Canstruction Build Out at the National Building Museum

pic courtesy of Capital Area Foodbank

pic courtesy of Capital Area Foodbank

Canstruction 2014 is almost here! Twenty-eight teams will have just six hours to construct their imaginative sculptures!

This year’s theme “Play With Your Food” turns the childhood admonition on its head. A record number of teams will use cans of food to recreate giant versions of classic toys and games including chess pieces, roller skates, and tree houses. The theme celebrates the National Building Museum’s architectural toy collection, which is composed of 2,300 objects dating from the 1860s to the 1990s.

It’s all good fun with a serious message: to raise awareness about hunger in the DC area. Collected cans are donated to the Capital Area Food Bank. Last year, Canstruction collected 56,000 pounds of food — equivalent to nearly 42,000 meals — and $8,000 from online “People’s Choice” votes, where one dollar equals one vote.

A local celebrity jury will give out the awards at a reception on September 3 at 6:30 pm in the following categories: Best Meal, Best Use of Labels, Structural Ingenuity, Most Cans, and Jurors’ Favorite. You can vote online for the People’s Choice Award ($1.00 = 1 vote) or donate canned goods in the “ballot box” displayed in front of each construction during the Build Out. The imaginative sculptures will be on display in the Museum’s Great Hall through September 5.

Saturday, August 23, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


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PWYC: She Kills Monsters

pic courtesy of Rorschach Theater

pic courtesy of Rorschach Theater

She Kills Monsters runs from August 15 – September 14 and promises a break in your summer doldrums.  Catch the Pay What You Can previews early, then tell your friends!  Rorschach promises the unexpected and exciting, which is just what you need in the middle of August in DC.  Performances to be held at the Atlas Theater on the H Street corridor.

by Qui Nguyen
Directed by Randy Baker
Fight Choreography by Casey Kaleba

It’s the 1990s in suburban Ohio and Tilly lives among the most fearsome creatures known to man: American high school students. She copes with the stress by creating an elaborate Dungeons & Dragon’s module where she plays out her fears and fantasies in a world she controls. When Tilly dies unexpectedly, her older sister Agnes has no choice but to run the gauntlet of this mysterious world, battling and befriending the strange and fantastic monsters her sister has created.

Regular: $30.00
Student (w/ID): $20.00
Senior (60+): $20.00
Friday, August 15, 2014 at 8:00 PM – Pay-What-You-Can Preview*
Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 8:00 PM – Pay-What-You-Can Preview
Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 3:00 PM – Pay-What-You-Can Preview
Monday, August 18, 2014 at 8:00 PM – Opening Night

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Cineconcert Buster Keaton

college buster keaton

Students and alumni of all ages will enjoy this special film and concert event. Greene, Founder and Director of the Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra Society, will perform a live score for Buster Keaton’s 1927 classic, College (66 minutes). Keaton, the master of physical comedy, stars as a bookish college student who tries to win the heart of the girl of his dreams by becoming an athlete. After the film, enjoy a half-hour program of school-themed ragtime music.

The fun of a Buster Keaton movie is enjoying the “mildly amusing” and sometimes flat out hilarious physical gags Keaton manages to pull off, oftentimes in one take.  “In “College,” for example, Keaton is the coxswain of a rowing team who manages to overturn and sink his crew’s boat.”  Keaton is the father of physical comedy, so if you’ve enjoyed 22 Jump Street, you owe it to yourself to watch one of its very first forerunners.


Limited space; pick up free tickets beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the Portrait Gallery’s G Street lobby. This program is jointly presented by the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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The Red Hen: An Italian Gem with Jewish Roots


Food, family and personality. Jewish-American and Italian-American culture have much in common. But most Italian eateries don’t have the deep Jewish roots of The Red Hen, a new neighborhood gem in Bloomingdale.

When Friedman decided to start his own restaurant, the nostalgic idea of soul-warming, homey Italian food with Jewish influences came to the forefront. The Red Hen’s interior is a den of cozy–exposed brick walls, picture windows, craft wooden furniture and an open kitchen where chefs are visible, busily preparing ingredients and plating finishing touches. High above them, tucked into cubbies just below the ceiling are stacks of firewood. Many of the restaurant’s dishes are cooked tenderly over an open, wood-fired flame.

