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by Tim Regan December 15, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

Piano in Dupont Circle, photo courtesy of Aaron DeNu

Don’t be alarmed if you see a baby grand piano in Dupont Circle park Friday.

Local events group Dupont Festival is set to host a Red Bull Flying Bach pop-up performance near the fountain Friday afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m.

Red Bull Flying Bach is a touring “clash of cultures” that combines classical music, breakdancing and modern dance. The show is coming to the Warner Theatre (513 13th St. NW) on Jan. 6-8.

Tomorrow’s performance will feature classical music performed live on a baby grand piano, according to Dupont Festival principal Aaron DeNu. Each performance will be accompanied by dancers and will last about 15 minutes.

“As far as I know, in the 130-plus year history of the park, we’ve never had a baby grand piano temporarily situated for live performances,” he told Borderstan.

Between performances, those who want to play a couple bars on the piano are welcome to try, DeNu added.

“I’d love to have someone swing by and play ‘Rhapsody in Blue,'” he said.

Photo via Facebook / Bomster Jabs

by Tim Regan November 29, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

A crowd is expected to gather in Columbia Heights this weekend to watch a big tree light up for the holiday season.

The Columbia Heights Initiative is scheduled to host the 6th annual Columbia Heights Tree Lighting Extravaganza in Civic Plaza this Saturday, Dec. 3, at 6:30 p.m.

The festive party will include the tree-lighting ceremony, free cocoa, candy canes, carols and “perhaps even a visit from Santa,” followed by festivities at local businesses and restaurants, organizers said.

The community group is also looking for volunteers to help out with the event.

by Andrew Ramonas November 10, 2016 at 10:15 am 0

Food & Friends' Slice of Life (Image via Food & Friends)Visitors to Farragut Square can try some apple and pumpkin pies for free and help raise money to feed members of the D.C. community with major health problems today.

Food & Friends, which delivers free meals to people with AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses, is set to hand out the complimentary dessert as part of its 10th Annual Slice of Life Thanksgiving pie sale. Representatives of the nonprofit organization are scheduled to set up near K and 17th streets NW from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In addition to eating pie, passersby can learn how to buy them from Food & Friends. With each pie sale, the organization is able to provide a full day of meals for a person in need.

The pies cost between $28 and $45, according to the organization’s Slice of Life website.

“The 10th Annual Slice of Life Thanksgiving pie sale is a simple and delicious way for members of the public to support Food & Friends’ large-scale effort to deliver 1 million healthy meals this year to those in the community living with life-challenging illnesses,” according to a statement from Food & Friends. “The goal this year is to sell 9,000 pies.”

Image via Food & Friends

by Andrew Ramonas November 9, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

Vigilante Coffee Co. java from Smoked and Stacked (Photo via Twitter/Vigilante Coffee)

Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley’s fast-casual restaurant in Shaw is set to pour free cups of java from Vigilante Coffee Co. tomorrow morning.

Smoked and Stacked (1239 9th St. NW) is scheduled to have the complimentary coffee from 8 to 10 a.m. Thursday to celebrate two months in business, according to a tweet from the eatery. The restaurant opened in September with breakfast and lunch sandwiches, as well as other food.

A cup of coffee normally costs $2.50 at Smoked and Stacked.

Photo via Twitter/Vigilante Coffee

by Tim Regan October 5, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

Oyster Platter at Eat the Rich by Scott SuchmanA Shaw oyster bar will host a festival of cheap local shellfish, brats and beer tomorrow night.

Eat the Rich (1839 7th St. NW) kicks off its first annual “Oystoberfest” celebration tomorrow night at 6 p.m. The party will include $1 barcat oysters from Rappahannock Oyster Company, brats, pretzels and copious amounts of beer.

“This will be a little bit different from the norm,” said senior bar manager Paul Taylor. “Our guests will get to crush a bunch of oysters.”

The party will also feature an oyster-eating contest where 25 patrons will race to polish off a dozen mollusks. The fastest oyster eater wins a $100 gift card to Eat the Rich and a private tour of DC Brau’s brewery.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel with Oystoberfest,” Taylor explained, “we’re just trying to have a really fun time on a Thursday.”

