An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Big Read Architecture (Green) - Sunday

I've missed out on a lot of the Arlington Reads Green stuff this year, which is too bad because they highlighted some good books with some cool activities this year. I've been to busy muddling my way through the 800 page gigantic biography of Che Guevera - next time I decide to tackle a book like that, remind me about the History Channel. Not that the book isn't interesting, it's just taking me FOREVER!!

But I digress ... anyways, this event requires no advanced reading, but does mesh with the Arlington Reads Green theme. Here's the 411:

Sunday, June 3, 2 PM
Big Dig Architecture Talk
Central Library auditorium
John Hong and Jinhee Park, principals of Single Speed Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts, discuss their environmentally progressive approach to design. Using materials reclaimed from Boston's Big Dig project, Hong and Park designed the stunning contemporary Big Dig House and an award-winning Big Dig Building.
Please call 703/228-5990 or 0322 for more information.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Saturday: ACE Hike & Happy Hour

Four years ago, the first-ever ACE Hike & Happy Hour took place at Potomac Overlook Regional Park. A total of four people went on the hike -- The Green Miles, my roommate, and our hike leaders. And I wouldn't have been there if my roommate hadn't dragged me out of bed (I had a wicked hangover and it was pouring rain).

Despite the rain, Arlington County Board Member Barbara Favola showed up to welcome the hikers. We told her she didn't have to hike through the mud with us psychos, an offer she graciously took us up on. The next year, we got sun and a slightly better turnout -- about 10 people.

But last year, we moved the location to Roosevelt Island, and suddenly it was hip to hike. I guest blogged about here at What's Up Arlington (this was wayyyyy back in June 2006, before mild-mannered Miles became The Green Miles). Over 40 people came out for the birding tour of Roosevelt Island and the happy hour at Continental.

We spotted a hawk at Roosevelt Island, who was spontaneously dubbed Bernie the Hawk by The Green Girlfriend, prompting this exchange:
ME: Why Bernie?
HER: It's a nice name.
How can you argue with logic like that?

This year we're sticking with the Roosevelt Island/Contintenal combination, but we're shifting the focus of the hike from birding to invasive plants. Here are all the details:

4th Annual Hike & Happy Hour
Saturday, June 2, 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.

In honor of National Trails Day, join ACE to explore the invasive plants of Teddy Roosevelt Island with Arlington County's Invasive Program Manager, Jan Ferrigan. Learn how to identify some common invasive and native plants. Teddy Roosevelt Island is accessible from GW Parkway North, on the Mount Vernon bike path, and a three-quarters of a mile walk from Rosslyn Metro. Click here for directions. We'll meet in the parking lot by the footbridge.

After the hike, meet at 6:30 p.m. at
Continental in Rosslyn for happy hour. While the hike is for all ages, Continental is 21+. A $10 donation at the happy hour is suggested with proceeds to benefit local conservation efforts. For more information: 703-228-6406 or

Hope to see you there!

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Friday, May 25, 2007

All the Arlington News You Care About - 5/25

Does the Post have a Clarendon bias?
Should I-66 be widened?
What do you think about the new pizza place Cafe Pizzaiolo?
What about the redevelopment plans for Crystal City?

Interesting stuff this week, I'd love to hear your comments.

Mike DeBonis and Erik Wemple (City Paper) take issue today with the Washington Post’s fascination with all things Clarendon. The reporters, targeting the Post’s recent front-page feature on boomers flocking to Clarendon, complain that over the year’s, the Post has written stories about virtually every demographic loving Clarendon. The Post, the reporters say, seems to think that Clarendon is great for EVERYONE. Read more.

Scott McCaffrey (Sun-Gazette) writes that the upscale Indian cuisine of Sangam Restaurant took top honors at Taste of Arlington in Ballston this weekend for the second year in a row. Read more.

