Washington DC Travel and Tourist Information
WHAT’S NEW IN 2007Shakespeare Inspires Getaway Packages and Quirky Performances Shakespeare in Washington, the District’s six-month salute to the world’s most famous playwright, celebrates the Bard’s influences beyond the theatre—how his works have carried over to music, dance, opera, film and other forms of entertainment. Showing their own brand of inspiration, Washington, DC’s hotels have borrowed from the Bard to create themed getaway packages with rates starting at $129. For a romantic escape, the Fairmont Washington, DC’s “Romeo & Juliet” package comes with a DVD of Romeo and Juliet and a “Love Potion” for two, starting at $189 per night. Or, try the Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC’s “Shakespeare in Love” package, featuring pre-theatre dinner for two in Café MoZU, Romeo & Juliet love potion at turndown, roundtrip sedan service for two to and from a local theatre or venue, a $50 gift certificate for The Spa at Mandarin and valet parking, starting at $359. Packages are available exclusively online at Washington.org or by calling 1-800-422-8644. Washington, DC Plays Host to Major Art Exhibitions The year 2007 promises to be a great one for art lovers visiting the nation’s capital. Some of the most famous names in art history books find themselves on display in Washington, DC’s galleries and exhibitions. Here are a few of the highlights:
Shakespeare in Washington
A six-month salute to all things Shakespeare, celebrated in theatre, art, music, opera and special events and activities. The groundbreaking celebration honors the 75th anniversary of the Folger Shakespeare Library and is chaired by Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser and Shakespeare Theatre Company artistic director Michael Kahn.
Shakespeareinwashington.org or kennedy-center.org/Shakespeare. Jan. 8-14
Washington, DC Winter Restaurant Week
Nearly 100 of the city’s top restaurants offer three-course, prix-fixe lunch menus for $20.07 and dinner menus for $30.07, priced in honor of the New Year.
Restaurantweekdc.org. Feb. 19
George Washington’s Birthday Celebration
Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens celebrates Washington’s birthday and Presidents Day with free admission to his home and gardens. A wreath-laying ceremony at 10 am is followed by a patriotic performance by the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. At 1:30 pm, catch a parade featuring colonial music and Mount Vernon’s heritage breed animals. Mountvernon.org. Mar. 11
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The Washington, DC St. Patrick's Day Parade celebrates 35 years with music, bands, floats and more. dcstpatsparade.com. Mar. 31
41st Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival
As the National Cherry Blossom Festival gets underway, the Smithsonian Institution holds its Annual Kite Festival with competitions in design, performance and other categories. kitefestival.org. Mar. 31-Apr. 15
National Cherry Blossom Festival
Washington, DC’s signature springtime event showcases the beautiful cherry trees that dot the Tidal Basin and celebrates cultural connections between the people of Japan and the people of the United States. This year’s festival marks the 95th anniversary of Japan’s gift of the cherry trees to the people of the United States. The parade of the National Cherry Blossom Festival will take place Saturday, April 14.
nationalcherryblossomfestival.org. Apr. 9
White House Easter Egg Roll
This annual tradition dates back to 1878 and President Rutherford B. Hayes. Children ages 3 to 6 frolic on the South Lawn searching for more than 24,000 wooden eggs that have been hidden throughout the grounds. There is also an Easter celebration at the Ellipse including entertainment, music, storytelling and food giveaways for the whole family to enjoy. Tickets are required for the event and are usually distributed the weekend prior, with some reserved for the morning of the event. Whitehouse.gov. Apr. 21-22
This semi-annual event, produced by Cultural Tourism DC, introduces Washington, DC residents and visitors to the neighborhoods that define the nation’s capital away from the National Mall, from Georgetown and Dupont Circle to the Southwest waterfront and Anacostia with a day of free tours. Tour-goers travel on foot, bike and even into the depths of Metro. Walkingtowndc.org. Apr. 19 – 29
