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Everything you need to know about dining, drinking, and watching fireworks on Independence Day.
Photograph by ehtesham/Shutterstock.

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Posted at 01:38 PM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
There's 45,000 square feet of new exhibition space. By Emily Codik
The global era section of the "American Enterprise" exhibit documents the time period between the 1980s and 2010s. All photos courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

You've probably already seen the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz and Julia Child's adorable kitchen at the National Museum of American History. Soon there'll be a ton of new stuff to check out. On July 1, the museum unveils 45,000 square feet of newly renovated space--a monument to American enterprise and innovation housed on the west wing's first floor.

Ralph Baer's workshop--home to the first video game--is perhaps the greatest attraction. There's also interactive games that put you in the shoes of an American farmer or entrepreuneur, facing difficult choices, such as whether to farm organic or non-organic milk, or switch to a greener, more expensive form of manufacturing. Here's a preview of what you can expect when you go.

“Places of Invention” exhibit entrance in the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Hall of Invention. Locations featured in the exhibit include the Bronx, home of hip-hop, and Silicon Valley, birthplace of the personal computer.
“Farming Challenge” interactive within the “American Enterprise” exhibit’s Wallace H. Coulter Exchange Room. Pick which crops and methods to use, and find out how you would fare as a farmer.
The debut of the Fordson tractor in the 1920s marked the end of horse-drawn farming equipment. Here, it looms over traditional farming practices in the “American Enterprise” exhibit.
One of several interactives within the "American Enterprise" exhibit. Spin a wheel and try to get to the top of the "Tower of Power."
“Mr. Peanut” and other advertising spokesmen are featured in the “American Enterprise” exhibit.
The personal workshop of Ralph Baer, considered the “Father of the Video Game.”

Posted at 12:06 PM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Don't miss the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Cirque du Soleil, and Taylor Swift at Nationals Park. By Emily Codik, Andrew Beaujon
Peruvian moto-taxi drivers. Photograph by Joshua Eli Cogan

1. Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Perú Pachamama

National Mall, June 24-June 28 and July 1-5

Gourd engravers. Photograph by Joshua Eli Cogan.

The young couple from Ayacucho, Peru, didn’t have enough cash to buy pesticides for their farm. On a hilly plot, they fed their family by planting quinoa the old-fashioned way. As demand rose for organic versions of the Andean seed, they discovered they were in luck: Though they live five hours from the nearest major airport, their pesticide-free crop had become globally marketable.

Now they’re making the long trip to Washington, where they’re joining 105 cooks, potters, dancers, mask makers, musicians, and fishermen in sharing their life stories at the annual Folklife Festival on the Mall (free). “You can see how their traditions are connected with the past,” says festival co-curator Cristina Díaz-Carrera, “and what choices they’ve had to make to adapt to the different environments they’re confronted with.”

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Posted at 06:00 AM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Find the best views at these rooftop bars, parks, and bridges. By Elissa Miolene
Photo by redswept /


Jack Rose
2007 18th St. NW
From 4 to 7:30 PM, watch the fireworks at Jack Rose while enjoying a $4 can of Flying Dog, a complimentary coozie, and a great rooftop view. Also on deck: a BBQ style cook-off on a wood-burning pit grill, and half-price bites. No cover.

Cardozo High School
1200 Clifton St., NW
Get a great view of the show while avoiding the congestion of the Mall. Only two miles away from the action, this school in Columbia Heights is situated at a high elevation point that makes for easy viewing.

Avery’s Bar & Lounge
1370 H St., NE
From 3 to 9 PM, Avery’s hosts a day party on the roof of their H Street venue. Tickets are on sale for $5 before the event and $10 general admission at the door, but you might want to get there early to avoid a potential price increase. At Avery's, you'll hear DJ Hamp the Stampede perform while getting your fill on a $7 Ciroc special. At 10 PM, DJ Dopestar kicks off the night party.

1905 Restaurant
1905 9th St NW
1905 will be hosting their annual rooftop BBQ from 3 to 10 PM. Partnering with Atlas Brew Works, the event features an assortment of draft and canned beers for $5 all day. $20 tickets are first come, first serve; entry gets you three tickets that can be exchanged for beer and food.

