By Elke Thoms
“It’s 95 degrees outside right now, to me that feels like heaven,” Joey Zitzelberger says, sweat dripping down his face. As documented in their YouTube video, he and colleague Nick White have been locked in a truck for the past 25 minutes—willingly. The temperature Zitzelberger’s longing for is right outside the car door, but he does not open it. The temperature inside the car is 130 degrees. Zitzelberger and White do not free themselves from the vehicle for another 15 minutes.
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Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
By Ariel Yong
For Marc Chretien, cider is not only his beverage of choice, it’s his business of choice. With craft beer booming in Northern Virginia, Chretien is instead turning to a less crowded industry. “Cider is more unique, yet it’s a classic craft beverage where we’re not competing with 2,800 other micro-breweries. And producing a good cider is every bit as difficult as producing a good beer.”
In August, Chretien will open his second cidery—his first in Northern Virginia—named Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery in Middleburg. It joins Winchester Ciderworks, Bold Rock Hard Cider and about a dozen others in the state. He says he prefers cider due to its “lighter, crisper taste,” especially when hoppy micro-brews can be “a heavier drink.”
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By Jessica Godart
Avoid the brain drain with some educational but fun activities to take part in with your kids this summer.
From acting to crafting to dancing and singing, the Center for the Arts features dozens of programs specified for kids this summer. Acting classes include a litany of options such as technical and sound design, auditioning, Broadway, stage lighting and more. For those more vocal with their talents, there are individual coaches available and voice-training seminars.
Perhaps art is more your style? Learn to draw everything from flowers to critters. Or maybe you prefer the digital age? Digital imaging, cartooning and media mash-ups classes are all on the list. Beginner drawing classes, storybook art, pastels, jewelry, even photography and Photoshop courses are offered.
For a more mature crowd still looking to avoid the brain drain, learn a new dance such as West Coast Swing dancing or ballroom style – if you’re prepping for a wedding perhaps the ballroom dancing prep session made especially for wedding season is more your style.
Something for everyone can be found at the art center and you can find a list of classes and their prices here.
Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory
9419 Battle St.
Located off of Hunter Mill Road in Vienna, the zoo offers wagon rides, a petting area, a reptile house and so much more. As kids interact with the animals, they are taught about each one and learn interesting facts with hands-on experience. During the wagon ride, kids and parents have the opportunity to experience a safari-type escapade while mingling with antelope, zebra, ostrich and camels. Throughout the tour, a guide narrates what the kids are seeing and provides tidbits about each animal.
Ticket prices and zoo hours can be found here.
1228 Hunter Mill Road
Get the full 18th century experience with your kids as they travel back in time to 1771, when life was just a little bit simpler. The Claude Moore Colonial Farm features several educational programs specifically designed to teach kids farm skills, how to live like a colonial settler. For children ages 10-17, there is a volunteer program where they will take on the role of a child in the 18th century, complete with period outfit and chores to provide upkeep of the farm.
On July 19 and 20, parents and kids also have the opportunity to join the farm for their Summer Colonial Market Fair. During the fair, there will be merchants selling period toys and clothes, fencing lessons, hands-on crafting and even the chance to make a candle with just a wick and wax. Period food and music are also available as families relax in an 18th century atmosphere.
Check out the calendar of events for details and links for prices.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm
6310 Georgetown Pike
The Sully Plantation Historic Site hosts living history events throughout the summer ranging from the Revolutionary War to World War II. With kid-friendly events such as a hand-sewing workshop and ice cream making, the plantation provides entertainment for the entire family.
On July 12 and 13, WWII camps will be set up throughout the site with portrayed soldiers and civilians performing different jobs during the war. With the price of admission, parents and kids will be able to experience life in the 1940s in a real WWII camp site and also take a tour of the Sully House at the plantation.
Sully goes back even further in time on Aug. 16 and 17 with the Civil War Encampment Weekend. Watch federal and Confederate troops as they re-enact battles and meet them as they portray what camp life was like 150 years ago. Also including a house tour with price of admission, the site will host artifacts belonging actual residents of the plantation in the mid-19th century.