At the Washington, DC International Film Festival, you’ll be amused, provoked, and inspired by extraordinary new films from some of the world’s most talented and innovative filmmakers. filmfestdc.org. HOTEL NEWS Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC Named World’s Top Hotel by Institutional Investor One of Washington, DC’s leading hotels was recently honored as the overall top-ranked hotel in the world by Institutional Investor magazine. Known for its gracious service and understated elegance, the Mandarin Oriental on Washington, DC’s Southwest Waterfront led the magazine’s list of the Top 100 hotels, determined by votes from an elite group of CEOs and other senior executives who rated hotels on rooms, service, food/dining, location and overall design. Mandarinoriental.com/Washington. A New Look for St. Regis Hotel, Washington, DC The St. Regis Hotel, Washington, DC has temporarily closed its doors as it embarks on a major renovation, putting a fresh, new face on its public spaces, guest rooms and dining areas. The hotel plans a July 2007 reopening. The new design aims to put the 80-year-old hotel at the height of luxury through personalized amenities and service. While all rooms will undergo a complete renovation, the hotel will reduce its total guest room count from 193 to 178 by adding fifteen luxury suites. All public areas, including the lobby, ballroom, fitness center and all meeting rooms will be reappointed, and the picturesque Crystal Terrace garden will enjoy new landscaping to create a European feel. Visitors will also enjoy a new amenity as the Reméde spa opens its doors, with separate floors for men and women. All guest rooms offer wireless Internet, 32” Plasma televisions with surround sound, DVD players, personal fax machines, Pratesi linens, Reméde amenities and Waterworks bathrooms with mosaic tiles and custom-designed fixtures. The hotel will continue to meet its guests’ needs with its one-of-a-kind personal butler service. After the renovation, guests will need only press the “Butler Button” on their guest room phone in order to make their requests, from business coordination to garment pressing or coffee or tea with a wake-up call. JW Marriott Unveils Stylish New Guest Rooms The JW Marriott Hotel at Pennsylvania Avenue recently completed a $20 million renovation, giving each of its 765 guest rooms a complete makeover. The high-tech, high-style rooms offer the latest innovations, including Marriott’s proprietary “plug and play” technology. Guests can simply hook their laptop, or other personal entertainment equipment (including an iPod), into a state-of-the-art, 32” LCD HDTV. Guests can even split the screen so they can multi-task as they watch TV and write e-mails simultaneously on the screen. The guest rooms boast a sophisticated new look, with simple forms, straight lines and accents of stone, glass and chrome. Each room is also outfitted with Marriott’s new bedding line: plusher mattresses, 300-thread-count, cotton rich sheets, a soft down comforter and an ample array of pillows. PERFORMING ARTS NEWS Shakespeare in Washington Inspires Unusual Performances While the Shakespeare in Washington promotion is designed showcase the Bard’s influences away from the stage, you’ll find a great variety of performances to enjoy— both the expected and the unusual. Hamlet gets a traditional staging under Artistic Director Michael Kahn at the Shakespeare Theatre Company (June 5- July 29). At the Signature Theatre, the story of the melancholy Dane is presented in Hebrew by the Cameri Theatre of Israel (Mar. 6-11). Synetic Theatre’s Hamlet…The Rest Is Silence (June 2007) takes an innovative approach, telling the story without any words, through movement, music and light. If you’re looking for a different take on Macbeth, The National Museum of the American Indian plays host to Juneau, Alaska-based Perseverance Theatre’s highly acclaimed production. Starring an all-Alaska Native cast, the production uses Tlingit-inspired sets and costumes and incorporates Native language and music (Mar. 8-18). Placing the familiar play in another culture, students from DuVal High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland will perform An African Macbeth at the University of Maryland- College Park (Mar. 7). The Washington National Opera will stage Verdi’s operatic interpretation (May 12-June 2). Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest, also shows up in a variety of forms. The Folger Shakespeare Theatre’s production is staged in a traditional Globe-style theatre (May 17- June 24). The Olney Theatre Centre for the Arts takes the play outdoors in a special production (June 27-30). Montreal’s 4D Art brings together virtual characters and live actors to tell the story with spellbinding multimedia visual effects (Mar. 22-24). Or, see the Tiny Ninja Theatre act it out using plastic ninjas and other dime-store toys to represent the characters on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.
