Inner Ear Studio doesn’t have a neon sign on its door, a flashy building with modern designs or gold records on the wall.
What the Shirlington-area studio has is decades of experience recording D.C. artists, nurturing the local punk and independent music scenes, and, now, the cachet of being one of the eight studios in the country the Foo Fighters recorded in for their new album and TV show on HBO, Sonic Highways.
This Friday night at 11:00 p.m., on HBO, you can watch the Foo Fighters and Springfield, Va., native Dave Grohl record a song for the album at Inner Ear Studio (2710 S. Oakland Street), along with interviews and stories of Grohl’s time growing up around the D.C. punk rock scene. You can watch the preview for the episode on HBO’s website.
Inner Ear started in founder Don Zientara’s basement in the 1970s, when Zientara was in a band and needed somewhere he and his friends could record.
“I was in a band, and we needed to record a demo tape,” Zientara said while sitting at Inner Ear’s mixing board last week. “I had always had tape recorders, but I had a decent one at that time. I borrowed microphones, bought a basic mixer. People started to hear that I had equipment, which was not typical at the time.”
Zientara traveled around D.C. with the recording equipment in his backseat, bringing it to different independent musicians’ houses, or hosting them in his basement. “I happened to drop into the indie music scene at the right time, because it was really not supported by major studios here.”
In 1979, Zientara started the business, doing it as a side project until 1985, when it was successful enough to do it full-time. It was in his basement that Grohl recorded with the band Scream, before he joined Nirvana.
“I remember walking down into that basement as if it were Abbey Road,” Grohl told the Washington Post. “‘Oh my god, Rites of Spring recorded here!’ It was like hallowed ground to me. And then later on, I recorded at the new facility after I was in Nirvana — I recorded some stuff there with my sister and one of those songs ended up on the first Foo Fighters album. But it was cool to see our bass player, Nate [Mendel], walk down the hallways and look at all the albums that had been made there, realizing that the soundtrack of his youth was on the walls.”
‘Pups and Pilsners’ Photo Contest — Want to sample some brews and make your pet famous? Head on over to Crystal City’s Pups and Pilsners event from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, snap a photo of your pooch and tweet it to us and our sponsors, @CCBID and @BeckysPetCare. Pups and Pilsners is a free dog-friendly event featuring a massive beer garden and food from local restaurants. [Crystal City BID]
Planners: Bank Shortchanges Courthouse — The office building slated to replace the Wendy’s in Courthouse will have a Wells Fargo bank prominently located on the ground floor, and Arlington planners don’t like it. County staff says the bank use is “not appropriate” and should be at least moved so that a more active retail use can occupy half of the plaza area. Developer Carr Properties says the bank must stay, since Wells Fargo owns the land under the existing bank that will be torn down for the project. [Washington Business Journal]
Vihstadt Out-Raises Howze — Incumbent, independent County Board candidate John Vihstadt is out-raising his Democratic opponent, Alan Howze. Vihstadt raised $31,367 in July and August, compared to $20,607 raised by Howze. Vihstadt recently reported $58,746 cash on hand while Howze reported $16,906. [Washington Post]
Fugazi to Release ‘Lost Album’ — Fugazi is planing to release a “lost album” of 11 songs recorded in 1988. The legendary local rockers recorded the songs on the album, First Demo, at Inner Ear Studio in Arlington. [Spin]
Road Closures for Clarendon Art Fest — Parts of Washington Blvd, Clarendon Blvd, and N. Highland Street will be closed Saturday and Sunday for the 2nd Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts. “Over 100 artists will showcase their works including glass, mixed media, paintings, jewelry, and pottery; providing all sorts of opportunities to appreciate — and purchase — art,” according to the festival’s website. [Arlington County, ArtFestival]
Tips for Staying Cool — The temperature today and tomorrow (Tuesday) is expected to reach the mid-to-upper 90s. To help beat the heat, Arlington County has a list of “hot weather tips for staying cool,” including tips and resources for people and pets. [Arlington County]
Arlington Man Found Dead in D.C. — Arlington resident Michael Hrizuk, 57, was found dead on the ground near Wisconsin Avenue NW in the Glover Park neighborhood last month. The Metropolitan Police Department has not yet determined the manner and cause of Hrizuk’s death and is continuing to investigate the incident. [WUSA 9]