More information from a press release:

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by Tim Regan September 28, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

REI opening block party, photo via REIOutdoor retailer REI has plans to throw a weekend-long block party with free food, performances and activities to celebrate the opening of its new 51,000 square foot flagship store in NoMa next month.

The store, located at 201 M St. NE, will kick off the massive party when it opens its doors for the very first time on Friday, Oct. 21, at 10 a.m.

Friday’s festivities will include “big band fanfare” and live DJs, the company wrote on an event page.

Then, on Saturday and Sunday, REI will take the party outside with live music, beer gardens, a rock climbing wall, screen printing and s’mores. Musical acts planned for those days include a Beatles cover band, several bluegrass acts and prolific rapper and beatboxer Biz Markie.

And attendees might not leave the party empty-handed. REI employees will be on hand to distribute freebies such as CamelBak bottles with gift cards, breakfast food and coffee.

More on the celebration from REI’s website:

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by Tim Regan September 22, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

National Book Festival 2016Each year, the National Book Festival brings hundreds of authors and thousands of literature lovers to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (801 Mt Vernon Place NW) for a free celebration of books.

Organizers are scheduled to throw open the doors to this year’s event Saturday at 8:30 a.m. From 9 a.m. until 10 p.m., attendees are free to wander the convention center in search of fun activities and booths manned by their favorite authors.

Author Stephen King, writer and former basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and famed Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward are just some of the celebrity guests that will attend this year’s event.

Not sure what you should do and see this year? Here are a few highlights:

  • Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns will be on hand to sign autographs and talk about his new book for kids, “Grover Cleveland, Again! A Treasury of American Presidents.”
  • Kate Beaton, the creative force behind “Hark! A Vagrant!” will promote her children’s book, “King Baby.”
  • There will be a poetry slam for teens that will “will include some of the nation’s top youth slam groups.”
  • Newt Gingrich writes fiction. He’ll attend the festival to promote his newest story, “”Duplicity” (Center Street),” a thriller set in the District.
  • Rep. John Lewis is slated to promote the third volume in his graphic novel trilogy, “March.”
  • Two words: Diane Rehm.
  • Joyce Carol Oates, author of more than 40 stories, plays, novellas and works of poetry, won’t be there to promote her Twitter account, but she will attend the festival to talk about two of her latest books.
  • Frequent NPR guest and pop-science writer Mary Roach is scheduled to speak about her latest book, “Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.”

Of course, these are just a few more than 120 appearances and signings planned. Attendees can formulate their game plan by checking out the festival’s map or downloading its app.

Learn more about the festival in the press release below:

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by Andrew Ramonas September 14, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

Okonomiyaki (Photo via Golden Triangle Business Improvement District)A downtown chef is set to show how he makes a “Japanese pizza” that visitors to Farragut Square can try for free Friday.

Chef Kazuhiro “Kaz” Okochi of Kaz Sushi Bistro (1915 I St. NW) is slated to cook up his take on the pizza-like okonomiyaki as part of the “Farragut Fridays” event series, according to the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District, which hosts the events.

Okonomiyaki is a “rich savory cabbage pancake in an egg and flour batter with pork belly, red ginger, smoky dried bonito flakes, Japanese mayonnaise, and a special sweet and tangy BBQ sauce,” the Golden Triangle BID says in a news release.

Okochi will prepare the food and have complimentary samples for about 75 to 100 people on a a first-come, first-served basis from noon to 2 p.m.

Photo via Golden Triangle Business Improvement District

by Tim Regan September 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm 2 Comments

(Updated at 12:25 p.m. Thursday) Local Pagans are scheduled to gather in Dupont Circle this weekend for an annual event that brings “magic, mystery, and celebration” to the neighborhood.

Close to 100 Pagans from area orders and sects are expected to meet in Dupont Circle this Sunday at 10 a.m. for Pagan Pride Day, according to Angela Raincatcher, spokeswoman for the event.

This year’s meeting is slated to include a lecture on the Celtic goddess Brigid from author Courtney Webber, a course on building altars from local folk healer and shaman Richael Faithful and a Wiccan harvest ritual where members of Connect DC will bless a bounty of food before donating it to local charity So Others Might Eat.

“It’s a great event for catching up with other pagans and Earth-based spiritual people in the D.C. area,” Raincatcher said.

