Arlington’s Former Row House Ban — Responding to complaints from community leaders who “hoped to preserve Arlington’s then-suburban character,” Arlington County changed its zoning ordinance to ban row houses in 1938. That decision is one factor in the area’s “dramatic undersupply of missing middle housing.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Police Still Searching for Sex Assault Suspect — Arlington County Police are still looking for a man who posed as a maintenance worker and sexually assaulted a woman in her Rosslyn condominium on May 7. “This investigation remains a top priority of the department and detectives continue to follow-up on significant investigative leads,” ACPD said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Police continue to ask that anyone with information on the identity of the suspect or details surrounding this investigation call 703-228-5050.” [Arlington County]
Review of Synetic’s ‘Hunchback’ — “‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ gives a hyper-creative Washington group a source for one of its most beautifully realized productions,” theater critic Peter Marks writes of the new Synetic Theater production in Crystal City, which runs through June 11. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Park Upgrades Approved — At its meeting last night, the Arlington County Board approved contracts that will “upgrade the playgrounds and picnic shelter at Oakgrove Park and add a restroom/picnic pavilion and futsal court at Tyrol Hills Park.” The contracts total around $1.7 million. [Arlington County]
TJ Construction to Take Away Theater Parking — Construction of a new elementary school next to the Thomas Jefferson community center and middle school will mean a loss of parking for the community theater used by a number of local performing arts troupes. Those troupes, including The Arlington Players and Ballet Nova, will now have to decide whether to relocate to another community theater or stay and deal with the lack of parking. [InsideNova]
New Location for Children’s School Approved — Last night the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a site plan amendment allowing the Children’s School, a co-op child care center for Arlington Public School employees, to occupy two floors of a Ballston office building. The center is moving from an APS-owned building in Westover to make way for what’s expected to be a new elementary school. Some Ballston condominium residents expressed concerns about the child care center, primarily related to traffic; County Board member Christian Dorsey pointed out that the space it’s moving into was formerly used by a for-profit college. [Arlington County]
Ballston Profiled by WaPo — “With an array of amenities, it’s easy to see why Ballston is one of the area’s hottest markets,” says a real estate-focused profile of the neighborhood. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Baba Now Open — Baba, the comfy bar and cafe in the basement of Ambar in Clarendon, is now open after some unexpected delays. The “big draw” of Baba, according to the Post’s Maura Judkis, is its made-from-scratch cocktails. [Washington Post]
Ballston Wi-Fi to Launch Today — The “BLinked” gigabit wi-fi service in Ballston is expected to launch today. The free service will offer a high-speed and seamless internet connection throughout public spaces in Ballston. [Twitter]
Signature Theatre 2017-18 Season Announced — Shirlington’s Signature Theatre has announced the lineup for its 2017-18 season, with eight marquee shows and six short-run cabarets. [Signature Theatre]
Reminder: Storm Drains Empty to Waterways — “Our local waterways literally go with the flow. That means rain water heads into nearby storm drains and then quickly ends up in local streams like Four Mile Run. Those streams flow into the Potomac River, the source for much of the region’s drinking water.” [Arlington County]
Obit: William Coleman — William T. Coleman, Jr., a civil rights lawyer and cabinet member who broke racial barriers, has died. Coleman is noted in Arlington for his role, as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, in authorizing the controversial construction of I-66 inside the Beltway. [NBC News]
Arlington Players Rack Up WATCH Awards — The Arlington Players have received seven Washington Area Theatre Community Honors awards, tying an Alexandria theater company for the highest award total of 2017. [InsideNova]
Hat tip to Eric Dobson. Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Vornado Scraps Development Proposals — Ahead of the closing of its merger with JBG, Vornado has indefinitely put on hold a number of development proposals, including: all but one building of its proposed RiverHouse development in Pentagon City; a revamp of the shops at 1750 Crystal Drive that was to include a new 12-screen multiplex; and a pair of retail pavilions at 2101 and 2201 Crystal Drive. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington a ‘Best City’ to Go Car-Free — According to a new list in Forbes, Arlington County is one of the top 25 U.S. cities for one to live without a car. Arlington was also one of nine places whose walkable neighborhoods were profiled in the magazine. [Forbes]
Video of Apartment Fire — The weekend fire at the Serrano apartments on Columbia Pike was caught on video. The dramatic video shows firefighters arriving and starting to douse the flames with water. [Statter 911]
‘Taming of the Shrew’ Review — A review of Synetic Theater’s new production of Taming of the Shrew says the physical theater performance “speaks colorful volumes” despite the lack of dialogue. [Broadway World]
Leadership Change at Community Foundation — Arlington Community Foundation Executive Director Wanda Pierce is stepping down next month after eight years of leading the local nonprofit.
