Posts Tagged ‘Vienna’

20 new and almost opened restaurants, breweries and coffee shops in Northern Virginia

Posted by Editorial / Friday, May 22nd, 2015

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 or opening soon.

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Turn down the heat this Memorial Day with these 11 cool commemorations

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Memorial Day Events in Northern Virginia

Photo courtesy of Olga_Phoenix/


By Emily Cook

Spend your long weekend feasting on crawfish, unwinding to the sound of smooth jazz and honoring our armed forces at distinguished monuments. You won’t even have to cross the 14th Street bridge.

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Tysons art trolley hits the streets; Queer Queens of Qomedy come to Vienna

Posted by Lynn Norusis / Friday, May 15th, 2015

Greensboro Park for Tysons Tiles

Artist rendering of ground mural at Greensboro Park for Tysons Tiles, 2015. Photo courtesy of Julia Vogl.

Tysons art trolley hits the streets this month.

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DIY: How to Design a Floral Arrangement

It’s the season for flowers, when spring blossoms and floral fragrances fill the air. To celebrate spring, David Shover, design manager at Karin’s Florist, has basic step-by-step instructions to help you create a round floral arrangement. Head to your local florist and gather the materials listed below; you can choose your own colors to put your own creative spin on this simple yet elegant design. –Victoria Gaffney

Items Needed:
1 vase with an opening 3 to 4 inches in diameter
1 packet of flower food
6 stems of salal tips (may vary according to personal preference)
3 stems Israeli ruscus (may vary according to personal preference)
4 stems of snapdragon (line flower)
3 stems of roses (mass flower)
3 stems of carnation (mass flower)
3 stems of alstromeria lily (filler flower)
3 stems of waxflower (filler flower)


1. Add flower food to vase and assemble materials.
Fill the vase two-thirds with warm water and add the contents of the flower food packet. Be sure to re-cut each of the stems using a knife or floral scissors before placing them in the water.


How to Design a Floral Arrangement

Photo courtesy of David Shover.

2.  Add salal tips and Israeli ruscus to create a grid.
Intertwine the stems of the foliage and place them into the vase. Foliage that goes beneath the waterline should always be removed.


How to Design a Floral Arrangement

Photo courtesy of David Shover.

3. Add snapdragon (line flowers) to create height.
Place one snapdragon in the center of the arrangement. Place the other three in a triangle around the first one. The three outer flowers should be a bit shorter and positioned halfway between the center of the flower arrangement and the edge of the vase. Line flowers are used to add structure to the design.


How to Design a Floral Arrangement

Photo courtesy of David Shover.

4. Add roses (first mass flower).
Add the three roses to the arrangement, placing each halfway between the line flowers to form another triangle. Allow one rose in the triangle to be taller than the others, which will help to establish roundness in your arrangement. Mass flowers create volume

How to Design a Floral Arrangment

Photo courtesy of David Shover.

5. Add the carnations (second mass flower). 
Add the three carnations to the arrangement to form a third triangle. Place one close to each line flower in the triangle created in Step 3. Like the roses, one carnation should be taller than the others.

How to Design a Floral Arrangement

Photo courtesy of David Shover.

6. Add alastromeria (first filler flower).
Add the first of the filler flowers to the arrangement, filling in any empty spaces. Filler flowers are used in available places after the other flowers have been added to establish a fuller design.

How to Design a Floral Arrangement

Photo courtesy of David Shover.

7. Add waxflower (second filler flower).
Add the waxflower to the arrangement, filling any remaining empty spaces. Branches on these flowers may be removed and added to the design on their own.

(May 2015)  

Beyond the Supermarket

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Brassicas Farm Fresh Market & Cafe

Photo courtesy of Brassicas Farm Fresh Market & Cafe.

Before most farmers markets reopen in May, here’s where to find local produce, pantry items and provisions. —Susannah Black

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Unexpectedly Kid-Friendly Restaurants

Posted by Editorial / Friday, March 27th, 2015

Kid-Friendly restaurants in Northern Virginia

Photos by Ann Hsu Kaufman.

Where to take children for more than a grilled cheese. —Ann Hsu Kaufman

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Modern Family

When it comes to families, the new ‘normal’ is that there is no ‘normal.’

Adoption in Northern Virginia.

Bonnie Gardner & Owen. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Gardner.

