Archive for April, 2008

It’s Free Scoop Day – Get Some Ice Cream!

Sure, it’s chilly out today, and maybe it feels more like late March than it does late April, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little chilly in exchange for some free ice cream, does it? Ben & Jerry’s is giving out a free scoop of ice cream, for as long as their supply holds, in the greater world today. There are five B&J’s Scoop Shops in the District. Click on the pretty map for all the details.

icecream.png

There are a few outliers as well, including Old Town, Bethesda, and Fairfax, so zoom back if you’re out a bit further so you can get the ice cream love, too. Scooping starts at noon, be prepared to wait in a bit of a line.

Trolling the local blogs

As a fledgling local journalist, I’ve been spending some time on community blogs lately. Many of them are charming and compelling, and unfortunately wind up eating up hours as I go from one link to another. What I love is reading about the little issues that can be so important to residents, and the chiming in of various voices to give their two cents that creates a distinct flavor and sense (or illusion) of community.

Some of my favorites so far (and this is a very incomplete list, since I’m still new to this) are Prince of Petworth, Frozen Tropics (covering H Street, Trinidad, and north of Capitol Hill), and Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space (urban planning issues). I think a lot of people like these blogs too–their owners post very frequently, write about relevant subjects, and are clearly passionate about their topics. The Prince of Petworth blogger, for example, posts constantly about an area that probably doesn’t get written about much otherwise; he’s got a great eye for the unusual and, best of all, writes with a funny, fresh, cynicism-free style.

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space is funny because it seems to break a lot of blogging rules–besides the long title, the topic is sort of dry and the blogger tends to write really long posts. But his obvious passion about the topic of city planning shines through and makes the blog interesting. It’s a great reminder of that lesson, “pursue what you love and stick to it, and you’ll be successful,” or whatever the adage is.

I also joined a Brookland listserv recently because I’m thinking about writing something about that neighborhood soon. Reading it is like taking a step down from blogs into the granularity of neighborhood issues: the listserv is full of recommendations for good handymen, discussions of school closings, and debates about new city development plans for the neighborhood.

This city’s neighborhoods are clearly humming with busy citizens and activity, which is great. My only reservation is to question the diversity of voices found online. I think most of the bloggers try to be racially ‘sensitive’ and it’s my impression that some of the posters are black or maybe latino, though I have a feeling they’re in the vast minority. That’s kind of odd, given that some of the most dynamic neighborhoods are ones that were probably 90% black/latino just a decade ago. It’s cool that new residents are such boosters for where they live, but it also bums me out to think that they might be (unintentionally) drowning out other voices.

iPod’s got nothing on this

You know how it is. At best, a Metro commute is something you zone out for, where you take a little vacation in your head and enjoy the opportunity to not be productive. At worst, it’s an ordeal to be endured stoically with earbuds firmly attached, while trying not to notice how smelly the guy next to you is, or that someone threw up in the seat in front of you.

But every once in a while, you get a little Metro serendipity, like I did recently on the Green Line platform at Gallery Place. These three gentlemen regaled the assembled commuters with Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, the Temptations, and a number of other famous old doo-wop/Motown songs that anyone who has ever flipped past an oldies station should recognized. And they were good, too.

Doo-wop at the metro station

Originally uploaded by tiffany bridge

The Irony, She is a Fierce Mistress

A group of truckers was supposed to drive very slowly through DC during morning rush today in order to protest gas prices (by wasting it? I don’t get it.) and then go over to the Capitol to raise heck with the Congresscritters and Senators and demand a gas price cap.

Sadly, they got stuck in traffic on I-270, and missed morning rush.

I’m seriously laughing at my keyboard right now that they got screwed by the very force they intended to screw us all with. Surely, they’re going to be present today, messing with our street traffic for a bit, but at least they had the common decency to get stuck like the rest of us…

On the road: Harrisonburg

I took a whirlwind 24 hour trip to Harrisonburg, VA, this weekend, and forgot all about DC for a while. I was in H’burg to dance, so unfortunately I didn’t get to see many of the sights–whatever they may have been–but it was still a worthwile vacation.

Three reasons to go to Harrisonburg:

1. The trip there, along 66 and then 81, is lovely. 81 in particular is great this time of year, with light green spreading everywhere and the roadside dotted with blooming redbud trees.
2. The Little Grill Collective, a small hippie joint serving tempeh, tofu, and all the typical veggie food, but also meat for those who can’t live without it. The place was cluttered but charming, and everyone was friendly. I’ve long bemoaned DC’s lack of a genuine hippie culture, so it was good to feel at home for a little while.
3. The Artful Dodger, a downtown cafe (pictured below) serving coffee, alcohol, food and sweets. It’s just the right kind of cafe–funky, relaxed, cultivating the “hang out here” vibe but not at all overly pretentious (gasp!). The owner clearly has a thing for the ’50s and early ’60s and has the most amazing collection of star-shaped clocks I’ve ever seen.

