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by Tim Regan — February 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

(Updated at 2:05 p.m.) A local judge is taking his talents from the bench to the stage in an upcoming musical.

Hon. William T. Newman Jr., who serves as chief judge on the Arlington Circuit Court, will have a headlining role in WSC Avant Bard’s production of “The Gospel at Colonus.” The play, which premieres later this month, is a gospel retelling of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus.

Newman plays one of the musical’s main characters, a preacher who turns the tragedy of Oedipus into a modern parable full of story and song.

“It’s a very fascinating play,” Newman said. “The whole premise is that it takes place in a Pentecostal church wherein the pastor is giving a sermon talking about one’s destiny.”

Though Newman makes his living as a judge, acting is one of his greatest passions. He’s performed since elementary school and even has a bachelor’s degree in theater.

“Acting has been all my life,” he said. “Theater is something that’s always been apart of me.”

If Newman looks familiar, it’s likely because you’ve seen him perform. Recently, he’s taken roles at the Lean and Hungry Theatre and the Arena Stage in The District. He has also appeared in Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” starred in several local commercials and played a character on “Somerset,” a soap opera from the 1970s.

Additionally, he had some time in the limelight as a result of his 2005 marriage to BET co-founder Sheila Johnson.

Despite his love of acting, Newman jokes that the law is a “jealous mistress.” His work schedule means he can only take on one or two plays a year, and he’s usually only able to rehearse during the evening or on the weekends.

Still, making the mental switch from arbiter to actor isn’t as difficult as one might think. Newman said that when he dons his judge’s robe or puts on a character’s costume, it’s like he becomes another person.

“As I change clothes, I change personas,” he said.

And the contrast between being a judge and being an actor works out in his favor in the end.

“The acting part of me helps me be a better judge, and some of the things I see in courts help me as an actor,” he said.

“The Gospel at Colonus” is scheduled to run Feb. 23 through March 26 at the Gunston Arts Center, located at 2700 S. Lang Street. Tickets can be purchased on the WSC Avant Bard website.

by ARLnow.com — February 14, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

A raccoon got stuck in a drain at Wakefield High School yesterday, but animal control officers rode to the rescue.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington posted a photo of the critter on Twitter, taken just before it was freed from the small concrete trench.

by ARLnow.com — February 10, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Work is underway on a new kabab restaurant in Shirlington.

Moby Dick House of Kabob will be opening later this year in the former Medi space. The fast casual Mediterranean restaurant, which served pitas, salads and rice bowls, closed this past fall.

Moby Dick serves Persian cuisine, including various salads, pita bread sandwiches, rice plates and kabobs. The company has around 20 locations in the D.C. area, including one in Clarendon at 3000 Washington Blvd.

So far, no opening date has been announced. A call Thursday morning to a spokesman for the company has not been returned.

by Tim Regan — February 9, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

The TargetExpress store in Rosslyn is getting a facelift.

Two sections of the store — an area next to the women’s apparel aisle and the Starbucks — are currently blocked off by plastic sheets. Large pieces of construction equipment and tools were spotted in those sections.

Though several Target employees told ARLnow.com they weren’t sure what kind of work is being done or when those areas might reopen, one said a new beer and wine section might replace the shuttered Starbucks. A media representative for Target did not immediately respond to requests for more information.

(Luckily, Rosslynites needing a caffeine fix will not have to go far to find another Starbucks.)

The 23,000 square foot store, located at 1500 Wilson Blvd, sells groceries, beer, wine, personal care items, clothing, gadgets and other goods. It opened less than two years ago.

by Tim Regan — February 8, 2017 at 1:25 pm 0

The company behind a Clarendon cycling shop has a new owner and a new name.

Local bike and clothing chain Revolution Cycles is now the “Trek Bicycle Store.” The name change is part of a sale to the Trek Bicycle Corporation, a Wisconsin-based retailer of bicycles and riding accessories.

