Arlington, VA

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.

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Lessons we learned while gathering information about local bars and their World Cup specials:

  • Irish pubs cannot stand France.
  • Irish pubs cannot stand England.
  • Irish pubs are likely to ask “Wait, why do you need an excuse like the World Cup to drink?” when asked about their World Cup drink specials.
  • Even British pubs are hesitant to say that they’re supporting England in Saturday’s match against the U.S.
  • There are too many ridiculous eating and drinking opportunities to avoid soccer for the next month.

Soccer is a game meant to be watched with a large group of loud and inebriated fans, so go ahead, summon your old middle school soccer ambitions and yell out those rare soccer-related phrases you remember from the matches (“CORNER KICK!” and “STRIKER!”).

ARLnow’s list of places to watch the World Cup in Arlington is after the jump. The tournament, by the way, kicks off (get it?) at 10:00 a.m. Friday with host country South Africa versus Mexico.

Photo via Facebook: Piola Restaurant all decked out for the World Cup.

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A Federation? A ghom? Whatever you want to call it, a heck of a lot of Star Trek fans attended the  Crystal Screen showing of Star Trek: The Motion Picture last night on Bell Street in Crystal City.

Star Trek, featuring the swashbuckling William Shatner and measured voice-of-reason Leonard Nimoy, was the first film shown as part of Crystal City’s Star Trek-themed, summer-long outdoor film festival.

Each installment of the Star Trek series plays Monday evenings at dusk in chronological order, which means next week will spotlight the 1982 classic Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan*.

Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets and a few snacks. While a few Star Trek fans could be seen in Federation t-shirts, it seemed that most fans left their Spock ears and other costumes at home.

Following yesterday’s boffo Trekkie turnout, Crystal City announced today a new contest for residents who want to vote on which films will be featured during next year’s film film. The series will adopt the theme “By the Numbers” and feature twelve films with numbers in their title (for example: The Whole Nine Yards or The 40 Year Old Virgin).

Visit http://www.crystalcity.org/ to vote for your favorite numbered film (or suggest your own, although the existing list of numbered films is pretty exhaustive). Crystal City will announce the twelve winning films on August 16, before the last film of the season (last year’s Star Trek, the blockbuster J. J. Abrams relaunch of the franchise).

* Speaking of Wrath of Khan (fun fact), did you know that Marc Okrand of the Washington Shakespeare Company is the original inventor of the Klingon language? Furthermore, the Rosslyn Spectrum and Marc Okrand are producing the Shakespeare play By Any Other Name entirely in Klingon this September, and it will feature George Takei in person. Repeat: George Takei reciting Shakespeare in Klingon at the Rosslyn Spectrum this September.

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Yes, May has been an insane month. From stolen wigs to stolen cell phones, and from DoD job losses to creating new jobs for exotic dancers (or, at the very least, local arguments for it), Arlingtonians are ready for a long weekend. Take a look at some local events happening around our area to take a load off to fully appreciate Memorial Day weekend.

For Memorial Day observers: Arlington National Cemetery will hold its annual Memorial Day of Observance to remember fallen service members on Monday at the Memorial Amphitheater. The Full Honor Wreath-Laying Ceremony is at 11:00 a.m., but officials recommend visitors arrive at 9:30 for seats and for a musical prelude by the U.S. Navy Band.

For the kids: Gulf Branch Nature Center on Military Road is holding their weekly campfire for families on Friday from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. Expect s’mores, games, and campfire songs for the little ones ($5 per person, $20 for families).

For music lovers: The Fleshtones, the quintessential 70’s/80’s American garage band, are playing Iota in Clarendon on Saturday night at 9:00. Tickets are $15 and available at the door.

For multicultural Arlingtonians: The 23rd Annual Argentine Festival is being held Saturday from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. at the Thomas Jefferson Theatre (125 S. Old Glebe Road). Watch tango dancing, listen to traditional music and eat traditional Argentinian treats.

For those who don’t mind wearing leather when it’s ridiculously hot outside: Rolling Thunder will be loudly and proudly riding all around Arlington and D.C. this weekend. From Friday to Sunday, groups of motorcyclists will be rolling in and out of the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, which is serving as the official hotel of the annual event. On Sunday morning a “Ride for Freedom” demonstration will be held at the North Pentagon parking lot. Washington Boulevard from I-395 to the Memorial Bridge will be closed Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Memorial Bridge will be closed from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you have a Harley, feel free to join the crowd (or just watch from the sidelines).

For people who like eating meat and giving to charity at the same time: 3 Bar and Grill (2950 Clarendon Blvd) will be hosting a “Charitable Pig Roast” on Memorial Day eve. There will be Bacon Bloody Marys, pulled pork sandwiches and some killer drink specials. It’s happening from 4:00 to 9:00 Sunday evening. A suggested $5 donation will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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Ok, foodies, get your forks ready this Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. Area food lovers wait in anticipation all year for the day they can graze from one local restaurant to the next, tasting the latest dishes from their favorite chefs at the annual Taste of Arlington in Ballston.

Taste of Arlington is returning for another day of delicious taste-testing of our area’s best restaurants. Participating establishments include the new Northside Social and older favorites like Busboys and Poets (see a full list here).

Even the rare individual who could care less about food will be able to distract themselves with an extensive arts and crafts fair, local music, stilt-walkers and a selection of wine.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is providing a bike valet for those of us who attempt to burn the calories we’re about to consume by pedaling to the event.

Advance tickets to nosh are $20 for eight “tastes” and $25 the day of the event. The event will be difficult to miss by car, bike, or metro: Arlington is shutting down a block of Wilson Boulevard in front of the Ballston Mall to make room for tents and pedestrians.

We suggest getting your ticket soon. There are a limited number available and about 12,000 hungry locals typically attend.  Happy eating!

Photos from tasteofarlington.com


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Your mother deserves more than a phone call and a picture frame made of Popsicle sticks on Mother’s Day. A card and flowers are a nice start. But there are also some mom-friendly gifts and activities to consider this weekend.

For the crafty mother: The first day of the Ballston Arts & Crafts Market (in Welburn Square, between N. 9th and N. Stuart Streets) is on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Expect plenty of delightful, handmade gifts that will impress your mother much more than anything YOU could have put together at the last minute.

For the musical mother: The Opera Guild of Northern Virginia is holding a benefit concert for the children of Haiti from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday at the NRECA Building (4301 Wilson Blvd).  The music will range from arias to swing and there will also be an art sale — a great opportunity to show that your mother raised a charitable, thoughtful son or daughter.

For the hungry mother: The Sunday brunch at Eatbar (2761 Washington Blvd), featuring popular G-rated movies on the restaurant’s big screen, is a local family favorite. Instead of breakfast in bed (so clichéd), mom can be watching The Incredibles, eating some eggs Benedict, and drinking mimosas as you reminisce about your childhood.

For the green thumb mother: Don’t want to buy flowers? Crystal City is holding its very intensely-named “Floral Frenzy Bulb Blitz” on Friday. From 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., the fine folks at Crystal City BID will provide you with a trowel so you can dig up tulip bulbs from the area between the 2100 and 2200 blocks of Crystal Drive. Several thousand bulbs must be removed to make way for new landscaping. Why not take ’em home and plant them around mom’s house?

For the outdoorsy mother: Sunday is supposed to be sunny and gorgeous.  Take your mother out for a picnic or a walk at one of Arlington’s many parks. It’s not just a great opportunity to spend quality time with your mother, it’s also FREE.

For the really, really last-minute gift: Modern Companies, which owns a day spa and a number of local nail salons, is holding a contest for Mother’s Day. Anyone who follows Modern Companies on Twitter or Facebook over the next four days could win a $100 manicure/spa gift card.  The only downside is that you find out whether you win the gift card ON Mother’s Day.  (We suggest a backup gift, just to be on the safe side.)

Photo by Dr. Case.

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Rosslyn’s “I Love the ’90s” outdoor film series started off with a crowd-pleaser Friday night. About 150 people crammed onto the field at Freedom Park to watch Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, and Paul Rudd in the 1995 classic teen comedy “Clueless”.

Space was at a premium. Most of the crowd arrived with picnic blankets in tow about an hour before show time.

Sultana Khan was there with friends about an hour and a half before the movie started with plenty of sandwiches, cheese, hummus, and other munchies.

“Seriously, this movie is, like, amazing,” she enthused, chanelling the flick’s San Fernando Valley spirit. “It’s a standard, and Cher is a total Betty.”

Several picnicking groups knew the script by heart, which meant a good section of the audience recited aloud one of the most memorable lines in the film:

“Why should I listen to you, anyway? You’re a virgin who can’t drive.”

“That was way harsh, Ty.”

This coming Friday the “gnarly” SNL-skit-turned-blockbuster Wayne’s World will be playing on the big screen. Others films in the series include Airheads, Home Alone, and Johnny Depp’s highly underrated Cry Baby.

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More than 60 swing dancers packed onto the Clarendon Ballroom dance floor Tuesday night as the Fabulettes — a trio of singers with polka dots and hair that would make Snooki jealous — sang hits from the ’50s and ’60s.  Most of the dancers were members of the GottaSwing beginner and intermediate dance classes led by Tom Koerner and Debra Sternberg.

Each Tuesday, Tom and Debra teach a beginner’s class at 7:00 p.m. followed by an intermediate class at 8:00 p.m. and a dance open to the public at 9:00 p.m. Admission for dancers who are not attending a class is $10.

Note that the moves in this video of Tom and Debra are not necessarily covered in the beginner classes.

New classes start May 11. Tuition for the eight-week session is $125.

A live band performs every week — next week expect the Jeff Carmella Band to blast some rhythm and blues.

Both singles and couples are welcome, says Tom.

“We’ve had over 147 couples get engaged after meeting at one of our lessons or dances. Even if you’ve already got a significant other, nothing says ‘I love you’ better than committing to a relationship on the dance floor. You can always divorce your wife, but not your dance partner!”

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