Click here for details and prices on workshops and living history days.
3650 Historic Sully Way
Posted by Editorial / Monday, June 30th, 2014
By Emily Rust
School’s out, the pool’s already getting old and the kids’ summer boredom has set in. To change up the routine, hit these local events in between Fourth of July parades and festivals.
National Geographic Kids Club
July 1, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Even indoors, insects rule this month’s kids club. For a shopping break, Bob the Bug Man will help children wrangle up bugs using a bug net and magnifying glass. Snacks, music, a bug themed story and games will help children learn more about creepy crawlies. Insider tip: To hear about more kids events, register for free online. Show your membership card to the Concierge Desk to receive a free Tysons Corner Center Balloon. / Bloomingdale’s Court Level One, Tysons Corner Center; 1961 Chain Bridge Road, McLean; free
Taratibu Youth Association
July 3, 10:30 a.m.
The Maryland-based youth dance company performs hip-hop, modern and traditional African dance, teaching children about African and African-American culture. Ranging in age from 11 to 18, dancers combine vocal performances with dance. Their Wolf Trap performance will include a new Taratibu piece that encourages audience participation. / Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, Wolf Trap; 1551 Trap Road, Vienna; $8
Parent/Child Arts and Crafts Workshop
July 5, 10 a.m.-noon
If you’re already tired of the oppressive summer heat, remember the days of winter chill with “Winter in July” themed crafts. Little ones will decorate paper plates with scenes of Santa’s summer vacation and artist Pat Mcintyre will help them turn their creations into snowglobes. / Reston Art Gallery & Studios; 11400 Washington Plaza West, Reston; free
Patty Shukla Kids Music
July 5, 10:30 a.m.
With six music apps, 5 CDs and more than 77,000 YouTube subscribers, Patty Shukla is ready to keep children entertained. Her interactive performance and upbeat songs will keep your keeps awake on Saturday morning. / Jammin Java; 227 Maple Ave E, Vienna; $8
Kids Fishing Clinic
July 5, 11 a.m.
Bring a fishing pole and head out to the Occoquan Reservoir, to learn the basics of fishing. Children will learn about different types of fish and how to adjust their fishing rods accordingly. Later on, families can rent boats or hit the trail and bike beginner, intermediate and advance loops. / Fountainhead Regional Park; 10875 Hampton Road, Fairfax Station; free, reservations required
The Ice Queen
July 5, 1 p.m.
For fairytale lovers, this original play follows the story of the Ice Queen’s quest to find love including trouble with Jack Frost along the way. / Workhouse Arts Center; 9601 Ox Road, Lorton; $9-12
Posted by Editorial / Monday, June 30th, 2014
By Ariel Yong
Earlier this month, härth, the restaurant inside Hilton McLean Tysons Corner appointed new executive chef Luc A. Dendievel to continue the restaurant’s farm-to-table cuisine. The Belgium-born chef spent the last four years at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., previously opened restaurants in New York City and Sacramento and worked with famed chefs Michel Richard and Antoine Westermann.
What will you change on härth’s menu?
We’re going to keep the concept farm-to-table, but I want to upgrade the menu and modernize it. I’m still working with fresh vegetables and whatever comes from the farm, but my cuisine is more about a very, very light sauce. I work a lot with vegetable juice, things like that.
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As a chef, you always want to work with the season and whatever is available. This is how we should cook and not necessarily trying to get asparagus in the middle of July/August when the season is in March. Same with mushrooms. Same with seafood. We say ‘farm’, but it’s mostly what nature gives us and we work with that. It would be sad when it’s time for a season not to use [foods that are in season].
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For some Northern Virginia’s artists, making art has become intertwined with spreading cultural awareness and expressing a passion for the betterment of society. –Shelby Robinson
Richard Knox Robinson
“I didn’t go into making films to be an activist, I just researched my films too much and found information that I couldn’t reconcile with,” says Richard Knox Robinson. His interest in research and film took the Reston native from a photography job with National Geographic to George Mason University for a graduate degree in filmmaking, with his first film setting the scene for a turbulent career.
