Northern VA Weekend Events in March 2013

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Local Expert Realty

The Beltway Beat: March 2013
A fresh look at what's new in the Washington metropolitan area


Rosslyn’s Artisphere: A Happening Place

By Pam Schipper

Artist Allan Kaprow came up with the term “happening” in 1957 to describe an exciting development: art that was dynamic and without boundaries. This multimedia engagement or bombardment of the senses brought together art, environment and viewer to create something new. It was the beginning of performance art and a vibrant movement.

Think Yoko Ono in 1964 standing on a Tokyo stage draped in layers of fabric: audience members cut away at her fabric with scissors, told to continue until she told them to stop.

Or Laurie Anderson singing “O Superman” in 1982, a song that rose to number two on the British pop charts.

And Jens Glaschiøt in 1993 orchestrating the installation of 20 sculptures across Europe in just 55 hours—all without sanction from authorities in those countries.

Fast forward to today, and you get Rosslyn’s Artisphere “where people and art collide.” Opened on Oct. 10, 2010, in the former Newseum building across the street from WJLA/ABC7 on Wilson Boulevard, the Artisphere gives voice and space to the evolution of this movement.

“It’s artists pushing the envelope in whatever field they’re in,” says Annalisa Meyer, Artisphere communications and marketing director. “Art that’s on the edge.”

It’s still happening.

Ants have invaded Artisphere. Though in vinyl form, these pests are teeming up stairs, around handrails and into the women’s restroom. They’ve even populated Artisphere’s Facebook page. D.C. artist Carolina Mayorga is an invader herself, turning up at odd times to engage visitors in her meticulous and mad ant scheme. At some point in March, she will morph into a pest exterminator, withdrawing most (but not all) of her busy bugs.

A band of knitters convenes on Wednesday evenings, quietly working on a top-secret yarn bomb project to be launched in an undisclosed location. Despite the hush-hush nature of the Guerilla Stitch Brigade, anyone is welcome to attend and contribute at these meetings. Knitting needles and yarn are provided.

A portrait series depicting local rappers and reggaetoneros by Arlington artist David Amoroso challenges with its beauty and violence. On view through March 16, “Delicate/Violent (Delicado/Violento)” opened with a music showcase reception featuring new and established rappers and reggaetoneros of the underground D.C. Latino music scene. Amoroso’s portraits were inspired by music, which you call up by scanning QR codes with your smartphone at the Artisphere or link to through

“I love Artisphere,” says Douglas Burton, co-owner of Apartment Zero, an award-winning D.C. design studio and gallery. “It’s a state-of-the-art space, a multifunctional space. It’s very, very rare to find a public-private space that is so well-designed and to have so much technology at your fingertips.”

Burton spent the past year curating the Washington, D.C .International Design Festival, an exhibit and series of informative and fun programs—interactive photo contest, film, Q&A + reception, talk + tour—that opened on Feb. 21 and runs through May 19. The exhibit, entitled “The Next Wave: Industrial Design Innovation in the 21st Century” showcases 150 products from 15 countries, and includes the work of some local industrial designers. Eight D.C. design firms contributed, and Burton worked with embassies to include the work of international industrial designers.

“Industrial design encompasses a very large range of things that we use as consumers on a daily basis,” Burton says, adding that we don’t usually think about what goes into creating a product—the who, why and how of it all. “I want people who visit to think and share.”

The exhibit is mind-blowing. Form meets function in novel and intriguing ways in the Artisphere’s 4,000-square-foot Terrace Gallery.

There’s the “Showtime Armchair with Hood, Outdoor” by Jaime Hayón. Manufactured by BD Barcelona, the upholstery and rotomoulded medium density dyed polyethylene is unabashedly solid in a subdued red. The large and curved hood shelters its inhabitant from sun, wind and rain. It may remind you, oddly, of Gru’s chair in Despicable Me.

Alain Gilles’ Buzzihood, manufactured by Belgium Buzzispace, is like something from Get Smart. Mounted on the wall and resplendent in recycled felt and an avocado-like green, this acoustic cocoon cuts background noise so that you can converse on the phone in peace.

Not-to-miss are the BioLite HomeStove and CampStove. Powered by small twigs, these mighty stoves convert waste heat into electricity, cutting carbon monoxide gas by 91 percent and powering cell phones, lights and other small appliances. In a world where three billion people cook on open fires, two million die each year from the practice, and 1.3 billion lack access to electricity, this is truly revolutionary.

Culled from the last 13 years of industrial design, the exhibit is complemented by a video of designers offering background on their products and a Pop-Up Shop that sells smaller pieces from the exhibit.

And that’s just the beginning. Artisphere goes beyond the visual arts to include the performing arts, literature, education and more.

“We have a wide range,” says Meyer, “of what’s unique and exciting.”

Jazz mixes it up on Thursdays from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. March brings the Brad Linde Quartet, Christie Dashiell + Jessica Boykin-Settles and Bossalingo. All of these performances are free, and they continue through April 25.

People dance in the Artisphere ballroom. Music performed by The Revelers on March 22 is preceded by a dance lesson at 7:30 p.m.

Local and national artists visit to perform in Artisphere’s four performance venues that include the 397-seat Spectrum Theatre. Look for Shocked and Amazed Carnival Side Show featuring the New York Variety All-Stars with special guests Cheeky Monkey on March 16 in the 120-seat Black Box Theatre.

“Shocked and Amazed used to perform in the Palace of Wonders on H Street,” explains Meyer. Led by James Taylor, the show profiles emerging artists and includes sword swallowing, lying on a bed of nails and more.

Kids come. On March 9, a teen-produced interactive dance party will be take place in the ballroom, the result of an open invitation to area teens to learn about and create an arts event. Educational programs include classes and workshops in theatre and fashion design, spring break camps and a Summer Theatre Experience.

People meet. Managed by the Arlington Economic Development and supported in part by Rosslyn Business Improvement District and private individuals, the Artisphere is a community resource. Admission—like art—is free, and it’s open Wednesday through Friday from 4:00 to 11:00 p.m., Saturday from noon to 11:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m.

“We try to serve as a platform for local artists,” says Meyer, going on to add, “We also bring things that otherwise would never be here.”

Like last spring’s exhibit of Frida Kahlo’s personal photographs, discovered sealed in a bathroom of her blue house in Coyoacan, Mexico. Artisphere worked with the Arlington Sister City Association to bring the photos from Coyoacan, one of Arlington’s sister cities, for their exclusive U.S. showing.

Artisphere is located at 1101 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; (703) 875-1100.

*Photo credit to Morgan Howarth

Washington Home & Garden Show


By Monica Boland

Yard Crashers’ Ahmed Hassan and Rehab Addict’s Nicole Curtis will headline this year’s Washington Home & Garden Show, from Friday, March 22 to Sunday, March 24 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center downtown. The two DIY Network stars will appear onstage on Saturday and Sunday during this weekend-long event showcasing more than 200 exhibitors with the latest products and services for home and outdoor projects.

“To me, the exhibitors at the show are always a major highlight,” said Washington Home & Garden Show Manager Alyson Caplan. “There are a great mix of exhibitors that focus on all aspects of home décor, remodeling, renovation, landscaping and more.”

Tim Mullen of Phelps and Phelps Consulting – a Rockville, MD-based company offering a full range of consulting expertise as a full-service furniture dealer and in construction management, general contracting and move management services – said he is looking forward to interacting with all of the visitors at this year’s show.

“Our booth will be somewhat unique in that there will actually be three separate entities who work collaboratively to handle all aspects of a project, from design and architecture to materials [and] construction,” the first-time exhibitor said.

Mullen also emphasized the collective goal of his booth to help narrow down the sometimes misunderstood world of what it means to be “green” or “environmentally-friendly.”

“I would like consumers to focus on three main ideas that most people can agree on: indoor air quality, energy efficiency and water conservation,” he said.

Caplan said the White Room is another exciting highlight. The achromatic room will start out with white walls, floors and furniture. Attendees can take provided stickers in different sizes and colors and place them all over the room.

“Watching the room transform over a few days is super fun,” she said.

Other highlights include Ask the Expert, with design experts on hand for one-on-one consultations with attendees throughout the show, and the Habitat for Humanity Upcycle Challenge. In this contest, local residents with a flair for décor were given $100 to spend at the Chantilly or Alexandria-based ReStore, where they bought an item and “upcycled” it for use in a home. All items will be on display at the show for the contest and once the winner is announced, they will be on auction with all proceeds sent to Habitat for Humanity.

Caplan said the feature gardens are always a big hit at the show, including this year’s addition of the Urban Garden for attendees who live in the city.

“Our attendees will learn about container gardening, rooftop gardening and more!”

The show manager said there really is something for everyone at the Washington Home & Garden Show.

“If you are planning a large project in your home or just looking for some fun décor ideas, this is the place to be to start planning your spring projects!”

The Washington Home & Garden Show runs Friday, March 22 to Sunday, March 24 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Pl. NW, Washington, DC; (202) 249-3000.

*Photo credit to Garrett James

Tacos el Chilango

By Vanessa Mallory Kotz

Juan Antonio Santacruz was literally born in a taquería, and he began working in the family business at the age of seven. Six of his seven brothers and sisters followed in his parents’ footsteps and now own their own taco shops in both Mexico and the United States. For many years, Juan Antonio resisted his heritage—first  as a social worker, then as an importer of handmade Mexican pottery—but he finally went back to his roots with Tacos el Chilango, a new taquería just around the corner from Ben’s Chili Bowl. You’ll be glad he did.

The small, immaculate shop on V Street welcomes you with delicious smells and cheerful colors. Vibrant orange walls are hung with contemporary portraits of important figures in Mexico’s political and cultural history, star-shaped piñatas hang from the ceiling, a gold figure of the Virgin of Guadelupe shines near the register and a portrait of Juan Antonio’s mother overlooks it all.

“She taught us how to cook,” he says, and his sister taught him how to make 20 varieties of salsa, three of which he serves at the taquería: green, red and habanero. “For a taco, salsa is very important.”

The habanero is spicy and especially fresh. “I like them hot, but full of flavor.” The heat wakes up the back of your tongue—strong, but not overwhelming.

Tacos el Chilango offers six varieties of meat tacos: steak, chicken, pork with pineapple, chorizo, mixto (a combination of chorizo and steak or chicken) and tongue. The latter is the most labor-intensive. The meat is boiled for four hours, then peeled and marinated in a delicate blend of spices—resulting in a tender texture and subtle flavor.

But what about these tacos makes them “el Chilango” or Mexico City-style?

“We keep it simple: corn tortilla [grilled meat], cilantro and diced onion,” Juan Antonio says. “And everything has lime and chili. In Mexico, even the candy has chilies.” 

The business started with a taco truck that he and his brother, Jesus, brought to the hungry working crowd in Arlington five years ago. The venture was so successful and the requests for one in D.C. so numerous, that they branched out. Now Juan Antonio overlooks the taco shop while Jesus keeps the truck business going strong.

The taquería has a more expansive menu, including a selection of Mexican beers and three vegetarian options: cheese with green pepper, cheese with mushroom and cheese with avocado. These are the only “inauthentic tacos on the menu,” Juan Antonio admits.

In Mexico, meat is the star—even if it’s tripe or tongue or some other less popular cuts with Americans. But Juan Antonio wanted to appeal to the healthy American appetite and to the multicultural residents in his neighborhood, many of whom are Indian and vegetarian. So “I made it up,” he says with an almost bashful smile.

In this humble writer’s opinion, the avocado is the best. Soft, warm corn tortillas are topped with a slightly crispy layer of grilled cheese, a couple of thin, creamy slices of perfectly ripe avocados and a sprinkling of finely chopped onion and cilantro. Add a (small) touch of habanero salsa, and you have perfection on a plate. If you overdo it, put out the fire in your mouth with one of El Chilango’s agua frescas—a refreshing selection of iced concoctions made by steeping flowers or other exotics in water—similar to iced tea. The best is the Jamaica, made from hibiscus flowers—thirst quenching and only slightly sweet.

Each order of three tacos is made with great care and attention, looking like an artist’s palette of colors and textures arranged like petals on the plate, complemented by sliced radishes, cucumber and a tiny wedge of lime, just enough to bring these little bites to life.

“It’s about quality, not quantity,” Juan Antonio says with pride.

Tacos El Chilango: 1119 V St. NW, DC; (202) 986-3030
Hours: Monday-Friday: 5:00 – 10:00 p.m.; Saturday: 12:00 – 10:00 p.m.

*Photo credit to

Art Takes to the Street: Gaia

By Vanessa Mallory Kotz

Baltimore-based artist Gaia’s latest work is on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art through May 5, but you can see his large paintings on the sides of buildings throughout Baltimore, as well as in East Asia, Europe and soon in Washington, D.C. In between flights around the world and a flurry of busy days, the artist thoughtfully answered a few questions burning up the minds of anyone who has seen one of his dramatic murals or colorful portraits.

Vanessa Mallory Kotz: How did you come to live in Baltimore? Tell me about the city from your perspective.

Gaia: I was born in New York City, attended private schools on the Upper East Side, started doing what we call nowadays “street art” and then skipped town to go to college. I came to this city for MICA and stayed in Baltimore. I love the freedom that it affords when I am not on the road and the people that choose to stay [here] above all other places. I love its streets, the horror of its vacant homes and its wild nature just brimming underneath a sleepy visage. It’s also very cheap.

VMK: Describe the source of your imagery—the chickens and Christian subject matter, for example.

Gaia: When I first began working in the streets, I used a basic mechanism of hybridizing animal portraits with human figures. This was an initial attempt to develop some sort of pagan North American mythology. My street pieces were very much confined to Christian symbols as an intuitive starting place. Since then, when it is pertinent, I sometimes return to these sources but ultimately, I strive to produce work nowadays that is intensely specific and generated by the site in which I am working. Now the imagery that I employ is a direct reference to the narrative and identity surrounding the location in which I find myself. Breaking out of the original artistic structure that began my journey as Gaia has allowed the work to be more fluid and responsive.

VMK: For your commission at the Baltimore Museum of Art, how did you come to the idea of creating portraits of the residents of the Remington neighborhood?

G: I cherished the opportunity to dedicate a couple months to the city I call home without much interruption and spent a majority of my time in Remington. The final piece was a very simple two-part concept; uncover the stories of a diverse group of people who call one small region home, and paint a reference to Gauguin’s Vahine no te vi which is in the museum’s collection. I wanted to produce a piece that was self-reflexive and honest; a piece that could speak to the problematic state of being an unremitting outsider. It seemed natural that I would make a piece exploring a neighborhood in the shadow of the museum, and Gauguin’s experience as a European in Tahiti resonated with my experiences navigating foreign, urban spaces . . .I interviewed as many people as possible … and then documented the process with oil painted portraits of those who consented to have their faces depicted .... The opposite wall was a Redskins cheerleader holding a mango. I hired her for a night to model for me because I could not convince anyone else in my neighborhood to pose for me. Sigh.

VMK: Tell me a little about your process as an artist and how you enter a community and work with it to create these pieces.

G: Generally, I will begin the relationship by starting a piece in plain sight and let those who are open to talking approach me. Then, once we have shared a meal, a handshake, a beer or any gesture of exchange, I ask who some important members of the neighborhood are. And from there I follow the social rabbit hole of both enriching encounters and empty leads. … Yet ultimately, despite any amount of intimacy that is garnered throughout the journey, the street artist is always an outsider, and has a responsibility to be both respectful and provocative.

*Photo credit to
Mardi Growl Gala
Friday, March 8, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria presents the third annual New Orleans-style celebration, featuring a festive night of music, dancing, costumes and more! The organization's largest fundraiser of the year benefits Alexandria's homeless animals. Click here for more information.
Location: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 600 Dunlay St. Alexandria, VA
Information: (571) 272-1000;
Cost: $85 for a single ticket; $150 for a pair
St. Patrick's Day Pub Bash Featuring Ted Garber
Sunday, March 17, 10:00 a.m. - 9:15 p.m.
Traditional Irish breakfast will be served at the Old Brogue in Great Falls from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. plus traditional Irish beers and live entertainment all day in the pub featuring Ted Garber from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. until last call.
Location: Old Brogue, 760C Walker Rd. Great Falls, VA
Information: (703) 759-3309;
Cost: Cost varies (check website for details)
Park Hyatt Masters of Food and Wine
Saturday, March 23, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Pastry chef Peter Brett and chocolatier Zoe Tsoukatos of Zoe's Chocolate Co. will host a Cherries & Chocolate cooking class to celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Gathered inside Blue Duck Tavern’s Pastry Pantry, guests will learn the techniques of fine chocolate making while sipping NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose.
Location: Blue Duck Tavern, 1201 24th St. NW, Washington, DC (Click here for more details)
Information: (202) 419-6768;
Cost: $55 (including tax and gratuity)
Blossom Kite Festival
Sunday, March 31, 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Come fly your own kite, make one and admire the creativity of kite makers from across the U.S. competitions and demonstrations include the Hot Tricks Showdown and the Rokkaku Battle.
Location: Washington Monument grounds, Constitution Avenue and 17th Street NW, Washington, DC
Information: (877) 442-5666;
Cost: Free
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions for The Beltway Beat, please contact Editor-in-Chief Monica Boland at If you would like your own newsletter, please e-mail Monica or visit

Comments (1)

Ronald DiLalla
Century 21 Discovery DRE 01813824 - Anaheim, CA
No. Orange Cty Real Estate

Hi Kristy,  that's a boatload of activities....Thanks for sharing with us.

Mar 26, 2013 03:36 AM