Each week, WAMU 88.5's Metro Connection reaches across D.C., Maryland and Virginia to gather the sounds and stories that capture the current events, culture and personalities driving the Washington region.
Thousands of realtors are competing to survive in the cutthroat Washington housing market. And the old ways of catching people's attention -- e.g. putting ads in the newspaper and serving cookies at your open house -- no longer cut it. Kavitha Cardoza speaks with a few realtors to see what they're doing to cut through the clutter.
[Music: "Sell Sell Sell" by The Barenaked Ladies from Maroon]
Fairfax County's Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is arguably the best public high school in the country. But some parents and teachers are giving it low marks for its admissions policies, which they say are too subjective. Jonathan Wilson talks with one 8th grader rejected at Thomas Jefferson -- despite displaying the type of mathematical brilliance that educators say should have made her a shoe-in.
[Music: "School of Rock" (Karaoke) by Karoake All Stars from...
Eleven-year-old Donovan Jordan will represent D.C. in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in a few weeks. The competition is held in or near the city every year, but no one from the District has ever won. That's no deterrent to Donovan, who doesn't like to lose -- anything. Emily Friedman watches Donovan get ready for a battle royale and chats with his parents about how he prepares for this incredibly challenging event.
[Music: "Words" (Karaoke Version) (In the Style of the Bee Gees) by...
All along the coast, scores of restaurants claim to have the "best" crabcakes, french fries, ribs, etc. But virtually no restaurant reviewers cover Ocean City and surrounding communities, and chefs basically can claim the title without having to prove their culinary prowess. Bryan Russo talks with Rebecca Sheir about the big claims, and whether tourists can believe they're really eating the "best" of the beach.
[Music: "Sea of Love" by Tom Waits from Brawlers / "The Best is Yet to Come...
A rare, endangered orchid inhabits the hollows of Virginia, surviving only in collaboration with a particular type of fungus and a particular type of tree. Scientists want to save the orchid, known as the small-whorled pogonia, but first they have to find it. Sabri Ben-Achour tags along on a rescue mission.
Sibling rivalry stretches all the way back to biblical times, and Theater J is giving the theme a contemporary, comedic twist with its world-premiere play, "The Moscows of Nantucket". Rebecca Sheir visits a rehearsal of the show, and talks with the actors who portray two very different brothers: A down-on-his-luck fiction writer, and an outrageously successful TV producer.
[Music: "You Are So Beautiful" by Al Green from Everything's OK / "Annie Get Your Gun - Anything You Can Do -...
The nation's capital can be a hard place to get by when you're an artist. The city has one of the highest costs of living in the country, making studio space -- seen as an essential by many artists -- a luxury that few can easily afford. Rebecca Sheir talks with local artists at 52 O Street, an artists' space that's holding its 2011 Open Studios this weekend, about what it takes to survive as an artist without sacrificing your passion.
In our regular segment, "On the Coast," Coastal Reporter Bryan Russo takes a look at the rarely-discussed problem of homelessness in Maryland's most famous resort town. We'll learn how one homeless shelter in Ocean City is coping as it faces a rising demand for its services.
[Music: "Homeward Bound" by Zoom Karoake from Zoom Karaoke: Simon and Garfunkel]
The D.C. Department of Transportation thought it might "get ahead" on construction of a pedestrian bridge on the Anacostia River Trail. That was, until a pair of Ospreys decided to make a home on top of their construction crane. Now progress has ground to a halt because they're a protected species. Sabri Ben-Achour explains why these birds are such a big deal and how local officials are responding.
[Music: "Free Bird" by Hayseed Dixie from Pickin' On Lynyrd Skynyrd]
In a city with more brainpower than almost any other in the world, the push to "get ahead" starts early -- with preschool. Tara Boyle talks with parents about the stress of trying to choose a good program for your child, and finds out why the waiting lists for preschool are so long in the District.
A few weeks ago, we shared the story of a Metro executive-turned-lobbyist who may have violated ethics rules. Now, new documents obtained by WAMU through public records requests show this lobbyist went further than originally thought in trying to set up a meeting with Metro staffers. David Schultz gets us up to date on the latest.
[Music: "A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads / "I Got the Message by Men Without Hats from Greatest Hats]
Most joggers hit the pavement to get a little exercise and stay fit. And then there's the Dojo of Pain -- a group of hyper-competitive runners who meet regularly in D.C. to push each other to their physical limits. Kavitha Cardoza went to Hains Point to meet the members of the dojo, and sent back this audio postcard.
[Music: "Run" by Vampire Weekend from Contra (Bonus Mega Version)]
Imagine hearing your own personal soundtrack playing as you make your way up the National Mall. Ryan and Hayes Holladay -- the Virginia-born brothers who make up the musical duo Bluebrain -- have created just that, with their new, free, "location-aware" iPhone app, The National Mall. Rebecca meets the Holladays on the National Mall to talk about the project - which they describe as a combination of an album... an app... and an "experience"...
As one of the first female reporters to be allowed inside the NFL locker room, Tafoya has been a pioneer in her field. But there are still places out there where they believe in cooties, so Tafoya will answer three questions about men's-only clubs.
Does the kind of charcoal you use really make a difference when it comes to grilling up a tasty steak or other food on the grill? Yes — but deciding which one to use depends on what you're after. Both briquettes and lump charcoal — aka "natural" hardwood charcoal — have their advantages and disadvantages.
The Federal Trade Commission is in the early stages of opening an antitrust probe into how Google runs its online display advertising business, according to a report by Bloomberg News, citing sources who want to remain anonymous because the FTC has not announced the probe.
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