John Fluevog Opens DC Store
Innovative shoe brand debuts shop in Georgetown.
October 02, 2012
John Fluevog, an independent designer known for creating “unique soles for unique souls,” has finally brought his distinctive shoes and accessories to Washington. Situated in historic Georgetown, the brand’s first DC outpost is now open in a restored heritage building made out of clay bricks from the Potomac River. Inside, however, you’ll find an aesthetic that’s a bit more indicative of the brand’s funky philosophy—think pop-art-styled shoe art, and a back room fashioned like a throwback ‘70s lounge complete with leather couches and velvet curtains.
Fluevog's designs have been seen everywhere from the runways to the feet of celebrities like Madonna and Jack White. His shoes are remarkable in their variety of styles inspired by history and art, high quality of production, and move toward eco-friendly and vegan options.
Even more exciting is the fact that the company allows its customers to act as designers. Their Open Source initiative is modeled after Open Source software, allowing anyone to submit sketches to the company with the opportunity of having their idea turned into a real shoe. The latest winner is a pair of dark green high heels named The Queen of Transcendence, which include an ankle strap and an interesting heel designed to look like a Gregorian claw. 1265 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Georgetown, 202-337-5683
Q&A: Vivica A. Fox on Doctor Bello
The actress talks Hollywood, Nollywood, and why her new cross-cultural project Doctor Bello is important.
October 01, 2012
Vivica A. Fox has a very busy fall. Aside from hosting the reality show Prank My Mom on Lifetime (premiering October 9) and acting in the scripted CW show Mr. Box Office, she stars in the ground-breaking independent film Doctor Bello, which pairs actors famous in Nollywood—Nigerian cinema—with familiar Hollywood faces.
Fox appears alongside Isaiah Washington as well as Nollywood stars Genevieve Nnaji and Stephanie Okereke in the film, which focuses on an American oncologist (Washington) who seeks the cure for cancer in Nigeria. The movie will be released in 80 theaters across Africa after November 25, and filmmakers plan to partner with independent cinemas in DC, New York City, and Atlanta for stateside showings this winter. Fox took some time out from her September 27 Kennedy Center premiere to talk shop, laugh a bit, and reveal why her latest film project is so special.
Why was it so important for you to sign up for this film?
VIVICA A. FOX: This is Nollywood, which is basically Nigerian filmmaking combined with Hollywood. It’s important for us to reach across the pond to combine our two talents together because I have a feeling that Hollywood doesn’t allow African-American actors and actresses the roles that we should be playing. I play Isaiah Washington’s wife, and we lost our daughter to cancer in the film, which then sends him out on a crusade to cure cancer. Our [characters’] relationship is at a crisis. I’ve known Isaiah for over 25 years and we had never gotten an opportunity to work together.
So how great was it to work with him?
VF: [Laughs] We were cowriting, directing each other, finding moments in the script, and massaging the script. And that’s the beauty of doing an independent film—you’re allowed a little bit more leverage to bring life to the script. So we were very happy to have that opportunity with the director, Tony [Abulu].
Did the film team reach out to you for the role, or did you reach out to them?
VF: They called me up and said that I’m huge in Africa, which is a beautiful thing, because I need them all to discover my hair line [laughs]. Not only do I want to bring my movies there, I want to bring my hair line there, I want to bring the brand of Vivica Fox across the pond. And they are just accepting me and embracing me so wonderfully, and I appreciate it. I really do.
Why should people be excited about this new project?
VF: Well, you know how we’ve got Bollywood? Now, we’ve got Nollywood. And it’s huge. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Nollywood is reportedly one of the world’s top three film industries, alongside Hollywood and Bollywood.] Because you know what, they want to see their people. They don’t want to go to a movie and see just a little sprinkle of us. They want to see us live and go through adventures.
Why is DC the place to premiere this movie, and what’s your favorite part about the city?
VF: This is the second screening I’ve had at the Kennedy Center. And I’ve never had any openings here, so I’m just so glad that the Kennedy Center is embracing Nollywood and giving us a wonderful platform, and screenings, and an audience. Every time we come, it’s a full house. So I appreciate that DC love!
