Ladino music and Yiddish punk will be coming to Arlington this week.
Two Jewish-American musicians, Sarah Aroeste (see music video here) and Daniel Kahn (see music video, above), will be playing at Artisphere on Thursday as part of the two-week-long Washington Jewish Music Festival.
“Sarah Aroeste will open with the premiere of an unplugged version of her album ‘Gracia,’ which fuses the Judeo-Spanish sounds of Ladino music with rock, pop, jazz and funk,” said a festival press release. “Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird employ an inimitable mixture of radical Yiddish song, punk sensibility and re-worked klezmer melodies.”
“Bringing together punk-infused Yiddish from Daniel Kahn and Judeo-Spanish sounds of Sarah Aroeste will create an exhilarating and unique experience for our community,” said festival director Lili Kalish Gersch. “This will be a festival that appeals to music lovers of all stripes and all ages and should not be missed.”
The performances will take place at Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $20.
Tickets and the festival schedule are available online.
Coulier is perhaps best known for playing “Uncle” Joey Gladstone on the ABC series Full House in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Other entertainment credits include hosting the show America’s Funniest People, and providing voiceovers for the animated series The Real Ghostbusters. Coulier is also widely believed to the the subject of the Alanis Morissette Song “You Oughta Know.”
Coulier will be performing stand-up comedy at Artisphere in Rosslyn (1101 Wilson Blvd) on Saturday, April 20. He will perform two shows, at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m. Tickets to each are $30.
The Michigan native will also be performing at a comedy, improv and illusion variety show at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) on Thursday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. Coulier will share the stage with a master illusionist and the Porkchop Volcano improv troupe at the family-friendly (PG rated) show. Tickets are $25 and will benefit Patrick Henry Elementary School.
We last reported on Coulier when he performed at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse in 2011.
Artisphere was budgeted to require only $1.6 million in net tax support for FY 2013, down from $2.3 million in FY 2012. With only about 3 months left in the fiscal year, however, Arlington County is projecting that Artisphere will require an additional $600,000 to $800,000, which would bring bring the actual net tax support to $2.2-$2.4 million.
County officials say the deficit is due to a combination of factors: a shortfall in revenue and higher-than-expected expenses.
“Based on Artisphere’s numbers for the first three quarters of FY13, we foresee shortages in the areas of ticketing and admission income, and overages in personnel and facility expense,” said Karen Vasquez, Cultural Affairs Director for Arlington Economic Development, which oversees Artisphere.
“Ticket and admission income is low due to a decrease in programming during the first half of FY 2013 while we hired a new programming director,” she said in an email. “Catering/concession income from large social events was over-estimated in the business plan and is also low. Temp employees were underestimated and underfunded in the business plan and are therefore running over budget.”
The budget woes come at a time when Artisphere is facing scrutiny as part of the FY 2014 budget process. County Manager Barbara Donnellan has proposed budgeting $1.8 million in net tax support in FY 2014, but dividing that up between on-going and one-time funds — with the goal of weaning the cultural center off taxpayer support.
The county is also working to set up a non-profit organization to solicit tax-deductible donations for Artisphere.
“For next year’s budget (FY14) we are currently reviewing operational options with the Manager’s office which are designed to lower overall net tax support and bring it in line with the proposed budget of $1.8 million,” Vasquez said. “In addition, we are moving toward the establishment of a 501c3 to help diversify revenue sources and to include private–sector funding as well as the current public funding.”
(Updated at 12:15 p.m.) The work of nearly 100 volunteer knitters and crocheters, a group dubbed the “Guerrilla Stitch Brigade,” is now on display for all the world to see in Rosslyn.
A stretch of Rosslyn from the Metro station to Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd) was “yarn bombed” on Sunday, as volunteers affixed their elaborate knits to trees, fences, parking structures and even a piano. Most of the knits — more than 1,000 stitched geometric shapes, which took some 20 weeks to create, affixed to a dozen different objects – are along Wilson Boulevard. The piano, however, is in Artisphere itself.
