Alexandria, VA

Taking advantage of Phase 3 of reopening’s opening of entertainment locations, Arlandria music venue The Birchmere (3701 Mt Vernon Avenue) is back with new shows planned every Friday and Saturday.

The Birchmere website notes that some changes are in effect for the location. Masks are required when visitors are not seated — such as in the bathroom or when entering or exiting the building. Tickets now also have an additional $5 fee. Tickets for all shows are $15 and available online or at the box office on the day of the show.

Owner Gary Oelze said on the website that he hopes for operations at The Birchmere to be back to normal by August.

In other ways, though, the venue remains the same. The location has free parking, general admission, and no minimums on food or beverage purchases.

Photo via The Birchmere

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Morning Notes

Gade Wins Primary, Faces Warner in November Election — “Gade handily defeated Thomas A. Speciale II and Alissa A. Baldwin in Tuesday’s Republican primary with about two-thirds of the votes cast statewide. In the City of Alexandria, Gade received about 63 percent of approximately 2,100 votes cast.” [Alexandria Living]

The Birchmere Reopening in July — “The Birchmere on Mount Vernon Avenue announced that the Billy Price Charm City Rhythm Band will perform July 10… During the public health emergency, there will be a $25 food and beverage minimum and a $5 fee the venue is calling a ‘Covid fee.'” [WTOP]

Two Free Food Distributions Today — “There will be a food distribution this Thursday, 6/25 from 5-6pm at John Adams with ALIVE and World Central Kitchen and this Saturday, 6/27 from 8:30-10:30am at both John Adams and Cora Kelly.” [Facebook]

New Job: DASH Temperature and Wellness Screener — “DASH is looking for temporary Temperature and Wellness Screeners to work full-time and part-time at the Alexandria, VA facility. Medical experience and/or a medical certification is preferred but not required. Temporary assignment will start ASAP with end date depending on business needs related to COVID-19.” [Indeed]

New Job: Police Human Resources and Labor Relations Division Chief — “The Human Resources and Labor Relations Division Chief is responsible for a variety of departmental functions including human resources, budgeting, new police officer training, DCJS mandated training, employee wellness, Peer Support and resiliency programs, and engagement with departmental labor groups.” [City of Alexandria]

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Morning Notes

City Helps World Central Kitchen Give Out 1,250 Meals — “On May 14, City staff and volunteers distributed 1,250 hot meals to 350 families in the third food distribution organized in Alexandria by World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit food distribution organization founded by chef José Andrés. Local nonprofit ALIVE! also distributed 800 pounds of food at the event. This food distribution will take place again at Casa Chirilagua on May 21 and Ramsay Elementary School on May 28.” [City of Alexandria]

10,000 Maniacs Show at The Birchmere Rescheduled to November — “his show has been RESCHEDULED AGAIN, now for Friday November 20, 2020! All 3/20/20 & 5/31/20 tickets will be honored on the new date. Refunds available through Ticketmaster if you cannot attend the new date. If you purchased at The Birchmere Box Office, please hold on to your tickets until we reopen. Tickets for 11/20/20 on sale now!” [Birchmere]

Old Town Books Raising Funds to Stay Afloat — “I never thought I would be turning to crowd funding to keep the store open. This fundraiser is to cover payroll, rent, and fixed costs during the shut down. It will keep the store open through the next very uncertain year while we adapt our business model to continue operating through the COVID-19 outbreak. I want Old Town Books to be here when the clouds part, and I hope you do, too.” [GoFundMe]

Here’s the Latest from the Old Town Boutique District — “The Old Town Boutique District kindly asks for you to continue to hold hands with us and support us little guys any way that you can. We love our loyal shop local community and we still need you.” [OTBD]

Tall Ship Providence Hosting Virtual Tours on Tuesdays — “Every week, historic re-enactors talk about Providence, life aboard the ship and much more in a series of videos, online discussion and other virtual features.” [Alexandria Living]

North Potomac Yard Virtual Community Meeting at 7 p.m. — “The Virginia Tech Foundation and JBG SMITH will host a virtual community meeting to provide information regarding transportation, open space, sustainability and community benefits.” [City of Alexandria]

Sixth Grader Leaves Colorful Rocks in Neighborhood — “Sophie Richardson, a 6th grade student at St. Stephens/St. Agnes School, is brightening up the Vauxcleuse neighborhood near Inova Alexandria Hospital with rocks painted with uplifting messages for her neighbors to find.” [Gazette]

Virtue Feed and Grain Donates Meals to D.C. Nonprofit — “We are grateful for the partnership & hope to continue giving back to our community.” [Facebook]