Photography by Trendy Africa
Arena Stage Show Celebrates Janis Joplin
Randy Johnson’s musical pays tribute to the Queen of Rock and Roll.
September 21, 2012
Mary Bridget Davies takes the stage as Janis Joplin.
The Queen of Rock and Roll is resurrected in playwright-director Randy Johnson’s musical event, One Night with Janis Joplin, which runs at Arena Stage from September 28 through November 4.
Packed with classic songs like “Piece of My Heart” and “Summertime,” Johnson says that the show presents Joplin’s life through music and spotlights influencers like Aretha Franklin and Etta James. Cleveland native Mary Bridget Davies stars as the iconic singer herself, and Joplin’s original band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, figures prominently.
Attendees can claim a full concert experience with this production, which comprises over a dozen singers and band members. “In a way, the seed of this play was planted when I was around five years old,” Johnson says. “Some of my first musical memories are of listening to Janis’ Cheap Thrills album.” When his good friend (and Janis Joplin estate manager) Jeff Jampol, asked if he would like to meet with Joplin’s siblings, Laura and Michael, to discuss the possibility of writing a play about her, Johnson settled on his stage concept.
The veteran director went on to peruse Joplin’s archives and photos, read unpublished journals, listen to everything she’d ever recorded, and converse for “countless hours” with Joplin’s siblings. “I did everything I could do to live and breathe Janis Joplin,” he says. “[She] achieved success at a time where it wasn’t manufactured pop culture—she simply sang and spoke truth, and the audiences came.”
Now, Johnson is looking forward to this local show. “When an artist takes the audience on a journey for an evening where you learn something, get entertained, and leave thinking some new thoughts, then the artist and the director have done their job,” Johnson muses. “A great concert is great theater done right.” Tickets available at arenastage.org. 101 6th St. Southwest, 202-488-3300
2013 Range Rover Gets Major Updates
New model is lighter, stronger, but still prestigious.
September 17, 2012
Land Rover’s iconic Range Rover has received major updates and changes for its 2013 model, which will debut at the Paris Auto Show in late September. One of the more significant revisions is the adaptation of an all-aluminum unibody that is 39% lighter than the outgoing steel body of previous generations. Contingent on the market, the new Range Rover will see reduced weight of up to 926 pounds. In the United States, a naturally aspirated 5-liter V8 drops roughly 700 pounds. Based on the laws of gravity, this re-engineering technique makes the luxury British SUV faster, stronger, and more agile with greater levels of ride comfort, refinement, and control.
Also retuned is the four-corner air suspension, which according to Land Rover, allows for improved cornering and steering as well as the pairing of the motor with new eight-speed ZF automatic transmissions. The next generation of Rover’s Terrain Response, which examines the conditions and surfaces of the road and automatically chooses the best settings for the terrain, is yet another premium upgrade to the Range.
The interior has been stretched a bit to permit for over 4.7 inches more legroom than the 2012 model, while the option of a two-place rear seating package adds dimension to the interior execution. Rounding out the offerings for the all-new 2013 Range Rover are standard sound systems by British audio maker MeridianTM; a split power folding upper and lower tailgate; and intelligent safe driver assistance technologies. U.S. deliveries are currently scheduled for December.
Emirates Takes Off at Dulles
Luxe aircrafts start daily service to Dubai as of September 12.
September 12, 2012
Emirates customers enjoy the ulitmate in luxury air travel.
Jetsetters, rejoice! Emirates Airlines—renowned worldwide for its leading first-class service—will commence daily trips from Dulles to Dubai on September 12. For the uninitiated, the airline’s cabins boast luxe amenities such as private suites, onboard shower spas, gourmet food, and lounges to make its trans-Atlantic, 14-hour flights as comfortable and relaxing as possible. Business-class passengers enjoy seats that recline into flat beds for restful en-route sleep, and according to Jim Baxter, Emirates’ vice president, USA, Caribbean, and Central America, the premium experience offered to first-class passengers starts on the ground with a chauffeur-driven service to and from the airport.
