Posted by Editorial / Monday, September 22nd, 2014
By Bailey Lucero-Carter
Hungry for some pong? Shake Shack‘s got you covered. On Saturday, October 4, the popular shake and burger eatery will host its first ever table tennis tournament at 3 p.m. at their Tysons Corner location. The tournament is free to enter and is open to the general public.
This upcoming game is the first of many in the new Shake Shack Table Tennis League (SSTTL), which admits 16 people for this bracket-style tournament. Ping pong balls and rackets will be provided for all players, who will duke it out a professional-grade table.
The champion of the tournament will win a $50 Shake Shack gift card, a limited edition SSTTL t-shirt, and a custom-made trophy. Second and third placers will win prizes as well. Spectators will also receive free retro-inspired Shake Shack wristbands and Shake Shades all while enjoying the food and drink specials offered all night.
After the tournament on October 4, the Shake Shack in Tysons will continue to host table tennis tournaments on a monthly basis.
To register for this event, sign up in person at the Shake Shack located in the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center.
Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
By Bailey Lucero-Carter
The first day of autumn is Sept. 23 and several nearby farms are celebrating the new season with fall festivals. These festivals offer great fall foods and attractions for the family. Check this list for farms with fall festivals opening soon.
Al-Mara Dairy Farm opens up the 2014 season with plenty of autumn amusements. The biggest attraction is the Great American Milk Drive corn maze, which is new this year and consists of three mazes. Three different difficulty levels spread the fun across all ages. Festivities also include taking a hayride around the farm, meeting and greeting a cow, learning how to make butter, and more. / Sept. 19 – Nov. 1, Fridays 6 – 9 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; 5225 Catlett Road, Midland; Tickets $9.
Wayside Farm features a variety of fun fall activities. Wander through a 10-acre corn maze, where larger than life Lego superheroes, like Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman stand tall, or cheer along as the special racing pigs run through water and terrain all the way home. Kids can also enjoy farm animals, a pumpkin playhouse and more this weekend. / Sept. 20 – Nov. 2, Saturdays & Sundays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; 5273 Harry Byrd Highway, Berryville; Tickets $10.
Children ages 4 through 10 will delight in the many attractions at Clark’s Farm. Climb to the top of a hay bale mountain, zigzag through a wooden maze, play some pumpkin bowling, and do even more at this year’s festival. Pony rides are also offered on weekends, and a pumpkin is included with each admission. / Sept. 20 – Nov. 2 , 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Daily; 721 Courthouse Road (Rt. 630), Stafford; Tickets $7 on weekdays, $9 on weekends/holidays.
Join the festival fun a week early during Cox Farms’ Preview Weekend. This weekend event features Fall Festival attractions, including giant slides, swings, animals, games and plenty of pumpkins. The first hayride of 2014 also begins this weekend, so be there to catch a ride. After Preview Weekend, Cox Farms’ Fall Festival begins on Sept. 27. / Sept. 20–21, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; 15621 Braddock Road, Centreville; Tickets $14.
Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
The two-time Tony and Grammy Award-winner on her career and advice for those trying to make it on stage. –Lynn Norusis
Recently, she’s played herself on “Girls,” giving an interview to Lena Dunham’s Hannah for a GQ advertorial, and in “American Horror Story: Coven” as Joan Ramsey, a Christian mother protecting her son from wickedness. But Patti LuPone is most known for her Broadway acting (“Evita,” “The Cradle Will Rock,” “Gypsy,” “Sweeney Todd”).
On September 27, the two-time Tony and Grammy Award-winner is headlining George Mason University’s Center for the Arts ARTS by George! celebrating the arts and raising funds for student scholarships.
At the gala you’ll perform “Coulda Shoulda Woulda.” What can audience members expect?
It’s a chronological history of my life in musical theater and roles that I coulda played, woulda played, shoulda played and did play.
In your career you’ve played many roles: performing on Broadway in casts, in solo shows and also on television. Does one hold a higher place for you as to how you perform?
They act on their own. There are different techniques for each medium but the medium that really belongs to the actor is stage because they pretty much are in control. The minute the house lights go down and the stage lights come up the actor controls it. Nobody calls cut. There’s no editor shaping their performance. They are shaping their own. I like it all and I’m lucky I get to do it all.
Is there anything specific that you look for in a character?
I have to relate to the material. It has to be something I feel is important to say and exciting to try to interpret. As far as the solo concerts are concerned though, that’s a whole different ball game. A lot of people are doing solo concerts because we have to generate our own work. They are a lot of fun because the performer is in charge of the material. We become the playwright and the director and the producer. For stage productions, I will accept a role if it is an interesting director and an interesting project.
