off 25 artists from Los Angeles, New York and abroad, starting on Saturday. Curator Luna George brings many facets of the urban art experience, from street art to surrealism and more, for a month-long show. Among the artists showing are Cat Cult, Peeta, Robots Will Kill and XIST. Saturday’s opening reception is from 7 to 11 p.m. and is free; Sunday’s neighborhood reception is from noon to 4 p.m. and is also free, all at 516 1/2 Eighth St. SE.
New Columbia Distillers, the team behind the District’s Green Hat Gin, releases its new gin for the season, “Ginavit,” at the Ivy City distillery at 1832 Fenwick St. NE on Saturday. The portmanteau of two excellent spirits, gin and aquavit, suggests an interesting flavor. “This is a hardy and savory cool weather gin,” John Uselton, the co-owner and distiller said in a release, promising a mix of “Scandinavian aquavit botanicals” and gin botanicals. They’re only making 100 cases, so drink it while you can. Suggested retail is $40, and your first chance to get it is on Saturday. Whatever’s left over heads to restaurants and retailers the next week.
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.
Quite simply, this was a terrible week. If ever people needed a little break and some fun, it’s now, with Capitol Hill’s first shutdown/shootout/car chase week finally winding down.
Mind if I Play Through?
The DC Drive-In at Union Market returns Friday night with the greatest golf movie ever, “Caddyshack.” If Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield can’t make you forget your pain, you might be beyond hope. Movie starts at dusk at 1309 5th St. NE, but get there early to eat and drink of Union Market’s delights.
It Might Get Loud
If you’re in the mood to scream at the top of your lungs, bounce up and down for a couple of hours and paint your face red and black, you’re in luck. D.C. United plays the Chicago Fire Friday at 8 p.m. at RFK Stadium. With the city and United now united on building a soccer specific stadium near Nationals Park, go see Major League Soccer at its most primal in D.C.’s own loud-house.
Music for the People
Rock N Roll Hotel at 1353 H St. NE heads into the weekend with some wide and divergent acts. On Friday, local super group Black Masala, a punk/bluegrass/gypsy local superband plays a triple bill with M.H. and His Orchestra and Orchester Prazevica. Doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m., $10 in advance and at the door. Saturday night brings a little reggae, with another set of locals — Lucky Dub, who will play with Dub City Renegades and Aliflic. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $10, in advance or at the door.
It’s going to be one of those weeks. Capitol Hill and everyone associated with it will be all wrapped up in the latest congressional train wreck. That makes it even more important to get out whenever one can, and what better way to cope with it all than to rock out?
Check Into the Hotel
The Rock and Roll Hotel (1353 H St. NE) has live acts throughout the week, starting with cello bluesman Ben Sollee (you read that right) on Oct. 1. River Whyless opens. Doors at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. $15 in advance, $17 at the door. Indie rock gods Typhoon (they’re from Portland, of course) play the next night with Radiation City, but the show’s already sold out. Still, if you know a guy … On Oct. 3, surf-rockers Surfer Blood play a triple bill with Team Spirit and Andy Boay. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $16 in advance, $18 at the door. On Oct. 4, local super group Black Masala, a you-have-to-hear-them-to-believe-them band complete with sax, guitar and accordion, heads up another triple bill with M.H. and His Orchestra and Orchester Prazevica. Our very own Gogol Bordello. Doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m., $10 in advance and at the door. And why not end the week in a groove, with local reggae dudes Lucky Dub, who will play with Dub City Renegades and Aliflic on Oct. 5. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $10, in advance or at the door. Honestly, if you need to blow off steam, this is the place for you.
It’s in the Hole!
Union Market brings back its DC Drive-In on Oct. 4, and, as a colleague said, “They had me at ‘Caddy Shack.’” The all-time greatest movie about golf, snobs, slobs and capital punishment for your own good will show on the wall at 1309 Fifth St. NE. Starts at dusk, but get there early for a good spot and order beers, oysters, sandwiches, cheese, empanadas, shakes, cupcakes or raw meat from the vendors at Union Market.
Cooking for How Many?
Washington Post and DC Magazine food writer David Hagedorn leads a class at Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) on Oct. 5 that will show folks how to plan a dinner party of one’s own, soup to nuts to napkins and logistics. Hagedorn will emphasize preparing such an event in a way that not only won’t drive you crazy but will actually be an enjoyable experience for host and guests.
Even as Capitol Hill digs in for a long, long weekend of bickering, Washington City Paper is prepping its 10th annual Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair at Union Market. The weather is supposed to be perfect this weekend, which adds up to two days of awesomeness celebrating D.C.’s local underground art scene, as well as the food, drink, music, dance and everything else that makes the District what it is.
