From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.
From now through January 1, the National Zoo is helping to make the season bright… Like, really bright. It’s turning on more than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights to transform the zoo into a winter wonderland.
There’s no monkeying around here. The annual ZooLights festival is in full-swing, and this year the celebration is bigger than ever, thanks to a few special features and activities.
In addition to the light displays, ZooLights also has snowless tubing down the Lion/Tiger Hill, a solar powered carousel and a model train display. If animals are more your thing, don’t miss out on the opportunity to take a picture with Panda Claws.
ZooLights is also holding a special “date night” on December 14 for local love birds, where guests will be given exclusive access to explore the wonders of courtship and breeding behaviors of some of the zoo’s animals. Did I mention it also includes champagne? Cheers to that.
ZooLights is open from 5 to 9 pm December 7-9, 14-23, 26-30 and January 1. For more information, visit the website.
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From Michelle Lancaster
Finally: Northeast Corner of 14th & U Getting Restaurant-Lounge-Club
Years after the U Street corridor began filling up with new businesses, the northeast corner of 14th and U St. NW has sat vacant, an unattractive spot in one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the city. That will finally change. Sommer Mathis at TBD reports: “A sizable restaurant, lounge and nightclub combo from the same team behind Local 16. Melissa McCart reported word of a planned late January restaurant opening on Thursday, and Local 16 spokeswoman Stacey Price has since confirmed the date for us. The separate, bottom-level nightclub would follow in March.”
New Chef at Eatonville
Eatonville on 14th St. NW has a new chef! The Washington Post reports on the new chef, menu plans and a Gullah dinner Dec. 19.
DC Jobs Summit Dec. 19
Greater Greater Washington reports on Mayor-Elect Gray’s plans for jobs in the District. The first step will be a jobs summit on Dec. 19 to work through thorny issues of how and if job training can be effective in lowering unemployment rates.
MPD Chief Lanier Wants to Stay in Job
WTOP Radio reports that MPD Chief Cathy Lanier wants to stay on the job — and has told Mayor-elect Vince Gray so. She was appointed by Mayor Adrian Fenty.
DC: A City Divided
The American Observer has published A City Divided, which looks at a changing Washington, DC, and the tensions arising from those changes. One of the eight flashpoints is U Street: “U Street area sees collision between new and old. An influx of new residents has caused tensions in the historically black neighborhood.” The focus of this section is a gay bar, Nellie’s Sports Bar at 9th and U NW.
ZooLights Opens Tonight at National Zoo
The National Zoo has free admission to ZooLights, their holiday display of lights around the zoo. DCist has more details on parking, admission and timing.
DC Jewish Film Festival
The Washington Jewish Community Center at 16th and Q NW kicked off their annual Jewish film festival Thursday night. It runs through Dec. 12, and tickets can be purchased in advance. Some films are already sold out; get more info on their website.
Guide to DC Area Holiday Concerts
We Love DC has a guide to holiday concerts in the DC metro area. On the list is the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, who will present “Men in Tights: A Pink Nutcracker at the Lisner Auditorium,” on Dec. 17.
We went to the annual ZooLights exhibit/festival at the National Zoo last Saturday night. It was a cold night, but there was a light snow and the experience ended up being quite wonderful. A number of the animal houses are open, so you can duck inside and look at the animals and get warm. My partner has photos and his impressions of our visit last Saturday here at One Photograph A Day.
You can still take in ZooLights on these nights: December 12-14; 6 to 8:30 p.m. each night; and December 18-30 (except 24th & 25th): 6 to 8:30 p.m. each night. Tickets are $12; $6 for members of Friends of the National Zoo, and can be purchased online through Ticketmaster.