Hegstad also wrote that the first public forum on conceptual plans for the redevelopment of Crystal City got mixed reviews. Read more.
David Schultz (Arlington Connection) wrote about plans to widen I-66. He quoted County Board Member Chris Zimmerman. Read more.
Nancy Lewis (Washington Post) gives a glowing review today to a new pizza restaurant in South Arlington, Cafe Pizzaiolo. The restaurant boasts “clay- oven-baked pizza good enough to walk there for, even on the muggiest day,” Lewis wrote. Read more.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Review: Alternative Transportation Expo

First, the seeming irony: I drove alone to the Alternative Transportation Expo.

So why is it not necessarily ironic/hypocritical? Alternative transportation is not about never driving anywhere. We all have to drive sometimes. Alternative transportation is about making good transportation choices to maximize convenience and cost savings.

The Alternative Transportation Expo, held at the Walter Reed Community Center and sponsored by ACE, made me realize I wasn't taking advantage of some opportunities right under my nose. For example, I'm a big fan of Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse and the nightlife of Shirlington, but I hate driving there, because I'm also a big fan of drinking. So why haven't I been taking the bus, whose stop is probably 150 feet from my front door?

I talked about different bus options with the Mobile Commuter Store consultant, and it seemed like the best advice was to plan trips using Metro's website. Why? Many bus routes are geared towards commuters, and many cut off long before the projector stops at the Drafthouse. can sort out the different routes and schedules for me.

Since I just started a new job in Reston, I also checked out, a ride share matching service. I'd love to find someone else who lived in Ballston and worked in Reston so I wouldn't have to be the one behind the wheel on I66 every day. But I signed up and so far it doesn't seem like many people have joined for NuRide -- my only ride share options live way up on Lee Highway or out in Alexandria.

There are lots of features to tailor your potential carpool to your needs -- distance, nonsmoking, even limits on people deemed sketchy by fellow carpoolers -- so if you're open to the idea of splitting a ride, sign up!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gawking Rolling Thunder

Just a quick update to the Rolling Thunder story, I wrote in the What's Up newsletter - which if you're not subscribing to, you should be :-) -- Subscribe! Subscribe! Subscribe Now! --- oops, I'm off subject.

Anyway, a former Rolling Thunder rider wrote in to tell me that gawking is allowed in the parking lot - so feel free, go gawk!

And BTW, did I mention you should be subscribing to the newsletter? Get the top highlights of things to do in Arlington delivered straight to you email inbox every two weeks. Read it and SUBSCRIBE HERE.

Photo by Flickr User dbking.

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Review: ACE Organic Wine Tasting

I went into this year's Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment Organic Wine Tasting as a skeptic. Why? Because I'd attended last year's Organic Wine Tasting, and honestly, I wasn't all that impressed by any of the wines.

But this year, my reaction was almost the opposite -- all of them were at least decent and several were excellent. We tasted three whites, three reds, and a dessert wine. My favorite was the Meditrina, a mix of Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel.

The tasting was presented by The Curious Grape, a great wine and cheese shop in Shirlington. You don't have to be some kind of a wealthy connoisseur to enjoy it. I'm no wine expert and I'm definitely a bargain shopper, so I appreciate that they have clear descriptions of the wines and a wide range of prices, from high-end to good values. And even if you don't buy anything, they're usually giving out free tastes, so it's worth stopping by.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

June 3: Arlington & Alexandria Community Bike Ride

Registration is open for the annual Arlington & Alexandria Community Bike Ride! It takes place on Sunday June 3rd at 8:30am, with the start and finish in Shirlington.

There are two options:
- A 23-mile Community Tour of Arlington and Alexandria
- A shorter 7-mile Family Ride
Pre-register now and you'll save $5 on the entry fee. And get this -- for those of us who don't have a bike, you can rent a bike and helmet and pick them up in Shirlington that morning for just $20! Pretty cool.

All the details and registration information are over at CommuterPageBlog!

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Monday, May 21, 2007

RSS for Dummies

Want to get the What's Up Arlington! blog delivered straight your Google page or your "My Yahoo" page? It's real simple, just click on the "subscribe to What's Up Arlington! blog" on the right side and follow the easy instructions.

Now, what is this "RSS" stuff and what does it mean? That's a more fun question -- well, not as much fun as getting What's Up everyday, but pretty fun.

