Inside D.C. entertainment

Archive for November 2011

You can still buy that Bill O'Reilly Lincoln book at Ford's Theatre

November 14, 2011 - 11:56 AM
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ford's theatre museum
The Ford's Theatre Museum: You can't buy the book here, but you can get it upstairs. (Photo by Andrew Beaujon)

This post has been updated.

Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln, an account of the 16th president's assassination, isn't for sale in the museum about Lincoln at Ford's Theatre.

That doesn't mean you can't buy it at Ford's.

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TBD ArtsBook: Is O'Reilly's Lincoln book full of holes?

November 14, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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Abraham Lincoln
'The ending sucks.'

• Sad news for fans of Bill O'Reilly's historical writing: His book about Lincoln's assassination won't be stocked at Ford's Theatre's Lincoln-got-killed museum.

UPDATED: A Ford's rep emails to stress that the book IS available in the lobby gift-shop, which is run by the Ford's Theatre Society, not the National Park Service, which runs the museum. In a statement,Paul R. Tetreault, the society's director, said, "We decided several weeks ago to carry Bill O'Reilly's book 'Killing Lincoln' in the Ford's Theatre Society gift shop. While we understand the National Park Service's concerns about the book, we decided to let our visitors judge the book themselves."

• MORE HOT BOOK TALK! Alexandria tavern owner Pat Troy has published a memoir. I hope his eyebrows get their own book deal!

Via ArtsDesk, here is a documentary about rapper XO.

Rachel Levitin speaks with Cirque du Soleil's Adrienn Banhegyi about "Quidam," which is coming to Verizon this week.

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Finding the beauty in cheddar

November 11, 2011 - 11:50 AM
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Cheese sculptor Sarah Kaufmann next to her Veteran's Day cheese carving. (Photo: TBD Staff)

In the middle of the produce section of the Harris Teeter in Pentagon City sits 1,280 pounds of orange medium cheddar. Roped off on three sides and surrounded by shoppers snapping photos, the cheese is a modified replica of the Wounded Warrior sculpture—one soldier carrying another across his back.

Cheese sculptor Sarah Kaufmann buzzes about her creation in a pair of cow-print pants and glinting gold cheese-shaped earrings. “It looks like it could be a bronze,” she says. “And it’s cheese.”

Carved from two 640-pound blocks of Wisconsin cheddar, the same sold in Harris Teeter under the store brand label, the piece was commissioned for Veteran's Day and the result of “a little engineering I dreamed up,” Kaufmann says. Because cheese cannot hold its own weight, she had to insert vertical rods and other supports between the pieces before they were combined with a forklift. The actual sculpting took more than 50 hours.

Kaufmann, now based in San Diego but a Wisconsin native, has been carving cheese and nothing else for 15 years. After leaving her job as an art director for a commercial agency, she took up freelance cheese sculpture and went full-time six years ago.

Cheddar is her primary medium. “Cheddar is firm and solid and dense and consistent,” she explains. “It comes in big blocks. These 640s work perfectly.” When she can, Kaufmann works in other cheeses as well.

“I’ll inlay white cheddar for teeth and eyeballs,” she says. Other cheeses in her toolbox: “Gruyere, asiago, provolone, and aged goudas. Some pepperjack.”

The worst cheese for sculpting (excepting, of course, the obviously soft varieties like feta or ricotta) is a wheel of Swiss, according to Kaufmann. “The holes are never where you want them,” she says. “Swiss wheels, I avoid those. Unless I’m planning on doing a man on the moon.”

 

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Weekend planner: Fishbone, 'J. Edgar', DC Tweed Ride

November 11, 2011 - 07:56 AM
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Fitz & The Tantrums (Facebook/Fitz & The Tantrums)

FRIDAY

DCWeek Closing Party at Arena Stage. The evening affair features performing artists, DJ sets by FatBack, an open bar, and interactive installations including the 24 Hour City Project, Play It Forward and Digital Tin-Can Telephone. 8 p.m.

Kimya Dawson, one-half of The Moldy Peaches at Black Cat with Your Heart Breaks and Spoonboy. Dawson dropped her latest album Thunder Thighs in October, about which Jessica Hopper writes, "She isn't shy about broaching serious topics, and divulges things most singers obscure in analogies — singing about dead friends, the troubled state of the world, and her recovery from drug addiction." 9 p.m. $15.

• A special screening of Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone at Lincoln Theatre. The documentary directed by Chris Metzler and Lev Anderson chronicles Fishbone's story, from the streets of South Central Los Angeles to their rise to fame in Hollywood in the '80s, featuring interviews with Gwen Stefani, Ice-T, Flea, and others. The film will be followed by a Q&A and a live performance by Fishbone. 7 p.m. Free.

