Archive for the ‘Shaw’ Category

Yes, DC does have a radical underside

To my surprise, DC has an extant, long lasting infoshop!

That may not ring any bells among those of you who didn’t go to college with a bunch of radical anarchists who shouted “fuck the police!” and “smash the state!” Frankly, it’s not part of my world anymore either–once I left college, I slowly drifted away from punks and DIYers who created their own zines and would wheat-paste fliers on walls around town after dark.

I’m not sure what an infoshop is technically meant to be, but the one I hung around in Berkeley, CA was a place where you could stay all day, reading books about ending speciesism or acting up against the military-industrial complex, and then have a meal of second-hand brown bread and vegan soup. And where the shelves were packed with homemade zines about folks’ adventures and thoughts. Kinda like paper blogs. No, make that just like paper blogs.

I’m not making fun of these places. It’s the greatest thing when people’s ideals push them to actually do something rather than just talk about it. It’s just such a walk down memory lane for me, though, that I have to laugh.

So DC’s infoshop is exactly like the one in Berkelely, only smaller. And the people are friendlier! And there are signs on the wall urging support for activists who are now in jail. I don’t remember that from my college years.

Technically this infoshop is called the Brian Mackenzie Infoshop, after a local activist who died while trying to make the place a reality.

Go check it out; smile and the folks there will smile back. It’s in the middle of nowhere, 1426 9th st NW (by P, I think) and it’s generally open noon-9pm Weds-Sun. Call at 202-986-0681 if you want to be sure they’re there before you come.

Can poop get you laid?

Well, it may not be as good as oysters for hitting it with that special someone, but some people apparently think dog poop is as good as an aphrodisiac. Check out this Craigslist ad, in which a woman wants to ask out the guy who fell in her dog’s freshly made crap pile. If that’s not fodder for some boot knocking, I don’t know what is.

I was walking with my dog when you slipped and fell directly onto the poopy pile that little Sammy just left. lol! I couldn’t believe it, and was too stunned to ask you out. Hit me up after you wash all that poop off your nice white sweater.

I hope it was a holiday sweater, at least, and not one of those Cosby-type get-ups. If Ms. Poopy Dog or Mr. Poopy Sweater reads this, please comment and let us know the outcome and whether it was truly a match made in heaven or simply a crappy encounter, as one might guess from how it started.

A Light on 14th Street

I’ve just read the news that the lovely Noi Chudnoff, owner of one of my absolute favorite neighborhood stores, passed away on Tuesday.

Her cheerfully incandescent presence at Go Mama Go, her exquisite taste in art and artifacts, and her unwavering community spirit, will be very much missed. Over the years since she opened the shop, I’ve often browsed through its wonderland of goods to lift my mood. Many times she helped me out of a jam with gift suggestions, always bright.

I’m so sad I don’t know what else to say.

City Mouse Tastes Country Life

In keeping with my resolution to eat more fruits and vegetables this summer (six consecutive mornings of Irish Breakfasts will do that to a girl), I got up early today to go to the new farmers’ market in my neighborhood (early for me on a Saturday, that is. I got there at 11:30am. I’m lazy, what can I say?).

The 14th & U Farmers’ Market opened last weekend and will run every Saturday 10am-2pm outside the Reeves Center until November 17. It’s small, about seven or eight local producers, and it’s going to become my new addiction. Just a five block stroll from my house and all the seasonal bounty I can carry back. Fantastic. I had about $25 in cash in my pocket and picked up apples, mesclun salad, arugula flowers, strawberries, and applewurst. I could easily also have been tempted by the delicate thin asparagus (I HATE thick asparagus with a passion), jugs of apple cider, farm-fresh eggs, and rhubarb (if I had any clue how to make rhubarb pie).

Back home my husband laughed at his city mouse ecstatically eating strawberries and waxing poetical about how adorably sweet they were (“and they’re not all the same size!” I cried, waving my now-red fingers in glee). As a former country boy he knows all about the virtues of farm produce and thinks my naivete pretty hilarious. It is, but that won’t stop me from indulging in my new Saturday ritual next week. Hope to see some of you there. I’ll be the girl buying all the honey she can carry.

Trashbox

Last night when I came home, there was a discarded sign thrown into my yard. It was a posterboard emphatically proclaiming, “THIS TREE IS NOT A TRASH CAN.”

Further investigation proved that the sign had been screwed into the tree that straddles the sidewalk in front of both my neighbor’s and my houses. It’s a rather wild tree, always needing pruning, its roots coming up through the sidewalk and into our yards in angry defiance of urbanity. Whatever treebox it may have once had is all hard root and broken brick now. There’s always trash discarded around it – usually the droppings of kids on their way home from school, candy wrappers and crumpled chip bags. Sometimes an empty 40 or two. When I get home I pick up the trash, all part of the routine.

Someone on my block is sick of it, so angry about the waste that they’ve taken the time to construct a sign and screw it into the tree trunk. But will it change the pschology of the people who litter?
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Expanded Yellow Line coming soon

With less than four weeks to go before the Yellow Line is extended from Mt. Vernon Sq. to Fort Totten WMATA has started adding new maps and signs, 5,000 of them, to the system. The new service begins December 31:

The Metro Board in April agreed to extend the Yellow Line from Mt. Vernon Sq/7th Street-Convention Center to the Fort Totten Metrorail station during off-peak hours (weekdays, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 7 p.m. to closing, and weekends) as part of the 18-month pilot. The District of Columbia will cover the $5.75 million cost of expanding service.

