Arlington clearly breeds fame. Sandra Bullock, Katie Couric, Tipper Gore — all from Arlington. And then there are the more recent famous Arlingtonians: Remy (the Arlington Rapper), and Eric Patrick (comedian/new Real World cast member).
It makes sense that comedians would want to migrate here. We’re funny. Just look at our crime reports.
We recently interviewed Jessica Brodkin, a new Arlington transplant and an up-and-coming comedienne. She’s part of an award-winning Red Dragon Improv troupe, she performs standup all over DC (see a not-safe-for-work clip here), and she’s just landed a reoccurring role on the new public access TV show “Arlington Late Night.”
ARLnow: So how do you decide whether something is funny?
Jessica Brodkin: I think there are a couple of things:
Instinctually, sometimes I write a joke and I just feel it inside: “This is good.” I also ask a lot of other comics and I test things on my coworkers, I test things on people.
It’s also usually something that’s true about me. My punch lines aren’t true, but when my set-ups are true it comes from a sincere and genuine place. So when I give the punch line, the laugh is greater because it comes from somewhere real.
I’m a performer and I want to connect with the audience. It’s important to be honest, I don’t like doing insult humor. I want everyone to feel happy.
AN: What about hecklers?
JB: I definitely have to deal with hecklers. I think the majority of hecklers are the ones that are really drunk, but you have to make fun of them to make them shut up. I had the worst heckler on Wednesday, because if you can’t put them in their place, if they won’t just settle down, you have to ignore them.
Mago, a female whippet-beagle mix, has captured the most votes in Group B of our Arlington’s Cutest Dog contest. She will advance to the final round of the contest, which starts Monday.
Mago garnered 280 out of 1,520 votes cast. A special tip of the hat to her closest competitor, Fred the Dachshund, who waged an especially spirited campaign.
A bit about Mago: she was “born on the mean streets of Kentucky and lived her first few months foraging through dumpsters.” She eventually wound up at Wagamuffins rescue in Frederick, Md. She was adopted last February and now resides in Rosslyn.
Mago is allergic to dog food and eats “a prescription vegetarian diet.” But that doesn’t stop her from participating in long walks or from sneaking into her owners’ bed late at night.
Congratulations to Mago and thank you to all the fantastic Group B contestants. We’ll be sending you details about a reception at Wylie Wagg for all contest participants.
Dominion has brought in a crane to fix a transformer at Wilson Boulevard and North Randolph Street, across the street from Ballston Common Mall.
During the repairs, one lane of westbound Wilson Boulevard will be closed. The work is expected to wrap up between 5:00 and 5:30 tonight.
Meanwhile, the blown transformer has knocked out power to a building in the area.
Arlington County’s unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent in May from 4.1 percent in April, according to the latest numbers from the Virginia Employment Commission.
Employment actually increased during the period, from 133,724 to 133,805, but at the same time the labor force increased by 400.
Neighboring jurisdictions, including Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church, all saw a 0.1 to 0.3 percent rise in unemployment.
Arlington still has by far the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia. Alexandria is the next lowest, with 4.8 percent unemployment.
As it turns out, Semenko is a fan of parties, ironic t-shirts and Bill Clinton masks. He has just over 400 Facebook friends, although that number is steadily decreasing as his former friends dissociate themselves from him.
The Wall Street Journal didn’t stop at Facebook. It accessed Semenko’s page on a Russian social networking website.
In 2008 a friend of Semenko said on the site, apparently as a joke, “Hi to our valiant spy deep behind the nasty Americans’ lines. Remember the teachings of Mao: destroy the filthy imperialist economy from within!!”
Photo via Gawker.
The Roosevelt Bridge was blocked in both directions last night as D.C. police and Arlington firefighters investigated a suspicious package on the Virginia side of the span.
Authorities shut down the heavily-traveled thoroughfare around 7:30. The all-clear was given around 8:15.
The large backups that formed as a result of the closure cleared quickly once the bridge was re-opened.
Twilight Fans Stay Up Late for Latest Film In Series — A sizable crowd showed up at the Regal Cinema in Ballston Common Mall last night for a midnight screening of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. There was no mob scene outside — moviegoers with advance tickets steadily filed past the box office and into the theater. Most were exuberant girls and young women, although about one in ten was accompanied by a doting and expressionless boyfriend (or father). To accommodate the unusual crush of people coming out of the mall parking lot at 2:30 a.m., police directed traffic near the theater after the movie.
Byrd Funeral Will Take Place in Arlington — The funeral and internment of long-time Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) will take place in Arlington on Tuesday. The funeral is scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. at Memorial Baptist Church (3455 North Glebe Road). The service is open to the public, although seating is limited. Byrd, who died Monday at age 92, will be buried next to his wife Erma in a private internment at an Arlington cemetery.
Free Cab Rides Return for the 4th – For a while, it looked as though a lack of funding might cancel the SoberRide program for the Fourth of July. But thanks to last-minute donations, the program will be back offering free taxi rides in Arlington, the District, Fairfax, Loudoun and other locales. The program will cover fares of up to $50, but you must call 1-800-200-8294 to book the cab.
Summer Doldrums for Real Estate Agents – After a busy spring, local Realtor Laura Rubinchuk says there are not nearly as many people buying and selling homes this summer. More from Arlington Real Estate News.
“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” the latest installment of the massively popular series, will premiere at midnight tonight in theaters around the country.
The Regal Ballston Common 12 is the only theater in Arlington hosting a midnight screening, although theaters in nearby Georgetown and Potomac Yard will also be staying open late for the film.
