Posts Tagged ‘McLean’

Life, Family and Pornography

A memoir of growing up with ‘Deep Throat.’ –Lynn Norusis

The Pornographer’s Daughter

Photo courtesy of Kristin Batissta-Frazee.

All families come with baggage; it’s just the level of degree that makes one family’s story more book-worthy over another’s. McLean-resident Kristin Battista-Frazee’s story is a trifecta: a father on trial for his work with “Deep Throat,” his continuing business in the adult industry and a mother who tries to keep it all together only to attempt a suicide. Her story hasn’t just captured readers; actor and producer David Koechner (“Anchorman” and “The Office”) has optioned the rights to make it into a TV show. In her debut novel,

“The Pornographer’s Daughter”

Photo courtesy of Kristin Batissta-Frazee.

The Pornographer’s Daughter,” Battista-Frazee takes us back to the early 1970s when pornography was going mainstream. It’s a memoir about the fascination of pornography, the ongoing battle of morality laws and the coming of age of a woman trying to figure out who she is based on her family’s involvement in the adult industry.

Throughout your life, you kept your father’s job a secret, not because you were ashamed but because others might take a different connotation of your life. Why put it out to the world now?

I’m 44, and I got to a point in my life where you think about who you are, and how you got to where you are. That is such a part of who I was, and addressed a lot of things I did in my life. It started as a way to document family history. I realized my dad is a part of something that was really a part of pop culture, history and such a famous case.

The timing is great. Netflix released “Lovelace” and Showtime has “Masters of Sex.”

The fascination our culture has had with Linda Lovelace has really endured for 40-plus years now, and our culture’s dissection of how we feel about sex and how our culture has handled that is still so present today. I’m the next generation after the ‘70s where pornography really grew as this industry.

People have these stereotypes about people in the adult industry, and what they should be like, and what their kids will turn out to be. Most often, when I tell people about what my dad does for a living, they look at me very skeptically, and say, ‘Really? You don’t look like the type.’ I said, what type am I supposed to be? Maybe lacking morals, not being able to be in a steady relationship, having a problem with drugs or alcohol, or maybe that I should been a stripper.

“The Pornographer’s Daughter”

Photo courtesy of Kristin Batissta-Frazee

The book was set up as your father’s job being the family secret, but it seemed that the secret was how your mom ended up reacting to your father’s career.

There are two stories there. The sensationalized story of my dad being associated with “Deep Throat,” but there is also this story about my mom struggling with depression, her suicide attempt. In the 1970s people were afraid to deal with that head on. They thought people like that were crazy and it was a weakness of theirs.

You learned out about your father at a young age.

When I was very young it wasn’t talked about. I would ask, “Dad where do you work? What do you do?” He would tell me it’s for adults only.

As you get older you can figure out what that is. You ask more questions, and you become more vigilant about your world and who your parents are. It’s that age where you begin to question and combat against your parents. You’re trying to become your own individual. That was all a part of me trying to figure it out. And they were very honest.

Have you taken the same tactic with your 12-year-old daughter?

I’ve told her she can’t read the book until she’s much older, at least 16. I’ve told her it’s for adults and Pepop does things that are just for adults. I’ve told her point blank that pornography is people having sex on film and that isn’t for kids. And she said, ‘Ew, gross.’

(December 2014)

Check It Out

Home libraries allow readers to rekindle romances with books.

Home design: home library

◗ The custom bookcases in this second-floor library was built into place. The open stairway was built using powder-coated steel and glass handrails with a wood rail cap. Photo courtesy of Greg Hadley.

Remember that awestruck feeling of walking into the public library as a child? An organized sea of books and more books, chock-full of ideas and characters and stories? Then the thrill of bringing them home to dive into—that love of reading, of learning, of finding yourself inside the pages of a novel.

Entering that playground of favorite authors and story lines, classic and new, may be what some book lovers seek to rekindle in their own home libraries.

Some swear by rigorous filing systems akin to the Dewey Decimal System. Others are more lax when it comes to their book organization. But all share an utmost respect for their voluminous favorite tomes of yesteryear, as well as an appreciation for more contemporary paperbacks.

Despite today’s WiFi-enabled homes and connections to sleek, hold-everything e-readers, experts say there’s still nothing like curling up with a good book in a comfy well-lit reading nook. 

“I think there’s something really relaxing about being surrounded by printed volumes,” says Shanon Munn, principal of Ambi Design Studio in McLean, who has fashioned a number of libraries, or combination spaces. “I don’t know if it’s just the physical books themselves or maybe it’s the mentality: You have to be quiet. You’re taught that very early on in your life.”Simply put, books equal comfort.

And it’s that space—that feeling—that’s exactly what homeowners want to create. 

Home design: home library

McLean. Photo courtesy of Angie Seckinger.

Ethan Landis, co-owner of Washington, D.C.-based Landis Architects/Builders, recalls a recent whole-house renovation of a historic home on Capitol Hill. The homeowners wanted a light-filled library, and that’s exactly what they got. Landis added a skylight that pours natural light into the room, which includes three walls of custom floor-to-ceiling built-ins of American cherry.

But besides books, what goes into a great home library? Experts agree: solid shelving, good lighting and a sweet spot to plop down with an open book. 

Home design: home library.

McLean. Photo courtesy of Angie Seckinger.

