Thursday, January 07, 2010

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- RIP Silver Spring Penguin (2007-2010). The ranks of Silver Spring blogs are thinning. Silver Spring Scene remains technically alive, but in not-so-perfect hibernation.

- I've recently switched my car wash loyalty over from the Mr. Wash in East Silver Spring to the Montgomery Hills Car Wash on Georgia Ave. near the Beltway. MoHills may cost a bit more than SeƱor Wash but they do a damn thorough job, leaving no spots on the car once it dries, plus the interior is included in the price. Last time out, they had nine people simultaneously wiping down my car inside and out once it came out of the wash. I may need to make bagels and a car wash in Montgomery Hills a new weekend tradition. That'd be a hell of a cross-marketing opportunity, if anyone's listening.

- I've changed my perspective on the best way to enjoy a movie at the Regal Majestic (what an unjustifiably grandiose name!). I may gripe about the Majestic a lot, but I do so out of love - the fact remains that I probably still see 90% of movies there. Anyway, my old theory on how to maximize your experience at the Majestic was to only select the "grown-up" movies that wouldn't attract the kiddies. However after recently attending a 3D screening of Avatar, I have revised my strategy.

Rather than trying to see the quiet movies with fancy stuff like "dialogue", one should actually select the loudest movie possible. I've found that at the quieter movies shown in the smaller side theaters, the sound mixing tends to be poor, requiring you to strain your ears just to hear what the characters are saying. If anyone is speaking in those theaters, you will hear every word loud and clear. Unbeknownst to me, perhaps because I always went to the quieter movies, the big theaters at the Majestic (at least Theater 1) have a kick-ass digital sound system and the theater isn't afraid to use it. For Avatar, the sound was so loud I couldn't hear anyone even if they were talking - and that's the way it should be.

As a reminder, another way to significantly improve your Majestic experience is to print out your ticket at home. Sure, it's an extra buck to pre-purchase, but it beats the alternative of waiting in the scrum of the ticket line.

Speaking of intrusive sound sources at movies, according to a recent article on entitled "10 Things Movie Theaters Won't Tell You", theaters are letting offenders slide in order not to drive away business:

A major check on theaters attempting to police these and other sorts of audience disturbances is the fear of customer backlash... Movie houses don't want to lose younger audiences-who are primarily responsible for disruptions-by cracking down too hard.
Not sure if this is the case at the Majestic or not - I always assumed they just didn't care.

- No word yet on the open date for Goldberg's New York Bagels, but they do have a flashy new neon sign up in the window.

- The Silver Spring Swings concert series is in danger of being canceled for 2010 due to county budget cuts.

- Congratulations to Jackie's, which again made Washingtonian Magazine's 100 Best Restaurants list. Not sure if any other Silver Spring restaurants made the cut. I'll have to find a print edition, as the full list isn't online yet. Last year, Ray's The Classics and Nicaro were also included. Of course, the present incarnation of Nicaro (or "Newcaro") has little relation to the restaurant honored last year.


Anonymous said...

Sligo, got any info on the Quarry House being closed for renovations??

Sligo said...

They're closed tonight for repairs but should be open tomorrow.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

The new chef at Jackie's has made some nice improvements. I've been a few times since the switchover and haven't been disappointed with an item yet.

WashingtonGardener said...

QH movied more the night to Jackie's back room " QH in excile" with serious drink specials - get on Jackie's FB alerts list

Anonymous said...

So did you like Avatar? I saw it in 3D at Mazza Gallerie and thought it was fantastic (even with some of the low-end dialogue). It was true that the 3-D glasses muted the rich colors, but nonetheless, I frequently found myself staring at the screen, mouth agape and lost in the visual wonder of the movie. PS...I'm 49 y.o. male.

Sligo said...

Yes, Avatar was great, even if the plot was a bit predictable and the dialogue basic. The production quality was so overwhelming that I didn't notice.

Springvale Roader said...

Sligo, thanks for this post. We're seeing Avatar tomorrow at the Majestic with some friends, and only because they are coming from further away in Maryland and would be greatly inconvenienced by going to the Uptown. Otherwise, I and the missus avoid the Majestic like the plague (the plague of noisy and obnoxious people, that is).

Good to hear, then, that the sound is loud enough to cover the talkers. I figured it was going to be all spectacle and dumb plot anyway, so who cares about talkers, but now you've got me actually looking forward to this.

By the way, as you might know, there are occasional talkers at the quiet films at the AFI, but the difference is that they'll shut up if you ask them to (politely, of course). At the Majestic, you're risking a fistfight or worse in return for your $10 ticket.

Sligo said...

Actually, the reason I didn't go to the Uptown is that the movie wasn't in 3D. If you go to the Majestic, make sure you see it in 3D.

Anonymous said...

And let's not forget the people who use their phones to check e-mail, internet, etc. At any given time you can see 2-3 bright screens glowing from the crowd. They just don't get it.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

On the subject of the Montgomery Hills Car Wash:

I love that place. The staff is really nice, the prices is good, and they do quality work. My only issue is trying to get in there coming from 16th St.

Sligo said...

