(Updated 8 p.m.) A band consisting of former T.C. Williams High School students and a current Alexandria City High School (ACHS) teacher were recognized at the Wammie Awards last Saturday, a regional music award.
Rock band Hanoi Ragmen, an Alexandria-based six person band that started at T.C. Williams High School (before it became Alexandria City High School), won Best Rock Album for their debut album The Oldlight and Best Rock Song for Foolhearted off the same album.
“We’re definitely stoked,” said front man and guitarist Gabe Harr. “It’s a regional thing, so by no means are our heads blown up, but we put a lot of hard work into that record. Sometimes it feels like you’re shouting into a void, so it’s nice to have an institution recognize that and say it’s of quality and emblematic of rock.”
The band released an EP in 2019 and started work on an album, but those plans got disrupted when Covid hit. The band also signed with Alexandria record label Baffin Records and had to remix and remaster the songs.
Harr said it’s been a slow process, but the band has gradually been building over time, but that’s been part of the band’s charm as well.
“We started at birthday parties with bounce castles, but you build knowledge and people start to book you for shows,” Harr said. “We released our EP when we were in high school. It became a fun reason for a bunch of social circles to come together and jam with us. By the time we made our new record in 2022, we formed this little community of fans.”
Harr said that small community of fans has made shows an intimate and friendly experience.
“The way we’ve always understood growing success in Alexandria is: if you’re going to Hanoi Ragmen, you’re coming to hang out with your friends,” Harr said. “It feels like Hanoi Ragmen is everybody’s band, it’s not just us being cool on stage. The band is my best friends from Alexandria.”
Lead guitarist Max Powell said promoting shows up to this point has usually meant the band members just texting everyone in their contacts. The disparate social circles has also been reflected in an array of different music genres influencing the band.
“About a month before our shows, we text everyone in our phones, exes and all, and get it out to everyone,” Powell said. “I feel like we have a pretty eclectic range of musical interests and interwoven genres.”
According to Harr, Alexandria’s music scene has a big advantage over some of the other localities in the region.
“[Alexandria] is a community that’s big enough to have a lively music scene, but small enough that we all know each other and you can talk to musicians you think are cool,” Harr said.
Powell said it’s that fan connection that made the Wammie Award feel so special.
“As a band, we’re not usually too concerned with awards, but knowing our fans got us in there to know we could get judged… it feels like they have our backs,” Powell said. “Whenever we play D.C., we’re really just bringing Alexandria to D.C.”
The band is going to get a chance to bring Alexandria to D.C. later this year with their biggest show yet on August 12 at Black Cat (1811 14th Street NW).
“It’s a much bigger venue than we’ve played before,” Powell said, admitting that playing at the famed venue makes him nervous. “We did well and we sold out Union Stage in july this past summer. That was, like, 450 person capacity. Black Cat is 800. So it’s definitely a big step up for us.”
Powell also said the Wammies have drawn more attention to the band, putting more eyes on the Black Cat show in August.
“We left a pretty decent impression on people at the Wammies and we’ve had a few people looking our way now,” Powell said.
For those checking out the band for the first time, Powell said his favorite go-to song to direct people to is Foolhearted, the one that won the award.
“That’s one written almost entirely by our bassist [Beck Moniz],” Powell said. “It’s just a great fun pop rock song and it was the first song he ever wrote. To know him and to know how good of a song it is, I love that song. That and I would tell people to listen to the opening track. The sax solo, oh my god.”
The awards program also recognized Gregory ‘Sugar Bear’ Elliott for its 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Elliott is the frontman of go-go band Experience Unlimited — known by fans as E.U. — which was most known for its song Da’ Butt in the Spike Lee movie School Daze. The song popped up again recently at the Oscars in 2021 when Glenn Close danced to it at the program.
In addition to leading the band, Elliott has been teaching special education at Alexandria City High school since 1996.
While E.U. hasn’t had a hit to the level of Da Butt’ in 1988, the band has continued to put out music, including an album called Free Yourself in 2021.
Image via Hanoi Ragmen/Facebook
The Del Ray Farmers’ Market was declared the winner of the Heart of Del Ray Award on Friday morning.
The award, which is an annual popularity contest, was voted on by more than 1,000 people, and founder Pat Miller was presented with a large red heart symbolizing the nonprofit’s place in the community. The award is always presented just before Valentine’s Day, which this year is on Tuesday, Feb. 14. The oversized heart will be hung outside in the square.
“It (the market) truly is a meeting place it is on Saturday mornings, rain or shine, warm or cold,” said Del Ray Business Association Board Member Gayle Reuter.
Now in its 27th year, the market is open every Saturday from 8 a;m. to noon at Pat Miller Neighborhood Square at the parking lot behind Virginia Commerce Bank, Cheesetique and Let’s Meat on the Avenue.
