Free Ingrid Michaelson Concert

Last week, I was able to see Ingrid Michaelson perform some of her fan-favorite hits and never-before-performed new songs as the concluding concert for the 2016 Summer Fest concert series.

Absolutely free.

It was an incredible opportunity that (luckily?) not many people knew about. Tyson’s Corner Center had been holding a summer long concert series, featuring a variety of acts, from American Idol contestants to a “Kidz Bop” concert that I spotted on the schedule a while back. The grand finale was this performance by Ingrid Michaelson, who has a new album coming out soon and will be returning to DC for her tour in November. (I posted clips of her concert on my Snapchat if you saw ’em!)

Tommy McFly introducing Ingrid as she walks up to the stage

Tommy McFly from 94.7 Fresh FM’s the Tommy Show was there to introduce her, so of course my friends and I got a kick out of seeing one of our radio DJs in person. (You never quite know what to expect just hearing their voices for several years!) He introduced Ingrid, who came out looking like… the cool girl that you wanted to be friends with and weren’t too intimidated to make it so. I’ve always liked her songs on the radio, but I never sought out listening to any of them, so I never paid her much mind.

But the girl can sing…Read More »

Hot Air Balloons, Lieutenant Dan, and Chaplin’s

This was one of my more eventful weekends that have come to pass, so I thought I’d take some time to share these memories so that I can look back and remember them fondly.

Turf Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival (Friday)

I nearly didn’t go, and honestly, I don’t think I would’ve missed out on much if I opted not to go. I had been excited about the festival because I’ve only ever seen one hot air balloon at a time at fairs and the like, and friends’ photos from the Thursday night festivities. Thursday night photos got me very excited because the sun finally came out on Thursday (that rainy weather streak just hasn’t let up much…) so the bright balloons against the blue sky and white clouds, or in the golden hour glow, were really beautiful…

Look at how perfect this day looks? Photo by Laurie, aka @dccitygirl

Well, my outing to Turf Valley wasn’t quite as successful. It took me an hour and a half to drive over, whereas it usually takes me about an hour to drive to that area. I was planning on parking at my friend’s house, as he lives about a mile away from Turf Valley Resort, but there was so much traffic in this residential neighborhood that I had to just park my car where I was and walk two miles, adding another half an hour to the amount of time I had invested in this outing…Read More »

Gotta Gotta Get Down… in Vegas| Spring Break 2016

Last time on Spring Break 2016, I landed in Vegas for my friend, Megan’s, bachelorette party and we headed straight to the club to get our dance on. After 26 hours awake and a weird song choice by the DJ, we called it a night so we could have energy for the next day…

I was pretty surprised by how not-late I woke up, thanks in no small part to the sun streaming through our open window. It was my first full day in Las Vegas (and Paradise, if you want to pick bones about it) and I was excited to leave the frigid cold of the DC area behind. (The day before my flight, I endured a blustery 30°F walk to work.)

The view of the desert from our hotel
The view of the desert from our hotel

First order of business was brunch/lunch at Mon Ami Gabi! We actually do have locations in the DC metro region, but none of ours are below the Eiffel Tower with a gorgeous view of “Paris”. I have never been to the locations over here and I’m not sure I can ever go knowing that it won’t be as magical as it was over in Vegas. It’s a really cute restaurant, and the hyperrealism that Beaudrillard wrote about is in full force here as you sit in a “Parisian cafe” on the Strip. In anticipation of eating a lot of waistline-unfriendly food for this trip, I stuck with a really yummy salad and we all kicked off the day with yummy food in our bellies.

Ah, la vie en rose...
Sous le ciel de Paris, erm… Las Vegas
Salad with salmon! (Full disclosure: I thought this was going to be smoked salmon, but this was actually very well cooked.)
Salad with salmon! (Full disclosure: I thought this was going to be smoked salmon, but this was actually very well cooked.)

Meanwhile, the bachelor party crew was at Hash House a Go Go. While I had seen Christine mention going there before, I didn’t realize that the portions were hilariously humongous, as evidenced by the photos we were sent to incur jealousy. Warning: You may want to share food here, do not try to be a hero!Read More »

The Fray, The Zoo, & The Star Spangled Banner

We interrupt my slow (agonizingly slow) catching up of past summer vacations to bring you BREAKING NEWS: I actually had quite an eventful weekend!
WARNING: As a result of my unusually fun and exciting weekend, this is a rather long post. Please skim through by days if you’d like. 🙂

I actually want to start off with THURSDAY evening, because that’s when I started just having actual plans that were not just… sitting…