The event will also include live jams from “whimsical folk” band Sofeya and the Puffins and booths from a smattering of local Pagan groups.

“If you are new to the area, or new to paganism, D.C. Pagan Pride provides a safe, comfortable place to learn about the community here,” Raincatcher said. “All are welcome.”

by Tim Regan August 26, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

Art All Night 2016, poster art by Kelly TowlesA late-night celebration of local artwork, music and performance is headed to at least seven neighborhoods across the District next month.

Art All Night is scheduled to enliven the District on the night of Saturday, Sept. 24, organizers announced earlier this week.

Last year, the festival lit up the Carnegie Library, prompted dance performances at the Colombian Embassy and put a bat signal in Shaw.

This year, Art All Night is partnering with seven main street associations, including Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, H Street Main Street and Shaw Main Streets.

Organizers shared this update on the annual art extravaganza on Wednesday:

(more…)

by Tim Regan August 25, 2016 at 1:00 pm 0

Bulldog photo courtesy ShinolaA luxury goods retailer plans to give away treats and freebies to local dog owners at its 14th Street store this weekend.

Employees at Shinola (1631 14th St. NW)  are scheduled to give out “special dog-treat bars” and red, white and blue bandanas to four-legged friends who visit the store between 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, according to a press release.

The Detroit-based retailer of watches and leather accessories will hold the giveaway in conjunction with National Dog Day, a self-explanatory celebration that occurs every year on  Aug. 26.

This isn’t the first free event the store has held. Shinola also hosted a neighborhood block party with bluegrass music and food trucks in June.

Photo courtesy Shinola

by Tim Regan August 25, 2016 at 10:15 am 0

A German cultural center wants to show off its new outpost on K Street with a free party tomorrow afternoon.

The Goethe-Institut will host an “open house sommerfest” in its space at 1990 K St. NW tomorrow starting at 3 p.m. The center moved out of its longtime location in Chinatown last December.

“Check out our digs while learning about the work of the Goethe-Institut, chatting with staff and others interested in German culture and language, enjoying German beer, and participating in fun activities,” an event listing for the party reads.

The DC Doner food truck will sell food and drinks during the event, and the center has also ordered German pretzels from Heidelberg Bakery to give out, according to spokeswoman Norma Broadwater.

The open house is also set to include an “interactive scavenger hunt” with prizes.

Though the new location is meant to be a temporary space, Broadwater said the center will likely stay on K Street for “a couple more years.”

Photos by Greg Staley

by Tim Regan August 17, 2016 at 10:15 am 0

There’s more to being a drag king than putting on fake facial hair and lip syncing.

Pretty Boi Drag — the outfit behind the soon-to-be-bimonthly F*CK BRUNCH! show — hopes to prove it by hosting a free “drag king workshop” at Bier Baron Tavern (1523 22nd St. NW) Saturday at 11 a.m.

For the uninitiated, a drag king is a female-bodied person impersonating or dressing as a male, explained Pretty Boi Drag co-producer Chris Jay. Drag king performers usually take on hyper-masculine alter egos and strut their stuff on stage or in front of an audience. In essence, it’s the opposite of a drag queen, Jay added.

This weekend’s workshop will give locals the chance to learn more about the art form.

“You can learn a little bit of history as to how we came be,” Jay said. “You’ll also learn about changing your mannerisms to be more masculine.”

During the introduction, attendees will be made up to look like drag kings and learn how to speak, act and look the part. And that includes interacting with members of an audience, Jay said.

“We go into how to pick out what songs to perform and how to interact with the audience,” Jay added. “You’ll also develop a new character or alter ego or persona during the workshop.”

The class will also include lessons on tying a tie and a photograph of the group, post-transformation.

Though the introductory session isn’t an audition, it could lead to a more permanent role with Pretty Boi Drag. The group’s first workshop in April led to four performers and a handful of stage crew coming aboard, Jay said. And if someone wants to come and simply observe the workshop, that’s okay, too.

“If somebody really just wants to come and observe and we don’t have any more registration spots, they can shoot us an email and let us know,” Jay said. “We don’t have any problem with expanding a little bit for people like that.”

Attendees are encouraged to arrive with a small mirror, a pair of scissors, some makeup and of course, a rough idea of their ideal drag persona.