Pedego Electric Bikes Gets Colorful Shipment of Helmets — “We just received a shipment of new Thousand helmets! Refilling some favorites and adding a few new awesome colors. Come and get them while they last!” [Facebook]

The Art League is Offering Online Courses — “Check out our new online classes to help keep you connected to each other and your creativity. Connect to online classes using Zoom, a video-conferencing platform that is simple and easy to use. And stay in touch with your classmates and teacher with Google classroom.” [Art League]

New Job: Alexandria Health Department Communications Officer — “The AHD Communications Officer is a key member of AHD’s Population Health team comprised of the Population Health Manager, Health Planner, and HIV/AIDS Prevention Coordinator. The Communications Officer reports directly to the Population Health Manager, is AHD’s principal communications subject matter expert, and provides oversight of AHD’s internal and external communications.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Northam Says Northern Virginia Will Ease Restrictions More Slowly — “Northam said that more information about ‘how this will work’ for Northern Virginia localities will be released on Wednesday.” [Reston Now]

Metro Phased Reopening Plan Includes Face Mask Requirement for Riders — “In the first phase, trains will run every 20 minutes and buses will operate on a Sunday schedule. Service will ramp up slowly from there. All riders will need to wear masks to board a bus or train in the WMATA system. (Right now, that’s just a recommendation and request, according to Metro’s website.)” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Salon Owner Cautions Against Reopening — “My colleagues and I think the Governor’s plan to allow salons to open is dangerous and shortsighted. It’s also worth mentioning that it seems the overwhelming majority with opposite opinion aren’t the professionals who have to do this work, based on the engagements I’ve had and observed in the comments section of the Governor’s Live streams. While that may not be an effective means of data collection, I think it speaks volumes– we are being excluded from the conversation about our own industries and our own lives.” [Alexandria Living]

DASH Adds Digital Displays for Riders at Bus Stops — “Thanks to the I-395 Commuter Choice funding, DASH is adding new digital displays to stops on the AT1 and AT9 to improve riders’ experience during essential travel. These signs display real time bus arrival information and helpful alerts.” [Facebook]

Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Online Auction Open Until May 30 — “We have received MORE THAN 150 Fantastic Auction Items, Expieriences, Packages, Gift Cards and One-of-A-Kind Opportunities from some amazing and generous local donors. This VIRTUAL SILENT Auction will help make up for our Canceled Spring Benefit Gala. ALL Proceeds Go to Helping Send T.C. Williams High School students with financial need to College.” [Facebook]

The Bishop Ireton High School Food Drive is on May 15 — “Spread the word! Looking forward to seeing you, even if for only a few minutes, socially distant. Thank you in advance!” [Facebook]

The Birchmere Reopening in June Schedules Performances in June — The upcoming schedule of performances includes Gaelic Storm, Steve Earl & The Dukes, and actor Kevin Bacon and his brother. [Facebook]

New Job: Digital Content Manager — “The Manager, Digital Content is responsible for the management and creation of content on AASLD’s (American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases) primary website and its related sites. This position will work with the Director, Digital Media to ensure AASLD’s websites are up-to-date, provide solid user experiences and follow best practices.” [Indeed]

Zebra Newspaper to Resume Printing in June — “The printing press rolls for us again in June, with your papers arriving around town and online June 8, 2020. But, the times, they are a-changin’ in terms of our distribution. We are adding more newspaper boxes to neighborhoods. If you want a box somewhere in particular, please let me know directly. You will start seeing them delivered in about 14 days.” [Zebra]

Road Paving Begins on Mount Vernon Avenue — “Mount Vernon Avenue will be under paving reconstruction for two weeks starting May 13, 2020.” [Zebra]

Taste of Del Ray, Other Community Events Canceled — “Taste of Del Ray and Well Ray in June as well as the Del Ray Music Festival will not happen in 2020. A decision on October’s Art on the Avenue, one of Del Ray’s largest events, has not been made. Art on the Avenue typically draws 75,000 people.” [Patch]

Former Councilman Fannon Named Alexandria Living Legend — “I have always been proud of Alexandria and was very fortunate to be born in such a great community… I was raised to be civic minded and to always contribute and give back to our fellow citizens.” [Gazette]

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Morning Notes

Hard Times Café Founder Passes Away — “Sad news. @HardTimesFun founder Fred Parker passed away last night. He was a very special friend and an icon in #AlexandriaVA. Thank you Fred for so many memories. You will never be forgotten #RIP” [Twitter]