By extending the Yellow Line to Fort Totten, passengers traveling beyond the Mt. Vernon Sq/7th Street-Convention Center Metrorail station to the Shaw-Howard U, U St/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo, Columbia Heights and Georgia Ave-Petworth Metrorail stations will have additional off-peak rail service. Weekday off-peak service between these locations, which is every 12 minutes, will operate every six minutes. On week nights after 7 p.m., and on the weekends when trains run every 15 to 20 minutes, trains will operate every 7 ½ to 10 minutes.

In other words, in the early afternoons, late evenings, and weekends, Ben’s Chili Bowl is being served by twice as many trains. Perhaps the Yellow Line will start getting a little more respect now.

Washington, DC’s 5th Gift to the World-Music (Duke Ellington)

My portion of this 5th Gift to the World is a tribute to the coolest musical Washingtonian ever – Edward Kennedy Ellington, the Duke.

Many people may associate Duke Ellington with New York (thanks in part to the classic “Take the ‘A’ Train”) but his roots were firmly planted in DC, and especially in the U Street neighborhood where he grew up and had his musical start, from his birth here in 1899 to his departure for Harlem in 1923. PBS did a brilliant documentary on “Duke Ellington’s Washington” a while back, and its website also gives an overview of Black Broadway and Shaw. The Howard Theater, the Whitelaw Hotel, True Reformers’ Hall, all are landmarks still visible today that featured prominently in his life. DC’s great Ellington School for the Arts bears his name and the spirit of his legacy proudly, and we now even have a jazz festival in his honor.

Thanks to my jazz-loving father, I was exposed to Ellington’s music as a small child (though as Duke once said naughtily, “By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.”). I find his brilliance undimmed – jazz with the backbone of classical training, complexity of rhythm, and essence of cool unmatched. I especially love his piano improvisations, but I really can’t pick any favorites. I just know that when I walk down U Street and look up at the mural bearing his image, I think of him decked out in that seriously spiffy tuxedo, smiling at the audience, and saying farewell with, “we love you, madly.” Genius.

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Hot Pads

Perhaps if Wayan’s couch guest is still looking for a place to stay, he should take a gander at HotPads.com. HotPads appears to be a mash-up between google maps and wikipedia, offering a user-friendly at-a-glance look at available housing options inside the beltway.

Users can customize their search requirements by zip code, city, county or state, using a variety of variables. A quick Georgetown search turned up not a whole lot, whereas a quick search of my home zip code turned up two rental possibilities.

Looking for a roommate? You apparently can use that feature too, although it turned up zilch for me. This appears to be a great tool for relocation professionals who know naught about the new city they’ll call home. Doing a quick search of cities such as Seattle and Boston turned up a whole lot of useful information.

These three Notre Dame former college roommates moved to the D.C. area and created HotPads in early ’05, relaunching the site last month. The best thing about HotPads? It’s totally free.

Between HotPads and The D.C. Crime Map newcomers to D.C. can learn much more about prospective neighbours before they even put down a deposit. Say ‘sayonara’ to moving in sight unseen, suckers.

Spices for a Rainy Night

Friday’s blustery winds blew the rain under our rickety umbrellas. A friend and I were undeterred in our desire to get some tasty comfort food on a chilly hurricane night. We braved the four blocks up to Etete. What could be more comforting than food made with love by Mama’s hands?

Etete, a tiny Ethiopian restaurant at 1942 Ninth Street, is named for its chef-owner Etete Tesfaye (Etete means Mama). It opened back in October of 2004, and is part of the string of Ethiopian eateries fast remaking Ninth Street into a culinary destination, a development which gave rise to the “Little Ethiopia” controversy last year.

I’ve only had Ethiopian a handful of times, a shocking shame in a city that could very well say it’s the foremost ethnic cuisine here. But I wasn’t too thrilled with my first experiences, back in my Adams Morgan days. Happily, Friday’s night rainy sojourn convinced me otherwise.
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Art + Development = More

Back in February and March, I touched on the battle over Source Theater’s future, and the future of arts development in my rapidly revitalizing ‘hood. Now it appears that the outcry of locals and the theater community over the possibility of a billiards bar in that spot has borne real fruit. As detailed by the Post today, the building will be bought by the Cultural Development Organization (CuDC) for development into a performing arts space.

Being the skeptic that I am, I was a little surprised that art won over pool cues, and more than a little, ah, skeptical over the potential for success, especially given the legacy of debts and accusations of mismanagement that have dogged the Source, a once successful and nationally known small theater that was the proving ground for several Washington theater professionals.

But it’s still an exciting idea to me, adding an arts venue to one of the more interesting blocks in town. As I’ve said before, I want it all for my 14th Street – shops, bars, restaurants, art galleries, theaters, concert halls – more more
more! One only has to look at Studio’s impact on Logan Circle’s revitalization to see what a successful “art fuels development” plan can do.
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