50 Cent needs a few dollars

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Few rappers have made their wealth more central to their fame than 50 Cent, which makes it rather uncomfortable for him that he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Connecticut court today. His declaration comes just days after the rapper was ordered to pay $5 million to Rick Ross’ ex-girlfriend for distributing a sex tape involving her in 2009.

According to the document filed by his attorney, 50 lists between one and 49 creditors, with both assets and debts in the range of $10 million to $50 million.

Born Curtis Jackson, 50 was briefly the most popular rapper in the world, selling over 20 million copies of his first two albums between 2003 and 2005. He’s perhaps even more well-known for allegedly making hundreds of millions of dollarswhen Vitamin Water was bought by Coca-Cola. On his 2007 single “I Get Money”—his last good song, or at least his last important one—he rapped, “I took quarter water sold it in bottles for 2 bucks / Coca-Cola came and bought it for billions, what the fuck?”

It’s still unclear how, or to what extent, 50 Cent squandered his wealth, but the newly and suddenly rich spiraling into destitution is not a new story.

Source: http://defamer.gawker.com/50-cent-wishes-h...

Red Bull BC One After Party in DC This Saturday w/Cosmo Baker

By Marcus K. Dowling

Continuing in what is a now longstanding tradition of top-notch events booked by energy drink company and global entertainment brand Red Bull in the Nation’s Capital is Saturday afternoon's BC One break dancing event occurring at Southwest DC’s Blind Whino art club from 3-9 PM. As exciting as a day of popping and locking should be, the 21 and over afterparty from 9 PM - 2 AM at NE DC’s Lodge at Red Rocks featuring DJ extraordinaire Cosmo Baker should absolutely take the evening to the next level.

The Philadelphia born and New York City-based Baker may be the ultimate DJ’s DJ who in being able to navigate the era in which disco, rap, house and EDM all exploded forth from soul music and prospered, has for 25 years discovered the ties that bind them all and keep revelers on the floor.

Cosmo Baker’s career benefitted from exploding in two areas synonymous with inventive and urban takes on pop music in the past 50 years. His native Philly was the home of Philadelphia International Records, the disco-friendly label whose house band MFSB released “The Sound of Philadelphia” -- better known as the most iconic version of the theme to Soul Train. As well, New York City’s the cradle of hip-hop and a growth center for house music. Intriguingly, all three sounds play a significant part in his evolution.

Listen to a Cosmo Baker set and you’ll hear DJ abilities as a selector and mixer that rival other legendary names that he actually counts as contemporaries including King Britt, Jazzy Jeff, Frankie Knuckles and Masters at Work. As well, if a more modern music fanatic, you’ll hear how Baker mixes records and you’ll pick up on cues that compare to the likes of A-Trak, Diplo and Mark Ronson. All three of these current superstars are DJ/producers who all can point directly at how Cosmo Baker’s seamless blend of sounds between prog and indie rock, ‘70s funk Top 40 rap and classic house influenced not just how they DJ sets, but the sounds of iconic tracks from the likes of acts with which all three are affiliated like Duck Sauce, Major Lazer and Bruno Mars.

Saturday night’s headliner has pretty much played music on every continent inhabited by people worldwide. Baker’s credits also include being a founding father of Philadellphia’s late 90s-early 2000s Neo soul rap/dance party The Remedy with fellow DJ Rich Medina. The party hosted the likes of The Roots and iconic rap producer J Dilla, and was called “[T]he dopest continuous weekly hip-hop jam in the United States" by hip-hop culture groundbreaker and DJ extraordinare Bobbito Garcia. As well, Baker wa sone-third of the trio behind Brooklyn’s critically acclaimed “open format” dance party The Rub (alongside DJ Ayres and DJ Eleven).

While being an underground legend, Cosmo Baker was opening doors in the mainstream too as one of the first DJs to bring “open format”/multi-genre DJ sets to Las Vegas in the early 2000s. A trailblazer in so many senses of the word, Baker was dropping Neil Young hits next to EPMD boom-bap raps and classic disco cuts a decade before Vegas became synonymous with glamorous parties in enormous nightclubs.

Alongside Baker, warming the crowd up on Saturday night will be two more DC-based disc jockeys who clearly follow in his lineage. Trayze is a Red Bull Threestyle World Finalist who as a turntablist blends modern technology with encyclopedic knowledge of beats and breaks from a plethora of genres to keep ears piqued and the energy high. As a DJ in the club, that still benefits the quality and diversity of his selections. As well, Sharkey’s long been considered a top DJ in the Nation’s Capital and is a well-regarded and globally-released recording artist in his own right. Counting Baker as one of his absolute favorite DJs in the world, he’s an ideal choice to round out the night.

For more details on the Red Bull BC One Official After Party at The Lodge at Red Rocks click HERE.

Talib Kweli on Rachel Dolezal: 'You're Not an Ally, You're an Enemy'

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Last week, a Washington state activist named Rachel Dolezal made national headlines when it was revealed that she lived much of her life as white, and was raised by her white parents, before presenting herself as a black woman in recent years. Dolezal resigned her post as president of the NAACP's Spokane chapter yesterday, but maintained in a new interview with The Today Show that she has "identified as black" since childhood. Rapper-activist Talib Kweli spoke to Rolling Stone about his perspective on the controversy.

When I heard about Rachel Dolezal on Twitter, my first reaction was, "Wow, I've seen this movie. It's Soul Man." She even looks a little like C. Thomas Howell; same complexion. I remember watching that movie when I was a little kid and thinking it was ridiculous. I thought, "Okay, clearly, if this was real, everybody would have been able to see through it." Now here we are. 

