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

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Long, Golden Light of Autumn

A sunny afternoon on a street near my house, as the days grow shorter and the shadows longer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NoMa: News from Another Quadrant

Just a short walk across North Capital St is the NoMa district, in the North East. DC is divided into quadrants: NW, NE, SW, and SE. Until just a few years ago, it took spunk to go exploring outside the NW area. Now things are happening pretty much everywhere. Well, maybe not Anacostia... In NoMa, short for North of Mass Ave., neighborhood associations are bringing in arts and festivals, crime is dropping, new businesses are opening up, and everything looks shiny and new. There's a brand new Harris-Teeter, a Potbelly, Roti, and at least a dozen apartment and condo buildings. Everything in the area is either newly completed or in some stages of construction. So hopefully, in the coming months, I'll venture outside of my cocoon a bit more, and show you that the District is more than just the NW.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Squirrel's Eye View

Fall is in full swing, and the brick sidewalks of my quiet street are paved with leaves of dusty browns and burnt reds. New seasons, same color scheme.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wave back!

Secretary Clinton and Vice President Biden send their warmest regards.

Monday, October 10, 2011


The Occupy DC movement hasn't been nearly as large or successful as the Occupy Wall St. movement, but over the weekend, things reportedly got a bit rowdy, and police resorted to tear gas. By Monday, Occupy DC's protest permit for Freedom Plaza had expired, and a lot of people cleared off, fearing arrest. What was left was a hodgepodge of activist groups protesting everything imaginable. The overarching narrative remained in opposition to warmongering, corporate bailouts and tax breaks, and in favor of job creation. But there were also a lot of signs for anti-war, pro-feminism, DC voting rights, anti-death penalty, anti-tobacco, and, well, you name it. Occupy DC has been branded a mass of "unwashed hippies," but it can't be denied that they have pretty good points.

CORRECTION: With a big thanks to a brief explanation from a friend (who shall henceforth bear the burden of being my editorial board), I must amend the above paragraph. Despite being covered with "Occupy DC" signs throughout Freedom Plaza, this demonstration is actually "Stop the Machine." Occupy DC is located in McPherson Square. I'll try to bring you updates on both.

PS. On a completely different note...there's more from Oxford at On Meandering.

Happy Columbus Day?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fleet Foxes at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Here's a couple of shots from Fleet Foxes (click for this post's soundtrack) recent show at the Merriweather Post Pavilion (click here for the venue's really impressive place in music history) a great outdoor concert venue in Columbia, Maryland. If you're lucky, your seats are under the covered pavilion. If not, you perch on the sloping lawn behind the seats. And if you're really unlucky, it'll probably rain most of the day, like it did for this show.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Yeah, you just thought there were a million pictures before.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Among the Books with Toni Morrison

These are just a few of the pictures that I took during Toni Morrison's recent visit the Lisner Auditorium. Unlike one of my friends that got the chance to speak to Morrison, I had to make do with the zoom. Still, to hear someone so influential and talented affirms everything I love about language, about writing, and everything I believe about the importance of what I do with my life. She's full of wisdom, like some sage of the written word, intimidating, but with a touch of something kind. She speaks as a teacher, an intellectual, a grandmother, and one of America's greatest writers, produced in a time and a place that sought to suppress and quieten her voice.

PS. There are a few new Oxford pics over at that other place.

Monday, October 3, 2011

DC in Red

It's no surprise to those who know me that I love red. When I come across shiny, red doors, I have a visceral, giddy reaction, especially when they're accented with blue. Since both of these doors seem quintessentially DC-esque, I thought I would share them with you. If you like red too, you can hop over to On Meandering, for a little more from Oxford.