Archive for December, 2009

A Play that Sticks to You

Posted in Culture with tags , on December 30, 2009 by substanceandstyledc

Kenny Leon, one of the most notable African American directors on the American theater scene in the last decade returns to Washington, DC at the helm of the Arena Stage production of Lydia R. Diamond’s play Stick Fly. According to press notes Stick Fly is a thought-provoking and lively modern family comedy that explores race and privilege in a well to-do Black family.  During what was supposed to be a typical weekend for the family at their Martha’s Vineyard summer home conflict erupts when dirty laundry airs and truth comes out of the dark into the light about their family dysfunction.

Stick Fly opens at Arena Friday, January 1 and runs through February 7. As with all Arena shows, discount tickets are available for people under 30, call the box office for more information.


Keeping Score

Posted in Finance on December 28, 2009 by substanceandstyledc

As the end of the year wraps up, it is the perfect time to think about new goals for mind, body, spiritual and financial fitness in the New Year. Step one in preparing for a next year is taking a good look and assessment at where you stand at the end of this year. As financial fitness goes, in addition to checking out the balance of your checking, savings and money market accounts – and hopefully IRA – be sure to access your free annual credit report online. You may view your credit report for free once in a 12 month period. For $15.95 you can view your actual credit score at another site, My Fico.

Baldwin Says

Posted in Substance & Style Profile on December 22, 2009 by substanceandstyledc

David Baldwin Barnes is a young Washington political and social climber. He is also a man of both substance and style. We had the occasion to spend five minutes with Baldwin – as he is called by many – in between his meetings to discuss foreign policy and before dashing off to drink domestic beer at another hip Hill holiday reception.                 

S&S asked – What is the one thing you love most about working in politics?

Baldwin Said – My mother told me she raised me to “eat with princess and sleep with paupers.” The ability to interact with some of the most influential people in the country, and across the world, and gain knowledge and resources to help those without is the most satisfying part of working in politics. There’s a lot of red tape and egos to deal with, but when I can help someone it’s all worth it.

S&S asked – If every woman should have a little black dress, what should every man have?

Baldwin Said – Every man should have a gray blazer— not a gray suit jacket without the pants, mind you. Most people say a blue blazer, but I think they have a limited palate to create. You can make a gray blazer very formal or extremely casual. It can be worn all seasons, with a button down or t-shirt, jeans or slacks, shoes or sneakers, lights and darks, and a variety of patterns… gotta have one.

S&S asked – What do you see as the next big foreign policy issue the US will have to address in 2010?

Baldwin said – Iran’s political state and nuclear engagement will continue to be a major issue for the US and the rest of the world. But I think that China’s growing influence in the international community will be one of the most important issues the US has to confront.

China is inevitably the next global power— from their growing economy, their foothold in international markets, to their influence to sway the course of North Korea and possibly Iran, and their increased engagement in developing nations, especially in Africa, to their impact on the global environment. What will be interesting though is the affect that great civil unrest in China will have on their government. The Chinese people are becoming more empowered to speak out against their government as China continues to gain the attention of the world— it’s as much a platform for the people as it is the government.

S&S asked – You are an avid reader, what was the best book you read in 2009?

Baldwin Said – Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. People are often unaware of how their subconscious influences their day-to-day behavior, and Gladwell points out the strengths and weaknesses of split second decisions based on our subconscious.

A topic that I’ve passionately written about is how the media influences our perceptions of culture and how that affects our behavior (see my post on BaldwinSaid). I believe that the media is the biggest educational system of culture, and unfortunately they do a terrible job of presenting accurate images of the non-dominant culture. Many people often only interact with those within their cultural group and the majority of what they learn about other cultures comes from the media. This creates a dynamic where people’s interactions with minority cultures are subconsciously dictated by the images presented to them in the media. This can only be changed by incorporating more diversity within the executive offices of media companies and eliciting quality programming from more minority production companies.

S&S asked – Where is the best place to cocktail while overhearing tales about who is who in Washington?

Baldwin Said – Everybody thinks they’re somebody in DC, so anywhere you go you’ll hear those conversations— although the veracity of the banter is usually questionable. But a place I really enjoy going for cocktails (I’m a creature of habit, so I usually stick with a nice Tennessee Whiskey) is my neighborhood bar The Looking Glass. It is a great place, has a great crowd of people, and my neighborhood has the most character in the city… stop by sometime.

A Dynamite New Year!

Posted in Culture with tags on December 16, 2009 by substanceandstyledc

E Street Cinema has decided to start the year off with a bang and a little color with the DC premiere of Black Dynamite as their midnight movie screening on Friday, January 1 and Saturday, January 2. Black Dynamite offers a bit of blaxploitation for the 21st Century filmgoer’s palette.  Reviewers of the film have called it absurd, inspired, vastly entertaining and of course – DYN-O-MITE! Learn more here.

Leap to the Box Office Now

Posted in Culture with tags , , on December 10, 2009 by substanceandstyledc

Their annual visit to the jewel box that is the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is one of the most anticipated of the season and without fail their Friday and Saturday night performances sell out each year. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater arrives February 2 and leaps out of town February 7, 2010. Plan and purchase now so that you may please your eyes later with a most stunning display of body in motion.

Holiday at Cedar Hill

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 9, 2009 by substanceandstyledc

While the masses are scrambling to get invited to tour the White House for Christmas, real Washingtonians are making plans to attend a Victorian Holiday at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. The longtime home of the slave turned diplomat in Southeast Washington still boasts one of the most enchanting views of the District. When Douglass moved into the residence in 1877 he was the first African American in the Anacostia neighborhood. He named his Victorian mansion Cedar Hill.  

Join the National Park Service on Saturday, December 19 at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site from 10:00am to 3:00pm to celebrate at historic Cedar Hill. Visitors can step back in time to experience how Frederick Douglass and his family celebrated Christmas. Children of all ages can enjoy craft workshops, create Victorian holiday greeting cards, and sing old-fashioned Christmas carols. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Brayden Paynter at 202-426-5961.

Tours of Cedar Hill are offered daily. Click here to learn more.

The Art of Shopping

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 7, 2009 by substanceandstyledc

Washingtonians have another crafty alternative for holiday shopping again this year. The outdoor DC Holiday Market has opened for the season at corner of F Street NW and 7th Street in Penn Quarter. The open air market, open daily from 12 noon – 8:00pm through December 23, features an array of local and regional artisans and exhibitors selling high-quality clothing, jewelry, crafts, fine art and pottery. After you have finished shopping, slip inside the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum adjacent to the market.

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