Workers will soon install signs with the company’s new name at the former Revolution Cycles at 2731 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon as well as at the locations in Georgetown, Rockville and Stafford.

“We have plans to expand and continue to improve everything that has made these stores so important to the communities they serve,” Trek spokesman Eric Bjorling told ARLnow.com. “Along with us will come a dedication to creating a great environment for local cyclists through local cycling advocacy and we will be focused on finding all the opportunities we can to create unforgettable retail experiences.”

Revolution founders Mike Hamannwright and Santiago “Pinkey” Gonzalez thanked the store’s longtime customers in an email yesterday.

The full email is below.

Twenty years ago, a couple guys set out on a mission to fulfill a personal dream, namely to turn our passion for bicycles, serving customers and wearing shorts to work into a livelihood. Thus was born Revolution Cycles at the foot of the Key Bridge in Georgetown.

The time has come for us to pass the baton and move into the next chapter of our lives. We’ve been honored to serve the Washington D.C. community and have watched our dream grow into a successful and vibrant family of four stores stretching from Rockville, Maryland, to Stafford, Virginia. From your house to the White Hose, we’ve always strived to exceed expectations. In this journey, we’ve been carried by a tide of amazing customers and a dedicated and talented staff.

We love the business we’ve all built together, and as we planned for the future, our priority was finding a partner who shared our core values and would commit to building upon what we’ve developed. We believe the best part of our business wears shoes; the customers and our tremendous staff. We needed to know that Revolution Cycles would be in the caring hands of people who have a passion for cycling, a reputation for excellent customer service, and a dedication to giving back to the community through advocacy.

We have found that partner in Trek Bicycle. We know they will do a great job and that your experience with your shops and cycling in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia will continue to improve under their guidance and leadership.

There truly aren’t words that adequately say “thank you” for all the support you’ve given us through the years. Owning a small business is a ride like no other. Without your support, there is no revolution cycles. Over the years we’ve drawn inspiration and our drive from the energy of our customers and hundreds of staff who’ve worn the Revolution Cycles black and red polo.

We are forever grateful you chose us to be your local bike shop.

Happy cycling,

Mike and Pinkey

by ARLnow.com — February 7, 2017 at 6:15 pm 0

(Updated at 7:15 p.m.) About 24 hours ago, the unofficial Facebook page for the popular and heavily-used Shirlington dog park posted something that could barely be believed.

Arlington County, the page said, has a plan “to move the dog park and make it much smaller, or do away with it.” It’s unclear who exactly posted that on behalf of the page — there is no contact information on the page’s “About” section — but the reaction from its more than 2,500 fans was swift.

“Whaaaattt??? Noooo!!!!” and “This is bullshit. (Sorry for the language, but it’s that serious)” were typical responses.

“That’s insane,” said another person. “The dog park is one of the biggest draws of the area for people when considering places to live; plus, people come from all over to use it = lots of money into [Shirlington]!”

In all, there have been some 200 responses and comments on the post and another 175 shares, so far. It has been re-posted, separately, by concerned residents on a Fairlington neighborhood Facebook page and elsewhere around the social network.

The Shirlington Dog Park Page cites a source for its alarming assertion: a presentation of early land use proposals generated last month as part of the Four Mile Run Valley planning process. However, the presentation appears to show that the area of the dog park is being considered generally for “outdoor parks/rec/cultural” uses — which could well include a dog park.

Only one of seven alternative scenarios presented shows the dog park apparently replaced — by a “riparian zone” and a promenade.

Virginia Farris, a member of the Four Mile Run Valley working group who’s also active in the Shirlington Civic Association, offered one of the 75 comments on the Facebook post.

“There is no proposal from the County yet, nor will there be for awhile yet,” she wrote. “The Working Group meets twice a month and the planning process still has a long way to go. The Dog Park has solid supporters among Working Group members — it’s definitely not going to be closed!”

