Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Metro 29 Diner Back Open — After temporarily closing in late December due to “COVID-19 concerns,” Metro 29 Diner on Lee Highway reopened earlier this week. [Facebook]

Arlington Rents Going Back Up — “In what might be another sign of a return to a semblance of normalcy, average rents for Arlington apartments increased in February for the first time since the start of the COVID pandemic. The 0.7-percent month-over-month increase also mirrored the national index, which reported its biggest monthly increase since June 2019.” [InsideNova]

Alamo Drafthouse Declares Bankruptcy — A centerpiece of some of the changes in Crystal City is the planned Alamo Drafthouse movie theater. But the company just declared bankruptcy, potentially putting new theater projects in jeopardy. [CNBC, @abeaujon/Twitter]

More Edging Work Along Trail — “The morning volunteer session this Saturday has sold out but we still have 8 spots open for the afternoon session. Come help us continue to uncover the [Mt. Vernon] trail and make it a little bit wider.” [@MtVernonFriends/Twitter, Eventbrite]

Don’t Worry About Flipped Car at Fire Station — “Have you driven by one of our fire stations and noticed an overturned car? Don’t be alarmed, it’s likely a vehicle extrication training prop like the one pictured below at Fire Station 5! These vehicles provide us high fidelity training to respond to serious auto crashes.” [@ArlingtonVaFD/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Ballston Movie Theater to Close Again — “Cineworld Group, the owner of Regal Cinemas, will suspend operations at all of its theaters in the United States and the United Kingdom beginning on Thursday. The closures will affect 45,000 employees.” [CNN, Axios]

N. Va. Trending in Right Direction — “The health department’s new pandemic metrics, updated Monday based on data through Saturday, show that the disease is currently at a ‘low burden’ level in Northern Virginia, is trending downward, and has low levels of community transmission. All other region’s of the state either have moderate or high levels of burden of the virus and community transmission.” [InsideNova]

County Joins Eviction Task Force — “Arlington has joined the Northern Virginia Eviction Prevention and Community Stability Task Force, a diverse coalition of stakeholders from the housing sector in Northern Virginia, to identify best practices to prevent evictions and stabilize households.” [Arlington County]

Greens Want Local Bag Tax — “The Arlington Green Party is pushing the Arlington County Board to enact a tax on single-use grocery bags, now that the General Assembly has given localities the permission to do so. Party members on Sept. 2 endorsed the proposal to enact a 5-cent tax on bags, and plan to present a petition to the County Board in November.” [InsideNova]

New Police Dog’s Official Photo — “FRK9 Brooks recently sat for his official department photo and gave the camera his best puppy dog eyes.” [@ArlingtonVaPD/Twitter]

More I-66 Ramp Closures — “Alternating overnight ramp closures are scheduled to occur this week on I-66 East in Arlington for final asphalt paving and striping as part of the I-66 Eastbound Widening Project.” [VDOT]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Morning Notes

Italian Deli Coming to Pentagon Row — “Napoli Pasta Bar, the Bib Gourmand-designated Italian restaurant in Columbia Heights, will expand into Northern Virginia next month when it adds a sister deli in Arlington. Napoli Salumeria is expected to open in early October at 1301 South Joyce Street… The Pentagon Row space was largely turnkey ready, as it formerly functioned as a deli called A Deli.” [Eater]

Shirlington Movie Theater Reopens — The AMC Shirlington 7 theater reopened earlier this week, after closing over the weekend. A PR rep said the closure was due to a “plumbing issue.”

