Posts Tagged ‘NoVA’

May’s #NoVA


Illustration by Libby Burns.

“Succulents are very in right now.”

(May 2015)

April’s #NoVA

Hashtag NoVA

Illustration by Libby Burns.

“They only took out three displays today.”

March’s #NoVA

#NoVA Libby Burns

Illustration by Libby Burns.

“When he grows up, he wants to be an Uber driver.”

(March 2015)

Bus Rides Become Art Exhibitions in Arlington

Jason Horowitz

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Connolly, Visual Arts Curator at Artisphere.

By Victoria Gaffney

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to reflect new information.

This week, the humdrum Arlington Transit bus ride down Wilson Boulevard will start to look a little more interesting. Rather than the usual interior placards, commuters and passengers on the No. 41, 42, and 87 bus routes may find unique digital images instead.

Cynthia Connolly, Visual Arts Curator at Artisphere, is responsible for the change. On Tuesday, she and Arlington-based photographer Jason Horowitz got together and installed the next round of artwork for Connolly’s project “Art on the Art Bus.” 

Horowitz, who has ridden the Art on the Art Bus to see the exhibits of some of his friends, is excited to participate in the project. A longtime photographer, he says he focuses on looking at and reinterpreting the world through what he makes. Horowitz thought Connolly’s project was especially unique, saying “it didn’t conform to the way I usually work.” The small size of the bus placards added another layer of difficulty.

He decided to make something new for the project and traveled around shooting scenes primarily in Arlington with some in D.C. His images are not mere photos, however; they are abstract assemblages of shots taken over the course of an hour. His process begins by taking a series of photos of the same place. Then, returning to his studio, he assembles the shots in varying ways to create one image. The process allows him to “rebuild the scene, but in a more abstracted form,” he says.

Connolly first got the idea for Art on the Art Bus about a decade ago when she noticed the name for the Arlington Transit system was abbreviated “Art.” Initially she mistook this to mean there was actual art on the bus. When she saw one of the buses, however, she thought to herself, “I can get art on the bus.”

She wanted the work to be original, but people were concerned it would get destroyed. Connolly reassured them, “That’s the whole point; you just put the art on the bus and see what people do.” She started doing three artists a year in 2010, and the exhibits, which have featured various mediums including paintings, drawings and photos—have been quite popular. Not only does it improve the aesthetics of the bus, but the project as a whole also “changes your perspective of what art is and what it does for us,” says Connolly.  

For each artist, Connolly arranges a specific day for people to ride the art bus with her and the artist where she gives a little background on the project and the artist discusses his or her artwork. They ride a regular evening bus to a destination of the artist’s choice (perhaps a place to hang out or his or her studio). This year, Horowitz and Connolly will be riding the bus on April 8. Everyone will meet at 6:45 p.m. at the Court House Metro Route 41 bus stop to take the 7:04 bus down Wilson Boulevard to Horowitz’s studio. Attendees will have to pay the $1.50 bus fare. Horowitz’s art will be on the bus until June.

Obama requests Congressional approval for military force against Islamic State; Va. House approves marijuana for epilepsy

By Victoria Gaffney

Obama requests Congressional approval for military force against Islamic State

Virginia House approves marijuana for epilepsy
(Washington Post)

2015 dietary guidelines may no longer include cholesterol warning

Virginia House passes reform for A-F grading
(Loudoun Times)

White House may slow withdrawal of Afghan troops
(Washington Post)

Workhouse Explores the Rehabilitative Power of Art

Workhouse at Lorton

Photo courtesy of the Orsinger Collection at the Workhouse Prison Museum.

By Victoria Gaffney

The arts are entertaining—there’s no doubt about that—but they can also be therapeutic, restorative and healing. In prison, where people have little to occupy their time, turning to creative pursuits can be both enjoyable and liberating.

Next week, the former Lorton Prison, now home to the Workhouse Arts Center and the Workhouse Prison Museum, will take a closer look at the fairly common affinity for the arts in prisons. The lecture, “Coping with Life Behind Bars: Art and Music” will examine the rehabilitative power of both art and music, and is the second in the museum’s series, “Behind the Walls of Lorton Prison.”

The former D.C. Correctional Facility opened in 1910 and closed in 2001. The grounds are now open to the public (including, three schools, two parks and a large public golf course in Virginia).