The CravingIdeas Blog says it this way:

We all have busy lives with very little time. Web surfing is fun but can take hours going to visit every single website and blog you enjoy. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could just get all the headlines of the most current stories
from all your favorite websites and blogs in one place? Well now you can, and it is called RSS feed.

Read all about RSS Feeds the "Oprah Way", just clicking right here. It's fun! I promise!

Friday, May 18, 2007

DC Idol Finals Tonight

Don't forget the DC Idol finals tonight at the Cinema Drafthouse. I haven't caught any of them early rounds, but I hear there's some crazy good talent.

Finals: May 18, 2007. Doors open at 6pm. Competition begins at 7pm (note new time).

Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington , VA. Purchase seats online

Faith Froehlich and Andrew Hughes, two local DC area children, among many others that need our support. All proceeds will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as part of the Man & Woman of the Year Campaign

Cost: $5

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

This Weekend: Two Events, Plus Volunteers Needed

Two events and a need for volunteers coming up this weekend, check them out! And don't forget about Taste of Arlington ...

Greenbrier Takes the Stage!
Join the students of the Greenbrier Learning Center and the Virginia Gardens Learning Center and as they take the stage in the theatrical adaptations of Many Moons by James Thurber, and The Dragon Prince by Laurence Yep. The plays were adapted and produced by Educational Theater Company Teaching Artists Sasha Olinick and Kristy Greener. $5 suggested donation. 100% of proceeds benefit GBLC's after-school programs. Tickets available at the door or online at:
May 18, 2007, 7:30pm
The Comedy Spot, 3rd Floor
Ballston Common Mall
4238 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201

Arlington Forest Community Yard Sale
It’s big and it’s a bargain! It’s the Arlington Forest Community Yard Sale, Saturday May 19, 2007 from 8 to 5. Shop more than 50 individual yard sales conveniently located throughout the Arlington Forest neighborhood centered at Route 50 and Park Ave. intersection. Just follow the signs and check the map of all the sales posted at each yard sale site.

Volunteers Needed
What: The Furniture Bank of Arlington, a project of AMEN
Where: 3613 N. Vernon Street
When: Saturday, May 19, from 10-1pm and Saturday, June 2, from 10-1pm
Needed: Volunteers to fold linens. We received 75 sets of linens from a hotel liquidation and these linens need to be sorted, folded and bagged.
Contact: Barbara Roberts at

PS -- Don't forget about Bike to Work Day!


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

All the Arlington News You Care About - 5/7

Strange Art, Stranger People - A festival in Crystal City showcases the peculiar

Going to Town with Wifi

Rosslyn Towers Could Drawf D.C.

The DC Traveler features What's Up Arlington it is Carnival of Cities.

Nancy Lewis (Washington Post) included some Arlington restaurants in this review of good eats in Arlington and Alexandria. Read more.

Websites; Drinks; Donaldson Run
Exclusive: “Soft Launch” of Fit Arlington Web Site. - Buckhingham Herald Triblog

The Sun Gazette quoted County Board member Jay Fisette applauding the Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ for conducting same-sex wedding ceremonies. “Good for them,” Fisette said of the decision. “The church has a history of being a vanguard of human rights and civil-rights issues,” Fisette said. “Hopefully they are the first of many churches who will follow their example.” Read more.

Kirstin Downey (Washington Post) wrote a cover story for today’s Alexandra-Arlington Extra on the Board’s recent action on Potomac Yard. Subhead: “a huge project receives key county approval, but not without concerns about traffic and objections to the kind of housing that will be built.” She quoted County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson, Vice Chair Walter Tejada and Members Barbara Favola and Chris Zimmerman. Read more.

Mark Berman (Washington Post) wrote in today’s Extra about iRide, the County’s initiative to make public transportation “cool” – or at least attractive – to teens. Berman quoted Board Member Chris Zimmerman and former School Board Member Mary Hynes. Pictured here is DES’s Bobbi Greenberg. Read more.

Michael O’Sullivan (Washington Post) praised “Artomatic” in Crystal City in a Weekend section article up on the website today. Read more.