By Cynthia Long

Owen Gardner, 8, was in first grade when his teacher asked him to bring in baby pictures to class. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any photos from when he was an infant. In third grade, he was given an autobiographical assignment called “The Day I Was Born.” He was supposed to list the time he was born, the people who were present at his birth and other details about the momentous occasion. The assignment made the little boy’s stomach turn somersaults. He worried he would get a bad grade on the project because he couldn’t answer any of the questions.

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Got a Foodie-in-Training? Check out these Kids Cooking classes

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Kids cooking classes in Northern Virginia

Photo courtesy of Hrecheniuk Oleksii/

Food-loving youngsters can explore their kitchen instincts at local cooking schools.

Often out of the instructor’s home, kids will learn kitchen safety while experiencing culturally diverse cuisines. —Susannah Black

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Rocknoceros Grows Up

At 10, the kids’ music trio is still making fans young and old.


Photo by Erick Gibson.

By Buzz McClain • Photography By Erick Gibson

Among the fans waiting for the musicians to take the stage is a boy with a ukulele in his hands. He looks determined not to miss the band’s imminent entrance as he bounces in place in a spot in front of where the guitar player will be.

Next to him is a girl in a frilly satin and tulle princess dress—in fact, there are several princesses in attendance, and they swirl around on the floor in front of the stage, bumping into moms and dads who are sitting on the floor and struggling not to spill juice boxes. Another girl, wearing a tiara, has a doll in a white dress that she “walks” across the front of the stage for reasons known only to her.

The clearing in front of the stage quickly becomes clogged with 3-foot-tall 3-year-olds who will use the area as a pogo-dancing mosh pit when the music starts. Their parents, the ones not sprawled on the floor picnic-style, are in chairs just behind the dance floor, behaving as if this were a “normal” concert. Normal, except for those juice boxes.

Jammin’ Java is living up to the “jammin’” part of the name, particularly in the front. The Vienna venue is filled near capacity; anticipation for the performance is high. And it’s not even 10:30 in the morning on this Friday. Fortunately for the parents, the place is also living up to the “java” part of the name, and the freshly brewed coffee hits the spot.

This is the way it is and has been for 10 years for the band known as Rocknoceros—early shows with lots of fans accompanied by lots of parents. In an hour, when it’s still not even lunchtime for those working in nearby offices, the trio of musicians with deep roots in Northern Virginia will have revved up the crowd with a fast-paced set of adventurously ambitious offerings, autographed their wrists with hand stamps and sent them home for nap time.

Not a bad day’s work.

Most of these kids have seen the band before and will be back next week, and many of the first-timers will be back again as well if an exit poll of their parental escorts is to be believed. Kids like repetition—how many times have you put “Frozen” in the DVD player this year?—and they like what they like without having the vocabulary to explain why they like it.

But a parent knows when something affects or touches their child in a meaningful way, good or bad. Four years ago and without knowing it, Rocknoceros profoundly affected a young fan, and a childhood took an unexpected turn. If that kid with the ukulele in the front row is an indication, it could happen again.

Rocknoceros might never have been born if not for the morning children’s shows at Jammin’ Java, which is a coffee cafe by day and a popular rock club by night. The three band members might still have their day jobs if David Cotton hadn’t accompanied his then 3- and 1-year-old sons to see one of the club’s daytime “Tot Rock” shows in 2005.

“It was one dude with a guitar,” Cotton says, and as he surveyed the packed and happy house that morning, lightning struck. “That was the aha moment. I saw you could do this and play your own music and make a living.”

Daniel Brindley, one of the Brindley clan that owns the Vienna club, had the idea in the mid-2000s to capitalize on the growing children’s-music trend by creating a go-to place for it, booking kids’ bands sometimes six mornings a week and giving parents, nannies and their charges something to do after breakfast and before nap time. The idea worked, and the strollers would line up on the sidewalk well before the 10:30 a.m. showtime.

Little did Brindley know that a band inspired by his music series would eventually be the most popular act of them all. After seeing one guy with a guitar playing to a packed house, Cotton, who had recently stopped teaching middle school to be the at-home dad for his young family, enlisted the help of Patrick Robert Williams, a guitar-playing classmate from Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, to compose a few kids’ songs.

They worked up some lyrics and tunes rooted in the melodic structures of their favorite band, The Beatles, and followed their instincts. After trying them out live, they discovered they could make babies dance and sing, make the moms happy and please the venue owners while enjoying themselves and making money at the same time.

