Tysons, VA

The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Oct. 22)

  • Beer School 101 — 6 to 8 p.m. at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant (7861 Tysons Corner Center) — Gordon Biersch’s head brewer is hosting an event to teach attendees how to start the beer-making process. Light appetizers are included with the $10 admission price. Tickets are $10 and can be found online.

Wednesday (Oct. 23)

  • Startup Social — 6 to 9 p.m. at Office Evolution (8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 110) — Aspiring entrepreneurs are welcome to come and learn more about how to start a business from a panel of business founders. Attendees should register online beforehand.

Thursday (Oct. 24)

  • Lauren Liess Book Signing — 7-9 p.m. at Ballard Designs (8084 Tysons Corner Center) — The HGTV host of “Best House on the Block” will be at the mall signing her new book and talking about her inspiration. This event is free and there will be light appetizers and drinks.
  • Falls Church City Council Election Debate — 7 p.m. at Falls Church American Legion Hall, Post 130 (400 N. Oak Street) — In this debate, the candidates for the upcoming Falls Church City Council will face-off and discuss topics surrounding the community. This event is free and open to the public.
  • Kirby Road Community Meeting — 7 p.m. at Chesterbrook Elementary School (1753 Kirby Road) — This meeting will discuss the flood damage in the area and cover what is being done to fix it. This event is free and open to the public. 

Saturday (Oct. 26)

  • Code and Coffee Meetup — 9 a.m. until 13:30 p.m. at NuAxis Innovations (8605 Westwood Center Drive) —  This monthly event will provide people a chance to enjoy snacks, coffee, free wifi and the company of other coders. It is free, but participants are encouraged to RSVP.
  • Wellness Fair — 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Church of the Holy Comforter (543 Beulah Road NE) — This event is open to everyone and will give people the chance to enjoy keynote speakers, try yoga, hang out with therapy dogs, have lunch and play in a bounce house. Tickets are $12 per adult, $5 for kids or $25 for the whole family and can be purchased online.
  • Pup-Tober Fest — 5-7:30 p.m. at Dogtopia (1524 Spring Hill Road) — This event invites pet owners to gather for an evening of deals, food, a raffle and treats. This event is free and open to the public.

Sunday (Oct. 27)

  • Spooky Yoga — 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tysons Biergarten (8346 Leesburg Pike) — This seasonal event invites all ages to try out a yoga class. Tickets are $25. Attendees must bring their own mat and costumes are welcome.

Ready for spooky season? Tysons Reporter also rounded up Halloween events.

Image via Facebook/Dogtopia

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The editor in chief of the Falls Church News-Press released a book earlier this month exploring a gay perspective on feminism.

Author Nick Benton released his book “Gay Men in the Feminist Revolution: Articles, Pamphlets and Reflections on My Gay Activist Days in San Francisco, 1969-1972” on Sept. 17 through Amazon. Benton told Tysons Reporter that he hopes it will educate people on the power of feminism in politics.

Though this isn’t his first book discussing perspectives from the LGBTQ+ community, Benton released his latest book for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in 1969.

“This is my two cents in terms of what happened 50 years ago,” Benton said.

Benton began his career in the San Francisco Bay Area writing for different gay media outlets and spent several years as an LGBTQ activist before moving to D.C. to become a White House correspondent.

Later in his career, he decided to set up shop and start a newspaper in Falls Church to cover a local news gap.

Benton told Tysons Reporter that he thinks feminism will be important for switching up the political culture in 2020 and hopes his readers will walk away with a more comprehensive background through historical documentation.

Readers might be surprised about “the depth of the commitment to feminism by gay men,” he said, adding that people often think about the topic as “one-dimensional,” but in reality, the gay community is very thoughtful and supportive when it comes to feminism.

When asked how people in the City of Falls Church will react to the book, he referenced the former FCNP column “Anything But Straight” saying that LBGTQ perspectives were well received by readers and he expects the same for his book.

During the writing process, Benton said he struggled to find the time and energy to complete the book, adding that much of it is based on extensive research he did himself.

The “Stonewall 50” event, hosted at the Falls Church Episcopal Church back in June, inspired him to finally finish the book. The event attracted several dominant figures in the larger community who spoke about the importance of LGBTQ advocacy, Falls Church News-Press reported.

Going forward, he hopes new generations will learn from and engage with his book.

