Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, and, conveniently, so is the opening
date for several area pools. After a seemingly endless winter, we’re ready to break
out the swimwear and sunscreen. Check out our guide to area outdoor pools both public
and private, organized by state—and get ready to dive in.
Private Pools in DC
Capitol Skyline Hotel
10 I St., SW; 202-488-7500
If you’re more interested in socializing than swimming, look no further than Capitol Skyline. This hotel pool is known for its raucous weekend pool parties.
Price: $20 for a day pass, $325 for a single membership, $525 for a family membership (up to five family members).
Hours: Open weekdays 11 to 9 and weekends 10 to 9.
Courtyard Marriott Dupont
1900 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-332-9300
Surrounded by an enclosed courtyard, this Dupont pool is an oasis in the midst of a bustling part of town.
Price: $20 for a day pass, $250 for a single membership, $275 for a couples membership, $350 for a family membership.
Hours: Open weekdays 10 to 8 and weekends 10 to 9.
One Washington Circle Hotel
One Washington Circle, NW; 202-872-1680
If you’re looking for a good place to dine and dip, this hotel has the perfect deal for you. The pool is free if you spend $35 at the Circle Bistro or the Circle Lounge, so load up on food and drinks before you hit the water.
Price: Free if you spend $35 at the Circle Bistro or the Circle Lounge.
Hours: Open daily 10 to 8.
The Liaison Capitol Hill
415 New Jersey Ave., NW; 202-638-1616
In addition to a rooftop pool, this Capitol Hill spot also features a poolside bar, massages in a cabana, and yoga on the roof.
Price: $40 for a day pass, including a welcome cocktail.
Hours: Open daily 10 to 10. Bar open daily 11 to 11.
10 Thomas Circle, NW; 202-842-1300
With free wi-fi and a poolside bar, this spot has everything you need for a day of relaxation. And at these prices, you’ll want to take advantage of it all.
Price: $50 for a day pass, $800 for a single season pass, $1,500 for a couples season pass, and $2,100 for a family season pass.
Hours: Open daily 9 to 9.
Waterside Fitness and Swim Club
901 Sixth St., SW; 202-488-3701
Cool off and get your workout on at this aquatic gym. Waterside Fitness and Swim Club offers day passes and memberships for both the indoor and outdoor pools.
Price: $10 for a day pass. Season memberships will also be available; the price is TBD.
Hours: Open daily 10:30 to 8. Closed Monday.
Thursday, May 23
ROOFTOPS: It’s prime rooftop bar season, just before cicadas and humidity make it slightly less wonderful. Head to Art Soiree on top of the Beacon Hotel with happy hour specials from 5 to 7 and a live performance from local jazz musicians the Cricket Fusion starting when the sun begins to set. Free with RSVP. 5 PM.
JAZZ: If you haven’t checked out HR-57’s newish space on H Street, it’s about time. For those of you not in the know, the club is named after Congressional Resolution HR-57, which designated jazz as an American treasure worth preserving. Every Thursday, they do their part with a jam sesh. The club is BYOB. Tickets ($8) are available online. 8 PM.
Friday, May 24
MOVIES: Two good outdoor movies this week: Merrifield’s Strawberry Park has Argo, Rosslyn’s Gateway Park has Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I think Argo is about a guy who skips class and Bueller is about some sort of elaborate Middle Eastern escape/heist, but I could be wrong.
Argo: Free, 7 PM
Bueller: Free, 8-ish
RUN: Some of you guys love running so much, you’ll do it in the middle of the night. Avery’s, a brand new bar on H Street, is hosting Midnight on Mars, a three-mile run that hits up Union Station and other local landmarks and ends with a party at the bar. Light food and water will be on the house. Wear something neon-y. Free. Pre-race events begin at 10:30; the race begins at midnight.
BURLESQUE: Black Cat’s Twisted Teases is a burlesque and variety show featuring a bunch of local dancers, sword swallowers, jugglers, and who knows what else. This week promises “an edge you didn’t see coming,” which is kind of a scary thought. Tickets ($12) are available online. 8:45 and 11 PM.
