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“You walked in and you just felt good,” says Eric Brace.
When the IOTA Club and Cafe, a Clarendon performance venue whose motto was “live music forever,” closed its doors in the fall of 2017 after more than 23 years, Brace took it hard. Though the Last Train Home frontman played IOTA with his rootsy rock band on two of the club’s final three evenings, he couldn’t bear to return to the club for its closing night.
“I did not go on the last day because I was kind of too sad,” says Brace, who lived in the D.C. area for about 20 years before moving to Nashville. “I was just physically and emotionally wiped out.”
In a somewhat ironic turn, Last Train Home — a band that had one of its first gigs at IOTA in the mid-’90s and went on to play annual New Year’s Eve shows there for a string of years — performed a late-December set at The Birchmere just a few hours after our conversation. The legendary Alexandria music venue was an inspiration to IOTA’s founders, longtime Arlington residents Jane Negrey Inge and brother Stephen Negrey, who identified it as one of their “idols” in a press release prior to the club’s closing.
Now, more than a year since the closing of the storied arts space — home to performances from Norah Jones, John Mayer, Ryan Adams, Dawes and countless others between 1994 and 2017 — Arlington has yet to fill the void.
For Josh Stoltzfus, deputy director of Arlington Cultural Affairs, the county arts scene is essentially a series of micro-scenes, defined by the venues and events in each neighborhood. But when it comes to specific music spaces, Stoltzfus says, “there is no one flagship that everything revolves around.” Luckily, the county boasts many restaurants and bars offering live, local music, including Galaxy Hut, Rhodeside Grill, Westover Beer Garden, Cafe Sazon and Bistro 29.
Yet none of those establishments regularly host a mix of national touring acts, D.C.-area musicians and poetry readings, as IOTA did for more than two decades.
Today, the Wilson Boulevard building that once housed IOTA lies dormant, its vestibule sporting a dangling string of twinkle lights and a well-preserved, if incongruous, welcome sign. The block is slated for redevelopment as Market Common Phase 2, a property of Regency Centers, with construction expected to begin early this year.
In the press release announcing their closure, IOTA’s owners cited the impending construction and anticipated rent increase as contributing factors in their decision. But as a cultural mainstay that managed to survive for nearly two dozen years in a transforming neighborhood, IOTA and its legacy has not been forgotten.
One project memorializing the space is “The IOTA Chair,” a video series led by D.C. musician Rachel Levitin, who purchased a chair from one of the venue’s fire sales and re-imagined it as a set piece for performances and interviews of onetime IOTA performers she posts on Facebook. Another notable tribute is on the way — in September, Inge launched a GoFundMe campaign for a book that will retell IOTA’s history through her and Negrey’s eyes. Thus far, the effort has raised only about 13 percent of its $30,000 goal but garnered dozens of supportive comments.
“IOTA was one of the most beautiful music communities I ever met in my travels; it helped make my life worth living,” writes one donor.
Inge declined to be interviewed for this article but reflected on her venue via email: “At IOTA, live music was the center and purpose of everything we did,” she writes. “We chased inspired live experiences and creative new music for our stage. Stephen and I had the honor to meet and work with wonderful poets, musicians and musical performers, touring and local. We got to know the people who appreciated the shows, who got it, and who supported IOTA to keep us going for so long.”
For D.C. singer-songwriter Laura Tsaggaris, who started playing IOTA in the early 2000s and has performed throughout the area, the club was “the center” of the local songwriting scene.
“It felt easy — easy to stretch out and do what you wanted to do there,” Tsaggaris says. “I’ve never felt as comfortable as I did there.”
To acquire an IOTA-esque mystique, an Arlington music venue would need to strive not just to attract talented national artists but also serve as a sought-after haunt for the local arts community. Arlington singer-songwriter Justin Trawick, founder of “The 9” songwriter series and co-host of “The Circus Life” podcast, began making the trek to IOTA from Leesburg in 2005 in pursuit of the club’s well-known open-mic night. IOTA had a scene, he says, perhaps matched today only by Jammin Java in Vienna or a couple of newer D.C. venues, such as sister venue Union Stage.
“They’ve really created an amazing culture of not only bands that play there, but people who want to hang out there in that ‘Empire Records’ kind of way,” Trawick says. “IOTA had that.”
