Melodies of Esther, Sweet Esther at the National Press Club

$$ – $$$

On July 30, 2017 Jeremiah Theatricals presents a Concert Performance of an original musical show “Esther, Sweet Esther”, sponsored by Du Plain Global Enterprises, Inc., at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Sharing the Details and PIXofDC were invited to attend a one-night-only gala event fundraiser in the ballroom of the historic National Press Club in Washington, DC. What made this night special was that it included a live concert performance!

Ballroom transformed into a theatre. Courtesy of Mike Braaten

Mirroring the Biblical story of an orphan turned ancient Persian Queen and based on a book by Jeremiah and Wendy Ginsberg, Esther, Sweet Esther is an original show with music and lyrics by Jeremiah Ginsberg. The story is about a heroic woman, Queen Esther, who courageously saves the lives of Jewish people — her people — and conquers all the challenges coming her way! She defeats her nemesis, Haman, the man with the little square mustache. The performance is an opera and broadway-esque vibe with comedic and thrilling moments, keeping the entire room engaged in watching such a historic event unfold.

The lead singing beautifully. Photo courtesy of Mike Braaten 

The cast of ten talented and vocally trained performers, along with having the composer as the narrator, brings the story to life. Singers stand in front of a large screen backdrop that serves as a setting to the tale each time the image changes. The performance is in two parts and the arias are vivid and ever so moving. See for yourself in the video of highlights below!

The overall theme of the show is to promote cultural understanding of Israel and the Jewish people. Through songs, Esther, Sweet Esther takes a stand against anti-Semitism and inspires hope for those persecuted. A fun fact of the night is that a portion of ticket sales are tax-deductible! If anyone purchased tickets to the show, they receive a tax-deductible receipt from Jeremiah Theatricals.

So who made this all happen?

Jeremiah Theatricals also known as Jeremiah Ministries, Inc., is nonprofit corporation dedicated to creating and presenting uplifting Biblical stories through music and theatre. From the early 1980s, Jeremiah and Wendy Ginsberg have written and produced four Biblical musicals: Mendel & Moses, The Time of Mendel’s Trouble, Rabboni and of course,  Esther, Sweet Esther.

Du Plain Global Enterprises, Inc, is an international Public Relations and Special Events company that represents a variety of media and cultural organizations that began from 1995. Founder Jan Du Plain is a renowned Embassy Liaison and integral part of PassportDC and as well as for the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center, participating in the 300 international events that are mandated by U.S. Congress annually.

The National Press Club is the leading professional organization for journalists and photojournalists. Members can participate in activities that build their skills, through services that meet the changing needs of worldwide communications and through social events that build a community in the district and across the nation and world. The Club is where news is shared and stands as advocate of press freedom and the First Amendment: Freedom of Speech.

Miss the event last year? That’s all right because Esther, Sweet Esther Returns next month!

Coming to Washington, D.C. again to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s Independence Day, selections of the musical will be performed by six amazing singers at The Trump International Hotel. The event is on Monday, May 21, 2018, 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM (Light refreshments with the cast & creative team after the presentation.)
While Tickets are free, they must be obtained in advance. Seating is limited
For an invitation, contact: Jeremiah Ginsberg (954) 263-9127

See you there!

Embassy of Georgia: A Warm and Welcoming Party Experience!


April 5, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the “Experience Georgian Culture” party held at the Georgian Embassy (1824 R street, NW, Washington D.C).

For this party, I wore a black v-neck shirt from Macys, and a long black skirt, with intricate gold designs embroidered at the bottom from Nordstrom. The commute was long, difficult but worth it. I knew finding parking around certain embassies would be arduous so I decided to park my car at Bethesda metro station, metro to Dupont circle and just walk the rest of the way.

Tickets for this event were around $40 and this price includes authentic food, art exhibition, entertainment, and a complimentary swag bag.  The Georgian Center, in partnership with the Embassy of Georgia, sponsored this entrancing party. The embassy, itself, was crowded with a variety of folks ranging from Georgian denizens, DC wonks, and media outlets. The house had expansive floors, an ornate staircase with inscriptions, and a variety of art hung along the walls. There was a complimentary coat check, as soon as you walked through the doors.

Embassy of Georgia party 1
Photo taken by Kevin Hertle 

An extensive buffet had a hungry crowd, armed with red and white Georgian wines, and well tailored dresses and suits, forming a polite queue.  The food emanated a warm touch with the crowd, as many foodies enjoyed sweet and savory treats melded with an array of spices and herbs such as tarragon, dill, flat parsley, and coriander. Kachapuri, a warm, gooey, cheese bread, enticed and evinced a homey-nostalgia with native Georgians.  Foods such as Badrijan Nigzit which is roasted eggplant served flat with walnut paste; Pkhali, a paste made from spinach, walnuts, and garlic; and Qababi, grilled minced meat kebabs sprinkled with onion and sumac also made memorable appearance.

Embassy of Georgia 6

The party started promptly by 6:30 p.m. Guests were welcomed by the Ambassador of Georgia, H.E. David Bakradze, who has been serving as ambassador since November 2016.

