Month: October 2019

Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes

Fall has finally arrived and Halloween is fast approaching! The temps are gradually turning cooler, especially at night. The leaves in the higher elevations are beginning to turn to reds and yellows as farmers harvest the last of their crops. This is also true for the wineries of our area. This year is shaping up to be a good harvest and by now most of it has been done. October is also Virginia Wine Month. The wineries will be holding special events and music in celebration all month long. In her Grapevine article this month Nancy Bauer provides some questions to be asked at the wineries as well as some tips on the art of “spitting”. A preview of what’s inside – this month’s Road Trip takes us to St. George’s Island located in southern Maryland between the Potomac River and St. George’s Creek with a stop at Piney Point Lighthouse. It is slow season in the Caribbean and seat belt laws on the islands are the topic of discussion in Caribbean Connection. In Go Fish, Captain Steve Chaconas tells us about his fly fishing trip to the Maury River in southwest Virginia. In A Bit of History Sarah Becker comments on civility over the years. In Open Space Lori Welch Brown attends her high school class reunion and explains why it is good to go. Whitney Pipkin writes about oyster farming in the From the Bay section. This month we are featuring Landini Brothers Restaurant in Dining Out and would like to wish a Happy 40th Anniversary to Franco Landini, his son Noe and all the good folks at the restaurant. They have been feeding and entertaining us for a long time and the ride has been spectacular. Here’s to another 40! Enjoy the fall weather and have yourselves…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale By Miriam R. Kramer We are reprinting my column from July 2017 in advance of my future review of Margaret Atwood’s much-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments. My prediction two years ago was correct: the Hulu TV series The Handmaid’s Tale went on to win Outstanding Drama Series and Elisabeth Moss won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. In the time it has been on the air it has received 44 Emmy nominations and 14 wins. As a teenager in 1985 I first ran across Margaret Atwood’s newly published work, The Handmaid’s Tale, at Old Town’s wonderful Olsson’s Books & Records, which formerly stood on S. Union Street in Alexandria. I was taken aback by the power and simplicity of her writing. This classic work of radical dystopian fiction describes the fate and musings of one woman, Offred, a Handmaid in a monotheocracy called Gilead, formed after the imagined destruction of the United States of America. Recently Atwood’s powerful book has been adapted into an equally riveting series on the streaming network Hulu. In this patriarchal post-American society, martial law and a totalitarian regime controls the movement of all citizens and women in particular, all of whom must cleave to traditionally interpreted monotheistic, puritanical values, or suffer terrible punishments. Those in charge twist the Bible’s words into propaganda, dividing women into high-status Wives, nun-like propagandists and teachers known as Aunts, servant slaves such as Handmaids and Marthas (housekeepers/cooks), low-status Econowives, and finally the Unwomen, those too unruly to do anything but shovel toxic waste in the Colonies until they die, or others who serve as speakeasy-style prostitutes. No women work outside the home, and none, even those with higher status, are allowed to read and write.     Fertile women are particularly prized for…

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Business Profile

It’s Goldfinch. Period! “A Curated Collection of Curiosities”

By Lani Gering It’s Goldfinch. Period! “A Curated Collection of Curiosities” Did you know that “goldfinch” is not only the name of a cute North American bird but is also a paint color that happens to be a favorite of local designers Jamie Brown and Jeff Akseizer who opened a beautiful retail store in the north end of Old Town – Goldfinch. The store opened in March of this year but they waited to have their grand opening in mid-September and we were very happy to be on the A-list. It is a bit off the beaten path when you consider that the major portion of the retail in Old Town is located on King Street or within a block or two of it but it is well worth checking out. The inventory is beautiful and top notch. Goldfinch is best described by the owners as “A luxury home, lifestyle and gift boutique – Goldfinch Home+Lifestyle presents a scintillating environment of enviable gifts and curated curiosities.” The collection of “curiosities” for your home includes art and antiques, home décor and gifts, designer lighting and a fabulous collection of scents for the home as well as the likes of purses and jewelry and many other accessories for your person. The table setting that is currently on display is amazing. The photos accompanying this column tell part of the story but don’t do justice to seeing the store in person. The inventory in the store is sourced from artisans all over the world and is handpicked by Jeff, Jamie and Store Manager Marlene Cabezas. They have several one-of-a-kind pieces and it is evident that they are extremely proud of their wares from the way they talk about them. I visited with Marlene and Jamie when doing the sourcing for this column and…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Father of the Bride: by Vampire Weekend