Arlington Hailed as ‘Suburb of the Future’ — Arlington has been transformed from a “sleepy suburb” into a “mid-size city” but has managed to reduce the volume of traffic on main streets, according to an article entitled “The Suburb of the Future is Here.” Says Brookings Institution fellow Christopher Leinberger: “Arlington is the most important suburban place in the country… If you don’t understand Arlington, you don’t understand the future of the country.” [Salon]
O.A.R. to Play Clarendon Ballroom — Rock band O.A.R., which hails from Rockville but has enjoyed national success, will play a private acoustic show at the Clarendon Ballroom on July 17. Tickets to the performance are only available via an ongoing, on-air contest on radio stations 94.7 Fresh FM and 106.7 The Fan. The band recently released its eighth studio album, The Rockville LP. [94.7 Fresh FM]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Real Estate ‘Bull Market’ in December — Arlington’s residential real estate market soared in December, reaching a deal volume of $134.4 million, up almost 40 percent over a year prior. The average sales price rose 12.8 percent. [Sun Gazette]
Yorktown Nominated for a GRAMMY — Yorktown High Schools is one of 123 schools nationwide selected as a semifinalist for the 2014 GRAMMY Signature Schools Award. “Created in 1998, the GRAMMY Signature Schools program recognizes top U.S. public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year,” the school system said in a press release. [Arlington Public Schools]
MLK Weekend Metro Track Work — Track work will reduce Metro service on the Orange and Blue lines to one train every 20 minutes this weekend. The track work will not be performed on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Metro will instead operate on a normal Saturday schedule systemwide. [WMATA]
Flickr pool by Lawrence Cheng Photography
Organizers are touting “360 degrees of fashion,” highlighting the many windows on the top floor of the office building at 251 18th Street S., where the event will be held. While taking in the views, visitors can browse through discounted clothing, jewelry and accessories from more than 40 boutiques and designers.
Customers can get free makeup and hair makeovers, chat with wardrobe stylists and watch models strut styles from D.C. area boutiques on the runway. There will be music, snacks and a cash bar.
Admission is free for the event, which runs every night from tonight (February 5) through February 9, from 6:00-10:00 p.m. A full list of local celebrity hosts along with participating boutiques and designers can be found online.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
A number of venues still have space available for their celebrations, but some will increase ticket prices at the door. Options also exist for those in search of family friendly activities. Here are some of the celebrations around Arlington:
Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse — (2903 Columbia Pike) Watch New York City’s celebration in Times Square on the movie screen and take in music during the 1980s themed party. The $15 admission price covers entertainment and party favors. Food and drinks can be purchased from tableside waitstaff. Guests must be at least 21 years old.
Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill — (2424 Wilson Blvd) The $50 admission price ($70 at the door) includes a dinner and dessert buffet, live entertainment, a coffee bar, a midnight champagne toast and party favors. The event runs from 9:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. and guests must be 21 or older. There will be drink specials all night.
Artisphere — (1101 Wilson Blvd) Starting at 8:30 p.m., three DJs and a live video show will be highlighted at the art venue’s celebration. Tickets are currently $95 and include entertainment, a two hour premium open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres and party favors.
Capitol City Brewing Company — (4001 Campbell Avenue) The event begins at 9:00 p.m. with an appetizer buffet that runs through midnight. Admission is $30, with a $10 cover charge for guests arriving after 10:00 p.m. Music, party favors and a champagne toast are included.
Clarendon Ballroom — (3185 Wilson Blvd) Doors open at 8:00 p.m. for the party, featuring Liquid A with DJ Squirrel in the lower lounge. Tickets are currently $105 and include entertainment, a dinner buffet, party favors, four drink tickets, a champagne toast and a balloon drop at midnight. Tickets can be be purchased online or by calling 1-888-695-0888.
The Comedy Spot — (Ballston Common Mall) The whole family can enjoy the PG comedy performance. Tickets for the 8:00 p.m. show are $15 and party hats will be provided. At the end of the show, performers will welcome Rio de Janeiro’s new year for those who can’t stay up until midnight local time.
Extra Virgin Modern Italian Cuisine — (4053 Campbell Avenue) The first of the restaurant’s two dinner seatings costs $55 and runs from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The second seating runs from 7:30-9:30 p.m., with party favors, a champagne toast and live music included in the $85 cost. Starting at 10:00 p.m., walk-ins can pay $20, which includes party favors and access to the band.
