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Cool New Stuff: Improv, The Mall, Local Blogorama, Podcast Concert

A grab bag of cool new stuff:

--We already knew Washington was perhaps the best city in the country for fans of choral music, with choruses large and small managing to survive even in this era of No Child Left Behind know-nothingness. But Washington's place in the worlds of experimental and contemporary classical music tends to get short shrift. Now comes a new blog to chronicle the experimental music scene here. District of Noise includes audio and video and takes you to some places you may never have known existed.

--Remarkably, no one has ever bothered to put together a guide to recreation on the National Mall--until now. The National Mall Conservancy, a new group that grew out of Judy Scott Feldman's National Coalition to Save Our Mall and the growing movement to revamp the Mall for the next century, has created a guide that tells you about all those cricket, frisbee, softball, kickball, volleyball and even Australian Rules football leagues and teams you see gallivanting about the Mall. You can pick up the guide at Bike the Sites in the Old Post Office at 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW or by emailing

Feldman says the guide is the answer to the need for accurate information "about where the recreation fields are, how to get a permit, hours of operation, how to join a sports club, and so on. It took our intern from UC Davis three months of hard work. Why? Because the National Park Service sent him to DC Parks & Recreation. And DCPR sent him back to NPS. No one in government seemed to know the basics. It was another case of visitors and DC residents getting little attention from the agencies running things." Well, now we know.

--Virginia was an early leader in the development of state-centric political blogs, and for quite a while, Maryland was nowhere to be seen. But now blogolific Marylanders are starting to pay closer attention to the doings in Annapolis, and a new entry in the blogollating effort to collect comprehensive local blogrolls has come along with state-by-state guides to the political blogs. There's one for Virginny and one for Maryland, but nada for the District, oddly enough. The concept is a good one, but neither of the state sites is particularly comprehensive, probably in good part because you don't qualify to get your blog on these sites unless you put them on your blogroll, which excludes all the good political blogs that either don't have blogrolls or don't bother to update them much.

--Staid old Wolf Trap, which has been clinging to the same general roster of summer shows since about 1986, is at the same time leaping into all sorts of new ideas about performance. Despite the standard summer lineup of the Smothers Brothers, Chicago, Aretha Franklin, The Temps and Judy Collins, Wolf Trap has been an innovator in putting podcasts up on its web site. Tomorrow night, Wolf Trap will take podcasting to a new place, using a podcast as part of the ensemble as the National Symphony presents a concert of works by Beethoven, Debussy, Vaughn Williams and Stravinsky, accompanied by NASA digital photos of Earth and space and by a commentary that audience members can download before the show and playback at the appointed moments. The commentary is a guide to the photography and music, presented by NSO conductor Emil de Cou. The idea is that you listen in on de Cou's comments in one ear while taking in the live orchestra performance in the other. Certainly worth a shot. If you go, come on back and let us know how it worked.

By Marc Fisher |  August 1, 2007; 7:20 AM ET
Previous: Golf Courses: DC's Next Big Sports Project? | Next: Taxi Zones and Phony Doctorates in The City of a Million Mysteries


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Where's the Improv item as teased by the title?

Posted by: Stick | August 1, 2007 7:57 AM

Yeah, what he/she said.

Posted by: Zach | August 1, 2007 8:57 AM

It's the first item--about a new blog that gets into the improvisational, experimental music scene in the Washington area.

Posted by: Fisher | August 1, 2007 8:58 AM

For those who do not know about choral music in our area, but would like to, I suggest:,_DC/Arts_and_Entertainment/Music/Styles/Choral/

Posted by: Mike Licht | August 1, 2007 10:40 AM

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Posted by: gyncDronpoore | August 1, 2007 12:25 PM

hey readers, Improv refers to the skrony jazz blog. Improv Jazz?

ok, go look for Whose Line is it Anyway DC, but it's not what Einsturmarke Neufisher probably mean.

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Posted by: | August 2, 2007 1:56 AM

Contrary to Marc's comment above, doesn't require blogs included in its sites to link to BNN and we do strive to be as comprehensive as we can in finding the best blogs about state and local politics.

If anyone knows of sites that we're missing, feel free to email the links to me at .

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