Day: October 1, 2020

Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

The Hope of Joe Biden

The Hope of Joe Biden Miriam R. Kramer This year’s poisonous political machinations as federal and state governments apply erratic approaches to managing the COVID-19 public health crisis have burdened and saddened us. We have been offered so many reasons to become jaded, furious, and fearful. Before this presidential election I recommend that you step back and take some comfort by turning to former Vice President Joe Biden’s heartfelt and uplifting bestseller Promise Me Dad, a 2017 memoir and ode to public service, family, and in particular his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. Beau died in 2015 after a long battle against aggressive Stage IV glioblastoma as President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden worked hard to accomplish the administration’s long-term policy objectives before the 2016 election.  When picking a president from the two major candidates, it pays to read about their character. How did a seasoned statesman like Joe Biden, already well-versed in personal tragedy, handle matters of state and leadership under the glare of a national spotlight while watching a much-beloved, politically promising son fade before his eyes?  We are bombarded with images and speeches and tweets from the current president, who sucks the oxygen out of the media landscape with his unstable rants and attention-craving cruelty. It is time to turn away from toxic charisma and towards steadiness, kindness, and hard-earned wisdom. We need a more stable, united country in which we have a clearer path towards caring about and relying on one another.   Vice President Biden’s memoir looks at and beyond personal pain while presenting the values he has learned as a lifetime public servant, one who has aimed to become President since he was a young man. As a newly elected senator, he suffered a crushing blow when his first wife, Neilia,…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Latinx ‘Promotores” Lead the Way for Environmental Action on the Bay

By Jeremy Cox Latinx ‘Promotores” Lead the Way for Environmental Action on the Bay Candida Garcia had never been involved in environmental causes. But over the past four years, she has founded a community garden, grilled local officials about air quality, campaigned for statewide bans on plastic bags and straws and successfully lobbied her county to purchase electric school buses. Garcia chalks up her transformation to a leadership program tailored to a demographic that the White-dominated environmental movement has historically overlooked: the Latinx community. Including Garcia’s inaugural class of 2016, Chispa Maryland has produced more than 100 graduates from its Promotores program. Over the course of six to eight weekly classes, they are given the basics of environmental justice, advocacy and community organizing — with the hope of creating a generation of grassroots “promoters.” Garcia and her fellow promotores are finding that their work has never been more difficult or urgent. During one of the most imperative moments in its short history, the program may be the prototype that shows green groups in the Chesapeake Bay region and elsewhere how to diversify their membership, said Ramon Palencia-Calvo, director of Maryland’s Chispa. “I think there’s an understanding among environmental groups that we need to expand our reach beyond the typical audience — the White middle-class person who has disposable time and income to volunteer for an environmental cause,” he said. “We want to create a movement that represents the entire population of Maryland.” Nearly 90% of leadership positions in environmental groups nationwide were held by White people as of 2014, according to a widely cited study. Hispanics and Latinos occupied fewer than 3% of those positions. Due to racist housing policies, their communities, though, tend to bear more environmental burdens, suffering from poorer air quality, greater impacts from climate change and more toxic contamination. “In…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Artists Adapt in the Covidian Age

By F. Lennox Campello Artists Adapt in the Covidian Age As I have been hammering now for several issues, the Covidian Age has delivered significant shockwaves throughout the world, severely disrupting ancient business models all over the place. While it can be argued that the current art business model was somewhat invented in the 19th and refined in the 20th century (can you imagine an original Picasso being sold in the early part of the 20th century in a framing shop in Paris?), the Covidian monster has nonetheless put a nearly full stop on the commodification of art. Yeah, yeah… we’ve got the Internet and virtual art, etc….but even though I have been all onboard with the clear model of having a solid and powerful web presence as an artist, and for dealers, and advisors, and anyone who wants to make money through the creation, distribution and sales of art, and having created my first art website in 1992, and having received millions of clicks/visitors to various art websites, I can still tell you that my empirical experience has provided evidence that most people – at least when it comes to emerging artists – and collectors like to see it in person, chat with the dealer or artist, become peripherally involved/invested in the art – before they make the plunge to buy it. Not always, but a vast larger percentage of the times. With that in mind, in the midst of the Covidian Age, artists must adapt and react to Covidism, and the answer is clearly not to sit around, grumbling about face masks, and finding politicians to blame for human decisions which may not suit your political flavor of the moment. Adaptation is the only temporal solution. And (so far), adaptation has been solely based on the virtual model…

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Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Getting the Most from Virginia Wine Month