“I really didn’t expect beekeeping to be political,” he says about “The Beekeepers,” (2009) his entry into the filmmaking world. It began with his interest in beekeeping but became more about the fate of bees and life as we know it, if the pesticides causing Colony Collapse Disorder are not regulated.
Controversy has since followed. His second film, “Rothstein’s First Assignment,” (2011) brought Robinson full-on scrutiny. While retracing the work of Arthur Rothstein, one of America’s premier photojournalists, Robinson discovered, through interviews, photo archives and court documents, that the then Resettlement Administration’s relocation project of a community in the Appalachian Mountains was a falsehood. The people Rothstein was so diligently photographing and recording were in fact part of an experimental eugenics program. The film elicited criticism from a Farm Security Administration Scholar and was publicly critiqued by Rothstein’s daughter as well as the Journal of American History.
“[The Journal of American History critic] didn’t critique me on the technique, he tried to critique me on the facts, and he’s wrong. He says it’s untrue because I don’t say who was sterilized in the film, but I can’t and he knows I can’t,” says Robinson referring to the requested anonymity of the still-living Madison County residents who were involved in the program.
James Madison University will be hosting a screening “Rothstein’s First Assignment” this fall, and Robinson’s newest film “Song of the Cicadas,” relating the “prisoners of the underground” to political prisoner Timothy Blunk, and will be at the Mountainfilm festival in Telluride, Colorado.
Composer Jonathan Kolm says he wishes people would remove the stigma around the word “activist” and just see that “being an environmentalist is just being a good citizen. Our long-term safety and health is connected to our immediate surroundings and the air around us, the climate and the world as a whole.”
When Kolm was working on his undergraduate degree at Virginia Commonwealth University, his goal was to graduate and compose beautiful music. However, during his doctoral program, he read Richard Heinburg’s “The Party’s Over,” which discusses issues surrounding the depletion of fossil fuels. This led to a shift in Kolm’s thinking. He’d never been exposed to environmental issues. “By the end of my studies these issues were becoming important to me in my compositions. I was really interested in using my work to deal with some of these issues.”
Kolm’s recent composition, “Terra Secundum” (meaning “earth after”), is a musical reflection on the possible fate of industrialized society. Another, “Renewables,” explores the possibility of renewable energy. Kolm says that his audiences have generally been very supportive and responsive, mentioning, “although activists and environmentalists can’t match the money that’s being put on the other side of the equation, we can use our creativity to reach people and build a larger coalition of citizens to affect change.”
Composing music starts conversations about the environment and brings attention to the issues, he says. “Activists and people who work in environmental fields often feel as though their work doesn’t get noticed or doesn’t get the attention that it deserves or would like. But having art that reflects on the same issues creates a broader dialogue and bigger space to have conversations about change on a bigger level.”
Kolm teaches music and composition at Northern Virginia Community College’s Alexandria Campus and is the faculty advisor of the NVCC Alexandria Green Team. Check Kolm’s website, jonathankolm.com, for upcoming shows and more information about his compositions.
Christopher Morgan is a cultural diplomat. He has performed and worked with dancers and choreographers in Hong Kong, Lithuania, Ireland and Palestine, to name a few.
In 2002, Morgan was commissioned to choreograph a dance in Lithuania called “Ties that Bind,” which used visual metaphors to explore themes of restriction. A particularly moving experience for him because when he choreographed the piece and was working in Lithuania, “They were not so far out of their time as a communist country and being under the Soviet Union. So a lot of the dancers in the company had a perspective on restriction that I couldn’t have personally. … That kind of restriction was something that was new to me.”
From this point on Morgan went on to choreograph dances such as “Rice,” “The Measure of a Man” and “Dissolving,” about racial identity, gender identity and environmentalism, respectively. Morgan remembers “Rice,” which explored his feelings about growing up as an Asian in a predominantly white community through the systematic washing of rice, as being particularly moving to audiences, specifically when weeks after a performance a 12-year old asked him if he had really wished to have lighter skin as a kid. Morgan told the 12 year old that although he felt that way as a kid, he has since learned the value of cultural diversity, specifically in his own background.