For the first half of the party, Vlad Bregvadz, president of the Georgian Center honored several individuals for their outstanding contributions to the promotion of Georgian culture abroad. The first ever Georgian stand-up comedian George Bitadze, brought much laughter into the room as he adeptly layered in stories, witticisms, and anecdotes. Mamuka Gogiberidz and Giorgi Popkhadze, performed classical Georgian folk music and the popular and highly animated Georgian Flash mob, led by the talented Maya Monroe, and staged by Veronika Metonidze and Levan Chkheidze brought down the house.

Embassy of Georgia 3

Artwork, jewelry sales, and fashion designs by Ana Tkabladze, Tamar Mosulishvili, Nanuka Gogichaishvili, Gosha Dimitruk, Levan Mosiashvili, and Nana Chikhladze invigorated the networking and wine tasting sessions. Mixed media works such as oil paintings, acrylic portraits, clay sculptures, wood carvings, and combined metals were crafted by established and emerging artists. Proceeds from art sales benefited the Georgian Cultural Center and Bebnisi School for children. Zeg Made and Style Diplomacy dot com sponsored these talented artists as well.

Embassy of Georgia 2

The food, people, and artwork brought me closer to a better understanding of Georgia. The food had a homemade taste, imitable to if I had a Georgian mom making this from scratch at home. The people were easy-going, warm, and wonderful conversationalists. I especially had a wonderful time getting to know the flash mob and learning more about Georgian culture from key figures from the Georgian cultural center too. The art left an indelible impression with me and I was able to see how beautiful the country side through a creative lens. Overall, I had a magical time and I look forward to attending more Georgian cultural events.

Feel free to make a charitable donation to the Georgian Cultural Center here.

About Georgian Cultural Center

The Georgian Center is a charitable 501 (c) (3) non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting Georgian culture, education, and innovation in the United States of America.The Center is not financially supported by any government and relies on contributions from the diaspora and friends of Georgia.

Throwback-Center Stage (Grand Opening): The White Snake Review


March 3, 2017, I had an exclusive invite from Center Stage to cover their theatrical release of The White Snake. The show was approximately  2 hours and 11 minutes long and I was able to finagle a cookie and a drink during the 15 minute intermission. Unfortunately, Center Stage’s restaurant vendor Flavor was not open during the time but I still had a remarkable time.

The last time I went to Center Stage was when I was 19 years old and the venue, if compared to today’s renovation, was dwarfed in size. The 28 million for the renovation project does speak volumes, with its’ grand, illustrious marquee. The lobby is much more spacious, the box office was revamped, and there are all sorts of literary quotes just floating about the wall by the Pearlstone Theater. On two opposite ends of the theater are a wine bar and a coffee bar, but the mini hike is worth it. Speaking of a mini hike, driving to Center Stage was easy.

There was a parking garage just a block from the venue which was only $5 for the show. The drive was decent since the parking garage was nearby and there wasn’t much traffic that day.

For a matinee theater show, I decided to do my hair a bit differently by wearing two braids crossed in the back. I wore my  White House Black Market gray and white leopard print work blazer with a champagne pink ruffled Anne Taylor shirt with white pants. For my birthday that year, one of my close friends gave me a Sailor Moon-inspired Luna head shaped purse. Surprisingly enough, this purse pairs well with my ensemble.

I may have been a little overdressed for this opening but the young college student in me was so excited to be back! I had so many fond memories of Center Stage in my college heyday that I wanted to relive it in my current state as an older millenial. As soon as I walked in, I was given an amazing swag bag full of papers about Center Stage, information on upcoming productions, and the bag, itself, I have been using for work.

The seats inside the head theater were fancy, soft, and princess like. I love the color red and those plush seats were heavenly. A definite upgrade from what I remembered back in the day.

“The White Snake” was a production by Mary Zimmerman and  directed by Natsu Onoda Power. Zimmerman adeptly fused Western and Eastern perspectives in this retelling of the story with music, set designs, imagery, and costumes. This adaptation of this old, Chinese tale, was vibrantly displayed with colorful settings, creative snake costumes, and an almost surreal sequence change that could be oft-times had a “Disney” magic to it.

Power, an associate professor of Theater from Georgetown University, worked the story of friendship, love, and acceptance into a relatable piece. The underpinnings of the story is to recognize that although we all come from different walks of life, it’s good to accept the person as whole.

The show was strongly directed and several actors broke out and shined a light with their witty quips, light steps, and emotive reactions.  The White Snake played by Aime Donna Kelly delivered a strong performance that vacillated between enigmatic and forlorn when her lover, the pharmacist’s assistant, Xu Xian, played by Joe Ngo, discovers the truth behind her true species. Ngo had a multi-dimensional performance that shifted from silly, to concerned, to determined.

My favorite character was the sassy Green Snake played by Eileen Rivera. Her tenacity, verve, and fun energy enthralled the crowd. She had a literal snake like charm whenever she made a one-liner.

Ensemble members such as  Caitlin Cisco, Samy el-Noury, Jason Kao Hwang, Damian Thompson, Yukio Tsuji, and Joshua Ziemann brought out a moving magic from scene to scene.

The play was also easy to get into. The narrative just sucks you in from the beginning.  Power provides strong lines for the cast and it’s quite noticeable when you notice the audience’s visceral reactions.

I can easily see this play heralding Baltimore’s top ten for best theater shows in 2017. The acting, directing, lush scenery, and the script blended East Asian culture with Western humor, plausibility, and culture.