Maria Hegstad (DC Examiner) writes that the board is considering Central Place, a key development in Rosslyn, at Saturday’s meeting. Read more.

The Sun Gazette gave a plug today for the upcoming “Taste of Arlington” at Ballston. Read more.

Jolene Munch (DC Examiner) gave a thumbs up to Kathie Lee Gifford’s musical “Saving Aimee” at Signature Theatre. Read more.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sunday in Ballston: Taste of Arlington

The annual Taste of Arlington event takes place in Ballston this Sunday on Wilson Boulevard in front of Ballston Common Mall! There are at least 30 restaurants participating, including some of my favorites like Carlyle and Tallula.

You can buy six "tastes" online for $21 ($20 plus a $1 service fee), but online sales end May 17th. After that, you can buy six tastes at the event for $25.

Taste of Arlington benefits Community Residences, a leading non-profit provider of programs and services for individuals with mental retardation, mental illness, developmental and physical disabilities, as well as the homeless. Community Residences operates over 40 programs in Virginia and Maryland serving over 1,200 individuals each year, with 28 programs right here in Arlington.

After the Taste, Community Role Models will be hosting an after party for volunteers at Front Page. Details and signup are at the CRM website. If you're interested in learning more about CRM and meeting the people involved, stop by!

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Alternative Transportation Expo - 5/15

If you read my recent post on Fresh Aire, you know I'm a big fan of riding Metro, including the Metro bus --- I know, doesn't seem as glamourous, but really it's cool, it's easy, and it gives me a chance to read. I've also recently been debating giving up my car and going the FlexCar route. So, even though this may not sound like the most "fun" event in the world, I'm excited to go and check out my options for gettin' around with the least environemental impact.

.... live blogging update ....

I just flipped over to The Green Miles to read about his experiences with trying to give up his precious Knight 2000, uh, I mean Saturn, and it turns out he's writing about this same event ... Great minds think a like right!

Anyway, no need to reinvent the wheel, so without further ado, here, directly copied blantatly plagarized from The Green Miles, here are the details of this event:

Alternative Transportation Expo
Tuesday, May 15, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Walter Reed Community Center
2909 16th Street S.
Arlington, Virginia 22204Learn about getting around Arlington without a personal car at this free event with exhibitors on carsharing, walking, bicycling, and telecommuting! Participating organizations include:
- Flexcar
- Arlington Transportation Partners
- Bike Arlington
- WALKArlington
- The Commuter Store
- Arlington Transit
- Arlington County Fresh AIRE
- Zipcar
- Telework Exchange
The first 100 participants will receive a free ART token. The event will also include the chance to visit the Commuter Store, an Arlington Transit bus, a Flexcar and a Zipcar and will also offer refreshments and door prizes.Organized by Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) in partnership with the Mount Vernon Group of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club. This event is sponsored by Flexcar. For more information, visit the ACE website or call 703-228-6427.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

To Do: 1) Tuck shirt in 2) See art 3) Sip organic wine

Friday night at 7:30pm, the Arlington Arts Center will host the 2nd Annual Organic Wine Tasting to benefit Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment! The Curious Grape will be presenting the wines, paired with organic cheese and chocolate.

It'll be a double feature of sorts -- you can get an up-close look at the newly-renovated Arts Center and sample some world-class organic wines, which can be really hard to find.

Proceeds from the event will benefit ACE, an organization shamelessly touted here because I'm a longtime board member and an even longer-time volunteer. ACE relies heavily on donations from our supporters to fund our environmental events, educational programs, and outreach efforts like the Green Living Challenge. Every contribution counts!

You can reserve your tickets online now. Hope to see you there!

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Putting the FUN in FUNdraiser

I'm not always a huge fan of fundraisers. Why? Becuase they generally cost too much. I'd much rather just give money to the causes I support. But, perhaps that's just my issue.

Anyways, there are a couple events comming up that didn't make the newsletter for various reasons, but if you're looking for something fun to do and looking to support a local cause, these are three good bets.

  1. Organic Wine Tasting - May 11 (tomorrow!). Now, here's an event that sounds like fun. It violates my too pricey rule ($50), but it's probably worth it, plus you support a great organzation - Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment.