But, Baxter adds, everyone who flies Emirates gets a bit of the royal treatment. “We believe we offer one of the most luxurious economy experiences in the skies,” says Baxter. “Lunch and dinner for economy passengers include hors d’oeuvre, salad, a choice of two main courses, dessert, chocolates, tea and coffee, and liqueurs. At Emirates, we expect our customers to demand the best, and we invest considerable time and resources to exceed their expectations, when it comes to service, comfort, and luxury.” Those traveling on Emirates’ inaugural flight to Dulles—and those watching the runways from inside the airport—will be treated to a bit of a show when the airliner is given a traditional water cannon salute as it touches down in northern Virginia.
District Sample Sale Returns to DC
Shopping event features exclusively priced clothing, with proceeds going to a great cause.
September 10, 2012
More than 20 of the city's hottest local boutiques will come together on September 11 (5:30-9 PM) to participate in the District Sample Sale, a bi-annual event boasting food, music, cocktails and, as the name suggests, exclusive pricing on last season's designer apparel. A few of our favorite vendors at this fall's event include Sassanova, Urban Chic, and Poppy and Stella.
Profits will be put toward Sitar Arts Center, a DC-based nonprofit that provides after-school, weekend, and summer classes in the arts to more than 700 students per year. The event will take place on the mezzanine level of Mazza Gallerie (in the former Filene's Basement space). For tickets or additional information, go to districtsamplesale.com. 5300 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Photograph by Abby Greenawalt
'Women Who Rock' Exhibit Examines Females in Music
National Museum of Women in the Arts honors defining women in rock.
September 05, 2012
"Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power" displays items like Madonna's famous bustier.
Opening this Friday (September 7), “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power” in the National Museum of Women in the Arts reveals the essential roles women have played in defining rock ‘n’ roll. The exhibit chronicles the development and birth of this rebellious genre through the decades, comprising 70 artists and more than 250 artifacts in the form of photos, performance videos, and album covers, as well as more personal memorabilia. A guitar played by Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga's childhood piano, Janis Joplin’s handwritten lyrics, and a bustier from Madonna's "Blond Ambition" tour are just some of the items of note.
Organized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power” focuses on the pioneers, the celebrated, and the lesser-known women of rock. Honored women include early contributors like Ma Rainey and Billie Holiday, visionary acts such as LaVern Bakers, and contemporary stars like Janelle Monáe. On display through January 6, 2013. 1250 New York Ave. NW, 202-783-5000
Fashion's Night Out Georgetown Returns
Indulge in a complimentary facial, sip signature cocktails, and shop for charity.
August 31, 2012
Fashion’s Night Out returns to Georgetown for the third time on September 6. An annual global initiative, FNO was created in 2009 to celebrate fashion and encourage shopping—all in an effort to boost the apparel industry and economy. Fun-filled activities, from pop-up DJ parties to giveaways and special sales, will be taking place throughout the evening. To toast the event, select area restaurants get in on the fun with Signature FNO cocktails.
A few items of note: Kiehl’s will be offering complimentary facials; BCBG is hosting an Instagram-inspired photo competition; Madewell is setting up a hair-braiding station; and IPSA Hair Salon is treating guests to blowouts and a lipstick bar. To get from place to place, snag a free pedicab ride.
The evening will also provide an opportunity for participants to give back. Anyone who makes a donation to Habitat for Humanity at Easel Hair Salon will receive a complimentary “beach waves” service that evening, and proceeds from the sale of FNO T-shirts and totes will benefit the Vital Voices Global Partnership. For more information and a full schedule of events, log on to fnogeorgetowndc.com.
Washington Ballet's Exciting Schedule
Classical and contemporary combine for the 2012/2013 season.
August 22, 2012
Prepare to be amazed by the Washington Ballet’s fascinating classical and contemporary choreography in both familiar and brand-new productions during its 2012/2013 season, titled “Seduction.” Premiering in October, the company’s first production is a two-week run of choreographer Michael Pink’s Dracula, a haunting, passionate story that arrives in time for Halloween. In February, Tour-de-Force: Stars and Stripes pays tribute to the Presidential inaugural season. Also in February, the world premiere of L’Amour (love, baby…) tells the stories of dancers guided by love, all showcasing the choreography of three of the country’s up-and-coming masters.