Although this play is currently not in production: Scroll below for upcoming shows at Center Stage. Definitely consider donating to this great theater right here!

About Center Stage

Center Stage is the state theater of Maryland, and Baltimore‘s largest professional producing theater. Center Stage began in a converted gymnasium in 1963 as a full arena theatre that seated 240 people.Center Stage houses two performing spaces, the 541-seat Pearlstone and the smaller Head Theater, both in its home in the Mount Vernon Cultural District of Baltimore.




Upcoming Center Stage Plays (February-March 2018)

1.) Skeleton Crew (February 2018)

From the playwright of Detroit ’67Skeleton Crew (the third play in Dominique Morisseau’s acclaimed Detroit trilogy) tells the story of four workers at the last exporting auto plant in Detroit struggling to survive as their way of life disappears. Set around 2008, this play vividly portrays the modern struggle in a changing America, and reveals the real people on the factory line. This skeleton crew—the bare minimum number of staff needed to function—is made up of people who keep the vital operations of the plant running in the face of obstacles, rumors, and, eventually, the confirmation of their worst fears. Loyalties are tested and boundaries are crossed as this vibrant team of loyal and proud workers navigate an uncertain future. Purchase tickets here

2.) Animal Farm (March 2018)

One day on Manor Farm, shortly before his death, an old boar named Major told the other animals about his dream. United by the realization that all animals have a common enemy—man—the animals revolted against the tyranny of forced work. They fought and gained their freedom and established a system of thought, Animalism, based on the wise words of the Major. All animals are comrades. All animals are equal. But as months and years pass, the exalted words of the Major become distorted, and the citizens of Animal Farm come to see that some animals are more equal than others. Purchase tickets here.

3.) Mobile Unite Twelfth Night (March 2018)

Mobile Unit, an exciting new initiative of Baltimore Center Stage, that breaks down the walls of conventional theater spaces by taking high-quality theater to economically, culturally and geographically diverse communities across the Baltimore area, including homeless, elderly, incarcerated. The project launched in spring 2017 following a successful pilot project in 2016. Purchase tickets here.




Fabretto Children’s Foundation- Masquerade Gala 2018: Night for Ninos


February 2, 2018 at 7:30 p.m I donned my flashiest cocktail dress (it was red, sparkly, and Jessica Simpson) and my flashiest shoes (silvery pointed-toe Badgley Mishka) and attended Masquerade Gala| Night for Ninos sponsored by Fabretto Children’s Foundation and held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

All proceeds from this sparkly event help “unveil the power of food”. Meaning, Fabretto will be able to continue efforts to lift Nicaraguan communities out of poverty by financing more education initiatives. World Central Kitchen (think famous Chef Jose Andres) is a special partner and has been key in creating environments for children to thrive.  From providing nutritional education to parents and teachers, to helping create local jobs and increase family earnings to families in Nicaragua.

I may need a new curler but I had major hair drama that day. I couldn’t curl the way I dreamed too so I used bobby pins to nab the guilty culprit strands down. I used Not Your Mother’s volume hairspray and that helped keep my hair in control.

Anyways, going en route had its ups and downs. Traffic after work was a bit much but I was glad to see parking garages .4 miles away from the venue. Instead of paying $20 for valet parking at the venue, most attendees opted to pay for parking garages nearby that probably cost between ($12-$16) for the evening.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts has a breath-taking venue.  Much of the party was held inside the Great Hall and the Mezzanine, which has an elegant event space ideal for masquerade galas. I definitely had some “Cinderella” moments when I was beset by the spacious marble reception area and I was enamored by the ballroom decked out with three elegant crystal chandeliers and women-made art from the museum. I could not help but also take a few selfies by the white marble staircases that spiral down to the Mezzanine.

This gala was heavily staffed with stewards and stewardesses in white and black uniforms, that either had gold trays of canopies or chill bottles of white wine. I was only 1/4 finished with my drink when a steward walked by me and filled my glass to the brim. All attendees had their table number and bidding numbers etched on the back of their booklets.

Attendees were dressed to the nines. I truly felt dwarfed in size since most guests seemed to tower over six feet. Socialites wore long gowns that kissed the floor and had their hair freshly highlighted and styled for this party.  Ornate, basic, and event feather strung masks were worn by both men and women. Even I couldn’t tell guests apart after they went  incognito.

Here’s an interesting anecdote: This bartender, decked in an all white suit, and a hearty smile was trying to give the tall, actress-like, red head a glass of champagne but accidentally knocked a candle down to her gown. For a good five seconds her dress was ignited with light flames but she was able to kick it off. She was gracious, kind, and forgiving to the bartender and walked off like a true lady. I didn’t know who she was but this was an interesting spectacle to see.

The food was a Michellin star dream come true. I ate a scrumptious egg quiche topped with poach pears, had orzo with fresh tomatoes, sampled five varieties of breads and can declare Greek Olive bread was my favorite, and ate great beef and pork accompanied by cream sauces.

The silent auction, which was on the top floor overlooking the mezzanine, was lined with goodies such as theater tickets, shows, classes, and trips out of state.

After some lengthy hob-nobbing with Fabretto employees, volunteers, and board members I was seated to a beautiful table arrangement. Imagine fluffy black table cloths, gold masks, and candles that seem to have an everlasting flame. The event was spearheaded by the honorary host committee of: Dr. John j. Degioia, President of Georgetown University, His Excellency Francisco Campbell, Ambassador of the Republic of Nicaragua, and prayer from Father Otto Hentz S.J.

