Inside D.C. entertainment

Loudoun called "D.C." by Texans, mild freakout ensues

January 17, 2012 - 01:20 PM
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If their county's not in the Washington area, why are Loudoun's atheists so aggro? (Photograph by Ryan Kearney)

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema offended Washington City Paper's Christopher Heller recently with a press release that said its new cinema would be located "in the Washington, DC market area."

It's planned for Loudoun County, in Ashburn, specifically, which Heller finds "awfully deceptive."

DCist's Benjamin R. Freed weighed in on the Alamo issue yesterday, mostly dinging his corporate sister site Austinist for referring to Alamo's planned location as being in "Washington, D.C."

Since this theater is not opening till 2013, we could be looking at least 11 more months of this sort of wounded sniping. Friends, I can help. Also, I need a blog post today.

So let's figure it out: Do the official-boundaries-centric folks have a point?

Kiiind of. Alamo's blog and Facebook page call the cinema "Alamo DC." And Freed is correct; Ashburn is quite a distance from the District line.

It is, however, comfortably in the Washington, D.C., area and close to one of Washington's two major airports, one of its best museums, and its least charismatic professional sports team, an organization that neither DCist nor City Paper has demonstrated qualms about covering.

(Weirdly, the development in which the cinema will be built, One Loudoun, has marketing that echoes the campaign slogan of Washington, D.C.'s mayor.)

But there is a folkway here that requires people to refer only to the District proper as "D.C." and call the rest of the region "Washington." I myself follow this tradition, but, like standing to the right on Metro escalators, I think it's a strange thing to get touchy about if others don't, especially if they're not from here. 

Plus, I've been looking forward to the theater's arrival since I read about the chain last year in my hometown paper.

(I've contacted Alamo's publicist on this burning issue and will update when I hear back.)

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