John Legend Wants to Know What’s Going On

by Michelle Cassidy

The Kennedy Center announced on Tuesday plans for a new youth engagement project. According to TBD, the most captivating part of the event was when a choir from our neighbors up at Duke Ellington  School of the Arts came onstage to sing with John Legend.

Earlier in the day the singer had surprised the students by joining them during rehearsal. During the press event, he invited the choir to come up for a performance of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.”

Legend is highly involved in this new project, dubbed the What’s Going On… NOW Campaign. The main event will be a concert featuring Legend and the National Symphony Orchestra Pops on the 40th anniversary of Gaye’s performance at the Kennedy Center.  Their goal is to lead a “national conversation around the issues and ideas on the record,” and ask young people to respond to Gaye’s question in their own artistic way.

The campaign invites people to submit their artistic responses – selected pieces will be incorporated into the May 1st concert. Submissions can be in any medium (writing, spoken word poetry, song, dance, sculpture, etc.) as long as they creatively respond to the topic at hand. They even provide some inspiration if you’re thinking about entering, but having trouble coming up with an idea.

City Paper Answers All of Your Questions

by Michelle Cassidy

This week, the Washington City Paper pulled a particularly ambitious stunt when they attempted to answer the “most nagging questions about life in the District.” Well color us impressed, because they’ve done a fairly thorough job that’s definitely worth checking out. In their Answers Issue, they address 32 pressing questions posed by District residents.

In October, City Paper asked its readers to submit their questions, and they’ve picked the most intriguing ones to feature in the Answers Issue. With topics ranging from the native fruits and vegetables of the D.C. area to the lack of J, X and Y streets in the city, this article answers questions that we wouldn’t have even thought to ask. It’s an informative and helpful read that 4E wholeheartedly recommends taking a look at.

Though it functions partially as a magic eight ball (“Will Mayor Vince Gray get re-elected?”), the City Paper does showcase some interesting bits of D.C. history and culture. It’s a veritable encyclopedia of modern D.C. life. I mean, where else could you learn about the political power of local taxi drivers?

All Yellow Taxis in D.C.?

by Martin Hussey

Caitlin McGrath/The Hoya

D.C. may be on the verge of major changes to its taxi infrastructure. The city will soon increase fares, as The Hoya reported last month, and new regulations may force taxi drivers to improve service to less-traveled areas of the District. But a more noticeable plan may force standardization of D.C.’s taxicab livery.

Councilmember Mary Cheh, the same D.C. councilor responsible for taxi reform and for purportedly exporting the District’s rats to Maryland and Virginia, set up an online survey to test public sentiment on what the city’s taxi colors should be. Among the more than 4,000 respondents, 38 percent favored standardized yellow cabs. The city, for its part, seems to support the idea of making all taxis the same color. Cheh’s survey simply asks people to vote for their favorite color.

One of the most unique things about Washington has to be the city’s colorful taxicabs. At any given moment, people hoping to catch a cab can step into any array of colorful taxis — green, silver, white, black, blue, red, and even pink. All of the hype over taxi reform, though, begs the question: Are D.C.’s different taxi liveries one of the city’s signatures? Or should the city now standardize the livery like that of New York?

My take on it — let’s keep the taxis all different colors. I love it when I flag down a purple or maroon cab. But if we want to be boring like New York and make all our cabs yellow and expensive, that is no loss to me. I take the bus anyway.

 

Best Bets: Dim Sum for All

by Beth Garbitelli

FRIDAY

Take a break from the standard Top 40 jams played at most Georgetown establishments and mix it up at An Evening of Mashups at the Black Cat (1811 14th Street, NW). They promise remixes and  Girl Talk-esque tracks. Tickets are a measly  5 bucks which is about the same as cover for Modern or Thirds. Tickets will be sold at the door.

SATURDAY

Check out a midnight screening of It Happened One Night at the E Street Cinema (555 11th Street, NW). Directed by Frank Capra (who also made It’s A Wonderful Life) this classic screwball comedy has won over hearts for years and betchya it’s more charming and innovative than a certain black and white film that’s been getting a ton of Oscar attention this season. Watch a snippet here.

SUNDAY

Gather up your pals and head over to Chinatown (6th and I Streets, NW) to celebrate, albeit belatedly, the Chinese New Year. Start by getting some dim sum here  or here or here and then stick around for the Parade ( at 2:00 p.m.) that will be complete with dragon floats, traditional music and dancing. It’s the Year of the Dragon, folks. Not sure what the astrological significance of that is but hey, it sounds pretty cool, right? I think it means take any excuse to eat dim sum.

 

D.C. Ramblings: Georgetown

by Kyle Short

When most people think of a “walking city,” they immediately think of New York, forgetting D.C.’s wide thoroughfares, its eclectic jumble of Greek and modern architecture and its burgeoning nightlife. D.C., much like New York, is a city of different people joined together with the common goal of surviving in the city. When someone says they’re from D.C., natives love to ask, “but where are you from originally?” It’s relevant, as we’re a city of congressmen, students and tourists, all of which shows in our buildings, our bars and our favorite hangout spots (the closest of these noteworthy hubs gracing the streets of Georgetown). Just a short walk away, M street offers students a great escape from the drudgery of classes, study groups and homework. While it may seem obvious, as most students have most likely adventured to M Street at some point in their career, there are a lot of unexplored options that M Street and the surrounding areas have to offer (although Guards, Thirds, and Rhino are all fun). Try seeing Georgetown during the day, and not just the shops on M and Wisconsin, because there’s a whole other city out there.