NextNOW Fest

So on Thursday, I went to NextNOW Fest at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (aka CSPAC). Lemme tell you something about CSPAC: It is a beautiful and amazing facility. My residence hall used to be nearby, and I’ve taken a class there. Great and awesome building, and they decked it out to the max for this event. I recently made a friend who works at CSPAC, and I also have a friend who is a stage manager trained through CSPAC, so it was nice to see them and enjoy the events! I don’t have photos, but here is a video that includes some of my favorite moments from the festival including:

  • Seeing my friend Don dancing in the balloon suit
  • Johann Sebastian Joust, which is basically like Ultimate Ninja but with PlayStation Move controllers and set to classical music, aka an amazing time
  • Watching 30 two-minute plays put on by the Neo-Futurists in a hilarious program called Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
  • Getting a sonic massage (which was actually pretty boring but relatively relaxing I guess)

On FRIDAY, I had a really jam-packed day that started with Rock-N-Roar at the Smithsonian National Zoo, a concert put on by Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) to raise money and support this amazing institution. As you know, all Smithsonian institutions are free to enter, so every bit counts when it comes to supporting them. (Recently, the National Zoo had to close its invertebrate exhibit, so support is definitely needed.)

I received two tickets to Rock-N-Roar from the DC Yelp CM Kimberly, who wanted to thank me for always being on hand to help out even when I’m not signed up for billable hours! Imagine my surprise, then, when I picked up my tickets at will-call and got VIP badges, which gave us entry to the VIP lounge. Two important things about the VIP “lounge”:

  • It was next to the lions and tigers. AWESOME.
  • It was catered by Whole Foods. DOUBLY AWESOME.

Now I am not fancy enough to shop at Whole Foods. The idea intimidates me. But you guys, the food was SO. GOOD. On Friday, I got to eat oysters, lobster rolls, charcuterie, meatballs, gazpacho, chicken skewers, carrot cake, and more. I wasn’t even able to photograph the food, I was so busy stuffing my face. There was also beer and wine available with drink tickets that were provided to us, but since I don’t drink, I had waters.

ALSO, while we were there, the tigers put on quite a show! At one point, the zookeepers threw some bones with meat on them into the little moat that surrounded the tiger area, forcing them to do a bit of swimming to get them. Tiger #1 got his and retreated to a quiet corner to enjoy his treat. Tiger #2 got his (were they even male tigers? I couldn’t actually tell sorry!) and retreated to a spot under a tree to enjoy his treat. Tiger #3 moped around a bit, begrudgingly got into the water to get his treat, and sat down near Tiger #2. Soon after, Tiger #2 walked away, whereupon Tiger #3 immediately took his bone and #2’s bone for himself. When Tiger #2 came back and protested this unfairness, Tiger #3 roared at him and they fought! I have never heard a tiger roar in person before, so this was pretty exciting.

Then Tiger #3 straight-up sat down on Tiger #2’s bone, forcing #2 to leave and making everyone who was watching laugh.


Oh, that’s right, also THE FRAY WAS PERFORMING!!!

I’m a casual fan of The Fray but it was really great to see and hear them live. They played all my favorite songs of theirs. I just loved being at the National Zoo with maybe 250 other people watching The Fray after chilling with lions and tigers and lobster rolls. Definitely a night to remember.

My boyfriend and I went straight from the National Zoo (which I actually haven’t visited before Friday, and haven’t gone to see the animals before!) (although I guess The Fray could be considered a special animal exhibit?) to Arlington for a friend’s housewarming party. I met this friend at nerd camp in 2006 and now he works at the same company as my boyfriend! Small world right? (Different buildings, though.) He told me that I was actually the friend who went farthest back with him at the party, given that most of the guests either went to college with him or were his coworkers, with a small sprinkling of high school friends in there. Since we met in the 8th grade, I was the OGest of friends. (Also, I got to witness a kegstand in person? Did not think these were things that people did in real life.)

Although I was originally nervous that I would be the only person who didn’t know everyone else at the party, people were generally REALLY friendly and I had some great conversations with folks! I had a really good time and I’m glad I got to see my friend and his new house.

On Saturday, I went home for one of my former coworker’s birthday party. Again, I was nervous that I wouldn’t know many people there but I got to catch up with some other former coworkers and the other guests were really friendly and funny and nice. (I’m so glad my friends have nice friends! Seriously!) I wound up having a really nice time and forcing everyone to watch Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda music video. (This video is very important to me.) (No, I don’t know why.) I thought that since it started at the respectable hour of 8 PM that I’d get kicked out before midnight but I and a small group stuck around until about 3 AM just chilling and talking and discussing the fart version of Anaconda.