Though IOTA certainly had a successful open-mic culture, with two sign-up times per night to accommodate the dozens of eager performers filing in, Arlington’s open-mic opportunities live on. Alexandria musician Alex Parez hosted IOTA’s weekly open mic in its final three years and has since transferred the IOTA format to Rhodeside Grill. While he says “no place can replace IOTA,” he expresses pride over the local talent that continues to surface in Arlington.
Yet Brace, who is also a former music journalist for The Washington Post and the founder of Nashville-based Red Beet Records, expressed doubts about whether modern-day Arlington can provide an affordable space for an IOTA-size venue, which had expanded its capacity to roughly 300 when it closed.
“Arlington’s square footage is so expensive; it’s hard to have a place where you can afford to just have a big empty space in the form of a stage, and it’s hard to invest a lot of money in a great sound system and have a great sound person every night the way IOTA did,” Brace says.
But with the coming arrival of Amazon HQ2 to the newly named “National Landing”, it’s not unthinkable that music venues along the lines of The Wharf’s Union Stage or Pearl Street Warehouse could be part of the development mix.
A spokesperson for National Landing developer JBG Smith declined to comment, but the property website does highlight JBG’s plans for the “Central District” redevelopment project, set to include “a 130,000-gross-square-foot entertainment and shopping destination anchored by a 49,000-square-foot Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a specialty grocer, restaurants, bars and other experiential offerings.” Could a live performance space be one such offering?
For now, Arlingtonians hoping for an IOTA-like experience will have to wonder and wait for an existing Arlington music hub to expand its offerings (not to mention its footprint) or an entirely new venue to spring up.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Brace says. “There’s always people making music, and they’ll have little pop-up clubs in basements or house concerts. I’ll choose to be hopeful.”
Just eight days before the start of its 12th performance season, the National Chamber Ensemble was faced with a potential disaster — the group’s concertmaster and violin soloist broke his hand.
Leo Sushansky, who doubles as the NCE’s artistic director, suffered a “freak accident” Friday (Oct. 12), the group said. Mary Anne Ellifritz, a member of the NCE’s board, says Sushansky was rushing to answer a phone call when he made a perilous decision to avoid a disassembled harpsichord on his living room floor.
“He thought he would hop over it and make it to the phone in time,” Ellifritz wrote in an email. “He tripped on the music holder and went down… He wasn’t aware that he had gotten hurt at first, just bruised. When he went to put the hand under cold water, he saw it the fingers and hand were oddly shaped.”
And to make matters worse, Ellifritz says Sushansky subsequently learned that the call was from the front desk of his building — staff thought they’d received a package for him, but it was actually for another tenant.
“That’s quite a traumatic wrong number,” Ellifritz said.
With the ensemble’s opening concert set for Saturday (Oct. 20) at the Gunston Arts Center, the group desperately needed to find “an eleventh hour replacement” for Sushansky, and fast.
Luckily, the ensemble seems to have managed to have done just that. Another violinist with the NCE, Jorge Orozco, managed to come up with a solution to suggest to the group’s leaders; he had a friend who he thought might be up to the job.
Orozco happened to know that Dietrich Paredes (a touring conductor, violinist and the music director of the Caracas Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela) lives in D.C. and would likely be in town for the concert. After what the group described as “an urgent phone call,” Paredes agreed to fill in for Sushansky.
He’ll now lead the ensemble for the group’s “Masters of the Italian Baroque” program, which will feature work from composers including Vivaldi, Corelli, Albinoni and Pergolesi.
But that’s not to say that Sushansky will be completely sidelined due to his injury — the NCE says he’ll take over as conductor in the second half of the concert, leading the ensemble as it performs Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater.” The NCE will be joined by soprano Sharon Christman and Washington National Opera mezzo-soprano Anamer Castrello for the performance.
After its performance Saturday, the group will hold four more concerts this season. Its next performance is slated for Dec. 15 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington.
Season subscriptions to the NCE cost $145 after. General admission is $36 for adults and $18 for students. Group discounts for 10 or more are available by calling 703-685-7590. Tickets are available online.
The National Chamber Ensemble (NCE) is returning to Arlington with a recently announced suite of performances covering the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and contemporary periods.
The concerts will be held in Theater 1 of the Gunston Arts Center (2700 South Lang Street).