Shakespeareinwashington.org. Washington, DC Theatres Stage Tributes to August Wilson
Before his untimely death from cancer in 2005, playwright August Wilson transformed American theatre with his poignant illustrations of the joys and struggles of African- American life throughout the twentieth century. To honor his legacy, Washington, DC theatres will present works from Wilson’s African-American cycle: a ten-play series set in each decade of the twentieth century in his hometown, Pittsburgh. The African Continuum Theatre Company will partner with historic Ford’s Theatre to produce Jitney (January 19 - February 18), the 1970s installment of the cycle. Jitney follows the lives of Pittsburgh cab drivers whose business is threatened by gentrification. fordstheatre.org. Arena Stage takes on the ninth play in the cycle, Gem of the Ocean, in its Washington, DC premiere (January 26 - March 18). Set in 1904, the play tells the story of the mystical matriarch Aunt Ester, who helps troubled souls find solace and forgiveness. arenastage.org. In spring 2008, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will mount a special tribute of its own, tackling all ten plays in the cycle. Directed by Kenny Leon, who staged the Broadway premiere of Gem of the Ocean, the “August Wilson’s 20th Century” festival will be the first of its kind to present all ten plays in a condensed package. The plays will be presented chronologically in the order in which they’re set, beginning with Gem of the Ocean and ending with the 1990s Radio Golf. Each of the plays will be presented in repertory fashion by a core ensemble of twenty actors, giving the ten inter-related plays the same voices and faces and enabling audiences to see as many as three of the plays in a single weekend. Stay tuned for more details on kennedy-center.org and Washington.org. Theatres Prepare to Open New Facilities in 2007 Theatre-goers will soon have more options to choose from as two of the region’s most popular stages more than double their seating capacities with new playing spaces. Arlington’s award-winning Signature Theatre will move into its new home in the Shirlington neighborhood in January 2007. With two flexible black box spaces—one holding 299 seats and the other 99 seats—the company will be able to present its mainstage shows to larger audiences while reserving an intimate space for other performances. Signature’s first production in the new facility is the Sondheim favorite, Into the Woods, playing January 12 through February 25. sig-online.org. The Shakespeare Theatre Company will expand its downtown presence with the opening of the Harman Center for the Arts, slated for October 1, 2007. The facility will consist of two mid-sized theatres in the heart of the booming Penn Quarter, the new 776- seat Sidney Harman Hall (6th and F Streets, NW) and the existing 451-seat Lansburgh Theatre. shakespearedc.org. DC DISH: WHAT’S NEW ON THE RESTAURANT SCENE More than 100 of the Capital Region’s top tables will ring in the New Year with the January 2007 edition of Washington, DC Restaurant Week, Jan. 8-14. Three-course, fixed-price lunches and dinners are priced at $20.07 and $30.07, respectively. Past participants have included some of the city’s hottest tables: IndeBleu, Ten Penh, Oya, Rasika and others. More information will be posted at restaurantweekdc.com in late 2006. Michel Richard, the 2006 recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef of the Year award, is preparing to open Central Michel Richard in mid to late December. Appropriate titled, Central Michel Richard will be centrally located on Pennsylvania Avenue between the nation’s two most powerful buildings—the U.S. Capitol and the White House. While you’ll find the same choice ingredients and fine cuisine you find at Michel Richard Citronelle, they’ll be served in a relaxed, casual setting. (1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW). Chef Morou, Washington, DC’s “Iron Chef” contender, has opened his new restaurant Farrah Olivia, in Old Town Alexandria. His former home, the now-closed Signatures, is also taking on a new life. D'Acqua, a venture by chefs and restaurateurs Francesco Ricchi and Enzo Febbraro will open in late December 2006. True to its name, the restaurant will feature a seafood-rich menu with Italian accents. (801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW). Washington, DC dining institution The Occidental closed last August for an extensive renovation. It reopens to the public in January in time to celebrate its 100th birthday. Look for a year-long celebration of the hotel’s rich history, featuring the culinary creations of Chef Rodney Scruggs. (1475 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202-737-4147, occidentaldc.com). Chefs Jerry Katsof and Brian Galligan will bring Il Mulino, their popular Italian concept, to Washington, DC in January 2007. (1110 Vermont Ave., NW). With four wildly popular restaurant concepts under his belt—Oyamel, Zaytinya, Café Atlantico and Jaleo’s three locations—renowned DC chef José Andrés is ready for more. His first step is to relocate his Mexican eatery, Oyamel, from its current home in Crystal City to join his other DC ventures in Penn Quarter (401 7th St. NW). Oyamel’s opening is slated for early 2007. Coming in 2008, Bar José will be a José-styled tapas bar in Penn Quarter, serving an array of exquisite Iberian products. Wine lovers will rejoice with Proof, coming in March to the corner of 8th and G Streets, NW. Wine director Sebastian Zutant brings with him a state-of-the-art serving system offering measured wine pours, allowing patrons to sample tasting-sized servings of 16 red and 16 white wines. Haidar Karoum of Asia Nora will head up the kitchen. Chef Robert Wiedmaier, who has earned acclaim at the helm of Marcel’s, is preparing to open a casual restaurant of his own. Look for Brasserie Beck to open in 2007. Wiedmaier will cash in on his rich Belgian heritage—and his culinary genius—to ensure a unique and satisfying experience for each guest. The menu will focus on traditional Belgian cooking styles, serving up sumptuous