She's said she identifies as black. Cool story, but that's not a real thing – because at any time, she could go back. That is a privilege that people of color do not have. You cannot just jump back and forth between those worlds. It's very disrespectful to the people of color that she claims to identify with to say something like that. When you say something like that, you are not identifying with us, at all, in any way, shape, or form.

I read that she sued Howard University in 2002 for discriminating against her for being white. She said she was denied a position because of her race, and that a professor there took her artwork off the walls because she was a white woman. To me, that exemplifies the worst aspect of this story. She tried to take advantage of the university by suing them, and then later she advanced her career by playing black. She has a history of taking advantage of the situation.

With all due respect to the NAACP, working with them doesn't prove you're not an asshole. They're the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and we don't even call ourselves colored people anymore. I saw NAACP people in Ferguson when I was down there, but I also saw that they were down with Donald Sterling. Anyone can start an NAACP chapter. So I don't think that's the best judge of her character.

Every quote-unquote "positive" thing she did to help people – these are all things that she could have done without pretending she was a black woman. The fraud of it would be hilarious, and that would be the end of it, if it wasn't for the fact that she was using her privilege to occupy spaces that rightfully should have gone to women of color. I don’t see any good in that. I see a self-serving attitude.

I've seen people asking, "Well, why can Caitlyn Jenner identify as a woman?" I'm no expert, but it seems to me that there's scientific evidence that shows that people can be born with a gender identity that they don't identify with. That's a real thing. I trust science. But I haven't seen any scientific evidence – and I looked – that says you can be born one race and identify as another.

I've known white people who have said to me verbatim, "I feel black on the inside." There's nothing wrong with being honest about that. But she took it to the next level. When you lie; when you're saying your adopted brother is your son; when you're suing Howard one year for saying you're too white, then saying people hung nooses at your door the next year – that's crossing the line. You're not a friend or an ally to the movement. You're an enemy. Maybe you're not as dangerous an enemy as killer cops, but you're not down with us at all.

 

 

Source: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/t...

B. B. King, Defining Bluesman for Generations, Dies at 89

 


 

B. B. King, whose world-weary voice and wailing guitar lifted him from the cotton fields of Mississippi to a global stage and the apex of American blues, died on Thursday in Las Vegas. He was 89.

His death was reported on his websitem which said he died in his sleep. Mr. King, who had diabetes and other health problems, had been in hospice care.

Mr. King married country blues to big-city rhythms and created a sound instantly recognizable to millions: a stinging guitar with a shimmering vibrato, notes that coiled and leapt like an animal, and a voice that groaned and bent with the weight of lust, longing and lost love.

“I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions,” Mr. King said in his autobiography, “Blues All Around Me” (1996), written with David Ritz.

In performances, his singing and his solos flowed into each other as he wrung notes from the neck of his guitar, vibrating his hand as if it were wounded, his face a mask of suffering. Many of the songs he sang — like his biggest hit, “The Thrill Is Gone” (“I’ll still live on/But so lonely I’ll be”) — were poems of pain and perseverance.

The music historian Peter Guralnick once noted that Mr. King helped expand the audience for the blues through “the urbanity of his playing, the absorption of a multiplicity of influences, not simply from the blues, along with a graciousness of manner and willingness to adapt to new audiences and give them something they were able to respond to.”

B. B. stood for Blues Boy, a name he took with his first taste of fame in the 1940s. His peers were bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, whose nicknames fit their hard-bitten lives. But he was born a King, albeit in a sharecropper’s shack surrounded by dirt-poor laborers and wealthy landowners.

Mr. King went out on the road and never came back after one of his first recordings reached the top of the rhythm-and-blues charts in 1951. He began in juke joints, country dance halls and ghetto nightclubs, playing 342 one-night stands in 1956 and 200 to 300 shows a year for a half-century thereafter, rising to concert halls, casino main stages and international acclaim.

He was embraced by rock ’n’ roll fans of the 1960s and ’70s, who remained loyal as they grew older together. His playing influenced many of the most successful rock guitarists of the era, including Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.

Mr. King considered a 1968 performance at the Fillmore West, the San Francisco rock palace, to have been the moment of his commercial breakthrough, he told a public-television interviewer in 2003. A few years earlier, he recalled, an M.C. in an elegant Chicago club had introduced him thus: “O.K., folks, time to pull out your chitlins and your collard greens, your pigs’ feet and your watermelons, because here is B. B. King.” It had infuriated him.

When he saw “long-haired white people” lining up outside the Fillmore, he said, he told his road manager, “I think they booked us in the wrong place.” Then the promoter Bill Graham introduced him to the sold-out crowd: “Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the chairman of the board, B. B. King.”

“Everybody stood up, and I cried,” Mr. King said. “That was the beginning of it.”

By his 80th birthday he was a millionaire many times over. He owned a mansion in Las Vegas, a closet full of embroidered tuxedoes and smoking jackets, a chain of nightclubs bearing his name (including a popular room on West 42nd Street in Manhattan) and the personal and professional satisfaction of having endured.

Through it all he remained with the great love of his life, his guitar. He told the tale a thousand times: He was playing a dance hall in Twist, Ark., in the early 1950s when two men got into a fight and knocked over a kerosene stove. Mr. King fled the blaze — and then remembered his $30 guitar. He ran into the burning building to rescue it.

He learned thereafter that the fight had been about a woman named Lucille. For the rest of his life, Mr. King addressed his guitars — big Gibsons, curved like a woman’s hips — as Lucille.

He married twice, unsuccessfully, and was legally single from 1966 onward; by his own account he fathered 15 children with 15 women. But a Lucille was always at his side.