The NCE was founded in 2007 with the goal of connecting artists and their audience with concerts in a more intimate setting. The musicians share anecdotes about the composers and music. In a statement on the upcoming season, Artistic Director Leonid Sushansky said the goal this year is to take audiences on a trip through various eras to allow them to compare and contrast how the music has evolved over time.
The season launches on Oct. 20 with “Masters of the Italian Baroque”, featuring works by Vivaldi, Corelli, Albinoni and Pergolesi.
Following the theme of “Musical Adventures Through the Time Machine”, on Feb. 9 the series will move into the Romantic era with hits by Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saens and Dvorak.
The “Viennese Classics” hits March 23 with music by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven and “The Contemporaries” season finale concert on May 4, which includes the premiere of Alexander Goldstein’s new “Crossover Piano Trio” as well as the premiere of a new choreographed work with Bowen McCauley Dance, set to the music of Igor Stravinsky.
On Dec. 15, the NCE will hold a “Holiday Time Warp” concert that brings the holiday music of the various eras together. The concert will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd).
String players between the ages of 12 and 18 are also invited to compete for the “Outstanding Young Artist Achievement Awards” and a scholarship. Applications are available online and due Nov. 19.
Season subscriptions to the NCE are $135 through Sept. 14 and $145 after. General admission is $36 for adults and $18 for students. Group discounts for 10 or more are available by calling 703-685-7590. Tickets are available online.
When the photography department at Arlington’s H-B Woodlawn needed some extra funding, then-teacher Lloyd Wolf held a couple of yard sales.
But those “sucked in terms of making money,” Wolf, a noted local photographer, recalls. So, in the early 1980s, they threw some dances.
Though the most successful dance, as Wolf recalls it, featured a southern rock band called the Dixie Road Ducks, there was also interest in the raw, energetic performances coming out of the burgeoning punk scene.
“There were punk kids who went to that school,” said Ian MacKaye, who was a punk kid himself at the time.
Minor Threat, a band whose members included MacKaye and Jeff Nelson, the co-founders of famed independent punk label Dischord Records, played the school cafeteria on May 9, 1981 and Oct. 30, 1982 in six- and four-band lineups.
“I was exposed to something way beyond Elvis Costello and kind of new wave poppy stuff,” said Amy Pickering, a student at H-B Woodlawn around that time who went to some of the punk shows. She would go on to form Dischord band Fire Party (active from 1986-1990), and to work at Dischord Records for more than 20 years.
The H-B Woodlawn shows represent one of many stories of punk linked to Arlington, too many to capture in one article. It was a time when “if you wanted something to come out, you totally had to do it yourself,” Pickering said. For many, Arlington became somewhere to live, practice, collaborate and create as punk expanded in the D.C. area.
MacKaye moved to Arlington from his parents’ northwest D.C. home in Oct. 1981. He and four others had three conditions in their joint search for a living space.
It had to be a detached house, “because we wanted to play music in the basement,” affordable, because they were making something like $175 a month each, and safe, so that their predominantly high school-aged friends could make it to the house from a bus or train stop without incident, MacKaye said.
The first place they toured — a four-bedroom detached house in Lyon Park that rented for $525 each month — seemed to fulfill all of those criteria.
“Arlington afforded sort of a… neutral territory, you know, [we] didn’t get much grief from anybody,” MacKaye said.
Dischord House, as it came to be known, also acted as the headquarters for Dischord Records. MacKaye now owns the home, though he moved back to D.C. after living in Arlington for 21 years — an amount of time he hadn’t anticipated spending in the suburbs as a fifth-generation Washingtonian.
Dischord House may well have been the “first of our generation… punk house,” MacKaye said, but there was already “all this early punk rock stuff” in Arlington when they moved in, and there was more to come.
“I’d say by the late ’80s and early ’90s… other group houses started to pop up, friends of ours would come out,” MacKaye said. It was “a brief period of time where there [were] all these pockets. We didn’t all spend tons of time with each other, but it was nice to know that you might pop by.”
Punk activist collective Positive Force D.C., founded in 1985, established a home base in Arlington after holding its first meetings near Dupont Circle. They first moved to a house on N. Fairfax Drive, but development on that block pushed them closer to Virginia Square in November 1988.