Morgan uses his role as a cultural diplomat to open dialogue about pressing issues because he strongly believes that art with deeper motives has the power to move people in a positive direction and that “art informs diplomacy through culture.”
Morgan teaches choreography at American University and his dance company Christopher K. Morgan & Artists frequently performs at the Alden Theatre in McLean. Check for his upcoming shows on his website christopherkmorgan.com.
As a homeowner, if you’re considering updates to your backyard, you may need to enlist the help of local professionals. Part of their work involves dealing with code concerns and obtaining all the building and construction permits to meet your needs, including plumbing, gas and electric. But to get started, check your county’s website to read up on any regulations, as well as va811.com before digging. Here are some tips to consider:
◊ Think about how you want your backyard to function.
◊ How do you want to live in your updated outdoor space?
◊ Do you want an open space like a patio, a partially open space like a pergola or a screened-in porch?
◊ Do you envision an outdoor kitchen? What appliances might you need?
◊ Will you need additional storage?
◊ Will you entertain frequently?
◊ What sort of safety precautions might exist? For example: Are there children? What are their ages?
◊ Will you need a fence?
◊ How much time and maintenance are you willing to put in?
◊ Contact your homeowner’s association regarding any rules and regulations.
◊ If you don’t already have one, obtain a copy of your home’s plat.
◊ Have an idea of what building materials might be used.
◊ Understand that there could be changes to a plan, based on a number of factors (such as being in an RPA).
◊ Be prepared to be flexible on budget costs and aware that sometimes there are surprises.
◊ Try to be creative and imaginative and open to ideas.
◊ Now relax and enjoy your new space.
By Jennifer Shapira
Dave Marciniak’s love of creating artistic, verdant outdoor oases grew out of a background in interior design, and years of working on the temperate west coast have led him to maximize outdoor living spaces in Northern Virginia.
In terms of design elements, Marciniak, owner of Revolutionary Gardens, based in McLean, says the most important aspect of a successful outdoor space is the conception of the perfect gathering spot, while providing a connection to the landscape.
“The first thing I ask [a client] is: ‘How are you going to live in this space? What’s the story you’ve been telling yourself for how a summer night is going to be for you here?’ Then it’s my job to take that information and give them what they want functionally, but also help them make it look great,” says Marciniak.
“Through trellises and tall plantings, you want to feel sort of tucked in and enclosed. On the other hand, if you’re trying to celebrate the house and welcome people into the house, then it becomes more open and creates more of a showpiece for the house. Sometimes I get really artsy-fartsy about it,” he says of his outdoor canvases. “That’s kind of what I go for: people who really want their landscape to fit them like a glove, let their personality shine through.”
So what makes a backyard oasis? It’s a thoughtful combination of a number of elements, no matter the square footage. From a cozy condo balcony to a landscaped pool on number of acres, each space can be well-thought out and tailored to the dweller’s desires.
The first rule, if there are any rules, is to use what space you’ve got. Then think about how the space can better suit your needs. Follow some DIY suggestions, or enlist the help of a team of professionals. To achieve what you want, that might call for a little of both.
There’s a real significance to “outdoor living and entertaining and how people spend their time together, in their off hours,” says Marciniak. “There’s just so many neat things out there.”
Certainly, the star of any outdoor kitchen, large or small, is the grill, sometimes built into the stonework. It’s followed by a cast of secondary appliances—a smoker, a pizza oven, rotisserie grill, refrigerator, a beverage center (complete with a Kegerator, wine coolers, warming and cooling drawers, ice makers)—any of those favorite, hard-working kitchen appliances amped up and reimagined for the outdoors.
Marciniak, who loves to cook, is working on the plans for his own outdoor kitchen, which will include a wood-fired pizza oven, a smoker and a 65,000 BTU power burner, which he says can “rip to a boil” in no time. He puts his work into practice, so he’s all about auditioning the newest grills and cooking techniques that sizzle al fresco.
