It has been a fairly quiet start to 2014 for me in terms of storytelling nights. Speakeasy DC had a 'top shelf' event of their top stories which sold out before I managed to remember to buy a ticket - though they do normal shows on the second Tuesday of the month. Not to mention a special Valentine's show. If you think the epitome of romance would be hearing how my wife and I nearly didn't get together, I will be performing, so you are in luck. Get tickets for it here to avoid trying to get them at the last minute - and failing like I did last week!
I did get along to an improv night though, last weekend. I was trying to get a table at Rose's Luxury up at Barracks Row (much the best restaurant in DC in my opinion, but sadly they don't take reservations and there was a wait of three and a half hours at 6pm on a Saturday night!) so since I was in the area, I went to see Perfect Liars alumnus Pedro perform at Dojo Comedy at The Fridge. Which despite its name was mostly improv, and while I tend to find improv quite patchy as a spectator (though a lot of fun to do - I took a class at Washington Improv Theater last year, and it is of course hilarious every time my dear wife performs), one of the troupes, named Breakfast, was particularly funny - look out for them.
On the subject of long waits for food, after being foiled by huge lines at new-ish 14th Street Spanish restaurant Barcelona, and lured by great hype about their food, wife and I determinedly turned up at 5:05pm on Monday and finally scored a table. Only to find food that was good, but not life changing. Nice ambience, but I prefer the Spanish food at each of Jaleo, Estadio and Boqueria myself. (Not that I go out for dinner a lot. Ahem.) We've also been checking out some of the new hipster bars around the 7th and T corner - really like the large beer bar Right Proper - a nice combination of hip, not pretentious, cool ambience, and this old lady is able to get a seat!
On a more daytime note, I thought the Women of Vision exhibition at the National Geographic was a delightful, diverse and really interesting photography exhibition showcasing their female photographers' work, and a great way to spend $11 and an hour of your time. It's on til March 9th. The same ticket will get you into A New Age of Exploration which I went to a couple of months ago as part of a Brightest Young Things evening event, and it is brilliant if you have any sort of geography geek tendencies at all. I wish I were an explorer... In terms of art viewing, I was less dazzled by the Van Gogh show at the Phillips Collection which I felt was one for the hardcore Van Gogh fans, though interesting. If you think you'd enjoy seeing a few very similar paintings by Van Gogh of the same thing it's on til February 2nd, $12. I was intrigued by the concept but not much explanation provided, alas. National Geographic wins the curation prize here, in my opinion. Though I did have some tasty coffee cake in the Tryst cafe inside the Phillips afterwards (NB you don't need to buy tickets to enjoy the cafe).
I was also really delighted to catch Sue Monk Kidd at Sixth and I synagogue, in a Politics and Prose author event. One of my new year's resolutions is to increase the number of cool literary events and readings I go to, but Washington never seems to offer up as much as I'd like - other than Politics and Prose which has author events every day. Sadly they're mostly up at the bookshop which, while lovely, is a bit of a trek for a girl without a car. I'd enjoyed Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees. This week, she published a new book, The Invention of Wings, about the abolition of the slave trade told through the eyes of a young girl and the slave she is given for her 11th birthday. Sometimes going to hear an author speak about a book you haven't read can be frustrating, but Sue Monk Kidd was one of the best author speakers I've ever heard. I was completely compelled, and resolved to (a) read her book, and (b) keep a closer eye on other cool stuff happening at Sixth and I.
And last night I went to Living Social's weekly Tuesday evening Adult Spelling Bee. I once went to a brilliant spelling bee at Politics and Prose (hoping they do it again sometime) but this one was less challenging with words like khaki and lecture... Not that I can mock as I accidentally misspoke and lost! Everyone who wanted to participate got to do so, and it cost $5 including a beer. A nice venue and concept, but not sure I feel the need to return every week - especially as they apparently use the same words.
Finally, the movies I've been to see this year, in order of how much I enjoyed them: Saving Mr Banks (5/5), American Hustle (5/5), Her (5/5), Walter Mitty (4/5), Inside Llewyn Davis (4/5), Anchorman 2 (3/5), August, Osage Country (2/5).
It's not all going out - I'm participating in a challenge to read 100 books in 2014. So if you're not a going out person, fear not: my sofa-based book blog may be for you! Check out Reading Shoes.