For the nearly 12 years Positive Force spent in that second house, rain would drip in around the windows, so they grew plants in the windowsills.
“It was kind of our bargain to do our thing — [you let us] run a radical political organization out of our house, we won’t ask you to fix stuff,” Positive Force co-founder Mark Andersen said.
Jenny Toomey and Kristin Thomson ran their record label, Simple Machines, out of Positive Force House’s second floor kitchen in 1990. They soon moved into the first of multiple houses the label would occupy in Arlington before shutting down in 1998.
Living near other outposts, like Dischord and Teen-Beat Records, fostered information sharing, Thomson said.
“We were trading information, asking questions, trying to sort out things to the best of our abilities quite often,” Thomson said.
Exchanges among people within and beyond Arlington helped produce the Simple Machines Mechanic’s Guide. That project was conceived as “a sort of second edition” to a Dischord/Positive Force benefit record insert that covered, among other topics, how to put out a seven-inch record, Thomson said.
The Mechanic’s Guide, in various editions, would be mailed out thousands of times.
“It became like a little ‘Consumer Reports,’ in some ways,” Toomey said. “We know a bunch of independent labels that still exist used the guide for their first releases.”
The guide reflects the do-it-yourself attitude that pervaded the punk scene and, more broadly, independent music in the D.C. area and outside of it.
“Punk was about starting something from nothing,” said Cynthia Connolly, a photographer, artist and curator who worked “on and off” for Dischord. “Literally we would go to the Ballston Common Mall and go into the dumpsters and get the cardboard,” to cut up and use to mail out records.
Connolly documented the D.C. punk scene as it looked between 1979 and 1985 in a book she co-compiled and published in 1988, entitled “Banned in D.C.” The book is now in its seventh edition.
“It’s almost like a storybook story, and it’s kind of romantic in a way because the bands [then] really influenced some of the bands today,” Connolly said.
The DIY attitude in many cases seemed to extend to the punk bands’ desired sound, which was “raw,” said Don Zientara, who founded Inner Ear Studio (today at 2701 S. Oakland Street) in the late ’70s and has recorded numerous punk bands. “That just sort of fit in with the fact that I had [at the time] very little equipment, and some of it was kind of questionable, cheap… take your own word for it.”
Wakefield High School alum Mark Robinson started going to shows, which primarily took place in D.C., when he was 15 or 16. “Seeing other kids playing in punk rock shows” made the idea of being in a band seem possible, he said.
“Before that, you would see like the band Kiss or something and that just seemed like an unattainable thing,” he said.
Robinson would form indie rock band Unrest and Teen-Beat Records in the mid-1980s, while still in high school.
Teen-Beat operated out of a house in Arlington for much of the 90s, by which time the layout that characterizes much of the area today had yet to fully form. When Clarendon bar and indie rock venue Galaxy Hut first opened in 1990, for instance, “there was a vacant Sears across the street. There was nothing there, rent was super cheap,” said Lary Hoffman, who co-owns Galaxy Hut today.
As Andersen recalls it, “there was another Arlington that existed, and that was a much more humble Arlington.”
Many members of the scene have dispersed to different locations and adopted new roles — Pickering lives in New York and Robinson is in Massachusetts, for instance, and Connolly works as Special Projects Curator for the county. Still, the DIY principles behind much of the activity Arlington played host to remain relevant.
When Toomey and Thomson compiled the Mechanic’s Guide, they certainly didn’t present the applications of their resourceful attitude as limited to their scene, or to music.
“There is nothing that you can’t do with a little time, creativity, enthusiasm and hard work,” the introduction to the guide’s 2000 edition reads. It concludes several pages later with a simple send-off: “Good luck!”
Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.
Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.
Monday, March 19
Conversations with Tyler: Martina Navratilova*
George Mason University Arlington (3351 Fairfax Drive)
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Listen to record-setting tennis player and communist defector Martina Navratilova for an across the board conversation on her activism, professional accomplishments, and personal life.
Free Home Buyer Seminar: Get $1,500 Towards Your New Home*
Orange Line Living (1600 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Attend the Rosslyn class with wine and cheese and receive a $1,500 credit toward a new home or lease termination. The first three registrants and attendees will receive a Google Chromecast.
WordPress: An Introduction
Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.