More Hazy Skies Possible — “More smoke from western wildfires likely to stream into DC area tonight and into Wednesday. Skies unlikely to be as blue as the past several days.” [Washington Post, Twitter]

Restaurant Break-in on Pentagon Row — “At approximately 10:41 a.m. on September 21, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 12:25 a.m., two suspects forced entry to a business, causing damage, and stole an undisclosed amount of cash and items of value. The suspects are described as males, wearing hooded sweatshirts, masks, and gloves. The investigation is ongoing.” [Arlington County]

Cooking School Adapts During Pandemic — Cookology at Ballston Quarter mall was just hitting its stride when the pandemic hit. After shutting down for weeks, the cooking school reopened via “Cookology Live” virtual classes. And now, the business has secured outdoor space at the mall’s covered “Instagram Alley” in which to hold in-person classes. [Washington Business Journal]

Apartment Building Designated as Historic — “The Glebe Apartments (now known as Knightsbridge Apartments) in the Ballston area has been placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register… The apartment complex, located in the 200 block of North Glebe Road, is an example of garden-style apartment units that were constructed in Arlington from the 1930s to the 1950s to provide moderately priced housing for a growing number of federal workers and, after World War II, returning veterans.” [InsideNova]

Today: ‘Spirit of Community’ Event — “Please join us for the 2020 Spirit of Community celebration on Wednesday, September 23 at 12 p.m… The program will include interviews with Chris Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton, and Steve Presley, Chairman and CEO of Nestle USA.” [ARLnow Events]

Confederate Costumes Cause Controversy — ” Party City is racing to clear its shelves of children’s costumes celebrating the Confederacy. An Arlington, Virginia mom of two adopted Black children, was shocked to find the Party City store at Bailey’s Crossroads selling Civil War rebel costumes emblazoned with the Confederate flag.” [WUSA 9]

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Morning Notes

Boat Catches Fire Near Gravelly Point — “Update boat fire Gravelly Point. Vessel is well involved. #DCsBravest Fireboats in active attack on burning vessel. The 11 occupants are being transported to Fire/Police pier for evaluation.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Flags at Half Staff in Va., U.S. — “Per an order from @GovernorVA, the Virginia flag is to be lowered to half staff at all federal, state and local government facilities across Virginia in memory of U.S Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday. Flags are to remain lowered until burial.” [Twitter, White House]

AMC Shirlington Temporarily Closed — The AMC Shirlington 7 theater appears to have suddenly, temporarily closed over the weekend. AMC’s website shows no planned showtimes at the theater. The reason for the closure was not given. The theater reopened on Aug. 27 at a reduced capacity after closing at the beginning of the pandemic. [Twitter]

Beyer Still Pushing for Rosslyn Boathouse — “The seemingly interminable planning process for a new boathouse facility in Rosslyn already has outlasted one of its champions in Congress, and while U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th) is not planning on departing any time soon, one wonders if it might outlast him, too. Not if Beyer has anything to say about it. ‘It’s moving very slowly, but it will be done,’ Beyer vowed.” [InsideNova]

Local Startup’s Return to Office Normalcy — “Phone2Action’s first step toward that elusive new normalcy appears to be going as planned. That’s the latest word from Jeb Ory, CEO and founder of the advocacy platform, who said those employee volunteers the company selected to be the first workers back into Phone2Action’s headquarters at 1500 Wilson Blvd. seem to adapting well to the workplace changes.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Board Approves New Bonds — From last week: “The Board [voted] to authorize the sale of up to $172.32 million in General Obligation Public Improvement Bonds for new projects and the refunding of existing bonds to lower interest rates and save taxpayer money.” [Arlington County]

Arrest Made in Eden Center Nightclub Homicide — “City of Falls Church Police identified Geovanny Alexander Mejia Castro as the homicide victim in the September 11, 2020 shooting at the Diva Lounge (6763 Wilson Blvd.). Mr. Castro, a security guard at the nightclub, died from multiple gunshot wounds.” [City of Falls Church]

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Brittany O’Grady, a Washington-Liberty High School graduate, is starring in Apple TV+’s new series, Little Voice.

O’Grady plays Bess King, a singer-songwriter trying to navigate New York City while pursuing a career in music with her earnest songs.

The show is executive produced by Sara Bareilles, J.J. Abrams and Jessie Nelson, and is loosely based on Bareilles’ early days in the music industry. The soundtrack features original songs written by Bareilles.

O’Grady began her acting career in Arlington, with roles in Encore Stage’s 2007 production of The 12 Dancing Princesses and Signature Theater’s The Witches of Eastwick when she was 10.

She graduated from W-L in 2013 and has performed on major D.C. stages like Ford’s Theater, The Kennedy Center and The White House.

O’Grady’s first major television appearance was in a 2014 episode of ABC’s Trophy Wife, in which she plays an abrasive teenager at a mini golf course. She went on to play the main character’s sister in three seasons of Star on Fox, as well as have roles in thriller films Above Suspicion and Black Christmas.

Little Voice, which premiered July 10, has garnered O’Grady attention from some of entertainment media’s biggest outlets. She has done interviews with Vanity Fair, People, Variety, InStyle, E! and The Kelly Clarkson Show.

Amid questions about what it is like to work with Bareilles and how the show’s love triangle will work out, a recurring theme in these interviews is O’Grady’s candor regarding racial issues in the television and film industries.

“Now, as we’re progressing forward, people who are casting for roles, they usually go for… a Black person” with European features they believe to be more appealing, O’Grady, who is biracial, said to InStyle. “And I think that a lot of dark-skinned women in our industry have felt ignored, have felt overlooked, have felt that their beauty has not been appreciated or represented well, and usually only represented by lighter-skinned women.”

O’Grady has also been vocal in her support of social justice issues to her nearly 800,000 Instagram followers.

“Systematic racism… still affects Black people in our country today,” she said in one recent post. “It affects our beliefs, our school systems, and our communities. As a biracial black woman who often looks racially ambiguous to others, I have had minor experiences with racism and it took me till I left home and went to a private conservative college to experience the honest despair my peers have felt their whole lives.”

“If you are indifferent, annoyed or even offended by people addressing racism and racist systems in our country, that is your privilege and your ignorance, she continued. “It’s everyone’s responsibility in our country to address this and fix it, even if you think it doesn’t affect you. Because it does.”

O’Grady’s mother is Arlington School Board Chair Monique O’Grady. In 2017, O’Grady introduced her mother at a campaign event.

The eighth episode of the nine in Little Voice‘s first season is being released today.

Photo via brittanyogrady.com

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Morning Notes

Va. Adopts New Workplace Safety Rules — “Today, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board acted to protect the Commonwealth’s workers by adopting emergency temporary standards, which set forth enforceable, common-sense requirements that employers must follow to protect their workers during the COVID-19 pandemic… Key requirements, such as those for physical distancing, workplace sanitization, and information sharing, will apply to all workers.” [Commonwealth of Virginia, Legal Aid Justice Center, Twitter]

Witness Helps Apprehend Robbery Suspect — “Two employees followed the suspect outside and attempted to take back the items, at which point a physical altercation ensued. The suspect assaulted the employees and threw the items at them. During this time, a witness heard commotion outside the business and went to investigate, but was struck by the suspect as he fled on foot. Arriving officers, with the assistance of the witness, located the suspect nearby and took him into custody without incident.” [Arlington County]

ACPD No Longer Working With Ring — “Amazon.com Inc.’s doorbell camera subsidiary Ring Inc. has partnered with more than 1,000 law enforcement agencies across the country, but it appears it won’t be making a similar arrangement with the HQ2-area police force. Despite quite a bit of interest last year, the Arlington County Police Department said it is no longer ‘actively seeking a partnership with Ring,’ which would have provided its officers access to a special police portal of the company’s Neighbors app.” [Washington Business Journal]

Amazon Delaying Return to Offices — “Amazon said it is allowing employees who can work from home to do so until Jan. 8., once again extending the timeline on a return to work for many of its employees.” [CNBC]

Hope Gets Primary Challenger — Political operative Matt Rogers has announced that he will be challenging Del. Patrick Hope (D-Va.) in next year’s Democratic primary. [Twitter, Blue Virginia]

Local Stage Star Offers Singing Telegrams — “Her title role in ‘Porgy and Bess’ was postponed at the Kennedy Center this summer. Instead, Alyson Cambridge of Arlington, Virginia, is participating in Sing for Hope grams… The idea is to give personalized singing grams from Broadway and opera stars.” [WTOP]

ACFD Battles Falls Church House Fire — Arlington County firefighters were joined by firefighters from Fairfax County in battling a house fire on Robinson Place in the City of Falls Church yesterday. [Tysons Reporter]

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Update on 6/24/20 — Schaeffer just announced his retirement.

Earlier: Shirlington-based Signature Theatre says newly-revealed sexual assault allegations against its leader “are false, misleading and without merit.”

Actor Thomas Keegan made the allegations public via social media on Sunday, after challenging Signature on a statement expressing a commitment to social justice. He says Signature co-founder and artistic director Eric Schaeffer repeatedly grabbed his genitals during a local theater awards show in 2018.

Yesterday, the theater — which in 2014 received a $5 million loan and rent abatement on its Shirlington location from Arlington County — responded with a statement (below) saying the allegations were investigated and found to be “not credible.”

Signature Theatre strives to play a positive role in our society and part of doing this is listening to our community in an open and fair manner. Living up to these values means taking all allegations of inappropriate or illegal actions seriously and then acting on those complaints according to robust and fair policies.

In May of 2018, Signature Theatre received a complaint concerning Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. The Signature Board took the complaint seriously and immediately hired outside counsel to conduct a third-party inquiry and Mr. Schaeffer was put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the inquiry.

The third-party investigation was independent and involved numerous interviews with the complainant, Eric Schaeffer, current and former Signature staff along with attendees at the event where the incident allegedly took place. The investigator also did a comprehensive review of pertinent records including extensive email records and text messages.

The investigation concluded that the allegations were not credible. Signature’s Board of Directors unanimously accepted the investigation’s conclusions and Mr. Schaeffer was returned to his duties. The matter was then closed and no charges or actions against Signature or Mr. Schaeffer were ever filed. Recent allegations about this incident asserted on social media are false, misleading and without merit as evidenced by the independent investigation.

Keegan asserted that “at least one other actor I know was assaulted by Eric.” He also said that he told the Washington Post about what happened the day after the alleged assault; a search today found no articles on the topic.

Keegan’s full Twitter thread, with his account of what happened, is below.

Read More

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Morning Notes

Bronson Opening on Friday — “The owners of A-Town Bar and Grill are opening a new German beer hall this week that will replace the popular gathering place for hard-partying bros in Ballston. Bronson is scheduled to open Thursday, August 29 Friday, August 30 in the 6,000-square-foot space at 4100 Fairfax Drive in Arlington.” [Eater]

Rising Home Prices Not Caused By HQ2 Workers — “The first Amazon employees have barely arrived in Northern Virginia, but the housing market close to the company’s new headquarters in Arlington County is behaving as if all 25,000 workers are moving in next week… The lightning speed of sales, the shortage of homes on the market and the elevated prices for available stock are all being driven by those who already call the Washington region home, real estate agents say.” [Washington Post]

HQ2ers May Work on Hardware Development — Amazon “said that its second headquarters would work on device development, specifically naming Amazon Fire TV… And it expressed interest in students who study ‘data science,’ they said. Amazon also said there will be plenty of non-tech related jobs at HQ2, such as in administration, human resources and program management.” [Washington Business Journal]

PSA: Move Over for Emergency Vehicles — “ACFD, @ffxfirerescue and @AlexandriaVAFD units battled major traffic in efforts to provide help on a serious accident with a person trapped on I395. Remember, if you can’t pull to the right, help open enough space lane for emergency vehicles to pass.” [Twitter]

Review of Signature’s ‘Assassins’ — “An odd little smile crosses the face of Bobby Smith as he relates the disordered thoughts of presidential killer Charles J. Guiteau in Signature Theatre’s perversely entertaining revival of ‘Assassins.’ In what twisted frame of mind would this man have to be to boast of his horrific homicidal achievement — and not just boast, but sing about it, too?” [Washington Post, Playbill]

Nearby: Man Dies After Bailey’s Crossroads Crash — “Detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit have preliminarily determined that Solomon Zelelew, of Alexandria City, was walking on a sidewalk near Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road. A 2015 Toyota Corolla was traveling west on Columbia Pike when the driver, in an attempt to avoid another vehicle, drove onto the sidewalk and hit Mr. Zelelew.” [Fairfax County Police Department]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

New State Laws Take Effect Today — A number of laws intended to improve safety on Virginia’s roads and highways take effect today, July 1. [Press Release, Press Release]

Wardian Runs Around Beltway — “Michael Wardian has sat in traffic on the Capital Beltway and thought, ‘Wow; I wish I could just park my car here and take off and run home.’ This weekend, he ran the entire loop of the iconic highway. Wardian, of Arlington, Virginia, ran the 89.9 miles of the Beltway in 17 hours, 54 minutes and 59 seconds.” [WTOP, WUSA 9, RunWashington]

Organ Donation Info Session Today — “The Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) and an organ donor will join us to talk about organ donation and what we, as potential donors, need to know.” [Event Calendar]

Retired ACPD K9s Pass — “With great sadness, Arlington County Police announce the passing of retired K9 Charly and K9 Koda. Both K9s loyally served the Arlington community from 2007 to 2015. We kindly ask that you keep the K9s and their handlers in your thoughts.” [Twitter]

Police Help Find Lost Dog — “While on bike patrol [Friday], Detective Adams, Detective Olson and Detective Blow encountered a citizen who had lost her dog along Four Mile Run Trail. Shortly later, Detective Adams located Lucy further up and stayed with her until she could be reunited with her owner.” [Twitter]

DePoo Makes Giant Ship on Stage — “When [Arlington’s] Signature Theatre artistic director Eric Schaeffer commissioned the world premiere musical Blackbeard, he knew he wanted to push the boundaries of the Signature’s newly flexible space… Set entirely on the titular conqueror’s ship, every aspect of Paul Tate DePoo III’s set implies mystery, daring, and grandeur.” [Playbill]

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The Disney musical “Newsies” is set to debut at the Kenmore Middle School Theatre (202 S. Carlin Springs Road) in mid-July. 

In association with Encore Stage & Studio, the performance brings together children in order to foster a passion for the performing arts and culture. Students in the program participate in workshops taught by professional artists. 

The storyline of “Newsies” takes place in New York, where young journalist Jack Kelly leads other journalists in a rally against unfair working conditions. 

The musical originated as a film in 1992, but the first live performance took place at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2011.

“There are many exciting dance numbers including ‘Seize the Day’ and ‘King of New York,'” Sara Duke, the executive director of Encore Stage & Studio, said. “The audience will be impressed.” 

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 703-548-1154. Prices are $15 for adults and $12 for children, students, seniors or members of the military. Opening night takes place on Friday, July 19, at 7:30 p.m. Other show times run through Sunday, July 28.

Photos via Encore Stage & Studio

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Each night, the brave crew of Washington Improv Theater’s Starship Odyssey: The Final Mission begins their mission with an audience suggestion. No one — including the cast — knows how it will end.

Part of WIT’s summer series “Improv Saves the World,” Starship Odyssey is an improvised twist on science fiction. You may see a swashbuckling captain, a diabolical alien overlord, an android who learns to love and more. Each show begins with the premise that the crew of Starship Odyssey must travel 500 years in the past, to the year 2019, in an attempt to save the future.

Improv is usually performed in a plain space without props or costumes, but costume designer Bill Nelson and production designer Raymond Simeon bring Starship Odyssey to vivid life with atmospheric flair. Check out the gallery above to see what’s in store. The show will be ASL-interpreted on July 27.

If that wasn’t enough, audience members can even purchase astronaut ice cream from concessions during the show.

Improv Saves the World also features:

  • WIT’s company ensembles like iMusical (who create an instant musical based on your suggestion)
  • Guests from New York’s Magnet Theater
  • Featured ensemble Lena Dunham (a team of all black improvisers who “give you a thousand different angles on what it feels like and means to be someone’s black friend”)

Improv Saves the World” runs through August 4.

Want to give improv a try? Summer classes are registering now! You can also bring improv to your office with a [email protected] organizational training.

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