A few weeks back, we threw this question out to some of our loyal readers, asking for your picks for the best discreet meeting spots in DC, and frankly, what we got back was questionable at best.

One of you actually recommended Bullfeathers.

We can only hope that you guys aren’t trying to pull off anything sneaky, cause you’re about as subtle as Chris Lee posting on Craigslist.

Thankfully, we know shady folks who were willing to dish on their favorite clandestine meeting spots. Read and learn, Boy Scouts.

#5: Any place NOT on Capitol Hill

Despite being Famous for DC, and no doubt recognizable back in the District, chances are no one outside these 2 square miles knows whom you or who your rank-and-file Congressman is. (Even if they’re wearing their Congressional pin, practically begging people to notice them!) If you’re a member of the Senate, okay, we’ll widen the radius to 10 square miles.

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Even running for President isn’t a guarantee that people will pay attention. Rick Santorum could smoke crack off a hooker’s you-know-what on the National Mall and no one would notice or care.

So, step one in fulfilling your manifest clandestiny: leave the Hill. Uber somewhere. Anywhere. We’d recommend Maryland or Virginia, but chances are NW DC is far enough.

#4: Archibald’s, Camelot, or Good Guys

If you’re doing something shady, best to go where everyone is doing something a little sketch so the principals of mutually assured destruction can work in your favor. Any one of these fine DC strip clubs will do.

Bonus: these places are dark. Double bonus: everyone there is distracted, all the time. Triple bonus: smartphones and social media are persona non grata. So go ahead, pass the cash and under the table. Just don’t forget to tip your waitress, because that would be tacky.

#3: CafÉ Milano

Whatever amateur dealings you’re doing, chances are some diplomat is doing far worse in the front room; so if/when the FBI decides to raid the place, you’ll have plenty of time to finish your branzino, order gelato, and still escape.

Much like the aforementioned strip clubs, this place comes with the guarantee of a distracted clientele, because everyone is either so self-absorbed they can’t be bothered to notice anyone else, or because they’re so busy being cool and acting like the fact that Barack and Michelle just walked in is no big deal. Either way, it’s a win/win for you.

Honestly, the Pope could show up to Café Milano for dinner and be left alone. Best of all, you’ll have a delicious meal with amazing service.

#2: Tortilla Coast

If “hiding in plain sight” is your strategy, it doesn’t get any more obvious than this favorite watering hole. Seriously, go ahead: take your Mistress. Have some margaritas. Share some queso. Let her salt your chips.

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You could run into your wife and she’d be convinced you two were just there for a fundraiser, because you’d have to be dumb to be that overt… or would you?

Just remember not to look so uncomfortable/paranoid that you arouse suspicion and draw unwanted attention. Our hunch here at FDC HQ is that you guys probably need to work up to this one.

#1: A Senate Hideaway

First, in order to pull this off, you’re going to have to be a United States Senator or a super-trusted staff member of a Senator. (Sorry, House folks…)

Since these offices are completely unmarked, your second hurdle is in knowing where the Hideaway is and being able to find it. The more seniority the Senator has, the closer to the Senate floor, which means it’s easier to find, but also easier to be spotted.

And if you’re not a staffer and have no Congressional ID to get into the Capitol, the Senator or their appointed staffer (or whomever you happen to be secretly rendezvousing with) is going to have to meet you on the Senate steps to escort you in.  Not the most discreet game plan, but Capitol Police are lockboxes when it comes to this stuff. They’ll even wave you in if they see you there every day at noon, no questions asked.

The final hurdle is in having the key. They only make a few and they’re impossible to replicate. If you’re given one, for God’s sake, don’t lose it. You’ve literally scored the keys to the kingdom.

And finally, a note from our Editors: Don’t do shady sh*t. It never ends well.

The Famous DC team loves us some Uber. Our team uses Uber multiple times a day every day. Uber in the morning, Uber in the evenin’, Uber at suppertime!

Due to the fact that we fancy ourselves the ultimate DC Uber supporters, we feel entitled to rant about something: those damn air fresheners.

