H Street Life – July 2017

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Maybe you can’t take the whole summer off like you did when you were a kid, but even the busiest of us can get away for an evening. Whether your ideal night involves taking in a bit of theater, relaxing with a movie under the stars, or strolling down an historic street, you can do it without even leaving the neighborhood.

Shouk to Open Near Union MarketMiddle Eastern eatery Shouk (https://shouk.com) recently announced plans to open a second location in the Edison building going up near Union Market. Shouk serves an all-plant-based menu of Israeli-inspired food. The pita sandwich lineup includes options such as the chickpea (preserved lemon, olive, seaweed, potato, tomato, cucumber, and tahina) and the fennel (potato, red pepper, pistachio pesto). For breakfast it offers a pita filled with an eggless veggie omelet, chopped salad, and crushed avocado. All pita sandwiches can also be ordered as rice and lentil bowls. It’s worth noting that last year The Washington Post’s Going Out Gurus called the Shouk burger (with tomato burst, pickled turnip, arugula, charred onion, and tahina, available in pita or bowl form) their favorite new veggie burger in DC.

The menu also features three salads and a list of sides that includes polenta fries (with tomato sauce), a rotating selection of soups, sweet potato fries with cashew labneh, and a pizza pita (tomato burst and tahina) originally conceived to appeal to younger diners. As at its original location, the new restaurant will serve beer and wine. Plans call for an early 2018 opening.

Catch a Show, or Several, at the Capital Fringe FestivalEach summer, the Capital Fringe Festival draws performers from across the nation, and beyond, for a freewheeling theater extravaganza. This year’s festival runs from July 6 through 23. Tickets to individual shows are $17, and every show requires that you present your separately purchased Capital Fringe button. Buttons are $7 and good for discounts at certain local merchants until next year’s festival. You can also buy multi-ticket packages on Fringe’s website for reduced rates and distribute the tickets to your friends as you see fit. But check the show listings before you dole out those tickets, because you might find an unexpected wealth of productions that pique your interest.

See Orson Wells come alive in “Orson the Magnificent,” as he spins tales of the greatest magicians while performing a few feats of his own. In “Repentance,” a fallen priest finds his only hope for redemption in convincing a demon who torments a boy to repent before the next hour and a half is up. But is the demon that afflicts the boy born of the priest’s own sin? In the darkly comic realm, HalfMad Theatre tells the story of a traveler with a hunger in Trey Parker’s “Cannibal the Musical”… with puppets. And as four strangers struggle to get along as roommates and settle into their new home, none of them suspects that the other three are secretly aliens in Nu Puppis’ “One in Four.”

Performances will take place at locations spread across the District, but the festival runs out of the headquarters of Capital Fringe (https://www.capitalfringe.org) at 1358 Florida Ave. NE, on the edge of the Trinidad neighborhood. Multiple other local establishments will host shows, including Shopkeepers Gallery (www.shopkeepersgallery.com, 1231 Florida Ave. NE), the Atlas Performing Arts Center (www.atlasarts.org, 1333 H St. NE), Gallaudet University (https://www.gallaudet.edu, 800 Florida Ave. NE), and the Pursuit Wine Bar (www.thepursuitwinebar.com, 1421 H St. NE).

Don’t forget to stop by the Fringe Arts Bar (1358 Florida Ave. NE) for conversation, food, and drink. During the festival, the bar will open at 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. The bar will operate with extended hours during the festival, staying open until 2 a.m.

Politics & Prose to Write New ChapterIndependent bookseller Politics & Prose (www.politics-prose.com) recently announced plans to open a shop in the Union Market area. The new store will not be as large as the flagship location on Connecticut Avenue NE, but it will be big enough to carry a wide range of books and non-book items. The outpost offers some obvious geographic advantages. It’s Metro accessible, and in an area where many people already go to socialize and hang out. This makes it ideal for hosting author events. When events require a larger space, Union Market’s Dock 5 is a short walk away. Politics & Prose has indicated that it will explore the possibility of offering workshops, classes, and children’s activities in the neighborhood. The new store is slated to open this fall.

Emerald Street Secures DesignationThe District’s Historic Preservation Review Board recently named Emerald Street NE (between 13th and 14th streets and E and F streets NE) an historic district. The street will be entered into the DC Inventory of Historic Sites at the local level of significance. The board also recommended that the nomination be forwarded to the National Register of Historic Places.

Emerald Street NE, originally known as Emerson Street, is home to a number of lovely Queen Anne-style rowhouses built in the 1890s. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A (http://anc6a.org) filed the application, and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (http://chrs.org) provided testimony in favor of the nomination.

NoMa Summer Screen Offers Free Outdoor FilmsOutdoor films are one of the simple joys of summers in the District. Call up some friends, grab your blanket or folding chair, and head out to take in a favorite movie under the night sky. NoMa Summer Screen’s theme this year is “Power, Politics, and Popcorn.” The series kicked off with the classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and has plenty more favorites – such as “Wag the Dog” and Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” – still in store before wrapping up in late August. All films are free and are shown with subtitles. Pack a picnic and bring your cooler filled with favorite beverages on ice, or queue up for one of the food trucks available that evening.

NoMa Summer Screen will feature a different movie at sunset each Wednesday night. Doors open at 7 p.m., and you’ll want to show up early to get the best spot. You also might want to bring that folding chair, as the current site, Storey Park (1005 First St. NE), is paved.

For more on what’s abuzz on and around H Street NE, you can visit my blog at http://frozentropics.blogspot.com. You can send me tips or questions at elise.bernard@gmail.com.