Riley B. King (the middle initial apparently did not stand for anything) was born on Sept. 16, 1925, to Albert and Nora Ella King, both sharecroppers, in Berclair, a Mississippi hamlet outside the small town of Itta Bena. His memories of the Depression included the sound of sanctified gospel music, the scratch of 78-r.p.m. blues records, the sweat of dawn-to-dusk work and the sight of a black man lynched by a white mob.

By early 1940 Mr. King’s mother was dead and his father was gone. He was 14 and on his own, “sharecropping an acre of cotton, living on a borrowed allowance of $2.50 a month,” wrote Dick Waterman, a blues scholar. “When the crop was harvested, Riley ended his first year of independence owing his landlord $7.54.”

In November 1941 came a revelation: “King Biscuit Time” went on the air, broadcasting on KFFA, a radio station in Helena, Ark. It was the first radio show to feature the Mississippi Delta blues, and young Riley King heard it on his lunch break at the plantation. A largely self-taught guitarist, he now knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: a musician on the air.

The King Biscuit show featured Rice Miller, a primeval bluesman and one of two performers who worked under the name Sonny Boy Williamson. After serving in the Army and marrying his first wife, Martha Denton, Mr. King, then 22, went to seek him out in Memphis, looking for work. Memphis and its musical hub, Beale Street, lay 130 miles north of his birthplace, and it looked like a world capital to him.

Mr. Miller had two performances booked that night, one in Memphis and one in Mississippi. He handed the lower-paying nightclub job to Mr. King. It paid $12.50.

Mr. King was making about $5 a day on the plantation. He never returned to his tractor.

He was a hit, and quickly became a popular disc jockey playing the blues on a Memphis radio station, WDIA. “Before Memphis,” he wrote in his autobiography, “I never even owned a record player. Now I was sitting in a room with a thousand records and the ability to play them whenever I wanted. I was the kid in the candy store, able to eat it all. I gorged myself.”

Memphis had heard five decades of the blues: country sounds from the Delta, barrelhouse boogie-woogie, jumps and shuffles and gospel shouts. He made it all his own. From records he absorbed the big-band sounds of Count Basie, the rollicking jump blues of Louis Jordan, the electric-guitar styles of the jazzman Charlie Christian and the bluesman T-Bone Walker.

On the air in Memphis, Mr. King was nicknamed the Beale Street Blues Boy. That became Blues Boy, which became B. B. In December 1951, two years after arriving in Memphis, Mr. King released a single, “Three O’Clock Blues,” which reached No. 1 on the rhythm-and-blues charts and stayed there for 15 weeks.

He began a tour of the biggest stages a bluesman could play: the Apollo Theater in Harlem, the Howard Theater in Washington, the Royal Theater in Baltimore. By the time his wife divorced him after eight years, he was playing 275 one-night stands a year on the so-called chitlin’ circuit.

There were hard times when the blues fell out of fashion with young black audiences in the early 1960s. Mr. King never forgot being booed at the Royal by teenagers who cheered the sweeter sounds of Sam Cooke.

He married twice, unsuccessfully, and was legally single from 1966 onward; by his own account he fathered 15 children with 15 women. But a Lucille was always at his side.

Riley B. King (the middle initial apparently did not stand for anything) was born on Sept. 16, 1925, to Albert and Nora Ella King, both sharecroppers, in Berclair, a Mississippi hamlet outside the small town of Itta Bena. His memories of the Depression included the sound of sanctified gospel music, the scratch of 78-r.p.m. blues records, the sweat of dawn-to-dusk work and the sight of a black man lynched by a white mob.

By early 1940 Mr. King’s mother was dead and his father was gone. He was 14 and on his own, “sharecropping an acre of cotton, living on a borrowed allowance of $2.50 a month,” wrote Dick Waterman, a blues scholar. “When the crop was harvested, Riley ended his first year of independence owing his landlord $7.54.”

In November 1941 came a revelation: “King Biscuit Time” went on the air, broadcasting on KFFA, a radio station in Helena, Ark. It was the first radio show to feature the Mississippi Delta blues, and young Riley King heard it on his lunch break at the plantation. A largely self-taught guitarist, he now knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: a musician on the air.

The King Biscuit show featured Rice Miller, a primeval bluesman and one of two performers who worked under the name Sonny Boy Williamson. After serving in the Army and marrying his first wife, Martha Denton, Mr. King, then 22, went to seek him out in Memphis, looking for work. Memphis and its musical hub, Beale Street, lay 130 miles north of his birthplace, and it looked like a world capital to him.

Mr. Miller had two performances booked that night, one in Memphis and one in Mississippi. He handed the lower-paying nightclub job to Mr. King. It paid $12.50.

Mr. King was making about $5 a day on the plantation. He never returned to his tractor.

He was a hit, and quickly became a popular disc jockey playing the blues on a Memphis radio station, WDIA. “Before Memphis,” he wrote in his autobiography, “I never even owned a record player. Now I was sitting in a room with a thousand records and the ability to play them whenever I wanted. I was the kid in the candy store, able to eat it all. I gorged myself.”

Memphis had heard five decades of the blues: country sounds from the Delta, barrelhouse boogie-woogie, jumps and shuffles and gospel shouts. He made it all his own. From records he absorbed the big-band sounds of Count Basie, the rollicking jump blues of Louis Jordan, the electric-guitar styles of the jazzman Charlie Christian and the bluesman T-Bone Walker.

On the air in Memphis, Mr. King was nicknamed the Beale Street Blues Boy. That became Blues Boy, which became B. B. In December 1951, two years after arriving in Memphis, Mr. King released a single, “Three O’Clock Blues,” which reached No. 1 on the rhythm-and-blues charts and stayed there for 15 weeks.

