Monday, July 23, 2012

Adams Marilyn

You may have noticed from previous posts that DC loves murals.  The Marylin wall in Adams Morgan is one of the most iconic images of the city.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Landscape from a Balcony

Last week I helped a friend pack before moving back home to the other side of the world. I took a moment's rest to capture the view of the Kennedy Center and Watergate from the balcony where I've spent many hours of wine and conversation.

Monday, July 2, 2012

When the Wind Blows

Here's some of the damage from last Friday's monster storm, which left millions (including me for a few hours) without power.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rep. Pelosi

It's a bit blurry, but that's Representative and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum.  The event was an intimate conversation with Rachel Maddow in celebration of Pelosi's 25 years of service. There are much better pictures on Sewall-Belmont's Flickr stream (The shoes are my favorite. I was wearing those in brown.), and here's a short piece from the Post

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pride 2012

DC's Pride Parade and Festival is one of the nicest times of the year. It's a celebration of diversity and cooperation, acceptance, of yourself and of others.  Also, look at all the pretty colors.

The PFLAG organization for Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, is pretty much the most heart warming thing that you'll ever see, and a good reminder that nobody gets to define what a family is except that family.

The DC Public Schools has a commitment to providing a safe place for all kids--every single one.  Sure there are still problems that need to be addressed in the system, but there are a lot of people here saying "You have the right to be just who you are," and that's something that, sadly, doesn't hold true for all school kids in this country.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Yes, That's Tilda Swinton

Song 1, artist Doug Aiken's multimedia exhibit based on a single song, recently closed at the Hirshhorn Museum on the Mall.  Aiken made use of the museum's round architecture to project his film in 360 degrees on the exterior walls, surrounding the building with speakers playing "I Only Have Eyes For You."  The film itself is non-linear and non-narrative, but, in a way, it tells the story of how music moves through our lives, whether we're singing along to the radio, keeping time with our footsteps, or beating out rhythms with the jangle of keys and the clang of spatulas. We're all connected through the music we listen to.  For the few weeks that the film ran, the Mall, which becomes a dark, empty expanse at night, had flickers of light, strains of music, and small signs of community, as most of the viewers were DC residents gathering in night-time picnics. The pictures I've included don't do it justice, but you can see more of the exhibit, as well as hear Aiken's own description of the project, in the film below. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra Plays Ella

The American Museum of Art recently hosted a special "Ella at 95" concert series, featuring DC's own Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra.

Monday, April 30, 2012


This weekend, author and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow took the podium to discuss her new book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power. To begin the night, Maddow read a short excerpt proving that her published prose is every bit as witty, informative, and accessible as her prime time anchoring of The Rachel Maddow Show. Though she's arguably one of the most left-leaning journalists in American media, Maddow describes her book as bipartisan--not about Republican issues or Democratic issues--but about American issues; that is, how America moved from being a country hesitant to go to war to waging multiple wars, and how we evolved from a nation in which everyone contributed their part to the war effort to an era when war carries on indefinitely with little or no bearing on the every day lives of civilian families, while the brunt of the cost is on military families.

The rest of the evening, Maddow engaged in a lengthy Q&A session with the audience, before signing books and talking to fans. She was as she appears on screen, brilliant, funny, self-deprecating, and always very gracious. The event was sponsored by Politics and Prose Bookstore and the 6th and I Synagogue, a partnership that regularly brings writers, journalists, and political leaders to engage with the public in intellectual discourse.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Clinton Global Initiative

This past weekend, President Clinton, along with a host of other luminaries and leaders (pictures to follow) were on the campus of The George Washington University for the Clinton Global Initiative, an organization aimed at promoting leadership, social consciousness, community service, sustainability, and global thinking among young people.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mocha and Motorcade

When you live in DC, you have to learn to deal with the traffic, which is almost always backed up because of the Presidential motorcade.  Even if you're not on the street, but tucked away working in a charming, funky coffee shop, the buzz of six motorcycle cops followed by 12 black vehicles, an ambulance, and at least two police cars is enough to distract you from your book. You know you've lived here for a while if you know who's in the cars by the number of motorcycles riding out front. People in DC like to be nonchalant about it, or even perpetually grumpy--both dispositions are cool in DC.  But the truth is, living in a city where the President of the United States buzzes on a regular basis, is more of a rush than a double espresso.

The shot is a bit blurry because it's a still from the video below.  fyi, the President usually travels in the second car. 


Friday, March 9, 2012

To Spring!