Learn how to create, navigate, post on, and customize your own blog or basic website with WordPress.com (not WordPress.org). Registration required to attend.
Tuesday, March 20
Homebuyer Seminar with Fulcrum Properties Group*
Keller Williams Metro Center Arlington (2101 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Looking to buy your first home, or at least thinking about it? Join this free event to learn how to take the first steps from on-hand experts. Registration required to attend.
Wednesday, March 21
CACI Ballston Toastmasters Club Open House
CACI (1100 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.
If you need to improve your public speaking, Toastmasters is the place for you. Attend the spring open house to meet members and ask questions over refreshments.
Thursday, March 22
Beer & Donuts with Vanish Farmhouse
Sugar Shack (1014 S. Glebe Road)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.
Vanish Farmhouse Brewery of Leesburg, Va., brings a selection of craft brews to Sugar Shack. Board games, beer-glazed donut holes, and paninis will also be at the family friendly event.
ARLnow March Madness Watch Party
Latitude Apartments (3601 Fairfax Drive)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.
Come watch the Sweet Sixteen on Latitude’s rooftop terrace with ARLnow staff with free drinks, snacks, and swag. You won’t miss any of the action — we’ll have four TVs on.
Friday, March 23
St. Agnes Fish Fry*
St. Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.
The annual Lenten fish fry is upon us, and don’t miss out on the sides, beer, and other beverages as well. Registration required, and all are welcome to join in the Easter Sunday mass as well.
David Alan Grier Live
Arlington Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 7:30 and 10 p.m.
Join comedian and actor David Alan Grier, of In Living Color and Comedy Central fame, for an evening of stand up. Tickets start at $25. Additional performances on March 24.
Saturday, March 24
National Chamber Ensemble – Brahms and Mendelssohn*
Unitarian Universalist Church (4444 Arlington Boulevard)
Time: 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Enjoy masterful chamber music from Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn, performed by National Chamber Ensemble artists. Reception with the musicians to follow.
*Denotes featured (sponsored) event
Northside Social Sued by Songwriters — Clarendon cafe Northside Social is being sued by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for “unauthorized public performance of its members’ copyrighted musical works.” [Patch]
Phil Vassar Visits Animal Welfare League — “We had a special visitor at AWLA today: country music singer Phil Vassar stopped by the shelter today to meet three neonatal kittens that are named after his hit songs; Deputy Ray, Carlene, and Amazing Grace.” [Facebook]
Focus on Arlington’s School Resource Officers — The Arlington County Police Department has thirteen School Resource Officers, whose job it is to connect with and protect the 27,000 students at Arlington Public Schools. [WJLA]
Arlington’s First Black Firefighters Faced Hardships — “The first of Arlington County’s black firefighters — members of the Hall’s Hill Volunteer Fire Department and the paid men at Station No. 8 — grappled with taunts and inequities in the days of Jim Crow, according to Arlington Public Library records.” [Arlington Fire Journal]
Dems Want More Social Followers — Arlington Democrats are pushing for more social media followers, particularly on Facebook, with the goal of having the most followers of any Democratic organization in the Commonwealth. At last check, Albemarle County Democrats had more followers than Arlington. [InsideNova]
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
Fret Zealot is a game changer when it comes to learning how to play the guitar, said Shaun Masavage, CEO of Fret Zealot.
The technology is a LED light script that can be installed on any full-sized electric or acoustic guitar. The light script is accompanied with an app that teaches people how to play different chords and songs by indicating which strings to play via the lights. The LED light script is also accompanied with a small rechargeable battery pack that can last up to 12 hours.
To install the Fret Zealot, the strings must be pulled aside to place the lights on the fret board.
Masavage said he was inspired to create Fret Zealot after learning how many people give up learning to play the guitar.
“The statistic now is that 90 percent of people stop learning guitar, and it’s just like why? Normally it’s barriers to entry, so we designed Fret Zealot to take away all of those barriers to entry,” Masavage said.
The Arlington-based startup in Crystal City has been in development for five years, and shipped its first orders of Fret Zealot in December and has sold 3,000 so far. The product has also reached a global scale, selling to more than 40 different countries.
Before the technology became accessible to the public, Fret Zealot launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $250,000 within a month. Just recently the cost of the LED lights dropped making it possible to sell Fret Zealot for a more affordable price at $200.