  2. Special Screening of classic film The Red Shoes - May 10 (tonight!) -- From the website:

BMD presents a special fundraiser screening of the 1947 classic motion picture The Red Shoes. "The most popular movie ever made about the ballet and one of the most enigmatic movies about anything. The film is voluptuous in its beauty and passionate in its storytelling. You don’t watch it, you bathe in it." wrote Roger Ebert of this in his "The Great Movies" complilation. This movie canot be seen on the big screen anywhere else! For just $25 you can see this classic plus take part in a post-screening panel discussion featuring seven of the areas foremost experts on dance including George Jackson, Andrea Snyder (Dance/USA), Kim Tomadjoglou (AFI), Jeff Edwards (Washington Ballet), Lucy Bowen McCauley, and Lourdes Barden (Kirov Academy).We are also offering a pre-show light supper where you can meet the panel and some of the BMD company members for only $50.

3. Greenbrier Takes the Stage - May 18th - I confess, I wasn't particularly excited about this one, but Erin, the fabulous director of the Greenbrier Learning Center, convinced me that there would be a lot of 20s/30-somethings there and it would be a good way to start the evening in Ballston with plenty of time to go out before or after. And if nothing else, you've supported a really good cause. Plus, it doesn't have the too pricey ($5) issue that I've been complaining about.

Here are the details from the press release:

The Educational Theatre Company (ETC), a non-profit educational arts organization, and the Greenbrier Learning Center (GBLC), a community-based organization providing after-school programs, have partnered to present Greenbrier Takes the Stage. The Comedy Spot, located in the Ballston Common Mall, has donated its stage for use by our programs.

For this performance, ETC teaching artists Sasha Olinick and Kristy Greeneradapted two children’s books, Many Moons by James Thurber, and The Dragon Prince by Laurence Yep, for a stage performance by students at Greenbrier’s two elementary after-school programs. Students rehearsed twice a week for two months, and created the show through participation in theater games, improvisation, and story telling.

The performance will take place at The Comedy Spot in the Ballston Common Mall on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 7:30pm. Tickets are a suggested donation of $5, and all proceeds will go towards the Greenbrier Learning Center’s after-school programs.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Arl. Cinema & Drafthouse: I'm Gonna Need Ya to Come in on Thursday

Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse is hosting its Bi-Annual TPS Report Managers Meeting (a.k.a. the Office Space Movie Festival) on Thursday starting at 7pm! For $7, you get:

7pm: DJ Video Mix featuring songs from the movie
7:45pm: Trivia contest

8pm: Lumbergh impersonation contest
8:10pm: "O" face contest
8:20pm: Costume contest
8:30pm: Office Space starts
If you've never been to the Drafthouse, this is a great excuse to check it out. I honestly prefer to wait for the big blockbusters to come to the Drafthouse before seeing them. That way, if they're a disappointment (I'm looking at you, Spider-Man 3) you're only out $5 instead of $10. And really, any movie is better when there are chili fries and beer involved.

The Drafthouse also plays an important role in the Arlington community. It's locally owned, and is constantly hosting neighborhood events like
DC Idol, so it's worth supporting.

So if you could just go ahead and make sure you do that from now on, that will be great. And, uh, I'll go ahead and make sure you get another copy of that memo, mmmkay?

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

All the Arlington News You Care About - 5/16

Maria Hegstad (DC Examiner) stressed that the board – and Rosslyn residents – hope the development will revitalize Rosslyn. Read more.

Kirstin Downey (Washington Post) reported Sunday on the Board’s decision. Read more.

Joe Coombs (Washington Business Journal) reports today that Columbia Pike's next redevelopment project would bring new residences and an upgraded community center to the heavily traveled corridor. Coombs reports that Arlington County officials are compiling proposals for an overhaul of the Arlington Mill Community Center's site, which sits on the pike (Route 244) near the county's border with Falls Church. Read more.

Schultz profiled the Arlington Athletic & Social League, a club for 20-something and 30-something Arlingtonians who like to combine sports and socializing. He interviewed AED’s Terry Holzheimer. Read more.