I thought the fun would stop there, but guess what.

We are in the midst of some 2-year bicentennial celebration of the Star-Spangled Banner. I went to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, aka maybe the prettiest part of Baltimore, to watch the Blue Angels airshow and feel some more AMERICA in my veins. While the Blue Angels were performing primarily for Fort McHenry, we got to see them loop around in formation and get ready to head back over. (We got leftovers  essentially, but they were still spectacular!)

The weather was perfect on Sunday and, all in all, I had a pretty amazing weekend.

How was your weekend?

Art Attack XXXI ft. Wale & Big Sean

As I mentioned on Friday, I went to my alma mater’s annual spring show, Art Attack, which featured TWO artists this year, Wale and Big Sean.

In the past, I have seen B.o.B. and MGMT perform, and during my undergrad career, I opted out of seeing Weezer, Ben Folds, and Nelly. I don’t know why, but my school has a tendency to book acts that are at least a few years past real relevance, as in they have no new music currently out. Yes, Nelly had “Just a Dream” and B.o.B. actually had an album come out the day after I saw him, but the songs that they performed and that we wanted to hear from them were older songs. Having artists whose songs are currently on the radio was exciting to me.

I’m also a hip hop fan and I was extra excited that Wale was performing. He is a DC local, actually, but he rarely performs in the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia area) anymore, so this was a super treat to have him perform. I like Big Sean as well, so needless to say, I bought my ticket for the concert pretty fast.

Strangely enough to me, I find that I may need to find some new friends in life. 😛 SO many people at work didn’t even know who Wale or Big Sean were, which puzzled me because:

  • Wale is actually quite big in the DC area because he is local
  • Big Sean is pretty huge in the hip hop scene and frequently works with other giants like Kanye and I’m not even going to mention anyone else he did 2 Kanye songs during his set.

Anyway. I understand that people who don’t expose themselves to hip hop probably won’t know who either of these artists are.
What was more stressful for me was that none of my closest friends would go with me. (I need new friends.)

So, I scrambled to find some homies to hang at the concert with because it is really lonely to go to a hip hop concert (or any concert, for that matter) alone. I found a few people and, at the concert itself, I ended up finding a different group of people that was a) dancing and b) I stayed with because it got too hard trying to go back to my original seat.

Wale and Big Sean are very different performers. Wale still performs like local talent. At one point,  he had 5 hype-men up on stage with him. He jumped off stage and ran into the crowd to address us plebes in the bleachers. (Pretty sure security had a panic attack.) It was a very chill environment with Wale and it was a lot of fun. He knows that most of his fans are in the DMV and that we love him. We really do.

However. I took 2 issues with Wale’s set:

  1. It was so rushed. Why was he given so little time to perform? He wanted to do his songs so he ended up just rapping in double-time. It was impressive but he shouldn’t have had to do that! What??? Why?!
  2. He and Big Sean have ONE song together: “Slight Work”. When Wale performed it, I was sure that they were going to bring out Big Sean and then Wale would exit. But Big Sean didn’t come out.
    …. what? Why not? Why not have them… perform that song together…??? If they were going to have anyone perform it at all? Wouldn’t that have been a perfect and natural segue to Big Sean’s set?

Big Sean‘s set was, admittedly more fun. More of his songs are popular, including his big-time collaborations. He performed his verses from “Clique” and “Mercy” (!!!!). After last year’s MGMT concert, where they refused to perform their most popular song “Kids”, I was worried that Big Sean and Wale would do the same. But we heard “Lotus Flower Bomb” and “Bad”. We heard “Dance (A$$)” and he just had us ladies sing along for Nicki Minaj’s part.

Big Sean is more of what I expect of hip hop artists. Where Wale’s performance was more down-to-earth, Big Sean’s was a spectacle. He was on stage alone, silhouetted by a light show behind him. He was also weirdly inspirational, and I think that makes me like him more. He was telling us that if someone like him can come from a bad place in Detroit and make it, then all of us can make it even bigger than him. :’)

Also, instead of performing his verse from “All Me”, which I’m not sure he normally would but if he did he definitely couldn’t be saying “My new chick is on Glee and sh*t” after breaking off his engagement, he performed a really sad breakup song. I wasn’t familiar with it, but it was about the mistakes he made that led to the breakup. (Which, according to my tabloid-familiar friends, is what happened.)

I was pleasantly surprised by Big Sean’s performance, he has won me over.

I had a lot of fun and I hope I get to see these two perform again!

Would you come to a Big Sean or Wale concert with me?
Were you familiar with their music before seeing my posts about them?
Do you like these two?