Terry -

This is what I'd do:

From 16th:
- L on 2nd
- R on Seminary
- L just past Snider's through that alley.
- Cross over Seminary Pl into the strip mall then loop around back onto GA Ave by the gas station.

Indirect, but probably easier than trying to get there from Georgia.

Anonymous said...

It's weird--I've lived in DTSS for 7 months now and have gone to the Regal around once every week or two and have never had any noise problems whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

count budget cuts?

What an outrage. We need to start a campaign to keep all of our noblemen.

Thomas Hardman said...

To vich Count did you refer? Mu hah hah hah hah.

But seriously, for alternatives to the Majestic, if you're willing to take the Metrorail to the far end and then ride the bus (as we all know, nobody who lives in or near DTSS ever drives anywhere other than to the car wash) I've always found the Rio out at the Washingtonian to be an excellent choice.

Usually it's not very full, though for Avatar's opening day it was a little hard to find a seat. Their 3D system and sound system all worked most excellently and a good time was had by all. They also occasionally have screenings of indie and art-house films.

@Sligo: if you've got good bandwidth, you might want to see a 1878 map of "the Berry District", as Montgomery County east of Rock Creek and south of Olney was called back in the day. It's a huge map, around 6M, so if you don't have good bandwidth it could take a while to download. From one GM Hopkins, evidently commissioned by the Library of Congress to map the District and surroundings.

It's got fairly detailed maps of the Brookeville-Washington Turnpike, from Norbeck south through Mitchell's Crossroads and Sligo to the District.

In the modern day parlance, that's the Georgia Avenue corridor.

Sligo said...


I actually own an original copy of this map.

Cassandra B said...

I think the best way to see a movie at the Majestic is to go to the earliest showing of a movie. All the talkers and obnoxious people are still asleep.

Thomas Hardman said...

@Sligo: I figured you probably had at copy, but thought I'd offer anyway. I have to admit that I didn't think you'd have an actual original, though. That must have cost some bucks.

For what it's worth, the scanned version is very large both in terms of file size and also as it displays on the screen. I don't know how accurate it is in the vicinity of Wheaton or DTSS, but its coverage of Aspen Hill, Layhill, and Norbeck seem pretty accurate although I have spotted an inconsistency or two in the Aspen Hill area, probably an artifact of scaling. Still, it's a trip to see how long the "Rockville Layhill Road" (Chesterfield Road and Bel Pre Road in the modern day) has been running on the same route.

If you know of any comparable maps from earlier or later dates, please shoot me an e-mail!

Susan said...

I have only experienced talking/disruption once in the several years the Majestic has been open -- during the Sex and the City movie, when a woman next to me actually talked on her cell phone the entire time.

But I've had much worse experiences at theaters in Rockville and Bethesda. And this isn't only "chick flicks" -- we see plenty of action movies and kids movies, too.

Anonymous said...

I've never experienced any issues with the Majestic. I wonder if it's the same phenomenon as the Safeway issues some people have;)

Sligo said...

What, the Majestic has terrible produce?

Thayer Avenue said...

Luckily, all the produce at the Majestic is boxed and full of preservatives. I will say that the continued lack of functional ticket kiosks at The Majestic is similar to the less-than-stellar self-checkout lines at Safeway. But at least The Majestic doesn't turn all theirs off after 9:00.

Anonymous said...

If you buy your tickets for the Majestic on-line but don't or can't print them out, you can avoid the kiosks and their lines by going up the escalator and picking up the tickets at the customer service desk

Anonymous said...

I know we could start a thread of all the sub-par Silver Spring establishments. I guess the only thing that saves Red-Lobster is those greasy buns. Now, if they would only serve them with hand crafted beers...

Terry in Silver Spring said...


Thank you for the back route to the car wash. I took it and it is a great alternative to trying to hook a U somewhere on Georgia.

When I got to the carwash, though, I noticed that someone swiped those things off two of my wheels that have the Chevy emblem and cover the center in between the lug nuts. Sigh. Why do that? It's a Cobalt, for goodness sake, not a fancy car.

Kristy said...

Speaking of restaurants, can we PLEASE address the ridiculous fact that Across the Street Cafe is now called Planet Bollywood? The name makes me cringe.

Sligo said...

Maybe they'll get sued eventually and be forced to change it.

Hugo said...

Speaking of restaurants, can we PLEASE address the ridiculous fact that Across the Street Cafe is now called Planet Bollywood? The name makes me cringe.

Seriously. I can't even imagine a conversation that could end with a decision to go to a place called Planet Bollywood. Piratz partially won me over with time, but this is just too much.

Kristy said...

I can't bring myself to patronize any place of business that uses a "Z" for an "S" in the title.

Thomas Hardman said...

Sorry to go off topic.

Due to the Haitian crisis, please consider posting this as a main article.

How to Report

1. By sending a message to 447624802524
2. By sending an email to
3. By sending a tweet with the hashtag/s #haiti or #haitiquake
4. By filling a form at the website

For now this might not be all that helpful. But within the next 24 hours or so, relief efforts should have restored some cellular/txting and internet capability to rescue and relief centers in the affected areas.

Anonymous said...

When is Goldberg bagels opening on Georgia Ave? They had that opening soon sign posted for over 2 months now. Are they stuck on a bureaucratic snag(s)?