Lyon Park barbecue joint Texas Jack’s may be featured in a new reality TV show.
A crew of a new reality show about D.C. area young professionals visited the restaurant’s private dining room last month to film a conversation between one cast member and his father.
The restaurant’s Director of Operations, Remzi Yilmaz, told ARLnow that the cast member himself chose the restaurant as the location.
“This was one of his favorite places,” he said.
Yilmaz said he was not allowed to share details like the name of the show, citing a non-disclosure agreement, but said the crew might be spotted over the next four weeks filming at other area restaurants, as well as landmarks like the Washington Monument
The show is expected to air in January, though the network on which it is airing and other details are murky.
“I think they’re just giving insight into young professionals in this area, and how they live life, and what they go through,” he said.
A camera crew was also spotted last week at Pentagon Row, in Pentagon City, but it’s unclear if the crew was connected with the new reality series.
State Change Affecting Arlington Teacher Union — “Arlington School Board members could be gearing up to battle the state government’s powerful Virginia Retirement System (VRS) on a new ruling that impacts the way benefits are calculated for presidents of the Arlington Education Association.” [InsideNova]
Planetarium Closing Next Year — “In September, the David M. Brown Planetarium will once again offer three shows a day for students, plus weekend and select weekday programs for the general public. In January, it will temporarily shut down for more than a year while an adjacent construction project converts the Arlington Education Center into classroom space.” [Arlington Magazine]
Arlington Startup Serving D.C. Schools — “The administration of Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced in August that the city would spend $26,400 to partner with LiveSafe, an Arlington, Va., tech company. The move comes in response to students’ repeated pleas to the city to make their commutes safer.” [Washington Post]
Ballston Bar’s Pricey Booze-Free Drinks — “The new Punch Bowl Social in Ballston Quarter mall was designed to cater to millennials (hello photo booths, corn hole, and karaoke). Now they’re jumping on the ‘sober-curious’ trend with a $19 zero-proof punch bowl.” [Washingtonian]
Local Courts Dropping Fare Evasion Cases — “When a rider is cited for not paying the fare to board a bus or train in Northern Virginia, the ticket is more likely to be dropped in the courts than paid. Only 278 of the 1,306 fare evasion citations handled by the Arlington, Fairfax and Alexandria general district courts between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2019, were paid, according to court records. In those districts, roughly $38,000 in fare evasion fines have gone unpaid in the past two years.” [Washington Post]
A Christian community based in a North Arlington neighborhood is the focus of a new Netflix docuseries called The Family, which alleges that the group is a shadowy right-wing cabal with an immense sphere of influence.
The series premiered on Netflix last Friday (Aug. 9) and has sparked discussion across the internet. The Family alleges that the group called The Fellowship, whose most public role is organizing the National Prayer Breakfast, plays a nebulous role in swaying public policy and government leadership for religious purposes.
The Family is based largely on two books by author Jeff Sharlet, whose time in the organization’s complex in the Woodmont neighborhood is the subject of the first episode of the show. Much of the first episode is reportedly an inside look at the group’s facilities at the end of 24th Street N., near Fort C.F. Smith Park.
At The Cedars — the group’s mansion headquarters — and its grounds, The Fellowship hosts international dignitaries and operates a pair of group homes for young men and women. As in all things, the group has kept a fairly low profile in the neighborhood, though trouble did arise in the early 2000s when some residents of the facility were arrested and pled guilty to two burglaries in the neighborhood.
The show spotlights some conflicts with the neighbors, with members of the Woodmont Civic Association saying The Fellowship has a registry of which neighbors support and which neighbors oppose the organization.
Some of the residents who are critical of The Fellowship have said in the past that the VIP traffic to and from The Cedars is disruptive. Among the high profile visitors to the facility, as detailed by Falls Church News-Press columnist Charlie Clark in 2011:
Hillary Clinton in her memoir wrote of an uplifting lunch in the mansion as a new first lady in 1993; singer Michael Jackson borrowed its rooms soon after the 9/11 attacks; conscience-troubled Republican strategist Lee Atwater and disgraced United Way chairman William Aramony took refuge on its bucolic grounds; so did Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his Anita Hill ordeal.
Some attention was focused on the organization in recent years as high-profile sex scandals involving politicians pointed back to The Fellowship. The second episode of the show focuses on the Arlington group’s connection to the C Street Center, a townhouse in D.C. reportedly operated by The Fellowship that housed members of congress at discounted rates.
The show also questions the tax-exempt status of an organization that operates, according to the documentary, more like a private club than a church. According to Arlington County records, the Arlington locations owned by Fellowship Foundation Inc. are considered tax-exempt.
Arlington resident Roey Hadar, a 23-year-old journalist at WETA-TV in Shirlington, is a Jeopardy champion.
During last night’s episode of the long-running quiz show, which was originally taped in March, Hadar topped five-time champion Sam Kavanaugh, a teacher from Minneapolis, and Jennifer Abel, a graduate student from Vancouver, British Columbia. Hadar walked away with $23,600 in daily winnings, having correctly answered two pivotal Daily Double questions.
Hadar will defend his title on tonight’s episode, facing a teacher from Seattle and a professor from Los Angeles. Jeopardy airs locally at 7:30 p.m. on WJLA (ABC 7).
Hadar live-tweeted during the episode, offering behind-the-scene nuggets like the power outage that almost made him miss the bus to the studio and the quirky ground rules given to contestants before the taping (no wagering $666 or $69). He also revealed that he is still together with his girlfriend, despite host Alex Trebek opining on air that he should “dump her.”
This is not the first time an Arlington resident found success on Jeopardy. Social worker Blair Moorhead notched a victory on an episode that aired in early 2017, while foreign service officer Liz Murphy advanced in the show’s Tournament of Champions following her initial win.
Hadar, a Ballston resident, says he will again be live-tweeting tonight’s episode, offering another interesting show fact: contestants do not receive their prize money until after the episode airs.
Side story here: you may be wondering what somebody does after realizing they've won a possibly life-changing sum (FYI the $ doesn't come until after air.)
After taping wrapped, I was hungry. The only thing near my hotel was a mall, so I decided to splurge on… Panda Express!
— Roey Hadar (@roeyhadar) July 18, 2019
The Clarendon restaurant, which specializes in Australian cuisine and boozy brunches, first opened at 2950 Clarendon Blvd in 2015. Despite some televised internal turmoil, Michael Darby told ARLnow in 2017 that the couple turned things around with the hiring of a new chef, Northern Virginia native Brad Feickert.
In a statement today, Ashley and Michael said the imminent arrival of their first child (Michael has two adult children from a previous marriage) prompted the restaurant’s closure.
Michael and Ashley Darby announce, with regret, that they have decided to close Oz Restaurant and Bar. As you all know, both Michael and Ashley are involved in multiple businesses and are expecting a baby boy in the very near future. They have decided that there was just not enough time to dedicate the right amount of time to raising their son and continuing to run the restaurant.
‘It has been four years since the restaurant opened and we have had the best employees anyone could ask for and we have made so many new friends who have patronized Oz.’ said Ashley.
‘I’m sad to see my little slice of Australia disappear but I have so many good memories of people enjoying the Australian experience at Oz. We are replacing one Aussie baby with a new one-half Aussie baby.’ said Michael.
Oz will serve its last meal this Sunday with an extended brunch. Please come in this weekend to say goodbye.
If you tune in to Jeopardy! on Wednesday, July 17, you’ll have a local to root for.
Roey Hadar, a 23-year-old journalist at WETA-TV, represented Arlington during the game show taping in March, though the episode won’t premiere until next month.
Hadar couldn’t say anything about his clues or the results of the game — you’ll just have to see for yourself.
“I had tried out a few times before I got the call, and even then it took roughly two years to get to the point where they called me back,” Hadar said. “I was outside Navy Yard Metro station. It wasn’t a call I was expecting. My girlfriend was there with me, and right before she called the Uber I got the call from L.A. I know my spam calls well, so I picked up and on the other line was a contestant coordinator.”
It had been over 18 months since — the tail end of when you can usually expect to hear back if you got onto Jeopardy! after an audition — and Hadar hadn’t heard anything. And when Hadar said he’d heard about Alex Trebek’s cancer diagnosis, he was worried if he did get to play it wouldn’t be without the legendary host at the helm. Hadar was preparing to take the online test again when the call came in.
The coordinator ran Hadar through some biographical changes. There had been quite a few changes since he first took the test online in April 2017. He moved from New Jersey to Ballston, for one, and he’d gone from a student to working at the WETA show Washington Week.
Because Hadar worked for a TV station, he had to check with his office to see if it would be all right to go, but Hadar said his boss was insistent that he go be on the show. He had two weeks notice, so Hadar binge-watched the show, standing in front of the TV with a spotlight on his face and pressing down on a spring-loaded toilet paper holder to try and get the answers before the contestants.
Hadar said the TV production aspect of the show wasn’t a shock because of his work experience, and years of quiz bowl in high school and at Georgetown University prepared him for handling the buzzer, but seeing the game show from another angle was the biggest surprise.
“It felt like the game had come to life around me,” Hadar said. “It was surreal being up there and actually having to call out clues and facing the wrong way — seeing the board and set in a certain way — there was a bit of a shock seeing everything in a reverse angle.”
Despite being a competition, Hadar said everyone from the staff to the other contestants were incredibly friendly.
After getting home from the show, Hadar said he thought he’d have Jeopardy! fatigue, but instead he’s found himself locked in — watching the rise of fall of James Holzhauer in the time between his show taping and the air date.
“I always had a great respect for contestants, but now I feel like I can better put myself in their shoes,” Hadar said. “I can see how when players are stressing or when they’re trying to frantically hit the buzzer but they rang in too early; things that are a little more subtle that you’d know from playing it.”
But that doesn’t stop Hadar from shouting answers at the television like everyone else, he said.
Photo courtesy Roey Hadar
Jail Holds Family Event for Inmates — “Some Arlington County children got a rare opportunity Tuesday night: a chance to visit with their fathers and mothers — who are in jail — without any barriers between them.” [WJLA]
Local Girl Scouts Help Seniors — “They came in need of help, smartphones in hand… Girl Scout Troop 60013 was on it. This week, the Arlington, Virginia-based scouts hosted ‘TechBridge,’ their first walk-in clinic to help local senior citizens learn how to use their cellphones.” [CNN]
County Fair Seeking Judges — “Organizers of the Arlington County Fair are seeking volunteers both to register and judge entries for the competitive-exhibit competition. Volunteers with expertise will serve as superintendents and judges in a host of categories, with judging taking place Thursday, Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. at Thomas Jefferson Community Center.” [InsideNova]
Campaign Ad Questioned — A TV ad placed by a political action committee on behalf of commonwealth’s attorney candidate Parisa Dehghani-Tafti is being questioned. The ad brings up recent anti-abortion laws in other states says incumbent Theo Stamos “would enforce anti-choice laws” in Virginia. The video cited in the ad shows Stamos saying she “takes an oath to uphold the law” but would not enforce an unconstitutional law. [Blue Virginia]
Thousands of Comcast customers in Arlington are without internet, TV and phone service this afternoon.
A major Comcast outage is currently affecting large swaths of Arlington, from the northernmost part of the county down. Comcast’s outage map shows reported issues throughout residential North Arlington and much of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. (The map only shows areas near a given subscriber and ARLnow was unable to view areas south of the R-B corridor.)
Comcast is currently estimating restoration of service around 6-6:30 p.m.
The outage started just before 1 p.m., right around when a truck took down utility lines along Route 50. It’s unclear if that incident and the outage are related.
Among those affected by the outage are small businesses like Pupatella Pizza in Bluemont, which said via social media that its internet ordering and phone lines were down.
Our internet is down here in Bluemont so that means our phones and internet orders are not going through. @comcast a little help please
— Pupatella Pizza (@PupatellaPizza) May 3, 2019
Map via Comcast
An Arlington woman will appear as a contestant on The Price is Right today, an experience she said was “surreal and amazing.”
Katherine Lam, an Arlington native who went to Washington-Lee High School and now lives in the Virginia Square area, said in a 2014 interview that it was her goal to be on the CBS show by the time she was 35.
On a 30th birthday trip to Los Angeles, she lived out that long-time dream, attending a show taping after getting tickets online and then getting selected to be a contestant.
“It was crazy,” she said, recalling the moment her name was called to “come on down.”
“It’s so loud in the studio that someone has to hold up a sign with your name,” Lam told ARLnow. “And then I just freaked out. My friend and I jumped up and down, we were so excited.”
She wasn’t able to say much more, partially because the show tries to keep the results under wraps until it airs, and partially because she just wasn’t able to remember all of the details.
“I was so excited that I almost blacked out a bit,” said Lam. “The adrenaline was crazy. It was almost like a dream.”
Those who want to see how she did can tune in today (Monday) at 11 a.m. on local CBS affiliate WUSA 9. Lam said she’ll be watching with friends and family, including her grandmother, at her parent’s house in Arlington.
Photo courtesy CBS
A free exhibit entitled Mister Rogers: Just the Way You Are is currently on display in Crystal City.
The exhibit is open to the public at the Crystal City Shops entrance to the PBS building (2100 Crystal Drive) through May 31. Created by Nashville-based artist Wayne Brezinka, the exhibit is described as “a unique and interactive mixed media portrait experience incorporating both two and three-dimensional elements.”
“Through the use of objects, artifacts and memorabilia assembled together, these items craft extraordinary story lines within this artistic profile of America’s most beloved neighbor, Mister Rogers,” Brezinka wrote.
The exhibit is especially relevant given “the love and affection that many have with Mister Rogers in our current social and political climate [and] the buzz around the upcoming film starring Tom Hanks who stars as Mister Rogers later this year,” he said.
The touring exhibition’s Crystal City stop was made possible by Arlington-based PBS and property owner JBG Smith. It is open weekdays from 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
A senior from Arlington’s H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program appeared on NBC’s The Voice last night.
While Calista Garcia didn’t move on to the next round, her audition did get praise from the judges — including John Legend and Adam Levine — for her choice of song. Legend said she has a “powerful voice” but “wasn’t quite there.”
Garcia made headlines last year after she was selected as a 2019 Strathmore Artist in Residence.
— H-B Woodlawn Theatre (@hbwtheatre) March 19, 2019