Landis ticks off a few more specifics: It’s “the idea that the room is a happy place for you, a place you really want to be in, whether you’re selecting a book or browsing. Or whether you want to sit in it and really read.”

Among the libraries Landis has worked on, he says there’s one common theme, and that’s showing off one’s books in a space that is crafted, not just utilitarian. A home library should, he says, “look pretty and elegant and well-balanced, and also have some space for knickknacks, photographs and a little bit of art, and, of course, is well-lit.”

Recessed lights illuminate the Capitol Hill homeowners’ collection of books at night; other beloved objects are artistically placed among the books in the shelving throughout: a well-tended showcase of sculptures, paintings, bowls, vases—life’s building blocks. 

Making the shelves even more individualized is a design technique Munn refers to as “Pottery Barn-ing.” And it’s something she’s done for many such spaces. Filling in the shelves with eye-catching works of art or heirloom family photos makes a library space feel even more thoughtfully curated.

Home Design: home library

Springfield. Photo courtesy of Angie Seckinger.

Munn also offers a handful of tips for those looking to create libraries out of found spaces. If space affords, consider constructing a nook from a small, unused closet. Remove the doors and fill the niche with shelves of varying heights, accounting for oversize art books and the smallest paperbacks. Renovating? Consider the space between studs as a recessed alcove for books. And a favorite tip: don’t be afraid of going vertical. Think about the option of space above your head, says Munn. For a project in Silver Spring, the owner envisioned his home’s turret as his office. He had wanted to line those walls with books, but the octagonal shape proved too challenging. Instead, Munn turned the home office’s book-lined hallway into a library. High above on a catwalk shelf she stashed his collection of stained glass houses.

A happy marriage of books and collectibles. Playful, but not too serious. “No matter how old you are, you still have books,” she says. “It’s human nature to want to collect things,” says Munn. -Jennifer Shapira


(November 2014)

Concert For Valor guide of events; McLean teens plead guilty for nude photo cache

By Carten Cordell

Concert For Valor guide of events

McLean teens plead guilty to creating cache of nude photos
(The Washington Post)

Virginia legislators nix plan to borrow from highway fund
(The Washington Post)

Marshall Pushes To Reinstate Transportation ‘Kill Switch’ In Virginia

Seven Boozy Milkshakes to Try This Weekend

Posted by Editorial / Friday, August 22nd, 2014

By Allison Michelli

Whether stepping out for a night on the town or enjoying with burgers and fries, adult milkshakes are the ideal way to turn up while also satisfying your sweet tooth.


  • 1. FANFARE eatery, Spiked Shakes Add a shot of Kahlua, Frangelico or Bailey's Irish Cream to any regular milkshake on their menu for $4.00 more. Coming soon to their menu will be “Specialty Adult Milkshakes” like Hot Fudge Bourbon and Salted Caramel. / Photo courtesy of FANFARE eatery.

  • 2. Joe's Amazing Burgers, Bourbon Caramel Adult Milkshake A strong blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. $10/ Photo by Jill Laroussi.

  • 3. Ray's to the Third, Shake and Bake Vanilla ice cream blended with caramel and chocolate sauce and a shot of Jim Beam bourbon. Don't forget the bacon on top! $10. / Photo by Cristian Cguilar.

  • 4. The Counter, Salted Caramel Adult Milkshake The best of both worlds: salty and sweet. Vanilla ice cream blended with Stoli Vanil, Baileys caramel and pretzels. $9. / Photo courtesy of The Counter.

Still feeling thirsty? Three more places for adult shakes.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 20575 E. Hampton Plaza, Ashburn.

Ted’s Bulletin, 11948 Market Street, Reston.

Vivefy Burger and Lounge, 314 William Street, Fredericksburg.



Locked Out of Heaven: Leaving Dogs in Hot Cars Starts the Countdown

By Elke Thoms

Dog in Car

Photo courtesy of Anton Hlushchenko/

“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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Mount Defiance Cidery & Distillery to Open in Middleburg Next Month

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Nicole Nicastro, Mt. Defiance Cidery manager, at the sample bar / Photo Credit: Peter Ahlf

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 CiderworksBold 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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4 Ways to keep your Kids educated and occupied this summer

By Jessica Godart

Avoid the brain drain with some educational but fun activities to take part in with your kids this summer.

Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory

Photo courtesy of Louise Noakes.

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.
Manassas, 20110


Reston Zoo

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.

Reston Zoo
1228 Hunter Mill Road
Vienna, 22182



Claude Moore Colonial Farm

Photo courtesy of

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
McLean, 22101



Sully Plantation

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.

Sully Plantation
3650 Historic Sully Way
Chantilly, 20151


Six Summer Kids Events That Don’t Include the Pool

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

Taratibu Youth Association. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.

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

Patty Shukla. Photo courtesy of Jammin Java.

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

Q&A with härth’s New Chef Luc A. Dendievel

Posted by Editorial / Monday, June 30th, 2014

Courtesy of Chef Luc A. Dendievel

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.

What does “farm-to-table” mean to you?
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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Activism in the Arts

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


Christopher K. Morgan & Artists

Photo courtesy of Christopher Morgan.

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.


Harbison, Rosenbaum and Kolm

Harbison, Rosenbaum and Kolm. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Kolm.

Jonathan Kolm
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,, for upcoming shows and more information about his compositions.


Christopher Morgan
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

(June 2014)

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