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Good morning from Washington City Paper! It’s Friday. Today in 1998, Titanic won 11 Academy Awards. Really makes you want to see the 3D version this year, doesn’t it?

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS: Synthetic pot-fueled calls to poison control on the rise. [WTOP] New breed of cherry blossoms for the 100th Anniversary. [WAMU] Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton preparing to defend D.C.’s needle exchange program. [Examiner] Boston transit giving WMATA its harassment reporting program. [Examiner] Mayor Vince Gray to unveil 2013 budget [WJLA] Baby dies after pregnant woman stabbed in the stomach. [Post]

YOUR DAILY QUALITY-OF-LIFE MEASUREMENT: On Thursday, City Paper‘s Needle fell five points. The bad news: Everything. Take a look here.


Vince Gray: From No Way To No Comment: Loose Lips notes that Hizzoner has started to clam up when asked about the current federal investigation. While he initially vigorously denied all wrongdoing, now he’s tossing out “no comment” right and left. But why? LL speculates: “One explanation could involve a change in just who’s influencing the mayor’s media decisions. Typically, political handlers urge their clients to get out in front of stories, reasoning that the public might assume a pol has something to hide when he declines comment. On the other hand, lawyers generally advise clients to say as little as possible, reasoning that errant language could irritate prosecutors or jurors.”

(Almost) Nothing Is Happening at Reservation 13: One thing Mayor Gray is talking about? Reservation 13 and the Redskins. But he’s not saying much, Lydia DePillis reports: “The Redskins haven’t indicated their willingness to move their training center from Ashburn, Virginia, to the area around RFK Stadium. Gray said he hasn’t even talked to the team much since going to explore a similar facility down in Tampa Bay, Florida, which he did because Maryland and Virginia had already made their own pitches for the team’s relocation. And in fact, Gray thinks it’s ‘unfortunate’ that news of the trip came out at all. ‘Nobody wants to bring out anything that is half baked to a community. I think the worst that you could ever do is bring out a proposal to somebody, and there are more questions than there are answers,’ he told several hundred residents in the vast, echoing D.C. Armory space. ‘That’s one of the reasons why there was no community meeting around this, because there was nothing to present, and there still is nothing to present.’

105 Dates At The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: Contributor Kriston Capps estimates that a lot of dates are going to occur at the Hirshhorn during its SONG 1 video installation: “Think about it: Where’s there a better intersection of beautiful spring weather, contemporary art, free, and Beck? Aitken’s video is even set to make-out music, The Flamingos‘ ‘I Only Have Eyes for You’ (as sung by the likes of No Age and others.) If you’ve got better game than this, I’d like to see it.”

Expect A Fully Operational Bar Pilar This Weekend: The newly renovated 14th Street NW bar is opening its upstairs seating and serving entrees! We were there a couple of nights ago and it wasn’t terribly crowded—get in before people discover it’s open again.

More Campus Plans! Catholic University Looks To Densify, Gallaudet to Open Up: DePillis writes,”The Ward 5 schools have historically had better relations with their surrounding communities than those in Wards 2 and 3, but lack of controversy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention!”

Yung Gleesh Is a Self-Proclaimed “Shitbag,” Still Raps Very Well: Contributor Carlos Perez reviews the rapper’s latest mixtape.


BE THERE OR BE SQUARE: City Paper will be sponsoring a series of D.C. Council candidate debates this month.

Ward 7: Monday, March 26, Ray’s the Steaks East River, 3905 Dix St. NE, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. (guest moderator: James Wright of The Washington Informer).


LOOSE LIPS DAILY POLITICS LINKS, by Alan Suderman (tips? lips@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • More evidence of off the books campaign? Sign guy says he told the feds that Gray 2010 campaign paid him a lot less than campaign finance records show. [Times]
  • Speaking of, Mayor Gray needs to say something about shadow campaign allegations [Post]
  • No new taxes likely in Gray’s proposed budget [WAMU]
  • Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins Woos the Chinese [HC]
  • City officials talk to Hill East residents about Redskins [WBJ]
  • Former Corporate Counsel John Payton dies at age 65 [WUSA9]
  • Tom Brown and Sekou Biddle for council, says Harry Jaffe [Examiner]
  • Needle exchange, still being talked about [Examiner]

REAL ESTATE AND DEVELOPMENT LINKS, by Housing Complex blogger Lydia DePillis (tips? housingcomplex@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • A medical clinic doing well? [Blade]
  • Empty buildings are expensive. [Post]
  • Bakery to Bloomingdale. [PoP]
  • Vacant Southwest church leases grounds. [WBJ]
  • Something to look forward to, renters. [Post]
  • Georgetown interested in I-395 project. [WBJ]
  • Armed Forces Retirement Home opens garden plots to neighbors. [ParkViewDC]
  • The Cotton Annex is not for sale. [WBJ]
  • Downtown BID raises taxes, dreams up projects. [WBJ]
  • Central Union Mission to break ground within seven to 12 months. [DCMud]
  • Region applies for millions to fund pedestrian improvements at terrible Metro stations. [TPB]
  • Today on the market: Gorgeous French doors, for added luxury.

ARTS LINKS, by Alex Baca (tips? artsdesk@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Doug Aitken‘s multimedia architecture takeover Song 1 has landed at—or rather, wrapped itself around—the Hirshhorn. It is glorious. BYT’s enthusiasm was rightfully placed. [Brightest Young Things]
  • Artini isn’t the only spring thingamabob sourcing inspiration from, well, art. Social Studies dresses models based on paintings, photographs (of sports stars!), and exhibits. [Social Studies DC]
  • Yesterday in federal news: Stanley Tucci, presently notable for being in The Hunger Gameslobbied for arts funding; President Barack Obama’s likeness is depicted holding a burning Constitution (this painted by, unsurprisingly, a conservative Utah artist). [The Style BlogThe Style Blog]

FOOD LINKS, by Young & Hungry columnist Chris Shott (tips? hungry@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Take a peek inside Rasika West End, opening Mar. 30 [BYT]
  • Toki Underground‘s Erik Bruner-Yang reflects on year one. [Eater]
  • Pastry chef Duane Copeland dishes up new desserts at The Source. [We Love DC]
  • Sizing up the plans for the Hilton brothers’ taqueria, El Ray. [Borderstan]
  • Get some sausage at 13 Street Meats‘ Saturday pop-up at Pharmacy Bar. [Twitter]
  • Find the best deals on oysters in town. [Metrocurean]
  • Nose-to-tail cooking, but with plants. [City Eats]