What advice would you give to those trying to break into acting?
Studying is the key for longevity in a career. A lot of people want to just become stars. Acting is a craft. Singing is a craft. And it requires training. If I didn’t have the training that I’ve had at Julliard School in drama and the singing lessons I’ve taken throughout my career, I don’t think I would have had as long a career that I’ve had. Success is longevity.
What advice did you give your son, Joshua Johnston, when he entered acting?
He has to study. He graduated Ithica College. He spent a year with The Acting Company, but it’s a muscle and it needs to be constantly worked. I encourage him, as he looks for new work, to continue studying. I keep learning, and that is one of the cool things about our profession, as is the case in most professions if you are open to it, to keep learning about it. I keep making discoveries every time I practice. It is a very difficult profession now because there are so many reality stars. But it’s a noble profession and it needs to be respected. And it needs to be learned; there is a history here. I’d encourage [students] to study and learn the history and learn the craft and to respect it.
Do you feel the field is opening up with the smaller cities having their own theater scenes?
Oh yes, I don’t think theater exists solely in New York City and Chicago. Regional theater is thriving across the country. I would think if someone wanted to become an actor they would be able to explore other avenues. And New York isn’t the be all and end all. It really isn’t. There is great work being done in Chicago, Minneapolis, Louisville and Virginia.
ARTS by George!
George Mason University’s Center for the Arts
Posted by Editorial / Monday, September 15th, 2014
By Bailey Lucero-Carter
Ever wanted to help make a musical? This Saturday, at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, you can.
Broadway’s Next Hit Musical is a musical comedy performance that the actors and actresses make up during the show, and with the audience’s participation, the show does go on.
Broadway’s Next Hit Musical is an impromptu act that incorporates lyrics, melodies and scenes with the help of suggestions made by the audience. Rob Schiffmann—performer, co-producer and co-director of the show— said he delights in the show’s ability to blow audiences away.
“It’s really very difficult for them to believe that we’re up there making up songs and scenes and full musicals based on their suggestions, but that’s in fact what we’re doing,” says Schiffmann.
The 90-minute performance begins with cast members composing whimsical show tunes based on the audience’s input. Then, the audience votes for its favorite song, which the cast transforms into an improvised Broadway-style musical. The show comes complete with memorable characters, inventive dialogue and plenty of plot twists to provide loads of laughter and fun.
Broadway’s Next Hit Musical originated in New York City and has been touring in cities around the country since 2011. Many times, the show has stopped in Virginia. “We’re constantly in Virginia,” laughs Schiffmann. “We get booked there a lot.”
While this weekend will mark the show’s first time in Manassas, Schiffmann and his team have a special way of fitting in with the local scene. “Whenever we go to a new community, we try to learn about the community so we can infuse that information into the show, so certainly Manassas will take a large role in the show itself,” Schiffmann says.
Become a part of the musical production that features Manassas and you. Tickets are on sale now.
Broadway’s Next Hit Musical
Hylton Performing Arts Center
10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas
Sept. 20, 8 p.m.
$44, $37, $26
Posted by Editorial / Friday, September 12th, 2014
By Andy Tran
The spotlight shines down while you’re pretending the make-believe Granny Smith apple in your hand is bait to capture the Loch Ness Monster, played by your friend, swimming below the stage on which you’re standing.
This is improv.
A fellow improv teammate then decides the Granny Smith apple in your hand is a giant harpoon gun and the Loch Ness Monster is a invisible goldfish. You take the giant harpoon gun and you shoot it at the goldfish, missing it by several inches. The invisible goldfish jumps up from the water and flops onto the stage. You groan and slap your knee. The audience roars with laughter. And then the scene ends and a new one commences.
This is what a night in the life of the Mason Improv Association feels like. The George Mason University-based improv group will be hosting a September show Friday at the Johnson Center Bistro. It will be the first time that three improv teams: Big in Certain Countries, Mason Improv and Reaven Stevens will be performing at one show. Each team has 15-20 minutes to do its improv performance.
Improv members typically do long-form improv. First they invite someone on stage and interview them, using topical questions, and the answers inspire the scenes. The scenes are then depicted through the humor in those stories, heightening and exaggerating those details to form a scene. The interviews and the scenes compose sets. Some themes and characters go back into the set, becoming cyclical.
