Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bryanboy - Super Blogger visits Tysons Galleria

As part of the celebration for the 25th Anniversary of Tysons Galleria in McLean VA, there was an appearance by Super Blogger Bryanboy on October 19, 2013 from 2-5pm in the mall's center court. Bryanboy is one of the most influential bloggers around and is loved internationally, having a massive following. Bryanboy was featured in America's Next Top Model (ANTM) season 19 and also season 20 as the social media correspondent. ANTM can be seen on the CW and is online.

For the event there was a Q&A by Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion Critic Robin Givhan with Bryanboy and he gave a trend presentation. A VIP reception followed along with photo opportunities. The event was open to the general public with seating on a first come first serve basis, and VIP packages were available.

To see more photos, go to the DC Hot Spots photo album.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cavalia Odysseo at National Harbor, MD

October 13, 2013 - When I heard that a new Cavalia show named Odysseo was coming to VA, I very much wanted to see it. I saw Cavalia years ago in VA and Odysseo is the second creation of this production. I'm reminded of Cirque du Soliel, as I've seen several of their shows over the years. The artistic direction of Odysseo is by Normand Latourelle, who has held various roles in the industry and was a pioneer with the Cirque du Soliel shows for five years (1985-90). With his partner in business and in life Dominique, and with his two sons David and Mathieu, their family has embraced this adventure together. These kind of productions are only successful with a dedicated and talented team and crew, so there is much praise for all that are involved in making Odysseo come to life and run.

I saw ads and comments and posts about Odysseo and made my desire known to see Odysseo, and one of my friends saw it and had extra tickets for me. I was thrilled and thankful and planned to take my mother to the show. As we drove to National Harbor we could see the White Big Top in the distance and when we walked up the hill, we could sense how large an area the tent occupies. Walking into the tent there were people milling about looking at the Odysseo products and getting food and drink concessions. As we walked to our seats we could see a long enchanted silhouette forest curtain covering the performance area and even that was an impressive site.  The anticipation was palpable and the audience was ready to be amazed.

The enchanted forest curtain and mistiness went away to reveal a herd of horses grazing against the backdrop of a setting sun. It was a peaceful setting where dreams were free to roam. Then the stage altered as the audience was transported to a scenic landscape of hills with a desert in the distance. Then a herd of horses arrive, seemingly searching for an oasis where they can find water and rest.  


Cavalia Odysseo is a breathtaking show that honors and reveals the bond between horse and man. The interaction between them is a joy to watch. With incredible equestrian performances, amazing acrobatics and cinematic and theatrical effects, Odysseo will take you on a journey which will life your spirits and stir your soul. Words and even pictures, however wonderful, don't aptly describe and show the event as well as seeing it live. Under a 38-meter tall White Big Top, the audience is taken around the world with more than 50 horses and an international cast of talented individuals.

With Odysseo, entertainment is taken to new levels and should be seen live, because it is a treat for the senses and something to be experienced. I did not take pictures from where I was seated, but it would be a dream of mine to photograph this show with my DSLR camera. Maybe someday. There are enough photos on the Odysseo website to give people a taste of what's in store with the show. Perhaps you will come away from the experience with more than the delight in your senses, but souvenirs. I purchased nearly $60 worth, including a program. Odysseo is a remarkable show and experience. I hope you can see it. Journey on.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fashion Art Design Georgetown

Fashion Art Design Georgetown or FAD Georgetown emerged for 2013 after Fashion's Night Out (FNO) was put on hiatus. Fashion's Night Out was an annual event which started as a "big party" or "street festival" in 2009. Created by Anna Wintour, the English editor-in-chief of American Vogue, FNO was a global shopping event intended to reinvigorate the fashion industry by encouraging consumers to shop. The FNO event certainly encouraged people to go out and be a part of the worldwide event and even celebrities joined in the experience.  Yet for all that was invested into FNO, there wasn't a dramatic increase in sales. After pause and reflection from each FNO, it was determined by the FNO sponsors (Vogue, CFDA, and NYC & Co) to put FNO on hiatus.

With the appeal and engagement of FNO, there were many who didn't want it to stop. Despite a lack of strong sales numbers, the FNO experience created quite a fervor and fun opportunities. As the saying goes "the show must go on" and in this case, FNO was more than just about showing up, but creating an impression and connections. I think FNO was a success in that it helped to inspire others to continue expressing and supporting their love of fashion, and it was part of a kickoff to New York Fashion Week.