“[This] is our year,” Masavage said. The company has been in talks with major guitar manufacturers and several retailers, he said.
The app has a tuner and currently 100 songs for anyone to play. In a few weeks, it will be able to listen to the user, so when playing songs the app will go at the user’s pace — not showing the next note until the user has played it. Soon users will also be able to upload any song they want to the app so long as it passes the app’s quality standards.
Several music teachers have reached out to the company, wanting to build their own courses using Fret Zealot, said John Tolly, chief technology officer of Fret Zealot.
“[We are] not even replacing teachers, we’re adding to them. They can have students learn proper notes and chords, and then they can concentrate on helping with technique,” Masavage said.
For Masavage it’s been very satisfying seeing people from beginners to retirees use Fret Zealot.
“It’s very fulfilling, because you see people at all levels light up when they use the product,” he said.
Photos Courtesy Shaun Masavage
RIP Bill Bozman — “He was ‘one of the community’s greats,’ in the words of former state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, and while the death of William Bozman was not unexpected, it still created a ripple of emotional outpouring from several generations of Arlington civic leaders who had relied on him for counsel and good humor.” [InsideNova]
Library Director’s Annual Xmas Playlist — Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh has released the 2017 version of her annual holiday music playlist. [Arlington Public Library]
ARL Sticker Opportunity — If you missed out on the the first batch of free ARL stickers, there is another opportunity to get your hands on some. We’ll be bringing the stickers to Thursday’s Speakeasy Evening With Dr. Rixey, which is happening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the The Rixey apartments in Ballston (1008 N. Glebe Road). Register for the free event, which features local art, live jazz, gin cocktails and great rooftop views, here.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Arson Not Suspected in Ashton Heights Blaze — The house fire that critically injured an occupant of a house on N. Ivy Street in Ashton Heights “doesn’t appear to be malicious,” says the Arlington County Fire Department. The blaze caused about $300,000 in damage to the home. [Twitter]
Homes in Arlington Get Pricier — “A total of 237 properties went to closing in September, up 8.7 percent from the 218 transactions a year before… With the increase in sales came a nearly identical hike in average sales price, which was up 8.8 percent to $640,441.” [InsideNova]
Police: Arlington Woman Left Stroller in Middle of Road — “A 19-year-old Arlington woman was arrested on Sunday after she allegedly left an infant in a stroller in the middle of the road in Woodbridge while she bit and assaulted an acquaintance during an argument.” [Prince William Times]
Lidl Struggling to Break Into U.S. Market — Lidl, the German grocery chain with its U.S. headquarters in Crystal City, is reportedly pulling out of a lease deal in Prince George’s County, Md. as it struggles to gain market share in the U.S. [Washington Business Journal]
Lost Dog Taking in Shelter Pets from Puerto Rico — The Arlington-based Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation is among the local organizations taking in shelter pets from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. [WJLA]
Grohl References ‘Mario’s Pizza’ at D.C. Show — Northern Virginia native Dave Grohl said “we’re all going to Mario’s Pizza” while wrapping up a Foo Fighters performance at The Anthem in D.C. last night. The band will headline the venue’s grand opening tonight. [Twitter]
For the first time in its decade-long history, the National Chamber Ensemble will play concerts at venues other than Rosslyn’s Spectrum Theatre (1611 N. Kent Street), starting next month.
Arlington Cultural Affairs Division director Michelle Isabelle-Stark said the county’s lease on the theater expired in July, and they took “immediate steps” to help find new spaces in which the group can perform.
So instead of performing at the theater, which it has done since its founding in 2007, the NCE will perform its five 2017-2018 season concerts at the Gunston Arts Center (2700 S. Lang Street) and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd).
The ensemble performs chamber music — classical music composed for a small group of instruments in a more intimate setting.
NCE’s season of concerts begins on Saturday, October 14 at Gunston Arts Center with a program called, “Night in the Garden of Spain” featuring a celebration of Spanish classical music and dance.
For NCE leaders, finding space similar to the Spectrum proved challenging.
“It was hard to find a space comparable to the Spectrum, because the Spectrum is a perfect size for chamber music,” said NCE artistic director Leo Sushansky. “Most of the other auditoriums in Arlington, they’re very large school auditoriums. So the Gunston Arts Center is probably the closest to the Spectrum in size, but it was only available for two concerts.”
