Get Well+Being delivered to your inbox every Monday Morning.

We're all lit up for the holidays. Take a break from the gift shopping and have a look around. By Hallie Golden, Kay Wicker
The 2013 National Christmas Tree. Photograph by Flickr user Tim Evanson.


National Christmas Tree

An obvious choice, perhaps, but still worth the tourist-heavy trek. Located directly adjacent to the White House, it has more than 350 red, green, and white LED lights that can be viewed in all their brightness every night through New Year’s. Then again, shouldn’t we expect the White House to set an example of not leaving one’s lights up after Christmas Day?

When: Through January 1
Where: The White House
Cost: Free

Photograph courtesy Friends of the National Zoo.


This is the much better federal light show, featuring elephants, sea lions, octopi, Komodo dragons, and other fauna in holiday-light form. And yes, there are Christmas-light pandas.

When: Through January 1
Where: Smithsonian National Zoo
Cost: Free


Symphony of Lights

Columbia residents might bicker over developers’ plans for the Symphony Woods park, but there should be no argument over the allure of its annual holiday display, which this year adds a bike route to the usual walking and driving tours. If admission seems a bit steep, remember that the light show’s proceeds benefit the Howard County General Hospital.

When: Through January 4
Where: Symphony Woods at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia
Cost: $20 per car, $45 for vans, and $125 for buses

Photograph by Flickr user Glyn Lowe.

Washington DC Mormon Temple

The local LDS headquarters decorates its temple and surrounding grounds with 600,000 bulbs, accompanied by nightly nativity scenes between 6 and 9. There are also live musical performances at 7 and 8 every night.

When: Through January 1
Where: 9900 Stoneybrook Dr., Kensington
Cost: Free

Seneca Creek State Park

The Winter Lights Festival at Gaithersburg's Seneca Creek State Park dazzles with more than 300 displays and 65 illuminated vignettes. For an additional $2, car passengers can get prism glasses that make the show appear extra sparkly. (No special specs for drivers, natch.)

When: Through December 31
Where: Seneca Creek State Park, Gaithersburg
Cost: $12 Monday through Thursday, $15 Friday through Sunday


Photograph by Flickr user Howard Ignatius.

Winter Walk of Lights

It took more than three months for Meadowlark Botanical Gardens to transform itself into this winter light show. The park includes a scavenger hunt, family photo spots, and a tree decorated with 50,000 LED lights.

When: Through January 4
Where: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct., Vienna
Cost: Ticket prices vary

Bull Run Festival of Lights

Take a drive through this two-and-a-half-mile-long light show, made up of 40,000 animated lights set to music. This event also includes a pop-up holiday village with rides, food, and shops.

When: Through January 3
Where: 7700 Bull Run Dr., Centreville
Cost: $15 per car Monday through Thursday, $20 per car Friday through Sunday

Find Hallie Golden and Kay Wicker on Twitter at @HallieGolden4 and @kaycandlewick.

Posted at 04:52 PM/ET, 12/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Beyoncé lip-syncs the national anthem, a special report about premature babies being denied critical medicine, and more of what you loved reading this year. By Chris Campbell

Top 5 Stories From

1) Beyoncé Lip-Synced “The Star-Spangled Banner”
The performer posted pictures of herself rehearsing in a recording studio. 

2) Trial Date Set, Bob Woodward Subpoenaed in Sidwell Friends Sex Counselor Case
A rare, salacious lawsuit against the elite DC private school drags high-profile Washingtonians into unwanted limelight and airs graphic e-mails from the psychologist who taught sex ed at the Obama daughters’ school.  

3) Naked Juice Admits It’s Not So Natural
The PepsiCo brand joins several others involved in lawsuits concerning deceptive health claims. 

4) Ragtime: Code name of NSA’s Secret Domestic Intelligence Program Revealed in New Book
“Deep State” uncovers new details about the agency’s secretive and hugely controversial surveillance programs. 

5) Former Redskin Fred Smoot Arrested for DUI
Capitol Police stopped Smoot near Union Station.


Top 5 Stories From Washingtonian’s Print Edition

1) “Children Are Dying”
Special report: Because of nationwide shortages, Washington hospitals are rationing, hoarding, and bartering critical nutrients premature babies and other patients need to survive. Doctors are reporting conditions normally seen only in developing countries, and there have been deaths. How could this be allowed to happen?  

2) The Age of the Permanent Intern
Many of the ambitious young people who flock to Washington toil for years as low-paid interns—and count themselves lucky to do so. Is this what success looks like in 2013? 

3) The Informant
It was one of the worst killing sprees in Washington history. The defendants stood accused of killing five young people and wounding eight. The case against them hinged on the testimony of their accomplice Nathaniel Simms. What made him break the code of the streets and help send his friends to prison? 

