Posts Tagged ‘Falls Church’

When Lady Gaga meets Falls Church folk

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

From left to right: Julie Ann Greene, Lea Mae Rice Camarda, Larry Rice. Photo courtesy of Larry Rice.

From left to right: Julie Ann Greene, Lea Mae Rice Carda, Larry Rice. Photo by Tim Camarda.

By Matthew Tracy

Most people know “Poker Face.” They know that Lady Gaga wants to “hold ‘em like they do in Texas, please.” And in Falls Church, folk band The Big Cheese holds ‘em like they do in Virginia.

The Big Cheese’s tagline is “‘Cripple Creek’ meets Lady Gaga.” Using old time folk tunes, they put a special twist on pop classics such as “Poker Face.”

Bandleader Larry Rice gives the lowdown on their music: “The oldest tune that we play is from the 1500s,” he says. “It’s a really old folk tune, but it’s a cool melody. It’s timeless. We take old songs, and we sort of mash them up.”

Rice’s music career began in a band with his brother when he was growing up in Falls Church. He then went on to cofound country rock band Flatbush in Cleveland and made a name for himself in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Flatbush released two 45s and an LP during its time together. One tune, “Snug as a Bug in a Rug,” became a Cleveland radio hit in 1979, yet Flatbush broke up soon after this success. Rice chose to continue with music, making a part-time gig as a music teacher in Falls Church his full-time passion.

The Big Cheese performing at Epicurean Café. Photo courtesy of Larry Rice.

The Big Cheese performing at Epicurean Café. Lea Mae Carda (middle) on the mountain dulcimer. Photo courtesy of Larry Rice.

Just eight years ago Rice formed The Big Cheese with his former mandolin student Julie Anne Greene and his daughters Lea Mae Camarda and Shannon Rice, who is on performance hiatus while serving in the Navy.

“I’d have to say it’s just as fun (as Flatbush); it’s just different,” says Larry Rice.

Fans can tell they have a fun time from the humor of recent novelty tunes like “Redneck Cappuccino,” a song about Mountain Dew, and “Harvey,” which is about what Rice calls a fierce “ninja cat.” And one thing that makes The Big Cheese different is its members’ variety of tastes.

“Shannon is a little more modern. Julie’s into traditional; she’s into bluegrass in particular as a mandolin player,” Rice says. “And it’s sort of a democratic band. Everybody picks the song they want to do.”

The band also stands out in its choice of instruments. “(Lea Mae Carda) plays the (mountain) dulcimer, and literally a crowd gathers round because most people have never seen one,” Rice says. “It’s a very traditional sound, but when you put it into some newer music, it’s kind of a cool tune.”

The Big Cheese uses ten different acoustic instruments, giving them vibrancy other local bands lack.

“All our instruments are acoustic,” Rice says. “But mixed together with more modern approaches, it’s really neat music.”

Audiences can see Larry Rice perform with Lea Mae Carda and three of his fiddle students Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Epicure Cafe in Fairfax in anticipation of the band’s “Live Culture” CD release party on March 28.

To learn more, visit Larry Rice’s site or The Big Cheese’s Facebook page.


Arctic air breaks weather records; Defendant accused of attempted hits on child witnesses

By Carten Cordell

Arctic air breaks weather records

Virginia bills duel over limits on Police use of Drones

Va. House kills bill on Herndon elections
(The Washington Post)

Falls Church defendant allegedly asked about hit man to kill child witnesses
(The Washington Post)

Ethics legislation in Virginia still leave many questions

After Trial Run, French Chef Bertrand Chemel Will Continue Leading Pizzeria Orso (and 2941)

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Photo Courtesy of Pizzeria Orso

Photos Courtesy of Pizzeria Orso

By Stefanie Gans

Before December, Bertrand Chemel never made pizza.

The French chef who quit school at 16 to cook for a living has made terrines, sausages, pasta, and even worked under Daniel Boulud, but the 39-year-old chef of 2941—and now the corporate chef of Pizzeria Orso—never attempted the Italian classic. 