Iota Club and Cafe — (2832 Wilson Blvd) The music venue presents the bands The Beanstalk Library, Ugly Purple Sweater and Alex Vans & the Hideaway. Tickets are $18 and include music, party favors and a midnight toast. Bands are scheduled to begin at 9:00 p.m.
Signature Theatre — (4200 Campbell Avenue) Take in a special performance of Dreamgirls at 8:00 p.m. and then stay for heavy hors d’oeuvres, a midnight champagne toast and music from a DJ. Tickets to the musical start at $40; tickets for the after party are $75 for subscribers and $100 for non-subscribers. Tickets for the party can be purchased by calling 703-820-9771.
Union Jack’s — (Ballston Common Mall) The annual Little Black Dress Ball includes a dinner buffet from 8:00-10:00 p.m., live entertainment, a midnight toast, party favors and a late night continental breakfast. Tickets are currently $20 but will increase, and can be purchased online or by calling 703-778-3568.
County Proposes Tax Cuts to Lure Advertising Firms — Arlington is proposing to eliminate its tax on media buy receipts in the hopes of luring a new advertising firm, and keeping the existing ones. Trying to reduce the tax in 2004 didn’t have the desired effect, and there are now fewer advertising agencies in Arlington than there were in 2004. The suggestion is to eliminate the tax by early 2013. [WTOP]
Gifts that Give Hope Fair — Fifteen locally based non-profit organizations will participate in the second annual Arlington Gifts that Give Hope Fair tomorrow (December 8) at Calvary United Methodist Church (2315 S. Grant Street). During the alternative gift fair, shoppers can choose to donate for a specific gift, such as an “apartment application fee for one family as they leave a shelter” or “a prescription for a sick child.” The fair runs from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and features holiday music, face painting, crafts, refreshments, special $5 items for children to contribute and a visit from Santa from 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Professional Racquetball Tournament — Some of the world’s top professional women’s racquetball players will participate in the 2012 Christmas Classic this weekend, including #11 ranked T.J. Baumbaugh of Reston and #39 ranked Paola Nunez of Falls Church. The event will take place throughout the weekend (today through Sunday) at the Crystal Gateway Sport and Health Club (1235 S. Clark Street). A list of start times for each player is available online.
Library’s Holiday Tunes Released — The Arlington Public Library has released its fifth annual “Too Cool for Yule Blog,” which includes about an hour of holiday tunes. While some of the songs are standard holiday favorites, the blog offers versions by some non-traditional artists (such as Cee Lo Green singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch). Purists, fear not. The list also features classics from Louis Armstrong, Andy Williams and the late Dave Brubek, who passed away on Wednesday. [Arlington Public Library]
(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) Four months after the sudden departure of Artisphere Director of Programming Rosanna Ruscetti, the county-run cultural center in Rosslyn has a new programming director.
Josh Stoltzfus, 39, has been named Artisphere’s new Director of Programming. He faces the daunting task of attracting programming that will bring more people to Artisphere, which has been suffering from a lack of consistent attendance and continued financial losses that have necessitated increased taxpayer support.
Stoltzfus’ music-centric resume includes roles as the tour manager for The Holmes Brothers, production coordinator at Wolf Trap and, most recently, programming manager for the Columbia Festival of the Arts. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Berklee College of Music and a graduate degree in Arts Management from American University, according to his LinkedIn page.
On Twitter, Artisphere said it was “thrilled” to announce the hiring of Stoltzfus, whose “passion for the arts is perfect for us.” The cultural center also issued the following press release.
Artisphere has named Josh Stoltzfus as its new Director of Programming. Stoltzfus brings more than 16 years of performing arts experience working in creative, programmatic and administrative positions. Stoltzfus has extensive programming experience collaborating with performing artists and their representatives, as well as expert knowledge of American music, specializing in jazz, blues and popular music, with advanced knowledge of other major artistic disciplines including dance, theatre, comedy and the visual arts.
“We are thrilled to welcome Josh to the Artisphere team,” says José Ortiz, Executive Director of Artisphere. “His diverse experience and passion for the arts is the perfect blend for Artisphere.”
Stoltzfus joins Artisphere from the Columbia Festival of the Arts in Columbia, MD, where he spent the last five years planning strategic partnerships and working with the team on selection of artists, program content and budgeting for an annual sixteen day multidisciplinary arts festival. He previously worked with the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts and spent a graduate fellowship with the Cyrus & Myrtle Katzen Arts Center and Harold & Sylvia Greenberg Theatre at American University. Stoltzfus also brings experience as an artist representative, tour manager and more than two decades’ experience as a musical performer.
“I am incredibly pleased to be a part of the Artisphere team,” said Stoltzfus. “Arlington is quickly becoming known as a hub of cultural activity. I am eager to engage Artisphere audiences with innovative and thought-provoking art in all disciplines.”
Photo courtesy Artisphere
The anniversary of the National Song of Remembrance will be marked with a ceremony on Saturday, May 19, in the cemetery’s Old Amphitheater. There will be participants from TAPS 150, an organization devised to commemorate the anniversary, along with Bugles Across America, an organization to recruit volunteers for playing Taps at veterans’ funerals.
Hundreds of buglers from around the country will take part in the ceremony, which starts at 10:00 a.m. There will be speakers, special music and a playing of Taps at the event. After that, the buglers will move to sites throughout the cemetery to simultaneously play Taps following the noon chimes.
“Buglers from all over the United States are coming to Arlington National Cemetery to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime experience of sounding Taps in America’s most sacred shrine,” the TAPS 150 website reads. “These are dedicated musicians who believe that a live sounding of Taps is not only appropriate but deserved and even indispensable for those who have served our nation in uniform.”
The website also claims the simultaneous playing should allow people to hear the echo of the tune nearly anywhere in Arlington.
The event is free and open to the public.
Taps was first arranged in July 1862 — during the Civil War — by Union General Daniel Butterfield. Butterfield created the tune to honor his fallen soldiers after the bloody Seven Days Battles near Richmond.
Photo by Tim1965
During the fundraiser, “culture critics” and other local notables will compete in a live art competition. They’ll make their pieces out of a variety of children’s toys and supplies, such as finger paints, Legos and pipe cleaners.
The list of competitors includes WJLA anchor Maureen Bunyan, D.C. City Paper Arts Editor Jonathan Fischer, Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur and Hanky Spanky from the D.C. Rollergirls.
The fundraiser’s attendees serve as judges for the event, and will vote for the winner. In addition to taking in contemporary art and listening to music, guests can participate in a silent auction while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.
The event will run from 8:00-11:00 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets can be purchased online.
The exhibit was curated from the personal collection of a library employee who “in true punk fashion… wants to keep a low profile,” according to library spokesman Peter Golkin. The employee, who works in the library materials department, was a “very active participant in the scene at the time.”
“[He] put out some records on his label, designed some of the posters and is friends with some of the more well-known names like the guys in Fugazi,” Golkin said.
In a blog post, Golkin noted that Arlington played a key role in the region’s vibrant punk rock scene.
“Arlington County was a well-known base of operations for many of the musicians and music labels that created a straightforward Mid-Atlantic sound best known through now-legendary bands like Slickee Boys, Minor Threat, Government Issue and later Fugazi,” he wrote.
The exhibit, which is still in the process of being built, is located near the center of the second floor of Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street).
Central Library will also be hosting a pair of punk-related events this month. At 7:00 p.m. on April 18, the library will be screening a documentary about Fugazi, called “Instrument — Ten Years with the Band Fugazi.” On April 26 at 7:00 p.m., author Jennifer Egan will be speaking about her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “A Visit from the Goon Squad,” which recounts the 1970s San Francisco punk scene.
(Updated at 11:05 a.m.) Last year Arlington Public Schools hosted an “Arlington Idol” singing competition for high school students. This year, adults are getting a chance to compete in their own contest.
As part of its adult education program, APS is hosting the “2012 Arlington Sing-Off Competition” for those 18 and over.
Auditions for the contest are taking place on Friday, May 11 and Thursday, May 17 at 7:00 p.m. The May 11 audition is being held at Washington-Lee High School, while the May 17 audition is being held at Kenmore Middle School. There is a $10 registration fee for all participants.
Entrants must sing as a soloist — no groups are allowed — and they must do so acapella, at least during the audition phase. Songs must be memorized, and profanity is not allowed.
Three judges will help narrow down the field. The judges are Bolormaa Judgersuren, an opera singer originally from Mongolia; Dawn Frederick, a professional singer and vocal coach; and Adelaide Ruble, a recording artist and vocalist for a local swing dance band.
After the auditions, a semi-final competition will be held at Jefferson Middle School on May 21. The finalists will compete at Jefferson Middle School on June 5.
Anyone interested in competing can register online or call 703-228-7200. The grand prize for the competition is a $100 gift card and an opportunity to perform at Arlington’s first annual “Night of Concert Music,” which is being held on June 15 at Jefferson Middle School.
SOJA, a reggae group founded by a group of Arlington natives, made their national television debut Monday night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
The band performed “Gone Today,” from their new album Strength to Survive, which is currently #1 and #2 respectively on the Billboard and iTunes reggae charts. The album was released on ATO, the record label co-founded by Dave Matthews, with whom the band has toured.
(The video, above, is queued up to the beginning of the performance.)
Also known as Soldiers of Jah Army, SOJA came from humble local beginnings. The band was founded by two best friends, Jacob Hemphill and Bobby Lee, who started performing together as middle school students in Arlington. After picking up three other bandmates in high school, SOJA was formed and began performing around the D.C. area. Following graduation, the band began touring and their success has been growing ever since.
“Over the course of the past few years, SOJA has sold more than 150,000 albums, headlined large theaters in more than 15 countries around the world, generated over 20 million+ YouTube views, amassed more than a half-million Facebook fans, and attracted an almost Grateful Dead-like international fanbase that grows with each tour, with caravans of diehards following them from city to city,” the band’s website says. “Most impressive of all, they’ve accomplished all this on their own.”
SOJA is currently on tour and will be performing for two nights at the 9:30 Club in D.C. in May. One of the nights, Saturday, May 19, will feature ?uestlove, of The Roots and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon fame, as a special guest artist. SOJA will also be performing at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee in June.
Expect to see a lot more bicycles in Crystal City this weekend. Saturday is the inaugural Crystal City Diamond Derby.
Unlike most other bike races, this one takes place indoors at the parking garage at 1850 Crystal Drive. Both amateur and competitive cyclists will take part in events and attempt to win awards and prize money.
Spectators can enjoy a free party throughout the day at the lounge, which includes a large screen to watch the action, live music and a cash bar. An outdoor midway will be set up with vendors, food and a bicyclist sprint lane.
Activities start at 2:00 p.m., but the major competitions take place from 4:30-9:30 p.m. They’re immediately followed by an awards ceremony, then the Diamond Derby Ball which runs from 10:30 p.m. to midnight.
Although the event is free and open to the public, registration and fees are required for competitors.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
It’s been a contentious couple of weeks for the Westover Market and Beer Garden. Upon receiving a warning from Arlington County, it suddenly declared the beer garden would shut down until April 1. Today, the saga continues as management has decided to re-open the beer garden against the County’s wishes.
Owner Devin Hicks said he’s tried working with the county on the matter but his efforts have not been successful. Now he’s going to do what he believes Westover Market is entitled to do by law — operate a year-round patio area.
Bob Brosnan, Director of the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, clarifies that Hicks did not receive an actual citation — as stated in a previous article — but rather a courtesy letter requesting compliance. A violation notice will likely be sent out on Monday and Westover Market will have 10 days to bring itself in compliance, or face fines, Brosnan said.
The goal is not to hinder businesses or to collect fines, it’s to keep businesses in compliance with county ordinances, according to Brosnan.
“We’ve been trying to work with them to make them understand how we can work with them legally, that is our goal,” he said. “Our goal in these cases is always compliance.”
Arlington County has developed a web page specifically relating to the beer garden at Westover Market. On the page, it states that establishments with outdoor patios must have ample parking for the number of people being served, but that parking requirement is reduced if the establishment is near a Metro stop. The County allows establishments to get around the parking rule by becoming “seasonal” and closing for three or more months each year.
Because the Westover beer garden isn’t deemed as having enough parking, it’s supposed to be seasonal. However, Hicks points out the rule is technically a “guideline” and not an actual “ordinance.” He believes the county has been enforcing a measure that was never officially put in the books.
The County’s web page for Westover Market links to another County page, titled “Guidelines for Outdoor Cafes.” On that document it states: “Unless otherwise required by the County Board, outdoor cafes shall be exempt from any parking requirement.” It goes on to say: “There is no explicit requirement in the Zoning Ordinance that requires them to be temporary or seasonal.”
Of his long-running trouble with the county, Hicks said relations have improved over the past year or so, but he believes he’s currently being unfairly targeted with the enforcement of the seasonal rule.
“We’re just going to go ahead and do what’s legally right,” Hicks said. “There’s nothing in the rules that says it has to be seasonal.”