The Twilight series mixes romantic drama with vampire vs. werewolf action for a story that seems to be irresistible to swoon-prone teenage girls and perfectly rational grown women alike.
With 431 votes out of 2,222 cast, Buster the Chihuahua has claimed the top spot in Group A of our Arlington’s Cutest Dog contest.
Buster’s owner says he is “very friendly” and is the “best dressed” Chihuahua in town. Also, “he loves to Hoover around the house and eat anything that is edible and sometimes non edible.”
The final round of the contest will begin on Monday. Meanwhile, voting for groups B, C and D will be ending at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday respectively.
Thank you to all our great Group A contestants. Check back for details about a reception Wylie Wagg will be hosting to honor all contest participants.
The Arlington Central Library in Ballston has a thriving new organic vegetable garden that’s providing food to people in need via the Arlington Food Assistance Center. And now, the project’s early success has attracted the attention of community gardening advocate Christie Vilsack, wife of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Vilsack will tour the garden tomorrow morning with county board member Walter Tejada and library director Diane Kresh. During the tour of the garden’s crops, volunteers from the USDA Research Service will release spotted pink lady beetles into the garden to help control pests.
The tour will take place from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Afterward, Mrs. Vilsack and Mr. Tejada will visit a children’s storytime in the library.
For 12 adorable contestants, it all comes down to this. Only one can be guaranteed a spot in the final round and a crack at an Apple iPod and other great prizes.
With an hour left to go in the voting for Group A of our Arlington’s Cutest Dog Contest, Buster the Chihuahua has a sizable but not insurmountable lead over Sadie and Dora.
If you haven’t already, vote here.
Update at 1:00 p.m. — And just like that, it’s back open. It was a State Police police cruiser that was blocking the road, but we’re still not sure why.
It’s not clear what’s going on, but the eastbound lanes of I-66 are completely blocked at Lynn Street, just before the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. Traffic is backing up at the Rosslyn tunnel.
Is the Virginia prison system failing those with mental illnesses? Does the state need to reform its re-entry program? Those were among the topics of discussion Thursday night at a town hall meeting on prison reform, held by local Arlington delegates Adam Ebbin and Patrick Hope.
Helen Trainer of the Legal Aid Justice Center pointed to a story of an inmate who wasn’t allowed to self-medicate in his prison cell. Told to wait in the daily line at the clinic, he ultimately suffered numerous seizures and left the prison as a quadriplegic. Trainer believes the story is not an isolated incident and is indicative of the reform needed throughout the nation’s criminal justice system.
Trainer said prison employees, more often than not, falsely believe that inmates’ behavior stems from a lack of control, rather than from mental health problems. Identifying individuals with mental health issues from the point of intake and diverting them to mental health facilities could help alleviate many of the outbreaks that occur in prisons, she explained.
Scott Richeson of the Virginia Department of Corrections spoke about the department’s new emphasis on prisoner re-entry programs. He said that 13,500 people are released from Virginia’s prisons annually, but only 600-800 are paroled, making Virginia one of the country’s lowest parole-granting states. And of the 13,500 prisoners released, 28.5 percent are incarcerated again within three years.
A ticket for parking at an expired meter is going up to $35. It was previously $25.
The fine for most other parking violations will increase from $40 to $50.
The county issued more than 225,000 parking tickets last year, bringing in $7.4 million, according to the Sun Gazette. The new fines are expected to generate an additional $1.5 million per year.
Also Thursday, ART bus fares and STAR transit fares will increase.
Let’s step back and take a quick breather. The past several days have gotten a little crazy on the comment sections. While I appreciate a vigorous discussion of the day’s stories, I think we need to be clear about what is and is not appropriate conduct here.
Here’s what is appropriate: Discussion of the article. Passionately arguing a relevant point. Criticizing companies, government entities or other organizations.
Here’s what’s not appropriate: Name calling. Personal attacks. Racist, homophobic, or other hate speech. Saying, without clear evidence, that someone is “cheating” in a contest. Political discussions not related to the article.
At least 95% of what has been posted to the site is perfectly appropriate. To those who have been commenting respectfully and driving the discussion — thank you. I hope you keep it up.
However, as someone who hoped this site would be a venue for a smart but respectful debate of community issues, it has been distressing to see a few inappropriate comments poisoning otherwise enlightening discussions.
Here’s a message one anonymous tipster sent to us today:
Be nice if you cleaned up the discussion on the Flatbread article. Referring to people as “dumb libs”, “hipster d-bags” isn’t appropriate. Some people may need to be taught to disagree without name calling, and objectifying others. The demeaning nature of the discussion makes me very happy I don’t live in Arlington. I appears that in general you are not very nice people.
I agree with this person’s point about name calling, but I want to prove them wrong about Arlington. So here’s what we’re going to do:
- We will press the delete button on any comment that falls under the “not appropriate” category.
- We will issue a warning to anybody who violates the rules more than once.
- If that warning is ignored, we will add you to the comment moderation list — meaning we’ll have to approve your comments before they are posted to the site.
- Also, any racist or otherwise hateful speech will be rewarded with an automatic trip to comment moderation land.
- If someone is really persistent with inappropriate comments, they will be banned.
Already, one commenter has been added to the moderation list.
To be sure, we don’t want to restrict your free speech. In fact, we like to see opposing viewpoints and the occasional crackpot theory. However, we have clearly reached a point where it’s necessary to step up enforcement of existing rules to make sure that ARLnow.com remains a place where everyone can feel free to join in on debates and make meaningful contributions to discussions.