He began a tour of the biggest stages a bluesman could play: the Apollo Theater in Harlem, the Howard Theater in Washington, the Royal Theater in Baltimore. By the time his wife divorced him after eight years, he was playing 275 one-night stands a year on the so-called chitlin’ circuit.

There were hard times when the blues fell out of fashion with young black audiences in the early 1960s. Mr. King never forgot being booed at the Royal by teenagers who cheered the sweeter sounds of Sam Cooke.

Source: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/05/16/arts/...

Get To Know: JUST BLAZE - Coming To The Lodge TONIGHT

By Marcus K. Dowling

As the progressive sonic architect of two generations of hip-hop culture, Just Blaze is a creative force supreme. Whether leaving his mark making top-40 singles at the turn of the 21st century, as a modern-era DJ as adept at spinning classic soul 45s, or releasing blogosphere and Soundcloud-dominating trap-as-EDM anthems, his appreciably ubiquitous style and sounds (that extends far beyond the expected hip-hop and R & B) perpetually impress.  

As an in-house producer at Roc-a-Fella Records, so many thumping, yet soulful productions that defined the label's platinum-selling album era of releases from Jay Z, Cam'ron, Beanie Sigel, DJ Clue all were initially derived from the mind of the Paterson, New Jersey native. As a collaborator with rising EDM DJ/producer Baauer (of "Harlem Shake" fame), his tracks like "Higher" seamlessly blend hip-hop's swagger and EDM's unrestrained excitement into a potent and fresh sound.

Just Blaze is joined by Lodge at Red Rocks by renowned DC-based veteran Sharkey who as an artist, A & R or open-format DJ has distinguished himself in a well-established manner. As well, up-and-comer Brad Piff shares opening duties. A similar man of many hats, Piff's growing in respect as a spinner in downtown DC circles, as well as developing his Nu Androids underground party brand at the vaunted Flash Nightclub on U Street, NW.

Here's five amazing reasons to check out Just Blaze at the Lodge at Red Rocks:

a) The other in-house producer at Roc-a-Fella Records was Kanye West. Intriguingly enough, when Kanye became an artist, Just Blaze produced Kanye's single "Touch The Sky" from his 2005-released album Late Registration.

b) More than just producing, engineering and DJing records, Just Blaze understands nearly every facet of the recording industry. Closed in 2010, Blaze co-owned famed space Baseline Studios alongside Jay Z and OG Maco. Of the many albums recorded at Baseline, the two with which most mainstream rap fans will be familiar are Jay Z's 2001-released Blueprint and Cam'ron's 2002-released Come Home With Me.

c) Just Blaze's Baauer collaboration for trap-as-EDM anthem "Higher" features a Jay Z sample from another Just Blaze produced track, the 2002-released remix of Jay Z and MOP's "You Don't Know."

d) Similar to Natasha Diggs - another DJ who has spun at The Lodge at Red Rocks - Just Blaze is affiliated with NYC's Mobile Mondays all-45 record event. A party that has just featured the likes of noted house pioneer Todd Terry, Blaze's ability to spin much more than hip-hop and R & B certainly is explored via this party, too.

e) In Lodge at Red Rocks news, check out their award-winning pizza, Red Bull and vodka-infused slushies and now-open rooftop deck providing unobstructed views of the Capitol Building. 

The Lodge at Red Rocks is very proud to present JUST BLAZE w/Brad Piff & Lodge resident SHARKEY on Saturday 4/25. This event is 21 & over. Doors are at 8pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $20 at the door until they sell out. Event and ticket link HERE.

Get To Know: MICK (formerly Mick Boogie) Coming to The Lodge TONIGHT

By Marcus K. Dowling

Brooklyn-based MICK (formerly known as Mick Boogie) is likely one of the modern era's most respected foundation builders of hip-hop's growth into being a dominant part of global pop culture. He's soundtracked everything from the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States to Kyrie Irving spotting up for 15-foot jump shots in EA Sports' NBA Live '14 video game and yes, the recent Davos Economic Forum. Whether as a DJ or mixtape-making tastemaker supreme, MICK isn't just "The Commissioner" of the turntables, he's actually so much more.

The DJ who can finds the connective tie between Jay Z and Coldplay, mash Adele tracks with break-beats and play a key role as the host of mixtapes that break artists including Kanye West, Big Sean and Peter, Bjorn and John to another level of mainstream awareness, MICK is an iconic figure. A content collaborator with nearly 50 brands including Microsoft, SXSW, YouTube, Ralph Lauren, Adidas and HBO (for groundbreaking TV program How To Make It In America), he has the rare ability to remain grounded in the roots of what great music sounds like while also being at the cusp of cool.

Warming things up for MICK will be Washington, DC native Deejay Life. The regular and veteran Lodge at Red Rocks party starter proclaims himself as "that rare breed of dj that can bounce to the latest club bangers, vibe to the most soulful house, toast to the sweetest dancehall and rock the dopest classics."

Here's five amazing reasons to check out MICK at the Lodge at Red Rocks:

a) A native of Youngstown, Ohio, MICK was the official DJ for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007. Of course, 2007 also marked the year that LeBron James led the Cavs to the NBA Finals. Thus, it's entirely possible that you'll be hearing someone who is likely regarded by LBJ as a one of his favorite DJ behind the decks.

b) MICK has partnered with none other than DJ legend Jazzy Jeff on five volumes of "Summertime" mixtapes celebrating Jeff's work with Will Smith (aka the Fresh Prince). These highly-respected mixtapes have also included unreleased Will Smith material. Yes, MICK's crates are just that deep.

c) MICK's rap credits don't just extend into gaining rap respect via corporate ears. He's also worked with Eminem, Diddy, Little Brother, A Tribe Called Quest and more on street-popular mixtapes, too. Again, MICK is a rare DJ whose ear is as plugged into  the block as it is to more ritzier surroundings. 

d)  There are 54 mixtapes of MICK's groundbreaking material available at http://iammick.com/music. Thank me later.

e) In Lodge at Red Rocks news, this AMAZING event will be 21+ and have NO COVER at the door. The rooftop deck will also be open, with numerous bar specials available.