“The intent of this project is to lead people to Artisphere, Arlington’s visual and performing arts center,” Rosslyn Business Improvement District Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy said in a statement.
The yarn bombing is the the first of three temporary public art projects planned by the Rosslyn BID this spring, the organization said. The other projects include another yarn bomb installation, in an as-yet undisclosed location, and a fiber art installation from artist Rachel Hayes that will adorn Rosslyn’s skywalks on N. Moore Street, Nash Street and Fort Myer Drive.
An Arlington resident lauded for her involvement in the civil rights movement during the 1960s, including a stint in jail, will be featured at a special free movie showing and panel discussion tomorrow (Wednesday).
The Arlington Public Library will host a free screening of the movie “An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Mulholland.” Following the film, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and her son Loki, who wrote and directed the movie, will take part in a panel discussion. William Pretzer, senior curator of history at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, will also be a part of the panel.
Mulholland, who is white, grew up in the South during segregation and emerged as an activist who fought for the rights of others, much to the chagrin of her parents. In 1961, Mulholland flew to Jackson, MS, to take part in civil rights demonstrations and sit-ins. She was arrested, fined $200 and jailed for three months. Despite her punishment, Mullholland continued her activism, and in 1963 took part in the infamous sit-in at the Woolworth in Jackson, MS.
In some of the historic photos above, Mulholland can be seen at sit-ins and demonstrations that took place around Arlington from June 9-23, 1960. In one, she is sitting behind activist Dion Diamond (who was arrested later that day) at the Cherrydale Drug Fair store on June 10, 1960. The two were part of the Non-Violent Action Group (NAG), which is credited with helping to push most Arlington restaurants to desegregate on June 22, 1960.
Mulholland, a long time Barcroft neighborhood resident, later taught for almost three decades at Arlington Public Schools.
The film “An Ordinary Hero” tells Mulholland’s life story and contains rare footage from the civil rights movement. The film screening and panel discussion will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27 at Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd).
Historic photos courtesy of Arlington Public Library and Flickr photostream by washington_area_spark
A staged reading of “The River and the Mountain” will take place at Artisphere’s Dome Theatre this Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m. The dramatic comedy revolves around the life of a gay factory manager in Uganda who encounters violent reactions from family members and colleagues when he comes out at a party. The free event includes a talk back with playwright Beau Hopkins and U.S. producer/director Sarah Imes Borden.
The play made news in August 2012 when it became the first Ugandan play to have an openly gay character. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, as well as 36 other African nations, and punished with lengthy jail terms.
The producer of the play, David Cecil, was arrested last September for offending the Ministry of Ethics in Uganda. The charges were dropped in October due to lack of evidence that the play promoted homosexuality. Last month, however, Cecil was detained again and deported from Uganda. The next day, Uganda’s Parliament began debating a new draft of a national anti-homosexuality bill, often known around the world as the “Kill the Gays Bill.”
The original form of the bill sought the death penalty as punishment for those who are gay. Although Uganda’s Parliament has said that there’s a recommendation to drop the death penalty and instead require life imprisonment for gay individuals, the revised bill with the reported changes has not yet been made available to the public.
One of the original actors in the play when it was first staged in Uganda, Okuyo Joel Atiku Prince, was supposed to join in this weekend’s event at Artisphere, but his travel to the U.S. has been denied by the Ugandan government, according to Artisphere spokeswoman Annalisa Meyer.
Among those expected to be evaluated are the money-losing Artisphere, two community centers and two Department of Human Services facilities.
In her budget message to the County Board, Donnellan said “potential facilities to be evaluated” include the Madison and Woodmont community centers in north Arlington, the Edison Complex near Virginia Hospital Center, and the Fenwick Center on S. Walter Reed Drive.
“As our population changes and as technology changes the way we deliver services, I believe we have many opportunities to do things differently, particularly in the area of buildings and facilities,” Donnellan said. “I have asked staff to begin evaluation of some of our facilities that require significant capital investment or are underutilized — with one of our initial tasks being how we engage the community and stakeholders in these discussions.”
Possible recommendations for the facilities could include changes in use or closure, said Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius.
“The evaluations will look at a full range of options, including no change in use, repurposing these facilities for a new use (County or otherwise), or potentially closure — but it’s preliminary to speculate until the process is complete,” she said. “As the Manager’s message noted, one of the initial starting points will be to get public input — and other evaluation factors will include utilization rates and building condition and age, among others.”
Also on the chopping block is Artisphere, the Rosslyn-based cultural center that opened with high expectations in 2010. As previously reported, Donnellan is including $1.8 million in taxpayer funding for Artisphere in her proposed FY 2014 budget, but warning that she’s “assessing its performance and programming model” for next year.
“We’re going to evaluate the fiscal sustainability,” she told County Board members on Wednesday. “I’m forcing them to reevaluate how they operate. It’s an expensive operation to continue and I need to evaluate it to make sure it’s sustainable.”
Photos (top, middle) via Google Maps
Park Police Seeking Hit and Run Info — The U.S. Park Police is asking for the public’s help with providing information about an early morning hit and run on Monday. Around 5:45 a.m. on December 31, a driver was involved in an accident with a motorcyclist while traveling on the Memorial Bridge. The motorcyclist is being treated for a serious leg injury and other non-life threatening injuries. Police need help finding the other driver involved. The person was said to be in a brown minivan, which may have damage along the front driver’s side. Call the U.S. Park Police tip line at 202-610-8737 or U.S. Park Police Dispatch at 202-610-7500 with any info.
Avant Bard Needs New Theater — WSC Avant Bard has spent the past two years as the resident theater company at Artisphere, but now the performance group is looking for a new home. Avant Bard has not been operating under an official lease at Artisphere, and received the news last month that it needs to find a new space before its play season begins in May. The county now wants to use the stages at Artisphere for shorter running productions. [Washington Post]
APS Holding Meetings about New Williamsburg School — Public meetings begin next week regarding the new elementary school that will be built on the Williamsburg Middle School site. There will be a work session next Wednesday, January 9, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the Williamsburg auditorium. On January 14, the public will get a chance to look at the concept designs from 6:00-8:00 p.m., and on January 17, the School Board and County Board will engage in a work session about the plan following a project presentation. Residents are welcome to attend all meetings. [Arlington Public Schools]
National Chamber Ensemble’s Annual Holiday Concert — Dec. 16 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. — The National Chamber Ensemble (NCE) celebrates the spirit of the holiday season on Sunday, December 16 with a show for the whole family. The performance will feature great music, an international guest artist and outstanding young musicians. An annual tradition, the concert will include seasonal favorites like Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride”, a Hanukkah Medley and more. The event will take place at the Spectrum Theatre at Artisphere (1611 N. Kent Street).
“MarchFourth Marching Band (M4 to its fans) is a kaleidoscope of musical and visual energy that inspires dancing in an atmosphere of celebration,” Artisphere said in a press release. “Visually enhanced by costumed dancing beauties, acrobatic stilt walkers, unicycles, life size marionettes and many more theatrics, M4 invokes dancing in the streets and beyond! The sound is huge, melodic and dynamic, taking audiences on a musical journey around the globe.”
The Portland, Ore.-based band, formed in 2003, has performed at the Burning Man Festival in California and as an opening act for singer Gwen Stefani.
The fire broke out on a terrace and did not damage the interior of the cultural center. The cause is under investigation.
“The fire was quickly extinguished and contained to the terrace area,” said Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl. “There was damage to a piece of construction equipment and the terrace. The fire is under investigation by the Fire Marshal.”
Said Artisphere spokesman Jim Byers: “Artisphere is open as usual, as the fire was not inside the venue itself.”
Additional details were not immediately available.
The National Chamber Ensemble will be opening its sixth season with a concert dubbed “Night At the Palace II,” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3. The event is a collaboration with the Russian Chamber Art Society and will feature classical music from Russian composers like Glinka, Rachmaninov and Rimsky-Korsakov.
Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes is expected to be on hand as the concert’s “guest host.” Tickets are $28 for adults or $15 for students, and are available online. A reception will follow.
A description of the concert, from a press release:
The continuation of last season’s great success, the stage of the Spectrum Theatre will be transformed once again into a palace in St. Petersburg Russia. This concert, in collaboration with the Russian Chamber Art Society will showcase Russian romances, as well as instrumental music that will include the gorgeous “Trio Pathetique” by Michail Glinka, [Rimsky-Korsakov's] Flight of the Bumblebee, Sarasate’s Introduction and Tarantella as well enticing collaborations with the singers. NCE will be joined by RCAS Artistic Director and Founder, pianist Vera Danchenko-Stern, baritone Anton Belov and soprano Yana Eminova to bring back to life the beauty and grandeur of musical life at the palace. Featuring music of Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and more.
The Washington Post hailed Anton Belov’s “voluminous sound, appealing stage presence and tone of rich vibrancy” while Opera News praised his “great emotional honesty; singing straight from the heart.” Soprano Yana Eminova has sung widely to great acclaim. Her singing has been called “a joy to hear,” and “a most satisfying operatic experience.”
The National Chamber Ensemble is redefining the meaning of “chamber music.” With its creative five seasons of programming, incorporating tango, ballet, jazz, guitar, opera, children’s choruses, stage sets and multimedia with traditional classical fare, the ensemble attracts a whole new audience while keeping traditionalists happy! The concerts are fun, inspiring, educational, listener-friendly and offer the areas most enjoyable musical evening.
No Sandbag Distribution in Arlington — Contrary to some rumors, Arlington County is not distributing sandbags to residents concerned about flooding. “Arlington County, fortunately, does not have significant river front areas that are subject to flooding (e.g., Georgetown, Old Town),” Arlington County Director of Communications Diana Sun told ARLnow.com this morning.” She said that county staff is “focused on the highest priorities.”
Long Bridge Drive Flooded — Long Bridge Drive, near Crystal City, has flooded as a result of rain overnight and is being closed to traffic by police. The flood-prone road is the only street that leads to the parking lots for Long Bridge Park.
Pentagon City Mall Closed — Updated at 10:45 a.m. — The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City will be closed today (Monday) due to Hurricane Sandy. Ballston Common Mall will be closing at 2:00 p.m. [Facebook]
Artisphere’s Per-Visitor Subsidy — Based on its new Fiscal Year 2012 year-end report, Artisphere required a taxpayer subsidy equivalent to $41.85 for each of the cultural center’s 55,607 visitors over the course of a year. [Sun Gazette]
Cuccinelli May Investigate Moran Video — The State Board of Elections has asked Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to investigate a video of Rep. Jim Moran’s son discussing possible voter fraud. Patrick Murray, Moran’s Republican challenger, said “we need to know that [our electoral process] has not been corrupted.” He also called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the video. The Arlington County Police Department is currently investigating the video, as well. [Washington Post, Murray for Congress]
High School Football Update — Yorktown High School remains undefeated (9-0) following this weekend’s high school football action. Wakefield High School remains winless (0-9). Washington-Lee chalked up a victory over the weekend and is now 5-4. [Sun Gazette]
The center recorded $1.22 million in revenue and $3.55 million in expenses for FY 2012. Net taxpayer support was $2,327,016, $3,842 less than originally budgeted. The result is a marked improvement over previous budgets, which contained unrealistic attendance and revenue expectations; Artisphere’s revenue came in nearly 75 percent below budget for its first fiscal year.