Outdoor kitchens, already outfitted for evenings of relaxed entertaining, now include new-fangled grill options that encourage social, communal cooking and eating.
“I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet,” says Marciniak of a flat-top grill, a big, round cooking slab, much like what you might see at a Mongolian barbecue restaurant—where everyone makes their choices then prepares them communally. “It’s actually kind of neat because if you’re having a party you can have four or five guests sitting around cooking,” he says.
For a historic home in downtown Fredericksburg, Marciniak worked with the homeowners to realize their ideas of backyard bliss. The pool, with its decorative fountains, was the focal point, but they wanted to be sure to incorporate intimate seating and play areas for entertaining and family gatherings.
“They are both people who love landscape,” says Marciniak. “They love gardens and so it was important to them to have enough space for that.”
He recalls another outdoor area he did for a client who was very sun-sensitive. The solution: a custom pergola which helped define the space, and provided needed coverage. Marciniak installed a remote-operated retractable cover that shaded the client from the sun’s rays.
Drew Crowder, vice president of management and construction at NVblu in Chantilly, has seen his work in commercial design reflect many of these residential design trends. Responsible for the design and landscaping of pools in many of Loudoun County’s newest developments—Brambleton, Stone Ridge, South Riding—he says outdoor living amenities like fire pits, spas, pergolas, gazebos, outdoor kitchens and rockscapes are all finding their way into pools for entire communities to enjoy.
His father, Jack Crowder, president and CEO of NVblu agrees. “What’s been interesting to me is that we’ve been able to infuse a lot of the fun components,” he says, of residential pools into the commercial side.
Known for their artistic takes on those glorious backyard swimming holes, the elder Crowder says that rectangular pools area coming back in style. For a time, he says, freeform pools were the trend.
But now, with features like heat-retaining automatic safety covers and breathtaking negative edges, pools possess a real backyard wow factor—creativity abounds with step entry, benches, spas, built-in tanning ledges and waterfalls—each pool is a work of art.
Jack Crowder recalls one project which included a projection TV, perfect for poolside viewing. At night, a pool can take on a different look entirely: it can be set to glow with color-changing LED lights. Lap pools, with an on switch for resistance, are popular in the backyards of the more-than-recreational swimmer.
But even if your backyard is little more than a postage stamp, it can still become a great spot to unwind. Add an all-weather fire pit with circular seating. Have blankets on hand for chilly nights. Update your after-work perch with an intimate bistro set for toasting the sunset.
No matter a garden’s size, containers always fit. Whether you’re interested in harvesting edibles like herbs or tomatoes or growing gorgeous ornamentals like colorful cabbage or Swiss chard as accents, do so in terracotta pots or industrial-look galvanized steel tubs; whatever fits your style.
Marciniak is currently working on a row house in Northwest that will include a garden and a parking space for future resale value. “For me, it’s such a problem-solving puzzle,” he says. “The projects in D.C. are always interesting because you end up with these really bizarre, narrow, chopped-up little spaces. It’s kind of fun to turn them into something.”
“What’s great about small spaces,” says Marciniak, is it’s “kind of a challenge of: how do you pack as much function as possible into a small space?”
Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
By Stefanie Gans
In Italy, says Nicky DeChiara, ”when you order gelato, you sit down and it becomes a form of entertaining.” In the states, says the 75-year-old, people order gelato and leave. To bring back a sense of hospitality to eating this Italian version of ice cream, DeChiara is building Gelateria Pazzo within Vienna’s Pazzo Pomodoro.
Pazzo Pomorodo’s team will use the Italian brand Carpigiani gelato makers and offer between 10 to 15 flavors, including strawberry and raspberry which will be made from fruits grown Pazzo Pomodoro’s owner Jimmy Audia‘s sister’s property, Windswept Farm in Waterford. Expected to open in July, the gelateria will occupy the space next door to the restaurant; they tore down the wall to make it one unit.
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