The Lodge at Red Rocks is proud to have MICK for his first time alongside Lodge resident, DeeJay Life. Friday 4/24 9pm. No Cover. Event details HERE. 

Streetcar won’t be a free ride for long when it eventually gets rolling

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The era of the free ride on District’s 2.2-mile streetcar line, when it finally opens, will not last long, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s top transportation official said Tuesday.

Leif A. Dormsjo, director of the District’s Transportation Department, made clear at a D.C. Council budget hearing that along with taking a more conservative approach to building a much-contracted streetcar line, the Bowser administration also is rejecting a plan by its predecessors to let people ride free for an indefinite time.

“I would prefer we have some mechanism for fare collection sooner rather than later, even if it is somewhat inelegant,” Dormsjo said, adding that integration with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority payment system will not be available initially. “There’s no fast and cheap way to use the SmarTrip cards on the streetcar.”

Dormsjo also for the first time publicly scaled back plans to run the streetcars on H Street and Benning Road NE every 10 minutes. They are now expected to run every 12 to 15 minutes, he said.

That is in line with a new overall approach to the streetcar venture, which has long been high on promises and low on results. “The District needs to match expectations for streetcar service with what can reasonably be delivered,” according to a new Transportation Department summary of changes in the streetcar program under its current management.

Dormsjo, responding to a prompt from council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), said officials are also considering plans to try to raise private-sector funds for future streetcar-related construction, possibly through a special taxing district covering land owners along an expanded route to the Benning Road Metro station and west to the Georgetown waterfront.

“I think that is a great suggestion. I’m surprised it was disregarded by previous leadership,” Dormsjo said. “I think there’s an opportunity, particularly around Union Station, to find ways to allow the private sector to participate” in the investment.

Dormsjo noted, for example, that a plan to rebuild the Hopscotch Bridge, where the streetcar line currently terminates on the west end, will cost perhaps $200 million. Simply rehabilitating the bridge would cost $43 million, Dormsjo said.

The bridge project will be a “transformative” piece of an overall Union Station redevelopment plan, Dormsjo said, providing not only numerous public benefits but also private ones. It’s “only sensible” to explore private involvement in financing that project and other parts of the future streetcar expansion, he said.

The fare-free plan, developed under former mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), was meant to build ridership and deal with the fact that officials didn’t have a fare-collection system in place for what they hoped would be an opening by the end of last year. Now that city officials and contractors are working to fix a series of flaws in the line identified by an outside group of transportation experts, the District has been trying to determine how to charge riders.

Dormsjo said the fare system will not be ready by the time the H Street-Benning Road line opens, though that date also is still being determined by project officials. Payment will be required soon thereafter, he said, though he did not announce a fare.

“Some form of pay-and-display or mobile payment is something we’d introduce,” he said.

One possibility that had been under consideration by the Transportation Department is similar to a common parking setup in which motorists pay at a kiosk and receive a ticket as proof of payment. The exact method is still in flux, but Dormsjo said it’s crucial that riders be able to board a streetcar through all its doors to get the full benefits of the vehicles, which are designed to be easy to board and exit.

Cheh, who is chair of the council’s transportation committee, pressed Dormsjo to explain the Bowser administration’s recent request for enforcement authority related to streetcars.

“These would be streetcar police?” Cheh asked.

“These would be streetcar-fare inspectors. They would not be for performing any law enforcement or public safety activities,” Dormsjo said.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/traffi...

Good news 2%

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Wednesday is Tax Day, and House Republicans are taking the opportunity to hold a vote to repeal the estate tax. 

Republicans, who call the estate tax the “death tax,” and are calling the repeal bill the “Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015.” In announcingthe planned vote, they said the bill was part of their effort to “make sure Americans keep more of their hard earned money.”

But a repeal of the estate tax, which applies to property transferred from the deceased to their heirs, would help out very few Americans. While the on-paper rate of taxation on estates is 40 percent, it only ends up applying to 1 percent of taxpayers thanks to a variety of exemptions. In 2013, just 4,700 estates owed taxes out of 2.6 million deaths, or one-fifth of one percent. The Center on Budget Policy Priorities estimates that only the wealthiest 0.2 percent, or just two out of every 1,000 estates, will owe the tax this year.

Source: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/04/1...

US ambassador barred from Prague Castle by Czech president

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"I will not allow any ambassador to have a say in my foreign travel plans"

Czech President Milos Zeman has said the US ambassador is not welcome at his Prague Castle residence, reports say. 

The apparent snub follows remarks by US envoy Andrew Schapiro seen as critical of the president's decision to attend forthcoming World War Two commemorations in Moscow.

Several world leaders are boycotting the ceremony over Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict.

Mr Zeman is considered more sympathetic to Russia on the issue.

Ambassador Schapiro had "overstepped the mark" by criticising the decision to attend celebrations in May marking the anniversary of the end of WW2, news portal Parlamentni Listy quotes Mr Zeman as saying.

Because of this "the doors of the castle were closed" to Mr Schapiro, Mr Zeman continues.

"I cannot imagine that the Czech ambassador in Washington would advise the US president where he should travel. And I will not allow any ambassador to have a say in my foreign travel plans."

