Does anyone have a strapless bra that they actually like? That's not horrifyingly uncomfortable or or make your boobs look like some sort of concrete structure or do that terrible shelfy thing that all strapless bras tend to do?
Me too! I went to meet Catherine and see all the world's hotness converge on screen in Wanted, but by the time I got there it was sold out. So instead, Alyssa and I went to Hank's Oyster Bar and ate oysters and had martinis and a bottle of wine, then joined the fray at Townhouse Tavern for an epic night of epic drinking and epic dancing and epic jukeboxing. That rolled into a magically delicious flophouse brunch of pork chops, eggs and fried green tomatoes, with citrus punch mimosas and... citrus punch chardonay cocktails. No Cassiopizza, though. Then it was off to the Folklife Festival on the mall, where we experienced the cultures of Texas (with Shiner and Vietnamese food and enormous slices of watermelon), Bhutan and... NASA. Things we learned about NASA: Capps says it really weird and it has absolutely no reason to be in the Folklife Festival. They didn't even bring any astronaut ice cream! We did a really quick run through of the wonderful Martin Puryear exhibit at the National Gallery of Art.
Though all I wanted to do was collapse and take a nap in air conditioning, I then had to quickly rally and shower and get ready for another night out on the town with work friends. I was too exhausted to really be sure of what was going on, but I had a lovely evening anyway... I think.
Yesterday I went to Annapolis with Jenna and the rest of her clan to see her mom's art show in a gallery up there. It was a lovely reception with a big turn out. We also walked around Annapolis a bit, which was fun, and ate some seafood at Pusser's right on the water. Beyond tuckered out, my head hit the pillow with great force last night.
Tonight I'll head to Fort Reno again to see Gestures and The Moderate and Bellman Barker, oh my! You should too.
Via The Kitchn, comes CookThink, the site that lets you put in what you're craving -- flavors, ingredients, cuisines, dishes, moods -- and it spits out some recipe suggestions. I tried "salty + spicy + strong flavors" and it gave me ideas like avacado with bacon vinaigrette, fried almonds, spicy Moroccan carrot salad, and eggs diablo on soft polenta (all with accompanying recipes). Very, very cool. This is one of those tools by which the internet reaches its full potential.
In case you don't write for a DC-focused media outlet or socialize almost exclusively with political journalists or didn't watch the news or read a paper or something yesterday, you may not have heard that the SCOTUS overturned the District's ban on hand guns and trigger lock requirement. As a result, everybody is talking about gun control. While I agree with Ryan that overturning this particular law probably won't have startlingly strong repercussions, I am in favor of just about any gun control law. I simply do not understand the line of thinking that putting more guns into more hands will have a net result of less violence. Statistics back me up. Ezra's post pretty much sums up my opinion: you want to defend yourself and your family, but that moment, when you're awoken and find yourself face to face with an already-armed intruder, isn't the moment when you'll have the time, the wherewithal or the ability to reach for your own protection and face off.
I was talking to Spencer about this over IM this morning, from a more personal perspective. I've always favored gun control. I remember writing opposing editorials on the subject in the high school newspaper. But since my close friend was killed by intruders in November, who came to her house at night, knocked on her door, and shot her in the head in order to steal her car and computer, my feelings on the matter have intensified a bit, as you might imagine. There was nothing Jayne could have done. Having a gun in her home would not have kept her any safer. People fancy themselves action heroes, who'd hear an intruder coming and have the quickness, the agility and the skill with a gun to get to them before the intruder got to their children... or something. It just doesn't seem to me that that's a realistic perception of how things would happen. It's not how things have happened in any real life story I've ever heard. I'm sure there are cases of success, they're just not in my personal sphere of experience's majority. And if guns weren't so easy to buy in Virginia, they might not have ended up in the hands of the men who killed Jayne. Here are a few more things on the subject that Spencer said over IM to me, that are intelligent and worth sharing:
"One of Pelecanos' books is about gun violence. About how stupid anti-gun control arguments neglect the basic fact of how much more lethal all street crime is when guns are available versus when they're not. Basically, it's only an argument made by people for whom actual gun violence is pure abstraction. Those who do tend to seek a total abolition by whatever means necessary,
or are gangsters."