Her post received seven likes as more than a dozen additional comments from people upset about the possibility of the park closing followed. Dog park supporters, in the meantime, are being encouraged to write emails to all five County Board members, with some pledging to do so every day until they get a favorable response.

The page, and Farris, are also encouraging dog park supporters to attend a meeting of the working group Tuesday night. The meeting, scheduled from 7-10 p.m. on the second floor of 2700 S. Taylor Street, will include a discussion of the land use plans and a 15 minute public comment period at the end.

“If you come… you can expect to hear a lot of questions and push-back from the Working Group members on many aspects (including the dog park) of the second set of conceptual drawings,” Farris said.

County officials have struggled to respond to the rumors as they spread like wildfire, with thousands of Facebook users likely seeing the original dog park post.

(Facebook has recently been making headlines as it combats so-called “fake news” on the network, with much of the focus coming in the wake of the recent presidential election.)

The Dept. of Parks and Recreation did respond to the post, just an hour after it was first published (see gallery above), but the response was buried since it was made to a comment on the post rather than the post itself.

At 5:35 p.m. Tuesday evening, six hours after our first enquiry about plans for the dog park, a county spokesperson responded to ARLnow.com but did not directly address what was being considered.

“There will be four ideas proposed at tonight’s 4MRV meeting,” said Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “This is just a first step to get feedback. There will be another meeting solely on getting input on the dog park on March 18 from 9-11 a.m. at the Park Operations Building.”

A county webpage for the March meeting says it will “discuss opportunities for improvements to the Shirlington Dog Park as part of the overall 4MRV Parks Master Plan.”

“This is an opportunity to share your ideas for the dog park with DPR staff and learn more about the 4MRV park planning process,” the page said.

“To look at the bright side,” concluded Kalish, “there is obviously a lot of support for the dog park and we should be able to get lots of great input to make it better through the Parks Master Planning process.”

by ARLnow.com — February 7, 2017 at 2:35 pm 0

A Dunkin’ Donuts location appears to be coming to the now-empty building at 70 N. Glebe Road that used to house a KFC.

Building permits for the construction work were approved last month, county records show. The KFC closed just over a year ago, initially claiming that it was “closed due to maintenance” and would “re-open shortly.”

The property on which the stand-alone restaurant building sits is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, which is based nearby at 200 N. Glebe Road. The property includes eight parking spaces and a drive-thru window.

by Tim Regan — February 7, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) A Manassas-based brewery and coffee roaster has plans to open a new Clarendon brewpub later this month.

Heritage Brewing’s Arlington outpost is scheduled to open its doors at 2900 Wilson Blvd by the end of February, according to Sean Arroyo, the company’s chief executive officer. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign last November to help open the restaurant.

When it opens to the public, the gastropub will serve small-batch beers in addition to a lineup of IPAs, pale ales and wheat beers.

“We’ll have a brew pilot system there,” Arroyo said. “We’ll do small batches and exclusive beers for the Arlington community.”

Though the food menu isn’t yet finalized, it will be more than “your typical pub and grub,” Arroyo said. Dishes from executive chef Donal Crosbie will include roasted chicken, steak, burgers and fish.

“There’s a lot of thought in the menu and in the dishes,” Arroyo said. “Everything is fresh. We’re purchasing local ingredients. You’ll see Virginia chicken and beef.”

Another idea Heritage plans to implement is to serve beef from cattle that were fed some of the brewery’s spent grains.

“It’s the ultimate farm-to-table,” Arroyo joked.

Inside the eatery, repurposed wooden barrels, brick walls and reclaimed wood will help create a style Arroyo calls “barn chic meets industrial rustic.”

“All of the benches and booths that are in there are made from barrels that once aged whiskey and then aged our beer,” he said. “We want you to feel all-encompassed while being comfortable.”

Above all else, Arroyo said he’s just excited to start serving food and beer in Arlington.