The castle doors are closed - to the US ambassador that is

Presidential spokesman Jiri Ovcacek later sought to downplay Mr Zeman's comments, saying that Mr Schapiro could still take part in social events at the Castle.

Mr Schapiro is quoted by Czech media as having said in March that it would "be awkward" if the Czech president was the only statesman from an EU country on the platform on Red Square.

The US embassy has declined to address Mr Zeman's comments.

Mr Zeman is known for his outspoken views on a range of issues, often at variance with those of the Social Democrat-led government, correspondents say.

The presidency is largely ceremonial, but Mr Zeman became the first man directly elected to the post when he took office in 2013.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32189...

Streetcar Will Be Finished and Extended, Bowser Says in State of the District Address

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(Updated at 9:05 a.m.) The H Street/Benning Road streetcar line won’t only be finished, it will be extended, Mayor Muriel Bowser said last night.

Delivering the State of the District address, Bowser pledged to start streetcar service on the H Street line and then expand the system to run all the way from Georgetown to downtown Ward 7, east of the Anacostia River.

Here’s what she said in the remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“We all know that the Streetcar has been long on promises but short on results. That changes now.

I promise you that we will get the Street Car along H Street and Benning Road line up and running.

Then we will extend the line to downtown Ward 7 so that Councilmember Alexander’s constituents along Benning Road can ride to Union Station and eventually all the way to Georgetown.”

Bowser didn’t say when streetcars will pick up passengers on H Street or other parts of D.C. Also, she did not specify the eastern end point of the planned line. Officials have previously shown plans that would bring streetcar service to the Minnesota Avenue or Benning Road Metro stations.

The future of the streetcar was up in the air less than a month ago, when DDOT’s acting director Leif Dormsjo left open the possibility of killing the entire project if additional reviews revealed fatal flaws.

Plans for the streetcar network have been scaled back since initial designs called for the creation of 37 miles of tracks.

Source: http://www.hillnow.com/2015/04/01/streetca...

The NEW Union Market

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Developer Edens’ plan to top the Union Market building with a theater and likely office space received final approval from the Zoning Commission on Monday night.

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The project at 1309-1329 5th Street NE (map) includes plans for the Angelika Film Center atop the current market building and four stories of office space or residences above that. Edens plans a park in front of the market and a plaza behind. The planned-unit development from Edens includes a proposed North building behind the market building in a second phase.

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The Zoning Commission voted to approve the project unanimously after Edens agreed to maintain the park and plaza for the life of the project and move the Union Market sign from a proposed location on top of the building to 5th Street.

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The parking lot in front of the market is currently leased to the developer from Gallaudet University. Some renderings of the project include open space where the parking lot currently is; others show the outline of 110-foot buildings there.

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Source: http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/eden...

Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

You could pay $118 on Amazon for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s catalog The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry. Or you could pay $0 to download it at MetPublications, the site offering “five decades of Met Museum publications on art history available to read, download, and/or search for free.” If that strikes you as an obvious choice, prepare to spend some serious time browsing MetPublications’ collection of free art books and catalogs.

Source: http://www.openculture.com/2015/03/downloa...

The worlds most famous musicians just hosted a bonkers Press conference

Only a few minutes ago, the entire music industry stood on a stage in a collective display of how rich and out of touch they are. They think you are willing to pay up to double the price of other streaming music services to pay for their streaming music service, because they are crazy.

Imagine this: canceling your Spotify subscription, and paying $20 for a Tidal subscription instead. It's more expensive because it's "higher quality" and "artist-owned," which is important because Usher, Daft Punk, and Madonna have been living in wretched penury for far too long, and it's time for people to give back. The modern-day Our Gang (which counted among its members not only the aforementioned supernovas, but also Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Chris Martin, and Jack White) held a "keynote" to promote Tidal, the already extant European streaming company Jay Z recently purchased for $56 million because he's bored.

Jay Z and Beyonce (also present, beaming) dug up an old email thread (SUBJ: SURPRISE BRUNCH PARTY SATURDAY!), hit reply-all, and look at how many of their family friends turned out to stand on stage, visibly uncomfortable, and listen to Alicia Keys give an incoherent speech. At the conclusion of Keys' statement, which merged the rarely combined traits of being about an app and quoting Nietzsche, the artists all signed some sort of "declaration" one by one. I don't know what the document said—it was probably just a blank piece of paper, or perhaps an original copy of the Declaration of Independence that Deadmau5 received as a White Elephant gift.

When it came time for Madonna to sign, she put her whole leg up on the table, as if to say to the world World, I'm MADONNA and yes I am not too old to move my leg this way. No one is going to use Tidal. These dummies!

In case you had any lingering sympathy for the struggling mega-famous recording artist, here's a video they made to make you hate them:

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"We're going to change the course of history," Jay Z says on camera. Then he and his friends raise a champagne toast to the glorious future.

Source: http://gawker.com/the-worlds-most-famous-m...

De La Soul New Album Kickstarter Campaign

Hey, everybody: We are De La Soul: Posdnous, Dave, and Maseo. We’re best known for our albums 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, Stakes Is High and many others. Some of our hit singles include "Me Myself and I," "Saturdays" and "Feel Good Inc." a collaboration with Gorillaz.

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We’ve collaborated with everyone from Chaka Khan to Common to even NASA: In 2004, our song "Potholes in My Lawn," became one of the first rap records to be beamed from another planet by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. Now we are here to collaborate with YOU, humanoid, on the most exciting project we’ve ever done.

