Reviews: Eurovision, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Ezme
Clearly the loveliest thing about DC this week is the weather - and how very British of me to remark upon it. Here is what has been particularly nice thanks to the weather this week: encountering deer on my walk to book club through Rock Creek Park. Strolling through Adams Morgan eating a delicious popsicle from Pleasant Pops (though being British, I should tell you it's really called an ice lolly...). Finding a shady spot in Meridian Hill Park and reading my book sprawled on the grass, surrounded by other locals reading their books sprawled on the grass, with the beat of the drum circle, the prancing of a thousand dogs, and the feeling of being far from the land of tourists. Capital Bikesharing along Q Street, with the streets full of people all smiling and not hiding under umbrellas. Stepping upon a paddleboard and serenely drifting along the Potomac, accompanied by little groups of quacking ducks with their tiny ducklings. At this time of year, I couldn't love Washington more. Even if I do have to fight my way past gangs of tourists to get to the Key Bridge Boathouse...
On Saturday the weather was a bit risky, and I cared because my lovely wife and I were headed to the Danish Embassy for Eurovision, accessible by a big hike through Dumbarton Oaks. For those who missed last week's blog, Eurovision is a hilarious, campy song contest in which all the countries of Europe participate (the madder the act, the better), then all the countries vote and ascribe a range of scores in a long, complicated, politically motivated string of reports from thirty seven countries. Since Denmark won last year, they staged it this year and after arriving in a rather muddy outfit, with twigs in my hair from the rainy forest walk, we had a charming time eating Danish coleslaw (?!), drinking Tuborg (Danish beer), and watching an array of crazy acts. The winner? A bearded drag artist from Austria. Austrian Embassy, we look forward to seeing you next year!
My lovely wife and I went to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Ford's Theatre. You know how much I enjoy spelling bee-themed entertainment (driven by my disappointment that this is not really a thing in the UK - I would have won, I tell you!) and I also enjoy musicals. So I really, really wanted to like Ford's Spelling Bee. But I'm afraid it's a no. I just don't think it's a very good musical. It has its moments. I love the premise. The acting is adequate. They make great use of the audience members they bring up on stage. The definitions of the words are genuinely funny. There are a few good numbers. But mostly it's slapsticky and juvenile (not in a good way), the songs are often unpleasant to the ear, it's cliche-driven, I didn't care much about the characters, and it's not really greater than the sum of its parts. I mustn't blame Ford's Theatre, but I have yet to see a production I like there. Plus the theatre has the flaw of attracting giant hoards of bored schoolchildren. And sitting me behind big poles which obscure my view. But maybe Driving Miss Daisy, which is coming up, will be more tempting...
And for my restaurant review of the week, I had a lovely time at Ezme, just west of Dupont Circle. Now I know when we think Lebanese or Turkish style food, we are spoiled for choice with the lovely Zaytinia, not to mention the Lebanese Taverna, Mama Aisha's, and Agora (and the other places I have yet to frequent - any recommendations?). But there is something really lovely about Ezme. It has the romantic, classy atmosphere of a cute local bistro which is just out of the way enough to be cool. Its baked hummus is delicious. The staff are friendly and inexplicably remember me regardless of how long I leave it between visits. The prices are very fair. And every time I go, it maintains these standards. And I always wonder why I left it so long between visits.
Finally, I've been slaving away on all the marketing stuff for our Capital Fringe Festival extravaganza in July. It's still a work in progress, but do you want to know more about our shows at the Fringe? Or who will be performing? Or see our cool new look? Check out our Perfect Liars Club Capital Fringe Microsite! Just a little something I whipped up...
What sounds cool in the coming week
Ladies and gentlemen, we are spoilt for choice this week with lots of fun things going on.
All week - Want to feel like you live in Silicon Valley? This week is the Challenge Festival. It's all about innovation and start-ups and tech stuff and ideas. There's a special focus on challenges in the areas of energy, health and smart cities. Lots of the events are free - here they are!
Tuesday 13th - Speakeasy DC have a show at Town Danceboutique, with a theme of 'close calls' - which sounds very promising in terms of hilarity. They still have tickets.
Thursday 15th - There's a cool-sounding collaboration between Thirst DC and the National Academy of Sciences' DASER (DC Arts Science Evening Rendez vous): Prometheus Unbound. Hear experts discuss science in the movies, enjoy live music and drink in a cool venue. All for free! (and say hello: I promised to volunteer). On the other hand, if you're feeling extravagant, and like to both watch and eat animals, there's a glamorous celebrity chef/zoo extravaganza, Zoofari at the National Zoo for a mere $200. Or if you think both these plans are rubbish, and like painting, the American Art Museum is hosting ArtJamz - complete with live jazz music. Or just enjoy the music for free and don't paint, spoilsport.
Saturday 17th - sometimes you've just got to go to something because it has such a good name. Hence Super Art Fight - LIVE! at the Black Cat. It sounds mad and fun and potentially hilarious.
Sunday 18th - turns out this is Art Museum Day 2014. My pics: at 1pm you can go see Ben Hur at the Portrait Gallery, with live music accompaniment. Pick up your free tickets from 12:30 in the G Street lobby. Or if you've always fancied checking out National Museum of Women in the Arts, it's free today!
Saturday and Sunday - It's Dragon Boat racing time. I saw this the first year I lived in Georgetown quite by accident and it was surreal and cool. An excellent excuse for a drink by the water. Position yourself between Key Bridge Boathouse and Thompson's Boat House.