And of course, Washington Ballet’s annual family series will include three classic productions: The Nutcracker (set in historic Georgetown featuring George Washington and dancing cherry blossoms), Cinderella, and Peter and the Wolf. As part of the Washington Ballet American Experience initiative, the company will debut Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises in May. The beloved American novel will be reimagined in a dynamic production that is certain to thrill literature buffs and dance lovers alike. For tickets or additional information, visit washingtonballet.org.
Photography by Steve Vaccariello
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Redefines Luxury SUVs
Luxury SUV line introduces the ultimate in family cars.
August 21, 2012
When we were invited to join Mercedes-Benz on a recent vehicle launch program, I was given the assignment and immediately let my imagination run wild with the possibilities of testing and reviewing a super-luxurious vehicle from the German lineup. I envisioned a sleek autobahn killer such as their SL550 Roadster. Then I discovered the invitation was for the international launch of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class SUV. Was I disappointed? Not in the least. Practically speaking, a luxury SUV with a third row was ideally suited for me. Who better to evaluate such a vehicle than the father of five kids involved in soccer, football, karate, gymnastics, and trumpet lessons?
The GL-Class comes in four levels including: the GL350 BlueTEC 4MATIC with its 3.0-liter single turbo diesel V6 producing a solid 240 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque; the GL450 with a 4.6-liter biturbo gasoline V8 capable of 362 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque; a GL550 with its direct-injection 4.6-liter biturbo V8 cranking out an impressive 429 horsepower along with 516 pound-feet of torque; and the GL63 AMG with its beastly direct-injection 5.5-liter biturbo V8 that pumps out 550 beastly horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque—all of which will undoubtedly take care of getting the kids to practice and rehearsals in record-setting time.
But most intriguing of all was the GL’s third row seating. Yes, the famed "third" row seating that other manufacturers tout but fall short on. Was the GL's third row actually usable and, dare I say, comfortable? To answer this, I subjected myself to the third row in a GL350 while our driver hurriedly shuttled me to the airport—a drive filled with sudden braking, responsive acceleration, evasive highway maneuvers, and above-average speeds. Throughout this adventure, I experienced an unexpected level of comfort in the third row. The ride was so smooth that I failed to realize the actual speeds at which we were traveling. This was a true testament to the GL350’s performance and the very comfortable and enjoyable GL-Class third row.
The GL-Class does, however, suffer from what I would refer to as “multiple personality disorder.” The chiseled, aggressive front facade is bold, sporty, and athletic, while the flowing lines of the side profile comes across as sophisticated and modern. Its design will appeal to those sporty moms and dads who still want to ride in style for a date-night out on the town.
Out of the three GL categories experienced, I was most impressed with the GL350. The GL450 and GL550 are also absolutely solid performers, but often with an entry-level vehicle, you feel as through you're sacrificing or settling. This is absolutely not true with the GL350, especially when you factor in standard features such as the ATTENTION ASSIST, created to alert the driver and prepare the brakes for maximum stopping power, and mbrace2, which provides an array of vehicle diagnostics and concierge services. And with the estimated 600-700 mile range from the 26-gallon fuel tank, you may start to walk with a certain swagger thanks to the fuel saving provided by the smooth and uncharacteristically quiet diesel.
Additionally, there are a host of attractive features, such as the panorama sunroof, massaging driver and passenger seats, power outlets for your road-trip devices, optional electronic folding rear seats, Active Parking Assist, and Active Blind Spot Assist.
The 2013 GL-Class goes on sale this September, with the GL350 hitting showrooms with a beginning MSRP of $62,400, while the GL450 starts at $63,900, and the GL550 comes in with a starting sticker of $86,900. The wicked GL63 AMG version will become available during the first quarter of 2013 with pricing not yet available.
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.