After Orso’s most recent chef, Will Artley, left the Falls Church restaurant in October (he’s now cooking at D.C.’s BLT Steak), Chemel stepped in as 2941 and Orso share ownership. Chemel was supposed to be a placeholder until Orso found a new face, but Chemel wanted the challenge of developing the menu and learning how to toss dough; he will fly to California in March to train for his VPN certification.  

The basis of the menu will not stray from Artley’s touches, making the family-friendly Orso much more than a pizza place with plenty of interesting small plates and entrees. Chemel’s Orso menu debuted yesterday. / Pizzeria Orso, 400 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church

Falls Church’s supernatural series, Malice, spotlighted at Rosebud festival

Posted by Editorial / Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Rosebud Film Festival

Photo courtesy of Philip J. Cook.

By Matthew Tracy

Falls Church may be rich in history, but now it’s ground zero for a wave of supernatural turbulence the world has never seen.

So goes the premise behind the award-winning web series “Malice,” created by Falls Church native Philip J. Cook and now available on YouTube. Described as “‘Juno’ meets ‘The Shining’“, “Malice” is the story of the Turners, a family who moves into their late grandmother’s house in Northern Virginia only to find something evil this way comes. It’s up to daughter Alice, played by Herndon native Brittany Martz, to save the family from a wicked fate.

Malice webseries

(From left to right) Actress Brittany Martz (Alice Turner); Director Philip J. Cook; Actor Mark Hyde (Nate Turner); Actress Cathryn Benson (Carolyn). Photo courtesy of Philip J. Cook

Alice’s latest adventure takes her to the heavens in “Malice: 1999,” which is part of the Showcase Lineup at the 25th Rosebud Film & Video Festival happening this weekend at the Artisphere in Arlington.

Cook is a seasoned veteran of the film industry. In 1992, his first film, “Outerworld“, reached a national audience when it aired on Syfy. He has made a new name for himself with “Malice,” and he did it through YouTube, an outlet he says has opened the market for different kinds of storytelling.

 “(YouTube) allows people to make their own media, which was impossible 20 years ago,” Cook says. “If you said (back then): ‘Hey, there’s this free international distribution platform. It costs no money. You don’t need a distributor. They don’t take 20 percent. And you can reach a wide audience right now, from your home,’ you would have thought that’s crazy.”

Although YouTube has changed how creators reach audiences, it can be difficult to break into the broader media landscape. Cook describes the Rosebud Film Festival as a major conduit for area filmmakers.

“There’s a lot of work that gets done in town, but we haven’t yet crossed the threshold into theatrical releases or mainstream cable television,” Cook says. “Like everybody, we’re all struggling, trying to get our projects made, financed and released. And that’s why Rosebud is a fun thing.”

Open to filmmakers in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., the Rosebud festival seeks to highlight the ” innovative, unusual, experimental, and deeply personal” in regional short-film cinema.

“What I really love about it is they’re really proactive in trying to connect with the local community in terms of getting the message out on all these people,” Cook says.

Audiences can see Cook’s “Malice: 1999″ and more at the Rosebud Film Festival this Saturday, Jan. 24, in Arlington, Virginia.

For more information, visit


Warm Up this Winter with Paint-Your-Own Pottery

Posted by Editorial / Friday, January 9th, 2015

Pottery painting in Northern Virginia

Photo courtesy of Brian A Jackson/

By Micaela Williamson

Your house is already too messy from snow days and delayed openings. Bring the kids to one of these great paint-your-own pottery places in Northern Virginia to create one-of-a kind treasured gifts to last a lifetime and get the creative spirits flowing.


Art from the Heart
325 Garrisonville Road
Stafford, 22554

No appointment is needed at this creative little studio. Try your hand at the great paint-your-own pottery selection or glass fusing. There are also “Pottery to Go” kits that allow customers to paint their pieces at home and bring it back to the studio for glazing. Refer to their website to learn about special events, such as a monthly homeschool days, preschool story hours, ladies’ nights and much more.