Those two joints were the coolest places I’ve been in a while. This city could learn a thing or two from Harrisonburg, perhaps.
the artful dodger

Beautiful Weather Triggers Violence Spree?

13 people were shot in a weekend-long crime spree, four of whom succumbed to their wounds. Seriously, people, what the hell is going on? Did everyone just get up on Friday wanting to kill somebody? The Post has a quote from Assistant Chief that lays the blame on the warm weather, and the increased availability of guns: “Police saw no links between them but that the availability of guns and warmer weather might have played a role.”

I’m not quite sure what factors lead to the increase of firearms on the street, as they’re still just as illegal as they were in January, and it’s not as if the Supreme Court waved their judicial magic wands just yet to make guns legal and prevalent in stores across the District.

What the hell, man?

Upcoming: Antony and Cleopatra

The Shakespeare Theater Company has two works just starting which will run on alternating days (that’s in repertory to you theater nerds): Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. That’s the Royal Shakespeare Company‘s Suzanne Bertish there as Cleopatra.

 

I had the pleasure of going to a quick reception on Friday, complete with a tour of the Harman and a few minutes of watching rehearsal – when I took this picture. As you can see they’re in full dress, what with their first performance for the public happening on the following day.

 

Aside from the fun of getting a little behind-the-scenes look at the production, I got to meet several other local bloggers, one of whom I’ll tell you about later in the week.

No Hazmats

After all the incessant flogging and flyers about today’s Hazardous Waste drop-off at Carter Barron, I rather expected it all to run smoothly. Really, it seemed so well-publicized that they had to have been expecting a serious crowd, right?

Sigh. I really should’ve known better. But after two hours of waiting in the car in a line that stretched for blocks and blocks in both directions of 16th Street and the surrounding cross streets, with horns honking and people flailing and (cue sad irony alert) gas-guzzlers chugging, we finally bailed. Our car was low on gas and there was no end in sight. At the corner of the main entrance, with still aways to go to the designated drop-off at the parking lot, people were just walking up and dumping the contents of their cars, with the DPW people waving their arms “no” and “we don’t have the manpower today to carry this stuff back there for you” and other such protestations. As we were leaving a cop was on the scene, talking people down in the their cars as temperatures rose. No one could adequately answer why the delay was so bad.

But no one needs to – it’s obvious. They were simply unprepared for the amount of residents who took their civic duty seriously and decided to commit to legally disposing of hazmats. They didn’t think through the manpower needed or the difficulties of traffic flow for a drop-off location that basically traps cars. There was even a kids soccer game in progress which probably clogged the parking lots as well, adding to the congestion. Incredible, with the amount of advertising that they did, also considering the additional PR of Green Week, and that everyone knows the way to Carter Barron is a two-lane mess in both directions on a regular day anyway…

Oh, it’s a a waste of invective. The least I can hope is that they will re-evaluate this debacle for next year’s hazmat collection, and strive to improve.

End of day

Last post for the day: where the hell did COB (close of business) come from? I find myself saying it now too, but five years ago, before I’d moved to DC, I’d never heard of it. Is it just a DC thing?? And why not EOD (end of day) instead?

Home, and yet out

Art is getting intimate. First there were house concerts, then public dance performances that take place inside people’s homes. Now there’s the home art show.

The first time I heard of it was Monday night. I’d met a woman at St. Ex who was planning to hold an art opening in her home to show off her collages, so I dropped by tonight. My friend and I got to her Columbia Heights house early, giving us a chance to ask a lot of questions. Turns out that the house’s main living spaces had recently been emptied—a roommate who’d owned most of the furniture had moved out—and that gave the artist in question an idea. She added that she’d looked into showing her work at a regular gallery, but many of them were located in old row houses like hers, and she thought, “Why go elsewhere?”

I was impressed with her moxie. The collages were arranged on walls throughout the dining and living rooms, and while each was accompanied by a short description about its meaning, the texts were covered with removable pieces of paper in case the viewer didn’t want her experience spoiled by an explanation. There were also Discmans placed here and there, for people to listen to the artist’s voice describing specific works of art.

It was quite lovely, and beautifully inventive.

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