This rustic-style vibe is warm and inviting, a perfect setting that makes sure the food takes center stage. The menu, a simple yet delightful one-pager, changes by the season and reflects available ingredients.

While creating the restaurant, Friedman drew on various Jewish elements from his past and then added his own twists. Many of these stand out on the menu including the chicken liver crostini with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano, a wonderful melding of Italian and Ashkenazi Jewish foods. Grilled short ribs with shaved horseradish are a play on Grandma’s brisket. And the wood-fired chicken? As Friedman pointed out, “a good Jewish place has to know how to make great chicken.”What’s just as exciting is the emphasis on local sourcing. The rockfish, for instance, made its home in the Chesapeake, the chickens originate from Michael’s home state of New Jersey and the vegetables arrive from co-ops in Pennsylvania.

The Red Hen is also committed to the surrounding community. Friedman has a connection to Brooklyn where, he says, “every restaurant has a local vibe to it.” This is exactly the spirit of The Red Hen. In fact, the restaurant has only limited reservations to ensure space is saved for neighbors who wander in.

We’d be remiss not to point out The Red Hen’s unique drinking vessels. Water arrives not in nondescript cups, but in glasses emblazoned with the title “Heroes of the Torah.” Beneath that, the face of one of four famous rabbis graces each glass, resulting in a splash of humor and history with your hydration.

There is one perfect exception: the Brooklyn egg cream, styled with Friedman’s touch, “modo mio” on the menu. Besides the requisite ingredients of soda, milk and chocolate syrup, a hefty scoop of homemade malted chocolate gelato sits proudly atop the heady mixture in its chilled glass. This addition truly completes The Red Hen’s sweet, effervescent Italian-Jewish combination.

The Red Hen, 1822 First Street NW, Washington, DC 20002. Phone: 202-525-3021. Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 5:30-10:00 pm, Friday 5:30-11:00 pm, Saturday 5:00-11:00 pm, Sunday 5:00-9:30 pm, Monday closed.


Written by friend of the blog, Evan Caplan.  Read his full article at Jewish Food Experience (JFE) here.  

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Weekend East City Event Round Up: Last Chance ‘Till Fall Edition

Untitled by Donna Lomangino, one of 38 artists showing work at Touchstone's annual MiniSolos on Friday.  Photo courtesy of the artist.

Untitled by Donna Lomangino, one of 38 artists showing work at Touchstone’s annual MiniSolos on Friday. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Editor’s Note— this is the last Round-Up until the Fall 2014 Preview which comes out Thursday, August 28.

Friday, August 1

DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This free exhibit shows the work of local DC artists competing for the DCCAH’s FY15 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) grant. It provides artists with an opportunity to express their vision to the public. For more details, click here.

The Eye Street Gallery is located at 200 I Street, SE.

Touchstone Gallery – 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“MiniSolos” features the work of 38 artists and seeks to fill two needs of the community. The first being an avenue for local artists to exhibit work and the second to provide collectors with an opportunity to view works by emerging artists. For more information about this exhibit, click here.

Touchstone Gallery is located at 901 New York Avenue, NW.

Joe’s Movement Emporium – 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Brett Busang’s exhibit Along Rhode Island: Paintings of Outer Washington shows three local neighborhoods in transition: Gaithersburg, MD; Brentwood/Mount Rainier, MD; and Brookland in Washington, DC. His collection of 26 paintings exemplify his specialty in realism. To read more, click  here.

Joe’s Movement Emporium – Lobby Gallery is located at 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier, MD.

ReCreate Spaces – 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

ReCreate Spaces is taking over a vacant building in Brookland and transforming it into the ultimate pop-up.  See two concurrent art openings by artists Juan Pineda and Mason Hogue, food by Nurish and even floral arrangements.  To get the full line-up click here.