For the last decade, we've been independent artists, free of a record label interfering in our creative process. This will be our first De La Soul studio album in eleven years. We’re excited and ready to create. It's been essential that we find ways to fund, record and release new music. Typically the fans have been the ones who support and appreciate our vision, so using Kickstarter and giving our fans the opportunity to be a part of the process just feels right. We see Kickstarter as a home for creative minds and a wonderful platform; where people who believe, respect and see the vision, can support an idea and make it a reality.

True to our Hip-Hop roots, we make music without limits. This new album will incorporate elements of Jazz, Funk, Rock, Country Western and anything else we're feeling in the moment. To us, music is the influence of sounds, sounds in all vibrations and sizes, telling a story or pointing a direction. Some of these sounds we call samples, samples we use to make songs.

Sampling is basically copying a piece of sound, from one recording, and reusing it to create a new recording. It is how De La has always made music. The sampler is our instrument, but people who copy, and in this case "sample," have also been considered thieves and unoriginal. So, unfortunately a huge part of our career has also been spent fighting off the “sample police.”

Enough of those battles! For the new album, we needed a completely new approach, something Hip-Hop hasn’t done before. So, here it is: For the first time, we're going to sample ourselves.

Over the last three years, we've hired some of LA's finest studio musicians and recorded them in free-styled, unrehearsed, jam sessions. They played everything from banjo to upright bass, sometimes up to a dozen musicians at once; simply allowing sounds to integrate. We did 90% of these recordings in one of LA's most classic studios, Vox. We chose Vox because we wanted our recordings to have that creamy analog warm mixing board sound that the old records our parent’s once played had. With over 200 hours of sounds, and vibes, equal to about 250 to 300 full-length vinyl LPs, it's time that we get to the work.

Here’s the interesting part. We are now in the process of going back to that 200+ hours of music, listening, enjoying and discovering those special moments where, musically, something magical happens, where interesting sounds and layers were forgotten, where new sounds can be sampled, looped, chopped, filtered and arranged, freely, without the intrusive presence of publishing politics and the infamous “sample police.” What we've done is created our own crates of records; album upon albums to mine and sample from. In our world, what we’ve created is freedom, freedom to make the art you believe in without having to compromise your vision. That’s what we’ve always wanted most, that’s what we’ve always believed in, that’s what we’ve fought for, and that’s why we’re doing this Kickstarter with you.

We have a fantastic cast of artist we're collaborating with. So far Damon Albarn (of Blur/Gorillaz), 2 Chainz, Little Dragon, and David Byrne (of Talking Heads) have blessed us with their talents; and we’ll have more announcements of collabs to come, right here on Kickstarter.

We’re crowdfunding it to help pay for recording, mixing, marketing, and everything else. Your support will keep us in the studio, help us continue to sample and manipulate the music we’ve recorded, will help us get additional production work done; and will help us design, package, market, and distribute the album. The whole thing. We literally cannot do it without you.

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Source: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/15191...

Trevor Noah to Succeed Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show'

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In December, Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old comedian, made his debut as an on-air contributor on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” offering his outsider’s perspective, as a biracial South African, on the United States.

“I never thought I’d be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa,” he said with a smile. “It kind of makes me a little nostalgic for the old days, back home.”

Now, after only three appearances on that Comedy Central show, Mr. Noah has gotten a huge and unexpected promotion. On Monday, Comedy Central announced that Mr. Noah would be the new host of “The Daily Show,” succeeding Mr. Stewart after he steps down later this year.

The network’s selection of Mr. Noah comes less than two months after Mr. Stewart, 52, revealed on Feb. 10 that he was leaving “The Daily Show” after a highly successful 16-year run that transformed the show into authoritative, satirical comedy on current events. (An exact timetable for Mr. Stewart’s departure has not been decided, Comedy Central said.

Mr. Noah, who spoke by phone from Dubai, where he is on a leg of a comedy tour, said he had been given a great opportunity, as well as a significant challenge.

“You don’t believe it for the first few hours,” Mr. Noah said of learning about his new job. “You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol.”

The appointment of Mr. Noah, a newcomer to American television, promises to add youthful vitality and international perspective to “The Daily Show.” It puts a nonwhite performer at the head of this flagship Comedy Central franchise, and one who comes with Mr. Stewart’s endorsement.

When Mr. Stewart announced his plans to depart “The Daily Show,” Ms. Ganeless said that Comedy Central quickly drew up “a shortlist” of possible successors “and Trevor checked off every box on that list and then some.”

“He brings such a unique worldview and a deep understanding of human nature, which makes his comedy so insightful,” she added. “He’s truly a student of the world.”

Mr. Noah gave no formal auditions for the job, outside of his performances on “The Daily Show” and elsewhere.

Ms. Ganeless said the decision was made after she “huddled” with Doug Herzog, the president of Viacom’s entertainment group, and Kent Alterman, the Comedy Central president of content development and original programming, while Mr. Stewart acted as “our consigliere through the whole process.”

During this time, fan support emerged for other longtime “Daily Show” cast members, including Samantha Bee, who joined in 2003 and is leaving to create a comedy news show for TBS.

A grass-roots campaign also coalesced around Jessica Williams, who has appeared on “The Daily Show” since 2012. However, she wrote on her Twitter account, “Thank you but I am extremely under-qualified for the job!”

Ms. Ganeless said she would not comment “on any specific names or conversations” that came up during the search.

She said that “The Nightly Show,” a newly introduced series with Larry Wilmore as host, will remain as a companion program to “The Daily Show.” Comedy Central’s support of “The Nightly Show” “does not waver,” she said, and that Mr. Stewart remains a producer of that program. Ms. Ganeless said there had not been “any specific conversations” about what personnel would work with Mr. Noah on “The Daily Show,” but added that “he respects and admires the team there that has built the institution.”