“Most of our consumers are from Arlington,” he said. “We know that we will have a great community there.”

by ARLnow.com — February 2, 2017 at 7:05 pm 0

Crystal City BID CEO Angela Fox at the BID's annual meeting. Photo by Joy Asico (www.asicophoto.com)Angela Fox, the president and CEO of the Crystal City Business Improvement District, joined us on this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast.

The BID was formed about 10 years ago and charged with “reinventing” Crystal City, changing perceptions about one of the area’s biggest business districts and creating experiences that make it a more dynamic place to live, work and play.

That was not an easy task, especially when half the jobs in the area were set to pick up and leave due to BRAC. We asked Angie about how the BID tackled that challenge, what kind of events it’s hosting this year, and about the changes to Crystal City that could be coming soon.

Also discussed: the Crystal Couture fashion show and sale that’s happening in Crystal City this weekend.

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

by Tim Regan — February 2, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

A national purveyor of women’s clothing has quietly shuttered its shop in Clarendon.

The Chico’s at Market Common Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd) is now closed. The store’s exterior sign has been removed and its windows are now covered with paper. The location also is no longer listed on the company’s website.

It wasn’t clear what might replace the clothing retailer. Arlington County has not recently issued any building permits for the address.

A Chico’s representative wasn’t immediately available for comment. The company currently has another Arlington location at 1101 S. Joyce Street on Pentagon Row.

by Tim Regan — January 31, 2017 at 3:50 pm 0

Decal Contest winner Arlington Sees Stars, image via Arlington CountyThe David M. Brown Planetarium will soon appear on the windshields of more than 160,000 vehicles throughout Arlington.

The planetarium, located next to Washington-Lee High School in the Virginia Square area, is prominently featured on the 2017-2018 Arlington County vehicle decal contest winner, “Arlington Sees Stars.”

The winning submission from Wakefield High School sophomore Amy Kohan was announced during a County Board meeting Tuesday afternoon.

“I chose this because it was one of the things I looked forward to [visiting] in elementary school every year,” Kohan said during the award ceremony. “It’s one of my favorite things about Arlington.”

For her hard work, Kohan will receive a cash prize of $750 from the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union. Finalists Schuyler Workmaster, Sydney Machion and Marjorie Henriquez will each receive $500 for their submissions.

More than 3,200 votes were cast in this year’s competition, representing a 78 percent increase in votes compared with last year, said Arlington County Treasurer Carla de la Pava.

by ARLnow.com — January 31, 2017 at 11:10 am 0

Four Mile Run Valley arts area concept sketch (via Arlington County)Arlington County is scheduled to hold a series of focus groups on the housing needs of artists next week.

The public discussion will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 8 and will be led by Minneapolis-based Artspace, a nonprofit that “uses the tools of real estate development to create affordable, appropriate places where artists can live and work.”

“The conversation with arts, community, and business leaders will focus on the potential for artist housing in a variety of neighborhoods in Arlington,” according to a web page for the event. “The visit will assess the viability of arts-related programming for selected sites.”

There are four areas being considered for arts-related development: Virginia Square, Columbia Pike, the Four Mile Run Valley/Shirlington area, and the 23rd Street S. commercial district in Crystal City.

The $20,000 cost of the feasibility study is being paid for by the nonprofit Arlington Foundation for Arts and Innovation, according to the county, but at this point no final decision has been made as to whether to move forward with artist housing facilities in Arlington.

“By convening a broad-based conversation among community leaders, Artspace hopes to stimulate serious, forward looking dialog on the needs of Arlington’s creative community, including affordable housing for art teachers, music instructors and working artists,” said the county. “This is simply a conversation to explore the range and feasibility of arts-related uses broadly in and within a handful of specific neighborhoods.”

“If the results of the initial feasibility study are positive, Artspace may be engaged to conduct a Phase II study which offers a deeper dive into the needs of the community,” the county explained. “AFAI has indicated that it will fund the Phase II study if the results of the original feasibility study warrant it.”

