Main Dish

Sean Penn Riles Up Washington, Again

March 14, 2010

Sean Penn can't help making news. The actor-activist became the subject of controversy again in Washington this week after describing skeptics of Haiti relief with a curse involving a painful disease. When the Washington Examiner's Yeas & Nays reporter Tara Palmeri asked him about it at an awards ceremony at Washington Hebrew Congregation, the level of discourse descended further.

Penn could learn a few things from friend Rep. Dennis Kucinich, whom he met for dinner at Bistro Bis this week. The Ohio iconoclast manages to provoke debate without using the one-finger salute, verbal or otherwise.

Lest we forget, Haiti officials and others gathered to honor Penn at the Haiti Humanitarian Awards at the Washington Hebrew Congregation.  Pictured with daughter Dylan as they started to leave.

Photos by Neshan H. Naltchayan

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Saving the Economy (One Pair of Shoes at a Time)

March 9, 2010

What better way to celebrate spring than plucking a sassy, sexy, new pair of shoes in Georgetown? In the nick of time comes SimplySoles -- the brand new shoe emporium in Georgetown Park

"Our favorite quote of the season is 'Saving the economy one pair of shoes at a time,'" says founder Kassie Rempel, whose website encourages you to "peek in my closet."

Now you can do even better.

The Mt. Pleasant resident opened a new store in the mall after wanting a store in Columbia Heights. "I thought, Columbia Heights is the up-and-coming place," she said. But high rents and a few crime scares -- plus an aggressive effort by Georgetown Park -- convinced her to bring her collection to the mall on M Street.

The rent was less. Who would have thunk? Because of ongoing litigation over the future of the mall, SimplySoles was only offered a two-year lease, max. "It requires a lot of investment to build out a store with such a short lease," Rempel said.

Such arrangements inevitably hurt the somewhat sleepy cave of shops.

Nonetheless, "It feels right to be in Georgetown," she said.

The store does feel right, filled with bright colors, shapes and temptations that can't be ignored. Bring a credit card. Bring two.

"On a cost-per-wear basis, shoes -- namely those well-crafted and timeless in style -- keep in shape and in fashion," she says. Besides "the perfect black dress, white shirt and flattering pair of jeans -- shoes are the best investment in your wardrobe."

Economic stimulus in Georgetown? Sole mate.

Photos by RJSmith

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Shoe-shaped butter cookies and pink champagne sweetened the opening steps of the new store.

So many shoes, so little time!

SimplySoles founder Kassie Rempel talks with fellow Georgetown Park merchant Lorenzo Caltagirone of Total Party.

Kassie listens to a customer.

Maria McGinley, West End resident, shops in Georgetown with her dog, "Summer."

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Amalfi on the Potomac!

March 7, 2010

Who needs azul seas and white sand beaches? As the mercury reached hard toward the upper 50s, Georgetowners quickly moved outside Saturday afternoon to catch the first brave rays and enjoy early hints of...what did they used to call it, pre-Snowmageddon? That season without snow? In which flowers might exist...outside?

Irene Howie and Rege Matlak warm up the terrazo at Cafe Milano.

Cara Brown, Kate Lewis, Kelsey Brown and Ben Schryber take a break from shopping at Paolo's...

Maya Linson, a recent graduate of the Medill journalism program, with Sydney McCall and Daniel Morris, lunching at the Booeymonger, where Daniel ate breakfast every morning while studying at Georgetown. "I still know lots of people in there," he said. "We wanted to introduce our friend Maya to this place," said Sydney, who appears to have made peace with Daniel despite the rivalry between Georgetown and her own alma mater, GWU.

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