by September 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm 1,538 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]

"Crystal City Wine"

Wine tasting. (Rachel Nania)

This weekend is the Crystal City Business Improvement District’s signature event, A Taste of Wine & Jazz. The annual afternoon wine and food festival runs from 2 until 6 pm on Sunday, September 16 at 220 20th Street South in Crystal City (yes, that’s Arlington).

I already know what you’re thinking: “You want me to travel to Crystal City for a wine tasting!??” But hear me out, because last year I thought the same thing. And boy, did I quickly change my opinion.

Tickets to the outdoor afternoon festival are only $20, and with that ticket, participants can taste more than 30 different types of wines from Argentina, Chile and Spain, and sample generous bites of food from a handful of area restaurants.

Did I mention the event also includes live music, dancing and wine tasting classes? Trust me, with all of the action, you will quickly forget that you are floating through a business courtyard in Crystal City.

When the event is over, hop on the Metro (located right across the street from the event location) and head home safely, full of food and wine.

Tickets are available for purchase at the event. For more information, visit the Crystal City Business Improvement District’s website.

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by June 23, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,198 0

"La Chanca"

“La Chanca” is by Borderstan-area artist Mark Parascandola. (Kate Hays)

From Kate Hays. Follow her on Twitter @kateyhays and email her at [email protected].

Featured image is of a piece from DC Creepers; photo by Kate Hays. 

I know, I know. Artomatic 2012 is in Crystal City. Not only is Crystal City not in Borderstan, it is (gasp!) across the river in the wilds of Virginia. The location is 1851 South Bell Street, to be exact — and yes, Crystal City is in Arlington. There’s also music with DJ Cosmo on the Jam Stage from 4 to 10:30 pm.

But here’s why I went, and why you should go, too: Four Borderstan-area artists are displaying their work.

Local Artists at Artomatic

  • My first stop was to pass by Mark Parascandola’s booth. His one piece, La Chanca, shows Almeria, Spain. At first glance, it’s a photo of a city. But take a look from different angles, get close, and look at what’s happening. A closer inspection shows life underway – a deflated kiddie pool on a roof, a man in his backyard. And every angle is a different view of life in this Spanish town.
  • Right there, I turned to Sally Kauffman’s display. Sally does large, abstract pieces — sorbet swooshes, which come to animal life in Piggy.
  • Moving down to floor 9, I swung by Dave Peterson’s gallery. Whimsical, cartoonish, and funny, I loved both his tongue in cheek t-shirts, and his bossy Squirrel and mantis playing Monkey.
  • Our last Borderstan stop was on floor 4, to check out Chuck Baxter’s work, made from found objects. His pieces included daisies made from old cassette tapes and a spinning ceiling mounted plastic piece (aptly titled Faux Chihuly).

And if those four aren’t enough, plenty of others in the show are taking a look at our neighborhood and our city and are displaying their interpretations of city life. The DC Creepers, as the name might imply, creep around, sketching people on buses and and metro lines, and they turn these studies into art. I’m not pointing fingers, but if you’re a “Missed Connections” lurker, these sketches snatched in passing might appeal to you. And of course, you should not miss the ever famous kitschy Peeps, and Borderstan makes the cut with “Black Peep” — a model of our beloved Black Cat.

So take a deep breath, pull out that SmarTrip card, and take a trip over to Crystal City for some local art. Brave the wild suburbs to see and support some of our local artists.

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