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Raccoon Walk

by Beth Garbitelli

According to the Washington Post Going Out Guide (usually quite a reliable resource in the wasteland of the Internets), this Saturday, children from around the area are invited to “a look at the world of these mysterious masked mammals as they roam the neighborhood.” 

Is it just me or does this sound like the most unsafe activity for children….like, ever? Raccoons are mean and they carry Rabies. We’re talking vicious, snarly wild animals (see above) not biscuit-chomping Meeko of Pocahontas.

A Word from POTUS

File Photo: Chris Bien/The Hoya

by Beth Garbitelli

You can’t watch the NFL Playoffs every night, I guess. The State of the Union address provided some quality primetime viewing on the otherwise non-event Tuesday night television schedule and we hope you tuned in. Why? Well, because it kinda sorta might have been the most important speech Mr. Prez has given in quite some time.

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DC’s War on Rats

by Martin Hussey

We’re all used to the ubiquitous sightings of Chihuahua-sized rats crossing our paths late at night, but Georgetown’s continuing rat problem — a population increasing since at least 2010 — is, for the moment, being eclipsed by a growing political crisis for the District fueled by surging rat populations at the Occupy D.C. protests and by statements that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli made to Rush Limbaugh on his conservative radio show.

Cuccinelli sparked a firestorm of conservative blog activity after he alleged on Limbaugh’s Jan. 12 radio show that the District’s 2010 Wildlife Protection Act would lead to D.C. rats being exported to Virginia. Limbaugh repeated the claim last week, prompting national scrutiny about the D.C. policy enacted to treat the pesky animals humanely. (The law, in fact, does exempt rats, meaning that pest controllers can still kill them.) In response to the claims, Maryland Del. Pat McDonough plans to introduce a law to protect Maryland from any future imports of D.C. rats into the state. However, all of the recent chatter may be for naught, as The Washington Post reports that there have been no documented cases of rat-smuggling from D.C. into either Virginia or Maryland.

While the District fights off Cuccinelli’s and Limbaugh’s false claims of rat-smuggling, the D.C. Department of Health is starting a new battle against the rats occupying Occupy D.C. downtown. Last week, Mayor Vincent Gray asked the National Park Service to remove the encampments at McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza due to exploding rat populations near the sites. Protestors’ response to the threat of eviction? Georgetown rats are bigger than Occupy rats, and there is no plan to evict Georgetown residents.

Old Punk, New Scene – Text Message

Photo: Rita Pearson/The Hoya

by Rita Pearson

Text Message, an indie rock band made up of Georgetown students Joe Romano (COL ’12), John Romano (COL ’14) and Mike Jaroski (COL ’12) kicked off Saturday night’s show at the Rock N Roll Hotel. They opened for local bands the Electric 11’s and Blue Pintowith songs from their upcoming sophomore album, called Lake Opposite. They’re influenced primarily by alternative rock bands, such as Sonic Youth and the D.C.-based Fugazi.

“We’re trying to hit the right spots,” John Romano said. “There are a handful of music venues in D.C., like the Rock N Roll Hotel, that we try to play in. Unfortunately there aren’t many places around campus.”

“The D.C. music scene is nothing like the late 80’s or early 90’s, but I wouldn’t say it’s dead,” Joe said. “However, D.C. is transient – a lot of the bands are on tour, so people are always coming in and out.”

In the 1980’s and 90’s, D.C. was home to a thriving and influential punk scene. Venues like the 9:30 Club, Madam’s Organ, and The Bayou (a Georgetown nightclub that has since been replaced by the Loews Cinema on K Street) were central to the punk community. The U Street/Shaw neighborhood in particular played an important role in the burgeoning D.C. music scene. The Black Cat, a U Street club co-founded by Dave Grohl in 1993, has hosted bands like Arcade Fire, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and Death Cab for Cutie. Text Message will be taking the stage at The Black Cat this Sunday.

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Sunday Night Wrapup: It Snowed!

Photo via Flickr user ep_jhu

by Bethany Imondi

In case you’ve been hiding in Lau for the past two days or are just starting to make sense of things again after a few wild nights, here’s what you missed this weekend:

  • On Saturday, our 12th-ranked men’s basketball team lived up to its “Heart Attack Hoyas” moniker with a last-minute  52-50 victory over Rutgers at Verizon Center.
  • The body of a man who had been living in the woods adjacent to the university’s Canal Street entrance for the past 25 years was discovered early Thursday afternoon. The Metropolitan Police Department is currently investigating the man’s death.
  • Joe Paterno, former Penn State football coach and the winningest coach in major college football, died early Sunday morning after losing his battle with lung cancer.
  • With the help of Baltimore Ravens’ kicker Billy Cundiff, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots advanced to Indianapolis to play in this year’s Super Bowl. The Patriots defeated the Ravens, 23-20, in Sunday’s AFC championship game at Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium.
  • And thanks to the San Francisco 49ers’ fumbled punt return in overtime of the NFC championship game, the New York Giants defeated the 49ers, 20-17, in San Francisco to advance to the Super Bowl. The February 5 game will be a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, in which the Giants ended the Patriots’ undefeated season with a 17-14 upset.