Former president of the Mason Improv Association Paul Laudiero started the improv scene at Mason in Fall 2010 by approaching the theater department to gauge whether the school’s actors would be interested in participating. After recruiting some students, the group started having shows on and off-campus, performing at festivals like the Del Close Marathon in New York and the District Improv Festival in Washington, D.C. Also, Mason Improv has performed regularly at the Washington Improv Theater.
Stephen Mann, a member of Reaven Stevens, is an improv performer who loves the craft.
“My favorite thing about improv is when you’re in front of the audience and you’re getting them involved in the joke and why it’s funny. The audience gets to see the process of a joke coming into fruition; both the performer and the audience are in on the joke.”
What you’re going to see at Friday’s show are people doing scenes, and at points you’ll think that they have prepared and rehearsed beforehand. Every team has different styles: Mason Improv does interviews, Reaven Stevens will be doing work with two people, and Big in Certain Countries only need a suggestion to get the comedy rolling.
“In any long-form improv scene, we begin by getting inspiration from the audience, that way the know that it is all spontaneously happening,” said Rebecca Wahls, president of the Mason Improv Association.
“We like to interview an audience member onstage to begin. After that, anything goes: improvisers are inspired by things the audience member said and initiate scenes off of it. Each scene will have an ‘unusual thing’ in it, which is where the comedy comes from. We play the unusual thing to its fullest extent and then move on to another one.”
When asked if improv can get competitive Wahls said, “Yes! In March, Washington Improv Theater hosts the Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament (FIST), a March madness, bracket style competition for for three person teams. At Mason, we’ll be hosting a Cage Match in December, a competition style and name borrowed from the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York.”
Mason Improv Association Show
Friday, Sept. 12, 10 p.m.
Johnson Center Bistro GMU, Free
Posted by Editorial / Thursday, September 11th, 2014
By Andy Tran
The DC Shorts Film Festival is back. Starting tonight, 135 short films from 25 different countries hit local theaters in the District and Merrifield, showcasing the talent of storytelling in a two-to 30-minute span. New to the festival: 17 90-minute film showcases with a mix of drama, Sci-Fi, animation, documentaries, comedies and experimental films. Q&As with the filmmakers will follow the screenings, as well as parties.
To get you started, here is a taste of some Northern Virginia talent represented at the festival.
By Jaclyn Noel
“The Champion” is three- to four-minute film that centers on a young boy (played by Xandro Martin) who is enthralled by an Olympic swimming event. He dreams of being on the team, yet his initiative to practice ends with two broken arms. His fascination, however, is undaunted. Inspired by her college roommate, Kelly Marchisio, who had a dream of being a diver when she was a child, Jaclyn Noel directed, produced (with Nick Young) and wrote the film.
‘The Voyage of Discovery’
By Carla Schaffer
What inspires an artist? How do scientists bring their work to the masses in an intriguing way? And, is biology worthy of an artistic work? In Carla Schaffer‘s documentary, “The Voyage of Discovery,” the world of art meshing with science is brought to the forefront. Schaffer interviewed three D.C. artists—Jessica Beels, Ellyn Weiss and Michele Banks, whom she met while working at American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)—about the inspiration of science in their creative process, and their goal of drawing interest to what scientists are doing.
By Joe Dzikiewicz
“12-step” is a screenplay written by Joe Dzikiewicz that follows Count Dracula as he enters a 12-step program to rehabilitate his past transgressions. He goes to a bar and tries to make amends with Mina, a damsel in distress who wants nothing to do with him. Frankenstein and The Wolfman also make appearances. Dzikiewicz will participate in the Screenplay Competition that allows the audience to listen to a table reading.
Posted by Editorial / Thursday, September 11th, 2014
By Michael Balderston
Anyone who has ever picked up a golf club has dreamed of what it would be like to sink a putt on the 18th green to win a major tournament. This weekend, many Virginia amateurs will get that chance as the Virginia State Golf Association’s 38th Annual Mid-Amateur Tournament comes to The Golf Club at Lansdowne this Friday, Sept. 12, through Sunday, Sept. 14.
The 120-player field for the Mid-Amateur features a wide range of golfers from all over Virginia, the youngest of which is 25 and the oldest is 66. Each golfer was selected for the event based on their personal handicap score. Most of these golfers hold jobs outside of the sport, which is why Assistant Director of Rules and Competition for the VSGA, Josh Coates, calls the Mid-Amateur “the working man’s tournament.”