04wmt-articleLarge-v3Some Uber drivers have decided that it’s appropriate to replace the oxygen in their vehicles with “new car” or “pine forest” scented toxins. Those drivers would be surprised to learn that we recently conducted a scientific survey (we polled 10 people) in which we found that 90% of Uber vehicles (from Black to UberX) contained at least one nauseating air freshening device. In one field survey of an Uber SUV, we found EIGHT, yes EIGHT horrible, terrible, awful air fresheners. It was so bad our team had to exit the vehicle to catch our breath.

The idea of “air freshener” is a totally backwards and asinine concept to begin with. Air fresheners do the exact opposite of what their name implies. Those little pine trees hanging from a rearview mirror (or, god forbid, the scented cigarette lighter plugins) do nothing but destroy the air quality in a vehicle* and your lungs.1504048_733336716706616_1782393729_n

Here today, we are officially calling on the loyal Uber customers of the world to help us on our quest to ban air fresheners from all Uber vehicles. We understand most drivers are attempting to mask the cigarette smoke, but honestly, we’d prefer that to the awfulness that is an air freshener. The first 10 folks to tweet, “We love @Uber but please #banairfreshner!” and link to this post will receive some serious FDC love – which might include swag.

*That’s actually a fact

Famous 5

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Sarah Gunion

Meet FDC’s newest team member, Sarah Gunion. Sarah is a Maryland native but came to us from New Orleans, which she has called home for the past five years. She has a taste for the unconventional, a passion for people, and a knack for delivering the unexpected- which is why we were thrilled to bring her aboard. Expect to see her around the city, as we expect that she will take on this new opportunity by storm.

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Let’s be honest: DC has needed to embrace Snapchat for a while now. (We’re looking at you, Anthony Weiner.) Not only will it let you sext your intern without getting caught,* but you can now make your boss look like one of the cool kids.

Not surprisingly, Rand Paul (SenatorRandPaul) was ahead of the curve on this as one of DC’s early adopters and Sen. Marco Rubio (MarcoRubio2016) and Gov. Rick Perry (GovernorPerry) have jumped on the bandwagon as well. We’re sure the other 42 GOP contenders are soon to follow suit.

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(BTW, Carly Fiorina: where are you on this? As the only candidate with a background in tech and friends in Silicon Valley, we expect you to crush the digital game.)

Yesterday’s Jeb! announcement was curated on Snapchat (and by Snapchat, in cooperation with the Jeb! campaign) using pretty cool “geo-fencing” technology which allowed them to pull content from users on the Miami Dade College campus for a real-time live feed.

Jeb! even had his own Snapchat filter. (Not to be confused with the filters on Instagram, Snapchat’s filters are more likely to be used to convey additional information like the weather, provided by The Weather Channel, or your whereabouts, using Geofilters like “Capitol Hill”, or, in this case, your excitement that Jeb! was getting in the race.)

The Jeb! announcement featured highlights including Barbara Bush being adorable and an experience so real you can practically smell the arroz con pollo.

But for those of us without our own 24/7 digital team, how do you actually use it? What’s so awesome about it? And why on earth do we need to connect on yet another social network? Thankfully, FDC is here to explain…

(*FDC makes no guarantees and will not be held liable for the fallout.)

Step 1: Download the app.

Click here to download on either iOS or Android. Create and account and user ID.

Step 2: Import your Rolodex.

This is a significant improvement over the first generation Snapchat, which forced you to manually search for your friends. As long as you allow it permission to access your contacts, it will now do the work of finding out which of your besties are already on the Snapchat network for you.

Step 3: Follow FamousDC.

Username: TheFamousDC, or open Snapchat and point your camera at the ghost below.

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Step 4: Start Snapping.

We recommend your first snap be something innocuous like your lunch or reading material on the Metro, in case you inadvertently tweet it by mistake. (No bueno if it’s a bathroom selfie.) That would also mean you’re in the wrong app entirely, so make sure you see the little white ghost.

Photos and videos (of up to 10 seconds) must be taken inside the Snapchat app, just like Instagram, as opposed to being pulled from your camera roll, which is why the camera view is the home screen. Hold down the big round camera button at the bottom center of the screen to capture photo or video.

So go ahead, snap something and send it to TheFamousDC.

Step 5: Edit your photo.

You can use the little pencil at the top right corner to draw on your photo or write a message to your intended recipient. (For example, I heart FDC.) You can also apply a filter, giving your location, the weather, etc. This would be the part of Snapchat that makes us feel like teenage girls, but whatever floats your boat.

Step 6: Get your first Snapback.

A snapback is, well, when somebody answers your snap with a snap. If someone sends you a snap, you see a notification in the bottom left hand corner with the number of unread snaps you have to view. If you get into a good volley of snaps back and forth, that is apparently called a “Snapstreak.”

To view a snap, you must hold down the screen. This takes some getting used to, but is an added privacy bonus, since it’s virtually impossible to do that and take a screen shot simultaneously.

Step 7: Tell your story.

A Snapchat story is content you can share with all of your Snapchat followers and are made available for 24 hours and can be viewed repeatedly in that timeframe. Much like Facebook, it’s a one-directional content delivery mechanism. For example, when Rick Perry got into the race, he released a 5-second video story filmed backstage. The downside for brands and political candidates is that your reach is only as large as your audience.

When you follow FamousDC (TheFamousDC) on snapchat, you’ll be able to view our first story posted yesterday with a theme you’ll surely see with us again. Our story featured, #AskAPanda, in which innocent citizens roaming the Capitol grounds ask a Panda a pressing question to which the Panda replies on a white board.

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More on this later.

Step 8: Discover fun content.

Snapchat’s new “Discover” feature is the way that content can go viral, which is to say you can send it to a friend, as opposed to most of its other content that is unshareable.

Right now, the Discover section is limited to 12 channels of editorial content from traditional media sources like CNN, ESPN, and People with some curveballs like Vice, Cosmopolitan, and Snapchat’s own channel with original programming.

All of this content disappears within 24 hours, which begs the question how much time, energy, effort, and money campaigns will be willing to spend… but given that Snapchat has basically cornered the market on the most coveted political demographic, we’re betting it will be substantial.

So, in conclusion, what’s the appeal? Well, it’s grainy, it’s handheld, and therefore, it somehow feels more intimate and personal. I feel like I’m actually backstage with Rick Perry. Or I’m actually sitting next to Barbara Bush. It’s like the difference between a hot amateur sex tape and porn that’s been over-produced in Hollywood.

And why does any of this matter? To your boss, it’s a great way to reach out to the coveted younger voter demographic. And to the rest of us, its appeal is still in the ephemeral nature of the content.

Like a great concert, party, or one-night stand, all you’re left with when it’s over is the emotional experience of how it made you feel… which can often be better than the real thing.

See you on Snapchat.

Meet Markette Smith Sheppard. TV personality, passionate travel communications professional and natural cosmetics ambassador. We spent a few minutes with her for one of our Famous 5 interviews.

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Meet Lisa De Pasquale, a communications professional in D.C. She’s currently Director of Strategic Communications at DC London, and also was a longtime Director at CPAC for five increasingly successful conferences. She’s written a book based on her experiences at CPAC called Finding Mr. Righteous – it’s a witty, fun read and needs to be on every D.C. resident’s Kindle right now.

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Haven’t tried a Rocky Mountain oyster? This is your year.

Washington, D.C. ­ You’d be NUTS to miss this! The Montana State Society would like to invite you to have a ball (literally!) at the 11th annual D.C. Testy Fest, “Where Big Balls Meet The Beltway”.

Last year over 700 people flocked to the American Legion in Arlington to enjoy live music provided by the Wil Gravatt Band and graze on all‐you‐can‐eat Rocky Mountain Oysters! Thirsty? Wash them down with a limitless supply of Crown Royal (A.K.A liquid courage) & beer– all for the bargain price of $25 bucks!

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This is the emergency landing of the Military Aviation Museum TBM Avenger during the 70th anniversary of VE Day, Arsenal of Democracy flyover. A 1500psi pinhole hydraulic leak vaporized in the cockpit, appeared like smoke, and prompted a decision to abort the flyover and land at Reagan DCA airport.

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Earl Hamilton

Meet Earl Hamilton. He’s a former collegiate soccer player and now personal trainer in Washington, D.C. We caught up with him for some tips on how to get in shape for the summer while there’s still time.

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