Wednesday was the big Capital Pride party at the W Hotel, where the theme of this year's Pride festivities was revealed: The Future. I went along, and had a surprisingly good time. As well as the drinks - and the POV Bar's excellent views over the Mall - I enjoyed being interviewed for 20 Questions with Brock Thompson, eating cake pops, and having my photo taken with a comedy sci fi backdrop... It was a great and really diverse crowd - all ages, genders, and the like. Really nice to see Capital Pride engaging the imaginations and attendance of so many people. I can't wait to ride on the British Embassy float in this year's parade in June! Am already musing upon my British-Gay-Futuristic costume...
But of course no party is as good as a Burns Night party - I spent a delightful evening with 50 of my closest friends squeezed into our tartan-bedecked apartment on Saturday night, drinking Scotch, eating haggis, spouting poems, and vigorously ceilidh dancing. An excellently Scottish time was had.
But when I'm not personally creating the fun, it's not often that entertainment presents itself to me practically on my doorstep. And so, in view of the icy wind whistling through Georgetown, I was delighted to find myself with Friday fun a mere hop, skip and a jump from my front door. Uncork'd Art is a social painting-and-wine event that takes place regularly in Georgetown and normally costs about $40. The price and the paucity of artistic enthusiasm from my lovely wife have hitherto put me off, but for some community-bonding reason, the local salad establishment Sweetgreen offered it to me as one of several free classes they're offering to people signed up to their passport newsletter (they also offered me free thai boxing, iphoneography, and Bollywood dancing...). With my lovely wife out of town, the timing was perfect. I found Uncork'd to be a relaxed, well-run operation. I entered their little studio, grabbed some wine, claimed a stool next to an easel with a picture of a painting attached to it, donned an apron, greeted my friendly fellow artists, and then was essentially talked through how to paint a picture inspired by the picture of a masterpiece on my easel. It's an interesting concept - you don't have to be good at art at all. It's like painting by numbers. The teacher talked the class through each step of making the painting, and it all felt easy (maybe too easy if you're actually good at painting, but you can always go off piste from the instructions). Everyone ended up with a decent painting to take home. And with the wine, music and good chat with adjacent painters, and gratifying pretty much guaranteed decent artistic result, I found it a nice, fun, quirky night out with a really jolly ambience. Glad I discovered it. An excellent Friday night - thanks, Sweetgreen!
In terms of sit-down-and-watch-someone-entertain-me fun, I went to see Tribes at the Studio Theatre on Sunday. This is a play that lives up to the hype - it's one of the best plays I've seen in quite a while. Great performances, sharp, witty dialogue, thought provoking subject matter (growing up deaf in a hearing family), and really nicely staged, particularly the projections on the walls. It's on through February and if you enjoy high quality theatre, you'd be a fool to miss it. And as a Brit, I must also compliment them on their more than tolerable English accents (I still haven't recovered from the horror that was the accents of the Billy Elliot cast at the Kennedy Centre last year...).
I also went to Appletini last night, a monthly, fairly informal improv show in the basement of Larry's Lounge that I have so far found to be the best improv show in town. Not that I have yet sampled each and every one of them, but still... Most entertaining, and I was particularly excited by being able to buy popcorn to enjoy with the show...
Speaking of popcorn, the popcorn at Landmark E Street Cinema was one of the best things about the movie The Invisible Woman that I saw on Saturday afternoon. It wasn't a bad film - it was just quite tedious. The pace was sluggish. I couldn't believe it when it finally ended and it wasn't midnight. Not sure you should rush to it unless you are a huge Dickens fan or revel in meandering period pieces. It turns out: I do not.
Speaking of disappointments, I had been waiting for ages to find out what new bar would take over the old Mie n Yu space in Georgetown, and over the last month or so, I was first wary and then delighted by the Irish pub Ri Ra. I normally don't like the Irish pub thing, but they have done it very nicely and it was a lovely, great-looking relaxed, cool place to hang out with a beer or even a cocktail, with friendly, mostly Irish staff. Until this week when I went in, looking forward to it, and found it had succumbed to one of the things I hate - despise - about bars in Washington: televisions. Why do so many bars consider these essential decor? I wonder: do people of Washington not know they are at a bar unless there is a television? Do bar owners fear nobody will come to their bar if there's not a television? These sports-bar-appropriate eyesores work their inappropriate way into all sorts of potentially lovely non-sports-bars around town, with their sports broadcasts that nobody ever seems to be actually watching, ruining the lighting and ambience of any bar that sports them (ah, inadvertent pun). But I thought Ri Ra, so keen to emulate a real Irish pub, was exempt from their tacky dominance. It seems not. I'm hoping they see the error of their ways and get rid of them... I don't believe I'm alone in this particular peeve. I see Brightest Young Things coincidentally just published an article on non-TV bars. Bookmarked.
And finally, a brunch shout out to Coco Sala - one of my favorite brunch spots in town. That breakfast enchilada and salad I had on Saturday was nothing short of glorious... And they don't have a TV.
What I'm looking forward to in the coming week
Tuesday 28th Jan - It's so difficult to decide which of the many State of the Union parties to attend - or maybe skip them all and go to the Washington City Paper's Best of DC voting party. What's a girl to do... (maybe stay at home and watch Parks and Recreation, since I'm still feeling ill).
Sunday 2nd Feb - Upright Citizens Brigade are performing downstairs at 6th and I and I understand they will be delivering some quite hilarious comedy. I can't wait.
Monday 3rd Feb - Perfect Liars Club of course! Advance tickets are sold out, but there will be a waiting list at the venue (The Science Club) from somewhere between 6 and 6:15. Line up nicely, dear potential audience. We'll start selling waiting list tickets at 6:45 in order, til we reach capacity. It will of course be the event of the month. See you there!
Planning for the future
The Key Bridge boathouse is selling season passes for the summer - paddle boarding, kayaking etc. I spent ridiculous amounts of money there (for a huge amount of fun) last year so have bought my own season pass already. It's 15% off til the end of January here.
Also, DC Shorts, one of my very favorite DC film festivals (the other being April's DC International Film Festival) is advertising for people to help choose which films to screen during the festival. Alas you have to be available on particular dates when I have a date with a volcano in Costa Rica, but if you're interested, details here.