Eventually they called on another childhood friend and Robinson grad, Marc Capponi—in fact, all three attended James Madison University together as well—who added his unusual rig of an electric keyboard mounted on a kick bass drum and a kick snare drum, which he plays in his stocking feet, to Cotton’s percussion and whistles and Williams’ guitars and banjo.


Rocknoceros’ morning concerts are the most popular act coming through Jammin’ Java’s doors. Photo by Erick Gibson.

Rocknoceros was born, but identities changed at birth.

• Cotton, 44, became Coach Cotton, dressed for the sports field in shorts, knee socks and an Adidas pullover.
• Williams, 43, became Williebob, outfitted in blue jean overalls, cowboy boots, a vintage straw hat and shoulder-length hair.
• Capponi, 44, became Boogie Woogie Bennie, dapper in a vest and pink-and-black striped hat.

“The nicknames grew from an organic place,” Coach Cotton says, which explains how well they fit the characters. Besides the names, they also wanted the personae to be “occupation-oriented characters,” says Williebob, who is a “hobbyist gardener” at his home in Washington, D.C. “Coach” comes naturally as well because Cotton still teaches kickboxing at a gym in Fairfax. And Boogie Woogie Bennie, with his vest and hat, is “an old-timey piano player modeled after Fats Waller,” says Capponi.

They call each other their stage names even off stage, not to conceal their real identities or protect some secret life but because it’s more fun. 

This June Coach Cotton, Williebob and Boogie Woogie Bennie will celebrate their 10-year anniversary as Rocknoceros, a landmark they will happily celebrate but seemingly never had doubts about reaching. The trio started off fast and shows no signs of slowing down; they’re performing some 220 shows a year including the weekly gig at Jammin’ Java and “tons of annual gigs and school fundraisers,” says Boogie Woogie, making it the full-time job for the three members.

T-shirts, including babydoll-style ones for the moms, and sales of four CDs of their songs, including the whimsically titled collection “The Dark Side of the Moon Bounce,” supplement the income from live performances.

Rocknoceros’ music isn’t kids’ music, although it appeals from toddlers to near-teens in the way something from “Meet the Beatles” might, with bright melodies, tight harmonies and clever turns of phrase. Boogie Woogie says the songs are for “families, not just kids,” and that’s apt. The lyrics refuse to be simplistic, though they are easy, and they tend to be about concepts that take a bit of contemplation to enjoy fully.

“(I Wish We Used) the Metric System” plays up the difficulty of converting measurements to feet, pounds and teaspoons while metric is more logical, and still we don’t use it, leading Boogie Woogie to bemoan in the song, “It’s easy with the metric system, but the other one’s the one we use.” One of their most popular songs, “PINK!,” a former No. 1 on SirusXM’s Kids Place show, celebrates everyone’s favorite hue: “You get it when you mix red and white; used judiciously it looks outta sight!”

Judiciously? Barney was never that polysyllabic.


Since the early 2000s, Rocknoceros’s tunes have turned Jammin’ Java’s mornings into a children’s rock show. Photo by Erick Gibson.

Many in the audience are the kind of die-hard fans most bands would kill for. “It’s shockingly common to hear from parents that their kids have bedtime routines where they will grab musical instruments and pretend to be Rocknoceros and do a little Rocknoceros concert at bedtime,” says Williebob. “We hear this a lot.”

It’s pointed out by the one fan toting a ukulele on the dance floor.

“That ukulele is no accident,” says Boogie Woogie. “There are several who follow us who bring their ukuleles.”

“Nicholas brought his, remember?” Coach Cotton says. “He was 5 when he first came. Then he would bring a guitar and stand in front of Williebob and play along.”

“He’s in a band now,” says Boogie Woogie. “He’s, like, 10 and playing in a band with teenagers.”

“He’s 8,” corrects Coach Cotton.

Wait. What?

In fact, Nicholas Miller was 4 when he first saw Rocknoceros.

After seeing the band the first time, the Ashburn tyke brought a ukulele the next time. After a year of Rocknoceros-ing, he began bringing a half-sized guitar to Rocknoceros gigs at Jammin’ Java and Dulles Town Center.

“We had to always get there early so he could watch them set up and get his position in front of Williebob,” says his mother, Jennifer. “He would stare at Williebob and strum along.” He also asked Williebob questions about his guitar, about why he did this and how do you do that? And Williebob, who was also music-obsessed as a child, patiently answered all the questions.