Birchmere Joins Group to Lobby Congress for Coronavirus Relief — “With large gatherings forbidden throughout the country, the live music industry has ground to a halt, closing revenue streams and putting things like rent and payroll payments in jeopardy. More than 450 venues across the U.S. are banding together under the new group called the National Independent Venue Association to present one voice to lawmakers.”  [Washington Business Journal]

Potomac Coffee Donates to Carpenter’s Shelter — “Thank you, Potomac Coffee, for your incredibly generous donation of 200lbs of VERY aromatic coffee! As one of the many local businesses hard hit by the pandemic, we appreciate your giving spirit during these tough times!” [Facebook]

Presbyterian Cemetery Closes — “Thank you all for your comments. The cemetery tried to keep open after the city closed all parks and dog parks, but we were completely overwhelmed. Over the past four weeks we had people driving in from DC, MD and other parts of Virginia to exercise their dogs. Not only were we overrun, but people were not following the rules, were belligerent and at times threatening to staff. That and numerous other issues gave us no choice except to lock the gates and keep everyone out. Since this is the first time in years we are closed, the cemetery will tackle some much needed maintenance issues and needed enhancements and hope to open again once the COVID-19 crisis passes. We hope everyone understands and know that we appreciate your support.” [Facebook]

‘The Old Town Shop’ is Selling Disposable Face Masks — “The Old Town Shop carries DISPOSABLE FACE MASKS: 2 masks to a pack, and $5 per pack. The BFE 95 triple layer protective masks have a waterproof outer layer and a breathable inner layer. The 3D tensile design fully fits an adult face. Material is non-woven fabric with a flexible plastic nose bridge and elastic ear covers.” [squaremktg.com]

Video: Alexandria Firefighter Recruits Train in Smokehouse — “A pandemic doesn’t stop other emergencies from happening. The AFD Training Division continues to prepare our new members to respond to the call.” [Facebook]

Sheriff’s Office Talks With ACPS Third Graders — “With Alexandria City Public Schools closed, we’re finding new ways to stay connected with students. Today [April 24] Lieutenant Sean Casey and Deputy Morgan Garner joined Mr. Holland’s third graders for their lunch bunch via Zoom. They discussed online safety and did a fun demonstration showing the importance of proper hand washing.” [Facebook]

Riverside Gardens Families Play Dress-up — “It became something to look forward to. We’d all wonder, what will the Ferrys do tonight? For five nights we had ‘must-see Facebook!'” [Zebra]

Alexandrians Pitch ‘Burro’ Gardening Tools on Shark Tank — “Mollie Thorsen and her father, Bob, have come a long way with their innovative gardening tool, the original Little Burro.” [Alexandria Living]

City Sets Up Yard Waste Collection Site on Eisenhower Avenue — “The new facility will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. You must show an ID with a City of Alexandria address.” [Alexandria Living]

Today is a Teacher Work Day for ACPS — “REMINDER: Monday, April 27 is a Teacher Work Day. Enjoy your weekend!” [Facebook]

Carol and Ryan Bailey Named Alexandria Living Legends — “Carol says she has spent her life paving the way for Ryan. She and her family still live in the house her grandfather bought in Del Ray in 1900. It has a historical marker on the front column and a sign in the front yard that says, ‘Spread Kindness, Build Community.'” [Gazette]

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Morning Notes

City Finalizes Freedom House Purchase — “What happened at 1315 Duke St. had a terrible and lasting impact on America. Freedom House encourages us to speak truth to power and delve deeper to confront the hard, honest truths about race, class and equity in this country.” [City of Alexandria]

The Birchmere Starts GoFundMe Fundraiser For Staff — “As you know, we have had to cancel or postpone all of our shows for the foreseeable future, at least into May. With no shows this means that all of our hourly and tipped workers (kitchen, wait & bar staff) are not getting paid. We have been asked by many fans of The Birchmere if there was a way they can help so we have setup this GoFundMe page for them.” [GoFundMe]

SBA Loans Available for Local Businesses — “The loans offer up to $2 million per small business. They can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the impact of coronavirus.” [Alex Times]

AEDP Launches Website to Support Businesses During Pandemic — “The Alexandria Economic Development Partnership and our partner organizations are committed to ensuring Alexandria’s business community has the latest information on the impacts of COVID-19 and resources to help businesses respond.” [AEDP]

Lost Boy Cider Hosting Blood Drive — “Local friends, there’s a big shortage of blood right now. Next Thursday we’re hosting a blood drive in the parking lot with our good friends Alexandria Renew and @inovahealth. Please join us between 11-4pm to donate blood.” [Facebook]

Fairlington UMC Holds Daily Online Noon Service — “Weekdays, Monday through Friday at noon, you are invited to gather online via zoom video conference. One of our pastors will lead a devotion, check-in with those gathered, and lead a prayer. It is easy to join.” [Facebook]

Cheesetique Offering Fresh Produce — “Retail–Online Ordering now includes FRESH PRODUCE! For pickup or delivery.” [Facebook]

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The Squirrel Nut Zippers brought their raucous, Vaudeville-inspired show to The Birchmere in Del Ray last night, performing their entire first album “Inevitable,” in order, to a sold-out crowd.

The lineup, fronted by original bandleader and songwriter Jimbo Mathus, features an eight-piece ensemble, including guitar, keyboards, drums, upright bass, banjo, horns, fiddle, ukulele, and saw. Yes, a saw.

The arrangements are as fresh and as inspiring as they were during the 90s swing revival. The evening ended with encores including their smash hit “Hell” and “Hey Shango,” a catchy Calypso sing-along where the band leads audience members on a Second Line-inspired walk out to the lobby for a meet-and-greet.

Staff photos by Jay Westcott

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Morning Notes

Half of Popular Duo to Perform at Birchmere — “On the evening of June 24, 1964, Washington was engulfed in Peter and Gordon-mania. Midway through the British duo’s performance at the Alexandria Roller Rink, a desperate Jack Alix, DJ at WEEL radio, halted the music and begged the crowd to please stop pushing. ‘I do remember it was a good gig, where the audience was crazy, with screaming girls throwing themselves at the stage and all that stuff,’ said Peter Asher, calling from his Malibu, Calif., home.” [Washington Post]

Alexandria Man Charged in Arlington Incident — “A 69-year-old Alexandria man is facing a felony charge after police say a minor, two-vehicle crash led to a physical altercation along Lee Highway… [The man] punched a window on the other car several times, then ‘produced a knife and allegedly attempted to strike the victim,’ according to Arlington County Police.” [ARLnow]

City’s Opioid Plan Finalized — “The City of Alexandria has finalized the Opioid Work Group Strategic Three Year Plan (2020 – 2023) to eliminate opioid misuse and its harmful effects in Alexandria. The plan, which is now available at alexandriava.gov/opioids, was formed through several years of extensive engagement and collaboration with community members and experts.” [City of Alexandria]

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February’s here, but you don’t have to go through the winter dour and alone. There’s plenty of exciting acts coming to The Birchmere (3701 Mt. Vernon Avenue) in Arlandria.

One of the most high profile is Digable Planets, a Grammy-winning hip hop trio from the late 1980s. The show is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24. Tickets are $55.

Some of the upcoming concerts are sold out, like the Blue Oyster Cult and Three Dog Night concerts.

Tickets are still available for Arlo Guthrie’s concerts on Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, Feb. 29. Guthrie is an influential protest and anti-war folk singer-songwriter. His most famous piece is Alice’s Restaurant Massacree, an 18-minute ballad about a littering incident that goes horribly awry.

It’s not the first time in recent memory The Birchmere has featured a transgressive and offbeat artist. John Waters returned for another Christmas special at the venue in December.

Other Birchmere concerts in February include:

Beyond February, other notable upcoming ats at the music hall include Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Oak Ridge Boys, Graham Nash, 10,000 Maniacs, Vanessa Carlton, The Dramatics, Ohio Players, and Don McLean of “American Pie” fame.

Photo via The Birchmere 

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Morning Notes

Reminder: School and Trash Collection Delays — Alexandria public school students are preparing to go to school after a two hour weather delay this morning. Curbside trash and recycling collection, meanwhile, may be delayed today and Thursday after being suspended Tuesday afternoon. [Twitter, Twitter]

Wind Advisory Issued for Alexandria — Alexandria and surrounding areas are under a Wind Advisory from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Gusts of up to 50 mph are possible, which could cause trees and power lines to topple, forecasters say. [Twitter]

Alexandria’s Kiwi Kuisine Profiled — “Since opening in 2007, Kiwi Kuisine’s savory meat pies and strategic business model have continued to grow. The business is the brainchild of resident Bert ‘Ram’ Todd. With his hulking build and thick New Zealand accent, Todd’s professional rugby past comes as no surprise. Unforeseen, however, is his true passion for cooking.” [Alexandria Times]

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing Next Week — “Now is your chance to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy live at The Birchmere on Jan. 16 at 7:30pm. You probably have heard their smash hit ‘Go Daddy-O,’ or you’d at least recognize it if you heard it.” [Zebra]

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Transgressive cult film director John Waters is coming back to Alexandria next week.

On Wednesday, Dec. 18, Waters is scheduled to return to the Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Avenue) for an event titled “A John Waters Christmas: Filthier & Merrier 2019 Tour” with the tagline “It’ll Stuff Your Turkey.”

Tickers are $55 and the show is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

It’s very much in keeping with the filmmaker, director, actor, writer and artist whose films like Pink Flamingos were advertised as “an exercise in poor taste.” Waters is perhaps most famous for his 1988 comedy Hairspray.

What exactly occurs at the John Waters Christmas event is unclear, with very vague descriptions at the Birchmere site and other locations on the tour. Past Christmas performances have mainly been stand-up comedy focused, but Waters released a Christmas album in 2004 so there’s at least some background in Christmas music.

Here’s the description of a sold-out John Waters Christmas performance in New York City next Monday:

Like a damaged St. Nick for the Christmas corrupted, John Waters – legendary filmmaker (“Female Trouble”, “Hairspray”, “Serial Mom”), raconteur and author of bestselling books, Carsick, Role Models and Make Trouble – hitchhikes into town with a bag full of sticks and stones for the devoted and the damned, spreading Yuletide profanity and perverted piety with his critically acclaimed one-man show, “A John Waters Christmas – Filthier & Merrier.” This rapid-fire “trigger warning” for holiday traditionalists asks the questions, “Is Prancer the only gay reindeer?”, “Is it wrong to steal purses from cars in graveyard parking lots on Christmas Eve while mourners leave flowers?”, “Has Santa ever been nude?”, and, most importantly, “Should you disrupt living crèche celebrations this year in the name of political action?” Miracles really do happen at Yuletide, even if they’re false, and Waters prays for a Gaspar Noé Christmas film, and a new sex club that encourages gay men and lesbians to have sex with each other for the very first time. Delving into his love for the annual December warning list of “Unsafe Toys to Give Your Child” and his hatred for email Christmas cards, The Easter Bunny, and any kind of holiday “food issues”, the Pope of Trash will give you a Cool Yule like no other – It’ll Stuff Your turkey. You better watch out, you better cry! John Waters, the People’s Pervert, is coming to town.

Rogers has been bringing his one-man Christmas special to the Birchmere for years. In 2014 he told the Washington Post that the annual tradition has made him “like a drag queen on Halloween; I’m working this Christmas.”

Photo via The Birchmere

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If you’ve waited until the last minute to put together your Halloween plans, here’s your guide to events around the area.

The Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Avenue) is planning it’s annual party called Raven’s Night on Saturday, Nov. 2. The “unique soirée” features belly dancing, live music and a pre-show carnival. This year’s theme is “Creature Feature,” an homage to classic iconic movie monsters. Tickets are $25. Doors for the show open at 5 p.m.

Other Halloween events around town include:

Tonight (Oct. 30)

  • Costume Halloween Shindig in Ivy Hill Cemetery  (2823 King Street): Ivy Hill Cemetery is hosting a costume party tonight at 6:30 p.m. that will include a visit to the cemetery’s vault, ghost tours, moonshine tasting and costume awards. The event is also scheduled to include a reading from Maribeth Decker, a “local intuitive animal communicator,” who will be available to check in with pets living and deceased if the attendee brings a photo of their pet. Tickets are $35 per person and include food and drink.
  • The Haunting of Hill House at The Little Theater of Alexandria (600 Wolfe Street): The Little Theater of Alexandria is hosting a performance of The Haunting of Hill House, a play based on the 1959 gothic horror novel by Shirley Jackson. The plan is running every day this week starting at 8 p.m. and Wednesday (Nov. 7) through Saturday (Nov. 9).
  • Halloween at Cafe 44 (44 Canal Center Plaza): Cafe 44 on the Alexandria waterfront is hosting a Halloween party tonight. The event is scheduled to include champagne, costumes, an dlive music from acoustic band Sleeper Car. Festivities are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

Tomorrow (Oct. 31)

Friday (Nov. 1)

  • Grief and Ghosts at the Lee-Fendall House Museum (614 Oronoco Street): This weekend, the historic Lee-Fendall House will host a series of tours on Friday and Saturday starting at 7:30 p.m. that explore death and mysteries from the home’s history, as well as a look at Victorian mourning traditions. The event page says such customs include draping the mirrors after death, hair jewelry, and séances. Tickets are $10 and frequently sell out, so advance purchase is recommended.
  • 10th Annual Columbia Firehouse Halloween Bash (109 S. Saint Asaph Street): The Columbia Firehouse is hosting it’s annual party, with trick or treating for kids and prizes for the best costume.

Photo via The Birchmere/Facebook

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