Three Dog Night, via The Birchmere

Since Birchmere reopened last July, the venue (3701 Mt Vernon Avenue) has had a few hit shows like KT Tunstall and The Steeldrivers later this week (tickets are sold out, sorry).

Next month, likely the biggest headlining band is 60s/70s rock band Three Dog Night, performing on August. 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $79.50.

Go-go star turned Alexandria High School teacher Sugar Bear, frontman for local band Experience Unlimited and featured in this year’s Oscars, will be performing at The Birchmere for a birthday celebration on Aug. 8.

County music star Tanya Tucker who performed 1971 hit Delta Dawn will also swing by The Birchmere on Aug. 21.

Other upcoming shows include:

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What an unexpectedly busy summer week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Our top story was on an Alexandria woman who claims she was roofied at a restaurant on the waterfront on the evening of July 9. A police report has been filed, and no charges have been made.

This week we sat down with acting Police Chief Don Hayes, who said that he’s thrown his hat in the ring with City Manager Mark Jinks to keep the top job. Hayes, a 40-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department took over after the sudden departure of Chief Michael Brown last month, and will have to contend against candidates in a national search.

The Tokyo Olympics also start this week, and the games will include three T.C. Williams High School graduates — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley. In fact, Lyles just had a comic book biography published in the Washington Post. If you’re a fan of the Olympic games, check out this list of local restaurants celebrating with special events and meals.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Woman claims she was roofied at Old Town restaurant
  2. Residents protest against conditions at West End apartment complex
  3. Developers eye Beauregard redevelopment with West End upgrades on the horizon
  4. Former chef at ‘The Alexandrian’ opening new restaurant in Arlandria on Monday
  5. No injuries after shots fired in Braddock area on Wednesday
  6. DASH takes lessons from D.C., Baltimore and Oregon in eliminating bus fares
  7. ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
  8. After last month’s Democratic primary, Republican Darryl Nirenberg tops campaign donation leaderboard
  9. New city health improvement plan aims to fix inequities
  10. Poll: Have you been to the Winkler Botanical Preserve?
  11. Lee-Fendall House to throw speakeasy party to finance building repairs

Have a safe weekend!

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Morning Notes

Local musicians bring jazz home with Yellow Door Concert series — “The Ambrose’s founded the Yellow Door Concert Series in 2018 after noticing a lack of opportunity for community members to experience the arts and music in Alexandria. They named the series after the yellow doors they have at their home. Robyn, a classical bass player, and Vaughn, a jazz saxophone player, began the predominantly jazz concert series by hosting their first concerts inside their home in Alexandria.” [Zebra]

Alexandrians eliminated from ‘Crime Scene Kitchen’ reality show — “Alexandria’s own Erinn Roth and Amanda Carter went out on a high note from the competitive cooking show on FOX.” [Alexandria Living]

New chef at Kaizen Tavern in Del Ray — “The restaurant introduced a new menu from Chef and Owner Melvin Urrutia. Urrutia was formerly the executive chef at The Handover ALX, People’s Drug and the now-closed sushi favorite, Flying Fish in Old Town…” [Patch]

Today’s weather — “Mostly sunny skies. High 96F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy. Low 76F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Temporary enrichment and fitness instructor — “In pursuit of service excellence the Enrichment and Fitness Instructor provides youth, adult, and senior leisure classes at various recreation centers through the City of Alexandria. In this role, you will have the opportunity to ensure that the goals are met to provide a safe, fun, structured and engaging atmosphere for all our customers. Enthusiasm, flexibility and excellent communication skills are needed to be successful in this position.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria’s Reggae band FeelFree is back on the road, and their latest single “Big Shot Man” is a political statement that took years to write.

What system are they rebelling against? The presidency of Donald Trump, which inspired musical creations that garner millions of listens.

Andrew Pfeiffer, the band’s lead singer and trombonist, said that the song’s not so much about complaining as it is an expression of what he and his bandmates felt for a while.

“It was just a response from living the last four years,” Pfeiffer said. “I mean, the chorus just says it all — ‘We love what you hate, we build what you break.'”

