Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Multi-City Band Fest and the Washington School of Color and Light by Lynn Thorp

Gene Davis, Junkie's Curtain

DC rocks in art history. I learned this when I got curious about where Color School gets its name. You can learn about the Washington Color School for yourself by seeing the exhibit at the Corcoran. But first, check out Color School the band, Portland's Otis Heat and Baltimore's Fools and Horses at the Rock and Roll Hotel this Thursday, December 30.

Rock and Roll Hotel
1353 H Street NE
Doors at 8, Show 8:30, Tickets $10

Troubadours Go For Tetrarchy

The Rhodes Tavern Troubadours have been on hiatus for a while now, but they are renewing their lease on life with new songs and brand new band member, Arif Durrani on the ivories. Come on down to the mighty small Sunset Grille this Thursday and check out their latest incarnation. Show starts at 8:30.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

All You Need...

I was hanging out with my friend Laura and her twin babies a few days ago, and I asked her what she wanted for Christmas. She replied with her usual sense of humor- a "Silent Night."
She asked me what I wanted, and I said Peace on Earth, or at least in my house- thinking of my own three children. Even though we love 'em, families drive us crazy. Then I started pondering what this whole capitalistic holiday is about, and a Beatles' lyric jumped into my head. "Can't buy me love."

Maybe that's what makes us go nuts around this time of year-the buying part. The "forced" exchange which is so hard to bow out of without feeling akin to Scrooge.

But it doesn't have to be about gifts so much as thoughts and actions. When I heard the trash trucks honking like crazy this past Thursday, unlike most weeks, I was prompted to send my son after them with a bag of cookies.

If nothing else, the holiday season reminds us to do what we should be doing all year long-to be good to one another. To take a moment to celebrate what we have-and to create light in dark corners.

Here's hoping you have much light and love and music in your life, and that you find more of the same in 2011.
Happy Holidays from DC ROCKS.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Up Close and Personal Shopping

In a panic about what to get your girlfriend's sister's kids? Have a stocking that needs stuffing?
Tired of wandering stores the size of the Grand Canyon looking for sales people that don't exist?
Try down sizing.

Sullivan's Toys and Art Supply has been in DC and in the Sullivan family since the 1950s.  Unlike the big boxes, it's short on space, but crammed with charm. If you know the ages of the kids you are shopping for- or at least have a ball park figure or a vague description- their staff of toy experts can pick and wrap your gifts. You're out the door-problems solved and off for a hot toddy.

They also have an amazing selection of helium balloons, art supplies and every stuffed animal known to man.

(By the way- if you see the two pixies pictured behind the counter above- tell them that DC ROCKS sent you.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holidays Happen- Make the Best of It

In Washington there are a lot of social circles that twirl and hum quietly under that man made chaos otherwise know as the Federal Government. There are native types, student types and students that never left and went native types.

The best part of this crazy season is the parties according to someone I know, and sometimes those parties happen because of music bringing old friends together. This weekend look for two of these kind of shows- one from Bill Kirchen at Jammin Java and the other from Last Train Home back at IOTA.

Bill will be rocking his crowd on Friday night. Last Train is at IOTA tonight, Saturday night, and my personal favorite, Sunday afternoon which is an all ages show. Check out IOTA's new coffee bar and beer selection. Nothing says merry merry like caffeine or a cold beer with an old pal you've been meaning to call.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Unusual Is as Unusual Does

Unusual can be a bad thing as in the unseasonably cold weather we have been enduring lately, or it can be a good thing as in what will happen if you go out on an unusual night this week.

This TUESDAY it's anything BUT business as usual at IOTA when three unusual and sometimes remarkable bands take the stage: The Method, Glasgow and the Yachtsmen. Check out the links, but better yet check out the bands. Glasgow - an amazing crew from New Orleans knocked the crowd dead last time they were here, and the Yachtsmen have to be seen to be believed.

It'll be an early show- 8 p.m. You can get home before midnight and have something unusual to talk about on Wednesday.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

DC Rocking Dominates the News by Lynn Thorp

Check out today's Express Night Out, featuring three examples of how DC Rocks:

1. Government Issue's reunion at Black Cat this Saturday - it's sold out, but it's a nice HarDCore History read.

2. Ra Ra Rasputin's new snow-inspired CD and Friday show at the Rock and Roll Hotel with Imperial China, Mon Khmer, and AK Slaughter.

3. Dave Smalley, Don Zientara and Marc Garnacias at Black Cat tonight, and thoughts on Living on the (Straight) Edge.

Have a read, give them a listen, and support local music.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday "If Only" Ideas by Lynn Thorp

I have favorite DC holiday outings I would do more often "if only" other things didn't interfere. Last year, for example, we got hit with a foot of snow that messed up the agenda. Other times it's just every day life that gets in the way, but here are a few ideas to get us through the season.

  • Downtown Crafts Market - From December 3-23, there is a charming street market on F Street NW between 7th and 9th in front of the National Portrait Gallery. There are local artisans, food/beverages and sometimes music. It's open from Noon until 8 p.m.
  • Yule Log on the Mall - I find the holiday stuff on the Mall both "same old same old" and endlessly intriguing. I especially like the yule log... very pagan.
  • Holiday Music at the National Cathedral - There are a number of free performances and the grounds and the Cathedral itself are certainly a treasure. But I never actually do this one.
  • Eastern Market - this is an awesome place for gifts that are unique and locally made.
  • Franklin's - our local restaurant/microbrewery and general store in Hyattsville, MD has a remarkable selection of gifts, and it's another way to spend your cash on non-chain items in a non-chain business. This one I do manage to accomplish each year, and I'm never disappointed in their great selection of jewelry, toys, gadgets, humorous gifts and more.
Mom and Dad used to take us downtown to see the holiday windows at Woodward and Lothrop (Woodies). They seemed so grand. My kids had a similar affinity for the somewhat tacky decorations that graced Prince Georges Plaza. (now called the Mall at Prince Georges but I don't call it that) Children seem to know instinctively what we have forgotten - the lights and glitter of our holiday festivities is about magical thinking and knowing there is always spring just around every cold, dark winter corner.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Embrace Your Inner Humbug

Holiday time in Washington- love it, dread it, but like most things in life, it's best to just embrace it. But not all of it.

Stay away from the shopping malls. Go for an urban hike around that OTHER mall downtown and check out the lit up evergreens. Or, if you're like me, forget the hiking part and spring for a drink on top of the Hotel Washington. Take in one of the best views of the city from there, or turn your back on the whole thing and hide out in the Round Robin bar at the Willard- a very DC place to be.

Preserve your sanity further by spending more time with friends and less time pondering the price of fruit cakes. Instead buy 'em a ticket to a show!

There's tons of music coming up, and hungry musicians hoping to see you there live and in person. Take for instance this Saturday at IOTA. The Cravin' Dogs and the U-Liners want you to come to their Roots Rock Holiday Party. Two fun bands- one low price.
No humbug.