By Matthew Fitzsimmons Getting the Most from Virginia Wine Month October is “Virginia Wine Month” for good reason. A warm, dry fall can turn a so-so vintage into a stellar one…while an early hurricane can wreak a year’s work. 2020 has been especially challenging, be it COVID-19, vineyard-wrecking May frosts, summer humidity, or late-season overcast skies. Since a strong finish can make-or-break a vineyard, you can’t blame Virginia’s winegrowers for chanting “no more rain” extra-loud this year. But Wine Month isn’t just for winegrowers; it’s for those who love spending their weekends visiting their favorite winery (or cidery). The summer heat is over, so now’s the time to sit outside and enjoy the fall foliage. If you’re lucky, you might even get a sample of juice fresh from the crush pad. Yet this is the most unusual Wine Month in recent memory. Gone are the days when you can just show up to a winery, cozy up at the bar and order a tasting in a crowded room. Now, you’re likely to be ushered to a private table, outdoors if at all possible. Many wineries offer reservations; a few mandate them. Glassware has largely vanished. Obviously, masks are mandatory indoors. Wineries are taking “Phase III” seriously, so here are some helpful tips to get the most out of Virginia Wine Month. Be Sure To (Safely) Visit Your Local Winery Since March, nearly every Virginia winery has made serious changes in their business model – so be prepared. Since COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon, many of these changes will likely remain in place for a long time. 1. Make reservations: Sadly, not all wineries welcome walk-ins anymore. Several have become members-only. Others may allow random visitors, but only on weekdays. Many require reservations for 2 hour blocks, sometimes payable up…

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Beauty & Health, From the Trainer


By Ryan Unverzagt Balance is the foundation for nearly every movement. We rely on it so much without even thinking twice about it. Balance is utilized during sitting, standing up, walking, climbing stairs, running, and not to mention….exercise, which is why I want to share a few ways to test your balance this month. Let me start off by explaining about the two types of balance, static and dynamic. Static balance is the ability to hold a position without excessive movement for a certain amount of time, such as standing on one leg. Dynamic balance is being able to maintain control while performing a movement, such as walking a tightrope. Now, I don’t expect you to be able to actually walk a tightrope, you can leave that up to Barnum & Bailey’s Circus performers! Here is the first exercise to test your static balance: Stand upright with your feet together and arms at your sides. Slowly lift one foot off the ground by flexing your hip and knee and hold that position for at least 30 seconds. Switch feet to find out which leg has better control. The goal is to feel comfortable on each side in order to progress to more challenging exercises. The second balance exercise starts just like the first except that you will be looking over your left and right shoulders to increase difficulty. Start by looking at the wall in front of you then slowly scan the room toward your left shoulder without looking down at the floor. Once you’ve looked over that shoulder, scan back to the right side until you’ve looked over the other one. Repeat this 10 times on each leg. Once you’ve mastered this exercise, try scanning from your toes, along the floor and up the wall to the ceiling directly…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

The BVI’s Are Coming Back!

The BVI’s Are Coming Back! The British Virgin Islands is officially reopening for international tourism in December, Caribbean Journal has learned. The beloved Caribbean archipelago will reopen to visitors on Dec. 1st, according to British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew A. Fahie. “The Territory has two full months to prepare and we as a people must get it right and we must get it done by all working together, both the Government and private sector,” Fahie said. Fahie said the BVI’s government intended to reopen the BVI in the “safest way possible, using science and technology as a guide.” Watch this space for updated information in the November issue. In the meantime, more information is available at!

Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

The Ultimate Rum Experience Returns!

By Caribbean Journal Staff The Ultimate Rum Experience Returns! The Caribbean’s ultimate rum experience is returning this Nov. 10-15, 2020 in St Barth. The 2020 edition of the Caribbean Rum Awards and the St. Barth Rum Festival, a week-long celebration of the Caribbean’s finest rum, will return to the Caribbean capital of luxury. “This year’s Caribbean Rum Awards will again honor the best of rum-making in the Caribbean,” said Alexander Britell, editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal. “We’re proud to partner with Christopher Davis and the St. Barth Rum Festival for what will be an exciting, high-level experience tailored for the current realities of travel.” The intimate experience will bring together a selection of rum connoisseurs, aficionados and rum distillers, centered around the Caribbean’s greatest rum bar, the Rhum Room in Gustavia. “What an honor to spend a great week of events with rum, passionate connoisseurs and interested learners as well,” said Christopher Davis, proprietor of the Rhum Room and the Quarter Kitchen & Cocktail Lab, and founder of the St. Barth Rum Festival. “What surprises me the most about this year is regardless of all the worldwide issues we are still able to put together an incredible Rum Festival program, as almost all other festivals are cancelled. People are excited to come to St. Barth to visit and to taste fabulous rums from around the Caribbean.” The event will kick off with a Ti’ Punch Happy Hour by WIMCO, followed by a series of evening rum and cigar experiences and VIP master classes. On Nov. 12 will be the Rum Expo, a free outdoor public event featuring samples of some of the Caribbean’s greatest rum expressions, from La Favorite to Rhum Neisson to Ron del Barrilito. The heart of the program will of course be the awards themselves, the Caribbean’s leading competition of premium rum and rhum agricole, bringing…

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Featured Post

The Beauty of the Brow

By Genevieve LeFranc The Beauty of the Brow With an undeniable autumnal tinge in the air comes the reintroduction of all things we love about fall; your favorite pair of boots, that chunky knit scarf, and of course your newly adjusted fall beauty regime. Everything gets a bit bolder as we ease into the colder months, fashion and beauty alike. Rich berry hues on lips, striking dark shades on nails, and of course, the absolute must-have fall beauty accessory, natural, full, borderline-bushy eyebrows. Better than a new fall bag or a killer coat, a set of full brows are the ultimate statement accessory for framing your face this season. While thick and full eyebrows aren’t necessarily a new trend in the beauty world, this season we are seeing a resurgence of the strong look on every celebrity, model, catwalk, and campaign. Whether your beauty model is the lovely and wholesome Brooke Shields, that badass babe Carine Roitfeld, or trendy fashion it-girl Cara Delevingne, there’s an inspiring look from nearly everyone on red carpets and in the magazines. The trend for bold, almost-androgynous brows has made its way from the catwalk to celebrities and now on the streets, so what’s stopping you? Whether you’re naturally blessed with a prominent set of brows or you’ve over-plucked one too many times, there’s a product out there for you. Hide your tweezers, cancel your waxing appointment, and read on to find the best products for achieving the look of bold and beautiful brows at home. The look that’s all the rage this fall is not so much arched, tapered, and angled as we’ve seen from starlets in the past, but instead worn thick and straight across. There are a number of products available to achieve this look, and depending on how dramatic you’d like…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Start Off the Holiday Season by Staying Fit

By Nicole Flanagan Start Off the Holiday Season by Staying Fit October marks the beginning of the holiday seasons. This is the time of year when we start making all those yummy baked goods and delicious homemade soups. Instead of letting all this wonderful food catch up to us this year, let’s make a goal to maintain our fitness. The kids are back in the full swing of things at school and your work schedule starting to fill up, be sure to take some time for yourself before things get too hectic. Working out is your time to unwind and de-stress whether it’s before the start of the day or at the end of a crazy work shift.    I’m sure that some of you have had a little extra time to set aside for your workout now that the kids are back in school.  Just remember that dedicated workout times are great but you can get your exercise other ways as well.  You don’t necessarily have to set aside a whole hour to workout. Exercising can actually be a lot of fun.   Wondering what to do on a Saturday afternoon? Look for an activity that suits the whole family! Check out a local climbing wall or hiking trail. Push your kids on the swings or climb with them on the jungle gym. Plan a neighborhood kickball or touch football game. Find an activity you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you’re moving, it counts! Exercise helps us deal with stress and can increase the energy we need to have to deal with all of our daily activities. Exercise stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You’ll also look…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Al Fresco Dining Through the Holidays

By the Gastronomes Al Fresco Dining Through the Holidays Yes…you read the headline correctly. In order to continue to provide those of you who still aren’t ready to dine indoors – due to the virus – an opportunity to keep going out to dine, many of Alexandria’s eating establishments will continue offering al fresco dining with the addition of heat sources to keep you all warm and cozy. Obviously, if it is blowing a gale, sleeting and sideways snow is coming down the option won’t be there. Common sense will prevail…we hope. Many restaurants in the Old Town and metro Alexandria area have extended their outdoor dining in past years- Michael’s Little Italy and Vola’s Dockside are two that come to mind – so it isn’t anything new but having so many more options will be fantastic in our point of view. Back in the day….the covered patio at 219 was the best place to be when the snow was coming down since the seating was very cushy and the overhead heaters were such that you could take your coat, hat and gloves off and enjoy cocktails and Cajun food is total comfort. In fact, we had a standing date with good friends to meet for a celebratory beverage when the first snow of the season started coming down. We might have to start a similar tradition this year. Obviously, this isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, so to speak, but for those of us who love the “apres ski” vibe this is a golden opportunity to sip Irish Coffee, Hot Buttered Rum, Spiced and Spiked Apple Cider and some mulled wine and enjoy some hearty cold weather cuisine in the crisp fall/winter air. You can bet your bottom dollar that there will be a whole new plethora…

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