It's the weekend! And, even better, it's spring break! I only have a couple of days off so I'm heading down south to visit my family.  I'll be gone for a few days, but until then, a toast to spring! This is a cajun themed Jean Daley from Bayou on Pennsylvania Ave. in Foggy Bottom.  It's sweet tea vodka, lemonade, and Razzmatazz. Cheers!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Little Wooden Church in the City

Since 1854, this small, wooden chapel has set in this little corner of DC as the city has grown all around it.  The other buildings in the neighborhood are brick and brownstone rowhouses from the late nineteenth century or new, shiny condo complexes looming above. Yet, somehow, in one incarnation or another, the church has survived.  When it was first constructed, it was Fletcher Chapel, a Methodist church that was believed to be one of the stops on the Underground Railroad. It's also been the Church of God and the Saints of Christ Church. In the 1960s when New York Ave. was being expanded and modernized, it was nearly demolished until the presiding church leaders, congregation, and community rallied around to save one of the oldest houses of worship in DC.  In 1997 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, preserving it, and its history as part of the DC Civil Rights Walk, for generations. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Neighborhood

"Your Neighborhood" from the March Daily Photo Challenge.  This is taken from the end of my block, looking down the street, because I thought posting my actual street on the internet would be dodgy.

Friday, March 2, 2012


A few days ago, my good friend Eleanor suggested that we participate in something called the "March Photo Challenge," as a way we can virtually hang out because an ocean has worked its way between us, and neither of us are able to cross it as much as we'd like. You can find these calendars all over the internet, but the idea is that each day has a different theme, and the only rule is that you have to take the picture on the assigned day.

Yesterday's photo was "Up." Today's keyword is "Fruit."  I don't have much free time on Fridays, so my only chance for fruit was Whole Foods, which you can find in pretty much any town these days. How could I also make it about DC?  Well....DC does have a strange, strange relationship with grocery stores.  There aren't that many of them, for starters.  The Whole Foods, for instance, just opened in September and became the only large grocery store conveniently located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood.  There's a Trader Joe's a few blocks away, but it's about the size of a gas station, and the lines stretch down every aisle. Until recently, there was a Safeway--the Social Safeway, it was called--in the Watergate, but the produce was as old and moldy as the senators who live there.

That's the other weird thing about DC and grocery stores: we name the Safeways.  The Watergate store was the Social Safeway because you could run into Condoleezza Rice buying milk or Ben Stein picking up a loaf of bread.  The Dupont Circle branch is Soviet Safeway because the lighting is 40 watt and the shelves are always unstocked.  In my neighborhood we had the Sexy Safeway, because it was sleek and shiny, specialized in gourmet foods, and had an extensive and impressive wine selection.  The economy crushed the local Giant though, and suddenly Safeway was narrowing aisles, is more packed than the Red Line at rush hour, open 24 hours a day, and has security personnel at all the doors.  Now they call it Ghetto Safeway, and I'm wishing I could still pick up produce at the Social Safeway.

But there's a ton of farmer's markets in DC, all through the week, all through the year.  But they deserve a post of their own.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Washington's Birthday

For George Washington's birthday, the university named after him have a little party every year. There's a bonfire, s'mores, hot cider, and a fife and drum corps playing "Yankee Doodle Dandy." You can see the big guy there roasting the first marshmallow, but keeping a safe distance since he's probably pretty flammable. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Advice for Mardi Gras!

Bayou Bakery, Arlington, VA
Celebrate by having sugary fried dough, spicy foods, and strong drinks. It's a long night; pace yourself. Don't do anything to "earn your beads"; that's the clip your mom's gonna see someday on the Travel Channel. There are plenty of beads on the ground. And finally, be careful biting into that kingcake. You don't want to break a tooth on Baby Jesus.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

They're Watching You

What's creepier than Big Brother watching you?  This.  I don't know what kind of tree this is, or if it's native to this region or not, but I'd never seen anything like it until I moved to DC.  Here you can find these trees, covered with hundreds of eyes, all over the city.  Anybody know what they are? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Free Mandela

In the mid-1980s, as the anti-apartheid movement was gaining strength in South Africa, students at The George Washington University, consistently named by US News and World Report as the most politically active student body in the United States, added their own voices in a small, and--and what's the adjective form of vandalism?--way by inscribing "Free Mandela" into freshly poured concrete.  For years, the inscription was hidden in an alleyway leading into Kogan Courtyard on the GW campus. When Mandela was finally freed in February of 1990, after 27 years in prison, the narrow, cramped passageway next to the fire department was a place of celebration.  In 1999, the slab was carefully removed from the alley and put in a place of honor in the middle of the courtyard, a constant reminder that no matter how far away injustices may occur, every act of opposition counts.  Apathy is as dangerous as apartheid.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Buzzing with Love

