The DC Design House has closed its doors for good

The DC Design House, an annual event that transformed houses into showcases of Washington style, has shut its doors for the last time. It was announced this week that the board of the nonprofit organization had voted to disband. The 10 years of houses attracted more than 90,000 visitors and raised more than $2 million for the Children’s National Health System. “We are proud of what we did, but getting enough volunteers to take leadership roles in this organization was getting more difficult,” says Skip Singleton, who along with his wife, Debbie Singleton, co-founded the first DC Design House in 2008. Another reason for the closing was the increasing difficulty of finding suitably large and appropriate properties that would be available for the month-long decorator showcase. Originally, the Singletons’ idea was to do one show house to raise money for Children’s National Health System. In 2008, 7,500 people visited the first DC Design House, an 1842 former boys’ school in Georgetown transformed by 14 designers into a snapshot of 2008 decorating: acrylic vanity tables, slipcovered dining chairs and lots of apple green. The house drew so much interest that the Singletons decided to make it a tradition. The last group that had done this locally was the National Symphony Orchestra Decorators’ Show House, which ended its 34-year run in 2006. The DC Design House featured homes including a 1905 Chevy Chase Georgian and a 1929 stone Colonial in Forest Hills. The 2015 show house, a brand new fieldstone home in McLean designed to be a modern Virginia farmhouse, was the most successful of all, Skip Singleton said. The final show house, in Potomac last fall, was a nine-bedroom house then on the market for $10.28 million and featured the work of 23 Washington-area design firms. The first DC Design House was a 1842 former boys' school in Georgetown. (Len Spoden/For The Washington Post) More from Lifestyle: Take a peek inside D.C. Continue Reading

DC Theater Friday: Ringing out the year

The weekly feature of what’s happening on Washington stages. Performers who are a notable cut above: Harriett D. Foy as the Civil Rights singer in “Nina Simone: Four Women”; the ensemble in the Rachel Bonds drama “Curve of Departure”; and the whole merry cast tapping troubles away in “Crazy for You.” The column is off next week; back Jan. 4. READ MORE: Washington’s Best of 2017, and 2017 Favorites from Peter Marks Facebook Live interview (and song) with “Pajama Game”’s Tim Rogan Want DC Theater Friday delivered to your email inbox Thursday evening? Subscribe here. “The Illusionists.” The Vegas-style act is back after its 2015 visit. “The Kennedy Center has enough surplus dignity to indulge a brief sideshow: zingy (and time-tested) bits that included bodies sawed in half, cards pulled out of thin air and a suspenseful Houdini-like escape by a guy handcuffed and hung upside down in a water tank.” (Nelson Pressley) Read the review Dec. 27-Jan. 7 in the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. Tickets $49-$175. Call 202-467-4600 or visit “Amazing Grace.” “The mortal sin is that it’s a musical without musicians — computer software somehow ‘plays’ the score — but that’s not all. The largely true but plodding melodrama of John Newton, the British slave trader who ultimately repented and wrote the famous hymn, is so slow-moving and cliched that you’d swap it for a windy sermon.” (Nelson Pressley) Read the review Through Jan. 7 at the Museum of the Bible, 409 3rd St SW. Tickets $85-$100. Call 202-848-1600 or visit “An American in Paris.” “A mostly commendable new stage version that embellishes the 1951 movie musical. The touring version, directed and choreographed as on Broadway by Christopher Wheeldon, boasts two strongly athletic dancers, Allison Continue Reading