Kevin Marinacci (CEO of Fabretto) opened the ceremony by welcoming the crowd, and Brian Macnair (CEO of World Central Kitchen) highlighted the strong partnership between both Fabretto and World Central Kitchen. A live auction featuring inclusive trips to Belize, France, and other exotic locales brought out a verve with the crowd that could only be contained with a lime, green, light saber from the auctioneer.

The silent auction ended to great success: raising 69k for Nicaraguan communities! Live Latin music closed out the party and dancing was immense, magical, and never seemed to end.

Consider donating to this great cause here!

About Fabretto Children’s Foundation

Fabretto’s mission is to empower underserved children and their families in Nicaragua to reach their full potential, improve their livelihoods, and take advantage of economic opportunity through education. This mission is achieved through early education, primary education, and technical vocational education initiatives. Inspired by the legacy of Padre Fabretto, the organization envisions a prosperous Nicaragua where all children and adolescents have meaningful opportunities to grow and learn, in communities that offer access to quality education, so that they may reach their full potential.

For over 60 years, Fabretto has been building relationships within Nicaraguan communities in order to provide hope and a better future to the children and youth in need. Today, the organization serves over 20,000 children and youth through work in seven Fabretto Education Centers and more than 440 local public schools.

Washington Film Institute: “In Order of Disappearance” screening at Arts Club of Washington D.C.


January 27, 2018 I watched my very first Washington Film Institute screening at the Arts Club of Washington D.C. I had an exclusive invite to attend the showing of “In Order of Disappearance” (Kraftidioten), a 2014  Norwegian Comedy, Crime, Thriller about a mild-mannered snow plowman, whose sun was mistakenly murdered. The plowman, Nils Ploughs, unknowingly ignites a war between vegan gangster “The County” and the Serbian mafia boss Papa.


The venue, the Arts Club of Washington D.C, formerly the home of President James Monroe, has celebrated and promoted the visual, performing, and literary arts in the George Washington University area for over a century. The movie screening was held in the Monroe Gallery, which features ornate contemporary art all around the walls, and a stage with full audio visual support. The gallery seats 120 guests. Movie goers were even treated to sit on the balcony to watch this humorous film.

For an event of this magnitude I wore my White House Black Market plunging neckline cocktail dress, and draped an intricately sewn black drape to hide my own plunging neckline.

John Hanshaw, Founder of the Washington Film Institute

I wore my black, Italian, leather boots from Nordstroms and some Kate Spade stalkings. It’s still Winter after all and I couldn’t wear stilettos in this weather. Street parking was a bit difficult to find but I did find a parking garage that only charges $12.00 (after 5pm)  .3 miles from the venue. Attendees primarily dressed in luxurious black sweaters, business suits, trendy black leather jackets, and had fresh haircuts that could only be defined as clean and pristine.


I unfortunately missed the social before the movie (it was from 7:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m) and tried to grapple for a decent seat. The movie attendees were full of decorum and helped me and my friends find the best seats by the front. Almost everyone inside had a glass of red or white wine, and several attendees non-discreetly snacked on hummus and veggies, Greek dolmas, as well as other haute-gourmand treats. The bar was well staffed, dressed and had sparkly smiles. A part of me felt like I was in a movie although I was watching one on screen.


John Hanshaw, founder of the Washington Film Institute, and wearer of a fashion forward Chinese suit top, flicked the projector  on with cinematic ease. The movie came on without a hitch– to roaring applause from the crowd.

All attendees for this showing  are ardent film lovers. So watching a movie (especially an international one) would be thoroughly consumed, and also digested into weighty conversation full of stories, anecdotes, and memories of traveling overseas.

I have never watched a Norwegian film before, but I think this won’t be the last. I laughed so hard throughout this film. Whenever a character died there was a quirky nickname and a death symbol flashing on screen. The vegan crime boss had the best one-liners and reactions throughout the film. I doubt he could even get away with half the quips he was spouting if this was an American-made film. I could only imagine the creative freedom the director had with this film.

The Washington Film Institute often carries art-films like this on a monthly basis. This institute was founded in 2007 by John Hanshaw, as a way to inspire DC audiences through film education and the cultivation of the cinematic arts. Hanshaw has worked in film and television for over ten years at NHK (Japan Broadcasting  Corporation), PBS, and most recently National Geographic. If you are a lover of fine cinema, and want to meet like-minded souls, definitely join the Washington Film Institute!

About the Washington Film Institute

The WFI is an organization created to inspire audiences through film education and the cultivation of the cinematic arts. The institute does this by developing educational programs and programming film events throughout the year. You can join their EMAIL LIST for Event Invites at:

Sharing the Details will be covering the Washington Film Institute’s Oscar Red Carpet party March 4, 2018. Tune in for details!






Boordy Vineyards: 72 Years of Rich Wine and Fun Times to Come


For most of my life, I have never been a big fan of mixed drinks. I don’t know why, but I could never imbibe a Cosmo and honestly say I enjoyed it. The only mixed drink that I could ever really drink is a Bloody Mary, but then again, I would need a Grade-A Brunch experience before I can down one.

I’m picky with drinks, in general, because my only liquor of choice is wine. Preferably red wine, but wine nonetheless. And I wouldn’t just drink any glass, box, or bottle of wine either–I only want quality.  Boordy Wine is a natural choice for me. One, because I am a proud Marylander and two because Boordy makes rich, award winning, red wines that touch the soul.

Last February I had a VIP  tour around Boordy vineyards, witness the wine making process, sample a thorough selection of red and white wines, and get background history on the vineyard.


If you live in the Baltimore area, the commute is a breeze. Parking is ample, free, and found around the premise. If I came around Summer time, the vineyards would’ve been fleshed out with grapes, just waiting to burst underneath the hot, scorching sun. Since I came around Winter time, I missed out on a potential scenic moment.

I was able to tour where the wines are processed (large, silvery, cylinder machines) and stored (legit French cork flown in from France).


High-end wineries (like Boordy) often store their wine in large, french oak barrels as a way to enhance the fermentation process and to assure the wine connoisseur that they are only drinking the finest. Boordy is famous in the Mid Atlantic region for their red wines, especially its’ Landmark series which is made in limited quantities and sourced from 100 percent Maryland  grown grapes. This award winning wine series is flavorful, plush, well blended, and dark. Consider joining Boordy’s Landmark Wine club to partake on these rare delights here.  

After I was given a tour of the farm area, visitor center, wine cellar, barn, I was escorted to the wine bar area where I sampled a rainbow of reds only the Gods could imagine. Here’s my review on a handful of tastes:

Dry Rose 2016: With a blush color, and lip puckering after taste. This dry rose resembles ones from France. This sample was both delicate, clean tasting, and airy like the skies.

Merlot 2014: A deeply, aged wine that marries black currants, earthy textures, and aromas of fresh berries from a Fall Harvest. The medium body is perfect. This drink would pair well with a medium rare steak or a finely, roasted, lamb dish.

Landmark Reserve 2013: Here is a personal favorite of mine.  This red wine is full bodied, with a full-taste that invades the senses. There are cocoa notes and smoky tobacco aromas enhanced in this tasting. I highly recommend this bottle for special events and parties. It’s one of those kinda wines.

Spiced Wassail: I call this a fun red wine that you can party with during Summer cookouts, bon fires, and days on the beach. The spices mingled with natural sweet nodes evinces warm and inviting memories from my youth.

Syrah: Deep, majestic, and mythical. That’s precisely what I thought about Boordy’s syrah and find this to a mature drink for wine lovers.


Boordy was also so kind that they gifted me with a wide range of wines! They make the best birthday, engagement and Galentines day gifts! Definitely check out their website here for more details on where you can get your own set of red wines.


Along with fine tasting wine, Boordy is a great venue for birthdays, and  for special events. Their 19th century barn has two levels, a rustic panoramic area to view music, and a floor to dance the night away. This barn also houses great live band shows, an open area for eating, and a chance to take the best #FarmLife selfie amidst the strewn lights hanging confidently along the barn interior.


Winter Events at Boordy Vineyards:

January Weekends
1pm – 5pm
Admission is free
Winetastings are optional – $8 or $15

Party at Boordy’s 19th century barn, enjoy wonderful food-truck fare from Brick Brick’n’ Fire  Pizza on Sundays and Pasta La Vista on Saturdays.

Live Music from 1:00p.m.-4:30pm:

Jan 7 – Art Wachter & Blues Grass
Jan 13 – Take 2
Jan 14 – Jay Swanson
Jan 20 – Tom Beers & Friends
Jan 21 – Dan Haas
Jan 27 – Dear Creek
Jan 28 – Smooth Groove

February Weekends

1pm – 5pm
Admission is free
Winetastings are optional – $8 or $15

Live Music from 1:00p.m.-4:30pm:
Feb 3 – Spider Hole Band
Feb 4 – Art Wachter & the Blues Grass Band (Only Boordy food available for purchase)
Feb 10 – Take 2
Feb 11 – Jon Zorn
Feb 17 – Tom Beers
Feb 18 – Smooth Groove
Feb 24 – Jay Swanson
Feb 25 – Dear Creek

March Weekends

1pm – 5pm
Admission is free
Winetastings are optional – $8 or $15

Live Music from 1:00p.m.-4:30pm:
Mar 3 – Jay Swanson
Mar 4 – Jon Zorn
Mar 10 – Dear Creek
Mar 11 – Art Wachter & Blues Grass
Mar 17 – Take 2
Mar 18 – Tom Beers
Mar 24 – Dan Haas
Mar 25 – Smooth Groove
Mar 31 – John Zorn

About Boordy Vineyards

Boordy Vineyards has played a seminal role in the renaissance of regional wines in America. Founders Philip and Jocelyn Wagner established Maryland’s first commercial winery in Baltimore City in 1945, and their success at producing classically-styled wines inspired many pioneers around the country to follow their example.

In 1980 Boordy was purchased by the R. B. Deford family – who had been grape growers for the winery since 1965 – and was relocated to their historic 240-acre farm in the Long Green Valley of northeastern Baltimore County. The winery is housed in a 19th century stone barn whose massive walls provide an ideal environment for the production and aging of wine. Rob Deford, who received training in enology at the University of California, Davis manages Boordy with his wife Julie Colhoun Deford.  Boordy currently produces 97,000 gallons of wine annually and cultivates forty acres of grapes in the Long Green Valley (Central Piedmont region) and in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Maryland





The Great Mystery Show: An Enigmatic Exhibit by the American Visionary Art Museum


Ever since I was a young college student, I had a penchant for art museums. I would often frequent the Baltimore Museum of Art and the American Visionary Art Museum (student discounts, anyone?) whenever I had the chance.