The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Feb. 8, at the Arlington Economic Development offices at 1100 N. Glebe Road, 15th floor. Anybody is welcome to attend.

by Tim Regan — January 31, 2017 at 10:20 am 0

(Updated at 10:53 a.m.) A new fitness studio is now open on the ground floor of the Beacon at Clarendon apartment building.

The business, Neighborhood Barre, opened its doors at 1148 N. Irving Street about two weeks ago, according to franchise owner Eileen McCarthy.

Neighborhood Barre offers workouts that mix dance conditioning, pilates and isometric exercise techniques. This is the first D.C.-area gym for the company, which has locations in Tennessee and Alabama.

McCarthy, a longtime barre enthusiast, said she got the idea to open the studio after many years of trying different kinds of exercise routines.

“I had been doing barre workouts on my own,” McCarthy said. “It was a big stress reliever for me. It’s intense, but it’s not off-the-wall intense.”

The ballet-inspired barre workouts are suitable for people of any fitness level, she added.

Though she considered several other locations, McCarthy said opening a fitness studio in Clarendon was a “no brainer.”

“It’s just such a good mix of people and densely populated,” she said.

Neighborhood Barre currently offers five classes each weekday and three classes on Saturday and Sunday, but more classes are on the way, McCarthy said.

by ARLnow.com — January 31, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Arlington paved 89.4 lane miles of roadway in 2016, keeping up a pace that’s triple the rate seven years ago.

The county has been playing catch-up since anemic paving rates caused roads to deteriorate to an average Pavement Condition Index grade of 68.9 out of 100 in 2012.

In a 2016 year-in-review video, above, Arlington Water, Sewer and Streets Bureau Chief Harry Wang says his crews paved 9.2 percent of Arlington’s 974 lane miles of county-maintained roadway. Also last year, crews fixed some 7,300 potholes.

Despite relatively mild weather so far, pothole season is here and Wang said the county is “getting ready to stay on top of what’s being damaged by this winter.”

by Tim Regan — January 30, 2017 at 4:50 pm 0

(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) Dudley’s Sport & Ale, a long-awaited sports bar coming to the former Bungalow space in Shirlington, might finally open its doors this June or July.

That’s the latest from owner Reese Gardner, who also owns Copperwood TavernQuinn’s on the Corner in Rosslyn and Irish Whiskey in the District.

Though the original plan was to open Dudley’s last March, work associated with the planned rooftop deck greatly delayed those plans. But the bar is still inching toward an opening date, Gardner said.

“We’re 70 percent done inside,” he explained. “It’s taking a long time, but it’s a big project.”

The long wait appears to have disheartened some eager would-be patrons. Several people have taken to Facebook to complain about the delay over the past few months.

“I have been checking for news on the opening since last spring,” wrote one person, who gave the yet-to-open restaurant a one-star review. “They should at least give updates.”

“This is the restaurant that will never open,” said another Facebook user.

When it finally opens, Dudley’s will offer a 28-seat bar, another 125 seats in the dining area, a private room and bar for events and a “stadium style” viewing area with drink-holder-equipped seat that face a giant screen. Hot dog, popcorn and beer vendors will roam the stadium seating area to dispense cheap eats and drinks, Gardner said.

Dudley’s will also have a rooftop bar with a game area, a 15-seat bar and patio seating for about 114 people.

The tavern’s menu will consist of “traditional American bar cuisine,” Gardner said. The restaurant will also serve a “blue collar breakfast” menu all day and sling 16-inch cast iron pizzas.

“It’s a cross between a deep dish and a traditional pizza,” Gardner explained. “When you make it in these cast irons, the crust gets very flavorful.”

If the remaining construction work goes off without a hitch, Dudley’s could open on the Fourth of July, hopefully at the latest, according to Gardner.

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