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.”
The whole family can enjoy the free event at the Langston-Brown Community Center (2121 N. Culpeper St) from 12:00-5:00 p.m. Visitors can taste soul food and browse vendor displays while being entertained by various types of music and dancing teams, in addition to a comedian. Children’s activities such as arts and crafts, face painting and balloon art will keep little ones occupied.
On the more serious side, the “Hall of History” will display photos and artifacts from Arlington’s historically black neighborhoods, along with African Americans in the Civil War. There will be a WalkAbout of the Hall’s Hill/Highview area. Visitors can also take advantage of health services, from free screenings to flu shots.
Attendees can buy raffle tickets to win a vacation getaway. The winner receives two round-trip tickets to one of 40 destinations in Africa.
Parking at the event will be limited, so free shuttles will run from Glebe Elementary School (1770 N. Glebe Rd) and the Carver (1415 S. Queen St) and Charles Drew (3500 23rd St S.) Community Centers.
Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday. To avoid ending up in the dog house, now would be a good time to secure some plans with your loved one. While Arlington offers a plethora of options for celebrating, here are just a few to consider for this weekend and the big day on Tuesday.
- Celebrate with the traditional holiday staples of wine and chocolate at Screwtop Wine Bar (1025 N. Fillmore St). The Sweetheart Tasting on Saturday includes tastes of French and Italian wines and four stations of cheese, chocolates, cupcakes and charcuterie. Participants also get a box of chocolates to take home. Runs from 3:00-5:00 p.m. and costs $49.99 per person (discount for wine club members). Call 703-888-0845 for reservations.
- Aroma Indian Restaurant (4052 Campbell Ave) is hosting a “Love Bites Valentine’s Night” on Saturday, starting at 8:30 p.m. The bash boasts of a DJ, champagne toast, contests and prizes, cash bar and unlimited food with admission. Tickets cost $75 for a couple and $40 for singles.
- Make your date laugh with a night of comedy at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike). The evening starts with stand-up comedy about relationships, then moves on to a showing of “The Princess Bride.” Tickets are $8. The 7:00 p.m. event is sold out, but there are still spots available for the 9:50 p.m. event. An optional wine tasting is also available for an additional cost.
- Learn how to whip up some romantic dishes at Sur La Table (1101 S. Joyce St) during a cooking class. The “Breakfast in Bed” class runs on Sunday and Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The class is $69.00 per person and can be booked online.
- Take in some romantic tunes while picking out last minute gifts at Market Common (2700 Clarendon Blvd). A guitarist, violinist and accordionist will play classic love songs while strolling from store to store from 2:00-4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Several stores will offer deals or discounts on merchandise.
- Surprise your special someone with a singing telegram. From Sunday through Tuesday, a women’s quartet from the Potomac Harmony Chorus will deliver two songs, a card and a box of candy. Today is the last day to order, by calling 703-764-3896. Options and pricing can be found online.
- Join the Opera Guild of Northern Virginia for its “That’s Amore Valentine’s Day Concert” at 4301 Wilson Blvd. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for refreshments and shopping, concert starts at 7:00 p.m. Suggested donations for advance tickets and for walkups are available online.
Starting on Tuesday, designers, models and fashionistas will take over the former food court at the Crystal City Shops (1750 Crystal Drive) for five days devoted to all things fashion.
Attendees can take part in trunk show sales, watch models sport the latest trends on the runway, or indulge in food and drinks while taking in music. They can also find deals of up to 50 percent off on items at some boutiques. Makeovers for hair and makeup will be available, as well.
Events run from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. each night from Feb. 7 through Feb. 11, and are free to the public. Some of the local personalities who will be hosting the events include NBC4’s Angie Goff, Hot 99.5’s Sarah Fraser, D.C. Magazine’s Karen Sommer Shalett, Pinkline Project’s Philippa Hughes, former Miss D.C. Kate Michael and former America’s Next Top Model contestant Bianca Chardei.
Organizers are promising even more shopping opportunities at this year’s five-day event, where more than 40 local designers and boutiques will be represented. A full list of participants can be found online.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Hotel Palomar For Sale? — Connecticut-based HEI Hospitality LLC is in talks to buy Hotel Palomar (1121 19th Street N.) in Rosslyn for a reported $45 million, or nearly $300,000 per room. The high-end hotel is currently owned by JBG Cos. and operated by Kimpton Hotels. [Bloomberg]
Redistricting Lawsuit Could Delay Primaries — Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has requested that the state delay the June 12 congressional primaries by two months, following a decision by the Virginia Supreme Court to allow a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s recent redistricting process to proceed. [Washington Post]
Planetarium Renovations On Track — Renovations to Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium are underway and on schedule. The modernized planetarium is expected to reopen this fall, perhaps as early as September. A citizen-formed nonprofit group, the Friends of Arlington’s Planetarium, helped to raise more than $400,000 for the renovations. [Sun Gazette]
Yorktown Band Seeks Donations — The Yorktown Band Boosters are seeking donations of used musical instruments and cases. The 501(c)3 nonprofit asks that those with questions about donating call 703-228-5370.
Yorktown High School students found a creative way to remind their classmates to avoid drinking during Homecoming: they created an original song and a corresponding music video.
“[The video] was produced as part of the school’s participation in the Choose Health campaign to reach out and work on guiding students to better, healthier choices,” said Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia. “The message to students is to stay sober and make good choices during Homecoming.”
Yorktown’s Homecoming was held earlier this month.
Construction to Begin on Rosslyn Office Project — The long-stalled Central Place office project may finally be moving forward. Developer JBG says construction on a new 390-foot office tower, adjacent to the Rosslyn Metro station, will likely begin in the second quarter of 2012. The project will be competing with the nearby 1812 N. Moore Street project for the title of tallest skyscraper in the D.C. area. [Washington Post]
Taxi Fee Increase in the Works — The Arlington County Board is expected to advertise public hearings for a possible increase in two fees charged by taxi cabs. County staff is recommending the initial base taxi fare (the “drop fee”) be raised from $2.75 to $3.00, while also recommending the extra-passenger charge be hiked from $1.00 to $1.50. All fees charged by Arlington-based taxis are set by the county. [Sun Gazette]
Is Arlington Blocking I-66 Widening? — Why isn’t VDOT rushing to widen additional sections of I-66 inside the Beltway? Bob Chase, of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance blames obstructionism from Arlington. But County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman says a lack of money is behind the lack of action — and that Arlington “by itself doesn’t have the power to get in the way of more lanes.” [Washington Examiner]
H-B Woodlawn, a.k.a. Hippie High — H-B Woodlawn Secondary School — the educational experiment once known as ‘Hippie High’ — turned 40 this year. According to the Post: “Hippie High enters middle age far more conventional than it once was, with many of its students loading up on AP courses and obsessing about their SAT scores and grade-point averages just like their peers at ordinary high schools.” [Washington Post]