You know you’ve made a deep impression on a youngster when they turn up at an event dressed like you. Jennifer had patches put onto a pair of blue jean overalls, and with the hat and boots, Nicholas matched his idol at the shows.

Although he tried not to miss performances, life, they say, gets in the way of what we really want to do. So it was with Nicholas when kindergarten reared its head and kept him from the band’s Friday morning gigs. Still, if Jennifer rushed across town and picked him up early, they could make it to a few. First grade at Newton-Lee Elementary really complicated things, so for the last few years Nicholas has only gotten to see special events gigs.

But Nicholas’s fandom, even at age 8 and in the third grade, hasn’t diminished. Last October he began taking guitar lessons at Minton’s Academy of Music in Ashburn, and only then by special dispensation: “Other music schools said they wouldn’t take him until he was at least seven,” Jennifer says. But his teacher at Minton’s, Mr. Jeremy, had been in a band with Williebob, so he was in.

In a month he knew the basic chords on a guitar. “He continues to amaze us with how he’s able to figure out chords,” says his father, A.R. Eventually A.R. made a stage out of wood odds and ends in the basement where Nicholas plays his Squire electric guitar plugged into amplifiers.

That pretend stage has led to a real stage; on occasion, Nicholas performs in an ensemble with other young rock players from music school who happen to be about twice his age.

As for playing Rocknoceros numbers, Nicholas says, “I know some of the songs but not all of the songs. They have, like, four albums. They have so many songs.”

And what does he want to do when he grows up? You had to ask?

“I want to be in a band,” he says.

Does he want to take Williebob’s place in Rocknoceros?


“That’s great to hear,” says Williebob when informed of Nicholas’ intent. “He would make a great Williebob if he wanted the gig.”

(March 2015)

Fairfax Band His Dream of Lions Makes Dreams Come True

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Photo courtesy of Seth Coggeshall.

(From left to right) Guitarist Nick Jones, drummer Jack Dunigan, singer Seth Coggeshall, keyboardist Colby Witko, bassist Blair Kilner. Photo courtesy of Seth Coggeshall.

By Matthew Tracy

Fairfax may be a great place to settle down, but it’s also a hotbed for rock music. Take it from alternative rock band His Dream of Lions, whose five members came together through the local Fairfax music scene in February 2012.

“There were quite a few pop, punk, pop rock kind of bands (in the area), and it was difficult to make yourself known any other way than to just play shows,” says the band’s singer, Seth Coggeshall.

His Dream of Lions’ first show was at Vienna‘s Jammin’ Java, where they’ll return this Saturday, Feb. 28, alongside fellow Fairfax band The Project.

“My first time ever singing in front of people was at Jammin’ Java, which was huge for me,” Coggeshall says. “So we just have a lot of history with them. We have a lot of good memories there, and we played with a lot of incredible bands at Jammin’ Java.”

The band continued playing at venues like Jammin’ Java, determinedly captivating more and more locals with their energetic performances.

“It took a while for people to be like, ‘maybe these guys are different,’” says Coggeshall. “(Now) we have a lot of friends that we still have today and we will always have just from coming up in this area and doing it the way that all bands start out doing it, just playing a ton of shows.”

Photo by Tyler Mazza, courtesy of Seth Coggeshall.

Photo by Tyler Mazza, courtesy of Seth Coggeshall.

His Dream of Lions have accomplished a lot in the three years since they started playing together. They released their debut record, “Part One,” last March. Its opening track, “Novel,”  climbed to number seven on both the New Music Weekly Top 40 and Hot 100 Singles charts.

More recently the band has released their second record,”Part Two,” as well as a number of music videos.

“It’s a lot of work, but when it pays off, it really pays off,” says Coggeshall.

His Dream of Lions have tailored the story of their determination and success into their music’s message. They use their music to inspire all of their fans to follow their dreams.

“Really when it comes down to it, your life is truly your own,” says Coggeshall. “Whatever that one thing is that you’ve always wanted, there’s no better time to go for it than right now.”

Now the band is tracking a new single, with an accompanying music video coming out later this spring. After that, they plan to continue touring and spreading their hopeful message to all of their fans.

Local audiences will have a chance to see His Dream of Lions when they perform at Jammin’ Java this Saturday at 8 p.m.

Visit Jammin’ Java’s webpage for show and ticket information.

For more information on the band, visit His Dream of Lions’ Facebook page.

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