Today, visitors can still see the craftsmanship of the former inmates when they look at the brick dormitories. Laura McKie, chair of the Workhouse Museum and History Committee says the prison’s model stemmed from the ideals of the Progressive Movement in the early 20th century in “an attempt to be self-sustaining.”

Known as a “prison built by its prisoners,” the inmates of Lorton literally constructed their own housing, down to the very bricks, which they too made by hand.  But these prisoners weren’t just craftsmen, a great many of them also liked to dabble in art. In fact, many prisons house artists, or at least prisoners who like to express themselves artistically.

For the art portion of the evening, the museum will display artwork by former D.C. prisoners, including some portraits and even some quirky, crafty pieces (such as a dominoes set and a purse). Historian Irma Clifton, who formerly worked at the prison, also plans to bring in some intriguing photographs.

The event will feature pictures of graffiti as the prison walls were the “prime source of art,” says McKie; despite the bleak canvas, however, “some of the work is quite amazing.”

Kevin Petty, former prison inmate at Lorton, will spearhead the music portion of the evening. While at Lorton he was a member of the musical group, “The Amazing Gospel Souls,” a group of about twelve other former prisoners, says McKie. Petty and his fellow members felt the restorative power of music both inside and outside the prison and still perform today.

The lecture is free and begins at 7:30 p.m. in the W-3 Theatre at the Workhouse Prison Museum. Attendees must register online in advance. Subsequent lectures include: “Keeping Sane While Doing Time: Religion, Counseling and Social Services” on March 11, “Fires, Riots and Escapes: Lorton in the Public Eye” on April 8, and “Life After Prison” on April 29.

Orsinger Collection at the Workhouse Prison Museum
Workhouse Art Center
9601 Ox Road
Lorton, 22079

Take in Some Culture with These 5 Shows

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico

State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico. Photo courtesy of Jill Graziano, George Mason Center for the Arts.

 By Christopher Penrith

There are a variety of shows that are going on at local venues throughout Northern Virginia. From bluegrass to folk, rock to classical music and concerts to plays, there are plenty of shows to see. Here are five shows that are worth checking out this weekend.

1.  State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico
George Mason Center for the Performing Arts

If you’re interested in classical music with a Spanish flair, this is the event for you. This 40-year-old orchestra often performs music from well-known Spanish composers such as Enrique Granados. Their ensemble often includes works from European, Mexican and Spanish composers. Some examples include Verdi and Rossini, Manuel De Falla, Beethoven and Brahms.

Read the rest of this entry »

January’s #NoVA

Libby Burns #NoVA

Illustration by Libby Burns.

“Now, did that make you feel ‘sad emoji’ or ‘crying loudly emoji’?”

(January 2015)

NoVA School Districts React to #CloseFCPS, Gunmen Kill 12 in Paris

By Michael Balderston

NoVA school districts apologize for messy handling of school closures on Tuesday
(Washington Post)

Student hacks Prince William County Public Schools’ website to post fake apology.
(The Vane)

12 killed by gunmen at Paris satirical magazine
(Washington Post)

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell sentenced to two years in prison for public corruption

Bao Bao, panda cub at National Zoo, frolics for snow for the first time

Tail of missing AirAsia flight found in Java Sea

‘How to Get Laid … Before the Main Course”

There are men out there trying to, as they proudly proclaim, get laid. Oh, how I hate that term. A date means an opportunity to get in a girl’s pants, is how they figure it. Hit a home run. Get action. Basically, pick your sexual metaphor, and it’s the total aim of some guys. “Getting laid,” as impersonal as it is, does convey the motivation and intent rather well.

I should be fair and acknowledge that this is the aim of some ladies as well. Consider that acknowledged.

Regardless, it’s an unchangeable fact.

But a book that’s titled “How To Get Laid … Before the Main Course?” Oh wow. I didn’t believe or want to think that a full-fledged instruction book was out there for getting laid. I didn’t want to believe it, that is, until it arrived in my mailbox.

The publisher sent me a copy of the paperback (whose subtitle is “A Gentleman’s Approach for the Big Date“) to peruse and assess. I read it over quickly, with a pained expression at certain points I’m sure.