I have lots of friends and loved ones who feel very strongly in opposition to gun control, but this is one issue I just can't see the other side of. Fewer guns, and more tightly controlled guns, mean fewer opportunities to use them and injure or kill people. That seems pretty clear to me.
"I'm typing so fucking hard I might break my fucking Mac book Air!!!!!!!!"
Kanye man, I hear ya. I must admit, I couldn't get the energy to read the entire all-capped rant, based on my recent experience of seeing you in concert, I firmly believe that you had no intention of screwing over your fans at Bonaroo. But hey, don't feel bad. You're dealing with people who consider "Kanye Sucks" to be a slogan.
So, the man was a fucking great comedian. His death is very sad. Every single website I read, regardless of what it covers (music, tv, comedy, sports, politics, gossip...) has had a post about him today. What's really funny to me, though, is that they've all included video clips. And almost all of them have taken the moment to add the (NSFW) notice. No shit. It's George Carlin.
Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits.
Last night I decided to officially take a night off and stay in. I've had a very busy social schedule as of late, so I needed a night on the couch. I watched Broken English, an annoying New York movie starring Parker Posey ("aaaah! I'm willowy and damaged and drink a lot and don't want to be pigeonholed by my career!") and a handsome French guy ("I am a better person by virtue of my not being from this country"), about how desperately depressing it is to be single, and how desperately terrifying the world and life are, but if you meet a hot Frenchie at a party and don't fuck him until the next day, you will find love and happiness and everything will be fixed. Also: go to Paris. Seriously, the message that you're a whore who doesn't deserve a boyfriend if you put out on the first date (including kissing) was offensively heavy handed. Also, the message that men want "challenging" women (bitches) who are crazy and broken and can be fixed by them.
After that, I watched 3 hours of dance competition reality television. It was way, way superior. I am officially in love with So You Think You Can Dance. For real. You may have noticed a trend of late, what with me obsessing over Step Up 2: The Streets and stuff like that, but dancing is so hot right now. Well, always was, really. Also, for the record, Chelsea T looks like a black Liza Minelli, and the dancers on SYTYCD put the dancers on America's Best Dance Crew to shame. But Lil Mama is way less annoying as a host than that shrieky Mary woman. (Although she does give good feedback. But the squealing thing, it's not cute.)
Right now: I'm eating tremendously bad Chinese food and thinking about the massage I'm having in 4 hours, scheduled out of necessity because I can barely move. Stupid sciatic nerve. You are such an asshole. But then! Dinner date with L.Mel followed potentially by Hirshorn After Hours and/or drinking.
I knew something was up when I went shopping yesterday. My H&M was practically empty. Not of people, but of product. The normally stress-inducing amount of racks of clothing were down to a sparse few peppered throughout the store. Then today I read this: aside from NYC and LA, H&M is shuttering their "trend" line. Now, I'm not sure what exactly the trend line is, or how many of the hundreds of H&M things I own came from it, but this sounds quite troubling. That's where I go for my funky dresses under $40! Without funky dresses, who am I?? Color me distressed.
UPDATE: Ok, so I read the comments, and I think one may have enlightened me. The trend line is apparently what's housed in that second H&M right next to the big original one in Tysons. So maybe the 2nd store is going away? With a couple of exceptions, I never found much of anything there anyway, so this isn't as heartbreaking as I originally thought. But, it still doesn't explain what is up with the low stock at the main Tysons store.
UPDATE 2: OK I should read full things before posting. Morgan notes that the 2nd store in Tysons isn't the trend line, it's the Divided line. The only place that carries the trend line in the area is Georgetown. So, pretty much, nevermind.
Also: went to PS7 beforehand. Those tuna sliders are every bit as phenomenal as people have lead you to believe. I will be having dreams about them. They're amazing. Also highly recommend: the champaign cocktail. It's dry, delightful, delicious. It involves a bitters-soaked sugar cube. It is amazing. Kate and I shared the risotto balls and the mushroom... spring roll thingies, I can't remember what they were really called. But they came with a red curry sauce that was divine. And the fried balls of risotto happiness were also out of this world. The lavender gimlet went down easy, but was a little sweet for my tastes. And Kate seemed to have no complaints about the maker's manhattan, completely with a garnish of drunken cherries (real cherries! not maraschino!). So: go to PS7's. Happy hour prices make it wallet-friendly. You will be really glad you did.
