D.C. bars prep for Super Tuesday gatherings

Washington, D.C.

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The turnout on Super Tuesday is expected to be large — and not just at polling places. As anticipation builds over how voters in 22 states will cast their presidential primary ballots, restaurants and bars in the nation’s capital are preparing to accommodate those who will be coming in to watch the results over patriotic potables.

The best places in the nation’s capital to watch the results — in today’s Express.

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Crabs at Cantler’s

Annapolis, M.D.

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Finally got a chance to head out to Cantler’s this weekend for their notorious crabs. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of doing since first moving to D.C. almost 2 years ago. We got crab cake sandwiches, onion rings and iced teas at Cantler’s, walked around the historic downtown and sat on the wharf eating ice cream from Storm Bros. A great day.

We also attempted the “Dine & Dip” at the Omni Hotel on Sunday in Woodley Park. The brunch was pretty good but by the time we had finished, our waitress informed us that with 175 other parched folks already at the pool, the “dip” had sold-out.

We got a rain check for this week and will be back on the 4th.

BODIES, bodies everywhere

Washington, D.C.

A bunch of us had an opportunity this weekend to visit BODIES, a controversial traveling exhibit currently on display at the Rosslyn Dome in Arlington. It features unclaimed human bodies (from China) that are preserved through a process called polymer preservation, in which body fluids are removed and replaced with liquid silicone rubber. The results are fascinating. Here are the basics of what I learned:

  • Smoking is bad. One display featured two lungs, that of a healthy individual and that of a smoker. The latter was blackened and probably one-third the size of the healthy one. Underneath a placard stating that each pack of cigarettes cuts 2.5 hours from your life, a plexi-glass box was filled with discarded packs and lighters from those in attendance.
  • Skin is the body’s largest organ. To demonstrate this, a display showed a single piece of flattened skin from one body. It was pretty amazing to look at.
  • Our digestive system is long. Another display showed an entire human digestive system, from mouth to anus. Seeing it all like that, in one place, helped demonstrate the extraordinary ability of our body to coordinate complex processes.
  • Babies grow fast. An optional part of the exhibit showed the development of fetuses, starting as something the size of a pencil’s eraser and then doubling in size every week or so.
  • Testicles aren’t kidneys. As one astute observer – who had a little difficulty identifying parts of the human anatomy – learned, those things hanging below the stomach are part of the male reproductive system.

This isn’t anything like you’ve seen before. A doctor with us said she hadn’t even see the body presented in such a way during med school.

And if that’s not an endorsement, I’m not sure what is.

EXCLUSIVE: The official Party DC response

Washington, D.C.

So, unless you’re new here, you know that recently I’ve been harping on Party DC.

I’ve never been completely thrilled with the level of service and professionalism that they’ve exhibited at their events – and this weekend’s Wine Festival trip was a prime example, when buses didn’t leave until an hour after their scheduled departure and a complete lack of organization left hundreds of paying customers aimlessly wandering Arlington.

Responding to that specific issue, Patrick Barton, Party DC’s president, e-mailed me last night. In part, he said, “It takes a while to load several hundred people on buses trying to load coolers, making sure they get on the same bus w/ all their friends, making sure all buses are completely full, people running on/off the bus after they have already sat down because they forgot something or rather use the restroom at the restaurant (even though they are restrooms on the bus), etc.”

He also responded to my concern that the company’s chaperones are allowed to drink during events, often leading to confusing and conflicting directions at day’s end. “Though our staff members are allowed to partake in the social aspects of our events, they know they are to maintain and keep up certain professionalism,” he said.

Barton says these aren’t “excuses” but “issues that we run in to on our end that exacerbate the situation.”

I’m appreciative of the time Barton took to get in touch with me directly – although I’m still not sure he adequately addressed some of the bigger issues raised (like, for example, oversold trips). But his taking the time to reach out to me is certainly a step in the right direction.

What’d you think?

Read his complete (and long) e-mail after the jump. [Read more…]

Who said our generation was apathetic?

Washington, D.C.