The Spectrum Theatre is set to be torn down during the first phase of the Rosslyn Plaza Project along with two apartment buildings and four office buildings.
In its place would be 2.5 million square feet of space across five buildings, including 1.8 million square feet of office, 550 residential units, 200 hotel rooms and 45,000 square feet of retail space. And the space once occupied by Artisphere in the same building is set to be a co-working space, opening this fall.
But Sushansky said while having to play in new venues incurs extra costs from rentals, transporting instruments and the like, it will help them show off their talents to more people.
“I’m hoping it’ll bring us into different neighborhoods, bring attention to a different audience,” he said. “It will help bring about some interesting collaborations.”
But the closure of the Spectrum left Sushansky to bemoan the lack of dedicated performance spaces in Arlington outside of the county’s schools.
“The county has been very supportive all these years, and they continue to be so,” he said. “It’s just there’s a problem in Arlington with not enough performance spaces. There’s really no concert hall in Arlington. The Spectrum was the only one. Now that has gone and all that are left are school auditoriums.”
Isabelle-Stark said that such groups can be creative with their venue choices, as it gives them different environments to perform in and introduces their work to more people.
“As they say when one door closes another one opens,” she said. “[Alternative] venues for performance, such as churches, shopping malls, and airports, to name a few, provide opportunities for performers to stretch creatively and cultivate new audiences.”
Photo No. 1: courtesy photo. Photo No. 3 via Google Maps.
Metro Station Manager Arrested — A Metro station manager at the Pentagon has been arrested and charged with assaulting a fellow employee. The fight happened Wednesday afternoon inside the station manager’s kiosk, police say. [Washington Post]
Yorktown Grad’s Music Video Goes Viral — Budding hip-hop artist Hovey Benjamin has tallied nearly 1.5 million YouTube views of his new, NSFW music video. Benjamin lived in Arlington and attended Yorktown High School and Virginia Commonwealth University before moving to Los Angeles and signing a record deal. [Real House Life of Arlington, Uproxx]
New Condo and Townhouse Sales Center — Sponsored — Learn about all of the newest and most well-appointed properties in Arlington and DC without the hassle of finding all the information for yourself. Stop by the Sales Center this Sunday from 2-4 p.m. to learn about amenities, features, floor plans, fees, available units, and everything else you could ever want to know about all the condo buildings in the area. Located at 1600 Wilson Blvd. [Keri Shull Team]
Dozens of Arlington Runners Competing in Boston — Seventy-six Arlington runners will be shipping up to Boston next month for the Boston Marathon, one of the sport’s most prestigious races. The field includes local running superstar Michael Wardian, who is also competing in this weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Marathon. [InsideNova]
CERT Training Still Open — A few spaces are still available in Arlington’s Community Emergency Response Team spring training class. The eight-session, 26-hour course begins next week. [Arlington CERT]
Library Exhibit on Baltic WW2 Refugees — Arlington Public Library is hosting an exhibit through April 17 on Baltic refugees from World War II. “‘No Home To Go To’ is the story of people living in refugee camps and finding a home in a new land, as told through their memories, documents, photographs, and memorabilia,” according to the library website. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
So many notable people died in 2016 that the losses have contributed to some Twitter users dubbing this the #WorstYearEver. Now the Arlington Public Library has compiled a list of its books, DVDs, and music files that users can borrow to find out what made some of these people stand out from the crowd.
The list is not comprehensive because the library does not own items relating to every single notable person who died this year. It does, however, include items related to 67 well-known authors, performers, activists, scientists, and public figures.
Some of the items on the list are:
- All You Need Is Ears by George Martin: An autobiography of the record producer and composer best known for his work with The Beatles.
- David Bowie: Starman by Paul Trynka: The book examines Bowie’s many artistic reinventions and broad influence on the entertainment world.
- Heimlich’s Maneuvers: My Seventy Years of Lifesaving Innovations by Henry J. Heimlich: An autobiography of the thoracic surgeon best known for inventing the technique to stop choking.
- Arnold Palmer: Memories, Stories, and Memorabilia by Arnold Palmer: An autobiography of the professional golfer who many consider the greatest player in the sport’s history.