Lets flash forward to the present day and Santa granted me an early Christmas gift. I was awarded the chance to attend the unveiling of the American Visionary Art Museum’s newest art exhibit: The Great Mystery Show as both a media guest and art reviewer.  The 18-year-old in me was jumping for joy!

I wore a cowl neck sweater dress from White House Black Market, mini Buddha earrings from Rachel Roy, and red Michael Kors flats for the cosmic after party held beside the museum. Parking was a breeze. There’s ample street parking along the side of the museum, and all you need is enough quarters to last you 2-3 hours.

Rabbit Whole by Nancy Younguist, photo by Dan Meyers
Rabbit Whole by Nancy Youngist, Photo by Dan Meyers

Rusty Scupper and other notable seafood joints are right across the street form the museum. If you wanted to eat inside the museum, Encantada ($15- $30) is upstairs inside the museum but you need to make sure that you want eat several small plates. One plate will not be enough.

The party started at 6:30 p.m so I had 30 minutes to kill. I naturally ventured into the gift shop, and didn’t want to leave.  I bared witnessed to the kookiest toys this side of the East Coast: religious bobble heads, Chinese bug toys, post cards with mashed up vintage art, as well as discounted saris, Mr. Rogers mints, and David Bowie retro earrings. I prematurely snacked on vanilla wafers too, knowing full well that the party I was about to attend will have food.


I arrived ten minutes late (not by choice but due to biding my time) and really digged the space theme. There was a sparkly disco ball in the middle of the dance floor, a dj, and a long food table with appetizers, breads, pastas, spreads, desserts and mini sandwiches. Guests were truly Baltimore. Folks from the art world dressed in eclectic fabrics, hairstyles, and jewelry. Philanthropists wore modest yet fashion forward dresses. Lets just say that I had way too much fun people watching. Only in Baltimore!

The gazebo outside was cool enough for lively chatter, and a welcoming queue by the bar where party patrons had the option to purchase beer and wine.

Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, founder of the museum, welcomed the rousing crowd with an anecdote and an official opening of the exhibit. She thanked sponsors from the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute, The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, as well as other visionary arts, lenders, and sponsors. As soon as her speech ended, the crowd formed a beeline to the museum.

Roominous by Nancy Josephson Photo credit Dan Meyers
Roominous by Nancy Josephson. Photo credit by Dan Meyers.

Art patrons were more than just eager to see the art before the general public. There was a not so mysterious curiosity etched on people’s faces. Various pieces spoke to different people. In some ways the lengthy descriptions didn’t do enough justice for what the artists were trying to convey.

The Great Mystery Show, as a whole, skillfully peels away the unknown and leaves observers with enough clues to solve micro and macro-scaled questions in the shape of art forms.

Questions on the moon landing, religion, cats, and different cultures were answered in the shape of mosaic bunnies, iridescent gold agriculture statues, and morbid alphabet stories (Edward Gorey was really popular in the 1960s for his depictions of the afterlife for kids). Quotes from great philosphers, literary greats, and thinkers segued guests into different rooms in which even more mysteries on near death experience, the human heart, cats, and UFOs kept patrons curiosity going. It was unending. Like a thrill ride on repeat but better.

Moreover, I have way too many favorite art pieces from this exhibit to list in a short review.

1.) All of Edward Gorey’s alphabet kid-friendly horror stories made me guffaw inappropriately in front of families. I felt bad but couldn’t help how funny this particular exhibit was. For example: C is for Clara who wasted away, N is for Neville who died of ennui, and M is for Maud who was swept by the sea. Maybe it was the times, but, then again, the book series “All my Friends are Dead” by Avery Morrison and Jory John and “Go the F%&* to Sleep” read my Samuel L Jackson are becoming child literary classics. History repeats itself.

2.) Roominous  by Nancy Josephson was made for a ripe imagination. Ornate beads, twisty metals, traditions rooted in Haitian culture inspired three maidens found in the picture above. Josephson changed her previous career, and refocused her creativity in the arts. Her work, oft-times punctuated with humor, as been displayed in several exhibits.

3.) Rabbit Whole by Nancy Youngist reminded me of the rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland. The mosaic beans, wily expression, and story about how this bunny represents a woman’s true independence left an indelible impression with me.

As an art lover who loves whimsy, creativity, uniqueness, and curiosity, I highly recommend this exhibit. If you have a question on the meaning of life and want to see evidence gathered by notable artists, visit the American Visionary Art Museum. 

About American Visionary Art Museum

The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) is an art museum located in Baltimore, Maryland’s Federal Hillneighborhood at 800 Key Highway. The museum specializes in the preservation and display of outsider art (also known as “intuitive art,” “raw art,” or “art brut”). The city agreed to give the museum a piece of land on the south shore of the Inner Harbor under the condition that its organizers would clean up residual pollution from a copper paint factory and a whiskey warehouse that formerly occupied the site. It has been designated by Congress as America’s national museum for self-taught art.