Before They March: Three Women On Why They’re Going To DC

Spend enough time with Utah feminists and you'll hear the phrase "the worst state for women" bounce between them on the beat of a metronome. It's their rallying cry, based on a series of less-than-official reports from recent years but firmly reinforced by what the women say they’ve seen around them.On a snowy night in early January, about 75 of these feminists gathered in Salt Lake City, prepping for the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21. The venue: a renovated art-deco clubhouse once home to the Ladies Literary Club, a group founded in 1877 by non-Mormon women. The agenda: announcing updates. A location had been picked for the Utah women to gather at before the march began (DC’s National Air and Space Museum), colors for their coordinating outfits had been chosen (black and gold), and final branding had been established (the hashtag #Ifightfor, boxing gloves drawn on posters or worn on hands encouraged)."The worst state in the nation is here to fight," said Chelsea Shields, a strategic consultant behind the boxing gloves idea and one of the women coordinating the Utahns' trek to DC. "We want people to say, 'What group is that?' We want our own state to feel self-conscious." The Women's March on Washington started coming together just after the election. It had a chaotic start, well-documented by skeptical media outlets. There was a tangled mess of Facebook pages, then serious concern over whether the march was including women of color and other underrepresented voices (prompting a name change from Million Women March, which had been used by black women in 1997), then questions of permits. By now, though, as DC authorities prepare for a crowd of 400,000, the national organizers have largely whipped the chaos into shape. There are committees and chairwomen and major organizations on board — Amnesty International, the NAACP, Oxfam, Planned Parenthood. The grassroots Facebook effort has gone legit. The national organizers just posed for Continue Reading

How to Resist Donald Trump in DC This Weekend

The steel barricades have gone up all around Washington, DC, and the US Capitol is being decked out in red-white-and-blue bunting. It’s really happening—Donald Trump will become president on Friday at noon. Hundreds of thousands of people are traveling to the city, and many of them are coming to resist Trump and what he stands for—not celebrate. Venturing that you, loyal Nation reader, might be of the former group, here is a quick rundown of major protest activities in Washington this weekend. The Women’s March on Washington This is clearly the headline event of the anti-Trump demonstrations in Washington this week. Potentially hundreds of thousands of people may attend, and march from Third Street and Independence Avenue near the US Capitol following a 10 am rally. It already has the potential to eclipse Trump’s inauguration crowd—200 buses for the inauguration have registered for parking, compared to 1,200 for the Women’s March, according to The Washington Post. The march is not explicitly billed as an anti-Trump demonstration, but clearly it is designed as a response to the election of a president who was revealed to be viciously misogynistic during much of his presidential campaign, from his early outbursts at Megyn Kelly to his repeated attacks on Hillary Clinton’s “stamina” through the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape. “The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us—immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault—and our communities are hurting and scared,” the organizers say in their mission statement. The march is open to anyone—not just women. The mission statement makes clear that “We call on all defenders of human rights to join us.” If you are attending Continue Reading

OpenLeft Aims to Open Doors in DC

Two giants of the liberal blogosphere joined forces today with a longtime Washington consultant to launch a new website, OpenLeft, designed as a hub for dialogue between progressive outsiders and Washington insiders. Former Clinton White House official Mike Lux is leading the effort with Matt Stoller and Chris Bowers of MyDD, the influential blog that forced tight-fisted Democrats to donate more than $2 million to candidates last year, helped stymie Fox’s Democratic presidential debate, and launched one of the first “grassroots polls” in the history of American politics. “OpenLeft is not just about tools and tactics. We have a different set of ideas about how our culture and country should work,” says Stoller, a 29-year-old Harvard graduate who has repeatedly rocked the Democratic establishment with searing blog attacks and aggressive grassroots campaigns. “We believe that power and wealth should be distributed more equally than they are now,” he explains. So the site aims to empower netroots activists, challenge and criticize institutional players–and somehow build progressive coalitions along the way. The organizers envision OpenLeft–named as a counterpoint to the 1960s’ New Left–as the newsletter of the broader progressive movement, which increasingly uses Internet activism to force “open” transparency and accountability on the political establishment. Of course, that establishment includes some bloggers, who now work for politicians or run “A-list” blogs, which draw enough readers and revenue to make them free-standing media elites. As Bowers emphasizes in his first post on OpenLeft, “what was once a fluid, ‘outsider’ and ‘open’ form of new media is now witnessing the crystallization of a new ‘establishment’ all its own.” Yet unlike most liberal blogs, insiders will not just drop by OpenLeft for Continue Reading

Luxury homes: $2.9M Paradise Valley mansion has 1,870-square-foot guest house

Putting greens, wine rooms and outdoor kitchens are among the luxurious features in this week's priciest home sales in metro Phoenix.Kathleen Linneman Lilienthal paid cash for this mansion in Paradise Valley. The 9,690-square-foot contemporary-style estate has seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. This modern, architecturally significant estate is fitted throughout with high-quality finishes, including walls of telescoping doors in the great room for indoor/outdoor entertaining. The private estate sits behind a gate and has its own 1,870-square-foot guest house. The backyard is an oasis with a sleek pool, spa, fireplace, fire pit, outdoor kitchen and private barbecue. The estate is surrounded by views of Mummy Mountain. Briggs Hubbell and Bonnie Mathewson-Hubbell sold the mansion.Robert Ernst, account executive at Evolving Solutions in Minnesota, paid cash for this mansion in Scottsdale's Mirabel Club. The 6,229-square-foot custom estate has four bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms and features an open and flowing floor plan with south facing views of the golf course and surrounding mountains. The main home features a spacious great room with fireplace and a wall of retractable doors that open to the gourmet kitchen. The chef's kitchen is fitted with beautiful custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high-end appliances and a breakfast nook with a full wet bar and retracting windows. The dining room features its own walk-in wine room. Guests can also enjoy the two-bedroom guest casita with wet bar and the four-car garage. The backyard is primed for entertaining, with a private pool, spa, built-in barbecue and endless views of the surrounding desert. Maikai Aina Holdings LLC, an Arizona limited liability company, sold the home.Brad Gilewich, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at Katz Group Pharmacies Inc., and his wife, Jacqueline, paid cash for this 4,956-square-foot Santa Barbara/Tuscan-style home in Continue Reading

Down and out in DC: What can be done about diplomatic dumps?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The large building at the corner of 22nd and R streets in downtown Washington, D.C., sticks out like a wart in the otherwise upscale neighborhood. Plywood covers the windows, sleeping bags and empty bottles litter the shuttered doorways and head-high weeds sprout through the asphalt of the empty fenced-off parking lot. For a solid decade, neighbors and local political leaders complained bitterly about the condition of the former Pakistani consulate. But the city remained powerless to do anything as long as the building was classified by the State Department as a diplomatic property. That diplomatic designation has since been revoked, according to the State Department, but the building still stands as perhaps the most egregious example of an only-in-D.C. phenomenon, where diplomatic protocol allows a string of abandoned buildings to fester, untouchable and tax-free. "Residents, who themselves are under obligation to keep their properties in order, are complaining to me," said City Councilwoman Mary Cheh, whose Ward 3 contains several such problematic properties. "Unless the State Department is really committed to the issue, these countries can really string you along." Cheh's office has compiled a partial list of vacant and neglected diplomatic buildings and she co-authored a bill calling for creating a comprehensive citywide list. Violators on Cheh's list include properties owned by the governments of Serbia, Sri Lanka, Cameroon and Argentina. Many of these eyesores are in some of the District's most high-end neighborhoods. The Sheridan-Kalorama area, where several are located, is home to former President Barack Obama, as well as President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and The Washington Post, recently bought a massive house there. The area's most recent prominent resident is Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson, whose department is responsible for making sure these Continue Reading

DC Metro Working With Trump Team to Design Card Covers Featuring President-Elect

WATCH: Kellyanne Conway Reacts to New Senior Role in Trump White House 'Not a Normal Presidency': Reich Calls For 'Peaceful Resistance' to Trump Trump: Berlin Truck Attack 'An Attack on Humanity' UPDATE: One day after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority started selling inauguration-themed fare cards that don’t feature President-elect Donald Trump, the D.C. transit agency confirmed it’s designing special sleeves featuring Trump for fare cards.The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Thursday it’s “working closely” with Metro to design a sleeve for the inauguration-edition cards.Boris Epshteyn, director of communications for the committee, tweeted that they are using sleeves that were produced for Pope Francis’ September 2015 visit to D.C. as a template.Discounted DC Metro cards are a presidential inauguration day tradition.However, this year's card will be missing quite the important detail: a photo of the new president!Metro released the first image of the 2017 Inauguration Day SmarTrip card, which includes images of the American flag and the White House but no picture of President-elect Donald Trump.The past two inauguration SmarTrip cards included images of President Barack Obama.In a statement Wednesday, Metro said they needed permission from the Trump campaign to use a photo and never received it. "Metro requested permission to use a photo, but received no response from the campaign. Due to the long lead time to produce the cards, the new pass commemorates the national celebration of the 58th Presidential Inauguration."The inauguration cards cost $10 -- 40 percent less than a regular one-day Metro pass -- and give riders unlimited access to Metro trains and buses on Jan. 20. Celebs Boycott Inauguration? Lahren Says 'Tolerance Is One-Sided' on the Left O'Reilly: The 'Hidden Reason' the Left Wants to Abolish Electoral College WATCH: Ailing Marine Vet Gives Trump, Continue Reading