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
(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.
Sun Gazette Moving HQ to Falls Church — The Sun Gazette newspaper is moving its headquarters from McLean to the city of Falls Church. The paper, which has an Arlington edition and a McLean/Great Falls/Vienna/Oakton edition, has previously, under its current editor, had its headquarters in Dunn Loring, Alexandria and Springfield. [InsideNova]
Review of Synetic’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ — Crystal City-based physical theater company Synetic is performing its unique take on “Sleeping Beauty” through Jan. 8. It has received a laudatory review from Broadway World. “Every mimed motion, from a butterfly alighting on a hand to that fated spinning wheel wound, is flawlessly executed and transports audiences to a place beyond imagination,” the publication wrote. [Broadway World]
Children of Inmates Receive Gifts — The annual “Project Christmas Angel” initiative has distributed more than 1,100 gifts this year to nearly 400 children whose parents will be locked up in the Arlington County jail or in state prisons over the holidays. The project also supports kids who have a parent that was recently released from incarceration. [InsideNova]
Final ‘Around Arlington’ of 2016 — The final episode of the county-produced Around Arlington television segment features updates on the Four Mile Run Valley initiative, humanitarian award winners and plans for 2017. [YouTube]
It’s going down on Tuesday, Dec. 13, kicking off a seven-week run that will stretch through Jan. 29. The ambitious production features “a cast, crew and orchestra of more than 50 artists and an inventive new 360 degree staging in Signature Theatre’s intimate 330 seat MAX Theatre,” according to a press release.
Signature’s Artistic Director, Eric Schaeffer, promises a first-class experience.
“I’ve always loved the musical Titanic and I have felt that Signature should reinvent this musical for our audiences in an exciting new way,” said Schaeffer, in a statement. “Audiences will feel they are aboard this ‘ship of dreams’ surrounded by Maury Yeston’s beautifully haunting score. It truly will be the musical event of the season in Washington and an experience like none other.”
The epic disaster tale comes at a busy time in the Washington area — it will overlap with Christmas, New Year’s, president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration and possibly a Redskins playoff run.
Those who want to get on board for the musical performance will need to take the plunge to the tune of $40 to $109 per ticket.
The full press release about “Titanic” and its casting is below.
The following is the third in a weekly series of articles about a “day in the life” of companies at the MakeOffices coworking space in Clarendon. The mini-series, which will run this fall, is sponsored by MakeOffices.
Move over Willy Wonka, the employees at SharpSeat are now the ones offering golden tickets. Whether for concerts or sporting events or theater performances, SharpSeat hooks up secondary market buyers with their dream tickets. The service essentially “is like StubHub, but cheaper,” say co-founder Andrew McCulloch.
He and the other two co-founders, Mike Williams and Brad Kurtzman, met while attending James Madison University and moved to Northern Virginia to take jobs after graduating. They attended a lot of ticketed events upon moving to the area and found themselves giving advice to friends looking to buy good tickets, too. But there was one major problem.
“There’s a ton of fees that we got sick of paying when shopping around on other sites,” McCulloch says. “We saw an opening in the secondary ticket market.” That’s when they decided they could do it better.
The three did a lot of research on secondary market ticket sales and ended up using their industry knowledge to start SharpSeat as a side project. “We found the average person didn’t know to look any further than Stubhub for secondary [tickets]. We saw an opportunity there to give them a better alternative,” Williams says.
They all eventually left their jobs to work full-time on SharpSeat. “We basically wanted to find a way to make tickets cheaper for the end customer,” McCulloch says. “We knew if we could find a way to keep costs down and still get access to the same tickets the big guys were getting, we could pass the savings on to customers.”