Class size is limited, however. As of this article’s publication, there were only four workshop spots remaining, Jay said.

The next free Pretty Boi Drag workshop will take place in roughly three months.

Photos courtesy Pretty Boi Drag

by Tim Regan August 11, 2016 at 12:55 pm 0

Shake Shack burgerA popular burger chain will give away free burgers next week to celebrate the opening of its 100th store.

Shake Shack will dole out a free ShackBurger or sandwich of equal or lesser value to the first 100 people through the door on Tuesday, Aug. 16 starting at 10:30 a.m.

All of the D.C.-area locations (minus the one at Nationals Park) are slated to give away burgers during the event.

District Shake Shacks participating in the promotion include:

  • Dupont Circle (1216 18th St. NW)
  • F Street (800 F St. NW)
  • Union Station (50 Massachusetts Ave. NE)

Two restaurants in Northern Virginia will also join in on the deal.

“The celebration comes on the heels of the Boston Seaport Shake Shack opening next week, which marks the 100th Shake Shack location around the globe,” according to a press release from the eatery.

More info on the giveaway from Shake Shack:

We started at the park, now we’re here! Twelve years after opening its first location at Madison Square Park in New York City, Shake Shack will open its 100th Shack at the Boston Seaport, located at 77 Seaport Boulevard, on Tuesday, August 16th.

To celebrate this moment in Shake Shack’s history, the first 100 guests at Shacks worldwide (‘cept stadiums and ballparks) will receive a free single ShackBurger (or a burger of equal or lesser value, before 12PM). All US Shacks will begin welcoming guests at 10:30AM on Tuesday, August 16th.

“From our first-ever Shack in Madison Square Park twelve years ago, to so many incredible places in between, opening our 100th Shack at Boston Seaport is an epic milestone for us,” said Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti. “We’re overwhelmed by the love and enthusiasm from our fans around the world, and this moment wouldn’t be possible without them. Here’s to bringing more Shacks to local communities around the world!”

Shake Shack is a modern day “roadside” burger stand known for its 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers and flat-top Vienna beef dogs (no added hormones and no antibiotics ever), 100% all-natural cage-free chicken (no antibiotics ever), spun-fresh frozen custard, crinkle cut fries, craft beer and wine (available at select locations) and more.

The company sprouted from a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in Manhattan, created by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) to support the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s first art installation “I ♥ Taxi.” The cart was quite the success, with Shack fans lined up daily for three summers.

Shake Shack was officially born in July 2004 when USHG won the bid to open a permanent kiosk in the Park. Its green architecture was designed to make it harmonious with the park and its surroundings. An instant neighborhood fixture, Shake Shack welcomed people from all over the city, country and world who gathered together to enjoy fresh, simple, high-quality versions of classic American fare in a majestic setting.

Shake Shack remains a fun and lively community-gathering place with widespread appeal. From its premium ingredients and caring hiring practices to its environmentally responsible designs and deep community investment, Shake Shack’s mission is to Stand For Something Good. Since the original Shack opened in 2004, the company has opened multiple locations in 15 states and the District of Columbia, as well as international locations in London, Tokyo, Istanbul, Dubai, Moscow, Seoul and more.

Image courtesy Shake Shack

by Tim Regan August 9, 2016 at 2:55 pm 0

Beat the Streets (Photo via Facebook/Beat the Streets DC)D.C. Police officers are set to throw a party with free food, fun, games and school supplies on 14th Street this week.

MPD’s final “Beat the Streets” event of the summer is scheduled to take place at the Rita Bright Family and Youth Center (near 14th St. and Clifton Terrace NW) Thursday from noon to 7 p.m., according to an event flyer.

The festivities are part of an annual summer series of events meant to help boys and girls avoid crime and other illegal activities.

Police officers will hand out school supplies to everyone who wants them during the event. The party will also include “food, fun, music [and] love,” according to the event’s organizers.

Past “Beat the Streets” celebrations have had a rock climbing wall, a moon bounce and other games and activities. The events also generally feature information and handouts on safety and local services.

Local R&B outfit “Prophecy Entertainment Music Group” is slated to play at the event, according to a Facebook event post.

Photo via Facebook/Beat the Streets DC

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