‘Stupid S***’: JPMorgan Chase CEO Says DC Gridlock Has Hurt the Economy

Trump Defends Don Jr.-Russian Lawyer Meeting: 'Most People' Would Have Attended Media Ridicule Photo of Evangelicals Praying Over Trump Meghan McCain: Trump White House Must Come Clean on All Russia Contacts JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon unloaded on Washington, D.C., gridlock during an earnings conference call today.Dimon said Capitol Hill lawmakers need to "get their act together" and reform U.S. infrastructure, education and corporate tax structure to remain competitive in the world.Dimon, who is a member of President Donald Trump’s business council, said the Trump administration could make major breakthrough in those areas, but America has become one of the most "bureaucratic, confusing, litigious societies on the planet.""It's almost an embarrassment being an American citizen traveling around the world and listening to the stupid s*** we have to deal with in this country," Dimon said. Michelle Malkin: Putin Would Have Benefited More From Clinton Presidency Presidents Trump and Macron Shook Hands for a Really Long Time AP Stylebook Instructs Writers Not to Use Words Like 'Pro-Life,' 'Refugee' & 'Terrorist' On "The Story" tonight, Guy Benson said Dimon's frustration is understandable, since Republicans hold the House, Senate and White House, yet they don't have any significant legislation to show for it.He noted, however, that it is difficult to get things done in our country by design."Our founders designed the Constitution and fashioned it this way on purpose. Other countries have a majority rule parliamentary system, and we don't in a constitutional republic," Benson said. "I think that usually that's a feature, not a bug, of our system, although it can be abused."Alex Conant said Dimon's remarks about Washington gridlock highlight why Trump won the election."Now we have a president who is shaking things up and trying to get things done," Conant said.He said that Dimon was right to put pressure on lawmakers - Continue Reading

‘House of Cards’ is the real deal, says Kevin Spacey; Will and Jada Pinkett Smith win Best PDA an awards show

There’s such a thing as being so good that it’s scary. Bill Clinton thinks that the life of the homicidal, sociopathic president Kevin Spacey portrays on “House of Cards” is “99%” true to DC politics, according to Spacey. “He tells me, ‘I love that “House of Cards”,’ ” the actor told the late spring issue of Gotham, doing what the magazine describes as a “pitch-perfect impression” of the former president. “ ‘Kevin, 99% of what you do on that show is real,’ ” Spacey intoned. “ ‘The 1% you get wrong is you could never get an education bill passed that fast.’ ” The star, who plays the devious Frank Underwood on the Netflix series, also defended his decision to leave Hollywood to be the artistic director at London’s Old Vic theater in 2003. “You have to remember, it was just 10 or 11 years ago that everybody thought I was f------ crazy when I decided to pick up and move to London to run a theater company,” he said. “I did my job there, and now it’s time to go.” He added that the success of “House Of Cards” has vindicated his decision. “All those reports over the years that my career was over, that I was done, that I’d run away from Hollywood, they now sound rather ... ” We think the word he’s looking for is “silly.” JADA GETS A HAND That’s one way to put divorce rumors to rest! Will Smith simultaneously smooched his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and cradled her bottom (l.) as he presented her with the Star Power award during the “Black Girls Rock” BET special, filmed in Newark. Cheering her on were daughter Willow and mom Adrienne Banfield-Jones. First Lady Michelle Obama also spoke at the event. Pinkett Smith recently announced she won’t be back to play villain Fish Mooney Continue Reading