Considering FNO, the Georgetown Business Improvement District decided to continue in like fashion and they created Fashion Art Design Georgetown to bring together the Fashion Art and Design communities in the Washington DC area. On October 10-12, 2013 FAD Georgetown held a variety of events including style parties, public art projects, gallery walks, design showrooms, pop-up red carpets with photo booths, in-store events and of course street style was all around. It was a very rainy few days during FAD Georgetown, yet I was able to make it out to a FAD Georgetown opening party on October 10th and walked around on October 11th. Although the rain put a damper on things and seemed to discourage people, FAD Georgetown still encouraged the Fashion, Art and Design communities in the DC area. We'll see what happens next year.



Friday, October 11, 2013

A Portrait of Some DC Food Trucks Amidst the Government Shutdown

October 9, 2013 - Being a photographer and making connections gives me different opportunities and experiences. In the early evening of October 8th I received a message from someone from Peru, who was referred to me from an artist friend in the DC area. I was asked to take pictures for The Republic of Peru as they wanted to do a newspaper article "showing how the government shutdown has affected the food trucks that have become representative of the city."

It was interesting that people from Peru would be interested in the DC Food Truck scene, but then I imagine the U.S. is in the world news a lot anyway and people are intrigued. There's also the American Dream that people from other countries envision when coming to America. I visited Peru many years ago on a humanitarian mission and was fascinated by the country and it's culture. I was glad for the reminder of Peru and glad to be able to contribute to a better understanding of the DC Food Truck scene. 

I personally enjoy watching shows about cooking and food such as Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, MasterChef, Restaurant Impossible, and others. I recently saw a show in which Chef Spike Mendelsohn hosted and moderated a show giving people a chance to compete to win their very own food truck. It's certainly a dream for some people, whether they've trained toward the goal of working in a food truck or whether they decided to switch careers to work in the food truck industry. 

For the newspaper, they wanted pictures of the food truck owners and/or employees and their trucks. They needed the photos for publication on Friday, so in looking at my schedule I figured it was best to go and take pictures on Wednesday. Basically I got the assignment one evening and was on the assignment the next day. The Food Truck Fiesta website is a great website to track food trucks in DC in real-time with commentary, and I downloaded the Food Truck Fiesta app for my phone. I decided to drive my car to DC with my bicycle on my bike rack. I felt it was best to drive around to various areas, then bike to specific locations. My first stop was L'Enfant Plaza where there were food trucks along a couple sidewalks.

As I talked to food truck owners and employees and the state of their food truck businesses during the government shutdown, I could see how their business has been adversely affected. With a sizable lack of customers because of the shutdown, there is a lack of business. It seems hard enough as it is for some trucks to do well, and then some fare better than others. Cooking and serving food is just one aspect of the food truck job, and there's a lot that goes into getting the ingredients, preparation of the food, operating the truck and marketing/promoting the food truck. The web and social media plays a important role in keeping customers in the know with the roving food trucks. 

Another issue is with parking on the street and the risk of getting tickets for overstaying the 2-hour parking limit on the street. It seems silly to have to keep moving trucks in two-hour time frames, when the trucks are trying to provide a service to customers and providing a variety of food and drink. The regulations create designated food truck spots around the city for specific trucks with a buffer distance of 200 feet. Food trucks are required to have 6 feet of unobstructed sidewalk space adjacent to their parking spaces and meters don't count.  The same amount of sidewalk space is required from cafes and brick-and-mortar restaurants. The fine for food trucks who go over their parking meter time limit has been reduced from a hefty amount down to $50, yet fines will double for each repeated infraction. New regulations have been passed over the Summer which should make things easier for food truck operators. 

So with all those restrictions, it seems to make food truck operation somewhat of a hassle. Consider the food and drink to be acquired. Although trucks don't move too often, gas for these large trucks is still a cost factor. Imagine having to vie for a parking spot among other food trucks next to you and in certain spots in an area. Consider the window of time these food trucks operate, especially considering the biggest peak time is during lunch hours. Of course the weather is a factor. It was overcast the day I took these pictures and it rained all day the next day.

In addition to L'Enfant Plaza, I was able to visit Farragut West and near Union Station. By late afternoon some food trucks packed up and went home. I hope things get better soon for the food truck businesses as I'd like to see them continue serving customers. Every food truck person has a story. The food truck owners and their employees are trying to survive and support themselves and families. I'm sure to patronize many of these food trucks in the future along with many others to keep food truck dreams alive. 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Light of L2

I took a few pictures at L2 Lounge in Georgetown, DC. I've always enjoyed the rotating colored lights from the other side of the frosted glass doors there, and it's a cool effect for photos.