High Notes By Ron Powers Father of the Bride by Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend’s latest album (Father of the Bride) is the band’s fourth studio album. It was released this year by Columbia Records, and is their first album with a major record label. It’s been almost six years since we’ve heard new music from the Indie rockers. Father of the Bride follows 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City and is the band’s first project since co-founding member Rostam Batmanglij left the band. The new album features several collaborations with outside artists and shows the band pulling from musical and lyrical depths previously unreached. It features 18 well thought out and smartly produced songs; a few of which I’d like to highlight here.        The record kicks off with the folk and country-influenced duet “Hold You Now”. This song features Danielle Haim who trades verses with lead singer Ezra Koenig. The song has simple lyrics sung with a wistful yet bracing melody. Its sparse musical arrangement includes acoustic guitar and a sample from a choral score by Hans Zimmer which was featured in the movie The Thin Red Line. The jam-band-influenced “Harmony Hall” was the first single released off Father of the Bride. This song begins with rolling fingerpicked acoustic guitars over an ambient synth texture that makes you wonder if it’s going anywhere significant. However, once the pre-chorus hits, everything starts to make sense. This song, like much of the new album, covers territory previously unexplored by the band. It’s songs like these that make Father of the Bride the groundbreaking album that it is.     My favorite track on the record is called “Bambina”. It’s remarkable how much life and energy has been packed into this little song. Coming in at a brief 1 minute…

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History, History Column


by ©2019 Sarah Becker Civility “So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof,” President John F. Kennedy (D-MA) said on January 20, 1961.  The Oxford American Dictionary defines civility as politeness; courtesy, respect and amiability. George Washington’s Rules of Civility, Rule 1: “Every action done in Company ought to be with Some Sign of Respect to those that are Present.”  Incivility, according to The American Heritage Dictionary, is described as rudeness.  “I cannot charge myself with incivility, or, what in my opinion is tantamount, ceremonious Civility,” George Washington wrote in 1775.    “I have just repeated word for word the oath taken by George Washington 200 years ago,” President George H.W. Bush (R-TX) said on January 20, 1989.  “It is right that the memory of Washington be with us today…he remains the Father of our Country.” “America is a proud, free nation, decent and civil, a place we cannot help but love,” Bush explained.  “[But] we need compromise…We have seen the hard looks and heard the statements in which not each other’s ideas are challenged, but each other’s motives.  And our great parties have too often been far apart and untrusting of each other.  It has been this way since Vietnam.  That war cleaves us still…no great nation can long afford to be sundered [separated] by a memory.”   “[T]he old bipartisanship must be made new again,” Bush continued.  “The American people await action.  They did not send us here to bicker.  They ask us to rise above the merely partisan.”    “No President, no government, can teach us to remember what is best in what we are,” Bush concluded.  “But if the man you have chosen to lead this government can help make a…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Annual Fly By

By Steve Chaconas Annual Fly By An annual fishing trip has to take place and scheduled about the same place and time every year, and with the same buddy.  This summer’s trip to the Lynchburg area certainly qualified. Not many occasions require setting the alarm for 2:30 AM to embark to southwest Virginia, five hours away. At that time of the morning, brains don’t work well. Better load the car the night before or gear is sure to be left behind. Pack the YETI with as much food and water to maintain a healthy diet on the water. Fishing 200 days a year, this trip stands out as anticipation builds as soon as the last ends. Buddy Alan Friedlander booked the trip as he’s done for the past 5 years for about the same time. I remember because we are usually fishing on my wedding anniversary. A great gift for my wife who gets to spend a few quiet days alone with her dog. The location is the same, either the Upper James or the Roanoke River. And of course, our guide Capt. Matt Miles makes the trip. As a guide, I call these “same time next year” clients. Most of these people will refer to past trips and their solo trips. Spending a lot of time catching up on life. Capt. Matt has been our float guide for 5 trips. We generally book 2 days to try various waters. Capt. Matt suggested the Maury River, a system we had not fished. He explained the other local rivers were a bit high and muddy. We were advised the Maury was a good river with lots of fish. Much to our surprise our boat for the day wasn’t a boat, rather a rubber raft. Skeptical to say the least, we climbed on…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Zophie King or the Importance of a Good Art Work Ethic

By F. Lennox Campello Zophie King or the Importance of a Good Art Work Ethic Ever wondered how to maximize the attention that your art work gets from the press, galleries, and museum curators? Or how to present your work in a professional manner and save money in the process? How to tap into grants, awards and residencies? How to approach a gallery? Should you have a contract? How do you establish an online presence for your art foot print? How do you build your professional resume? How do you get your work acquired by museums, universities and other public collections? Those are all great questions that are seldom part of any art school curriculum that I am aware of… they are sort of part of the business side of art, which most artsy folks avoid like the plague, as art generation after art generation gets swallowed by the “victimism” approach favored by most art faculties – at least in my experience. If you are a 2D artist, the subject of framing your artwork is enough to give most wallets a tremor of fear, as framing, unless properly planned and delivered, can be an exceedingly expensive proposition to most artists. And there are multiple approaches to this task, I call them “guerilla tactics” which can reduce the cost of framing up to 90%, especially in the DMV, where custom framing costs are around $100 an hour for labor (plus materials). I’m starting this month’s column by discussing these issues because for the last 20 years or so I’ve been presenting a seminar titled “Boot camp for Artists” which covers all those areas and more. The seminar is free to attendees and is usually presented courtesy of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Division of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission….

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Arts & Entertainment, Events, Featured Post

Stingy Jack – The Legend of the Jack O’Lantern

Stingy Jack – The Legend of the Jack O’Lantern Halloween, celebrated each year on October 31, is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity and life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. Halloween has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth, and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts. The Celtic holiday of Samhain, the Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day and the Roman festival of Feralia all influenced the modern holiday of Halloween. In the 19th century, Halloween began to lose its religious connotation, becoming a more secular community-based children’s holiday. Although the superstitions and beliefs surrounding Halloween may have evolved over the years, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people can still look forward to parades, costumes and sweet treats to usher in the winter season. One of the most popular activities surrounding the celebration is carving jack o’lanterns. People have been making jack o’lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil,…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events

The Witches Caldron

The Witches Caldron “Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog” “Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing” “For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and babble” “Double, double, toil and trouble, Fire burn, and caldron bubble” William Shakespeare Witches have had a long history with Halloween. Legends tell of witches gathering twice a year when the seasons changed, on April 30 – the eve of May Day and the other was on the eve of October 31 – All Hallow’s Eve. The witches would gather on these nights, arriving on broomsticks, to celebrate a party hosted by the devil. Superstitions told of witches casting spells on unsuspecting people, transforming themselves into different forms and causing other magical mischief. It was said that to meet a witch you had to put your clothes on wrong side out and you had to walk backwards on Halloween night. Then at midnight you would see a witch. When the early settlers came to America, they brought along their belief in witches. In America, the legends of witches spread and mixed with the beliefs of others, the Native Americans – who also believed in witches, and then later with the black magic beliefs of the African slaves. The black cat has long been associated with witches. Many superstitions have evolved about cats. It was believed that witches could change into cats. Some people also believed that cats were the spirits of the dead. One of the best known superstitions is that of the black cat. If a black cat was to cross your path you would have to turn around and go back because many people believe if you continued bad luck would strike you.

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