4) “You’re Pretty—You Could Make Some Money”
In the affluent Northern Virginia suburbs, a shocking problem has taken root: Police and federal agents have taken down dozens of juvenile sex traffickers in the last two years alone. Here’s how one gang recruited teenagers through Facebook, at Metro stations and shopping malls—even in the halls of Fairfax County public schools.  

5) Armey in Exile
The 2012 election was supposed to be the culmination of Dick Armey’s life’s work—his chance to harness tea party fervor and bring about sweeping reform. So when it all fell apart amid a feud with his comrade-in-arms, not even an $8-million payout could console him. 

Posted at 02:38 PM/ET, 12/30/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
POTUS goes way beyond just kissing babies. By Tanya Pai
Official White House photo by Pete Souza.

Kissing babies is a standard part of most politicians’ repertoire—but President Obama, it seems, goes above and beyond. He pretends to get caught in Tiny Spiderman’s web. He plays hide-and-seek in the Oval Office and lets little kids sit on the Resolution Desk. And, like any normal dad, he celebrates the winter with his daughters by diving into snow piles.

So because it’s not the weekend yet and it’s STILL cold outside and you deserve something fun to look at, here are our 15 favorite pictures of POTUS with children. Happy Friday.

Bonus adorable points: Check out the video Obama made with Kid President to announce this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll. Make sure to watch it all the way to the end. It’s “so Reagan.”

Posted at 03:05 PM/ET, 03/01/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every Thursday, we bring you interviews with noteworthy Washingtonians. This week, we talked with Christopher Johnson, director of interactive communications for the Human Rights Campaign. By Alejandro Salinas

At this point, as the star-studded “Prop 8: The Musical” video makes its rounds on the Web—with 1,230,789 views and counting—it’s an understatement to say the passing of California’s Proposition 8 last month unequivocally changed the gay-rights movement in our country. The clip, posted yesterday on the Will Ferrell Web site,, is the latest example of the growing viral activism among gays and gay-rights supporters in response to the measure outlawing marriage for same-sex couples in California—an uprising that sprang, as the Daily Kos’s Markos Moulitsas and others have pointed out, not from special-interest groups but from a grassroots level.

For some perspective on the role of the Web in the rise of the individual as a mobilizing force within the gay-rights movement and where—or if—organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign fit in this paradigm shift, we chatted with Christopher Johnson, who as director of interactive communications for HRC, is aware of the power of the Internet. Johnson oversaw the launch of the organization’s blog, Back Story, in June 2007 and continues to manage its day-to-day operations as the main contributor. Prior to joining HRC, he worked as deputy press secretary to Congressman David Scott and communications director to Congressman Melvin Watt. He also works along other bloggers to address issues of interest to the gay community.

Read below for our Favorites interview with Johnson.

Read More

Posted at 12:35 PM/ET, 04/07/2009 | Permalink | Comments ()
This week’s Favorites is Adrian Loving, the man behind Dissident Display gallery and some of your favorite underground parties. By Alejandro Salinas
Photograph by Chris Leaman.

Adrian Loving’s routine: “Get up and grab breakfast at a local dive carryout, check e-mail and Facebook, feed the cat, crank out some design work, dance in front of the mirror for an hour to some new house tracks, harass clients for payment, then hit a local bar for a beer and to listen to a set from a DJ friend, or rock a set myself at Marvin or an art-gallery party.”

A renaissance man, Loving splits his time among Marymount University, where he teaches graphic design; Dissident Display, the art gallery and multimedia studio he cofounded with business partner Ayodamola Okunseinde in 2005; and whatever bar or venue he happens to be DJing at the time.

A self-proclaimed “social stylist,” Loving is interested in creating more outlets for music and art to be featured in Washington.

“Washington is still the best-kept secret in the country with regards to culture, price, and creative spirit,” he says.

Read More

Posted at 01:13 PM/ET, 02/12/2009 | Permalink | Comments ()
This week’s Favorites focuses on Carl Cephas, head of one of our favorite DC film organizations. By Alejandro Salinas
Carl Cephas of the Washington Psychotronic Film Society. Photo by Chris Leaman

Washingtonians who enjoy cheesy, campy, and just plain crazy films were dealt a blow last month when the Washington Psychotronic Film Society lost its screening space at the Meeting Place.

For the unfamiliar, the term “psychotronic” was coined by Michael Weldon, author of the Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, to encompass films on the fringe of mainstream cinema, including horror flicks, spaghetti westerns, science-fiction schlock, and more.

“People seem to think that a psychotronic movie is just bad or unmentionable,” says Carl Cephas, president of the Washington Psychotronic Film Society. “But in reality, a psychotronic movie is a movie of peculiar interest—a movie that has a little extra something but you can’t explain what it is.”

Cephas has been involved with the organization since it launched in 1988 and is known among friends and psychotronic film fanatics by his moniker, Dr. Schlock.

“I’ve always loved the names of television creature-feature hosts,” he says. “There were always captains and counts but no doctors, so I decided to become Dr. Schlock.”

When not busy rewatching a movie from his 1,000-plus collection or catching the latest flick at the Uptown Theatre (“To me, it’s the fullest experience”), Cephas can be found DJing at Lucky Bar on Fridays during happy hour.

“I used to be in the band Tony Perkins and the Psychotics. But now I’m just a couch musician,” he says. “I tried standup comedy, but I wasn’t ethnic enough and too bizarre.”

We spoke to Cephas about his movie collection, some of his favorite films—psychotronic and otherwise—and the future of the organization.

Read More

Posted at 10:18 AM/ET, 02/12/2009 | Permalink | Comments ()
This week, we chatted with the Washington Mystics' Alana Beard. By Alejandro Salinas

Change has come to Washington—and it’s not just taking place within the walls of the White House. On the court of professional women’s basketball, ch-ch-ch-ch-changes have taken place, with Julie Plank as the newest Head Coach for the Washington Mystics and Angela Taylor as general manager. It’s an exciting time says team star player Alana Beard, who’s been with the Mystics for the past five years.

Beard, originally from Shrevenport, Louisiana, started playing basketball at the age of 12. At Duke University, she became something of a legend as the first female basketball player to have her jersey number retired. In 2004, she joined the Mystics fresh out of college after being selected in the first round of the draft. Since then, Beard has consistently delivered great performances on the court—even if the team’s overall performance has slowed down a bit.

We chatted with Beard about the chances of the Mystics making it to the playoffs this year, her feelings about the team’s new coach and her love of slushies.

Read More

Posted at 04:59 PM/ET, 01/29/2009 | Permalink | Comments ()
This week, we chatted with the two women behind Politics and Prose, the local independent bookstore. By Alejandro Salinas
Photograph by Chris Leaman.

The closing of Olsson’s Books & Records at the end of September was a sad but hardly shocking turn of events—the local chain’s fate was the latest example of an all-too-familiar narrative: the death of the independent, small shop.

Amid all this gloom and doom, however, there are still two beacons of hope for Washingtonians who enjoy cozying up with a good book: Kramerbooks and Politics and Prose. The latter, particularly, has become the epicenter for the capital region’s literati—a must-stop destination for any author seeking exposure and a bump in book sales.

Read More

Posted at 02:38 PM/ET, 01/28/2009 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every Thursday, we bring you interviews with noteworthy Washingtonians. This week, we catch up with Jim Tanner, sports-and-entertainment lawyer at Williams & Connolly. By Alejandro Salinas

Williams & Connolly sports-and-entertainment lawyer James L. Tanner Jr. got his first taste of Washington during an internship at Procter & Gamble while enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Tanner was so taken by Washington that he moved here in 1993 after finishing law school at the University of Chicago—where he had President-elect Barack Obama as a professor.

He cut his teeth working in mergers and acquisitions and corporate law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s DC office for four years, and in 1996 served as a senior adviser for the Clinton/Gore campaign.

In 1997, he was recruited by Williams & Connolly to help bolster the firm’s sports practice. Under the mentorship of Lon Babby, a sports-and-entertainment lawyer and a partner at the firm, Tanner successfully added to a roster of athletes that included Grant Hill and Tim Duncan.

Tanner’s talent, like that of the athletes he represents, has not gone unnoticed: In 2002, he made partner at the firm. He’s been recognized by various sports publications including Sports Illustrated and Sports Business Journal and in 2006 made it onto The Washingtonian’s list of 40 top lawyers under 40.

These days, he represents the likes of fellow UNC Tar Heels Marvin Williams and Brandan Wright, the Mystics’ Alana Beard, and Josh Childress, who left the NBA to become the highest-paid player in the history of European basketball. Tanner took time to answer some of our questions.

Read More

Posted at 10:54 AM/ET, 12/11/2008 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every Thursday, we bring you interviews with noteworthy Washingtonians. This week, we catch up with Stylista contestant Johanna Cox. By Alejandro Salinas

If you’ve been following Stylista, The CW reality show where contestants vie for a junior-editor position at Elle magazine, you know last night’s episode was not local contestant Johanna Cox’s shining moment. Burdened with a lackluster team and poor strategy, Cox—who prior to joining the show penned the popular fashion blog A Serious Job Is No Excuse —found herself in the bottom two.

Our stomach dropped and our eyes teared up as the normally cool and collected Cox imploded in front of the cameras. Was this the end of the road for our local girl? Could she really be getting the boot before Kate? Nooooo.

In the end, it was fellow bottom contestant Danielle who was eliminated, giving Cox the opportunity for redemption. Phew!

We talked to Cox about DC’s fashion scene, the magazine industry, and Stylista, of course!

Read More

Posted at 12:48 PM/ET, 11/20/2008 | Permalink | Comments ()