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Comic fans rejoice — today is National Comic Book Day. Tysons Reporter has rounded up some places to check out to buy comic books.

The concept of comic books originated in the U.S. around 1933, according to the National Day calendar. “Famous Funnies” was a reprint of popular newspaper comics and sold as the first comic book. It embodied storytelling devices associated with comic books seen today.

Several local shops keep the comic book spirit alive in the Tysons area.

Big Planet Comics 

At the local chain’s Vienna location (426 E. Maple Avenue), the store offers visitors a large variety of comic book options including print editions, online comics and even a comic-book based podcast. Today, the store is open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. The shop also has locations in Mayland and D.C., though hours vary.

One More Page Books 

Though more of a bookshop, the store does offer customers a comic and graphic novel section. People can browse over 100 pages of options on the bookstore’s website. The store also offers a selection at their physical location (2200 N. Westmoreland Street) near the East Falls Church Metro station. Hours of operation today are 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Victory Comics

Victory Comics claims to have one of the most comprehensive inventories in the D.C. area, according to its website. Located in Falls Church at 586 S. Washington Street, the store sells new comics, sports cards, paperbacks and a variety of other items. The store is also looking to buy comics. Hours of operation today are 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Hole in the Wall Books also used to sell comics in Falls Church until it closed in August.

Photo via Big Planet Comics/Facebook

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This weekend, bibliophiles can gather for a charity used book sale.

The McLean branch of the American Association of University Women is putting on a book sale that will provide scholarships for college students. This year marks the annual sale’s 50th anniversary.

Since the organization’s founding in 1969, the AAUW strives to assist with advocacy, education, philanthropy and research for women seeking higher education.

There will be a wide variety of genres available including philosophy, cookbooks, business, law, science, mathematics, travel, art, pets and animals and books in foreign languages, according to the event’s website. There will also be specialty and vintage books available for purchase.

For anyone not interested in books, there will also be a selection of DVDs.

Prices range from $10 to $200. Both cash and credit cards will be accepted.

The event will take place on Friday (Sept. 13) from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday (Sept. 14) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday (Sept. 15) from noon-4 p.m at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue).

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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An upcoming community garage sale in McLean will offer people the chance to buy or sell unwanted items.

Hosted by the McLean Community Center, the sale offers more than 50 booths and even an area where kids can practice their entrepreneurial and business skills.

If anyone wants to set up a booth, it will cost $45 or $35 for McLean residents. For kids aged 3 t0 15 wanting to set up a booth, there will be a fee of $25 or $15 for McLean residents. The webpage warns that spots are available on a first-come-first-serve basis and interested parties can contact organizers by email.

For those looking to buy or just browse the selection, admission is free.

The event will be held regardless of the weather on Saturday (Sept. 14) from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the intersection of Ingleside Avenue and Beverly Road.

Photo via Freddie Marriage on Unsplash

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A local sci-fi author recently teamed up with big names to expand his fictional world.

David McGoings is the creator of “Catharsis: 2066” and a Falls Church resident. He began the project as a book trilogy but decided to expand it into a multi-media project featuring Star Trek’s Robert Picardo and famous narrator Greg Tremblay.

“Catharsis: 2066” follows the lives of six characters interacting with aliens come to earth and change the world’s history forever. The storyline explores the characters’ feelings and struggles as they deal with a changing environment and the ripple effect of their actions.

“It’s about the breakdown of society and the interactions of the people,” McGoings said.

McGoings told Tysons Reporter that the first book is currently finished and is in the process of publication. Next, he wants to implement a video series and work on the last two books in the trilogy.

He isn’t sure when the first book will be released to the public. As a teaser, Tremblay and Picardo from “Star Trek: Voyager” agreed to narrate the first four chapters. There is also a trailer with artwork from Rob Joseph.

“It started out as just a pitch, but most people in the industry when putting their name on something or helping out with something, they have to like the product first,” said McGoings.

Within the first week of the narration’s release, he said he received more than 2,000 new social media followers and attention on several online forums encouraging art from people of color, including Planet Ebjon, a Facebook page dedicated to Marvel DC characters and the Entertainment Universe.

“It has motivated me as well as pushed the envelope a little on how far you can go when writing a book if you have the tenacity or drive to keep with it,” McGoings said.

Until this point, McGoings said all the proceeds for his book have come out of his pocket or from donations from friends and family. In hopes of reaching his $8,000 goal for the trilogy and a YouTube video series, McGoings started a GoFundMe where people can donate to support the project.

In the next few weeks, McGoings and Joseph will sponsor a social media contest for fans where people will have the change to enter for a piece of signed custom artwork. Fans can check out the book’s Facebook page for upcoming details.

Eventually, McGoings said he wants to write full-time and hire a literary agent, to help him market his books to publishers.

“It’s probably one of the hardest parts of the process, besides writing the book itself, is to find an agent,” McGoings said. “It’s hard to grab the attention of somebody.”

Images courtesy David McGoings

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After 27 years of service in the U.S. Military, Vienna resident Timothy Redmond decided to share his experiences in an autobiography.

As You Were” is a novel about Redmond’s personal life experience after 9/11 and the time he served on duty in Afghanistan. Though the book came out in 2018, it continues to attract attention from readers as he tours local bookshops.

Before he even decided to write a novel, Redmond discovered his passion as a novelist during a creative writing workshop for retired combat veterans hosted by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

During the writing process, Redmond told Tysons Reporter he spent time processing traumatic events that happened to him and his close friends — including the death of a friend.

“It’s stressful to relive some of that,” he said.

He also said it took him a little extra time to write the book because he “wanted to get it right” and respect the people he served with through remembrance. Redmond mentioned that several members in his former unit read the book and gave positive feedback.

From the description of the book on Amazon:

A freshly-minted prosecutor with the Brooklyn DA’s Office, Tim Redmond thought he’d left his life as a Green Beret behind as he pulled into the World Trade Center train station on the morning of 9/11. Three months later he was back in Afghanistan with his old A-Team gearing up for the fight of their lives! Follow this team of Special Forces on their raucous and heroic journey through the unimaginable horrors of war and their unique struggle to return to a home they can no longer make sense of.

Redmond shared his book with the community on Aug. 4, when he set up a table at the new Barnes & Noble in the Mosaic District. He signed autographs and bonded with community members from around the region.

Looking forward to the future, Redmond, who works at a local law firm in Tysons, said that he and his publicist are in the process of scheduling similar events in Tysons.

Photo courtesy Tim Redmond

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A used bookstore in the City of Falls Church plans to close at the end of the month, but comic book fans should plan on visiting the store before Monday.

“It’s a retirement closing” and “Thank you Falls Church for 40 years” signs currently hang on the store’s door.

After 40 years, Hole in the Wall Books plans to sell its comic books in a few days — less than two weeks before the store is packed up for good.

Owner Edie Nally told Tysons Reporter that her husband Michael ran the store for the first 20 years and she’s been in charge for the last 20 years.

After commuting a little more than 100 miles per day and getting stuck in I-66 traffic, Nally said she’s going to be “so glad to be out of that.”

But while Nally said that she feels “wonderful” about her upcoming retirement, several patrons who stopped by the store Thursday told Tysons Reporter that the closure will impact the Falls Church community.

Chris Messick said that the multi-generational store is part of the “citadel for nerd culture.”

“It’s a sanctuary for people to look for really cool, old books. They are not coming here just for a bargain,” Messick said.

Taylor Holland, a 48-year-old Arlingtonian who said he’s been coming to the store since he was 8, said that the closure is “costing Falls Church a piece of its soul.”

“Every community needs to have a place like this. It’s a repository of ideas,” Holland said. “It’s a forum where ideas can be exchanged. It’s the closest thing we have to a Roman forum or French salon circa the days of Versaille.”

Holland, who was unable to find a copy of “The Great Gatsby,” had a stack of at least two dozen paperbacks and comic books he had picked out for himself and his family.

“I buy a whole variety of things,” he said. “I have two kids ages 11 and 13.”

Shoppers can find a wide selection of books from mysteries to horror, from graphic novels to literature.

As for Nally’s favorite reads? “The very best books ever are Shakespeare and the Russians — Dostoevsky, Tolstoy,” Nally said. “What’s better than that?”

Signs outside the store say, “50% off. Going out of business sale discounts.” Nally said the half-off discount applies to “pretty much everything.”

Come Monday (Aug. 19), Nally said that a man will buy and haul away 191 long boxes containing “thousands and thousands of comics.” People looking for comic books should stop by the store this weekend, Nally suggested.

Hole in the Wall Books is open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on the weekends. The store plans to close for good on Saturday, Aug. 31.

Whatever doesn’t get sold by the closing date, Nally said will end up on the Advanced Book Exchange, a Canadian e-commerce site better known as AbeBooks.com.

Nally said that people should come to store before it closes “because we’re giving a great deal.”

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Fairfax County Public Library is trying something new this year — a county-wide, adult summer reading challenge.

In years past, various branches held individual challenges for adults, but after demand rose, the county designed a unified program, according to Mary Mulrenan, a spokesperson for FCPL.

“A small committee worked together to create a system-wide program that would provide a way for all library customers to participate,” she said.

So far, participants have turned in 1,534 logs to the library — significantly more than they originally anticipated, according to Mulrenan. “We are surveying customers and to date, 73 people have completed our survey. Out of this number, 92% have rated it excellent or very good and 95% will participate again next summer.”

Anyone interested in participating can pick up reading logs at any local FCPL branch or print them out on the website. The nearest location is the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library (7584 Leesburg Pike).

To complete the challenge, participants must complete two reading logs, each consisting of a challenge to read or listen to four books and complete one other task, like trying out the library’s research database or following FCPL’s social media accounts.

Participants who return one log will be given goodies such as free snacks, discounts, fine forgiveness at the library or free entry to a Fairfax County recreation center.

Upon completion of a second log, participants will receive a drawstring bag and be entered into a drawing at the end of the summer for a canvas bag filled with a Barnes and Noble gift card, a journal and a portable beach blanket. Individual branches may offer additional prizes, according to the county library website.

Anyone interested in participating can still turn in reading logs until Aug. 31.

The library plans to offer more incentives next summer, due to this year’s high demand.

“It’s wonderful that we have exceeded that number and we still have time (one month) to gain more finishers. We also hope to encourage more businesses to sponsor coupons,” Mulrenan said.

Image via Fairfax County

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“People nowadays don’t want to believe in this stuff,” Al Tyas, a retired local ghost hunter and published author, recently told Tysons Reporter. And by “stuff,” Tyas means ghosts.

Tyas recently published his second book “Project Rabbit Hole.” The book delves into how and why people have a fascination with ghosts “now more than ever before,” as Tyas put it — thanks in part to increasing pop culture references.

Originally from Rhode Island, Tyas said that he saw his first ghost when he was 7 while at an amusement park. He moved to Falls Church in 2007 and now lives in Alexandria.

After moving to the D.C. area, he joined a paranormal ghost group — “at first it was cute” — and then five years later, he branched off and made his own group, DC Metro Area Ghost Watchers.

In the height of his ghost hunting days, Tyas said he would conduct two investigations per week — everything from people claiming they were possessed to reports of strange noises or occurrences in people’s homes.

Eventually, Tyas handed off his group to another person after the experiences got “darker and darker” and he noticed his and fellow ghost hunters’ health start to decline.

What are ghosts? “Ghosts are demented, dysfunctional beings that died before their time and at the height of their lives,” he said, adding that the ghost might not even know that they are dead.

Most people think they have a ghost when they feel cold spots, hear a voice or notice that objects are missing, he said. Yet Tyas said that he approached investigations at first with skepticism, since some people claim to see ghosts for short-term fame and attention.

“Not everything people see or experience are ghosts,” he said.

This isn’t Tyas’ first time writing a book. He published “Last Call on the Potomac” — a book about D.C. area ghost stories — in 2006.

For his new book, Tyas drew on his personal experiences as a retired paranormal investigator, research and interviews for an in-depth look at the “supernatural family” — from ghosts to aliens. The paperback book costs $17 on Lulu.

Last year, Tyas headed down to New Orleans to do research on how people have interacted with supernatural beings throughout history. In his research, he noted that changes starting with the Fox sisters, who became mediums in the 1850s but later admitted to faking some parts of their seances.

“In past historical time periods, people avoided or took precautions. Now, we’re trying to make contact,” he said. “It’s getting dangerous.”

For people looking for ghosts, Tyas shared some words of warning.

“[Ghosts] always appear when you least expect them to,” Tyas said, adding that they tend to pick the weakest person to bother.

Ultimately, Tyas said that coexistence is the goal and that people should leave supernatural beings alone.

As for skeptics? “I say, ‘More power to them,'” Tyas said.

Photo via Lulu.com

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