ReCreate’s pop-up is located at 2300 Bunker Hill Road NE

2B Studio – 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

This innovative show features a range or printmakers and street artists, who call for reform in the prison industry. Incarcerated Masses: Artists Respond to America’s Prison Problem explores themes central to incarceration including dismantling the drug war and ending solitary confinement. For more information about this must see exhibit, click here.

2B Artist Studios is located at 411 New York Avenue NE, Room 2B

Saturday, August 2

artdc Gallery – 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Seven artists come together in this exhibition titled The Death of Socrates. While the work displayed differs in style and content, viewers can see similarities in line and grid use and how each artist captures the “multitude of vantage points with which interpretations can be made.”  For more details, click here.

artdc Gallery is located at 5710 Baltimore Avenue, Hyattsville, MD.

Saturday and Sunday Festival

Gateway DC – 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The first Humanities, Arts & Technology Festival (HATFestDC) at Gateway DC – invites visitors to hear, see, create, learn, and interact with artists and the community. There will be a main performance area and five tents, which will focus on different interactive themes. For more information about this festival, click here.

Gateway DC is located at 2700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE.

Next Saturday, August 9

Leica Store Washington DC – 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

In Faith; Take the Leap the STRATA Collective explores the things and ideas people believe in in times of uncertainty. This photo exhibition focuses on this theme of faith, whether it is faith in religion, country, family, or community. For more details, click here.

Leica Store Washington DC is located at 977 F Street, NW.

The Brentwood Arts Exchange – 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Join the Brentwood Arts Exchange in celebrating two years of working with The Arc Prince George’s County. The exhibition will showcase works created by The Arc’s participants in classes and the Day Centers. To read more about The Arc and the Brentwood Arts Exchange, click here.

The Brentwood Arts Exchange is located at 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood, MD.


Jess Oros is the Production Manager of East City Art.  You can get more information about East City Art on Facebook by following them on Twitter or click here to sign up for their newsletter.


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Film Screening: Red-Headed Woman

pic courtesy of Celluloid Club,

pic courtesy of Celluloid Club,

Tough Dames in Satin Slips: Films from Pre-Code Hollywood

In a film and discussion series that will explore the history of sex and violence in the movies, censorship and the ratings system, movie critic Nell Minow and journalist Margaret Talbot present gems of pre-code cinema.

The story of a saucy, scheming, gold-digger, Red-Headed Woman can still make audiences uncomfortable but it’s more likely to amuse them. Jean Harlow just looks like she’s having such a good time getting away with being bad. The screenplay was written by Anita Loos and an uncredited F. Scott Fitzgerald.

From Celluloid Club:

Harlow as a redhead? Filmed before her “blonde bombshell” days, she has never been sexier than in this film and Morris is good as the unwitting boss who becomes obsessed with her to the point of divorcing his wife and marrying her. In fact, this role was Harlow’s springboard to bigger and better parts.

Trivia: Loos wasn’t the first screenwriter to convert the novel to film. In fact, it was novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, but according to Loos’ autobiography, Kiss Hollywood Goodbye,  MGM executive Irving Thalberg called her to his office, handed her the novel and told her: “Scott tried to turn the silly book into a tone poem!”

Screening Thursday, July 31 at the Hill Center921 Pennsylvania Ave SE.

7:00pm – 9:00pm

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STUPID F##KING BIRD: Sort of adapted from Chekhov’s The Seagull


It’s back! Woolly reunites the entire cast and creative team of Stupid F##king Bird, following its runaway success in the summer of 2013.

In this irreverent, contemporary, and very funny remix of Chekhov’s The Seagull, award-winning playwright Aaron Posner wages a timeless battle between young and old, past and present, in search of the true meaning of it all. An aspiring young director rampages against the art created by his mother’s generation. A nubile young actress wrestles with an aging Hollywood star for the affections of a renowned novelist. And everyone discovers just how disappointing love, art, and growing up can be.

Winner of two Helen Hayes awards including Outstanding Resident Play and Outstanding New Play or Musical Stupid F##king Bird will tickle, tantalize, and incite you to consider how art, love, and revolution fuel your own pursuit of happiness.

Stupid F##king Bird will run July 28 to August 17.  Tickets start at $35 and up ($20 for 30 and under).

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