The first round will be played on the Greg Norman-designed course, a par 72 layout that features beautiful views of the Potomac River and Goose Creek as its backdrop. Saturday’s second round will then shift over to Lansdowne’s second course, the Robert Trent Jones II-designed course, another par 72 featuring woodlands, stone outcroppings and century old rock walls. After the first two rounds the field will be trimmed down to 45 players for the final round back on the Norman course on Sunday.
Spectators are welcome to come walk the course for all three rounds for free. Tee times begin at 7:30 a.m. from both the front and back nine on both Friday and Saturday. Sunday tee times again start at 7:30 a.m., but all groups will tee off from the front nine. Parking will be limited on Friday at the resort due to another event, but will be back to normal for Saturday and Sunday.
“We are thrilled to be hosting an event of this caliber at The Golf Club at Lansdowne,” said Director of Golf Craig Forgash in a press release. “All of the staff here take a great deal of pride in knowing that we were chosen based on our past performances in tournament action and we strive to improve upon that reputation.”
38th Annual Mid-Amateur Tournament
The Golf Club at Lansdowne
44050 Woodbridge Pkwy, Lansdowne, 20176
Posted by Editorial / Monday, September 8th, 2014
By Bailey Lucero-Carter
Get ready for some fluffy, wet-nosed fun this Saturday in Arlington at the first DogFest Walk ‘N Roll. This event is hosted by Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization that does a lot of work worth celebrating.
Canine Companions for Independence, or CCI, is one of the largest organizations that provides service dogs to individuals with disabilities. It is also provides these service dogs for free. The organization hopes to inspire joy and greater independence in individuals who benefit from their helpful companions.
DogFest Walk ‘N Roll, which several CCI beneficiaries are expected to attend, is outdoors, handicap-accessible and open to anyone who loves dogs. In addition to the one-mile ceremonial walk, DogFest will include live music by Alicia Rae, dog contests, vendors, a dog agility course, face painting, appearances by Miss Maryland USA Taylor Burton and plenty of furry friends.
CCI was founded in 1975, and since then 4,460 dog-and-human teams have graduated from training to become long-lasting friends.
“It’s really based on the volunteer work and the sponsorship,” says Laura Clark, chair for the Washington D.C. DogFest Walk ‘N Roll and a volunteer puppy raiser. She is currently raising Kiva, a 15-month old black lab-retriever mix that will soon go into advance training to become a service dog. Clark is one of over 3,000 active volunteers nationwide that help raise, train, and care for the dogs, which are all bred by CCI.
“I contribute about a year and a half of my time to raise a puppy before she goes on to advance training,” Clark says. “It’s just a collective effort.”
DogFest Walk ‘N Roll
1201 South Joyce Street, Arlington
Sept. 13, 9 a.m. – noon
Posted by Editorial / Friday, September 5th, 2014
By Andy Tran
Last week, we had the chance to sit down with Beer N Black, a Vienna-based hip-hop group composed of JRock and Tweeter. They have a show coming up at Jammin’ Java on Sept. 6 with local artist Bo Jankans, along with DJ Ragz and Kane Mayfield. Expect the group to give a high-energy, crowd engaging set. They have West Coast cadences with a bit of Southern twang, impeccable rhyme schemes, and the mindsets of Deejays in the way they control the crowd with their bombastic beats and colorful lyrics.
I see that you guys are great friends; can you give me the story of how you bonded and developed your group?
JRock: We first met before college, but we didn’t know each other, we were playing basketball. He thought he was really good, real flashy. I was guarding him and I scratched his arm. Fast forward, second semester at CNU, we both pledged at the same fraternity PI Lambda PHI, and from there when you’re in your own pledge class, we were forced to depend on each other during the pledging process. We started being partners in beer pong and we went to the same classes, and always being with each other, having each other’s back, that all developed our friendship. Also after college we ended up being roommates.
Tweeter: I’m from Madison in the mountains in Virginia. The Walmart is 21 miles away. And I know that because my father walked from there and all the way back home. It’s a country area. I can say I’ve always been into urban things. I didn’t really listen to hip hop when I was growing up, but the first time I really ever got into hip hop I listened to Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise.” Before that, I was listening to a lot of blues—BB King and 70’s soul a lot of Marvin Gaye. I had no idea that I could rap until my friend rhymed about my sister, and I freestyled back to him and crushed it. At the time our friend Big Dave had passed away from cancer and it was a huge blow to me. We were both invested in hip hop, and when he passed hip hop grew serious for me. Marty Diggs is the first guy we ever rapped with on a song called “Smart Guy.” And then the first ever show we did was with him and the whole set was sick. Last month, at Jammin’ Java, we gave him a three-song set and he came over and crushed it.
What was it like to open for Pusha T at Echo Stage last summer? And how did you find the opportunity?
JRock: The opportunity was awesome. We got a connect from my guy Chris and he knew a guy who does promo named Jamal. He listened to our music and asked us [if] we can get around 200 people for the show. We ended up getting 300. So we went there and did our promo, talked to fans from Richmond and North Carolina, a lot of people came to support us from Charlotte. We learned no matter how large the show is, you have to adapt to the situation and the environment. We were supposed to do a 30-minute set, and we ended up doing a 10-minute set. But it was still a great opportunity to play in front of 1,100 people, at a great venue. We got the chance to get exposure, but we felt our fans wanted more from the experience.
How did you guys come up with the name Beer N Black?
Tweeter: Basically every Thursday night after college we were in that limbo space when we would smoke some Black & Milds, go out to bars and drink, and go to work on Friday hungover. So we would be in a room, smoking and drinking, hanging out, listening to beats and think up of songs. Beer and Black & Milds were a huge influence in forming the name. We just said we drink beer; we smoke blacks, that’s what we do, that’s our name.
Does Northern Virginia influence your sound? Has Vienna inspired any of your songs?
JRock: I would say that Northern Virginia embraces our style, more than influences it. We made the same sound, since we began until now, and we’ve improved our skills. We used to have a party background, I think this area is full of people who went to college, who kinda party but are going through that transition with having babies, going to jobs, paying bills. Our group and our audience have transitioned with us. We’re young professional people facing the same things they are.
Panty Droppers is the new album, what was the process in creating it? Such as writing lyrics, producing tracks, and recording songs?
JRock: It actually is four songs, and they were done for our full-length album. But then we decided not to put so many love-tracks on it. They’re all about women; all focused on them, what we love about them … our women. Our process is all in home studios. We’re big on doing things ourselves. Up to this point we’ve done independent home-based recordings. But that will change in the next week and a half. Before we were doing the grunt work, making sure the sound levels were checked. Maybe it’s better for other people doing the sound balancing, and if people show us a professional ear.
227 Maple Ave. E, Vienna
September 6 @ 10 p.m.
Posted by Editorial / Thursday, September 4th, 2014
By Michael Balderston
Are you ready for some football? The Centreville Wildcats have the community amped up for their season-opener against Gonzaga College High School.
The Wildcats are the first high school from Fairfax County to play on national television. Coming off an undefeated season and state championship, Centreville Director of Student Activites Jimmy Sanabria and head football coach Chris Haddock had a crazy idea – why not try and get our team on ESPN?
Initially slated to play T.C. Williams, Sanabria and Haddock were worried that game would not be a match-up of interest to ESPN. Instead, they looked to private school powerhouse Gonzaga, ranked No. 2 behind Centreville in The Washington Post’s All-Met Preseason Top 20, as an enticing option. Centreville, Gonzaga, T.C. Williams and Dunbar agreed to switch up the schedule so Centreville and Gonzaga would meet for the Wildcats’ season opener.
In June, it was confirmed the Wildcats had earned one of the spots for ESPN’s GEICO 2014 High School Football Showcase, 12 games featuring the best high school football teams in the country. Quickly after the announcement, Sanabria said his office was flooded with emails and phone calls from current students and alums ecstatic about the game, including ESPN’s own Lindsay Czarniak and current Denver Broncos center—and former Washington Redskin—Will Montgomery.
Community support has also been strong, as a local resident came into Sanabria’s office decked out in Wildcat apparel to express his excitement during an interview with the Centreville administrator.
That is what this is all about, said Sanabria, a chance to show off the Centreville community.
“We do things here the right way,” says Sanabria. “It shows in our alumni, and how the kids leave this place to be successful businessmen, doctors, teachers, lawyers. It’s a great opportunity to show this community and what it is when a school is a big part of the community.”
As for the team, even after winning the 6A state championship last year, the Wildcats were pretty excited to hear they would get to play on ESPN. “It’s a unique opportunity that only a handful of full of high school kids get to have every year,” says coach Haddock.
Though he is aware the atmosphere will be different than any other game – Sanabria said he expects a crowd close to 7,000 – Haddock said has tried to keep things normal because, “at the end of the day we have to play a football game.”
Most important for Haddock, outside of a win, is that his team “leaves the game with a level of pride that they showed well for themselves, their team, their school, their community and northern Virginia football.”
Centreville will play Gonzaga on Friday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. at Centreville High School. Tickets are $5. Watch the game on TV on ESPNU.