Mr. Noah said he expected to be criticized and second-guessed long before his first episode as host. “We live in a world where some people still say Beyoncé can’t sing,” he said. “Clearly I’m not immune to that.”

But in his conversations with Mr. Stewart, Mr. Noah said that he had found a kindred spirit in a fellow comedian who was not much further along when he came to “The Daily Show.”

“He told me, ‘I was where you were when I took over the show,’ ” Mr. Noah said. “ ‘Nobody knew me. I was just starting out, finding my voice, and that’s when I was handed this seat.’ ”

“Now,” Mr. Noah added, “it’s my turn to steer the ship.”

“I’m thrilled for the show and for Trevor,” Mr. Stewart said in a statement. “He’s a tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with.” Mr. Stewart added that he “may rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!!!”

But the decision also invites questions about Mr. Noah’s experience and visibility (or lack thereof), and why the network did not choose a woman to crack the all-male club of late-night television hosts.

Michele Ganeless, the Comedy Central president, said in an interview: “We talked to women. We talked to men. We found in Trevor the best person for the job.”

Ms. Ganeless added: “You don’t hope to find the next Jon Stewart — there is no next Jon Stewart. So, our goal was to find someone who brings something really exciting and new and different.”

In his standup routines, Mr. Noah comes across as a self-assured polyglot with an international perspective.

As he joked in a 2013 comedy set on “Late Show With David Letterman,” Mr. Noah said that he did not like being introduced as a comedian from Africa, as if he represented the entire continent. “They make it sound like a guy in leopard skin’s going to come running on the stage,” he said.

Mr. Noah said in his phone interview, “I didn’t live a normal life — I grew up in a country that wasn’t normal.”

He grew up in Soweto, the son of a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father, whose union was illegal during the apartheid era. “My mother had to be very clandestine about who my father was,” Mr. Noah said. “He couldn’t be on my birth certificate.”

By the time he started performing stand-up in his 20s, Mr. Noah said he had long been taught that “speaking freely about anything, as a person of color, was considered treason.”

His globe-trotting spirit (and ability to speak six languages) set him apart in comedy, and he performed widely in the United States between 2010 and 2012, eventually coming to Mr. Stewart’s attention about two years ago.

Source: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/03/31/arts/...

Take a Sneak Peek Inside DC’s First Bonchon

 

The Korean fried chicken chain with a cult-like following opens March 30.

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One of the most anticipated openings of the spring is almost here: Bonchon is set to open its first DC branch in Navy Yard on March 30. The Korean fried chicken has earned a loyal (if not slightly crazed) following in the greater Washington area, with ten branches from Annandale to Rockville dishing up the crunchy, double-fried birds. Hour plus-long waits can form at peak times. A single branch blew through 10,000 wings on Super Bowl Sunday.

 

New dishes, same chicken

The inaugural District location, located just three blocks from Nationals Park, comes courtesy of Thomas An and Paul Choi, who’re also behind the Arlington and Centreville branches of the franchise. The menu will be similar to Arlington’s, though the team has added new Korean-fusion dishes, such as a bulgogi steak and cheese wrap and bulgogi sliders stacked on brioche buns with homemade kimchi slaw. More traditional additions include japchae, glass noodles sautéed with vegetables and beef, and a Japanese-inspired crab rice ball wrapped in seared salmon. Crunchy wings, drumsticks, and legs are a given, slicked in spicy or soy-garlic glaze.

A large bar, outdoor patio to come

Local architecture and design firm GrizForm is behind the decor, as is the case with the Arlington shop. Though not a sports bar, drinkers can post up in the 90-seat lounge area equipped with televisions for watching the game playing out at nearby Nationals Park. A full bar is armed with 30 bottles and 16 draft beers, a blend of Asian brews like Kirin and Sapporo alongside local craft drafts such as Port City and Bold Rock Cider from Virginia. Wines and spirits mirror the mix, with sakes and sojus as well as Western liquors. A separate dining area roughly seats 65, with classic Bonchon red and black hues mixed with wood tables and surfaces. Once the weather warms next season the eatery can fit 60 to 80 guests on an outdoor patio.*

Separate takeout space

Bonchon locations are known for swift takeout business—the double-fried chicken holds up particularly well—and the DC location will be no different. A designated takeout counter is located at the back of the eatery for picking up orders, particularly handy on game days or for lunch. Though details are still in the works, the team plans for special to-go packages for home Nats games.

Happy hour, late night 

The fried chicken spot is angling to be a place for all times of day. Happy hour will run Monday through Friday, 4 to 7, with discounted prices on five draft beers, select bottles, and dishes like the bulgogi sliders. While the cheaper offerings won’t be served when the Nats are playing at home, the kitchen will remain open late for post-game revelry; 11 on weekdays, and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Win or lose, late-night Bonchon is still winning.

 

 
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Source: http://www.washingtonian.com/blogs/bestbit...

X2 Bus Reportedly Has Brick Thrown Through Windshield; 2 People Injured

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 (Updated at 10:25 a.m.) Two people on board an X2 bus are being treated for injuries after someone reportedly threw a brick through the windshield.

Officials were notified of the incident at 19th Street and Benning Road NE at 9:45 a.m., a Metro spokeswoman said.

Two people on the westbound bus were hurt. It’s not immediately known whether the driver was injured, Metro said.

No information on a suspect was provided.

X2 riders told officials earlier this month that they’re frustrated with delayed service, disruptive passengers and impolite drivers, as Hill Now reported.

“Any time you get on the X2, you get a show,” a WMATA street operations supervisor admitted.

Ridership on the line has climbed an estimated 14 percent in four months.

Source: http://www.hillnow.com/2015/03/30/x2-bus-r...