Man Launches Write-In Campaign for County Board — Stephen Holbrook, a retired FBI agent, is launching a write-in campaign for Arlington County Board. Holbrook, who lives in the condominium adjacent to the planned homeless shelter in Courthouse, says he’s launching the campaign because he’s fed up with the current County Board. [Sun Gazette]
‘Gourd Palace’ in Virginia Square — Just in time for the upcoming start of fall, a “Gourd Palace Spirit House” has been built on the grounds of the Arlington Arts Center (3550 Wilson Blvd). The “living structure” was designed by Chloe Fugle, a 7th grader at the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program. [Washington Post]
Remembering the Wilson Theater — There’s a reason the condominium building at 1800 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn has a blade sign and an art deco sign above the entry way. The signs are meant to recall the previous building to stand at that location, the former Wilson Theater, which first opened in 1936. [Preservation Arlington]
Photo courtesy Pete Roof/Alt Gobo MediaWorks LLC
(Updated at 8:30 p.m.) The H-B Woodlawn middle school production of Shakespeare’s Henry VI brought down the house and brought in the fire department over the weekend.
The play, directed by fine arts teacher Tom Mallan, was wrapping up on Friday night when a pivotal scene led to an more eventful finale than anticipated.
“The performance was a huge success, though it ended with the burning of Joan of Arc and the accidental triggering of fire alarms by multiple fog machines,” said a parent of a cast member, who didn’t want her named used, presumably so as to not embarrass her son or daughter.
The alarms went off during the curtain call immediately following the burning scene, we’re told. Firefighters responded to make sure the school was not, in fact, on fire.
“We hope people won’t get upset about fire trucks getting called out,” said the parent. “It was all accidental! Thank you to the Arlington County firefighters for coming to the rescue of France and the production!”
Kaine Meeting With Defense Contractors in Arlington — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) will be in Arlington today meeting with Northern Virginia defense contractors. Kaine will be holding a roundtable discussion at Courthouse-based contractor Dynamis at 3:00 p.m. “The event today in Arlington will discuss the upcoming sequester cuts that are reported to threaten 1 to 1.4 million jobs with a disproportionate effect in Northern Virginia,” a Kaine spokeswoman told ARLnow.com.
Arlington Tax Surcharge Advances – A bill to restore Arlington’s 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge is closer to passing in the Virginia General Assembly. The bill has passed the state Senate and last week passed the House of Delegates Committee on Finance, albeit with a three year sunset provision. The Arlington Chamber of Commerce supports the tax surcharge, which helps to fund county tourism promotion efforts. [Sun Gazette]
PBS Doc Films at Glebe, H-B Woodlawn — An upcoming PBS documentary called “The Path to Violence” filmed at two Arlington Public Schools on Sunday. The production filmed at Glebe Elementary School and at H-B Woodlawn, according to an email from Arlington County. The Path to Violence, which is expected to air the week of Feb. 18, will tackle the topics of school safety and school violence.
Corps of Engineers to Review Tree Concerns — The Army Corps of Engineers says it will revise its Environmental Assessment of Arlington National Cemetery’s planned expansion in response to concerns from residents about the loss of old-growth trees. [Arlington Mercury]
Flickr pool photo by Jorge Bañales
Two H-B Woodlawn students have created a petition calling on Congress to pass stronger gun control laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut.
The online petition has gathered 133 signatures already and resulted in 336 letters and emails being sent to Congress. Seventh graders Nicole and Daniel created the children-driven petition with the hopes that it will garner student support beyond Arlington.
“We are representing the children of the United States who do not want to wake up every morning with a thought that someone close to us, or even ourselves, might die that day,” they said in the petition. “We do not want to see our friends or loved ones die in schools or movie theaters or malls any more.”
“Please help us stop the killings and the murders and the massacres by enacting legislation that will ban assault weapons and require a special license, a strict application process with a background investigation and a mental check for every person wanting to acquire a gun,” the petition said.
This morning, the National Rifle Association held a press conference in which the organization blamed the media, the entertainment industry and video games for a culture of violence, and called for armed security guards in every American school.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. ”If we truly cherish our kids more than our money… we must give them the greatest protection possible. And that protection is only available with properly-armed good guys.”
Nicole and Daniel’s father, Arlington resident Michael Getter, said that arming more citizens is not the answer.
“The time has come to take meaningful steps in preventing mass executions that have become practically a commonplace in our county,” Getter said. “There seems to be very little evidence that ease of access and proliferation of dangerous weaponry among US population is making this county any safer for its citizens.”
Photo via Arlington Public Schools
‘R.U.X. (Rockwell’s Universal seXbots)‘ debuted last year during a fundraising event at the Ballston Mall. It tells the story of a man’s desire to revamp his father’s company with a new business plan — selling sex robots. The playwright, Maurice Martin, is a 20-year resident of Arlington. The show, which is not recommended for children, premieres at Fringe on Friday, July 13.
The director of ‘Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ along with most of the cast and crew, hails from Arlington. The show is a punk rock interpretation of a Shakespeare classic. It begins on Friday, July 13, and is recommended for ages 13 and up.
‘The Hair Chronicles‘ debuts on Saturday, July 14. The three playwrights — Nileah Bell, Mary Nyingi and Michelle Whittaker — live in Arlington and used Marymount University as the setting. The performance focuses on three women searching for graduate paper topics, who discover they share issues with their hair. The show is recommended for ages 13 and up.
Another group of local performers is made up entirely of teens. ‘Mindset’ premiered in March, and was created by students at H-B Woodlawn. It’s described as a “surrealist rock opera,” and is recommended for ages 13 and up. The 35 cast and crew members in Mindset begin their Fringe run on Saturday, July 14.
All of the shows in the Capital Fringe Festival are original works created and produced by the artists, and are performed at 15 different venues throughout D.C. The festival runs through July 29, and a full list of performances can be found online. Tickets, which are all $17, plus a one time charge for a $5 Fringe button, are also available online.
Pike Buildings Set for Redevelopment — The buildings along Columbia Pike that house Rappahannock Coffee, L.A. Nails and Saah Furniture are set for redevelopment. A developer has proposed a single seven-story building to replace the aging buildings on the site. [Arlington Mercury]
School Board Approves Sequoia Plaza Lease — The Arlington School Board has approved a lease for office space in Sequoia Plaza, next to the new headquarters of the county’s Department of Human Services. The office space will allow the school system to move out of the Clarendon Education Center building and the Syphax Building on N. Quincy Street. [Sun Gazette]
H-B Student Production Accepted to Capital Fringe — Mindset, an original H-B Woodlawn student production, has been accepted to the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival. Mindset creator and H-B Woodlawn junior Jace Casey says he’s “excited” to be showcasing his production at the annual performing arts festival.
Naked Man on the GW Parkway — A naked man was reportedly taken into police custody this morning after being spotted by drivers on the GW Parkway near Memorial Bridge. [NBC Washington]
Eighth grade students at H-B Woodlawn sure found a sweet way to learn about geography and world issues. Today they unveiled the project that’s been in the works for weeks — a map of the world made out of cupcakes.
The 80 students each chose a country to write a report about, focusing on one particular issue in that country. They made signs for their cupcakes on the map, which correspond to the individual reports that are hung on the wall of the gym.
The students worked from 9:00 a.m. until about 1:00 p.m. to construct the map, which is made up of more than 2,500 cupcakes. Most of the sweets were made by students and their families, but some were also donated by Harris Teeter at the Lee-Harrison Center and by Sprinkles Cupcakes in Georgetown.
Tonight, the display is open to the public from 6:00-7:00 p.m. Students will be on hand to explain their research on the issues. Visitors who give a donation may take home some cupcakes. The money will go to the Arlington Food Assistance Center and the U.N. World Food Program.
GOP May Skip November Board Race — With a presidential election likely to bring Democrats out to the polls in droves, Republicans are saying, privately, that it’s likely they will not be running a candidate for County Board in November. Republican Mark Kelly received 43.5 percent of the vote to Democrat Libby Garvey’s 49.2 percent in yesterday’s historically low turnout special election. [Sun Gazette]
D.C. Premiere of H-B Grad’s Film Planned — Fresh off a big win at the Sundance Film Festival, “Fishing Without Nets” will be holding its Washington, D.C. premiere next month. The short film, created by H-B Woodlawn grad Cutter Hodierne, will be premiering at a “surprise location” on Saturday, April 21. Tickets are $15. [Eventbrite]
Sun Gazette Sold to Texas Company — The weekly Sun Gazette newspaper has been sold to HPR Hemlock LLC, a newspaper investment firm out of Fort Worth, Texas. A company executive says the Sun Gazette and its sister publication, Leesburg Today, will retain autonomy at the local level. The Sun Gazette had previously been owned by another Texas company, American Community Newspapers LLC, which declared bankruptcy in 2009. [Sun Gazette]
‘Mindset’ is a show “about an artist’s inner battle against the fear of failure.” Fusing dance, voice, live music and narrative, Mindset casts its starring actors as adults who look back with regret at their choice to pursue conventional careers instead of artistic endeavors.
The show was entirely student-created, with almost no supervision or instruction from teachers. It was written, stage directed, music directed, composed, choreographed and arranged by Jace Casey, an H-B Woodlawn junior. Casey teamed up with creative partner and fellow junior Cassandra Kendall, who was credited as an assistant director, choreographer, lighting designer and technical designer. The creative duo also acted in the show itself.
Casey and Kendall recruited a cast and crew of some 35 students, including actors, dancers, singers and musicians. In an interview after the show, one cast member described the group as “the weirdest, rag tag bunch… a gumbo.” That description matches the avant garde nature of the show
“Stylistically, Mindset doesn’t fit the typical mold of most high school productions since it draws influence from performance art, musical theatre, and live concert,” Casey said in an email. “The performance is structured around dialogue but is interwoven with dance and live music from popular culture.”
Proceeds from the show are being donated to the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry. Additional performances will take place tonight and tomorrow (Saturday), starting at 7:30 p.m. H-B Woodlawn is located at 4100 N. Vacation Lane.
More photos, after the jump.
H-B Woodlawn grad Cutter Hodierne has emerged the big winner in the short film category at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.
Out of more than 7,500 submissions and some 64 short films screened at the festival, Hodierne’s Fishing Without Nets has earned the top jury prize for Short Filmmaking. The jury, which included Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge, said Fishing Without Nets provided a unique perspective on the issue of Somali piracy.
“By approaching a story of epic scope with an intimate perspective, this visually stunning film creates a rare, inside point of view that humanizes a global story,” the jury said. The jury award was announced last night. Hodierne will be formally honored at Sundance’s Awards Ceremony, hosted by actress Parker Posey, on Sunday.
Fishing Without Nets was written, directed, produced and edited by Hodierne. Filmed in Kenya, the 17-minutes film is a fictional story about Somali pirates, told from the perspective of the pirates.
Hodierne is now working on a feature-length version of the film.
When Cutter Hodierne got the call, at 11:00 p.m. on the day before Thanksgiving, he assumed it was a prank.
The voice on the other end congratulated him for his short film, Fishing Without Nets, being selected to the Sundance Film Festival, one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. After the caller repeatedly assured Hodierne that he wasn’t being pranked — “that’s what everybody I call says” — the realization set in: this 24-year-old H-B Woodlawn grad and college dropout was mere weeks away from presenting his film at the festival that had helped the careers of indie film icons like Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson and Steven Soderbergh.
“This is just a big dream since I picked up a camera for the first time,” said Hodierne, 24, in a phone interview.
Fishing Without Nets was written, directed, produced and edited by Hodierne. It is a fictional story about Somali pirates, told from the perspective of the pirates. Filmed in Kenya, utilizing amateur Somali actors, the short is a testament to Hodierne’s perseverance and resourcefulness.
Together with producing partners Raphael Swann (another H-B Woodlawn grad), John Hibey (also a co-writer), Harold Otieno and Abubakr Mire, Hodierne managed to overcome challenge after challenge over the course of three months to complete the filming of the 17-minute film.
“Most of the guys cast as pirates were just local Somali guys living in Kenya who looked the part,” Hodierne said.
Then there was the matter of obtaining guns from the police for the filming. The Kenyan government, which has strict gun laws on its books, was not easily persuaded that Hodierne and his small crew were trustworthy enough to be given (real) automatic weapons.
“People are very suspicious of anybody trying to rent a bunch of guns from the police,” he said with a laugh. Eventually, Hodierne got his way — and his guns.
Then Hodierne found himself in a real-life life-and-death situation. He and his producing partners were robbed at gunpoint by a group of men. After giving the armed men everything they had, Hodierne and company were marched out to the ocean.
Board Lifts Ban on A-Frame Signs — Following through on a New Years promise from Arlington County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman, the Board voted on Saturday to allow businesses in the county to use temporary sidewalk signs, also known as A-frame signs. The Board also approved the use of branded sidewalk cafe umbrellas. [Arlington County]
New Soccer Fields Discussed — The County Board is pondering where future soccer fields should be built in Arlington. New fields are necessary, the Board has been told, due to expected growth of youth soccer programs. The 6,000 player strong Arlington Soccer Association is expected to add another 1,000 players in coming years as Arlington experiences growth in its youth population. [Sun Gazette]
WaPo Readers Complain About ‘Hippie High’ Nickname — A pair of Washington Post readers wrote letters to the editor to complain about an article that once again dubbed the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program “Hippie High.” [Washington Post]
Arlington Expecting Another Tough Year in Richmond — Arlington’s legislative delegation is anticipating another difficult year in Richmond. They say the Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly has repeatedly passed legislation that goes against the county’s interests, despite the fact that Arlington is a significant source of state tax dollars. [Washington Times]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec
Worries Over Proposed Constitutional Amendment — A proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution, intended to strengthen protections against local government usage of eminent domain authority, could complicate plans for the Columbia Pike streetcar project. County officials also worry that the amendment could force the county to pay businesses restitution for lost business due to street repairs, snow plowing or even police activity. [Sun Gazette]
H-B Woodlawn Students Protest Parent Plan — H-B Woodlawn secondary program students, who famously create their own courses and spend much of their school time unsupervised, are up in arms over a plan to allow their parents to monitor their academic achievements (or failings) more carefully. [Washington Post]
New Arrival at Central Library: ‘Mein Kampf’ — Arlington Central Library just acquired a brand new version of the Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf.’ A library spokesman says an older version of the book had to be taken out of circulation due to wear and tear. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by wfyurasko
Construction to Begin on Rosslyn Office Project — The long-stalled Central Place office project may finally be moving forward. Developer JBG says construction on a new 390-foot office tower, adjacent to the Rosslyn Metro station, will likely begin in the second quarter of 2012. The project will be competing with the nearby 1812 N. Moore Street project for the title of tallest skyscraper in the D.C. area. [Washington Post]
Taxi Fee Increase in the Works — The Arlington County Board is expected to advertise public hearings for a possible increase in two fees charged by taxi cabs. County staff is recommending the initial base taxi fare (the “drop fee”) be raised from $2.75 to $3.00, while also recommending the extra-passenger charge be hiked from $1.00 to $1.50. All fees charged by Arlington-based taxis are set by the county. [Sun Gazette]
Is Arlington Blocking I-66 Widening? — Why isn’t VDOT rushing to widen additional sections of I-66 inside the Beltway? Bob Chase, of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance blames obstructionism from Arlington. But County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman says a lack of money is behind the lack of action — and that Arlington “by itself doesn’t have the power to get in the way of more lanes.” [Washington Examiner]
H-B Woodlawn, a.k.a. Hippie High — H-B Woodlawn Secondary School — the educational experiment once known as ‘Hippie High’ — turned 40 this year. According to the Post: “Hippie High enters middle age far more conventional than it once was, with many of its students loading up on AP courses and obsessing about their SAT scores and grade-point averages just like their peers at ordinary high schools.” [Washington Post]
APS Names New Williamsburg Principal — The Arlington School Board has appointed Dr. Ann McCarty as the new principal of Williamsburg Middle School. McCarty, who has been a middle school principal in Falls Church, replaces Kathleen Francis, who was shown the door in February after sending a lengthy resignation letter to parents. The letter was harshly critical of Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy. [Arlington Public Schools]
Remembering Desegregation in Arlington – A town hall was held earlier this week to discuss the legacy of desegregation in Arlington. Stratford Junior High — now H-B Woodlawn — became the first school to integrate in Virginia in 1959. [WAMU]
William J. O’Donnell Obituary — Arlington resident William J. O’Donnell, NASA’s chief spokesman during the Gemini and Apollo programs, died last month at the age of 86. O’Donnell was a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest, one of the costliest battles of the war for the U.S. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool by Mark C. White