Monte Durham is plotting a television show set in his Old Town hair salon.
“We’re trying to get a sizzle reel together of Salon Monte for two production companies,” Durham told ALXnow. “One is with Ann Roberts‘ production company out of L.A., and the other is local. Who knows where that’s gonna land, but they are in the pipeline and we are seriously sitting down and speaking with them.”
Durham, the bridal image consultant and former star of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, was filming Say Yes to the Prom in New York City when the pandemic struck in March 2020. Soon after that, his contract expired as the network abruptly went dark.
Durham said he signed a contract to start filming with Roberts, but that the pandemic put the project on hold.
“And here we go with this mask mandate again,” Durham said. “That may be happening, so we’re just gonna play it by ear. Nobody’s in a hurry. We want to make sure these that we’re stepping on solid stone when we’re doing this.”
Durham, who turns 65 this year, moved to Belle Haven and decided to go back to his roots as a hair stylist. He opened Salon Monte six months later, on September 12, 2020, which is the anniversary of Jackie Kennedy’s wedding to JFK. Durham is a Jackie Kennedy aficionado and even has a portrait of the former first lady in his personal studio.
“I’ve never been more excited, more driven and more motivated to make this work,” Durham said of the salon.
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]
TV Show for Monte Durham’s New Salon? — “There is a possibility that Durham’s salon will be the premise of a new show. ‘I am very proud to say that I have been tapped on the shoulder by a production company out of L.A. that has signed a contract to do a sizzle reel on the hair salon, hopefully to take that to a network and sell it so we’ll have a show on that,’ Durham announced at a Visit Alexandria meeting last month.” [Alexandria Times]
Alexandria BBQ Restaurant on Local TV — “Tommy McFly visit[ed] Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster in Old Town Alexandria to see what it takes to cook award-winning barbecue.” [NBC 4]
Beyer Campaigning for Mayor Pete — “As Pete Buttigieg struggles for momentum going into the South Carolina Democratic primary and Super Tuesday, two members of Congress from the Washington region are traveling the country to promote his presidential campaign. Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.) were early endorsers of the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who they say has the personal story and calm demeanor to unite a nation divided by Donald Trump’s presidency.” [Washington Post]
New Bubble Tea Spot in Old Town North — “Ya-Gút St. Coffee & Treats ‘is the place for all things sweet,’ said Dustin Ngo from behind the counter of one of Old Town North’s newest businesses. The specialty shop opened in January at 682 N. St. Asaph St. next to its partner restaurant, Sunday in Saigon… The shop serves coffee drinks, unique pastries, bubble tea and gelato.” [Alexandria Living]
T.C. Boys Advance in Tourney — “TC Varsity Vs Robinson regional quarterfinal take the win 49-47. Next round, Friday, 2/28 5:45 @ Fairfax HS.” [Twitter]
Donation to Support School Sensory Room — “Daniel MacDonald was just six-years old when he passed away in 2018, but thanks to a $10,000 donation from his family, he has left a legacy at Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School that will benefit other children.” [ACPS]
Award Winning Teacher Highlighted on TV — “See @TCWTitans teacher Kimberly Wilson on @ABC7News! This year she was named National Teacher of the Year by the Association for Career and Technical Education.” [WJLA, Twitter]
Alexandria Dog Featured in Puppy Bowl — “The Puppy Bowl features dogs from shelters and rescue groups like Alexandria-based dog rescue Operation Paws for Homes. The rescue group is holding a watch party Sunday, Feb. 2 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Wag & Brew, 614 S Pickett Street, Alexandria.” [Patch]
Crash Snarls Rush Hour Traffic — Just before 5:30 p.m. last night a crash, reportedly involving a car and a motorcycle, shut down portions of Sanger Avenue and Beauregard Street, snarling rush hour traffic. [Twitter]
Apartment Building Purchase Complete — “The purchase of an Alexandria apartment building that will provide affordable housing units is complete, the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation announced Thursday. Avana Apartments, a 326-unit apartment complex at 3001 Park Center Drive in the West End, will have some units available at lower costs for households that meet income requirements. It will be renamed Parkstone Alexandria.” [Patch]
Waterfront is Highlight for Local Visitors — “Another standout in the data was attraction to the waterfront. In a portion of the survey where respondents were shown photos of scenes around Alexandria – which included shops along King Street, cobblestone roads and historic sites like Mount Vernon – the photos that performed the best were those with water. ‘Our historic character is really important but showing a place that’s on the water is very inspirational to people as a place that they want to visit,’ Vito Fiore, director of marketing and research for Visit Alexandria.” [Alexandria Times]
No Anniversary Beer for Port City — “Each year for our anniversary we craft a unique style of beer. Sadly, after monitoring the brewing process we have decided COLOSSAL IX does not represent our dedication to great quality beer, and we will not be releasing an anniversary beer in 2020.” [Twitter]
Some residents are downright angry at what they describe as major traffic backups caused by recent changes to Seminary Road.
Last month the city repaved and re-striped a portion of Seminary Road, changing it from two vehicle travel lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction, a center turn lane and two bike lanes. Some construction activity is still underway but people who opposed the project from the outset have wasted no time in decrying what they say is a significant increase in traffic as a result.
“Get rid of these stupid islands, get rid of these bike lanes,” local resident Phil Cefaratti told Tuss. “People on my side are very, very frustrated… we’re basically calling on City Council, especially the mayor, do to something about this.”
Cefaratti echoed other residents who call the result of the changes a “traffic nightmare” and Seminary a “parking lot” during rush hour, saying it now takes up to 20 minutes to go a mile at times.
Seminary Road this morning. Gridlock is bad, but moreover, how will an ambulance get to the hospital? This isn’t safe. @AdamTuss @Marcella_Rob @fox5dc @AlexandriaNow @AlexTimesNews @AlexGazette pic.twitter.com/57UjfYpnnn
— Jill Hoffman (@JHoffman_DC) November 18, 2019
Tuss also interviewed a resident who was happy about the changes, saying it’s a safety improvement. Some took to Twitter after the broadcast to voice similar views.
“I wasn’t listened to” = my opinion wasn’t implemented. I live off Seminary. It’s so much better! Never felt safe walking, running, or biking on it. Driving on it wasn’t that great either.
— Gary Michael (@GMSHOOP) November 20, 2019
The traffic will slowly get better, as it did on King Street when they did the same thing. My child has been hit by a car walking home from TC (thankfully no injuries). Anything this city can do to make it safer would be appreciated.
— Baby Yoda (@202StateofMind) November 20, 2019
City staff told Tuss and previously told the City Council that they expect the daily delays to ease as work concludes and some signal timing changes are implemented.
“While we understand that delays are frustrating, the corridor is still under construction and all of the components that work together to make this project work are not yet complete,” Hillary Orr, deputy director of Transportation and Environmental Services said in a memo. “While there have been some increased queues during the peak half-hour in the morning, we are still generally seeing vehicles able to get through a signal in one cycle.”
Opponents of the changes, meanwhile, are continuing to speak out and have formed a Facebook group to coordinate and gripe. One recent post on the exceedingly active Facebook group says that Mayor Justin Wilson has agreed to watch observe traffic congestion with residents on an as-yet undetermined weekday morning.