Essentially, here’s the skinny on the book: The author is apparently named ViMal. This is information I only know because of the letter that the publisher sent me. Who is this getting-laid genius? According to the back cover, he was born in Africa, grew up in Europe, traveled across the globe and now lives in California. Oh, and he has an English accent. That’s got to help.

“Getting Laid … Before the Main Course” is broken down into several sections. First, the introduction states the goal of the book and sets its importance into context. This is designed to be a choreographed course of action for a guy to take once he has taken the female on at least one date. ViMar emphasizes that maybe they’re locked lips already so this is at least the second of third encounter. (This somehow brought a tad bit of comfort, I have to say, though, to be honest, what guy would go to all this trouble as part of a one-night stand). The stakes are high, and the pressure’s on. “No restaurant, no movie, no distractions,” he says.

Next there are the golden rules and steps that the author would like men to follow in order to have an evening that ends in success—aka sex. This takes the shape of lists about what to say and not say, how to prep the meal and dazzle a date.

The last section is more “Food Network” with recipes for a handful of complete menus that men that can use to get their ladies into bed. The idea is that the food is easy to prepare, easy to eat and sets some kind of open mood so that the woman will feel inclined to be in a romantic frame of mind. Ideally, the three-course dinner doesn’t make it to the end; the couple heads straight to the bedroom by the end of the main course. But if they do get to food dessert, it’s yummy and not especially taxing to make.

Amidst these sections I didn’t hate every point and tip presented (though I did hate some). So, here what’s I found appealing, appalling and even more halting:



A constant theme is good hygiene and manners. “Don’t give her a reason to question your personal hygiene,” he says plainly. This may seem like a no-brainer but the author keeps reminding male readers to smell good, dress nicely and think about the details of presentation. Duh, but also kudos. As a lady, that’s appreciated.

Similarly, encouraging men to make their dates laugh right away to put them at ease is an obvious—yet certainly positive and true—pointer. ViMal is a stickler for humility, as well, so dinner conversation shouldn’t be a brag-fest. In the D.C. area this could serve some men well to abide by.

Lastly, I enjoyed a few analyses he made of body language. If the woman is interested she’ll, in a way, mirror or synchronize her movements with the man’s. She’ll grab at her fork as he does. After some soul searching, I realized that this actually makes sense and is a natural response to indicate some level of attraction.



Then, we have the strategies and insights that the book taps into that made me cringe. Yes, women want a guy with  his stuff together and who’s polite. Yet there was an assumption that a guy is “in like flynn” if he acts like a well-trained human. It’s certain that she’ll take her clothes off if he can master a few tricks and classic moves. In fact, the author guarantees that the man is getting laid. Guarantees? This isn’t a smartphone purchased at a store; it’s a person with quirks and preferences.

Specifically, if the woman has agreed to stop by the man’s house for dinner “there is a more than 65 percent chance that you will get laid. Your job is not to screw up. It will take her less than 3 seconds to decide that you are not going to get some,” ViMar lets the male readers know.

This attitude riles me up a bit.

As does the book’s steps for what should happen as soon as the lady walks through the front door.

“As you walk through the hallway, maybe slowing down and giving her the guided tour, you are probably checking out her ass and other attributes. Look discreetly.”

In other words, it’s a primer on ogling a female without her noticing. Joy.


Even more halting

In the area of compliments, the author says yes but with restrictions.

It’s OK, he says, to remark that she looks nice. (Well, I should hope so). Three, though, is the limit to the number of niceties men are allowed, using this strategy, to dole out over the course of an evening.

The reason? “Women’s minds work in ways we will never understand. Compliments are a minefield. … Some compliments reveal your desperation. They are an ugly display and a complete turn-off.”

Funny. I always thought noticing and expressing positive attributes of another person only helped your case. The rationale reminded me of the technique of “negging” made popular by the Pick-Up Artist several years ago. Here, the notion is that a beautiful woman will be so used to compliments being thrown her way; a guy sets himself apart by teasing her, slightly insulting her. This keeps her on her toes and puts him in a position of strength.

I never bought it. And I don’t know that “negging” has ever worked on me.

Overall, the book, should be taken with a grain of salt. Expecting that there’s a logical multi-step process to trick—or maneuver—a woman into bed by feeding her a strategically executed meal is a bit insulting. I’d advise men to stick to the tips around hygiene and focus on respecting their lady companion, getting to know her. Then, who knows, she might want to get intimate with you all on her own.


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