Flight Wine Bar
777 6th St NW
Flight Wine Bar offers food, drinks, and a rooftop view. For $95 per person, you’ll gain access to a food buffet with a Southern twang, including dishes like fried chicken, mac and cheese, and BBQ bacon burgers. Beer, soda, and wine will also be provided.

Anacostia Park
1900 Anacostia Dr., SE
Just south of the Anacostia River, this park is a great place to settle down and watch the show. With 1200-acres stretching across the river, you’ll be sure to find a spot a little removed from the crowds.

Rock and Roll Hotel
1353 H St., NE
Sync performs on the rooftop of the Rock and Roll Hotel on July 4, and tickets are free. Doors open at 3 PM, and the show starts at 5 PM.

Francis Scott Key Bridge
Nothing beats watching fireworks in the sky, with a view of the water at the same time. The Francis Scott Key Bridge is a great place to do both--just make sure to get there early, because it might get packed.

H Street Country Club
1335 H St., NE
H Street Country Club starts the weekend with a special brunch on Friday from 11 AM to 3 PM, offering bottomless mimosas for $12. On Saturday, watch the fireworks while drinking “Liber-tea” cocktails from 3 to 7 PM. No cover.

901 U St. NW
Prove your patriotism at Brixton’s hot dog eating contest, which takes place on the roof at 4 PM. Drink specials, beer promotions, and music by DJ Eskimo follows. No cover.

The Satellite Room
2047 9th St., NW
From 2 to 6 PM, the Satellite Room hosts Pie Fest, where guests pay $15 in advance, $20 at the door, for unlimited pie. That includes not only dessert pie, but also pizza pies. (Drink specials are not included in the basic cover fee.)

Update: A previous version of this article included DNV Rooftop. Fireworks are not visible from DNV Rooftop. This article has been updated to reflect that change.

Know other spots to watch the fireworks? Send information to Elissa at

Posted at 10:10 AM/ET, 06/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here are the best events around town. By Tracy L. Scott
Hopefully no one will see the rain when John Fogerty performs at the Filene Center tomorrow night. Photo courtesy Vanguard Records Publicity.


ART: What was Paris like in the 1880s? Get a glimpse while checking out "the Painter’s Eye," the National Gallery of Art’s new exhibit featuring the work of Gustave Caillebotte. From nudes to scenes of pedestrians enjoying the city, his paintings offer a look at the period's urban life. Free, 10 AM to 5 PM.

MUSEUMS: Scientists are still in awe over the engineering marvel that is the Inca Road--a 20,000-mile stretch connecting Cusco to the far ends of the empire--and the Museum of the American Indian’s new exhibit explains why it was such a feat. "The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire" also offers insight into the Inca's culture and legacy. Free, 10 AM to 5:30 PM.


MUSIC: Believe it or not, it's been more than a decade since the electronic dance duo Basement Jaxx released "Where's Your Head At." Now the Londoners, Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton, visit the 9:30 Club following the release of their seventh album, Junto. $35, 7 PM.

MUSIC: Grammy Award-winning guitarist John Fogerty comes to Wolf Trap to perform hits from Creedance Clearwater Revival, the hit-making quartet led by Fogerty in the late '60s and early '70s. Named one of Rolling Stones' top 100 guitarists and singers of all time, Fogerty will hopefully offer up classics like “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” and “The Old Man Down the Road.” $40 to $65, 8 PM.


MUSIC: Strathmore’s free summer concert series begins on July 1 with the bilingual trio Ten Strings and a Goatskin. Known for performing in both English and French, these three artists harmonize to the sounds of the guitar, violin, and drum. 7 PM.

DRINK: Patriotic cocktails? That sounds like a great way to start celebrating the Fourth of July. Spirited Republic hosts A Patriotic Cocktail Competition and Tasting, emceed by local bar owner Derek Brown. Bartenders from around the country compete and put their cocktail-making skills to the test--and you get to sample the results. $60 to $65, 6:30 PM.

Posted at 07:04 AM/ET, 06/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Just in time for the 30th anniversary of St. Elmo's Fire. By Benjamin Freed
Screenshot via YouTube.

In case the many previously announced outdoor movie-screening series around Washington didn't reach enough neighborhoods, the Georgetown Business Improvement District announced Friday that it, too, will offer a cycle. The "Georgetown Sunset Cinema" will take place Tuesday evenings in Georgetown Waterfront Park for five weeks beginning July 7, with films, a press release states, either "filmed in or inspired by Georgetown."

The lineup:

  • July 7: St. Elmo's Fire
  • July 14: State of Play
  • July 21: No Way Out
  • July 28: Burn After Reading
  • August 4: To be announced

The four films named so far have unique connections to the tony neighborhood: St. Elmo's Fire—which star Rob Lowe wants everyone to know marks its 30th anniversary today—follows a group of bored and horny Georgetown University grads; State of Play begins with the shooting of a thief and a pizza delivery man in the neighborhood; No Way Out, which was filmed mostly in Baltimore, features a non-existent Georgetown Metro station; and Burn After Reading features a Georgetown resident burying a hatchet in Richard Jenkins's face. All four titles were also contenders in our Most Washington Movie Ever bracket.

To get you refreshed, watch the music video for the second-greatest 1980s movie theme song, John Parr's "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)."

Posted at 04:04 PM/ET, 06/26/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Photograph by Flickr user Robinson Meyer.

The summer concert series at Tenleytown's Fort Reno Park will apparently happen this year, according to emails organizer Amanda MacKaye sent to the selected musicians Thursday night. Although it is still uncertain if the National Park Service fees required to stage the concerts have been paid, the tone of MacKaye's emails suggest the shows will—after another tense week of uncertainty—go on.

While Fort Reno's website still displays MacKaye's message from earlier this week, in which she made a last-ditch plea for donations, she sent an email Friday morning to 20 acts booked to play this summer, informing them they can start publicizing their concert dates. (The website mentions 21 bands.)

"[In] my desire to get the confirmation letters out yesterday, [I] neglected to make it clear that you are welcome to start spreading the word about your show," MacKaye writes in the mass email.

The specific dates and lineups, however, were conveyed in individual correspondence between MacKaye and the musicians.

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Posted at 10:48 AM/ET, 06/26/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
"The Painter’s Eye" opens on June 28. By Emily Codik
Caillebotte's On the Pont de l’Europe, 1876 to 1877. Photo courtesy National Gallery of Art, collection of the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth.

Gustave Caillebotte captured the day-to-day life of Paris. No subject was too ordinary. He painted people walking down the street and shirtless men scrapping wooden floors. For the conservative art jurors of the French government--who in 1875 rejected his entry into the Salon, a prestigious annual art exhibition--Caillebotte went too far. For the Impressionists, however, his work was the perfect depiction of the city's urban life. They welcomed Caillebotte into their crew.

He went on to exhibit with them, but didn't achieve the same fame as the likes of Edgar Degas or Claude Monet. Now the National Gallery of Art is spearheading a rediscovery of his paintings. "Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter's Eye," on view from June 28 to October 4, includes a display of 50 works, focusing primarily on the period between 1875 and 1882.

Here, co-curator Mary Morton selects five of Caillebotte's paintings and explains their story, as well as why they're worth the trek to the Mall.

Paris Street, Rainy Day, 1877. Photo courtesy National Gallery of Art. Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection.

“This picture, freshly cleaned by conservators at the Art Institute of Chicago, is as spellbinding today as it was in 1877, when critics claimed it as the great masterpiece of the third Impressionist exhibition. The painting transports the viewer, in its scale and plunging perspective and luminosity, to a brand new street corner in what was known as ‘the new Paris.’”

On the Pont de l’Europe, 1876 to 1877. Photo courtesy National Gallery of Art. Collection of the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth.

“Here, pedestrians walk along this new iron bridge, gazing through openings in the girders at the train traffic below from the Gare Saint-Lazare, the busiest train station in Paris at the time.”

The Floor Scrapers, 1875. Photo courtesy National Gallery of Art. Collection of Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Gift of Caillebotte's heirs through the intermediary of Auguste Renoir, 1894.

“This is Caillebotte’s most iconic image, the only painting available to be seen by the public for decades. It was radical in its day for its depiction of sweaty, arduous urban labor--three men preparing the floor of a brand new apartment building.”

Calf's Head and Ox Tongue, c. 1882. Photo courtesy National Gallery of Art. Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, Major Acquisitions Centennial Endowment.

“This strangely alluring, but horrific, still life is a meditation on death and the violence of industrial butchery. It is beautifully painted, but it is not a pretty picture.”

A Boating Party, 1877-1878. Photo courtesy National Gallery of Art. Private collection.

“This dapper, handsome young man in silk top hat and striped sleeves took the train out of Paris for the day to row along the river on a summer afternoon.”

Posted at 10:31 AM/ET, 06/26/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here's how the massive community art project came together. By Angie Hilsman
The sun comes up on Tysons Corner as a crew from Severn Graphics starts on the second day of installation of the Tyson Tiles public art project. Photography by Jennifer Heffner

Artist Julia Vogl surveyed 1,000 people in roughly 20 locations around Tysons to create an ambitious community art project. Each respondent's answers were translated into a color-coded tile, and the tiles were then fit together to make this 5,000-square-foot ground mural. Here, from photographer Jennifer Heffner, is the story of how Tysons Tiles, currently on display through August 3, hit the pavement.

Vogl pushes her custom made Tysons Tiles art trolley into the Silver Line Center. Vogl used a custom developed app, and three questions about the individual's role in the community, opinions on culture, and a fun fact about them, at 27 different locations in Tysons to gather information that was used to create the Tyson Tiles.

Vogl (center) and Lisa Mariam with the Arts Council of Fairfax County (right) collect data from participants in front of the McLean Metro Station on the Silver Line in Tyson Corner.

A young participant waits for his colors to be put on his tiles while at the Tysons Farmers Market while visiting the Tyson Tiles art trolley.

A worker from Severn Graphics consults the map of tiles at Greensboro Green Park to figure out where to lay the next set of tiles.

Severn Graphics crew begins installation in front of Tysons West.

Vogl installs tiles in front on Tysons West, which is approximately 700 square feet.

The tiles are printed on aluminum-based vinyl, which is often used as ground graphics for marathon start lines. It is 100 percent recyclable, water-resistant, and slip-proof.

Vogl installs some of the missing tiles at Greensboro Green Park. Participants can find their tile using a map onsite at either location.

Vogl (second from right) answers questions from a curious onlooker while the crew from Severn Graphic (left) installs the Tysons Tile public art project.

Workers from the Meridian Group reinstall the Greenboro Green Park furniture.

An overhead view of Greensboro Green Park, at 8301 Greensboro Drive, after the project was completed on Wednesday, June 24.

Correction: This post originally misspelled Lisa Mariam's name.

Posted at 02:33 PM/ET, 06/25/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here are the best events around town. By Tracy L. Scott
The work of Brus Rubio, an Amazonian painter, will be at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Photo Joshua Eli Cogan, courtesy Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Smithsonian Institution.


MUSIC: After a series of ups and downs, D’Angelo has returned to remind people what R&B is all about. The crooner, who earlier this year showcased his new music on Saturday Night Live, performs at the Fillmore. 8 PM, $75.

TALK: Lee Daniels' The Butler was based on the true story of Eugene Allen, an African-American butler who worked in the White House for 34 years. Fans of the film can hear more about Allen, when his son, Charles, visits the Northwest One Library on L Street, NW to tell the tale from his perspective. 7 PM, free.

FESTIVAL: This year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival showcases Peruvian culture. Located on the National Mall, in front of the National Museum of the American Indian, the bash counts on the participation of 105 artisans—cooks, potters, mask makers, musicians, weavers, and more—who come to Washington to celebrate their traditions. Events run from June 24 to 28 and July 1 to 5, free.

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Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 06/25/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()