And, the 6th & I Synagogue! Holy crap what a venue. The acoustics made beautiful voices turn into things legends are made of. It's gorgeous and has a nice, light air of warm spirituality, and it's just wonderful. So (redux): go see a show there. Glad we had this chat.
My dear friend Gavin asked me to point him in the direction of some good podcasts. For some reason, I listen to exactly zero podcasts. But I feel like the interesting people that read this blog could help out. As far as topics go, he says: "music, video games, technology, maybe a dash of something wacky like politics or art." So basically: anything interesting. If you've got suggestions, leave 'em in the comments.
So! With the announcement of the full Fort Reno schedule, and the sheer number of friends I have in local bands (whose musical efforts it is my pleasure to support), my summer schedule just got a big injection of busy. This prompted me to take a gander at venue schedules around town for the next couple months and see what else I might be interested in. Weird part: the 9:30 Club doesn't have anything coming up I want to see. I'd go to Bobby Digital if I were in town that weekend, but, I won't be. Does this say something about the shows they're booking or my taste? I used to practically live at 815 V St. Anyhow, moving on. If you'd like to go to any of these shows, give me a shout. Especially the ones in this color, those ones I don't have any actual plans for yet.
Last night: It should be said that Spencer's band The Surge killed it at the Velvet Lounge last night. Really, really great, guys.
Tonight: Adele @ 6th & I Synagogue. I'm going with Kate to review the show for DCist, should be fun.
Tomorrow: F Yeah Tour @ Black Cat. Dan Deacon, Matt & Kim and 8,000,000 other performers. It's gonna be radical.
6/21: Before the June 21st party, I'm heading to the 9:30 Club to catch some awesome off of The Dance Party.
6/22: If I have the strength left in me after 9 straight days of evenings with full schedules, I'd really really like to go to DC9 to seePoor But Sexy. They've got members of the D Plan and Travis Morrison's Hellfighters, and describe themselves as sounding like "Steely Dan fronted by R. Kelly." That is 100% awesome.
6/23: It's Sam's birthday! Also, my favorite fellas Mitchell, Floyd & Trae (aka New Rock Church of Fire) are opening the Fort Reno season with Olivia Mancini and the Housemates.
6/29: The Hall Monitors @ Rock & Roll Hotel. I loved these guys when I reviewed them for a DCist Three Stars piece a while back. I haven't been able to see them since, and I'd like to remedy that.
7/3: If Tyler & Joey weren't coming into town that night, I'd totally go to Iota for Eef Barzelay.
7/7: The City Veins @ Fort Reno. My pals have become a significantly awesome band, edging their way towards math rock along the way.
7/10: My beer-and-buffy-loving pal Michael and his band the Black & White Jacksons @ Fort Reno
7/24: Beard expert, former D Plan member and all around awesome guy Eric Axelson's band Statehood @ Fort Reno
7/26: Tilly & the Wall @ Black Cat. I interviewed lead singer Kiana Alarid a few months ago before their last stop here, but didn't get to make it to the show. I'd love to see that tap dancing action.
7/31: The Shirks! @ Fort Reno! I haven't seen the shirks live yet, but I have sat around while Ned plays any song you can possibly think of on the guitar into the wee hours. They are Mitchell's favorite D.C. band. And I will be there to see them at FR.
8/1: Bon Iver & Bowerbirds @ Black Cat. I figure I should probably see at least one of the bands I read about on music blogs constantly. And I've heard good first-person reviews of Bon Iver from friends.
8/3: I am liveblogging Coldplay from the Verizon Center. Yeah, you heard me.
8/11: These United States and Jukebox the Ghost, two of the best D.C. bands by leaps and bounds, are playing the penultimate Fort Reno show of the summer.
8/14: Thoa Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down @ Black Cat. I love love love the recordings I've heard from this D.C. gal. She's been gaining loads of praise across the country while touring, but I've somehow managed to miss all of her recent D.C. shows. (Oh, wait, I know how. I was out of the country for a large chunk of the spring. When every band I wanted to see toured here.) Anyhow, let's go see this show, friends!