dishes like Roasted Pork Loin, confit of cabbage and mustard sauce; Crispy Duck, Congolese style; Pan Seared Beef Steak, Green Pepper and Cognac sauce; Grilled Alaska Salmon with curry fennel sauce; and others. The 165-seat restaurant will be located in the heart of downtown Washington, DC at 1101 K Street, NW. Beck is slated for a 2007 delivery. NEW EXHIBITIONS December 14- January 2008 Out of the Mails: The National Postal Museum examines the efforts of American colonists to circumvent the official mail service as tensions heightened prior to the American Revolution. postalmuseum.si.edu December 15- March 15, 2007 Clash of the Empires: The British, French and Indian War in North America, 1754-1764: In the midst of the 250th anniversary of the conflict, the Smithsonian Institution pulls together 300 objects and works from public and private collections in North America and Europe. si.edu December 15- May 20, 2007 Black Box: Magnus Wallin: The Hirshhorn showcases the works of the Swedish artist, who began his career as a performance and installation artist and is now known for his short animations. hirshhorn.si.edu. 2007 January 27- April 22 Orchids: Take a Walk on the Wild Side: The National Museum of Natural History delves into the fascinating ecology of the beautiful flowers. nmnh.si.edu January 28- April 29, 2007 Jasper Johns: An Allegory of Painting: The National Gallery of Art displays some 80 works from the artist’s early career, including some of his most important paintings, drawings, and prints. nga.gov February 2- May 27 Eadweard Muybridge: The Central American Journey: Muybridge traveled to South America in 1875 to photograph coffee plantations, ruins and contemporary life. The Smithsonian American Art Museum pulls together his photographs for the first time. americanart.si.edu February 7- February 2009 Postal Inspectors: The Silent Service: The National Postal Museum spotlights the oldest federal law enforcement agency and its role in fighting crime. postalmuseum.si.edu February 7- September 7, 2008 Walt Disney- Tishman African Art Collection—Inauguration: In 2005, the National Museum of African Art received one of the world’s finest collections of traditional African art, which opens to the public. nmafa.si.edu February 15- April 1 Refract, Reflect, Project: Light Works from the Hirshhorn Collection: In this exhibition, the Hirshhorn highlights objects from its collection in which light—as substance and subject—is central. hirshhorn.si.edu February 17- May 20 Moving Pictures: American Art and Early Film, 1880-1910: American realist paintings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries appear at The Phillips Collection alongside the earliest experiments in film. Some 100 works, including nearly 60 short films by Thomas Edison, the Lumière Brothers and the Cinématheque Française, give new context for the artists and their choice of subject matter. phillipscollection.org February 22- August 16 Directions—Mark Handforth: As part of the Hirshhorn Museum’s Directions series, Handforth will create a site-specific, large-scale painted aluminum star just outside the museum entrance. hirshhorn.si.edu March 8- August 18 Shakespeare in American Life: The Folger Shakespeare Library celebrates its 75th anniversary with this look at the ways in which Shakespeare continues to be an essential ingredient in American culture. folger.edu March 9- July 29 Directions—Pae White and Virgil Marti: As part of the Hirshhorn’s “Directions” series, artists Pae White and Virgil Marti will combine their individual creative practices to collaborate on a site-specific installation in the museum’s lobby. hirshhorn.si.edu March 16- June 3 Italian Women Artists from Renaissance to Baroque: To mark its 20th year, the National Museum of Women in the Arts hosts an exhibition of paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture by prominent women painters and presents them within a historical context. nmwa.org April 12- July 31 Gene Davis: Interval: The Kreeger Museum showcases the works of Gene Davis, one of Washington, DC’s most influential artists and a key member of the Washington Color School movement. kreegermuseum.org April 12- July 29 ColorFieldremix: As part of the citywide celebration, The Phillips Collection showcases approximately 20 paintings and works on paper from the museum’s permanent collection, including works by Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Gene Davis and Sam Gilliam. phillipscollection.org May 6- September 16 Faraway Places, Outlandish Sights: Travels on Paper, 1300-1700: The National Gallery of Art draws largely from its own collection to lead viewers through European perceptions of foreign realms from the 15th to the early 18th century, when most Europeans rarely ventured far from home. nga.gov May 10- August 13 Wolfgang Tillmans: The Hirshhorn hosts the first major solo exhibition of the artist in the United States, whose work catches friends and acquaintances at their most unguarded moments. hirshhorn.si.edu. June 10- September 3 Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945: The National Gallery of Art hosts this exhibition of 150 photographs, artists’ books and magazines that show how photography developed into an immense phenomenon in Central Europe. nga.gov. June 16- September 9 American Impressionism: Paintings from The Phillips Collection: Revisiting The Phillips Collection's artistic roots, this exhibition will highlight paintings that were among the museum's earliest acquisitions. Featured artists will be Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson, Maurice Prendergast, Theodore Robinson, Robert Spencer, Augustus Vincent Tack, John Henry Twachtman, and Julian Alden Weir, among others. phillipscollection.org. About the Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corporation: The Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corporation, the lead destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of nearly 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities. www.washington.org.
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