Surprise, surprise: It didn’t take much to find others disappointed and done with Party DC. A quick round-up of comments reveals:

  • “yeah. I agree. total crap.”
  • “I’ve never participated in a boycott before, but this one is as good as any.”
  • “An hour of someone’s package in my grill is unacceptable, but I only boycott French Products. Is Party DC French?”
  • “they are AWFUL. reminds me of a shitty spring break travel group. avoid at all cost”

Any other haters out there with us?

Boycott Party DC

Washington, D.C.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather at this weekend’s Vintage Virginia Wine Festival. And between the 85 degree temperature, live music, free food samples and mediocre (yet copious) amount of vino, Saturday was pretty great.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of Party DC, the event planning company that organized our bus transportation to and from Bull Run. If you’re a young professional here in the nation’s capital, chances are good that you’ve been on one of Party DC’s trips – or at least heard of them.

I’ve been on several, to fall and spring Gold Cup and the Wine Festival (twice). But to be honest, I’ve never been happy (or even remotely satisfied) with Party DC’s level of service or professionalism – in fact, no one I’ve spoken to has.

Here are Five Reasons That Party DC is Awful:

  • Terrible website. It’s slow, crashes browsers and is impossible to navigate. Worst of all, it makes purchasing tickets a pain. Forget about trying to find or view event photos.
  • Scaled pricing. Yeah, it’s common with other event tickets, but Party DC doesn’t tell you the exact dates of when prices will increase – or what they will increase to. What ensues? An unnecessary guessing game intended solely to pad their bottom line.
  • Oversold trips. A completely unacceptable practice. At spring Gold Cup this year, many full-paying customers were forced to stand on the hour trip out to the Plains, Virginia.
  • No pre-trip orientation or organization. Time and time again (this past weekend being a prime example), Party DC employees have offered no direction to the hundreds of customers arriving at the Front Page. This inevitably results in a huge backlog and massive confusion when attempting to load buses. And Party DC buses leaving on time? Laughable.
  • Drunk chaperones. Party DC “hires” people to staff buses, but these same people are allowed to drink and do what they want at the event. You can imagine what kind of leadership and organization this inspires — especially at the end of the day.

It’s no surprise then: Party DC events are consistently a screwy mess. So, from this point on, I’ll be boycotting their equally screwy trips.
Who’s with me?

Who’s more obscene?

Washington, D.C.

Dave Attell put on a hilarious show Friday night. But I left wondering a perplexing question: Who’s more obscene – the notoriously offending comedian … or the foul-mouthed HBO employees running his tour?

When we got to the Lincoln Theater around a half hour before the doors open, my buddy and I marched to the end of a line already stretching down the block. Ushers assured us though that there would be enough seats for all of us. They were right and soon we were filing inside, where there was the typical buzz that accompanies taped events like these (i.e., sound guys checking mics, camera cranes getting in position, etc.). Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary.

But no one could’ve prepared me for the army of headset wearing producers, running up and down the aisles, barking orders at anyone in sight. A group sitting next to us was told by one particularly pleasant lady that since they were sitting in front of the cameras, they would not be allowed to stand during the show. When they objected and asked to be moved, the producer asked them where they thought they were going.

Another real loon was just uttering every possible obscenity into thin air (or, her little headset), while most of the audience looked on in bewilderment. We thought she might be part of the opening act. Alas, none of it really mattered once Dave got on stage. He was a truly class(less) act and brought the house down.

For those not there, hopefully, the HBO special will be out soon. Unfortunately, for those watching at home, it’ll only include the obscenities from the comedian — and not his traveling sideshow.

Insomniac in the city

The comedian Dave Attell (named one of the “25 Funniest People in America” by Entertainment Weekly) will be taping an HBO special this Friday at the Lincoln Theater on U Street.

Attell is probably best known for his Comedy Central show Insomniac, where he traveled around the country, got liquored up, stayed out all night and documented it all with a crummy disposable camera. In my humble opinion, his experience at the Wiener’s Circle in Chicago should forever be immortalized in television history. It was priceless.

To get free tickets to one of his two shows (7:15 or 9:45 p.m.), you need to e-mail the following information to daveattell@broadwayvideo.com:

  1. Your full name
  2. Your e-mail address
  3. Your phone number
  4. Your preference for show 1 or 2. (I’ll be at show 1.)
  5. The number of tickets you want, 2 max.

Move fast. I’m sure tickets will be gone soon — and the Jaeger commercials are priceless.