Clay Cafe Chantilly
13894 Metrotech Drive
Chantilly, 20151

Clay Cafe Falls Church
101 North Maple Ave.
Falls Church, 22046

These award-winning pottery studios continuously offer the largest selection of pottery and glass fusion pieces in the metro area. Plus, all materials are non-toxic, lead free and safe for the environment. Besides pottery, young artists can participate in origami, bottle cap magnets, scrapbooking, beading and card making. Always check the website for special events, coupons, and promotions.


Color Me Mine Ashburn
22855 Brambleton Plaza
Ashburn, 20148

Color Me Mine Fairfax
4209 Fairfax Corner Ave.
Fairfax, 22030

So much at the Color Me Mine locations is geared towards families. There are frequent kids’ nights out and pajama paints on the calendar. All the paint used is non-toxic and safe for kids. Both studios are in great locations (Brambleton and Fairfax Corner) near lots of shops and restaurants.


Jimmy Potters
6504 Williamsburg Blvd.
Arlington, 22213

The motto at Jimmy Potters Studio is “there are no mistakes in pottery,” and they strive to create a fun, artistic space for people of all ages.  Jimmy Potters offers open studio time for clay work and paint-your-own ceramics, as well as parties, workshops, and special events. Their special handprint pieces make the perfect keepsake, and a staff member will even come to your home, upon request, to capture your little one’s handprint.


Kiln & Co.
132 Church St., NW
Vienna, 22180

Artists of all ages are invited to work with pottery, sculpture, painting and other mediums at this new whimsical studio in downtown Vienna. Special classes and workshops are offered like Mommy & Me (ages 12 & under), Cupcake Sundays, Daddy-Daughter Date Night and Come Play Footies Fridays.

Paint This
1013 King Street
Alexandria, 22314

Situated in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, Paint This is a great outing. Families can select to paint pottery products such as dinnerware, ceramic pieces, and picture frames, or have a go at mosaics or glass fusion. Please check the website or call ahead for special events and promotions.


Paint Your Own Pottery
10417 Main Street
Fairfax, 22030

With a selection of over 600 pieces, everyone is bound to find something they want to paint. All their glazes are lead free and non-toxic. Studio hours, coupons, and updates are constantly updated on the website.


Courtesy of Tiffany Brown, Mamaratzy Photography

Micaela Williamson is a co-author of local travel guide, Kid Trips Northern Virginia, an extraordinary resource that provides descriptions, useful information and insider tips for hundreds of local destinations. Micaela is also an award winning blogger who enjoys supporting area businesses and scouting out family-friendly venues with her two young sons.

10 Things to Do with Kids in January

Edited by Bailey Lucero-Carter

Reston Camp Expo

Photo courtesy of Mark Regan Photography.

1Reston Camp Expo
It’s never too early to look into summer camps for kids. Over a dozen local non-profit organizations will be at the Reston Camp Expo displaying their offerings. Kids are encouraged to come for activities and games provided by the organizations while parents can speak with counselors and representatives about summer programs. / Jan. 24


2Creative Cauldron: Open House
Step into a world of wonder at this second annual open house event at Creative Cauldron in Falls Church. Families and friends can participate in theatrical workshops, classes and performances for free. The performances will feature ethnic and world musicians, professional actors and puppetry. / Jan. 17-18


Cinderella’s Ball at Encorestage

Photo courtesy of pinkyone/

3Cinderella’s Ball
Join Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother and more of your favorite characters for this magical event. Attendees will waltz, drink tea and make crafts. One ticket allows one child and one parent to attend Cinderella’s Ball in honor of Encore Stage’s performance of ‘Cinderella.’ / Jan. 10


Drop-In Snow and Story at Prince William Ice Center

Photo courtesy of the Prince William Ice Center.

4Drop-In Snow and Story at Prince William Ice Center
Toddlers and preschoolers can play on the ice of the Prince William Ice Center like never before. Sleds and tricycles will be on the ice for kids to use, along with shovels and buckets for playing with snow. After, relax with a cup of hot chocolate during story time. / Through Jan. 1


Gustafer Yellowgold

Photo courtesy of Dion Ougust.