While FY 2012 expenses were under budget — thanks in part to “a reduced amount of programming following the departure of Artisphere’s previous programming director,” according to a just-released year end report — revenue figures present more of a mixed bag.
Admissions and ticket income, educational program income, catering income, and concession income were all well under budget. Were it not for unexpected “event sponsorship” income, largely from the Rosslyn Business Improvement District — a major Artisphere patron which had already contributed $475,000 in the form of a donation — Artisphere would have required more tax support than budgeted.
The year end report attributed the lower admission and ticket income — 18 percent below expectations — to the sudden departure of Artisphere programming director Rosanna Ruscetti in April. (A new programming director was hired in August.) Similarly, educational income was low because “Artisphere’s education director only became full time during the latter half of the year.” Catering and concession income was below expectations, the year end report said, because Artisphere has not yet hired a “resident caterer” to replace the shuttered in-house restaurant and offer full bar service during shows.
“[A] resident caterer has not yet been established and currently, only limited bar operations are being run by Artisphere staff,” the report said. Still, the reported noted that staff-run concessions did generate a profit.
Facility rental income, a key component to the plan for making Artisphere less dependent on taxpayer funds, was $362,767, mostly in line with expectations. Officials expect rental income to increase next year.
“As Artisphere continues to overcome a negative perception for rentals that was established in its first year of operation, income has increased,” the report said. “During the first quarter of FY13, rental income has been extremely strong.”
The report touted a number of successful events and exhibits at Artisphere. Most significant among those was an exhibit of 259 personal photos taken by the late Mexican artists Frida Kahlo. Artisphere was “the first and only venue in the United States” to present the exhibit, and it won critical acclaim and attracted 13,119 visitors.
Meanwhile, Digital Capital Week, a week-long festival of technology, entrepreneurship and social innovation, drew more than 2,000 visitors last fall. DCWEEK will return to Artisphere next month. (Artisphere is one of several venues around the region hosting DCWEEK events.)
In all, officials said Artisphere, which is now under the control of Arlington Economic Development, rose to the challenge of maintaining its budget.
“Artisphere’s new business plan challenged the organization to take a good hard look at its fiscal management and provided the Artisphere with realistic revenue and expense goals,” the year end report said. “The organization worked hard to maximize it income and minimize its expense. The end of the year numbers show that Artisphere was successful in managing its budget. Although Artisphere fell short of its revenue goal for the year, key staff hires, a focus on event rentals and improvements in ticket revenue should position Artisphere well for FY13.”
Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes had her chair “yarn bombed” at this afternoon’s Board meeting.
A group called the ”Guerilla Stitch Brigade” created a colorful, monogrammed yarn cover for Hynes’ chair and presented it to her at the meeting. Hynes, whose gavel was also covered in yarn, seemed delighted.
“We have a really cool chair here today,” she said, before introducing a speaker from the stitch brigade.
Jennifer Lindsay, project member of the group, thanked county staff for allowing them to “infiltrate” the County Board office. She then used the occasion to promote a “secret” public art project the guerilla stitchers are creating in partnership with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, Artisphere and Arlington Public Library.
Lindsay said knitters will be working over the winter to create a temporary ”yarn bomb” public art project that will be deployed in Rosslyn this coming spring. She was careful not to divulge details about the planned finished product, but promised “an explosion of color and fiber” around Rosslyn.
The group will meet most Wednesdays at Artisphere between now and Feb. 27, 2013 to work on the project.
“We’ll help you get started with materials, instruction and inspiration,” the Artisphere web site says. “Meet other knitters and crocheters while sharing your creativity for a top secret, guerilla-style, collaborative installation early next year! Experienced stitchers are welcome to bring their own needles and hooks.”
Lindsay said the knitters who decorated Hynes’ chair were from the Westover and Glen Carlyn libraries and from the Aurora Highlands Senior Center.