Because of the aforementioned tubing, I bumped up my family's celebration of the patriarchy to Saturday night. After spending the afternoon going through my recipes, I decided on a latin theme and three dishes and a drink I'd never made before. Brilliant! It all turned out really wonderfully though, despite quite a lot of prep work.
Soho Pineapple Caipirinha Beth helped me find this recipe and it was the perfect compliment to the meal. Also, my dad loves pineapple, so this worked out well. He requested a "special cocktail" with the meal. Mottling pineapple proved difficult without an actual mottler, but everything tasted great. In the future I might blend the pineapple up a bit before mashing.
Crispy Black Bean Cake Salad
You know what I apparently suck at? Frying things. They wind up tasting fine (usually), but never in the shape I intended. Luckily, when the fried thing is being put on top of a salad, you can just go ahead and crumble it up and nobody will be the wiser as far as ugly frying technique goes. When I made the dressing, I had some reservations. It didn't taste great. But when it came together with the greens, the bean cakes, the avacado, the cilantro and the lime juice, it was fantastic. I'd definitely recommend this dish. Recipe here.
Red Snapper Ceviche
This is a pretty standard ceviche recipe — chilies, onions, lime juice, cilantro, tomatoes. Luckily, standard ceviche is really delicious. It's a pretty weird thing for my dad to like (raw fish, onions), but he does! He loves it. I think it's because it's spicy. I added a few sliced chilis in with the lime juice and fish when I marinated it to give it some extra kick, which I think worked out nicely. And the mint garnish (which tasted great by the way, I'd have never thought to put mint on there) is the first thing from my garden I've gotten to actually use this year! Also, serving in a chilled dish as the recipe suggests was a tremendous touch. This was my dad's favorite dish of the evening. Another thing I learned: I also don't know how to properly get bones out of or skin off of fish. I assumed the guys at the H Mart would take care of that for me when I asked for a filet. Most of the bones were gone, but not all. And the skin... wow did I do an ugly job of that. But it all got mixed together in a bowl so it didn't really matter what the pieces of fish looked like. Bonus!
Grilled Pork Chops in Mojo
Again, when I was preparing this dish I thought the sauce might be a little bit underwhelming. The write up made it sound so very delicious, so I was a bit disappointed when I tasted the marinade. But once those flavors got into the meat and caramelized on on the grill — wow! It was really, really excellent. Super simple recipe here.
Now, what I did expect to wake up with this morning
were sore arms after all that paddling on the river yesterday. But my arms, they're fine. My abs however... holy smokes! Who knew that floating was such a workout? Also, so much fun. The Internet and I went up to Harpers Ferry yesterday for some white water tubing. It was so great. Couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. I came away with a really stupid Herb of a tan line from my wrist band, and crocks. Yes, that's right. Crocks. Tommy, Ficke and I are going to start a gang that only fights in damp conditions. Oh, and speaking of Ficke: my advice to anyone who goes tubing with him in the future is keep your eyes on that kid. He is prone to disappearances that lead to frantic* manhunts**, and very upset loved ones***.
*kind of **double checking places we've already looked ***who kept it together very impressively, considering the possibility that Ficke was bringing to life the things we were warned against in the safety video
I didn't expect to wake up this morning and be inspired by Snoop Dogg. But I should know better by now. While you start your work week, enjoy this collaboration between the Dogg Father and Willie Nelson. Yes, that's right. Willie freakin' Nelson. Nothing is impossible, friends.
"She stays a healthy weight during the show but says sampling dozens of dishes every other day puts on an average of 12 to 15 pounds a season. Her wardrobe, therefore, comes in two sizes."
From an L.A. Times profile on the Top Chef judge. My heart nearly beat out of my chest last night worrying about the outcome of the finale, but, I'm very happy with the way things turned out. Very, very happy. I won't go into it more here in case you haven't seen the finale yet, but, woo!
And, big thanks to Kriston for an amazing steak dinner last night! Our Top Chef dinner parties this season were pretty wonderful throughout. Last night's was truly delicious. Can we find another excuse to get together and cook throughout the summer?
