All of this to explain how I ended up at some slightly offbeat experiences. The first of which was a Mystics game. I learned that Mystics was a women's basketball team, that there is a 'Night OUT' series of sporting events descended upon by gay people (the next one is soccer in September), and despite a lack of enthusiasm for sports, found myself purchasing something called 'tater tots' and taking my seat in the Verizon Center. Now, I avoid going to sporting events when I can... so my comparisons between US and UK sport are not statistically valid, being based on one game in living memory. But I will note that in Britain, people seem quite focused on the game. In the US, people seem more conducive to chatting, and are more focused on getting shown dancing on the big screen. Which frankly is preferable for me! I didn't dance, but I waved my tater tots... Afterwards, after me declining an unpleasant 7th Street sports bar, we went to City Taphouse. For a slightly sporty style bar, I rather liked the ambience and the array of craft beers. The people having their flatbreads seemed happy too. And there were plenty of seats. I'd return here.
The next morning I walked down to the Corcoran and indulged in a free art class. I can't believe this is the first time I've gone: really worth checking out if you like pottering around with art. There were about 30 people, mostly adults. We were given a range of different exercises, including drawing with string, left-handed drawing, thinking about the story behind a picture in the Gallery, and negative space drawing. I have to say: I had a lot of fun. This was an impressive informal free class. The next is on the 9th August. Though I still say that for paid informal art classes, CHAW is hard to beat! On Monday we made a plaster cast of our faces and next week we turn it into a wax cast. I find this prospect exciting.
Being famous for my chocolate enthusiasm, my brother had months ago bought me a chocolate tasting walking tour for two people for my birthday, but I'd never got round to booking it. I was impressed to see the level of Yelp enthusiasm for this tour, so I decided today was the day, commandeered a friend, and together we embarked on the U Street tour (they also have Dupont and Georgetown but I felt more than familiar with the chocolate options in these two places!). We met at Cocova on Saturday afternoon and I was impressed - already a chocolate shop I'd never encountered! And it was a lovely one. The tour was quite enjoyable. We ambled from Cocova (where we heard how chocolate is made in the little back room, and sampled different types - delicious), to Pleasant Pops (where we ate an intriguingly spicy chocolate pop). Then we swung up to Meridian Hill Park for a bit of history (this tour is supposed to be of the area, but this was the main bit of non-chocolate info, and I found it surprisingly informative, given I know the area fairly well). Then we veered down to Cake Love in U Street for an unremarkable cupcake, to the lovely new home of the Wydown coffee bar for chocolate chip cookies and a drink (they tried to persuade me they were better than Blind Dog cookies: impossible), to Ted's Bulletin for chocolate pop tarts (urgh), along side streets for some more history chat, to Hans Pedr Kaffee for some in-house chocolate (looked impressive; tasted mediocre), then the final stop was to be Tamarindo for enchiladas with chocolate sauce but the tour guide mistimed it so we ended up back at Cocova, selecting a final tasty chocolate. For those reviewers who said they were so full they couldn't eat dinner, I say: amateurs! Not only did I eat a bar of chocolate before the tour, I ate everything on the tour and was absolutely ready for dinner (this perhaps says nothing good about me...). SO was the tour worth it? I think yes. Everything we ate and drank was included, which was quite generous. The tour guide Bonnie was very pleasant, and all the establishments we met were very friendly as we were with her. The bits of history were enjoyable. This is a good way to see a local area if you're a tourist - but everyone on my tour was local, and we were all surprised by some of the places we went! Essentially, a cheery, quirky way to spend an afternoon, and learn a few new facts and sights about our city. And much more fun than going round these venues alone. Look out for bargains on Yelp and Groupon!
I went on the community paddleboard on Friday at 7am again. Very nice. Nothing much to report; mostly just mentioned it to brag. But I also went out on Sunday on a kayak and have to say, I love paddleboarding so much that I forgot how lovely kayaking also is. And around 6-7pm is such a lovely time for it.
And I went to two Capital Fringe shows. The Program Assistant was the best show I saw at the Fringe (except ours of course), though I managed to miss every show that won a prize: oops. But hooray: Fringe was great fun. I'm so sad it's moving east next year - H Street is clearly the place to be.
What sounds cool in the coming week
I know, I know: summer is bad for cool DC stuff. But we'll manage... In particular, you should get tickets for Stupid F**king Bird at Woolly Mammoth - everyone's going nuts on social media about how awesome it is. And it won loads of Helen Hayes awards. I have my ticket. It's on til August 17th but will likely sell out. There's also an improv festival called Binge with shows through to August 9th.
Wed 30th July - Cocktails and do-gooding at once at Chefs Behind Bars. Or get to that free outdoor screening of Sense and Sensibility at Dumbarton House that we missed last year thanks to the rain! Or go hear SpeakeasyDC students' stories for free.
Thu 31st July - If you liked the sound of the Big Maze but were put off by the prospect of wading through a kindergarten of screaming, racing children, it's open 5-9pm tonight. Or else embrace your inner miniskirt with an outdoor screening of Clueless at Heurich House
Fri 1st Aug - It's the weekend, so why not celebrate with another outdoor movie, this time, aptly, Nine to Five in Rosslyn?
Fri 1st - Sun 3rd Aug - It's the city's Outwrite LGBT book festival. Small but sweet, check it out. The full schedule is here. I'm planning to go to 'Quick and Dirty' on Saturday at noon. They will also have lots of used books for sale. I love a book sale!
Sat 2nd Aug - Check out the Appetite Festival at Strathmore - not cheap, but it sounds cool anyway. Or go buy random stuff at the Studio Theatre's annual garage sale, 10am-4pm.
Sun 3rd Aug - It's the last night of Carrie the Musical at Studio Theatre. You should probably go see it.
If anything else cool crosses my radar, I'll add it. Have a great week!