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by Chris Teale — March 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

A live national stage show returns to Arlington later this year, and it’s all about motherhood.

Rosslyn’s Spectrum Theatre will welcome Listen To Your Mother on May 7 in the show’s final nationwide tour. It was first produced in 2010 in Madison, Wisc.

The show features live readings about motherhood by 11 local writers and bloggers, but not all the performers are mothers. In fact, director Kate Hood said, variety of experiences is key.

Perhaps one participant talks about their grandmother, or another describes the work of a friend’s mother. It is not just a show for mothers to share their stories of motherhood.

“There’s going to be some things that will make you laugh, stories that are crazy and you’ve never heard before,” Hood said. “But I think we have some pretty powerful moments too. It’s hard to say, because each person has a unique story.”

Hood worked alongside director Stephanie Stearns Dulli — a former actor previously based in Los Angeles — to choose the cast from about 40 people who audition. Both agreed it is very hard to narrow it down to a list of less than a dozen participants.

“Every year, casting feels like separating diamonds from diamonds, and this year was no exception,” Stearns Dulli said. “[One] minute I was spellbound by heartbreak and poignancy and then five minutes later in another audition, I would be laughing so hard my stomach ached.”

After participants are selected, Stearns Dulli leads a full read-through with the entire group, then meets with each person individually to give them tips on how to present and when to pause for laughter or at poignant moments.

Then on the day of the performance, those involved are led onto the stage, told where to sit, then say their first line and last line into the microphone to get a feel for being on stage. That is the closest the group gets to rehearsing their material before the event.

“It’s not very rehearsed, it’s very authentic, I guess you’d say,” Hood said.

But Hood said audiences react positively to the experience, and feel more involved in what takes place on stage.

“One thing we hear from the audience members that we talk to is that they felt like they weren’t just watching a show, they were experiencing something as a community,” Hood said. “It’s really special. It’s not just going to be entertained, it’s going to bear witness and to feel honored that somebody is letting you into their life.”

This year’s performers will be Jennifer Andos, Ejima Baker-Morales, Lou-Ann Wattley Belk, Hannah Grieco, Jessica Haney, Taylor Harris, Lottie Joiner, LaPonda Kersey-Salisbury, Rachel Nusbaum, Nina Parrish and Alison Rascher.

Tickets are available for purchase online.

by Chris Teale — March 7, 2017 at 4:55 pm 0

A new women’s clothing and accessories store opened December at the Lee Heights Shops, replacing the recently-shuttered Lemon Twist Arlington.

Lemoncello Boutique at 4518 Lee Highway is a family-owned store that sells clothes for women of all ages, including young children and babies. It opened under different ownership from the previous store.

It also sells gifts and other items, including photo frames, jewelry and beauty products. Brands sold include Vineyard Vines, Scout and local jewelry designer Second Daughter, owned by Jessica Speckhard.

Lemoncello replaced Lemon Twist, which sold similar items and brands from the time it opened on Lee Highway in the late 1980s until it closed last year.

The store was part of a small retail fashion chain.

As of yet, the other Lee Heights Shops store to close recently, Bradshaw’s Children’s Shoes, appears not to have been replaced. It shuttered last year due to the owners’ retirement, after the store had served Northern Virginia since 1834.

by Chris Teale — March 7, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Buckingham Florist front storefront

(Updated at 4 p.m.) The Buckingham Florist, a long-time local business on N. Glebe Road, closed last week and appears to have relocated to Annandale.

Open since the 1940s, the florist delivered to Arlington County, Arlington National Cemetery and other parts of Northern Virginia.

Jean Tucker Bassin founded Buckingham Florist with her late husband Myer. Their son Neil Bassin is listed on various websites as having also owned it. In 2013, another website said Buckingham Florist was owned by Kim Park, who also owns Annandale Florist and Tysons Flower Affair.

As of last week, the flower shop’s location at 301 N. Glebe Road in the Buckingham Shopping Center was shuttered, an empty shell with no fixtures or fittings and some of its tiled floor ripped up. A retail leasing brochure lists the 1,460 square foot space as “coming available.”

An employee at the next-door Ravi Chatkhara takeout restaurant said he heard rumors the florist would be relocating elsewhere and would be replaced by a coffee shop.

The phone number listed for the florist is still active. A person at that number answered Tuesday and told ARLnow.com the store is now located in Annandale and open, but hung up when asked for further details.

by Chris Teale — March 7, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Custis Trail detours through Rosslyn (Courtesy Arlington County)Users of the Custis Trail around Rosslyn will begin experiencing phased detours starting tomorrow, as crews start utility work nearby.