Tricky navigation is not hip, it is counterintuitive. Left/right scrolling instead of up/down is not edgy, it is annoying as all hell. Best practices have evolved for a reason. It may give you the smug satisfaction of a faded Mr. Belvedere t-shirt, but retro programming makes nobody happy.
This rant brought to you by too many f***ing terribly designed websites that have crossed my desktop in the past few weeks.
I heard from lots of people that the last MP3 post was a good thing. So here's round 2!
Cannonball Jane, "The Secret Handshake." While I kind of think sirens in the background of songs are very 1996, the rest of this is blazing hot. I like it a lot. There are even some hints of "Brim Full of Asha" in there. That's a good summertime dance party song right there. Also, she and Eric Axelson should team up for a teacher/rocker monster jam.
Dream Bitches, "Mother's Day." They're working hard in that Donnas territory, occasionally taking a side trip over into Tegan & Sara. But I've always kind of liked that stuff. Nothing terribly new, but they do have a sassy name and a simple femme style. I dig it. And! They do a pretty sweet Belle & Sebastian cover, too.
Roedelius / Story, "As It Were." Given the season and my general frame of mind, I'm feeling much more hard and fast these days. But this instrumental track is certainly beautiful. I'll save it away for a gray day.
These New Puritans, "Cosmic Sing-a-long." Meh. I'll take my hippy dippy shit from Peter Paul and Mary and the Flaming Lips and Polyphonic Spree instead. Now, the song "No Coins" is much better, I think. But still leaving me fairly cold.
From Bubblegum to Sky, "Guest Relations." I kind of hate the band's name, but I like the way they sound, which is really all that matters. This is another nominee for summertime dance party music. A pool-side OUTSIDE PARTY, to be exact. I do, however, get the terrible feeling that this song could very easily be ruined by being used in a commercial for, say, a cruise line or allergy medicine. Oh, and should there ever be a James Bond surfer movie, they should definitely use "I Always Fall Apart" in a chase scene.
The Dandy Warhols, "The World Come On." I like the pacing, I like the rhythm, I like the fuzz, I like the jangle. Just like a long time ago, we're still friends, TDW.
Die! Die! Die!, "A.T.T.I.T.U.D." Remember how I said I'm in the mood for hard and fast these days? This song heard about that and came to pay me a visit. It's bare bones and juvenile, but satisfying. Their song "Blue Skies" is a little more interesting, a little less rough.
The Jealous Girlfriends, "Roboxulla." Feist-y, dreamy, lovey, warm weather pop.
Jacksonknife, "Truthfully." Horns! Boys! Happy rock music! I love this. I love this a ton. I wish you could see my face as I'm listening to this album. I'm so happy.
Mikal Evans, "The Drunkest Hour." She's part of D.C.'s rising crop of alt country wunderkinds. Here's a pretty dirty, rockin track from her new album.
Adventure, "Battle Cat." Dear Wham City — I get it.
Ida, "Road to Ruin." Now, that is a damn good song. The American Dollar, "Transcendence." The press release says that this band is recommended if you like Sigur Rós, Album Leaf, Explosions In The Sky, Radiohead, Tristeza. Yup. That is correct. Liz, who is a connoisseur of this kind of music says she likes it, but is "not sold on the trancey overtones."
Prince Fatty, "Gin & Juice." Weren't you just thinking, "I'd really like to hear somebody do a dub take on Snoop Dogg?" Well, here you go then.
The Graduate, "Doppleganger." Soon to be touring with Panic! At the fallout guyliner. Lotto Ball Show, "I Can Be Your Eyes." It's like if early Rolling Stones recorded an album produced by somebody from Wham City. And I think I like it. Maybe what I said about WC earlier was wrong; maybe I just don't like Adventure.
Theresa Andersson, "Na Na Na." Swede alert! Swede alert!
Windmill, "Tokyo Moon." At first, the voice made me wince. Then I kept listening. And I found myself swaying and bobbing at my desk. So. Oh, hey, remember that scene in Empire Records where Marc flips out? This sounds like that song.
UPDATE: Catherine reminded me of this neat little trick from Tom. So, here are all the songs in an easy to use flash player. Also, blogger seems to hate this code for some reason, so it looks all ugly, but should work still.