“Thank you so much,” Miller said after receiving the award. “Del Ray is the best.”
The other nominees this year were Del Ray Artisans (2704 Mount Vernon Avenue), Del Ray Psych and Wellness (1900 Mount Vernon Avenue), The Dog Store/Your Dogs Best Friends (2301 Mount Vernon Avenue), Rosemont Landscaping and Lawncare (3308 Mount Vernon Avenue) and St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub (2300 Mount Vernon Avenue).
Previous Heart of Del Ray award winners:
- 2022 — Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap
- 2021 — Dolce & Bean
- 2020 — Preeti Patel’s 7-Eleven on Mount Vernon Avenue
- 2019 — Taqueria el Poblano
- 2018 — Pork Barrel BBQ
- 2017 — Del Ray Cafe
- 2016 — Caboose Cafe
- 2015 — Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga
- 2014 — Del Ray Pizzeria
- 2013 — The Greener Cleaner of Del Ray
- 2012 — The Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray
- 2011 — Bobi Bomar, Homes of Alexandria/Compass
- 2010 — Jen Walker, McEnearney Associates
- 2009 — A Show of Hands
Alexandria land use attorney Cathy Puskar was named the 2022 Business Leader of the Year by the Chamber ALX at its annual Best In Business awards on Thursday night (Oct. 27), and restaurant Chadwicks (203 Strand Street) was named Overall Business of the Year.
Puskar, a well-known attorney with Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, thanked a packed ballroom in the Westin Alexandria Old Town, and said that it means a lot since she’s a native Alexandrian.
“I don’t just ‘Remember the Titans,'” said Puskar, a 1985 graduate of T.C. Williams High School (now Alexandria City High School). “I am a Titan.”
Puskar frequently represents landowners in major development projects, like Inova Alexandria Hospital’s massive redevelopment of Landmark Mall.
She added, “I love living in a vibrant progressive city where I’m surrounded every day and tonight by family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and ‘YIMBYs’ who share a vision for moving our city forward, championing economic development, supporting our public schools, celebrating our diversity, helping others, and bringing the fun back to Alexandria.”
Chadwicks owner Trae Lamond accepted the Overall Business of the Year award.
“Anyone that’s told you that a business starts from the top down is wrong,” Lamond said after receiving the award. “We’ve got dishwashers, busboys, servers — they’ve been there for 25 years. They’re the reason Chadwicks is standing here now.”
- Small Business of the Year — Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home
- Medium Business of the Year — Marks-Woods Construction Services
- Large Business of the Year — Kearney & Company
- Rising Star of the Year — The Critical Mass
- Overall Business of the Year — Chadwicks
- Business Leader of the Year — Cathy Puskar
World champion sprinters Noah and Josephus Lyles were born and raised in Alexandria, and now they’ve got the key to the city.
Last weekend, the brothers were inducted into the Alexandria City Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame, and on Monday night (October 10) they got a little extra. At a ceremony at Market Square, the pair were presented with the key and a commendation by Mayor Justin Wilson.
Noah, who won the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics, has been hailed for frankly discussing battles with mental health.
“The reason we’re here is not just your athletic pursuits, but what you have done using your platform that you have as an athlete to speak out on mental illness and make sure you raise awareness of that,” Wilson said. “We know that that advocacy that advocacy is not not just important, that advocacy saves lives.”
The 25-year-old is a 2016 graduate of T.C. Williams High School (now Alexandria City High School), and 24-year-old Josephus graduated in 2017. Following the Olympics, Noah ran the third-fastest 200m in history at the World Championships in July, clocking in at 19.31 seconds. Josephus also broke a personal record by running the 200m in less than 20 seconds on the U.S. National team. The brothers now live and train in Clermont, Florida.
After receiving the awards, Noah said he was surprised that talking about mental health would have an impact. Since he was a child, he and his brother have gone to family therapy, and have been open about their mental health challenges.
Noah said that he sees two therapists “quite often.”
“I truthfully did not realize how much of the impact I had on everybody when it came to mental health,” Noah said. “Until I came back from the Olympics, and everybody was talking about it. Even at the world championships this year, I had the honor to talking to the Second Gentleman of the United States, and we talked about mental health, and I was shocked, because my first thought is like, ‘Me? Why do you want to talk to me?’ I mean, I know I’m fast, but fast only gets you so far.”
Lyles continued, “And he’s said, ‘Well, you’re the only male that talks about mental health openly in a international level.’ And I thought to myself, ‘What? No, there’s, um, well, there’s… I never thought of that before. I never thought of my moment of, you know, being vulnerable as being so heroic.”
The brothers, who have a sports foundation, were also praised for giving ACPS more than $100,000 in Adidas sports attire to local high school athletic teams, including Alexandria City High School.