The Big Idea: Who Lives? Who Dies? A conversation featuring Nobel Laureate Martin Chalfie and Nat Geo Emerging Explorer Beth Shapiro on why only certain species survive at National Geographic.

• FotoWeek DC: Outernational DC, a fusion of music and photography at FotoWeek Central. A collaboration between ESL Music, Metro Collective, Claudi Carreras and Robin Bell, the night features documentary imagery, sounds by Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation, a post-show set by The Funk Ark and more. Open bar with admission. $40 door.

• Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar's D.C. premiere at Avalon Theatre. City Paper discusses what the film was missing.

Stay opens at Lansburgh Theatre. Directed by Heather McDonald, the play weaves together dance, theater, multimedia and music to deal with impermanence, and the way people long for things, moments and people to stay.

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The Fancy Feast: Eastwood edition

November 10, 2011 - 12:57 PM
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Photo: Joshua Yospyn.

The fancy scales in D.C. were tipped this week by the arrival of legend Clint Eastwood. In town to promote his new film J. Edgar, Eastwood walked the (very short) red carpet for a screening at the Newseum.

The Fancy Feast hates biopics, but she loves red carpets. Sadly, TBD was pushed into reporter loserland four feet off the rug, but The Hill’s Judy Kurtz got close enough to ask the man about how he felt about his name being floated as a potential running mate for George H. W. Bush during his 1988 presidential race. “I didn’t know they were that smart,” was Eastwood’s cool reply.

The Examiner’s Nikki Schwab also got in a word with Eastwood, who told her that J. Edgar Hoover is “still a mystery to me.” Schwab got J. Edgar screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (that guy that got famous after the 2009 Oscars) to talk about hanging out with Leonardo DiCaprio at the Mayflower, where Hoover lunched daily. Super fancy.

TBD's photographer Joshua Yospyn captured all the fanciness on film here.

FANCY NOTES

Refinery 29 has photos from the local uber-cool warehouse-home of Virginia Arrisueno and Kelly Towles. No idea who they are, but Brightest Young Things says they’re a “power couple,” which makes them fancy in my book. (Refinery 29)

Rebecca Ritzel reports on crab cakes, bouffants, and more at Signature Theater's Big Hair Ball. (TBD)

Donna Karan turned up at the Embassy of France to watch some of her evening gowns walk down the runway. (Glitterazzi)

DC Cupcakes star and co-owner of Georgetown Cupcake Katerine Kallinis faints on her wedding day after Vera Wang gown proves too snug.(Examiner)

Washington, we shop too much. (Bundle)

Belle discusses the difficulties of choosing a shoe for a holiday party. (Capitol Hill Style)

No second-rate Missoni gear for Northeast D.C.--the quadrant's Target is a no go. (Capital Business)

But the District is getting another TJ Maxx! (DC BID)

Andy Rooney, you weren't fancy, but we loved you. (YouTube)

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The lives of D.C. teens captivate French nation

November 10, 2011 - 11:10 AM
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When Otessa Ghadar created a TV show inspired by her memories of being a teenager in D.C., she expected it to be viewed by her college thesis committee and few others. Four seasons later, Ghadar’s Web-based Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden attracts up to 80,000 viewers a day, including a strong contingent from, of all, places France.

Ghadar is baffled by the popularity of her show, which chronicles the large and small obstacles in the lives of a dozen upper-middleclass high schoolers, in non-English speaking countries. “If it weren’t for Google Analytics, it’s something I wouldn’t even be aware of,” says Ghadar. Orange Juice attracts fans from 136 countries (including Papua New Guinea and Cameroon). Domestic viewers make up the largest share of the show’s audience, but the French are actually the top watchers of its YouTube channel. (Also in the YouTube top 10: Namibia, Belgium, Laos, and Luxembourg.) Orange Juice can also be watched on the official show website with French subtitles.

Ghadar’s 18 regular recurring characters, all played by local actors, attend pool parties, steal one another’s boyfriends, and explore their first lesbian crushes, all on location in D.C. and all dressed in the director’s old wardrobe from the ‘90s. (The show is set in that decade to reflect Ghadar’s memories.)

She suspects that the plotline of Sarah and Gwen, who start a cautious relationship in season two, is responsible for some of the show’s popularity abroad. “We got a lot of positive press in France about that,” she says, and a French distribution company also picked up the storyline.

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TBD ArtsBook: Drinkify your coworkers' pasts

November 10, 2011 - 10:50 AM
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• One sure way to horrify a coworker: Type the name of the band s/he was in in the '90s into Drinkify, a funny little site that plays songs from artists you type in and suggests cocktails to go with them. Jon Fischer and mixed-drinks columnist Alex Baca pour some local artists' names into the search box and record/critique the results. They're lucky enough to have Brian Nelson from the much-missed Black Tambourine nearby (he handles IT for City Paper), and he takes exception to Drinkify's suggestion that his old band Black Tambourine should be accompanied by PBR: "If they're trying to indicate we're blue collar they're obviously not paying attention."

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A cappella weekend: Washington hears voices!

November 10, 2011 - 05:00 AM
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Area group Capital Blend performs Saturday in Silver Spring.

Vocal music has never exactly been cool, but thanks to shows like The Sing-Off and Glee it's certainly closer to the mainstream than it was when Sara Bareilles was a member of UCLA's coed a cappella group Awaken (her song "Gravity" appeared on one of their albums long before she added instruments to it on her 2007 album Little Voice). Washington’s never been a mainstream town, though, and there are always lots of a cappella groups performing around the area. This weekend features some of the best national vocal acts as well as some notable locals.

Rockapella and UMD Faux Paz

Thursday, Nov. 10, at Strathmore, $22-88

Arguably, Rockapella is where it all began -- or, at least, where a cappella first entered the mainstream. The group spent five years as the house band on the kids' PBS game show Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego? in the early 1990s in addition to writing the show's earworm of a theme song. With that and a memorable Folger's commercial, Rockapella's place in our audio memory was pretty much sealed. The group has had a number of lineup changes since its formation in 1987; no original members remain, but longtime (and legendary) vocal percussionist Jeff Thatcher has been in the group since 1993. Opening the show will be the University of Maryland's coed group Faux Paz

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'Face to Face' installs WaPo Carpet

November 9, 2011 - 11:47 AM
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Group image: Participants in the Face to Face international artist exchange (from left to right): Sylvia Nirmaier (Aachen) discusses her work in progress with Linda Maldonado (Arlington), Uta Göbel-Groß (Aachen), and a visitor. (Lisa McCarty).

Dead tree newspapers are still useful for something — at least their bags are. The WaPo Carpet, a piece currently on exhibit at Project 2011: Face to Face at Artisphere is a carpet made from roughly 800 Washington Post newspaper bags.

German-based artist-in-residence Monika Radhoff-Troll, had asked artists in the U.S. to collect newspaper bags for the piece over the course of this year. Radhoff-Troll was one of five German artists who participated in the international artist exchange and residency at Artisphere in early November. Over the course of 10 days, the Germans lived and worked alongside local Arlington-based artists in the second part of a cultural exchange program that began earlier this year, when American artists lived and created works in Aachen, where Radhoff-Troll lives.

“What happens in the studio, [where] it’s an exchange of ideas and an understanding of how the artists work in each situation…and having them be in your home, where you share meals and customs, really underscores the value of cultural exchange,” says Kathy Glennon, a member of Arlington Cultural Affairs, which organized the project in conjunction with Dreiek, a women’s artist collective based in Germany.

Radhoff-Troll decided to create the floor to wall carpet, currently on exhibition, after she’d read about the vast garbage patch scientists had recently discovered in the Atlantic Ocean in the newspaper.

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That time I almost talked to Clint Eastwood on the red carpet

November 9, 2011 - 05:00 AM
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Clint Eastwood, director of J. Edgar and man I did not meet. Photo: Joshua Yospyn.

I’m at D.C. premiere of the movie J. Edgar, and I’ve just been exiled from the red carpet.

Fifteen minutes earlier, I had squeezed into a spot on the rug—toward the end, for sure, but still squarely on red. But the few dozen photographers, cameramen, and reporters all jockeying for a spot on the carpet has created a media beast, and the PR girls dashing all over the Newseum entrance in their heels tell us we’ll just have to scoot.

My toes cling to the red carpet for a moment longer before I am forced to shuffle two feet to the right. I’m now standing on black synthetic flooring and, more important, far from the path that Clint Eastwood, the film’s director, will be taking in twenty minutes.

I’m not the only one who’s displeased. “But I’m a photographer,” says a man who has just been booted from the front-of-the-carpet photo section to the end of the carpet with me.

“You are print,” says one of the PR girls. “You’re online. That’s what you were registered as.” He sulks while she flutters away.

The famous people are set to arrive in 10 minutes, and some members of the press are still not situated. “The TV people are angry,” one PR girl says to another.

“Guys, you gotta scoot,” comes the final command. I’m now four feet off the carpet and might as well have stepped off a cliff. I am, however, no longer the last reporter in line—a gentleman identifying himself as an “independent” journalist has shown up late and been given that happy honor.

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TBD ArtsBook: Aaron Morrissey leaving DCist, and more MEDIA MAYHEM

November 8, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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(Photo: Google+)

god bless 'em. RT @hgil: @amorrissey If it's any consolation, one of the commentariat says "Sorry to see you go, Martin".
Nov 07 via Twitter for MacFavoriteRetweetReply

MEDIA MAYHEM: Aaron Morrissey is leaving his position as DCist's editor. His notice to this effect is a little vague; he says he has "a couple independent projects in the immediate future" and has no plans to leave D.C. "Best of luck in all your future endeavors. Unless you are going to TBD," writes commenter PutABirdOnIt. Sigh. If you're interested in his job, apply here.

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TBD ArtsBook: The D.C. War Memorial is still D.C.'s, for now

November 7, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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D.C. War Memorial
The D.C. War Memorial in August (Photograph by Joshua Yospyn).

• The D.C. War Memorial will reopen on Thursday, reports Alia E. Dastagir. There's still a movement afoot to rededicate the memorial, to D.C.'s war dead, as a national World War I memorial, which oughta make the ceremony interesting. Dastagir wrote about the struggle to own the memorial back in August.

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Weekend planner: FotoWeek DC, The Sounds, Eat to Beat!

November 4, 2011 - 01:58 PM
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Alessandro Belgiojoso, 2011 (Facebook/FotoWeekDC)

FRIDAY

Danny Ross brings his "Occupy D.C. – The Laid Off Tour" to Iota. He was laid off from his gig as operations coordinator at the office of Rep. Jerrold Nadler in mid-October. After he lost his job, Ross decided to go on tour from New York City to Boston and end here, in the nation’s capital. “What they’re discussing now on Occupy Wall Street [and] what happened to me is representative of what’s happening on a much larger scale,” the 27-year-old, who lives in Brooklyn tells Arts Blog. “I’m not the only person who feels like what’s going on right now is not fair and not right.” Doors 8:30 p.m. $12.

Danny Ross "Always On My Way" from 'Stock Footage Pictures on Vimeo.

• Porch Projects, Le Chien Sauvage, and the Lab for Remixed Knowledge present The RIFT at Porch Projects. Recently at Porch Projects, the Lab discovered a rift in the space-time-meaning continuum. Volunteers are now needed to aid in the mapping of the rift — a Map of Maps. Reservations requested. 6:30 p.m.

Like Crazy, winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Picture at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and of the Special Jury Prize for Best Actress for Felicity Jones, opens at E Street, Bethesda Row, and various cinemas. The film captures the story of when a British college student falls for her American classmate — the kind of love that feels like an addiction — only to be separated after she violates her visa.

FotoWeek DC, the District's 4th annual photography festival opens with a Launch Party at FotoWeek Central. The week-long events include NightVisions at FotoSpace, Slideluck Potshow DC VI, 12SHOTS, BYT's Young @ Heart II and more.

 

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Danny Ross brings his 'Occupy DC: The Laid Off Tour' to D.C.

November 4, 2011 - 07:00 AM
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Danny Ross (Danny Ross)

Danny Ross was laid off in mid-October from his job as operations coordinator at the office of Rep. Jerrold Nadler. Ross landed that gig after graduating from Cornell University in 2006 and led a double life after that, performing in local venues in New York City by night. He released Danny Ross Presents One Way, his debut LP, in 2009.

Ironically, Nadler's district comprises Zuccotti Park, site of the original Occupy Wall Street protest. “What they’re discussing now on Occupy Wall Street [and] what happened to me is representative of what’s happening on a much larger scale,” says the 27-year-old, who lives in Brooklyn. “I’m not the only person who feels like what’s going on right now is not fair and not right.” The Long Island native and government major, talks of the income inequality gap currently facing America. In 2007, the top 1 percent of earners garnered 23.5 percent of the nation’s income, roughly the same percentage as it was on the eve of the Great Depression.

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This weekend's D.C. concerts: '80s nostalgia!

November 3, 2011 - 12:18 PM
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Scratch Acid
Scratch Acid photos: A surefire cure for nostalgia.

The dreaded phrase "'80s music" immediately conjures images of Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Bon Jovi, as well as a whole slew of one-hit wonders perhaps better forgotten (Dexys Midnight Runners, I'm looking at you. You, too, Mr. Mister.). But there was more to the '80s than pop radio, and some of those less well-remembered bands are playing around town this weekend.