How could you make this list and leave off Cameron Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio in Gangs of New York? Not only were their Irish accents completely awful, they FORGOT TO USE THEM HALF THE TIME. That has always bothered me.
1. Whichever of you had the cold when we were passing champaign bottles in celebration of Obama the other night, I curse you! Or maybe it's just allergies. But my head, it is full. However, that was a really fun impromptu Tuesday night party.
2. Philip Pullman (author of the His Dark Materials books) will be at the Barnes & Noble in Tysons on Sunday. Anybody wanna go?
3. The City Veins have a really, really nice press kit. For this reason, among others, you should all go see them Friday night at Iota.
4. The weather last night was crazy. Not a single stop light along rt. 50 in Arlington had power as I drove to the Flophouse for Top Chef night. And there were insanely huge puddles. And I've never seen such incredible lightning.
Can you say Police State? The Examiner has the scoop on a controversial new program announced today that would create so-called "Neighborhood Safety Zones" which would serve to partially seal off certain parts of the city. D.C. Police would set-up checkpoints in targeted areas, demand to see ID and refuse admittance to people who don't live there, work there or have a “legitimate reason” to be there. Wow. Just, wow.
Go read the whole thing. This is just completely unbelievable.
On our way into the Galaxy Hut last night, Alyssa and I noticed a new gelato spot a few doors down — Boccato Gelato. I overheard the manager telling a hopeful customer that they'd run out and had to shut down all day to spend it making more gelato. Wow! On our way back to the car after a wonderful evening (with music from Janel & Anthony and The Woods, and hanging out with Jenna and Mitchell, and drinking Golden Monkey Tripel), we passed the shop again. I mentioned to Alyssa what I'd heard the guy say earlier, and he ran out to chat us up and give us free gelato! I think it was lychee and pineapple, but I could be remembering wrong. At any rate, it was incredibly good. Light, smooth, flavorful, and delicious. He said they've been open for a few weeks, and business has (obviously) been booming. Now, I haven't been to Italy so I'm not the world's foremost gelato expert, but what I tasted was pretty damn good. So, next time you find yourself on that stretch of Wilson, I recommend you stop in for a scoop.
Everybody wants in on a feature about The Flophouse. Maybe I'm numb to it because I've spent so much time there, but I swear it's not as gross as it comes across in this video. There really are that many laptops though (even on vacation!).
That's one thing that was proved without a doubt over my week in the outer banks. From the standard burgers and dogs, to shrimp tacos, to sausages, to Kriston and Yglz's superb smoker adventures with pulled pork, ribs and brisket, to restaurant visits for North Carolina and Virginia BBQ, it was a delicious vacation. Now I'm back, and watching Jamie Oliver's new(ish) show Jamie At Home, and what's the topic? Barbecue, of course! He started off with an incredible bbq sauce recipe, and went through lots of amazing tips:
Don't just do meat! Steam some leafy greens on the grill -- wrap them in tin foil, throw in some olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon. Let the bag steam for 5 minutes and voila!
Also, score the top of a red onion. Stuff in romsemary, thyme, butter. Wrap it up in tin foil and throw it directly on the coals. It's a perfect accompaniment to bbq chicken.
And when you're brushing sauce on your cooking meats, why not use a giant sprig of rosemary as your brush to add even more flavor? Brilliant.
He also cooked his sauced up chicken, lamb and ribs in the oven for 1.5 hours at 350 before grilling, so that the meat is cooked perfectly and doesn't over-char.
Oh one more thing: scale your coals so they're taller on one side, short on the other. So you've got control over the heat (it'll be hotter where there are more coals).
Oh, and the beach trip? Superb. Non-stop fun and laughter and eating and drinking and tanning and awesome people. Thanks Pygs and Sommer! I could recount the jillions of jokes that were born this week (Pancake Jones, Put Your Hand To Your Mouth Face, 20 Sexy Teens, Wreck The Destroyer, Outside Party, Bat Dad Wife Sharon, "Hi, is this the Internet company?", etc.), but they'd probably only amuse those of us that were there. So instead, enjoy some pictures.