Maria Hegstad (DC Examiner) reported today that the County Board is considering at today’s meeting a request from Signature Theatre for $10 million in low-interest financing for interior improvements to its new theater. Read more.

David Schultz (Arlington Connection) wrote a very positive curtain raiser for Neighborhood Day. “What defines Arlington?” Schultz asks. “ Perhaps it's the collection of small, distinct neighborhoods; each of which have their own flair, personality and history.This weekend, the county is putting them on display for its annual Neighborhood Day festival.” He quotes Communications’ Serena Ingre-Martinez. Read more.

Scott McCaffrey (Sun Gazette) reports on the 11th annual James B. Hunter III Community Hero Awards, which this year honored residents with an age range that spanned more than 80 years. Board Chairman Paul Ferguson is quoted. Read more.

Neal Augenstein (WTOP) reported today on Arlington’s efforts to remake Crystal City. “The goal is to make every block here interesting,” he said. Read more.

David Schultz (Arlington Connection) gives the Neighborhood Day parade a big write up in this week’s edition – which is out today and up on the web. Read more.

Schultz wrote a separate story on the 10K Battle of the Boulevards race that took place last weekend. Read more.

Maria Hegstad (DC Examiner) writes that the latest plans for Crystal City’s possible future will be unveiled Wednesday at a community forum. The preliminary concept designed by urban planner Torti Gallas and Partners suggests a 30-year course of phased redevelopment based on the schedule of expiring leases and the military's base realignment and closure (BRAC) pullouts. Read more.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Sunday: Open House at Potomac Overlook

It's looking like a beautiful spring weekend, and an event on Sunday will allow you to get to know one of Arlington's most beautiful places -- Potomac Overlook Regional Park. The park and adjacent areas host miles of hiking trails, a nature center, three tennis courts, and a basketball court.

Here are the details on the Open House:


Join us for this wonderful springtime tradition full of fun activities and exhibits for all ages! This year marks the 22nd year of this event and will include a community potluck, music, magic, food, a maypole dance, and much more!
For the rest of Potomac Overlook Regional Park's events calendar, click here!

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Arlington Events In Local Blogs

It's always nice to see Arlington events picked up by other blogs. Here are some recent highlights:

  • The DC Traveler wrote about the upcoming Crystal Rocks concert with the Gin Blossons

This is the kind of work that inspires the corners of your mouth to turn up,
just a little, if it doesn’t inspire your brow to furrow. Unfortunately, much of
the work in the Spring Solos inside doesn’t fair much better. Of the eight
artists inside, there are just a handful attractive highlights

But on the other hand,

But, it is a beautiful mess of white, gold, and purple clays, extracted from various locales in and around the greater Washington area, which will continue to evolve until its de-installation late September. Should the rains continue to be hard in what remains of the spring, it might be worth it to visit Dis/Integration periodically. Take a football from Cory Wagner while you are at it. Give more than your two cents.

The Washington Post, however, disagreed.

Of the six artists featured in "Spring Solos 2007," the Arlington Arts Center's annual juried exhibition of one-gallery shows, two are favorites of mine. Yet beyond the biomorphic beadwork of Gail Gorlitzz and a video installation by Katherine Kavanaugh (frankly, outshone by her oversize screen prints of lips on thick felt panels), I was most pleasantly surprised by the work of Ephraim Russell.

It’s refreshing to watch a take on Animal Farm that is less about
heavy-handed political posturing and much more about artistic expression. That’s
what we have in Synetic
latest, a production that incorporates multi-media accents,
impressive choreography and most of all amusing and effective anthropomorphic
performances from their team of farm residents.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Best Way to Find Fun Things to Do in Arlington

If you're not alreay a subscriber to the What's Up Arlington! e-newsletter. - do it now. This newsletter will be delivered straight to your email inbox every other Wednesday with four of my top choices of things to do in Arlington. Don't even finish reading this, go now.

And then come back to the blog for reviews, other ideas, and insights from myself and the Green Miles.

Subscribe now. Really, I mean it. Seriously. You should. It's great. I promise.