“It’s always a wonderful feeling when Alexandria City public school students work hard and realize success in their endeavors,” said School Board Chair Meagan Alderton. “One of their biggest achievements has been how they’ve developed as young men outside of sports. They have the character that will stand the test of time. We need more of that in this world.”
For the fifth straight year, Alexandria was named in the top five best small cities in the country in the 2022 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.
Alexandria took home the fourth spot this year after placing third the last two years in a row.
- Aspen, Colorado
- Alexandria, Virginia
- Savannah, Georgia
- Greenville, South Carolina
- Key West, Florida
- Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
- Palm Beach, Florida
- Wilmington, North Carolina
According to Condé Nast:
Washingtonians are all in on the secret, but it’s no surprise the rest of the world is catching up: Alexandria, Virginia, the charming, historic city just across the Potomac River from our nation’s capital, draws travelers and would-be residents alike.
Most folks start to imagine moving there immediately after setting foot in Old Town, once they’ve strolled the red-brick sidewalks, clocking street after street of perfectly preserved rowhouses from the 18th and 19th centuries. When you visit, scope out King Street, packed with boutiques, restaurants, and specialty shops; then land at the waterfront, where you can watch the boats bobbing on the water before touring the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a collective of galleries and artists’ studios. End the day at Gadsby’s Tavern, where some of our founding fathers used to drink — don’t mind the actors in colonial garb.
Bun Papa talks a big game, and now they have a RAMMY to back it up.
On Sunday (July 24), thousands were in attendance recognizing the region’s culinary excellence at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s annual RAMMY awards at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Bun Papa won the outstanding pop-up concept in the publicly voted category.
The Bun Papa pop-up is located in the Beeliner Diner at the Bradlee Shopping Center and Bread & Water Company in Belle View. Owners Markos Panas, Noelle Rickey, Doug Abedje and Chef Patrick Tanyag took the stage to receive the award.
“At Bun Papa we make the world’s best buns and we put the best stuff in it,” Panas told the audience.
The team opened their first pop-up last year at Bread & Water in the Belle View Shopping Center, and their second at the Capitol One Arena, followed by Beeliner earlier this year. Panas also wants to bring back another pop-up at the Capitol One Arena for hockey season this fall.
“People want the best buns in the world to salivate over, and eat their burgers, dogs and chicken sandwiches,” Panas told ALXnow. “People want nostalgic, delicious, fun desserts and they want they want it from people who make them feel special, who care, who are there putting out the best possible product they can. Bun Papa is a celebration of us, the community, food, our opportunity to move forward through Covid. It’s just been a ton of fun for all of us.”
At the 2022 Rammys! Congratulations to all of the finalists, who represent the best of our region's culinary and hospitality industry!!! pic.twitter.com/IDRkqpEfSc
— John Taylor Chapman (@j_chapman99) July 24, 2022
Alexandria Man Killed in D.C. — “A 22-year-old man from Alexandria was shot and killed over the weekend in Washington DC, authorities said. Keonte Broadus-Gallman was found around 9 p.m. in the 1900 block of Anacostia Drive after authorities received a report of an unconscious person, the Metropolitan Police Department reported.” [Daily Voice]
Alexandria Recognized by State Planning Association — “The City of Alexandria is the winner of two prestigious awards. Today the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association’s (APA Virginia) recognized the Department of Planning and Zoning with the Commonwealth Plan of the Year Award for its Arlandria-Chirilagua Small Area Plan and the Red Clay Development of the Year Award for its Landmark Mall Redevelopment Plan.” [Zebra]
Carpenter’s Shelter Finalist for Award — “AHDC is honored to share that The Bloom and Carpenter’s Shelter has been selected as a Terwilliger Center finalist for Innovation in Attainable Housing:” [Twitter, ULI]
It’s Tuesday — Humid and mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 87 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:00 am and sunset at 8:32 pm. [Weather.gov]
Noah Lyles, the world champion sprinter and Olympic bronze medalist can add another trophy to his collection, as he and his speedster brother Josephus Lyles have been chosen for induction into the 2022 ACPS Athletic Hall of Fame.
“Noah Lyles is a world record holder, world champion, bronze medal winner and a great ambassador for our city,” Aly Khan Johnson, chair of the ACPS Athletic Hall of Fame Advisory Committee Meeting, told the School Board last Thursday night (May 19).
The impressive list of 26 inductees also includes Alexandria’s Shirley Marshall-Lee, the world’s first African American female scuba diver; educator Naomi L. Brooks, who played basketball at Parker-Gray High School and has a school named after her; and Fred Borchelt, a 1972 T.C. Williams High School grad who won the silver medal in the 1984 Olympics.
“We are blessed in this community to have wonderful athletes that come through our school system,” said Alexandria School Board Vice Chair Jacinta Greene. “So many of which that we have thousands of (ACPS Athletic Hall Of Fame) applications that come in each year.”
There are 26 inductees this year — more than usual due to a backlog of nominees. The Hall of Fame started in 2014, and previous winners include members of the 1971 T.C. Williams High School varsity football team, which gained worldwide recognition in the 2000 movie Remember The Titans.
The induction ceremony will be held in the Alexandria City High School auditorium at 2 p.m. on October 8.
The 2022 ACPS Athletic Hall of Fame
- 1945 George Washington High School Boys Basketball Team — State champions
- 1977 T.C. Williams High School Boys Basketballs Team — State champions
- DeArcey “Dee” Campbell, George Washington High School Class of 1944, Crew Coach 1975-2005
- Robert Garda, George Washington High School Class of 1957 — Football, Basketball, Track
- Joe Hensley, George Washington High School Class of 1944 — Basketball
- Bobby Jones, George Washington High School Class of 1949 — Track
- Naomi Lewis-Brooks, Parker-Gray High School Class of 1951 — Basketball
- Shirley Marshall-Lee, Parker-Gray High School Class of 1956 — Scuba Diving
- Doug Yates, George Washington High School Class of 1955 — Basketball, Track
- Fred Borchelt, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1972 — Crew
- Yolanda Brown, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1994 — Track/Field
- Lesa Diggs-Moore, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1981 — Track
- Sherri Funn, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1978 — Track
- John Johnson, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1973 — Track/ Field
- Rodney Johnson, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1997 — Football, Track/Field, Track Coach
- Missy Anne Kilkpatrick, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1991 — Track
- Kathy James Lorton, T.C. Williams High School Class of 2000 — Cheerleading
- Josephus Lyles, T.C. Williams High School Class of 2016 — Track/ Field
- Noah Lyles, T.C. Williams High School Class of 2016 — Track/ Field
- Marie McKeon Zack, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1983 — Soccer/Field Hockey
- Barry Mountain, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1979 — Track/Field
- Stephanie O’Toole Whalen, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1990 — Field Hockey, Basketball, Softball
- Lydell Scott, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1987 — Football
- Carl Turner, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1974 — Football, Basketball
- Ezra Whorley, T.C. Williams High School Class of 1992 — Track/Field, Football
- Eryk Williamson, T.C. Williams High School Class of 2015 — Soccer
Two Alexandria restaurant groups have been nominated as the top performers in their industry as part of the 40th annual Rammy Awards.
The Bun Papa pop-up, which is located in the Beeliner Diner at the Bradlee Shopping Center, is nominated for outstanding pop-up concept. This is their second nomination in a row since being nominated as the region’s best pop-up spot.
It’s also the second year in a row that the Neighborhood Restaurant Group has been nominated, although this year the nomination goes to NRG’s Michael Babin for restaurateur of the year. The company, which owns 19 local eateries, was awarded a Rammy last year for the most impressive pandemic pivot to provisions or market.
Public voting for the eventual winners begins this month, and the awards will be presented in a gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on July 24.
Bun Papa owner Markos Panas is asking that his customers rally for his pop-up with their votes.
“It’s an honor already to be nominated as a business, and we want to bring this thing forward with the support of all Alexandria and take home the win for everybody,” Panas said.
The Alexandria Beautification Commission announced its 2022 Alexandria Architecture Award winners Monday.
The commission asked for nominations and also toured the city looking for candidates that “speak to the character and future of the City, inspire others to enhance the beauty and architecture of their properties and help make Alexandria a creative, dynamic community.”
Properties were evaluated on criteria including aesthetic improvements through creative design, historical restoration or commitment to the art of architecture and sustainable design practices, according to a news release.
“Architecture says a lot about a neighborhood and City and the value residents and business place on the community in which they live and work,” Commission Chair Steve Cohen said. “Great architecture, like those recognized this year, encourage us to get out, enjoy our City, and meet our friends and neighbors. It also inspires each of us to do our part to make Alexandria an even more amazing place to live, work, and visit.”
Cohen said he was impressed with the diversity of this year’s recipients, which represented a range of architectural style and purposes.
The award winners were:
Robinson Landing, featuring 26 condominiums and 70 townhomes, was recognized for its innovative architectural design, that incorporates historical elements and lessons, and creates a beautiful public gathering place for all Alexandrians and visitors. Judges also took note of the great care and time your firm took in the archeological work during the excavation phase.
Eisenhower Square development by Toll Brothers, featuring a modern 67-home luxury development, was recognized for its innovative architecture that enhances the City with a walkable, visually stimulating neighborhood.
Beaconcrest Homes and the owners of 128 and 128A East Walnut Street were recognized for an innovative architectural design that expands our notion of a residential duplex, with modern, clean lines and a refreshing style.
The Adams’ residence at 1208 Trinity Drive was recognized for a design that incorporated modern, clean lines and style while incorporating historical elements that evoke the sense of tradition, history, and neighborliness Alexandria is known for.