Scratch Acid

Friday, Nov. 4, at the 9:30 Club, $25

Scratch Acid was a short-lived noise-punk band from Austin, Texas. The group broke up in 1987 and hasn't played since except for a brief three-show reunion in 2006. Its members went on to other bands: guitarist David Wm. Sims and drummer Rey Washam joined legendary noisemaker Steve Albini in Rapeman; Sims and vocalist David Yow later founded the outstanding Chicago noise-rock band the Jesus Lizard. Still, Scratch Acid is where it all began, and you may not get many other chances to see them-- the band announced this tour as a warm-up to their show at the ATP festival, and Yow now spends more time making art than music.

 

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TBD ArtsBook: Ari Roth does not want to quibble

November 3, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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Ari Roth takes to Facebook, to share but not, you should understand, to quibble. "Not to quibble with a great review," Theater J's artistic director writes above a link to Nelson Pressley's piece on the theater's new "After the Fall," "but it's 2 hours and 25 minutes with a 15 minute intermission (which comes to, using my fingers, 2:40). Not 'almost three hours!' And it's TOTALLY compulsively watchable. And now we quibble no more."

>>The not-quibbling thing lasted an hour, until Roth posted another link to Gwendolyn Purdum's review in Washingtonian. "Not to quibble with ANOTHER terrific review," he writes, "but it's a 1 hour and 19 minute first act - not 'a two-hour Act I.' Do they really hold starting your opening night curtain 15 minutes late against you that much? (answer: I guess so!) Still, 'the action is believable, honest, and thought-provoking. And in a performance tackling the elusive concepts of truth and identity, that’s really what counts.'"

>>Expect to see even less quibbling on the Theater J blog as the production goes on.

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TBD ArtsBook: Afro Blue is secretly a jazz band

November 2, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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• Among Afro Blue's accomplishments: Sneaking a jazz band onto prime-time TV. Giovanni Russonello writes that the Howard a capella group, currently raging on NBC's "The Sing-Off," has won "a slew of awards from DownBeat magazine – most notably the prize for best college jazz group only one year after its founding in 2002 – and has performed with an array of international stars, including Geri Allen and Ron Carter." If the band wins a recording contract, Russonello notes, it'll be doubly sweet for jazz fans, as Epic, the label offering the deal, was founded as a jazz imprint.

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Jeff Simmermon returns to D.C. with "And I Am Not Lying"

November 1, 2011 - 12:37 PM
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On Wednesday night, Jeff Simmermon will tell some stories at the Black Cat. Not the kind people tell for free at the bar; his "And I Am Not Lying" is a full-on experience featuring burlesque performers as well as three storytellers, including himself.  Storytelling is about creating a moment that everyone in a room is able to relate to, Simmermon says. “We either laugh together, or get over some shit together.” His stories have appeared on The Moth’s podcast and This American Life.

It's a long way since he played Snoopy in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, the summer after fourth grade. The Norfolk, Va., native and New York transplant’s show is based on his arts and culture blog of the same name, which he writes with storytellers Brad Lawrence and Cyndi Freeman. Freeman is also a burlesque performer.

Simmermon started the blog while living in D.C., and working a number of soul-sucking jobs. “I was 28 and broke and living at my parents house," he says. "I was pouring concrete with all of these unholy rednecks and making pizzas at a place right down [by] my high school, and I tried to do this Hunter S. Thompson thing,” he says. He moved to Australia, living as an illegal alien for a year. Immigration officials there kicked him out of the country, and his parents had to bail him out. “Supreme life failure,” he says. Simmermon moved back to the States, back to their house in Norfolk. He moved out after he landed a desk job in D.C. and convinced his Aussie girlfriend to come live with him.

 

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TBD ArtsBook: It's Wale Day!

November 1, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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• It's Wale Day: The MC's new album "Ambition" releases on this All Saints Day. Chris Richards on the front of Style: "Wale resembles one of those Washington institutions that you can’t stop rooting for. Like the Redskins or the Wizards on a losing streak, the rapper’s worst days manage to make us feel like his best days are ahead of him." Synergistically, on the Post's sports front, Wale talks about the Wizards: "“We haven’t had one of those organizations where we can say, ‘This is the year,’ ” the rapper tells Michael Lee and Peyton M. Craighill. “Not in my lifetime. It’s just highs and lows.” ESPN's Vincent Thomas appears not to have heard "Ambition" ("It's sure to have a slew of sports namedrops, insider jargon and obscure references," he predicts) but talks with Wale anyway about how much the rapper loves sports and respects (deep breath, Wizards fans) LeBron James.

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