RAP: Brightest Young Things is getting into the rap game with Fat Lip, a new monthly show at Columbia Heights’ Zeba. This week’s show features Baltimore’s Ddm and Virginia’s Farma Wesley—both emcees have a throwback, early ’90s kind of sound. Instead of doing it up crazy like BYT usually does, things will stay casual: $5 at the door, $2 PBRs, and $5 Jameson drinks. 9 PM.
The documentary festival formerly known as Silverdocs has undergone quite a facelift for its 11th year, with a new name (AFIDocs Presented by Audi), a new sponsor (see previous), and a new presence downtown. This year, June 19 through 23, the festival is branching out of the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring to screen films concurrently at the AFI and in downtown DC, with venues including the Newseum, the National Museum of American History, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Archives, and the Goethe-Institut.
Another notable difference this year is the number of films being screened. Just 53 movies will be on the slate at 2013’s festival, compared with 118 in 2012. “In many ways, the AFI is framing this as a relaunch, a combination of year one and an 11-year start,” said festival director Sky Sitney in an interview last month. “We’ve all made an important decision that we have to be more ambitious in terms of the events we’re doing, but they’re going to be scaled back in terms of the scope of the festival this first year. What this year represents is the incredible opportunity to have a campus in DC and set the foundation for the next decade of the festival.”
This means movies such as Documented, a film by former Washington Post journalist Jose Antonio Vargas about his experiences as an undocumented immigrant living in the US, will take place less than a mile from the Capitol, offering the opportunity to host discussions and Q&As that festival organizers hope will offer new ideas and insight to lawmakers. One new AFIDocs feature is an initiative called the Catalyst Sessions, which will build on the festival’s tradition of hosting post-screening discussions to offer focused debates with filmmakers, politicians, nonprofit leaders, and others in the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center.
Curious what makes someone up and leave Washington for one of the bleakest habitats on earth? Last weekend, the National Geographic Channel premiered a new series called Life Below Zero, which follows six people who live “off the grid” in Alaska, just 122 miles below the Arctic Circle. Andy Bassich, 54, grew up in Wheaton, Maryland, and moved to Alaska in 1980. Bassich, his wife, Kate, and their 24 sled dogs now live along the Yukon River in Eagle, Alaska, 14 miles away from the nearest town. Each winter, when temperatures can plummet to 60 degrees below zero, the Yukon River freezes over and the Bassichs are completely isolated from civilization. We spoke with Bassich by phone to discuss living at the edge of the earth, what he misses most about Washington, and why Alaska feels like home.
What was it that made you want to move to Alaska?
I just like living out in the woods; I like living out in the bush of Alaska. I wanted a little more peace and quiet and serenity, a little bit more space.
What was your life like when you lived in Washington?
I graduated [from] John F. Kennedy High and became a cabinet-maker and a carpenter. I was working in Virginia. And at about age 22, I just had this really deep feeling that I needed to move to Alaska. In 1976 when I graduated from high school, I traveled around the country and felt like I wanted to go to Alaska then, but I had some family commitments at home that year—my sister was getting married. So I came back home and did the carpentry jobs for quite a few years. I had a really good job there, but there was just something inside, a gut feeling that told me I needed to go to Alaska. My grandmother just encouraged me to go and live my dream when I was young. I took that advice and moved up here. And I never regret it; I never look back. This is the place I’m supposed to be.
How did you meet your wife, Kate?
I worked on the Yukon River as a riverboat captain for 20 years, and I met her up in Dawson City. She was a tourist coming through, and we hit it off really well. We met in 2003, and we’ve been together ever since.
And how did you get all those dogs?
When I first came to Alaska and out to Eagle, I traded a truckload of wood for one sled-dog puppy and raised him that first winter. And then I acquired two more dogs. Then I kept about seven dogs for quite a few years—I would just trap in the wintertime with my seven dogs. Currently, we have about 24 dogs. They’re all up in Eagle right now, because we’re expecting to potentially flood and we wanted the dogs to be safe.
When you first moved to Alaska, did you experience culture shock at all?
No, absolutely not. I’ve always been a person that I just enjoy my alone time. Even when I’m alone, I never feel lonely. And I really enjoy the quiet that’s out in the wilderness out here. One thing I did miss when I left Washington was I was always very interested in the fine arts. When I was a kid, I used to ride my bike down Rock Creek Parkway and go to the Smithsonian and things like that when I was 12, 13 years old, on my own. I kind of missed that when I came up here. But as far as the hustle and bustle of suburban and urban lifestyles, no, I didn’t miss that at all. I’m much better suited to living out in this environment I think.
Jay Pharoah might have wrapped up his third season with Saturday Night Live this past weekend, but the 25-year-old Virginia native isn’t stopping to catch his breath. Pharoah, who took over playing President Obama from outgoing cast member Fred Armisen this season, performs May 24 through 26 at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse, offering everything from political jokes and personal anecdotes to the impersonations (Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Jay-Z, Denzel Washington) he showcases on NBC. We caught up with him to talk weird fan moments, transitioning into a bigger role on SNL, how he researches his impressions, and playing the President while he’s sitting just inches away.
It isn’t all that close to where you grew up in Chesapeake, but is it nice to come back to Virginia?
Heck yeah. Oh, hell yeah. I appreciate going to Arlington, Virginia, because I’ve sold out the Arlington Drafthouse the past couple of years, and I hope I can do it again this year. It’s just a great house and a great crowd. People in Arlington don’t have sticks up their butts. It’s great. Some places you go, they’re like a little too sensitive or whatever, but when you’re a comedian you’re supposed to speak your mind.
What’s the best thing about touring as opposed to being in the studio?
I love everything, but the difference is it’s just you one-on-one with the crowd and you have control over everything you’re saying, and you have that connection with the audience, that intimacy. It’s not from behind a television screen. Even on SNL you have an audience, but they’re looking at the screen, so it’s that intimacy between you and the crowd and the fact that they can almost feel your vulnerability right there when you talk to them.
You just finished filming Saturday Night Live, and now you’re on the road for most of the summer. Do you get to take a break at some point?
Do I get to take a break? No! What’s a break? Kit Kat bars? Broken bones? I’m 25. I’ve got to do as much as I can before I get over the hill. I’m trying to establish a lot before that happens, so I’ve got to keep busy. I don’t sit down. I’m not like that book on the shelf of somebody who acts studious when they’ve got company over. You know those people I’m talking about? The ones who’ve got whole offices full of damn books, and they never read a book in their lives? People come over and go, “Oh, my god, you’re so scholarly!” Not scholarly. You open those books and you’re gonna see a whole family of spiders saying hey.
If you’re not that book, which book are you?
Oh, the Places You’ll Go. The Dr. Seuss book. That’s the book I’ll be. They read it at every graduation.
You were just 22 when you made your SNL debut. Was it terrifying?
Yeah. It was terrifying, and there was definitely some naive mixed in there because I was just happy-go-lucky. As you grow you see more things and you learn more and it turns you into a more mature and on-point performer. Being so young, I was just enjoying the lights and being up there and getting the opportunity to do a lot of the stuff that a lot of people would probably kill for. I knew it was great, but as you get older you realize just how great it was.
Who’s the hardest person you’ve ever had to do an impression of?
Oh, the hardest? I thought you said the hottest. I was about to be like, “I don’t know, I don’t really do impressions of women. . . .” Will Smith took a while. Denzel took about three years, so I would say Denzel Washington. I definitely feel like I have him now, but there’s more I could learn to get him on point. As an impressionist and a comedian it’s about constantly learning and adding to your act.
What kind of research do you do?
I watch movies, I watch YouTube videos, I date them. Look, there’re a lot of things that can happen in the process. You know that last one’s a joke. But it’s like playing a sport—you definitely have to study the game or study that person. If you’re in the NBA you have to work on your jump shot till you know it like the back of your hand. It’s synonymous with playing sports.
You met the President a week ago. How did he react to your impression of him?
It was great. He was standing right there beside me while I was doing it, like an inch away from me, standing in my face, and he said [puts on Barack Obama voice], “That guy’s pretty good. I’m glad I met him. He did good.” I was like, okay, that’s enough for me. I’ve had a good week, personally. I did some stuff in the studio with rapper J. Cole, I had a great audition for a movie, I met the President of the United States of America. I can’t complain. There’s nothing to be mad about.
What movie? Can you say?
I can’t talk about that. But know that it’s a very smart movie and hopefully it’s going to be in the works in a few months. That’s all I can say.
You do have a movie, Ride Along, coming up in 2014.
Yes, I do. Kevin Hart, Ice Cube. It was a fun experience. Kevin is one of the greatest down-to-earth guys ever, and Ice Cube is the same. And I have another movie coming up in the fall called Get a Job. It’s CBS Films, Bryan Cranston, Anna Kendrick, Miles Teller. I’m in it. It’s a good cast.
Normally, as the 100-or-so regular readers of this column will know, we like to start with the winners and finish with the losers in a particular Veep episode but in last night’s offering, “Andrew,” there was only one winner, and his supremacy was crystallized by his name being the title of the show. As the great poet Phillip Larkin once wrote in his ode to poor parenting, “They f**k you up, your mum and dad.” Between the slimy, self-serving Andrew and the more entertainingly self-serving Selina, one has to hope poor Catherine has her therapist on speed dial.
Here’s a fun fact: The tremendous Sarah Sutherland, who plays Catherine, and whose horrified facial expression watching her parents go at it outside the limo while Mike eyed her birthday cake deserves an Emmy category all of its own, is the daughter of Kiefer Sutherland, so presumably she’s no stranger to high-profile childhoods. Anyway, Catherine, we feel your pain. If it were me I would have eaten the whole cake and then ground the remnants in Mike’s weaselly mustache, so your restraint is remarkable.
Catherine: Her 21st birthday party at the National Gallery (is this allowed? I kept eyeing the fake Monet behind the deejay with fear in case he started feeling the beat and accidentally stuck an elbow through it) was ruined by budget negotiations, and her make-up-for-the-ruined-party-dinner at Cafe Milano was ruined by her loathsome father and a number of citizens with camera phones catching Selina looking furious. Also the sexual tension between her parents was so electric that Catherine thought they were going to do it on the table. Then her mother blew out her candles for her, saying, “You can make your wish in the car.” Then both parents ditched her to go at it on a DC street. There isn’t enough Xanax in the world for all this birthday action. Thank god for Rahim.
Mary King and Selina: Their budget deal was busted by POTUS, which means they’ll be blamed for the inevitable government shutdown. Mary King nearly coughed herself inside out after an allergic reaction to Catherine’s birthday flowers. And Selina’s known as Meyer the Liar again, thanks to Mike, who is basically so incompetent he shouldn’t be allowed out of the house.
Monday, May 20
ART (SORTA): After a couple years of hiatus, Artomatic made its triumphant return to DC last year, and things apparently went well enough that it’s happening again this year. No details yet, but maybe you can get some at the planning happy hour at Old Dominion Brewhouse near the Convention Center. Officials will be on hand, and if you’ve got the planning bug, you can get involved yourself. Free. 6 PM.
Tuesday, May 21
EAT: A dozen of Adams Morgan’s best restaurants, including Mellow Mushroom, Pi Pizzeria, Bardi’as New Orleans Cafe, and Bossa Bistro will be serving up samples to benefit Mary’s Center, which helps families that fall through government assistance programs’ cracks. Stumbling down 18th street because you’re full, not drunk, is a much better look, trust us. $20 for four tasting tickets or $30 for 7. 4:30 to 8 PM.
DANCE: It’s been streaming for a week, but chances are you haven’t gotten to hear Daft Punk’s latest album on anything besides your headphones or disappointing computer speakers. It’s time to hit the dance floor with this thing—U Street Music Hall will be blasting the vinyl edition out of its amazing sound system. Free for 21 and up, $5 for 18 to 20. 8 PM.
I think my colleague Sophie Gilbert summed up this episode best when she tweeted, “Nobody does a twist like Shonda.” No matter how implausible, the plot curves she throws out are thrilling in all their soapy glory.
A few beginning thoughts before we get to the recap. At the risk of angering Scandal’s many Olitz shippers, I’m going to say the focus on their relationship is one of the less compelling parts of the series to me. Yes, they have great chemistry, but their epically self-destructive romance is the molten core of the show, so actually having them be together and happy would end Scandal as we know it. Since it’s unlikely for that to happen anytime soon, it robs those scenes of any real stakes for me. What I do like, though is how well Shonda has shown how everyone around these two people gets drawn into their orbit, doing things they never imagined they would in service of a relationship that defies all wisdom or reason. I also realized that while I’ve criticized Scandal for flying through plot points faster than you can actually absorb them, that in itself becomes an important facet of the show: that these characters are constantly a step away from disaster, and all their desperate actions to get out of whatever corner they’re backed into take them further from who they were when they began, until they find themselves sticking a power drill into a man’s thigh—and enjoying it.
After last week’s reveal that Billy Chambers is the mole, Olivia and Co.’s main mission is to retrieve the Cytron memory card to keep Defiance under wraps. Jerk Jeremy is holding onto it while Billy ropes in Governor Reston, who was El Prez’s rival in the rigged election. Reston tells El Prez he will make Defiance go away in exchange for a spot on the reelection ticket, but Olivia realizes he’s just trying to get El Prez to say something incriminating on tape. Billy then goes back to JJ and tries to convince him to hand over the card by blaming the fact that he murdered two people on Olivia. He points out that Olivia ruined JJ’s life, too—and yes, she’ll superglue it back together, but only because she was the one who broke it in the first place. By tracking Billy’s cell phone (or something), Huck and Quinn manage to get ahold of Billy, and when Huck balks at torturing him, Quinn steps in, drilling into Billy’s leg with relish as his blood sprays across her face. It’s gross, and Huck is concerned. She gets the location of the card from him, but when Abby looks at the card they realize it’s blank—a fake. Billy tells them he got the card from JJ, and in an awesome flashback sequence we see how JJ planted himself in HQ and used his after-hours time to crack into the safe—not with any fancy technology but just by trying combination after combination until he found one that worked.
So he’s still got the real card, and instead of turning in El Prez and the Dream Team, he gives the memory card to Cyrus and leaves a box for Olivia containing a video of his conversation with Billy—and an actual white hat (ugh). What does he want in return? Just public recognition from El Prez that he found the mole, plus a sweet new position as US Attorney. VP Sally, who was already plotting to run against El Prez, is once again discredited, and Billy ends up in jail.
Yes, we’re spoiled with free museums in Washington, but that doesn’t mean this weekend’s Art Museum Day isn’t worth celebrating. Saturday, May 18, area institutions such as the Phillips Collection, the Corcoran, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Hillwood Estate are opening their doors with special deals on admission. The details:
Baltimore Museum of Art
Admission to the BMA is free, but the museum is offering $10 off individual and family memberships on Art Museum Day, so you can join for $45 instead of the usual $55. New members also receive a $10 voucher to Gertrude’s, the museum’s restaurant.
Corcoran Gallery of Art
The Corcoran is offering free admission all day May 18, as well as every Saturday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Additionally, use the hashtag #ArtMuseumDay to get 15 percent off at the museum shop.
Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens
Visit the Hillwood Museum on May 18 and receive two-for-one admission to the upcoming exhibit “Living Artfully: At Home With Marjorie Merriweather Post,” opening June 8.
National Museum of Women in the Arts
The NMWA will offer free admission all day May 18, from 10 to 5.
The Phillips is offering free admission all day on May 18, from 10 to 5.
Looking for a clue that the recession might be over? A sale of contemporary and postwar art at Christie’s last night raised $495 million for various sellers, including $58.3 million going to Washington billionaire and art collector Mitchell Rales for the purchase of his “No. 19, 1948” by Jackson Pollock.
The auction, said art dealer Larry Gagosian to the New York Times, “shows how broad the market is—as in deep pockets.” Rales’s drip painting, bought by an anonymous bidder, has an interesting background: It was sold to him by François Pinault, the French art collector and fashion magnate, who in turn bought it for a meager $2.4 million 20 years ago.
Rales, who was long notorious for shunning the spotlight, made the news in 2012 when he announced plans to build an expanded art museum the size of the National Gallery’s East Building near his Potomac home in order to showcase his collection. The founder of manufacturing and technology company Danaher Corp reportedly snapped up a number of masterpieces by Pollock, Mark Rothko, Yves Klein, and other abstract expressionists in the 1990s when prices were low after the market crashed, according to a New York Times profile from earlier this year.
Forbes estimates Rales’s net worth at $3.7 billion, so the sale of “No. 19, 1948” won’t necessarily be lifestyle-altering. But it will account for almost half of the $125 million Rales and his wife, Emily, are investing in the expansion of their appointment-only gallery, Glenstone.