Pop-Up Magazine: A Living, Breathing Media Experience


Much like New York City, Washington D.C is a hub for what’s hip and trendy. Whether its hitting up the swankiest ramen spot or waiting in a laboriously long queue to check out the latest art installation at the Hishorn Museum, D.C is the spot to go to be a part of the “know.”

Speaking of the “know”—have you heard of Pop-Up Magazine?

Pop-Up Magazine is a San Francisco concoction  made of live performances, the written word, moving visuals, a vibrant orchestra, and diverse journalists who cover editorials on: Government affairs, Media, Advice, War, Society, Self-Help, Profiles, Health, City Life, and Culture–much like what you would read in the latest issue of a magazine but only better, and less prolix chatter.

I snagged an exclusive invite to cover this event and to provide live social media coverage with a pal.

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Shared credit on this selfie

Surprisingly, I found a parking garage nearby that only charged $8 for the night. I often have issues finding street parking by Lincoln Theater so I opted for a parking garage.  Along with parking, I decided to wear my White House Black Mark basic long sleeved black shirt (with silver buttons dotted along the sleeves), J Crew faded blue jeans, and Italian leather boots from Nordstroms. My friend wore a black dress. Much like New York, wearing black in D.C. is a safe fashion bet.

Sponsors for the live production were Amazon Studios, Resy,, Citi Foundation and Mail Chimp.

Freebies offered was complimentary beer, a deal with Mailchimp mail marketing, a complimentary app from Impossible Foods, a rousing game of media bingo, and a few free issues of California Sunday Magazine. Despite the magazine being state-centered (many of us live in the DMV area), the features are relate-able to anyone.

Photography was not allowed at the event so I apologize in advance for not being able to give you a visual sneak peak. Fortunately, taking notes was permitted. Hurrah!

The Lincoln theater is a great venue for this type of art-forward performance. We had orchestra seats– plush, velvety, seats– in square view of the stage.  The live music on stage, led by the Magik Magik Orchestra, wove audible beauty with violin strings, piano keys, drum beats, and a seasoned conductor. Music amplified vocal and visuals to the nth degree, for example, a live car chase was presented in the beginning, middle and end of the show as if it was occurring at this moment. If it wasn’t for the music, and excellent commentary, would I have witnessed audience engagement at a high level? Members of the audience laughed, had their eyes glued during heightened chase scenes, and seemed enthralled by this and several segments presented at the event.

From the 12 segments I watched, here are my favorites:

1.) Hot Pursuit by Mary Melton. The car chase. It’s simple, seductive, and historically accurate on what inspired 24 hour news channels like CNN and Fox News.

2.) Power Pose by Aparna Nancherla. I’m a fan of Nancherla and most everyone in the South Asian diaspora follow her tweets, obsessively. She humorously and realistically exemplified how to use one’s social awkwardness to own an otherwise bad social, personal or professional situation. After this segment, I clearly saw her become a hero to most.

3.) The God Committee by Brooke Jarvis. Imagine if a small group of highly influential (not necessarily knowledgeable) people in your community dictate yay or nay if you and other loved ones are allowed to receive chemotherapy for cancer? Jarvis eloquently details a feature story on the pain, anguish, and confusion of making this decision in the eyes of the decision maker.

4.) Public Speaking by Daniel Alarcon. What started as a simple juxtaposition of two languages interpretation of a story transformed into a heart-wrenching tale of how a country is subjected to lose their native tongue in favor of another language forced upon by an apex nation.

5.) Gophran’s Journey by Erin Trieb. The story starts with a 13 year old girl devoting her time and energy as a medic in her country and ends with a tale on how gangs, drugs, and a corrupt government can eviscerate the most innocent. Trieb’s story telling talents evinced deeper empathy and understanding from the crowd.

Pictures courtesy of my I-phone 8. Wow!

My friend and I were about to purchase snacks, but we were a bit hungrier than the average attendee there. We wanted a meal. Lincoln logs (cream-filled chocolate cakes) and pop corn wasn’t going to cut it at the concession stand. So we made a short trek to Ben’s Chili bowl for half smokes and cheese fries. It’s the D.C thing to do. Watch a show and eat where all transplants and the like love to eat.

As a first-timer, I was impressed. I also learned that Pop-Up Magazine has shows across the United States in San Francisco, CA; New York, New York; Los Angeles, CA; Austin, Texas; New Orleans, LA; and Atlanta, Georgia. If you live in those regions, please check this show out here. If you live in D.C, do not fret. Pop-Up Magazine will return in February of this year.

Right to Bear Arts Benefit Gala: Red Carpet & Advocacy


MSNBC’s Greta VanSustern

The White House correspondents dinner tends to be a huge event in the Washington D.C area. What many non D.C residents may not know is that there’s the main dinner and there are are sprinkling of exclusive dinners connected to the big event.  With many White house Correspondent parties getting cancelled, the Creative Coalition stepped up to open up their gala.

I had an exclusive invite this year to attend the 4th annual Creative Coalition #RightToBearArts gala on April 28, 2017. This star-studded event was held at Flavio DC, one of Georgetown’s premier Italian restaurants.

Here I am with Christine Social!

This year’s gala was relevant to the times,  especially since the recent  proposed budget cuts  may eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and this program is responsible for kids across the nation to visit art museums, learn literature, music, theater, design and beyond. NEA is an independent federal agency that funds funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.