Crafty Bastards has always been a big draw, even in its nascent phases, when it was staged in an empty lot near the Columbia Heights Metro stop. More than 150 vendors, including some of D.C.’s most popular food trucks, breweries and artists will be plying their wares at Union Market’s spacious grounds, and when it’s time to drop out a bit, you can head to the New Belgium beer garden, a newbie to the festival.
“The beer garden is new, mostly though, we’ve really tried to up the production level. This is my first year, but all the feedback I’ve read through the years has been that it was overcrowded, tough to navigate, and not an event you could really spend some time in if you weren’t shopping. We’ve added nearly 25,000 [square feet] of usable space. With that, we added an extra vendor tent, a dozen food trucks, picnic tables, wider shopping aisles … etc.,” said Stephen Ball, Washington City Paper’s marketing and promotions manager. Nicely done. Space to think, and drink! Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1309 Fifth St. NE. $5 each day. To get tickets in advance, go here.
Meanwhile, the Global Language Network and New York University’s Washington outfit are hosting a “culture and diversity festival” they’re calling G Fest at NYU’s Constance Milstein and Family Global Academic Center (1307 L St. NW) on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The event will feature booths, dance performances and all kinds of cultural happenstance from several participating countries’ attaches, including Brazil, Japan and Poland. To register, go here.
And, don’t forget to get that long-delayed tour of the National Archives or the Hirshhorn in this weekend. Who knows? They could be closed for a while the ways things are looking in Congress.
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.
The venues for the festival are spread out across the region, but tonight it all starts at the E Street Cinema (555 11th St. NW) and the Navy Memorial’s theater at 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The short films are bunched together in roughly 90 minute blocks for showcasing. E Street is screening Show 1 at 7 p.m. and Show 2 at 9:30 p.m. The Navy Memorial is screening Show 3 at 6:30 p.m. and Show 4 at 9 p.m.
The festival continues through Sept. 29 at E Street and the Navy Memorial, as well as other venues: The Angelika Film Center at 2911 District Ave. in Fairfax, Va.; The Atlas Performing Arts Center at 1333 H St. NE in D.C.; The Anacostia Arts Center at 1231 Good Hope Rd. SE in D.C., and VisArts Rockville at 155 Gibbs St. in Rockville, Md.
The 2013 H Street Festival is coming Saturday, and the word is it’s going to be big. As in, more people than can fit into FedEx Field.
Last year, the estimates for attendance clocked in around 60,000 or so throughout the day on Sept. 15. But according to one vendor who is both excited and a little freaked out about the prospect of so many people, this year’s festival is expected to tilt toward 100,000 or even more.
An old friend who’s from Louisiana once told me that H Street was the one place in Washington that made him think of New Orleans. Check it out on Saturday to see if that sentiment’s still applicable.
Alas, another DC Beer Week is about to head into history. If you’ve spent the last week heading from tap takeovers to tastings, from beer/food pairings to growler hours, there’s one way to top off the sudsy and caloric week. We speak, of course, of the great hangover brunch.
Our friends over at Boundary Road have their “Session Sunday Hair of the Dog Brunch” starting in, oh, right now (11am EDT) and they’re bringing along their pals from Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing. Toque Brad Walker will pair his brunch specials with two of Boulevard’s low-alcohol brews, Test Nelson Grape Ale and Pop-Up IPA.
Head on down. There’s nothing like closing out a week of hard drinking with just a little more.
The fifth annual DC Beer Week gets under way today with the mad geniuses at Brewery Ommegang and the Washington City Paper presenting “Hop Chef: Special Edition” that will serve as the official opening of an entire week dedicated to the nectar of the gods.
District chefs will pair Ommegang’s beers with tasty nosh. (CQ Roll Call File Photo.)
The eight local “Hop Chef” toques will start up their beer and food pairings at 6:30 pm at the Longview Gallery in downtown (1234 9th St. NW). It’s $55, and you can purchase tickets on the DC Beer Week site here.
If, however, you’d like a helping of surrealism to get things off to a start in Beer Week, restaurant/watering holes Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle and Meridian Pint are getting together with brewer friends Stillwater and DC Brau for their Exquisite Corpse release party today. They will mash-up their collaborative beer efforts, a four-course dinner and the parlor game that the surrealists came up with whereby people collaborate in a collage-like manner on, say, a poem. Things start at Meridian Pint (3400 11th St. NW) at 4 pm. Tickets are $65 and available at Eventbrite.
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