Admittedly, I am pretty anti-Valentine's Day, but when one of my besties gave me a very special cupcake, it cheered me up in a million different ways.  DC is obsessed with cupcakes, as you may have heard. I mean, I know every place is these days, but in DC it's a clinical madness about cupcakes. So I've made it my personal responsibility to try them all and report back to you.  The cake above is probably my favorite--a 9:30 cupcake from Buzz Bakery.  The 9:30 is a signature item inspired by the traditional Hostess chocolate cupcakes and the 9:30 Club here in DC.  Usually, they have 9:30 written in white icing if you buy them at the venue, or the classic white squiggle if you get them directly from Buzz.  But this week, for Valentine's, everything's gone red, and the squiggle spells out 'love," the perfect gift from a close friend, or, as another friend points out, it also looks like "alone," which would be equally appropriate for this particular holiday. Hey, I'm not complaining. I have cake. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Clover Adams

Yes, it's been a while! After a month's hiatus, I'm back with daily (or almost daily) shots of the District. This is a memorial for Clover Adams that sits in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Clover was the wife of Henry Adams, the writer.  She was a prominent socialite in DC, and allegedly the model for Isobel Archer in Henry James's novel Portrait of a Lady.  She was on her way to becoming quite a celebrated photographer when she committed suicide by drinking chemicals used to develop prints.  Clover Adams is buried in Rock Creek Park. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Belly of the Beast

This is the Q Street Exit at Dupont Circle, one of the longest escalators in DC, and, yes, people in DC really do keep track of these things.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

And Another from the Outside

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I visited the Phillips Collection? This is a view from the outside of one of one of the best collections of Impressionist and modern art in the world, featuring Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Braque, and more, in a long winding mansion.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Content of Our Character

This is cheating just a little, since I posted this picture already back in August, but I felt it was still appropriate, and I didn't want to miss the chance to pay a tiny tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Center of the Cosmos

Just down the street from the monument to Gandhi is the elaborate Cosmos Club, probably the most historic and exclusive social club in DC.  Presidents are members, as are Nobel Laureates. Established in the 1870s, the Cosmos Club has been a meeting place for Washington (and international) elite for nearly a century and a half.  There's a lot of mythology surrounding the club, as there often is anywhere where there's an air of exclusion.  It's hard, especially in today's environment, not to look at such institutions derisively, wondering how unattached the members must be from the average American's reality.  But if we, god forbid, where to set aside cynicism for a moment, it's just as difficult to resist romanticizing the era that gave birth to such architecture, that gave birth to the Cosmos.  Sure, we could look at it as an urbanized country club, designed to keep out riffraff like the working class, racial minorities, or those pesky suffragettes--women weren't allowed membership until 1988.  On the other hand, we could see it as one of those Gilded Age London Clubs where Ernest Worthing would retreat to dine and smoke cigarettes with Algernon Moncrieff.  The truth probably lies somewhere between the two extremes, but the truth itself is enough to whip up the imagination.  Even if you don't entirely buy the club's official idealizations that sweep unpleasant realities under the rug, this is still the place, according the club's website, where scientists met in secret to discuss the Manhattan Project, and it's where Rudyard Kipling sat in awe as Teddy Roosevelt held a crowded room's attention.  And it may very well be a place where, even today, scientists and poets debate philosophy and politics.  I like to imagine that such a place really exists.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Be the Change

Happy New Year!! Have you made your resolutions yet?  Have you broken all your resolutions yet?  This year, one of my resolutions is to be an active participant for causes I support, not just engaged from the sidelines, where you can often find me, camera and pen in hand, documenting whilst ranting.  But if you want to help people, you can't just rant the change you want to see in the world, though, I wholeheartedly believe in the power of words, written or oral, to absolutely change the course of events.  But if you don't have that kind of platform for speech, you have to get your hands a little dirty, getting involved with your community, engaged with issues, participating in the process.

No matter what your resolutions are for 2012, who better to remind us of the power of single human than Mohandas Gandhi?  Over the course of decades, Gandhi became the figure head of the Indian independence, protesting the brutal colonial occupation and  unreasonable taxes levied by Britain. His people called him Mohatma, the great soul, because of his strength in the face of adversity, walking across hundreds of miles, leading strikes and hunger strikes, and enduring years of imprisonment.  And when he could do nothing else, Gandhi simply was the change he wished to see in the world. This statue, located in Dupont Circle neighbor, amongst the world's embassies, was, according to the plaque, a gift from the people of India and Indian Americans.  Also engraved on the plaque is a quote from Albert Einstein on Gandhi's seventieth birthday: "Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth."