Day: May 1, 2014

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Time: We can’t escape it

This month I wanted to take a minute to discuss the importance of adhering to a schedule. This may seem like a strange choice for the column, but I assure you it is entirely relevant. Starting when we are in grade school we learn that deadlines are meant to be made, however, somewhere between the transition from adolescence to adulthood we discover that deadlines are not always steadfast. How many times have we begged and pleaded to have just an extra five minutes? And how often have we pleaded with a publishing agent to allow us a day or two extension (which inevitably turns into three days)? For those of you reading this column, I’m sure you are nodding your head and remembering all of the times that you have been guilty of pushing a previously set-in-stone deadline. As a writer and marketing consultant, I often struggle with telling CEOs that, “no, we cannot push the article another day.” Saying “no” to someone who writes the check that pays your monthly rent is never easy. But when it comes to marketing, it is often a necessity. And so, here are a few choice words that I would like to say to all of the bosses out there, who make the little guy suffer because they want a few extra moments on a steadfast deadline. 5pm on Friday does not mean 8am on Monday. When a deadline is set, you are at the liberty of the vendor to accept late changes. In marketing we are all cogs in a much bigger wheel. As such, being late on one deadline is the equivalent of trying to drive a cart with three wheels… it just doesn’t work. Deadlines are not arbitrary. You wouldn’t be late to your own wedding, so why are you…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes May 2014

Two hundred years ago America declared war on the British and the War of 1812 was underway. Although the war ended at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, it began in southern Maryland along the shores of Calvert and St. Mary’s counties.  In February 1813, the British Navy blockaded the Chesapeake Bay.  On shallow barges the British carried troops ashore to plunder and destroy.  The British landed at Newtowne Neck at the mouth of Breton Bay and proceeded to march toward Leonardtown.  An estimated 1,500 Royal British Marines invaded the town whose population numbered only three hundred and twenty-three.  After plundering houses and shops they turned their attention to the stately courthouse.  Mrs. Janet Thompson and Miss Eliza Key saved the courthouse from destruction by claiming it was used as a church as well as the seat of local government.  Perhaps the saving of the courthouse was due more to the ladies’ charms of persuasion than to its asserted religious function. Next month our history writer, Sarah Becker, will entertain us with the complete history of the War of 1812.  On June 6-8, Leonardtown, Maryland will be hosting the Raiders and Invaders weekend.  This will be fun for everyone.  For more information check their ad on the inside back cover of this issue.  There will also be a reenactment later in June at Jefferson-Patterson Park on the Patuxent River. With warm weather finally here, we took our “Road Trip” to the beaches of Southern Delaware. Miles of dunes and deserted beaches can be found.  Since April of 2011 we have been following the Civil War each month and since those first days at Fort Sumter, Doug Coleman now brings us to the turning point of the conflict.  Local resident and soprano Arianna Zukerman is our Personality Profile while our Business Profile reviews…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Capital Wheel Facts and Figures

Size: 175 Feet Tall (diameter of wheel is 165 feet) Visible from the Top of the Observation Wheel: Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol, Alexandria, Prince George’s County Number of Climate-Controlled Gondolas: 42 (including 1 VIP Gondola) Maximum Number of Passengers: 336 (8 per Gondola) Projected Annual Number of Passengers: 600,000 to 800,000 Price (estimated): $15 per ride (VIP Gondola will cost more) Hours of Operation (estimated): 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., year-round Ride Speed: 1.5 rotations per minute Lighting: 1.6 million LED lights, fully programmable, with a spectrum of 16.7 colors Concessions: Wolfgang Puck Catering will operate concessions, and the Observation Wheel will be available for private party rental. Other Cities with Observation Wheels: London, Seattle, Niagara Falls, Brisbane, Perth, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Malacca Island, Pigeon Forge, Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach. Website:

Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

A Tale of Two Beaches – Rehoboth and Bethany

With warmer weather finally arriving after a brutal winter, I decided to make a road trip to the ocean beaches and remember summers gone by.  The two beaches that I visited were Rehoboth and Bethany.  Two beaches that are only separated by 10 miles of unspoiled sandy beaches and dunes, but are oh, so different. Rehoboth is more of a year round community with permanent residences and businesses and restaurants that are open year round.  According to the 2010 census, the population of permanent residences is 1,327 but during the summer months can swell to over 25,000 within the city limits and thousands more in the surrounding areas and shopping centers. The wooden boardwalk in Rehoboth is a mile long and extends along the town’s beachfront.  There are numerous shops and restaurants located along the boardwalk as well as in the main part of town.  There are hotels and motels scattered throughout the town and along the boardwalk.  Two of my favorites are the Boardwalk Plaza and the Atlantic Sands Hotel. I have stayed at the Boardwalk Plaza before and I enjoy the place more each time I go back.  They provide a wide variety of accommodations and each is tastefully decorated in Grand Victorian style, check out the two parrots in the lobby that greet the guests.  The Atlantic Sands Hotel and Conference Center is a bit more casual than the Plaza but offers more in the way of meeting rooms.  The two hotels are side by side on the boardwalk and only a few steps from the award winning beach and the Atlantic Ocean. There is shopping in town as well as at the many shopping centers that are scattered on the outskirts of the town.  The world famous Tanger Outlets are a major draw for the area. …

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Island Students Learn Songwriting from a Master at St. John School of the Arts

Living on St. John has some serious perks — see our stunning beaches, miles of lush hiking trails and perfect sailing — but arts education for children, that’s an entirely different matter. A little white building perched on a hill in Cruz Bay, however, has been filling that gap for more than 25 years. Founded in 1980 by former New York City girl turned St. John business pioneer and arts lover Ruth “Sis” Frank and Rudy Wells, St. John School of the Arts has brought many exciting programs to the island for children, from piano instruction to video production. Most recently, St. John School of the Arts may just have tapped the next Irving Berlin or Otis Redding. Thanks to a lasting impression by SJSA co-founder Ruth “Sis” Frank and continued excellence at SJSA, island sixth, seventh and eighth grade students have been learning the finer points of songwriting and music composition. More than a decade ago in New York City, Frank – who has since passed away – met an attorney named Peter Strauss. Strauss was the man responsible for overseeing the trust for the famed lyricist Irving Caesar, who penned “Tea for Two.” Sis Frank’s meeting with Attorney Strauss obviously left lasting impression on the New York attorney, SJSA Executive Director Kim Wild explained. “Most of Irving Caesar’s money went to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers [ASCAP] and the ASCAP Foundation,” said Wild. “But $100,000 of it came back to us at SJSA and that’s when we did the renovations to the school on the outside.” Thanks to that $100,000 donation to SJSA, the school was able to  upgrade its facilities which boast a beautiful performance space now called The Ruth “Sis” Frank Performance Hall. Attorney Strauss, however, was finished supporting SJSA. “Peter once again…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

La Bergerie: French Cooking with a side of Old World hospitality

Atmosphere: Upscale, classic Service: Well choreographed, balanced Open: Monday – Thursday 11:30am – 9:30pm Friday – Saturday    11:30am – 10:30pm  Sunday  5:00pm – 9:00pm Reservations: 703-683-1007 Tasting menu: 3course: $45, 4course: $65 Wine bottle: $28-$10k? Overall: Comprehensively elegant The origin of the world’s first official restaurant as well as the first use of the word restaurant dates back to France in the 18th Century. According to multiple sources, a chef by the name of Boulanger began serving soups in his shop, under a sign that stated “Boulanger débite des restaurants divins” (Boulanger provides divine sustenance). Though many academics and professionals have disputed some of details and specifics of this tale, there remains one thing that is certain: the French are responsible for the invention and development of the modern concept of the restaurant. From the romantic cafes of Paris to the elite kitchens of Michelin Star run restaurants like Guy Savoy or L’Ambroisie the French have consistently set the standard in all aspects of the trade. I believe the key to French culinary success is balanced equation of two components: 1. Staff structure and delegation of restaurant tasks and 2. The reverence the French have for their guests. French restaurateur, chef, and author Auguste Escoffier took the knowledge he picked up while in the military and applied it to the organization of his kitchens. The idea, formally known as brigade de cuisine, placed particular tasks and responsibilities on to each person working in the restaurant. From the chef de cuisine (head chef), to the sommelier (head of the wine program), and even the plongeur (dishwasher) Escoffier made sure each person in the restaurant was effective and working to capacity from the beginning to the end of service. This way, Escoffier ensured that all of his guests were being properly attended and the…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Giants of Comedy

Comedy is its own peculiar art form, birthed from pain, acute powers of observation, and an urge to pinpoint the human condition for an audience that will send back waves of spontaneous laughter and applause across the footlights. Recently I purchased Billy Crystal’s autobiography Still Foolin’ Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? and then Joan Rivers’ first autobiography Enter Talking, released in 1986 at the time she was the permanent guest host of the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Both are great reads that will reward anyone interested in detailed memoirs about a life spent performing. Baby boomer Billy Crystal has had a multifaceted entertainment career in standup comedy, movies, and theater since he broke through to a mass American audience in the mid-Seventies. Crystal grew up on Long Island in a music showbiz environment, as his father managed a prominent record store in Manhattan where he met various stars such as Louis Armstrong. He intersperses chapters of happy memories of his all-American adolescence playing sports, performing in school, and discovering women with hilarious musings on the aging process, religion, sex, insomnia, his obsession with the Yankees, and how he got to his current place in life. You may want to read it at home if you are embarrassed by laughing out loud continually in public places. After attending the film and television directing program at NYU under the aegis of such professors as the young Martin Scorsese, Crystal started doing standup while trying to make ends meet with his new wife and baby. Famed comedy manager Jack Rollins helped him make his comedy more personal, and he gradually honed his craft to the point of getting a guest acting spot on All in the Family. After landing a regular spot as…

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Business Profile

30 Years of Hope

Over the last several years I have had the pleasure to learn about dozens of local businesses. From retail to real estate, ice cream to Halloween, I’ve seen and you’ve read about the small and large businesses, all contributing to the heart of Alexandria and its neighboring communities. This month I am excited to not only shed light on the amazing work this business does, but to also spread awareness and knowledge, and recognize the dedicated people who make it their mission to help others in need. In celebration of their 30th anniversary and the many successes they have achieved, we are featuring the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC opened its doors in 1984 to serve as the nation’s greatest resource for issues related to missing and exploited children. They have changed the way that our country and law enforcement address and act on these difficult cases, and provide support to victims, their families, and friends. There are many cases that come to mind when you hear about this organization, and we have all seen the news and prayed for the families who face this terrifying situation. To say that NCMEC has changed the way we respond to missing or abused children would be an understatement. Thirty years ago, police could enter information about stolen cars, stolen guns, and even stolen horses into the FBI’s crime database, but not stolen children. Several tragic cases brought awareness to the nation, and shed light on the lack of coordination or national response system when addressing missing children cases. In 1979, 6-year-old Etan Patz vanished from a New York street on his way to school. Over the next several years, 29 children and young adults were found murdered in Atlanta. Perhaps the most recognized case was in 1981, when…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Gallery Beat – May 2014

Last month the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery in DC hosted the return of Alchemical Vessels, a very cool exhibition that each year brings together 125 local artists and 20 invited curators for a community dialogue on healing and transformation through the arts. Each artist transforms a simple ceramic bowl by means of his or her own personal aesthetic and medium, drawing inspiration from the bowl as a place of holding, open community, sacred space, and even the alchemical vessel. The show is an amazing grouping of Who’s Who in the DMV art scene. The ceramic bowl was selected as the fundamental element of the exhibition to symbolize creating a space where healing can take place—an idea at the heart of Smith Center’s work and mission. Metaphorically speaking, Smith Center—the space and the work that they do within their walls—resembles an alchemical vessel. People bring their everyday burdens, fears, and pains to them, and in this place of holding, the Smith Center helps to transform those toxic elements into hope, light, wisdom and strength. With a $125 Benefit-Vessel contribution, guests are admitted to the event and then select one of the 125 works on display to add to their own collections. It is a terrific way to both help a great cause and get great artwork. J.J. McCracken’s absolutely stunning piece in the show almost steals it from the very beginning, but there were some really great pieces here competing for McCracken’s subtle and delicate-looking work. Amongst these is the truly intricate work by master ceramicist (no fair!) Laurel Lukaszewski, who is one of these artists who seems to create impossibly delicate forms that are actually quite tough! Marie Ringwald’s iconic house symbology adds to years of exploring this subject, and Nelson Gutierrez’s obsessive piece showcases what an artist can do with a repetitive theme….

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