Arlington, VA

A local cellist recently went viral on TikTok for his classical covers of pop songs.

Musician Andrew Savoia began posting TikToks under the username @savoiboi earlier this month. Each day, Savoia’s content continues to gain more traction. Arlingtonians may recognize several outdoor spaces around town as filming locations for the short-form music videos.

@savoiboiYou might be Supalonely sometimes but your Kings and Queens are out there ##TikTokTaughtMe ##foryoupage ##fyp ##music ##cello ##supalonely♬ original sound – savoiboi

Savoia’s recent cello cover of the song “Come Get Her,” originally by hip-hop artist Rae Sremmurd, has more than 1.5 million views and counting. According to his profile, the page currently has roughly 92,000 followers and 646 “likes.”

In recent months, TikTok made headlines as a social media platform for politically active youth but the app is moreso used as a platform for comedy and entertainment.

In a post from July 12 (above), which featured a cover of “Supalonely,” viewers can spot the Washington Monument and portions of Arlington’s Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in the background. Savoia said he and his friend filmed it on the rooftop of his mom’s apartment building in Ballston.

Other filming locations include public open spaces around town and a bridge near Navy Yard in D.C.

“What I’ve been doing is choosing a song that I really want to play and picking a background that fits with that song,” he told ARLnow.

So far, four out of Savoia’s eight viral videos have been filmed in Arlington.

Other covers by Savoia include “Roses” by SAINt JHN, “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd and other songs topping charts globally. Many of the hits that Savoia chooses to cover come from memes and other TikToks sent to him by friends, he said.

“Some of those tunes are really catchy and they get stuck in my head,” he said, adding that he’ll experiment with the song before deciding that he wants to post a video.

Boosting his popularity further, other TikTok users are now using his music to compose their own posts. Savoia said he loves to see fans interacting with his music because it encourages them to pick up an instrument and revive their passion for classical music.

On the app, TikTok offers a “duet” feature, which lets users record their own content side-by-side with another post — as if the two accounts were performing at the same time. Going forward, Savoia said that he would love to see more collaboration like this.

Inspiration for the project first came to him after he bought recording equipment to do a full-length, four-minute cover of a Weeknd song but didn’t like the final result — and instead decided to stick to a 30-second clip, which he and friends later posted on TikTok.

“The response was really positive and that just made me want to do it more,” Savoia said.

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Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) are not the only ones to have mistakenly posted photos of the late Elijah Cummings while trying to honor John Lewis, who died on Friday.

Local state Sen. Barbara Favola (D) posted a photo on Facebook over the weekend that she said was Lewis, the civil rights leader and Georgia congressman, at her house four years ago.

“I had the honor of hosting John Lewis for a fundraiser at my home in 2016,” wrote Favola, who represents a portion of Arlington in the state Senate. “Congress must restore the Voting Rights Act and each of us must uphold John Lewis’ legacy each and every election by casting a ballot.”

The problem: the photo actually showed Cummings, the former Maryland congressman who died in October.

The mistake was pointed out in a comment by Julius Spain, Sr., the head of the Arlington chapter of the NAACP. The post was subsequently taken down.

Spain said he spoke to Favola about the error Saturday night.

“She apologized stating it was a mistake,” he told ARLnow.

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Morning Notes

Hundreds Protest Along George Mason Drive — Hundreds of people lined George Mason Drive Monday evening to protest racism and support Black Lives Matter. The protest was organized by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington. [Twitter, Twitter]

Break-in at Claremont Elementary — “At approximately 12:30 a.m. on May 31, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary alarm. Arriving officers observed four suspects inside of a building and established a perimeter. While clearing the building, the four suspects were located on the roof and taken into custody without incident.” [Arlington County]

Local GOP Amps Up Social Media Presence — “The Arlington County Republican Committee often has a hard time competing with its Democratic counterpart at the ballot box. But the local GOP is working to win the battle of social media. Local Republicans recently announced that Taylor Jack, a rising senior at James Madison University, has joined the party’s public-relations team.” [InsideNova]

Beyer’s GOP Challenger Selected — “The candidate who positioned himself as the more conservative in the field emerged the victor and will become the Republican challenger in a decidedly uphill battle to unseat U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th). Jeff Jordan defeated Mark Ellmore in the 8th District Republican Committee convention.” [InsideNova]

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Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol says she was wrong to suggest that a local beer garden should be shut down over the weekend.

Cristol retweeted a photo posted by Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko on Friday night, which showed a large crowd — none wearing masks — outdoors at The Lot beer garden near Clarendon.

“A bunch of selfish a**holes in Arlington, VA this evening,” Parkhomenko said in his tweet, which went viral and racked up thousands of likes and retweets. Many of those sharing the post decried how such crowding could exacerbate the pandemic.

“Well, this sucks,” Cristol wrote in her response to the tweet. “We’re in this together, and are going to have a hard time continuing to move forward if folks/establishments won’t do the basics of masks & distancing. All: Please help us follow up (and shut this stuff down) by reporting.”

Cristol also shared a link to a “non-compliance of social distancing practices” reporting form created by the county.

In response, however, The Lot said in a social media post on Saturday that it followed “all CDC, state, and local guidelines,” noting that it has “a large patio so naturally there will be more people, attention, and visibility.”

While The Lot posted a sign encouraging mask usage, Virginia’s new mask requirement only requires it for indoor public spaces.

A huge thank you to all our amazing patrons for the support and patience last night. We’d also like to thank the county…

Posted by The Lot VA on Saturday, May 30, 2020

On Sunday, Crisol posted an apology, acknowledging that Arlington police and fire personnel had visited The Lot and verified that it was following all of the requirements. She added, however, that “too many ppl = an administrative problem the County needs to fix.”

The risk of coronavirus transmission outdoors is considered to be low, though extended exposure and close proximity to someone with the virus — particularly if they’re talking and not wearing a mask — can result in infections even outdoors.

Photo via Twitter

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The popular Best of Nextdoor Twitter account, which highlights “quality neighborhood drama” on the hyperlocal social networking site, has taken aim at the Taco Bell on Lee Highway.

Last night the account posted a screenshot of a post by a High View Park resident who says she was reprimanded by the owner of the recently-renovated Taco Bell at 4923 Lee Highway for taking “15-20 sauce packets” for a take-out meal for her family.

“Suddenly a man sitting and eating yells at me to leave sauces for other customers and that I’ve taken too much,” she writes. “He yells and says he’s the owner and that I have too many sauces. “It tell him it’s not like I’m stealing I just bought a bunch of food!”

“Neighbors beware, don’t take too many sauces or you will be yelled at and berated at Taco Bell,” she concludes.

Comments on the post show split reactions.

“No offense but 20 sauce packets is taking more than your fair share,” said a Leeway Overlee resident.

“What’s the proper fair share, according to the taco sauce police?” retorted a Waycroft-Woodlawn resident.

As of this morning, the Best of Nextdoor post about the Taco Bell had more than 1,800 likes and 100 replies, ranging from “you need all that sauce so you don’t have to actually taste the Taco Bell” to “if you’re going to grab 20 individual hot sauce packets, maybe just bring your own bottle of hot sauce.”

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Classes are expected to go on as usual at Washington-Liberty High School on Monday after a threatening message on social media prompted a police investigation over the weekend.

A tipster tells ARLnow.com that the social media message in question was an Instagram account that said “don’t come to school on Monday.” That tip could not be immediately confirmed.

In an email to parents Sunday night, school officials said that Arlington County Police “determined there is and was no direct threat to the safety of the students and employees of Washington-Liberty High School.”

The full email is below.

Earlier today (Oct. 6, 2019), Wshington-Liberty High School and Arlington Public Schools became aware of and alerted Arlington County Police Department to a social media account that contained concerning language. The Police Department has investigated the post, identified the individuals involved and determined there is and was no direct threat to the safety of the students and employees of Washington-Liberty High School.

Arlington Public Schools takes the report of threats and concerning language/behavior seriously. Students who make concerning comments of a threatening nature can face disciplinary action to include suspension, alternative school placement, and up to a recommendation for expulsion. The safety of our students, employees, and visitors is always a top priority and we want to remind all families that if they “see something, say something.”

We encourage all families to also review our webpage dedicated to threat assessment located at https://www.apsva.us/emergency-management/threat-assessment/. Students and families can take in a 15 minute training from the University of Virginia Curry School of Education as part of the Youth Violence Project. This training program is designed for all students ages 12 and up and parents to learn about the threat assessment process, what are concerning behaviors and how using threat assessment can help prevent violence in our schools.

In the event that your student raises questions about the social media account, we wanted to share this information with you. If you have any concerns or questions about the incident, please feel free to contact Principal Dr. Gregg Robertson during normal school hours at [email protected]

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Business review site Yelp is teaming up with Ballston Quarter mall (4238 Wilson Blvd) to host a social mixer called Yelp After Dark.

The free event is set to take place at the Quarter Market food hall next Friday, August 2 from 9-11 p.m.

Attendees must have a Yelp profile with a current photo and their real name. A press release for the event said attendees should RSVP through the Yelp app and will receive a confirmation email before the event. But, this does not guarantee entry, since space is limited.

Quarter Market vendors including District Doughnut, Ice Cream Jubilee, Rice Crook and The Local Oyster will provide food.

Donations for the Arlington Food Assistance Center will be accepted. A $10 cash donation is suggested for entry.

In 2015, Yelp co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman told ARLnow he might not have made it as a tech titan if it wasn’t for bike rides to Ballston Quarter — then Ballston Common Mall — as a kid. Stoppelman grew up in Arlington, near Military Road, and attended Taylor Elementary in the 1980s before his family moved to Great Falls.

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(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) Nicole Merlene, a Democrat challenging state Senator Barbara Favola (D), has become embroiled in a war of words with a self-described political meme account on Twitter.

The incident started with Merlene’s introduction at an Arlington Young Democrats forum.

“As a renter, as someone who completely relies on public transportation because they can’t afford a car, as someone who had to pay out of state tuition for college, as someone who has a very small prospect of owning a home in Northern Virginia unless I get married,” Merlene said in her opening remarks, “when I think about the future, our environment comes to mind. Have we taken the action needed to put us on a sustainable path forward? Do we have leadership in Richmond willing to stand up to Dominion?”

Accusing Favola of conflicts of interest and calling to ban political contributions from Dominion Energy — which has contributed $9,500 to Favola’s campaigns — have been some of the more vocal talking points from Merlene’s campaign.

But an anonymous Twitter account called Virginia Political Memes attacked Merlene over the comments and derided the candidate’s financial status as a “poor personal decision.”

Merlene responded with a three-part video series laying out the candidate’s positions on transit, affordability in Arlington, and renters rights:

One of the most fundamental parts of being a Democrat is that no matter your socioeconomic status, your religion, your gender identity, your race — is that you’re provided an opportunity to succeed and you’re given a level playing field… To write off an entire segment of our population as “poor” because they have to rent or because they have to use public transportation is despicable.

Favola waded into the fight as well and said that Merlene “should take her own advice” when it comes to elevating the political discussion.

The argument escalated to threats of a physical confrontation from Merlene’s brother — a threat lampooned in the responses — for which Merlene took to Twitter to apologize.

Arlington’s primary election be held on June 11 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Morning Notes

Shatner: Arlington E-Bike Rules ‘Barbaric’ — E-bike enthusiast and Priceline pitchman William Shatner, better known as Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk, said via Twitter yesterday — in response to a tweet from the sassy Arlington Dept. Environmental Services Twitter account — that Arlington’s prohibition on e-bikes on local trails is “barbaric.” [Twitter]

Kojo Coming to Crystal City — WAMU 88.5 is bringing the Kojo Nnamdi Show to Crystal City for “a town hall-style discussion about how local officials, businesses, and community members in Northern Virginia and the region are reacting to Amazon’s decision.” Those wishing to attend the taping can register online. [Kojo Nnamdi Show]

Upgrades for Ballston Senior Housing — “The Arlington County Board [Tuesday] approved a low-interest loan of $3.025 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to help renovate The Carlin, a 162-unit, 10-story building located at 4300 N. Carlin Springs Road. The Carlin serves low income elderly residents who are 55 years and older.” [Arlington County]

‘Arts District’ Near Crystal City? — “Even before the specter of Amazon’s second headquarters put stars in everyone’s eyes in Crystal City, Stratis Voutsas and Georgia Papadopoulos, managers of a trust that owns many buildings on the neighborhood’s ‘restaurant row,’ were dreaming up a plan to bring more people across U.S. Route 1 to the neighborhood… The trust wants to build an open-air park and plaza on a parking lot and site of a Greek restaurant the trust owns behind some of the 23rd Street restaurants. It would have artist spaces tucked below, facing onto 22nd Street.” [Washington Business Journal]

Amazon News Roundup — Amazon’s HQ2 search was about “selecting locations with specialized kinds of talent that meet certain needs,” and “Crystal City… puts Amazon closer to tech talent, but also to government leaders, cloud customers, and the U.S. Department of Defense.” Crystal City is built upon the former Abingdon Plantation and the new Amazon presence “affords us the opportunity to recognize and memorialize the lives of those enslaved there.” Meanwhile, a former JBG executive who left to help build a $3 billion development in Tampa is returning as the company prepares for Amazon’s arrival.

Nearby: New Wawa and New Restaurant — A new Wawa is coming to Vienna, making it the closest Northern Virginia location to Arlington for the beloved convenience store chain. And an acclaimed chef is planning to open a new Italian restaurant on N. Washington Street in the City of Falls Church.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Facebook has been making headlines lately for all the wrong reasons, so we checked in with Justin Bensan, Social Communications Specialist at the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, to talk about what’s going on in the world of social media.

This episode was recorded prior to Amazon’s HQ2 announcement, but we asked Justin about what it means for a place like Rosslyn nonetheless.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

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Morning Notes

Overnight House Fire in Rock Spring — The Arlington County Fire Department battled a blaze in the basement of a home in the Rock Spring neighborhood early this morning. One occupant of the home was brought to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. [Twitter]

ACFD Battles Falls Church Fire — Arlington and Fairfax County firefighters battled a two-alarm house fire in Falls Church early Sunday morning. The home’s occupant was able to get out but was transported to the hospital. The house, which had “hazardous hoarding conditions” inside, it believed to be a total loss. [City of Falls Church, Falls Church News-Press]

Warner Blasts ‘Dark Underbelly of Social Media’ — Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) went on NBC’s Meet the Press over the weekend and addressed the topic of Facebook’s privacy issues and alleged Russian election interference. “I think the whole industry has been reluctant to accept the fact that we’re seeing the dark underbelly of social media, and how it can be manipulated,” Warner said, adding: “frankly, Mr. Zuckerberg needs to come and testify.” [YouTube]

Arlington on ‘Healthiest Communities’ Rankings — Arlington County ranked No. 31 on U.S. News and World Report’s new Healthiest Communities rankings. Neighboring Falls Church ranked No. 1 while the City of Fairfax ranked No. 6 and Loudoun County ranked No. 10. [WTOPU.S. News]

County Recognizes Businesses for Transportation Programs — “The Arlington County Board honored 19 local businesses and properties for their dedication to providing sustainable transportation to employees and tenants, as part of the Champions program. The program… motivates businesses, multi-family residential communities, commercial properties and schools to recognize the impact they can make on reducing traffic congestion in Arlington County.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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