From tomorrow until April 17, the trail will be rerouted east of N. Lynn Street onto an adjacent paved public driveway, according to Arlington County.

The route will have a steeper grade than the current trail, so bicyclists are advised to dismount before entering the detour zone.

On April 18, the next phase sees the trail rerouted at the northeast corner of its crossing at N. Lynn Street. The crossing will be shifted north until May 8.

The fourth and final phase begins May 9 west of N. Lynn Street, with the trail rerouted to the south side of Lee Highway between N. Lynn Street and N. Fort Myer Drive by Gateway Park until June 1. As the detour route for this phase is narrower than the current trail, bicyclists are asked to dismount or slow down when pedestrians are nearby.

Workers from the county along with the Virginia Department of Transportation and Dominion Virginia Power will be performing the work as part of the Lynn Street Esplanade & Custis Trail Improvements project. The project is intended to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, particularly at the dangerous intersection of Lynn Street and Lee Highway.

Signs will inform trail users of the various detours, and work dates may vary.

by ARLnow.com — March 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

A restaurant that can only rarely be seen serving customers is again closed for reported maintenance issues.

Pio Pio, located at 3300 Wilson Blvd between Clarendon and Virginia Square, has been closed “for at least a week,” according to a tipster. That’s despite a “help wanted” sign in the window.

A sign reading “today afternoon closed for maintenance” is posted on the door, as it was this past December when we first reported that Pio Pio was closed for an issue with the roof. It’s unclear if Pio Pio reopened at any point between then and now.

Reached at the restaurant’s phone number, a man who did not give his name said “I don’t know” when asked when Pio Pio would be reopening. “Someone will call you back,” the man said before hanging up.

Tipsters who’ve contacted ARLnow.com have expressed fascination with the “mysterious” business which, like the former Sam’s Corner before it, does not seem to keep regular hours.

Said one tipster:

The Pio Pio restaurant at the corner or Wilson and Jackson has been closed for at least a week. Interestingly, there’s a “help wanted”
sign in the window of the shuttered restaurant. The place rarely has had any customers, and often has a Hummer parked outside. And then there’s that man in a crazy chicken costume who used to stand outside scaring passers-by. Strange…

From another tipster:

… have you guys ever done any investigation as to the real story at Pio Pio? It would be funny if it weren’t so mysterious. There’s literally no one ever in there. They are closed during peak hours including Saturday afternoon and evening. Has to be some story there but I have never seen it told.

by Chris Teale — March 6, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

SoberRide announced a partnership with ride-hailing app Lyft last week (courtesy Washington Regional Alcohol Program)The region’s anti-DUI free ride service is switching from taxicabs to ride-hailing service Lyft, starting this St. Patrick’s Day.

Officials with nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program announced the new partnership last week. Lyft, a competitor of market leader Uber, will provide the SoberRide service throughout the D.C. region through the end of the year.

The free St. Patrick’s Day Lyft rides begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 17, and continue until 4 a.m. on Saturday, March 18.

During the 12-hour period, area residents aged 21 or older can enter the code SOBERRIDE in the Lyft app’s “Promo” section to receive safe transportation home worth up to $20 for free. The code is valid for new and existing Lyft users.

Lyft will also donate $1 to WRAP for each new Lyft customer using the SoberRide code in 2017.

“We are excited to partner with WRAP in providing safe, reliable transportation to area residents,” said Steve Taylor, general manager of Lyft’s D.C. area office hub in Crystal City, in a statement. “Lyft is committed to improving access to transportation and reducing drunk driving.”

Previously, the SoberRide program partnered with local taxi firms, including with Red Top Cab of Arlington, to provide free rides. WRAP president Kurt Gregory Erickson did not respond to requests for further comment on the switch. Just over 330 people in the D.C. region used the cab-based SoberRide service this past New Year’s Eve.

Besides Lyft, the sponsors of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide program include O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub in Clarendon and Sine Irish Pub in Pentagon Row.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one quarter of traffic deaths nationwide during the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day celebrations involved drunk drivers.

Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage said officers do a great deal of outreach to educate revelers of the risks involved in drinking and driving.

In previous years, Savage said, that outreach has coincided with the Shamrock Crawl bar-hopping event in Clarendon. But even with those festivities canceled this year, Savage said the outreach and education will continue.

