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Cocktails And Dreams: Official symbols are the stuff state and local governments are made of. Why else would jousting be the state sport of Maryland, the brook trout the state fish of Virginia, or the scarlet oak the (ahem) state tree of the District? Add to that list one new item; the Rickey, a limey libation invented across Pennsylvania Avenue from what’s now the Wilson Building, is the official “native cocktail” of the city. July is also Rickey month here. Cheers! +1

Gandhi Is As Gandhi Does: Followers of D.C. politics know Nat Gandhi as the District’s chief financial officer; he’s the man the city’s pols look to for advice on just how screwed the budget is. For a few days next month, he will also be the man audiences at the JCC of Greater Washington look to as Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi will play Gandhi in A Tryst With Destiny, a play about how India won independence from Britain and how Pakistan split off to form its own nation. Alas, the theater is in Rockville, or else Gandhi could have pushed for surcharges on ticket sales to boost D.C. revenue. +1

Freedom!: The Virgin FreeFest involves pretty much what you’d expect—music, free tickets, and lots of advertising for Virgin America. (What, you thought there’d just be a lot of virgins there?) But today’s presale for the festival sold out rapidly, and naturally, now the tickets are going on Craigslist for $100. More freebies will be available tomorrow; truly, the free market is a wonderful thing. -1

Doom!: It was, officially, unbearably hot this week, especially on Tuesday. Which means we may as well just surrender now; a heat wave is building in the Plains this weekend that will hit the East Coast next week that federal weather officials are already warning will be extremely awful. Forecast models show a lot of angry red and pink areas on temperature maps. Oh, for the glory days of Snowmageddon. -2

Yesterday’s Needle rating: 43 Today’s score: -1 Today’s Needle rating: 42