5Gustafer Yellowgold
The children’s book and musical sensation Gustafer Yellowgold makes an appearance at Jammin Java in this multimedia show. The pinecone-loving adventurer from the sun will be drawn to life on-screen while creator Morgan Taylor provides storytelling and live singing, featuring the hit single “Cakenstein.” / Jan. 10


Sugarloaf Craft Festival

Photo courtesy of Sugarloaf Craft Festival.

6Sugarloaf Craft Festival
The Sugarloaf Craft Festival returns to Chantilly with over 250 artisans, hands-on demonstrations and costume storytelling for the kids. Middle Earth puts on a show that allows children to dress up and perform as the storyteller spins a tale. With events for kids and adults, this craft festival appeals to all ages. / Jan. 30-Feb. 1


7Move & Groove with Mr. Skip
Get your kids moving to the music with Mr. Skip. Every first Monday of the month, Mr. Skip sings classic kids songs like “Old MacDonald” and “The ABC Song” with children 5 years and under. The event in Fairfax’s Old Town Hall is a musical and mobile sensation that will even have parents tapping along. / Jan. 5


8GRACE Art for Preschoolers
 The Greater Reston Arts Center has expanded its popular GRACE Art program for children ages 4 and 5. In partnership with the Reston Community Center, GRACE Art for Preschoolers teaches art appreciation to children through presentations and interactive craft projects in each of the seven sessions. / Jan. 5-Feb. 23


“Flights of Fancy” – Stories for Children

Photo courtesy of Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

9“Flights of Fancy” – Stories for Children
Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning at the Udvar-Hazy Center, children can enjoy a storytime session with the museum staff. This month features the children’s story “My First Airplane Ride” by Patricia Hubbell. After the story, kids ages 2- to 8-years old will participate in a hands-on art activity related to the reading. / Jan. 6-27 


Charles Ross: One Man Star Wars Trilogy

Photo courtesy of The Birchmere.

10Charles Ross: One Man Star Wars Trilogy
Fan favorite Charles Ross returns to the Birchmere in Alexandria for his hilarious one-man show. Even without props and costumes, Ross performs the entire Star Wars Trilogy, complete with sound effects and all your favorite characters. For several years, Ross’ show has been enjoyed in Alexandria by audiences of all ages. / Jan. 31 


(January 2015)


32 New and Almost Open Restaurants, Breweries and Coffee Shops in Northern Virginia

Posted by Editorial / Friday, November 7th, 2014

New and Almost Open restaurants in Northern Virginia

Photo courtesy of 360b/

Need a new spot to nosh? Here is a list of new restaurants now open and soon-to open.

&Pizza Arlington, Reagan National Airport, Pizza, $; Expected Nov.

The Beer Joint Brewing Leesburg, Burgers, Bourbon and Beer, $$; Opened Sept.
| MORE: Vintage 50 is now The Beer Joint

Belly Love Brewing Company Purcellville, Beer, $; Expected Nov. 

Bistro 360
Arlington, Mediterranean, $$; Opened Oct. 
| MORE: From Georgian cheese bread to the Central Asian plov, a global dining room.

Read the rest of this entry »

Curry Mantra 2 and Curry Mantra 3 Closing; Asad Sheikh Opening New Indian Restaurant in Arlington

Posted by Editorial / Monday, October 27th, 2014

Curry Mantra & Curry Mantra 2

Curry Mantra & Curry Mantra 2

By Stefanie Gans

“My goal is to go big now,” says Asad Sheikh. The owner of the Curry Mantra chain of Indian restaurants is closing Curry Mantra 2 in Falls Church and Curry Mantra 3 in Vienna to open a bigger, more upscale restaurant in Rosslyn.  

Read the rest of this entry »

Hungry for Linkage: Oh Hi Pumpkin Panang Pizza + Plaka Grill to Open Second Location + Tallula and EatBar Close

Posted by Editorial / Monday, October 27th, 2014

Photo courtesy of Astro Doughnuts

Photo courtesy of Astro Doughnuts

By Stefanie Gans

Pumpkin + Panang Chili Sauce + Pizza. Thank Ashburn‘s Apinya Thai Food Company. [WJLA]

Vienna‘s Plaka Grill to open second location in Falls Church by early next year. [FCT]

Hollywood loves food too: 11 foodie movies from the last three years. [Atlanta]

The 2015 trend-casting starts, with visions of “spicier and funkier” Asian food; “cannabis will move beyond pot brownies”; and hop-free beers. [Food Navigator]

Tallula and EatBar closed on Sunday. 

Be everyone’s best friend when you pick up (October 30-31) a dozen Halloween-themed min-doughnuts ($20) from Astro Doughnuts food truck stationed in Arlington, flavors include: crème brûlée, PB&J, Nutella glazed with jimmies and vanilla glazed with candy toppings of Kit Kat, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and Snickers. 

*This post has been updated

Q&A with Kelly Millspaugh Thompson, Stylish Patina owner and designer

Northern Virginia Kitchen Renovations

Photo courtesy of Reico Kitchen & Bath/BTW Images LLC.

By Jennifer Shapira

Kelly Millspaugh Thompson, owner and designer of Falls Church based Stylish Patina, is currently working on two kitchen renovations for her family’s new home. Here are some of her thoughts on the process and her well-thought-out decisions.

Q: Tell us a little bit about the projects you’re working on.

A: We are renovating our primary kitchen but we also have a little kitchenette in the basement that we are going to gut and put in a fridge, microwave and sink area. In the basement we are planning on going a bit more retro. I actually would love to find a vintage fridge for the basement. I am looking at the new GE Artistry line as a modern alternative. They also make a matching retro microwave for movie nights in the basement.

Q: If there were no size or budget constraints what appliances would you want to put in your kitchen, and why?

A: I would do a Viking gas range. I don’t cook enough to justify it in our kitchen but the Viking line is amazing. If money were no option I would also do custom cabinet coverings for the fridge and dishwasher. I love stainless; however, if you have the money, a true custom kitchen is always a great investment in your home.

Q: What appliances are you planning to put in your new kitchen and how did you decide on them?

A: I decided on the Grab-N-Go™ French Door Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator for a couple reasons: 1) the 32-cubic-foot capacity we needed, 2) The French-door style I find to be the most functional if your kitchen can accommodate it, 3) The Grab & Go door is going to helpful with baby bottles and juice boxes as the kids get bigger, 4) I really like the bottom freezer with the slide-out drawers. I am doing all stainless in our kitchen and still feel it’s the best choice for kitchen remodels.

For the stove, I like the look of a slide-in range if you are not going to be doing a full built-in range, which we are not. I feel it gives a kitchen a custom look with all the knobs and buttons on the front of the stove vs. the back.

Q: How did you decide on the color scheme for the primary kitchen? And what colors will you use in the kitchenette?

A: For the kitchen, the scheme will be gray and white with pops of green (and if my hubby allows maybe a little pink). The cabinetry will be traditional style and the decor will have more modern elements. I decided on the cabinet color scheme primarily because I want something that will stand the test of time and not look outdated in a couple years. And the color scheme I wanted to be neutral, so over time I can play with the different decor elements. For the kitchenette/rec room area we will be going with a retro vibe, most likely with white or black appliances, and then light and airy decor.

Q: Do you think the retro look of appliances has become more popular in recent years? And why do you think that is?

A: Yes, I think vintage in general is becoming “cool” again whether it be furniture, clothes or appliances. People are enjoying the simple lines of the retro appliances and the fun colors they are available in allows customers to express themselves. Also the size in some smaller homes and apartments it’s what fits! I also find when people are renovating at times they like to stick with the era of the home and these modern-day retro appliances allow them to do that.

(October 2014)

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