Corporation for Public Broadcasting President, Patricia Harrison.

The event was attended by  The Creative Coalition’s celebrity delegation headed to Capitol Hill earlier that day in an effort to bring  their “#RightToBearArts” campaign to elected officials.  The delegation was comprised of:  Tim Daly (“Madam Secretary”), The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, Sarah Wayne Callies (“Prison Break”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Chad Lowe (“Pretty Little Liars”), Alyssa Milano (“Mistresses”), Denis O’Hare (“American Horror Story”), Nick Sandow (“Orange Is the New Black”), Aaron Staton (“Mad Men”),  and Matt Walsh (“Veep”).

Wendi Mclendon-Covey (The Goldbergs & Bridesmaids)

Along with the delegation, leading Washingtonians, top celebrities, and media convened to dine on a delicious 3-course menu.

The sweltering heat, did not stop me from having some interesting one-on-one interviews with Chad Lowe, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Matt Walsh, and Sarah Wayne Callies. 

Chad Lowe

Each star had their own views on federals cuts towards the arts. What we can all agree upon is that a slash to art funding will  not only upend the nations future by depriving a healthy outlet for children to expand their minds but will also curb resources in poorer regions to be able to cultivate one’s critical thinking skills.

Question:  What are your thoughts on the federal cuts to the arts programs?

Chad Lowe: So, ironically, enough the Federal Government wants to increase spending on Defense but wants to cut the Arts funding. Keep in mind spending for the arts is only just 0.004 percent of the budget. The federal government must set an example of prioritizing funding for the arts. What most people don’t realize is that the arts funding is not going directly, per se, to Hollywood. This funding goes directly to theaters, museums, dance classes, workshops, and other outlets that let children from all walks of life be able to participate in. Funding of the arts spreads to the greatness  of the country and even secures our status as a great nation to the world. Where we are placed in the history books is how we value and treat our citizens.  The arts shape history and also preserve our culture. The arts withstand the test of time by cultivating a society and enriching those to find their potential. By cutting out the arts from people’s lives, we are taking away a basic human necessity for further growth.

Matt Walsh: Money has been going into this infrastructure for quite some time.  A contribution to the arts directly correlates with college enrollment, top university success, and with creative minds ready to embark on making a change for the world. Without enough resources for the arts, kids will not be able to develop stronger independence skills or be able to have the confidence to make their own path, whether if it’s in the arts field or elsewhere.

Wendi Mclendon-Covey: So we all went up to the Hill today to advocate for the Arts. This is unsurprising but both parties were on our side. There’s bipartisan support for having the arts.

Sarah Wayne Callies: The arts balances out children, adults, everyone. We need the arts in order to thrive as a collective society and to get even better.



This event was also sponsored by  Hollywood on the Potomac, Maestro Dobel Tequila, Line 39 Wines,Blue Moon Brewing, and Blackwing Pencils.

About The Creative Coaltion

The Creative Coalition is the premier nonprofit, nonpartisan social and political advocacy organization of the entertainment industry. Founded in 1989 by prominent figures in the creative community, including actors Alec Baldwin, Ron Silver, Christopher Reeve, Susan Sarandon and Blair Brown, TCC educates and mobilizes leaders in the arts community on issues of public importance, specifically in the areas of First Amendment rights, arts advocacy and public education.



First Model Union World Wide: Exemplary Pursuers of Fashion

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Courtesy of Michael Hutson
The fashion industry is bursting at the seams with models, designers, stylists, photographers, and agencies that are looking for the next Gigi Hadid. However, the industry is scant on multi-faceted agencies that shape models into business moguls. This is where First Model Union World Wide (FMUWW) comes in.

FMUWW is a singular agency, founded by Michael Hutson a.k.a. Monichi, that underscores the importance of the French term Poursuit de la Mode: the pursuit of fashion in business. Michael Hutson is the CEO of FMUWW and a renowned photographer. He believes

“Everyone is trying to pursue some type of industry in the form of fashion.”

With this mantra in mind, he created FMUWW to be an agency that shapes and molds a vast clientele of models, designers, and bookers into business owners. Fashion and sole proprietorship go hand-in-hand with this business concept. It’s unique in that fashion agency clients get real-world business skills, experience, and even contacts to assist them as they go out into the industry to pave their own path.

The overall goal of FMUWW is to educate, elevate, and inspire its clients to be leading future stars that embody true leadership potential. Leaders teach others to succeed, period. In the age of millennial entrepreneurship, this axiom is often not as widely practiced in other fields–let alone the Fashion field.

Often in an office culture, an environment of backstabbing, ruthless competition, and distrust molds into a company’s mission, but FMUWW’s goals and beliefs are a diametrical opposite of society’s norm. In short, it’s a breath of fresh air given the times.

Along with shaping each of its models to be a leader, FMUWW also grooms each to be a brand.

The clientele tends to consist of international models hailing from Ethiopia, the UK, and France, who are given lessons on modeling, posing, and runway etiquette. They are also given courses on how to make their money work for them.

Additional services include on-set traveling, designer housing (Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania), local- and long-distance traveling opportunities, and test shooting.

Are you a model who wants to cultivate your leadership skills? Contact Michael Hutson aka “Monichi” for more information: