Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Tivoli

The Tivoli Theatre was built in the 1920 as a grand movie house. But by the mid-70s, the classic movie houses were being closed all over the city, and all over the country. The Columbia Heights neighborhood had also deteriorated, with crime rising and business plummeting. The theatre was unused for many years, but has recently been given life as the home of DC's GALA Hispanic Theatre.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Holidays

So if you've been wondering where I've been, I've had an epically bad cold for a tremendously long time.  So unless you want monuments made of huge tissues, Hall's cough drops, or sculptures of Vick's Vapor Rub, this will have to do...  I'll be heading down south for Christmas, but I'll be back by the New Year, ready to document life in the District. Until then, thank you for reading, and Happy Holidays to you all!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas at the 930 Club

Over the weekend, I went to a City and Colour show at the legendary 930 Club.  While waiting outside, I took a few shots of the 930's trademark antenna, now string with Christmas lights for the holiday season. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Card Time

I hate it when I get holiday cards from the neighbors before I've sent mine out. But every neighborhood has that one family that always sends out their cards first, throws the best parties, and has the biggest trees. Everything is always perfect.  They always have the cutest, smartest kids and the most literate dog.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Put Some Swing in Your Step

This is the beautiful, shiny, red espresso maker at M.E.Swing's, DC's oldest coffee roaster.  Across the street from the Eisenhower Old Executive Office Building and just a short walk from The White House, M. E. Swing's is always full of people waiting to get the signature brews that have made Swing's a District fixture since 1916.  This is quality coffee, available in a variety of blends of bean-origins, and without the bitterness that plagues most coffee chains.  The one drawback is that there isn't much in the way of seating space, but on nice days, outside seating is available.

If you need a little more than caffeine to get your feet moving, I'm also been putting together an ongoing few lists of my favorite music of 2011.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Love Under the Umbrellas: The True Story of Hillary and Joe

Oh, Joe, you're so funny!
You may remember a few months ago when I visited the White House and took a picture of Secretary Clinton with Joe Biden (and also this one of President Obama...#humblebrag).  That original shot was actually one in a series which I posted on Facebook as a pictorial love story.  I kept getting emails saying , "You should put those on your blog!"  So, by popular demand, I give you the overly satirical Love Under the Umbrellas: The True Love Story of Hillary and Joe.  

And so charming.

Really, I'm blushing.

*Deep voice* Would you like to dance, Hillary?

You're such a great dancer, Joe.

Even our umbrellas have chemistry.

If I could just touch those beautiful lips.

Oh yeah? Prove it big boy.

Joseph Biden!

I am not that kind of girl! *hand on hip*

I said "no," Joe.
I didn't mean anything by it, Hill!

I'll have you know...

Oh, what am I saying? I can't fight it. I have to run my fingers through your soft, silvery hair.
H: Oh no, a camera! We were just...uh...rehearsing! Yeah, that's it! Rehearsing! For a play!

J: You're going to email me those later, right?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Water Feature

In the courtyard of the Smithsonian Museum of American Portraiture and American Art, there is a water feature where water flows gently over the paved stones at a very shallow depth, so shallow, in fact, that if you walk through it (and everyone does-it's irresistible) your feet will be dry by the time you reach the doors leading back into the museum.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gin And Tonic

This mural, at a Foggy Bottom restaurant,Tonic, pays tribute to the eatery's history as a pharmacy. Founded in 1890 by GW alumnus, Richard Quigley, Quigley's Pharmacy has been a fixture in DC life for almost 125 years.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DC in Color

This unusual color scheme is from my neighborhood, and, while it's pretty garish, I have to admire its boldness.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Urban Garden

It's a very rainy day in DC, so I thought it would be nice to share a sunny day at a corner flower shop in Old Town Alexandria.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Kogan Plaza Fountain

I'm going to be pulling from the archived for a little while... Since my camera was recently stolen. Until its replaced, I'll be posting iPhone Photos of the Day. Here's one from Kogan Plaza on the GW campus, taken while I enjoyed one of the last al fresco lunches of the year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Few Days Away

From inside Reagan National Airport, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! I'll be back next week!

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Friday! Have some pie!

This is the Baltimore Bomb pie from the Dangerously Delicious pie truck.  Yes, that's right, we have a truck that sells pies, both sweet and savory.  The Baltimore Bomb is a base of egg custard-like topped with crumbled Berger cookies, a Baltimore specialty.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finally! Affordable Space Capabilities!

File this one under "DC, Only in."

Throughout DC's Metro system (also called WMATA or, more familiarly WM@#!%F€!£), you find a unique brand of advertising. Some of these ads may be familiar to you because they're always on your TV; they're in the poorly punctuated "Tell Congress Don't Tax Air" genre. While these ads may be a little different here because they specifically target lobbyists and Hill staffers, our most uniquely DC ads are aimed at the military. To non-military personnel like myself, these are often amusing signs for "the most battle-ready tank of its class" or "durable carrier platform surfacing." We're one step away from "But wait! Call within the next 5 minutes and we'll throw in this entire carrier fleet for free! That's one carrier platform, plus a free fleet, and bonus surface-to-air strike capabilities! All for 3 easy payments of 31Billion!! (+s&h)" That's perfectly priced if you've just come into a little money and want to stage your own military coup of a small island nation. But the most over the top example of what I like to call the "Billy Mays genre" is the one shown here. Finally! Affordable space capabilities to fit any budget. I'm pretty sure it's just a lease though.

So I hope you don't mind that in lieu of monuments or action shots of my coffee I give you this little glimpse into the bizarre world of DC living. Now, if you'll excuse me, I want to go test drive the new 2012 Black Hawk.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tiny Waterfalls

I should have posted this shot of the water feature at the Navy Memorial on Veteran's Day, but I didn't get a chance. In the background, you can see the National Archives. Long time readers will know that this is one of my favorite places in DC.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Smithsonian Carousel

The Smithsonian Carousel is a wooden carousel from the 1940s. The sign on the carousel states that it's been on the present site, on the National Mall right outside of the Smithsonian Castle, since 1967, but he sign is actually from its old location in Baltimore. The carousel was actually installed here in the mid 70s, giving the National Mall a little bit more French flavor, as a nod to the Tuileries.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Withering Pumpkins

From a distance, it looks like an ideal autumn afternoon, but these Jack-o'lanterns have seen better days.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Election Day!

These sculptures are in the lobby of the Media and Public Affairs Building at The George Washington University.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Occupying, Marching, Singing

I went out a few nights ago to get Wonky Fries. (That's poutine to you guys in Canada, disco fries if you're from Philly.) If you don't know--Wonky Fries are French fries covered in gravy and cheese and sold from with Wonky Truck, one of the most popular food trucks in DC.  I saw via Twitter that they were in the neighborhood, so I thought I'd run out for a snack.  They didn't say why they were in the neighborhood.... And I found myself in the middle of an Occupy DC Rally.

The picture on the left shows the crowd watching videos projected on the side of the Washington Convention Center.  If you want a better idea of what it was like down on the street, I took a short video (NSFW language).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rachael Yamagata at America's Legendary Music Hall

If you've been reading a while, you've seen me mention The Birchmere.  From the outside it could be any suburban nightclub, perhaps a little more garishly painted than most.  The inside features a bar and small bandstand area for intimate shows.  The main concert hall seats at long tables where concert goers can tap along to their favorite artists while enjoying southern specialties like red beans and rice, catfish, or chicken fried steak.  

I was at the Birchmere for Rachael Yamagata, a local girl that made it big.  It's her third concert I've been to, the second at the Birchmere.  It's always charming because her proud family, friends, and even high school teachers come out for the shows.  It was undoubtedly her best performance I've seen--a mixture of tracks from her new record, Chesapeake, and years of favorites like "Worn Me Down," "Elephants," and "The Reason Why."

You can find more of Rachael here, and the Birchmere's calendar here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from Old Town Alexandria

Normally, this horse stands riderless in front of Hard Times Cafe in Old Town Alexandria.  The Headless Horseman was a brilliant touch, I think, and brought back fond memories of watching Disney's animated The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on chilly autumn nights. Beware, Ichabod Crane.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Saving the Lincoln


The Lincoln Theatre is one of those classic venues in Washington. Like the Avalon Theatre in Chevy Chase, the Lincoln was built in the early 20s, fitted with sound in the late twenties.  It's also a legendary jazz venue, having hosted Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, and, of course, DC native Duke Ellington. Located along U Street, the Lincoln Theatre was one of the few movie houses in the city that was open to African-Americans.  It fell to disrepair for a few decades, like most of the great movie houses in the US, and re-opened  in the 90s as a non-profit after many years of renovations.

It made its way to my blog instead of a review of the concert (by The Civil Wars) I saw there on Sunday because the Lincoln Theatre is at the center of an increasingly national controversy.  Because of shortfalls in the budget, the Lincoln Theatre really doesn't have the money to stay afloat much longer, and the District can't afford to keep the doors open, raising questions about the public responsibility to keep these places alive in DC and elsewhere.  The Lincoln's financial woes were the subject of a recent Huffington Post article by Rob Bettmann, chairman of DC Advocates for the Arts. His call to preserve the Lincoln Theatre and its historical legacy was met with opposition from Eli Lehrer, also of the Huffington Post, and VP of the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank that opposes all government spending and regulation (especially where the environment is concerned), and in the past has questioned links between second-hand smoke and health risks, as well as scientific basis of global climate change.

If I were a journalist, I suppose I'd have to take some un-biased, objective stance here, examining both sides of the issue fairly.  Luckily, I'm not a journalist, and I also don't have the time to write an investigative expose  on the city budget or the importance of preserving the historical integrity of the District.  Since I'm just a semi-anonymous blogger, I'll go ahead and tell you, even without all the facts, I'd side with the guy that wants to keep the arts accessible to all, rather than the guy that says smoking doesn't kill people and that polar bears will do just fine despite the naturally occurring cycle of ice cap melting.  But stepping away from pesky realities like budgets and hard science, the Lincoln Theatre should be kept open for use by the community and preserved for its role in the U Street Corridor's rich history. Also, if we can be vain for just a moment, it's just really pretty. There aren't many of these theatres left, and what we have shouldn't be leveled for more bars, burger places, cupcakeries, or whatever DC's latest food trend will be.  We've already brought the Lincoln Theatre back once. Let's not lose it forever.   

The lobby, via Instagram