Their average day is a lot different now. The employees live in Virginia Square — two live together and the other lives down the street — so the MakeOffices Clarendon location where they work makes for an easy commute.
“One of the best parts is not having the commute around D.C.,” McCulloch says. He also found it important to stop working from home every day. “Keeping work and life separate was big for me because working in my kitchen all the time I’m [distracted]… Plus, here we’re surrounded by a bunch of other entrepreneurs that are getting things done.”
Being among other entrepreneurs has helped the employees stay motivated when doing their daily tasks, which include maintaining the website, coordinating with site developers, researching what events are coming up and fielding calls from the customer service team. And according to Williams, one of the big challenges they constantly face is marketing.
“For every business, [marketing] is probably 90 percent of the battle,” he says. “Just getting the word out there and getting people to visit the site, more than just your family and friends.”
Thanks to the business’ growth since launching two years ago — there is currently about $2 billion worth of tickets listed on the site, although it fluctuates seasonally — the team recently has been able to hire out for help with that marketing burden.
“Now we’ve hired a marketing firm to help us and we’re really looking to expand,” Kurtzman says. “This is our first business so we kind of learn as we go. We had to teach ourselves everything.”
They also outsource much of the customer service to a team in Chicago, but not all of it. The co-founders all use their venue expertise to give advice to customers who contact them looking for tips on purchasing the best tickets.
“So often people ask what’s the best value and where’s the best place to sit,” says McCulloch. “We know where you’re going to get a better value… Just little intricacies like that help out when we’re talking to clients.” Williams agrees, adding, “We have good knowledge of all the D.C. venues so we help people out” with getting the best ticket for their money.
To remain experts in the industry, the three often do offsite work — attending different types of events locally as well as traveling to other cities to check out their venues. “Obviously, it’s really fun to do that, but it is a part of what we have to do [for research],” Williams says.
Kurtzman explains that traveling to sites is how they gain knowledge of the best seats so they can offer direct customer support. “StubHub doesn’t really do that kind of thing,” he says.
When the SharpSeat employees aren’t traveling, they take advantage of the amenities in the MakeOffices Clarendon coworking space.
“Getting dedicated office space around here… is pretty unrealistic, especially for a small company like us,” says Williams. “Even for something half as nice as this, if you want a dedicated space the rents around here are so much that it just never really made sense to us. When this space opened up we couldn’t believe how cheap it was for what you get.”
One of the perks included in that price is a set of rotating taps of regionally-brewed beers. The SharpSeat co-founders say they like to head to the kitchen to try out new brews, relax and meet employees from the other businesses in the coworking space.
“Plus, I love the massage chairs,” Brad says, as the others laugh. “I usually use them once a day.”
Between the MakeOffices benefits and the satisfaction of doing a job they love, the SharpSeat team experiences something many typical employees don’t: They actually enjoy going to work.
“At my old job, I hated going to work. Now I love coming to this office,” Kurtzman says. Williams agrees, saying with a smile, “It’s kind of crazy that we’re voluntarily coming into an office after we wanted so badly to get out of one.”
Average Lifespan in Arlington — Arlington and Fairfax county residents have a higher average lifespan than residents of D.C., Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, according to newly-released data. The average life expectancy in Arlington and Fairfax is 86, compared to a nationwide average of 78. [Washington Post]
Protesters Arrested Outside Pentagon — A total of 21 demonstrators were arrested during an anti-war protest outside of the Pentagon yesterday. According to Pentagon police, those who were arrested were attempting to block an employee entrance near the Pentagon transit center. [Patch]
African American History Book — Updated at 7 p.m. — Arlington County’s Historic Preservation Program has published a new, 59-page book about the history of African Americans in Arlington. The book includes the history of Calloway Cemetery. Since 1891 the cemetery, along Lee Highway, “has been the burial site for dozens of African Americans, including a slave who fought in the Union Army.” [WJLA]
Wardian’s Berlin Marathon Performance — Arlington resident Michael Wardian, 42, ran the Berlin Marathon over the weekend in 2:28:19. Wardian is currently on pace to run all five 2016 World Marathon Majors faster than anyone in history. [Twitter, Competitor]
Theater: ‘Man of La Mancha’ — The Arlington Players performance of ‘Man of La Mancha’ was “filled with exceptional performances and is quite inspiring,” writes a reviewer. “Don’t miss it.” The one-act performance is two hours with no intermission. [DC Metro Theater Arts, InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Shirlington’s Signature Theatre has unveiled the lineup for its 2016-2017 season.
Among the productions scheduled are the Tony Award-winning Titanic: The Musical, Freaky Friday based on the novel and Disney movies and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic Jesus Chris Superstar.
Here’s the full list:
- Jelly’s Last Jam (Aug. 2-Sept. 11) — A musical about “famed and notorious jazz entertainer Jelly Roll Morton,” featuring his music.
- The Gulf (Sept. 13-Nov. 6) — The world premiere of a “provocative new comedy” set in the Alabama Delta, written by D.C. playwright Audrey Cefaly.
- Freaky Friday (Oct. 4-Nov. 6) — The world premiere of the body-swapping musical comedy based on the Disney films.
- Silver Belles (Nov. 22-Dec. 24) — Another world premiere musical comedy that’s billed as “a raucous send up of small town Christmas pageantry.”
- Titanic: The Musical (Dec. 13-Jan. 29) — A new production of the 20-year-old musical, featuring “a cast, crew and orchestra of over 50 artists and an inventive new 360 degree staging.”
- Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing (Feb. 28-March 26) — A new comedy written and directed by Pulitzer Prize winner James Lapine and starring Emmy and Tony Award winner Debra Monk.
- Midwestern Gothic (March 14-April 30) — A new musical that “paints a vivid portrait of a young woman whose imagination runs wild in a desperate to escape her desolate surroundings.”
- Jesus Christ Superstar (May 9-July 2) — Signature’s season concludes with the classic Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice rock opera about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Signature is also planning a cabaret series featuring “Woodstock,” with music from the music festival, in addition to its annual open house on Saturday, July 23.
ACPD Shrouding Badges for Fallen Officer — The Arlington County Police Department is shrouding its badges to pay respect to Ashley Guindon, the rookie Prince William County police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Saturday. [Twitter]
Tourism Tax Authorization Passes Legislature — With bipartisan lobbying help from County Board member John Vihstadt (I), a measure reauthorizing Arlington’s hotel tax surcharge has passed the Virginia General Assembly. Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) still must sign the bill into law, and Arlington will have to get it reauthorized in two years due to a sunset clause. The tax will help fund Arlington’s tourism promotion efforts. [InsideNova]
Laich Traded to Toronto — Just a couple of days after he left a server a big tip at Don Tito in Clarendon, long-time Washington Capital Brooks Laich has been traded to Toronto. Laich and celebrity fiancée Julianne Hough were often spotted hanging out at Arlington bars like Don Tito and A-Town. [WJLA]
Wakefield on It’s Academic — Wakefield High School was scheduled to compete on an episode of the local TV quiz show It’s Academic on Saturday. [Twitter]
‘Treasure Island’ Reviewed — Arlington-based theater company Encore Stage and Studio has garnered positive reviews for its production of “Treasure Island,” which runs through March 6. [DC Metro Theater Arts]
Shirlington’s ‘Hula Girl’ Makes Mai Tai for Fox 5 — Mikala Brennan, the owner of Hula Girl Bar and Grill in Shirlington, stopped by Fox 5 midday show Friday to show viewers how to make her signature Hula Girl Mai Tai. [Fox 5]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Potomac Yard Station Delayed Again — The new $268 million Potomac Yard Metro station in Alexandria is now not expected to be complete until 2020. The City of Alexandria is paying the project’s costs with a combination of local funds, developer contributions, state grants and federal funding. [Washington Post]
New Target Fills Niche — The new Target store in Rosslyn “fills an urban retail niche” as a type of “21st century general store.” Expect to see more such stores around, writes transportation planner Dan Malouff. [Greater Greater Washington]
Kudos for ‘Horrors’ — The Arlington Players production of “Little Shop of Horrors” is worth seeing, says a reviewer. The production “retains its quirky charms and benefits from strong performances and production values.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Community Pushes Back on Fire Station Plan — Arlington County Board members are hearing an earful from residents who live around Fire Station 8 on Lee Highway. The county is considering relocating the station to improve fire response times in far northern neighborhoods. However, residents say the fire station is historic because it was the first in Virginia to be staffed mostly by professional black firefighters, in the 1950s, and should not be moved. [InsideNova, WTOP]
Kojo and Kaine in Crystal City — WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi will host a “Kojo in the Community” discussion with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tonight. “The discussion will focus on the ways in which the military and defense industry shape our region, ranging from jobs and the economy to infrastructure and traffic,” organizers say. The talk will take place at Synetic Theater in Crystal City. [ARLnow Events]
New Restaurant at DCA — Former “Top Chef” finalist Carla Hall has opened a new 110-seat restaurant in Reagan National Airport’s Terminal A. The menu features contemporary American cuisine with a Southern flair. [Eater, Washington Business Journal]
Now Showing: Shrek, the Musical — Arlington’s Encore Stage and Studio is currently performing Shrek, the Musical at Thomas Jefferson Community Theater. The family-friendly show runs through Sunday. [DC Metro Theater Arts]
Bunnies Galore Near Clarendon — There sure are a lot of bunnies around Clarendon these days, at least according to some concerned bunny spotters who have contacted us about it. Now, there’s some photographic proof. [Twitter]
ARLnow Server Updates — For the security of our visitors, ARLnow.com is now being served exclusively via secure HTTPS. We’re still working out some kinks, so you might notice some bugs over the next week or two. For instance, despite hours of work over the weekend to try to fix it, photo galleries do not appear to be working on iOS devices like iPhones. Also, Disqus is still being served via HTTP. We appreciate your patience while we work to improve your user experience.
Hearings for Courthouse Plan — The Arlington County Board voted unanimously on Saturday to hold public hearings on a new sector plan for Courthouse. “This proposed update advances our vision for the Courthouse area, creating a people-oriented civic and cultural heart for Arlington,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. The hearings have been scheduled for September. [Arlington County]
New Group Champions Single-Family Neighborhoods — A new group, “Blue Ribbon Arlington,” has formed to advocate for single-family home neighborhoods. Initially, the group will focus on making Arlington a better place for seniors to “age in place.” Also, the group plans to address concerns about “edge” development around neighborhoods. [InsideNova]
Midsummer Night’s Dream Now Showing — A seasonally-appropriate production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is now showing at Synetic Theater in Crystal City. The performances will run through Aug. 9. [DC Metro Theater Arts]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Arlington Scores Lidl HQ — Arlington County will be the home of the new $77 million U.S. corporate headquarters of Lidl, a discount German grocery chain that’s seeking to expand in the United States. The headquarters is expected to create 500 new jobs in Arlington and will anchor the National Gateway office development near Potomac Yard. “Lidl chose Arlington for its U.S. corporate headquarters because of our commitment to diversifying our economy, a terrific workforce, regional transit connections and access to a major airport,” Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. [Arlington County]
Arlington Teen Advances in Singing Competition — Kenmore Middle School student Samantha Rios, who is competing on the Telemundo singing program “La Voz Kids,” has advanced to the semifinals and is now being coached by Reggaeton musician Daddy Yankee. [Washington Post]
Young Republicans Blast Anti-Gun-Store Tactics — Opponents of a gun store that’s trying to open in Cherrydale are urging their supporters to confront the owners of the store and the shopping center in which it’s opening in person. That has Republicans crying foul. “Having exhausted reasonable avenues, the anti-gunners encourage their flock to harass property owner,” said the Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans. [Twitter]
Immigration Center to Open in Crystal City — A planned immigration services center in Crystal City, which has been delayed due to legal wrangling over President Obama’s executive action deferring the deportation of certain illegal immigrants, is now reportedly set to open soon. Hundreds of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees will be working out of the office building at 2200 Crystal Drive, processing immigration applications and petitions. [Breitbart]
Praise for ‘Alice’ Production — The Encore Stage and Studio production of “Alice in Wonderland” is garnering critical kudos for its star, Brandi Moore, a Harvard-bound Washington-Lee High School senior. The show wraps up its run this weekend at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre at 125 S. Old Glebe Road. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley