Shirlington Movie Theater to Renovate — The AMC Lowes Shirlington 7 movie theater will be undergoing a “complete renovation” this year, starting as soon as July. The theater will be getting reclining leather seats, like the AMC theater in Courthouse, plus a new concession area with beer and wine and new bathrooms. [Washington Business Journal]
Downed Trees, Wires in Arlington — On Sunday morning a tree fell on Old Dominion Drive, bringing wires down with it, causing power outages and and closing the road for hours. On Sunday night, an accident on Wilson Blvd caused downed wires and the closure of Wilson from N. Illinois to N. Jefferson Street. [WTOP]
Candidates: Lack of Diversity at Top County Ranks — Candidates for Arlington County Board spoke about the lack of diversity among top county staff last week, at a forum sponsored by the African-American Leadership Council of Arlington. The County Board has little direct involvement in the hiring of county staff, save the Board’s hiring of and direction to the County Manager. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Church Ceiling Collapses in Nauck — On Sunday, just a few days before Christmas, part of the ceiling of the 1920s-era Lomax AME Zion church in Nauck collapsed. The collapse happened during Sunday services, forcing the choir to run for their lives, but miraculously no one was hurt. [NBC Washington, WUSA9]
Arlington Theater Makes ‘Best of 2013′ List — The AMC Courthouse movie theater, renovated in 2012, has made the Washington Post Going Out Guide’s “Best of 2013″ list for “best reason to go to the movies.” The theater’s plush recliners are said to be “more comfortable than anything in your living room.” [Washington Post]
Voting By Mail in Virginia? — Del. Rob Krupicka (D-45) has introduced legislation that would direct the Virginia State Board of Elections to study the feasibility of allowing voting by mail. Voting by mail is currently allowed in Oregon and Washington state. Such a system could help boost turnout in non-presidential year elections. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by J. Sonder
The group — which was formed when a group of Senate staffers set out to satirize their employers — has been poking fun at Washington politics for more than 30 years. They are regularly featured on National Public Radio and have made appearances on network TV.
The Steps will be performing at the Yorktown High School Auditorium (5200 Yorktown Blvd) from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13
The group is coming to Yorktown to benefit the student productions and educational workshops of the school’s theater program. Tickets are available online for $40.
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.
The renovations have been underway for at least two months. The lower level theaters have already been remodeled and now feature power adjustable leather recliners with footrests, as well as terraced rows of seating that make it easier to see the screen over the person sitting in front of you. With the lower theaters complete, renovations to the upper theaters are now underway.
Meanwhile, improvements to the lobby include updated decor, a new snack counter and new Coke freestyle machines. The theater’s restrooms have also been renovated, according to AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan.
The multiplex has remained open during the construction. Construction is expected to wrap up in the first half of November, according to Noonan.
The new recliners have reduced the seating capacity of each theater, but Noonan said the plush seating “makes for a phenomenal movie-going experience.”
Similar renovations were reported at an AMC theater in Atlanta earlier this year. Those changes included the addition of a bar that served beer, wine and cocktails that patrons could take to their seats, but Noonan said the Courthouse theater will not serve booze.
Could New Theater Become a Financial Drain? — As a condition of its site plan for a new nine-story office building on the site of the old Arlington Funeral Home in Virginia Square, developer Crimson Partners agreed to build a new $3.7 million black box theater inside the building, at the request of the county. But given the financial problems at Artisphere, some are questioning whether the theater will be a financial “black hole” for Arlington County. [Arlington Connection]
Army Celebrates Birthday — The U.S. Army is celebrating its 237th birthday today. On June 14, 1775, in the midst of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress authorized the creation of the Continental Army. To mark the occasion, Army Secretary John McHugh will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery at 9:30 this morning. [Associated Press]
Mary Marshall Scholarship Recipients To Be Honored — The seven 2012 recipients of the county’s Mary Marshall Memorial Scholarships will be recognized at this Saturday’s County Board meeting. “These young people epitomize the civic spirit of Arlington — just as Mary Marshall did during her decades of service to our community,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said of the recipients. [Arlington County]
Pike Buildings Set for Redevelopment — The buildings along Columbia Pike that house Rappahannock Coffee, L.A. Nails and Saah Furniture are set for redevelopment. A developer has proposed a single seven-story building to replace the aging buildings on the site. [Arlington Mercury]
School Board Approves Sequoia Plaza Lease — The Arlington School Board has approved a lease for office space in Sequoia Plaza, next to the new headquarters of the county’s Department of Human Services. The office space will allow the school system to move out of the Clarendon Education Center building and the Syphax Building on N. Quincy Street. [Sun Gazette]
H-B Student Production Accepted to Capital Fringe — Mindset, an original H-B Woodlawn student production, has been accepted to the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival. Mindset creator and H-B Woodlawn junior Jace Casey says he’s “excited” to be showcasing his production at the annual performing arts festival.
Naked Man on the GW Parkway — A naked man was reportedly taken into police custody this morning after being spotted by drivers on the GW Parkway near Memorial Bridge. [NBC Washington]
Arlington Ranked Second Healthiest County in Va. — Arlington has been named the second-healthiest county in Virginia, second only to Fairfax County. The rankings were released yesterday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Arlington County works hard to promote a healthy way of living, and to provide residents with options that make it easier to stay healthy and fit,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said, citing biking, walking and recreational activities as examples of healthy options encouraged by the county. [Arlington County]
Donnellan: Theater Builds Communities — A robust arts program is vital to quality of life in Arlington, according to County Manager Barbara Donnellan. A theater buff in high school, Donnellan says theater helps build a sense of community, which is one of the key roles of local government. [Theatre Washington]
ACT College Closes in Arlington — ACT College, a D.C. area health training school, has suddenly shut down its Arlington, Alexandria and Manassas campuses. The school’s Arlington campus was located at 1100 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn. [WJLA]
Ballston Company Recruits Nerds — In its effort to recruit top software engineers, Ballston-based Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) is billing itself as a paradise for nerds. The company, which analyzes sales data for big retailers and restaurants, has been sponsoring hackathons, computer competitions and even StarCraft tournaments for students at top universities. The nerd recruitment seems to be working: the average SAT score of APT employees is 1560. [Washington Post]
Photo courtesy Andrew Clegg
Fetus Personhood Bill Defeated — A coalition of Democrats and Republicans helped defeat a bill that would have granted legal “personhood” status to unborn children at the moment of conception. The Virginia House of Delegates had approved the bill, but the state Senate voted yesterday to delay consideration of the bill until next year in order to allow further study. Pro-choice advocates argued the bill would have had unintended consequences, like outlawing some forms of contraception and granting expectant mothers use of HOV lanes. [Huffington Post]
Amazon to Pay Sales Tax in Virginia — Get ready to start paying a 5 percent sales tax on your Amazon.com purchases. The online retailer agreed yesterday to start collecting sales taxes in Virginia. Traditional brick and mortar retailers were pushing state legislators to force Amazon to pay sales taxes, saying that the company’s sales tax “loophole” gave them an unfair competitive advantage. [WAMU]
Klingon Casting Call — Arlington’s WSC Avant Bard is seeking some local Klingons for its “Shakespeare in Klingon” show on March 4. The theater company is holding a Klingon casting call in Dupont Circle from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. [Washington Post]
Improv Class This Weekend — An “Introduction to Improv” class is being held on Saturday at Arlington’s Theater on the Run (3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive). The class is being hosted by The Arlington Players and taught by Dunbar Dicks of the legendary Chicago improv troupe Second City. [The Arlington Players]
Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief
A plan to revamp part of Virginia Square has been approved by the Arlington County Board. The development is planned for the site that houses the old Arlington Funeral Home (3901 Fairfax Dr) building.
BDC Crimson LLC is the developer for the nine story mixed-use commercial building, which will include offices, ground floor retail and a 12,985 square foot black box theater. The theater will cost $3.7 million to build, and will be leased to the County for 30 years, at $1 per year. It will hold 150 people.
“This project brings us closer to realizing the community-crafted sector plan’s vision of Virginia Square as a center for arts, culture and education,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “The public plaza will enliven Virginia Square, and the Black Box Theater will add a significant cultural destination to this part of the Metro corridor.”
The County will collaborate with groups like the Arlington Commission for the Arts to devise a business plan for operating the theater. They’ll look at cost, use and operational alternatives for review by the County Manager in the preparation of future budgets.
The new plan also includes a 12,325 square foot public plaza along North Quincy Street. The County will hold a workshop so stakeholders and the public can give input on some components of the final plaza design, such as pattern and asphalt color.
The office building will have 250 parking spaces that will be available to the public on nights and weekends. Six additional spaces will be provided for retail customers and 17 for the theater. The developer will provide free four hour parking to theater patrons.
BDC Crimson LLC will seek LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, and will contribute $1 million to the County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund, plus $1 million to nearby Quincy Park or other open space improvements and park amenities. These contributions let the developer have nearly 70,000 square feet of additional space for the project.
This plan has been in the works in various forms since 2004, with some major revisions in 2007. Previously, the facility was designed to include residences and a new funeral home. The County Board voted unanimously to approve the current plan.
It’s getting to be that time when some people look past Christmas and start firming up plans for New Year’s Eve. A number of venues will be raising ticket prices after this week, so it’s a good time to take action.
Here are some of the larger or unique New Year’s Eve events happening around Arlington. This list is by no means exhaustive, but provides some interesting options from places that have already announced their celebrations.
1. Hyatt Regency Crystal City — Professionals in the City is hosting its annual “Passport to the World Gala” at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy). In addition to food, drinks and a DJ, the event has entertainment featuring various cultures around the world. Some highlights include the Japanese karaoke room, Red Light District adult-content comedians, Caribbean steel drums and Bollywood Hills Underground Club.
The $99 ticket option allows entry at 10:30 p.m. and includes six drink tickets. The $139 ticket option allows entry at 9:00 p.m. and includes eight drink tickets. Prices will increase after Friday, December 9.
2. Signature Theatre — Guests can take in the 8:00 p.m. performance of “Hairspray” at the Signature Theater (4200 Campbell Ave) and then stay for a countdown to the new year with the cast of the musical.
Tickets are $100 ($75 for Signature Theatre members) and include two drinks, hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast and dancing to music from a DJ.
3. Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse — Ring in the new year at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) with a 1980s themed bash. Watch New York City’s Times Square celebration live on the big screen while dancing to ’80s tunes from a DJ.
Tickets are $15 and include admission and party favors.
4. Northside Social — The folks at Northside Social (3211 Wilson Blvd) are doing things a little differently for New Year’s Eve. According to their Facebook page, they’re auctioning off the use of the facilities to the highest bidder. The winner gets to throw their own party, fully customized by Northside Social.
Contact Sean Lowder at 804-305-0402 or email [email protected] for more information or to place a bid.