“Anytime there are alcohol-related holidays, we always make a point to be extra cautious as officers for those driving under the influence,” she said.

Since 1993, the SoberRide program has provided 66,296 free safe rides home to would-be drunk drivers in the Greater Washington area.

by Tim Regan — March 3, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

There’s a new coffee shop and eatery in the former Mother’s Macaroons space, but it might not open in time for your early morning caffeine dose.

The cafe, Chill Zone, opened at 2442 N. Harrison Street several weeks ago. The business replaced the former Mother’s Macaroons Bakery, which abruptly closed in 2015.

Chill Zone serves bubble tea, Vietnamese coffee and a signature “Volcano Mango Frap,” among other beverages, but not until it opens at 10 a.m. each day, according to its Yelp page. The cafe also serves snacks such as pan-fried rice cakes and chicken wings.

The coffee shop wasn’t open when an ARLnow reporter visited the spot just before 9 a.m. this morning, but a peek through the window revealed an interior bedecked with modern decor and colorful furniture.

Reached via Facebook messenger, a representative for Chill Zone declined to comment on the opening.

by ARLnow.com — March 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm 0

Sarah Fraser (photo via Instagram)Media personality Sarah Fraser has been on the D.C. radio and TV airwaves for a decade. What you might not know about her is that she is a Virginia Square resident and is active locally here in Arlington.

On this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we talked with Sarah about her podcast and new media ventures, about the business of broadcasting, and about Arlington restaurants from Oz to Crystal City Restaurant.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

Photo via Instagram. Find more information about the Crystal City SoFar Sounds concert mentioned in the podcast here.

by ARLnow.com — March 1, 2017 at 5:20 pm 0

Pete's New Haven Apizza in Clarendon

Pete’s New Haven Apizza is preparing to downsize its space in Clarendon, and Dunkin’ Donuts is considering filling it.

Multiple sources tell ARLnow.com that Dunkin’ reps have taken a close look at the space at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Garfield Street. A leasing chart for the building, however, still lists the space as unfilled.

There are existing Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Ballston and Courthouse but not in Clarendon.

Permits have been issued to alter the existing Pete’s dining room and kitchen, reducing the overall size of the restaurant. Co-owner Joel Mehr says the pizzeria remain open during the process.

“We plan to stay open during construction,” he said. “We may have to close for a lunch here and there.”

by ARLnow.com — March 1, 2017 at 11:10 am 0

Washington Blvd just west of Westover (Photo via Google Maps)

A community meeting is scheduled for tonight (Wednesday) to discuss a road re-striping plan that would add bike lanes but remove some parking on the western portion of Washington Blvd in Arlington.

The meeting is set to take place at the Westover Branch Library (1644 N. McKinley Road) from 5-8 p.m.

“We invite community members to provide ideas and insights on how we achieve the maximum benefits for bicycle access and pedestrian safety, while minimizing potential impacts in the area,” says the meeting’s web page.

Among the changes being proposed:

  • “Create nearly a two-mile stretch of bike lanes from Sycamore St. to George Mason Dr.”
  • “Narrow unnecessary wide travel lanes to help calm traffic.”
  • “Install a dedicated left turn lane for westbound Washington Boulevard at N. Ohio Street to help reduce backups.”
  • “Sidewalks will be more comfortable for walking due to buffering provided by the new bike lanes.”

The restriping, as proposed, would add bike lanes in both directions to where they don’t already exist on Washington Blvd between Westover and East Falls Church, but at the expense of some on-street parking.

The project is being planned by Arlington County but will be performed and funded by VDOT, which maintains that stretch of Washington Blvd.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — March 1, 2017 at 8:25 am 0

(Updated at 9 a.m.) As feared, it was pouring rain during last night’s Clarendon Mardi Gras parade.

But the raindrops did not dampen the spirits of those in the parade, who made their way up Wilson Blvd to the delight of thin but enthusiastic crowds.

From a dancing monkey to a guy on a penny-farthing to a bunch of people pedaling on the Trolley Pub, the parade hearkened back to a bygone era when “Keep Clarendon Weird” was the neighborhood’s motto.

by Tim Regan — February 28, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Clarendon Apple Store after its reopening (file photo)Locals looking to pick up the newest iPhone or Macbook Pro will once again be able to do so in Pentagon City.

The Pentagon City mall Apple Store, which closed for renovations last September, is due to reopen this weekend. A grand reopening party is set for Saturday, March 4, at 10 a.m.

“You’ll love what we’ve done with the place,” the company wrote on the store’s website and in an email.

“There’s a lot more to see at your new Apple Store in Arlington,” said the email. “Stop by on March 4 to take a look at what’s changed and try the latest Apple products.”

According to the aficionados at MacRumors.com, the store is slated to reopen with a “next generation” design that includes indoor trees, wood tables and 6K video screens throughout the store.

Last year, the Clarendon Apple Store also temporarily shuttered for a facelift. That location reopened in September.

File photo. Hat tip to Chaz P.

by Tim Regan — February 28, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

Rosslyn is slated to get a new 180-seat indoor and outdoor beer garden this April.

Or at least, that’s the plan, said owner Curt Large, who also owns nearby Continental Pool Lounge. Large is working to open a new hangout dubbed the Continental Beer Garden in a space currently used as a pop-up urban park with tables, chairs, potted plants and a mural at the corner of 19th Street and N. Moore Street.

“Everything still has to come together,” Large said. “We’ve made a lot of progress, but all the finishes need to occur.”

As ARLnow.com originally reported last August, the work includes a full renovation of the former service station located under the office building at 1901 N. Fort Myer Drive. That indoor area will be transformed into a bar and small seating area with a kitchen and bathrooms. But the real action happens outside, Large said. When it opens, the 4,000 square foot outdoor beer garden will have two bocce courts, picnic tables, outdoor sofas and comfy chairs.

“We hope that the seats fill up just because there’s demand for it,” he said. “As soon as the weather gets nice, people who are in offices all day will want to spend some time outside.”

At the bar, patrons can order beers from Virginia breweries such as Port City and Lost Rhino, Large said. The beer garden will also serve a couple German beers, a selection of wines on tap and happy hour mainstays such as sausage platters, meat skewers and pretzels with beer cheese.

Large started working on the former service station in 2013, when it was occupied by cars and two dumpsters.

“I walked past the space one day and had an epiphany,” he said. “This should be a beer garden.”

The space sat vacant for about two decades before being converted to an outdoor seating area by property owner JBG and the Rosslyn Business Improvement District in 2014. In the past, the lot has seen a number of events, including a pop-up beer garden organized by the Continental two years ago.

by Tim Regan — February 23, 2017 at 5:45 pm 0

Hundreds of people will march through Clarendon to the tune of a live band this weekend as part of a massive wedding parade.

Alexandria couple Sarah Matheson and her fiance, Mike Mihalecz, are planning to hold a New Orleans-style parade after their wedding at the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 3:15 p.m. A procession of about 125 people, some wearing masks and carrying handkerchiefs, will travel from the church at 3304 North Washington Blvd to the nearby Clarendon Ballroom, where the couple’s reception is being held.

The parade is modeled after the “second line,” a jubilant and musical New Orleans tradition usually held after weddings or funerals. Matheson describes the idea as “a walking party that goes on forever.”

“We have a four-piece band that will be playing,” she added. “We’ll have a pedicab for some of the older folks who can’t walk so well.”

The parade also will have a motorcycle police escort to safely guide revelers through the streets.

Though Matheson said she’s a fan of New Orleans culture, the idea to plan such a big parade actually came from a desire to keep people from driving to the wedding.

“We were joking around, like, how can we get people not to drive to the wedding?” Matheson said. “This just kind of blossomed from something practical.”

The parade won’t be limited to wedding guests, either. In true second line tradition, people from off the street can join in if they’d like. They’ll have to part ways when they get to the Clarendon Ballroom, however, as the reception is only open to guests of the bride and groom.

Above all else, Matheson hopes the parade will inspire lots of warm memories that last for years to come.

“They’ll all enjoy the process,” Matheson said. “I think it will be definitely unique.”

Photos courtesy of Sarah Matheson

by Tim Regan — February 23, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

(Updated at 3:44 p.m.) The Clarendon area has a new spot for haircuts.

The barbershop, Willy and Habib’s, opened at 3107 10th Street N about three weeks ago, said co-owner Habib Zaki. The shop is a short walk from the Clarendon Metro station.

Customers at the newly opened shop can get haircuts, shaves and stylings. A cut costs just $20, and the shop has flatscreen televisions, leather barber chairs and lots of nearby parking as perks for clients.

Zaki is a veteran of Pete’s Barbershop, the beloved Westover business that attracts customers from across Arlington. So far, business at Willy and Habib’s has been “pretty good,” Zaki said, a claim matched by a recent flurry of positive Yelp reviews.

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