It’s FeelFree’s second single of 2021, and the band plans to release three or four more songs before the end of the year. The COVID shutdown meant shifting from playing 90 or so live performances a year (mostly local, with some tours) to no gigs whatsoever for the band that won the 2019 Whammy Award for Reggae Album of the Year.

“We were playing almost 90 dates a year, and we’re trying to get back to that now that the great awakening is upon us,” guitarist Evan Hulehan said. “I think it was a good reset for me. I got to take a step back and build up parts of my studio and get a little more creative and experimental.”

FeelFree will play on Friday, July 2, at Hammerheads Dockside in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; On July 3 at Riptide Pool Bar in Ocean City, Maryland; and a ticketed show at Union Stage in D.C. on Saturday, July 17.

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What was an intense week in Alexandria. Here is the rundown.

History was made, as the new marquees at Alexandria City High School and Naomi L. Brooks Elementary Schools were unveiled this week, and the name changes to T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School will go into effect July 1. It’s a victory for civil rights, as the namesakes of both old schools had backgrounds steeped in racism. Maury was a Confederate leader and Williams was an ACPS superintendent who worked intently against racial integration.

City Manager Mark Jinks on Tuesday also announced his intention to retire at the end of the year. Jinks, who made the announcement to City Council, hinted to ALXnow last month that he was seeking retirement. Today (Friday, June 25) is also the last day for retiring Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown, who will be moving to the West Coast to deal with family matters. Assistant Chief Don Hayes is taking over as acting chief until a national search narrows down a preferred candidate for the job.

Law enforcement events also dominated this week’s coverage. On Tuesday, first responders saved a woman experiencing a mental health crisis who was dangling perilously off the Monroe Avenue Bridge, followed by news Wednesday that a suspect was arrested for a West End murder along with 16 others in a massive racketeering conspiracy. On Thursday, a barricade situation in the West End ended peacefully.

In this week’s poll, when asked whether transit improvements would make residents more likely to take the bus, 48% said they don’t take the bus often and won’t likely change their habits; 38% said they don’t often take the bus, although transit improvements might change that; and 14% said that they already frequent the Metro and DASH bus systems.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Alexandria woman dies after veering off road on Interstate 95
  2. Man suspected of raping 12-year-old stepdaughter in Landmark area flees to El Salvador
  3. JUST IN: Thieves break into more than 60 vehicles in West End
  4. JUST IN: Rarity as American Viper Rattlesnake found in Old Town
  5. Massive redevelopment of West End apartment building has neighbors worried about street parking impact
  6. UPDATE: Alexandria first responders save suicidal woman on Monroe Avenue Bridge
  7. City Council emphasizes marketing funding for Alexandria’s ‘Hot Girl Summer’
  8. Mother and boyfriend allegedly beaten by knife-wielding ex in Old Town North
  9. With eviction moratorium expiring, city pushes renters and landlords toward rental assistance
  10. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  11. BREAKING: California man arrested for West End murder, indicted with 16 others in massive racketeering conspiracy

Have a safe weekend!

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It wasn’t easy having a famous sister, and that’s why Mia Humphrey chose art over science.

The T.C. Williams High School graduate spent years pouring her soul into her red composition notebooks, and last fall released her first album “Project Red Notebook“. Put together, the songs read like a diary.

Two years ago Humphrey’s sister Ana won a $250,000 scholarship for her work in locating planets in distant solar systems. Ana is now at Harvard.

“It was a little hard,” the 18-year-old Humphrey said. “I was a sophomore and my sister was a senior when she started doing all of the crazy science stuff. But we do actually get along very well. We really don’t fight over much things except, like, we share a room, so we go to bed at different times and she’ll be in the room really late and I’ll be trying to sleep. Stuff like that.”

That coming-of-age message is something the younger Humphrey repeats throughout her work, like in her song Summer 17, which Humphrey sang at her high school graduation earlier this month.

Humphrey started writing music in middle school, and for years would play her latest collections of songs for her friends.

“I would say my songs are very heavily focused on lyrics and the music is kind of an afterthought,” she said.

She says that she will continue playing music this fall at Brown University, but will be majoring in modern culture and media studies to pursue a film career.

“Writing is like my therapy,” Humphrey said. “I feel so clouded if I’m not writing and getting out the emotions. Sometimes it’s not through writing music, but maybe it’s poetry and just writing in a journal, but I prefer the songwriting. I don’t know if there’s really a world where I’m not songwriting in the future, at least in some capacity.”

She cites Taylor Swift as her major artistic influence, as well as the 2012 coming of age film The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

“There’s this one scene where they go and they’re going through a tunnel in the car, and ‘Heroes‘ by David Bowie is blasting and they stand up in the car and they’re going through a tunnel and the lights are flashing,” Humphrey said of the movie. “I remember when I saw that scene I was going on a road trip somewhere. It was dark and I was just watching the movie on an iPad and I just like felt so many emotions at one time.  I was overwhelmed, and now I want to be able to make something to make people feel  just like that.”

Courtesy ACPS

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The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will officially return to in-person performances with an hour-long program at Alexandria’s 272nd birthday celebration on Saturday, July 10, on the waterfront.

“We’re really excited to be there for the community,” Melinda Kernc, ASOs director of development and marketing, confirmed to ALXnow. “We did what we could during COVID, and now to meet in person is really exciting.”

The program on July 10 has been shortened to an hour (it’s usually an hour-and-a-half), and to discourage crowds there also won’t be cannon fire punctuating the symphony’s rendition of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture during the fireworks. Last year’s event, which usually attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Old Town, was held virtually.

ASO will also return for their first full season of shows starting the first weekend in October with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College.

The symphony will release their upcoming show schedule in the next couple of weeks, Kernc said.

There will be five separate shows between October and April, and performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. at NOVA on Saturday nights and 3 p.m. the following day  the next day at George Washington National Masonic Memorial.

“We are planning for the first half of our season, which goes through December,” Kernc said. “We’re not going to have intermissions in order to keep people from congregating. Other than that, we’re planning to have full capacity in the Hall.”

The pandemic forced ASO to adapt, and musicians ended up playing virtual events, as well as more than a dozen at socially distant musical venues at The Rectory in Old Town and senior living facilities.

“We’ll continue to do community events when we can,” Kernc said. “We’ll also continue to do some kind of virtual event maybe once a year where we actually can put our concerts out, because we reached over 2,000 people with our Christmas performance, and that’s a bigger audience than our largest venue.”

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Morning Notes

James K. Polk Elementary School paraprofessional Nadine Brown dies — “It is with great sorrow and sadness that we share late Sunday night, our beloved Nadine Brown, Kindergarten and Special Education Para-Professional passed away. For years, she served as a one-on-one for one of our students; the two were inseparable and had a genuine love for each other. Ms. Brown was a loved and valued member of the JKP Family and knitted countless blankets and quilts for the staff. Ms. Brown exuded a very quiet demeanor, but she was a fighter and battled cancer for years. For years, she came to work ill and often said, ‘The kids inspire me, I need to be here.’ Ms. Brown was an inspiration to us all. She always brought joy and she will forever be in our hearts. We send our deepest condolences to her family and friends. Rest in peace, Ms. Brown.” [Facebook]

Community invited to meet two candidates for principal of John Adams Elementary School — “Parents and Community members are invited meet the two finalists for the position of principal via a Zoom virtual meeting on Thursday, May 27, 2021. You can submit your questions for the candidates via the online Q&A during the session. There will be a form for you to offer feedback after the session. The Zoom link and more information can be found on the John Adams Class Dojo page. Thank you for participating in this selection process.” [Facebook]

AHDC updates design of Seminary Road development — “Plans for new, affordable townhomes and condos are in the works for a development on Seminary Road.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria’s 43rd Annual Jazz Festival in Old Town Saturday is sold out — “Thanks for ordering! Remember, all guests must be on named the list to be admitted, including children. If you need to edit or amend your order at any time, please log into Eventbrite to make changes.” [Eventbrite]

Today’s weather — “Generally sunny (during the day). High 86F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph… A few clouds from time to time (in the evening). Low near 65F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Newspaper carrier with The Washington Post — “Looking for people interested in delivering newspapers in Alexandria, VA.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Suit alleging admissions discrimination at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology moves forward — “More than 70 percent of the student body at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is Asian American; Black and Hispanic students have been woefully underrepresented there for decades. At a hearing Friday in Alexandria, lawyers for the Fairfax County School Board urged a judge to toss out the lawsuit. They argue that the new admissions policies are race-neutral. But the judge ruled that the parents’ group made a compelling claim that the board’s true motivation was to increase Black and Hispanic representation at the expense of Asian Americans.” [WAVY.com]

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra extends contract for Maestro James Ross — “The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO) announced that Music Director James Ross received a contract extension through the 2023-24 season. Ross has been at the helm of ASO since 2018. He is the fifth music director in ASO’s 78-year history.” [Zebra]

Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office tackling workplace stress with wellness challenge — “May is National Employee Health and Wellness Month. For the first time, my office has fully embraced that designation by implementing our ‘Mindful May Wellness Challenge.’ In addition to providing our employees with advice on mindfulness, we have constructed a month of activities and events designed to focus on employee wellness.” [AlexTimes]

Alexandria Drive-In announces June movies — “Tickets are $40 per car, and food trucks will be on-site each night providing delish, savory, and sweet concessions with online ordering through Goodfynd! Proceeds from the movie series will benefit local Alexandria charity, ATHENA Rapid Response Innovation Lab.” [Alexandria Living]

New sign unveiled in Del Ray for hero Rocky Versace — “Alexandria’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Del Ray bears Versace’s name and now, through the efforts of the Friends of Rocky Versace and the City of Alexandria, that narrative was unveiled May 15 during an Armed Forces Day ceremony at the local landmark.” [Gazette]

Local businesses struggle adapting to new mask guidance — ‘”My fear is that people will say they’re vaccinated when they’re not vaccinated and then just walk around unmasked,’ said Nicole McGrew, owner of the clothing and accessories boutique Threadleaf in Old Town Alexandria.” [NPR]

This Friday is the deadline to request a ballot by mail — “Last day to request a ballot by mail for the June 8 Democratic Party Primary Election. Applications must be received in the Voter Registration Office by 5pm. Applications may be submitted online (http://elections.virginia.gov) or by mail, fax (703.838.6449) or email ([email protected])” [City of Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “Overcast with rain showers at times. High around 70F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%… Rain showers early with overcast skies late. Low 59F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Surveillance investigator — “DigiStream Investigations, a fast-growing private investigations firm, seeks a full-time Surveillance Investigator to work under general supervision, investigating suspicious worker’s compensation claims from various corporate clients in the state of Virginia. This autonomous position is both journalistic and investigative in nature, and centers around obtaining quality video footage and detailed report rendering on the activities captured by the investigator.” [Indeed]

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What a week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week is on Gregory Elliott, a special education teacher at T.C. Williams High School. Elliot also goes by the name of “Sugar Bear” for the D.C.-based go-go band Experience Unlimited, and their song “Da’ Butt” from the Spike Lee movie “School Daze” was featured at the Oscars, along with actress Glenn Close dancing to it.

This week was full of news.

City Manager Mark Jinks hinted at retiring, there was a chlorine spill at Lake Cook and the Alexandria Fire Department is contending with reports of racism, sexism and favoritism.

Additionally, a cyberattack on a gas pipeline resulted in a state of emergency throughout Virginia. We asked readers about it in our weekly poll, and out of 250 responses only 31% (78 votes) considered making alternate travel plans.

Election stories

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Go-go music star-turned Alexandria teacher ‘Sugar Bear’ in the spotlight after Oscars shoutout
  2. Landmark Mall developers to field public question in forum this week
  3. UPDATE: Woman arrested for firing gun near Alexandria Courthouse in Old Town
  4. AHDC proposes nearly 500 units of affordable housing for Arlandria
  5. ALXnow’s top stories this week in Alexandria
  6. Here’s which City Council candidates signed the new ‘Alexandria Constituents’ Bill of Rights’ pledge
  7. Girlfriend of murder suspect arrested for breaking into home and beating up witness
  8. Election: Stark differences as Wilson and Silberberg face off in mayoral debate
  9. Racism, sexism and favoritism reported within the Alexandria Fire Department
  10. Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
  11. Wilson and Silberberg clash over new challenges, old wounds, and The Golden Girls

Have a safe weekend!

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