- The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama by Gwen Ifill: The Peabody-Award winning journalist’s continuation of her long-time coverage of America’s race issues.
- I’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen (DVD): The documentary covers Cohen’s life and work and includes interviews with artists he inspired.
- Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (DVD): The sci-fi film features Carrie Fisher in her iconic role as Princess Leia.
- Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story by Robyn Doolittle: The biography covers the life of the controversial former Toronto mayor known for his drug- and alcohol-fueled antics.
- 40 Greatest Hits by Merle Haggard (eMusic): The music file includes songs spanning the country legend’s career.
APS Receives Top Ranking — Arlington Public Schools is the top school division in Virginia and in the D.C. area, according to new rankings from Niche.com. All three comprehensive high schools in Arlington ranked in the top 10 in Virginia, according to the website. [Arlington Public Schools]
Alleged Racial Confrontation at Metro Station — A local man says a trio of older white men confronted him last week in the Courthouse Metro station, a few days after the election, and told him “good thing you’ll all be gone soon” — an apparent racially-motivated comment — and “it’ll be great again soon.” [Patch]
Remy Releases Post-Election Song — Arlington’s best-known libertarian comedian/musician, Remy, has released a new original song on the topic of Donald Trump’s election. [Twitter]
‘Isolated’ Schools in Arlington — Two schools in Arlington County, and 136 schools statewide, are considered “racially and economically isolated,” according to a new report from a liberal Richmond-based think tank. [Washington Post]
No Name Change Push for JD Hwy — Seeking a name change for Jefferson Davis Highway, the formal name of Route 1 in Arlington County, is not part of the county’s recently-approved legislative agenda. The chance of the Republican-dominated state legislature allowing the name change in its upcoming 2017 session was “all but nil.” [InsideNova]
Joint Meeting of N. Va. Jurisdictions — County Board and city council members from Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church held a joint meeting last night, in which they discussed ways to cooperate and save money. Together, the three inside-the-Beltway jurisdictions have about 500,000 residents, as compared to Fairfax County’s population of 1.1 million. [Washington Post]
A group of the orchestra’s musicians set up shop next to the Clarendon Metro station and invited random passersby to pick up a baton and conduct them. Their guest conductors ranged from small children to senior citizens.
“As we launch our 11th season, we want to raise our profile in the community,” said the Philharmonic’s president, Anne Wengrovitz.
The orchestra’s concerts are free and open to all ages, with donations accepted. Sunday’s concert, which will feature a collaboration with local dance troupe Bowen McCauley Dance, will be held at 4 p.m. at the Kenmore Middle School Auditorium (200 S. Carlin Springs Road).
Arlington Mansion Party Led to Shooting — Two people were shot in McLean early Sunday in what was described as a drive-by shooting following a party in Arlington. It turns out that the party was at a multi-million-dollar mansion overlooking the Potomac on tony Chain Bridge Road. The home has been the scene of numerous police incidents over the past couple of years, mostly robberies and various disturbances, and lately neighbors have said it’s become a “party house.” [NBC Washington]
Heat Advisory Today — Arlington is again under a Heat Advisory, with dangerous heat index values up to 109 expected. “Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside,” forecasters warn. [National Weather Service]
Standoff With Suicidal Man Ends Peacefully — There were some tense moments in a neighborhood just off of Columbia Pike yesterday. Between about 4-5 p.m., there was a police standoff with an armed, suicidal man at a home on 9th Street S. Roads were blocked and some neighbors were evacuated. The standoff ended peacefully and the man was taken into custody.
Arlington’s InfoSec Jobs Are Low Paying? — A compilation of city-level data from job search site Indeed suggests that Arlington has the lowest-paying average salary for information security specialists of 15 large cities. Adjusted for cost of living, Minneapolis had the highest average salary. Arlington’s COLA-adjusted salary is 72 percent below that of the Minnesota city. D.C. also ranked low on the list, placing just three spots above Arlington. [Indeed]
Arlington Rapper Releases Single — VA Prime, an Arlington-based rap artist who hails from the Nauck neighborhood and formerly attended Washington-Lee and Wakefield high schools, has released a new single. “School” encourages young listeners to “stay in school, plan it out, get your grades up.” The rhyme further encourages hard work and hustle: “Keep grinding, we going to raise up,” it says. [Soundcloud]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf