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MIDCITY JULY 2010 â—† 3



out and about 08 10 18 20 22 24

Hit the City • Hunter L. Gorinson Calendar Good Policy Comes to Logan Circle • Celeste McCall Insatiable • Celeste McCall Jazz Avenues • Steve Monroe Retail Therapy • Hunter L. Gorinson

your neighborhood 26 27 28 30 31 32 33 34

The Nose • Anonymous 14th and U • by Tanya Snyder Logan Circles • Mark F. Johnson Bloomingdale Bytes • Amanda Abrams Shaw Streets • Ralph Brabham District Beat • Mark Segraves The Numbers: The Wrong Prescription • Ed Lazere A Taste of Northwest’s Farmers Markets • Jazelle Hunt

kids and family 36 39

Kids and Family Notebook • Mary-Frances Daly Educating the District: Engaging your Child’s Teachers and Principal • Lisa Raymond

at home 40 42

Changing Hands • Don Denton Home/Style: Summer! • Mark F. Johnson

mcdc extra 44

The Washington, DC Women’s Business Center • Amanda Abrams

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By Hunter L. Gorinson

SpeakeasyDC Comes on Down to “The Showcase Showdown”


ocal storytelling collective SpeakeasyDC has never been afraid to take on some sensitive topics -- the first generation immigrant experience, the pitfalls of coming out, and one’s deepest personal fears among them. But after staging a tribute to human failings at their worst with the top-selling “Sin Show” at last year’s Capital Fringe Festival, the Speakeasy crew has decided to bring a little levity back to the Fringe Fest stage and they’ve settled on an unlikely piece of inspiration -- “The Price is Right.” Get ready to enter “The Showcase Showdown” -- Speakeasy’s storyskewed adaptation of the games made famous by Bob Barker and thousands of play-at-home housewives nationwide. “Last year was fun and funny, but it was heavy…This is like a palate cleanser, not for the audience, but for our own process – something light, playful and game-y,” said Speakeasy Director Amy Saidman. “’The Price is Right’ just sort of emerged as a great way to get to that.” Taking a cue from their source material, Saidman and her eightstrong cast -- featuring of a mix of Speakeasy regulars, workshop graduates and newcomers -- are making audience participation the centerpiece of their full-length production. Speakeasy’s raconteurs will host eight games during the 90-minute production, including four drawing that’ll be drawing on the infamous “Contestants’ Row.” Instead of playing for cash, however, the volunteers selected will be 8 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

scoring points for guessing the true story in “Flip Flop” and the real ending in “Plenko” to name but two of Speakeasy’s “Price is Right” reinventions. In all, it’s a package that Saidman says “plays with the tone and kitsch” of America’s longest running game show -- even if that all-expenses-paid Hawaiian vacation will have to wait. “The Showcase Showdown” hits the stage at the US Navy Memorial for just four shows at 8 p.m. on July 9, 10, 15 and 16. Tickets are $15. For information, visit SpeakeasyDC online or the Capital Fringe Festival homepage at 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW •

Pop-Up Art, PBR and Music for a Good Cause at U St.’s Affinity Lab Pop-up art exhibitions -- temporary, one time use installations capable of being erected nearly anywhere -- are on the rise in metropolitan centers across the country. But while that concept may be growing in popularity, U St. “entrepreneurial space” Affinity Lab and the organizers behind next summer’s Monument Music and Arts Festival have teamed with the DC arm of Chica-

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Pop up for a new kind of community activism and awareness on July 15 at Affinity Lab.

go-based non-profit Dream for Kids to take it to a new end -- charitable giving -- with the Pop-Up Festival @ U Street this July 15. To be staged in Affinity Lab’s “Virtual Space,” the Pop-Up Festival will feature an art auction, free food, free beer provided by Pabst Blue Ribbon, and music from jazz-funk improv quintet One Big Woo, experimental indie rock polymath Matthew Hemerlein and Philippe Chetrit of DC DJ outfit Fatback -- best known for their monthly dance nights at LIV and the 9:30 Club. According to Dreams for Kids Art Director Jackie Cantwell, up to 30 DC area artists will have their art up for sale with 20 percent of the proceeds going towards the charity’s continued mission of “empower[ing] youth living in poverty and those with disabilities by uniting them with their peers, recognizing their abilities, and allowing their voices to be heard.” Starting bids will range from below $100 to over $600 -- a myriad of price points that will make it easy to pick up new work by up-and-coming artists on the cheap. “People [will be able] to walk away with great art at a fraction of what they would pay at a gallery or professional auction,” said Affinity Lab manager and Monument co-organizer Joshua Phelps. “It’s going to be a less intimidating way for people to come in and enjoy an art auction – and less stuffy than what they may be used to.” Just the second in the Monument’s monthly sponsored non-profit fundraisers, the Pop-Up Festival @ U St. is an entirely free and unticketed event, although there will be a $5 suggested donation at the door. Doors open at 6 PM. 920 U St. NW •

DC’s own Windian Records celebrates a year of seven-inch excess -- and four new, simultaneous releases -- this month at the Velvet Lounge.

Windian Records’ Punk Rock Birthday Bash Not one to pass on a party, Travis “Cobruh” Jackson, drummer of The Points -- the DC-based punk and roll trio once hailed by the New York Times for their “poor sound quality,” yet “nearly perfect” delivery -- is celebrating the one year mark of his record label, Windian Records, with a suitably uncouth first anniversary soiree. Started as means to get a few unheard Points tracks onto wax 12 months back, the vinyl-only label has since spewed forth some of the best three-chord rock and roll from DC and beyond -- and many a Windian band present and future will be on hand to lay waste to U St.’s Velvet Lounge this July 30 and 31 in its dishonor. Headlining the two-nights of drunk and roll are The Points and The Shirks with fellow DC bands New Rock Church of Fire, The Electrocutions, Social Problems, Maybe Baby and The Cheniers filling out the ranks, alongside Richmond’s The Ladies, seasoned Left Coast scene vet Kerry Davis’s one-woman noisemaker, Two

Tears, and a reunion of North Carolina’s The Spinns. “It’s minimalist punk rock -- very, very uncomplicated rock and roll, bare bones stuff. Our artists definitely don’t have any drum rolls or a lot of crazy guitar solos. It basic, fun party rock and roll -- the stuff we love,” said Jackson of the line-up. All, he adds, are due for to get the Windian seven-inch treatment as the label rolls on in the coming months. In the short term, however, there are dual reasons to celebrate. Windian is dropping four new singles on the day the show kicks off -- including a pair of unreleased recordings from near mythic punk progenitors Crushed Butler and Testors. All will be available for purchase, along with label-emblazoned t-shirts, beer cozies, record bags and other assorted swag. Two-day passes are available through the Windian website for $16, while individual nights run $10 a pop at door. 915 U St NW • ◆ ◆ 9

calendar ★ ★ ★

JULY ART EXHIBITS ART + Space. Through July 10. Project 4. ART + Space is an extensive art consulting service emphasizing trends in contemporary art and design for corporate clients. This exhibition highlights several of the studio’s artists, whose large-scale works currently adorn law firms, restaurants, condominiums, airports and public spaces. 1353 U St. NW. 202-232-4340, “Private Practice: Bad Ideas, Dead Ends and Guilty Pleasures.” Through July 17. Hamiltonian Gallery. This season finale group show -- featuring all Hamiltonian Fellows and curated by renowned sculptor David Page -- showcases works inspired by Veronese’s statement, “We painters allow ourselves the same liberties as do poets and madmen.” 1353 U St. NW. 202-332-1116, “Facts and Fictions.” Through July 18. DC Arts Center. Featuring work by the seven new members of DCAC’s Sparkplug artist collective, this exhibition highlights the tension between the real and the constructed, between the production of elaborate fictions and the documentation of a seemingly concrete reality in paintings, photography and mixed media. 2438 18th St. NW. 202-462-7833, Gaia: “Urban Romantic.” Through July 24. Irvine Contemporary. Baltimore and Brooklyn-based artist Gaia returns for his first solo exhibition of new works on panel and on-site installations and exterior wall murals. 1412 14th St. NW, 202-332-8767, Steed Taylor: “Portrait of a Road Tattoo.” Through July 25. Gallery Plan B. Featuring installations of Taylor’s “road tattoos” -- expansive painted designs on streets or highways that commemorate the struggles of individuals and communities -- each display will include text from the prayers used in the blessing of the design, sketches and photos of the project. 1530 14th St. NW. 202-234- 2711,

Robert Mellor and Alexa Meade “Picture Planes.” Through July 24. Irvine Contemporary. Presenting new and recent works, these two gallery artists explore questions of representational space and overlapping genres. 1412 14th St. NW, 202-3328767, 10 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

Work by Gabriel Pons. Through July 25. Caramel. A mixed media artist who constructs using multiple layers of collage material, Pons’s latest series of paintings explore mythical and historical icons in a contemporary style. 1603 U St. NW. 202-265-1930. Robert Giard: “Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Jewish Writers.” Through July 25. Washington DC JCC. This exhibition was culled from Giard’s collection of over 600 photographs taken of LGBT writers over the course of his career and includes portraits of Allen Ginsburg, Tony Kushner and Adrienne Rich. Free. 1529

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16th St. NW. 202-518-9400. www. Works by Beatrice Mellinger and Scherzade Garcia. Through July 31. International Visions. A dual exhibition featuring new solo works from two multicultural artists, originally from Martinique and the Dominican Republic respectively. 2629 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-234-5112, Jeffrey Cudlin: “BY REQUEST.” Through July 31. Flashpoint. In a tongue-in-cheek jab at the art world, Jeffry Cudlin will survey critics, collectors, gallerists and artists to determine what makes a work of art desirable. Using this data, Cudlin will create “ideal” works of art. 916 G St. NW. 202-315-1305, www. Mary Early: “Sculpture.” Through Aug. 7. Hemphill Fine Arts. The exhibition is comprised of two large installation pieces complemented by a small-scale work. Each component is fabricated from laminated strips of wood bound by cheesecloth, covered in natural beeswax and polished. These seemingly generic shapes are balanced against one another, interlocked to create a whole sculptural installation. 1515 14th St. NW. 202-234-5601, www. Emma Tapley: “New Paintings.” Through Aug. 7. Hemphill Fine Arts. These new works depict views of the natural world filtered through a window, reflected on water, or floated in space. Tapley paints in a style of realism that challenges her abstract compositions. 1515 14th St. NW. 202-234-5601, “Through Their Eyes: Haitian Artists’ Visions of Home.” Through Aug. 7. The Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts. An exhibition of work by artists and children currently living in Haiti, “Through Their Eyes” includes photographs and handcrafts produced by children, traditional Vodou flags handsequined by seasoned artisans, and post-earthquake photograph’s by National Geographic’s Maggie Steiber. 1632 U St. NW. 202-4838600. “Travelogue.” Through Aug. 27. Carroll Square Gallery. Travelogue highlights four artists -- Elsie Hull, Ruth Pettus, Foon Sham and Polly Townsend -- whose artworks are inspired by either their personal explorations around the globe or the idea of travel in general. 975 F St. NW, 202-624-8643, Carlos Muñoz Jiménez: “Palimpsest.” Through Aug. 31. 2015 Q St.

12 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

NW, second floor. Multi-layered art redefines the meaning of the individual and its multiple personas, from the public to the one which is even unknown to the individual or which is ignored, hidden, and repressed. Hosted and juried by Bob Russell. Free and open to the public. 202-257-5752, Young German Photographers 2009 / 2010. Through Sept. 3. Goethe Institut. Works by eight winners of “gute aussichten,” the sixth annual German competition for graduate photography students, come to Washington on the exhibition’s worldwide tour. This year’s collection of works is characterized by the young talents’ wish to create arrangements, productions and “pictorial illusions.” 812 Seventh St. NW. 202-289-1200, www.

DANCE “Keepin’ It Moving: The Legacy of Sandman Sims. July 9-10, 7 PM. Dance Place. Conceived by DC hip-hop theater luminary, Holly Bass, this new work explores the legacy of the Apollo

Theater, the life of Howard “Sandman” Sims and black dance traditions from tap to house to hip hop. Part of the Hip Hop Theater Festival. Free. 3225 Eighth St. NE. 202-269-1600, www. Shange Productions. July 17, 8 PM; July 18, 7 PM. Dance Place. Inspired by West African dance and ballet, Baltimore-based Shange Dance Productions performs a diverse repertoire on subjects ranging from Hurricane Katrina to sisterhood. $22/general; $17/artist, student, senior (age 55+), member, teacher (pre-k-12); $8/child, 2-17. 3225 Eighth St. NE. 202-2691600,

“Valley of the Dolls” and “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” Double Feature July 20, 8 PM. Asylum. Asylum’s monthly compare-and-contrast film series takes on the 1967 adaption of Jacqueline Susann’s camp classic novel and the even campier Russ Meyer directed, Roger Ebert written send-up/sequel that followed in its wake. Free. 2471 18th St. NW. 202-319-9353,

Next Reflex Dance Collective: “Electro Shutdown & The Pea.” July 24, 8 PM; July 25, 7 PM. Dance Place. Entering the theater, you will find the familiar Dance Place stage transformed into the new nightclub, “The Pea”. Spectators participate in the action, waiting in line to enter the club, interacting with waitresses and club-goers in the lobby, and then are placed in the thick of the concert scene. $22/general; $17/artist, student, senior (age 55+), member, teacher (pre-k-12); $8/child, 2-17. 3225 Eighth St. NE. 202-2691600,

Teatro de Danza Contemporanea de El Salvador Benefit Reception July 16, 6:30-9 PM. Embassy of El Salvador. Francisco Castillo, Salvadoran dancers and a full cast of dynamic Latin artists will b eon hand to celebrate the kick off of TDC’s Fall Latin American Dance Festival with a wine and cheese reception and silent auction with artesian crafts from Central America. Reservations required. $20. 1400 16th St. NW. 202-316-5277,

New Releases Choreographers Showcase. July 31, 8 PM; Aug. 1, 7 PM. Dance Place. A showcase of the best new works submitted by established and emerging choreographers. A little bit of everything and the best of the newest in choreography. $22/general; $17/artist, student, senior (age 55+), member, teacher (pre-k-12); $8/child, 2-17. 3225 Eighth St. NE. 202-2691600,

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Hillyer Open Mic Event. July 16, signup at 6 PM, performances at 7 PM. Hillyer Art Space. Every third Friday, host Fred Joiner presents a stunning array of the District’s poetic talent in a variety of styles. Free/members. $5/non-members. 9 Hillyer Ct. NW. 202-338-0680,

“Summer Youth Lincoln Learning Lab.” July 7, 13, 20 and 27, 10:30 AM-12:30 PM. The Lincoln Theatre. The Lab offers a unique and creative day camp learning experience for children and tweens, ages 3 – 12, and kicks off with a special premiere of the PBS animated feature “R U There?” Free, but registration required. 1215 U St. NW. 202-328-6000, Bastille Day Celebration. July 9, 7-10 PM. Alliance Française de Washington. DC’s premier French cultural center commemorates the start of the French Revolution with an evening featuring music from soul-funk combo Dimestore and DJ Herve, classic car exhibition and a silent

“Cheryl’s Gone” Reading Series. July 15, 8 PM. A monthly reading and performance series, usually falling on the third Thursday at 8pm. Big Bear provides a limited menu of drinks available for donation which help pay for any traveling artists. Free. 1700 First St. NW. 202470-5543,

Tuesday Night Open Mic Poetry. Every Tuesday, 9-11 PM. Busboys & Poets at 14 & V. For two hours audiences can expect a diverse chorus of voices and a vast array of professional spoken word performers, open mic rookies, musicians and a different host every week. $4. 2021 14th St. NW. 202-387-7638, www. Ethiopian Cultural Show. Every Wednesday, 7-10 PM. A weekly bazaar of Ethiopian and East African goods ◆ 13

and crafts featuring a complimentary, traditional coffee ceremony. 1114-1118 U St. NW. 202-667-8735, “The Lowercase” Poetry Reading Series. First Wednesdays, 7 PM. “The Lowercase” is a creative outlet for the volunteers at 826DC (formerly Capitol Letters). They get together every month to share their writing in an “informal and relaxed atmosphere.” Anyone is welcome. A limited drink menu is available. 1700 First St. NW. 202-470-5543,

Rocknoceros with the Great Zucchini July 18, 10:30 AM. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. What better way to spend a Sunday morning than jiggling and giggling with your kids! Families will rock out with local kids’ faves Rocknoceros and opening act, The Great Zucchini. $8/advance, $10/day of. 600 I St. NW. 202-4083100,

14th & U Farmers Market. Every Saturday, 9 AM-1 PM. The Reeves Center. Your source for locally produced vegetables, fruit, flowers, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork, eggs, breads, pasta, farmstead cheese in the urban center of Washington DC. 14th & U Sts. NW. Saturday Road Ride. Every Saturday, meet at 10 AM, depart by 10:15 AM. The Bike Rack. The Saturday ride is more of an introductory ride and caters to road riders who are new to the sport, hybrid riders intimidated by the faster pace of the Sunday ride, and anyone who just wants a shorter (approx. 20 to 30 miles) and slower (12 to 14 mph) pace. Helmets mandatory. Free. 1412 Q St. NW. 202-387-BIKE, Sunday Road Ride. Every Sunday, meet at 8:30 AM, depart by 8:45 AM. The Bike Rack. A 40-mile, moderately paced ride that emphasizes group riding techniques, newcomers to the group riding are welcome as riders regroup throughout, so that nobody is left behind. Helmets mandatory. Free. 1412 Q St. NW. 202-387BIKE,

FILMS, CLASSES, LECTURES & WORKSHOPS Great Red Wines for Summer. July 6, 7-8 PM. Vinoteca. Every Tuesday, Vinoteca hold educational wine tastings, led by local wine experts, in a comfortable and informal setting. At each class, they examine take a look at a selection of five to six wines that are paired with cheeses by our chefs. Reservations required. $35. 1940 11th St. NW. 202-332-9463, The Rickey. July 7, 7-8:30 PM. The Columbia Room at The Passenger. The Rickey is Washington’s contribution to the world’s pantheon of great drinks and the closest thing to air-conditioning in a glass. Students will learn the history of the Rickey, how to make a classic Bourbon and Gin Rickey, and how to make their own creative versions. $65. 1021 Seventh St. NW. 202-3930220. “Moon Men Return: USS Hornet and the Recovery of the Apollo 11 Astronauts.” July 13, Noon. US Navy Memorial. Author Scott W. Carmichael discusses his account of the 80 servicemen who participated in the recovery of the Apollo 11 astronauts in 1969. Free. 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-737-2300, Hollaback Transgender Support Group. July 14 and 28, 6:30-8 PM. Washington DC Community Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People. Hollaback, a social and support group for the transgender community designed by the DC Community AIDS Network, hosts meetings in the DC Center’s activity room on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. 1810 14th St. NW. 202-682-2245, U Street Movie Series: “Buena Vista Social Club.” July 12, Doors at 7 PM; Film around 8:30 PM. (Rain date July 20). Harrison Recreation Center. This year’s free movie series celebrates the musical history and culturally diverse roots of the U St. neighborhood. Free popcorn for the first 100 entrants. 1330 V St. NW. 202-673-6865. Berlinale Favorites: Sixty Years of Outstanding Film. Goethe-Institut Washington. This rundown of German cinema featuring handpicked selections from the director of the Berlin Film Festival celebrate concludes this month with “Head-On.” July 12, 6:30 PM. English subtitles. $6. 814 Seventh St. NW. 202-289-1200,

14 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

“2 REPRISES: In PURSUIT of the ENGLISH” / “DISORDEr” July 10, 7 PM; July 15, 7:30 PM; July 23, 8 PM; July 24; 11 AM. Goethe Institut. Capital Fringe Veteran Actor-Manager Hilary Kacser brings to the 5th Anniversary Festival two one-act plays with intermission in a full-length double bill. Presented in conjunction with the Capital Fringe Festival. $15. 812 Seventh St. NW, 202-2891200,

Local Ingredients: A Case Study in the Bellini. July 14, 7-8:30 PM. The Columbia Room at The Passenger. Students will learn the history of the Bellini, how to make white peach puree and its use in the classic Italian drink. The class will also discuss local ingredients and demonstrate cocktails using ingredients from local farmers’ markets.. $65. 1021 Seventh St. NW. 202-3930220. Yoga for Runners and Athletes: Pranayama. July 24, 11:30 AM-1 PM. Shakti MindBody Studio. Athletes of all levels and sporting disciplines are invited to join “Yoga for Runners” specialist Angelyn Shapiro for a 90-minute session highlighting pactice techniques that will maximize and expand your lung capacity for optimum performance. $25. 1302 9th St. NW. 202-783-6463, “Eli & Ben.” July 27, 7:30 PM. Washington DC JCC. Director Ori Ravid’s 2008 Israeli drama follows the life of the Yassif family and the hardships they encounter when their city architect father is charged with taking bribes. $10/general, $9/members, students, seniors. 1529 16th St. NW. 202-518-9400. Storytelling Boot Camp. July 31, 9:45 AM-4:30 PM. St. Stephens Church. Interested in telling your personal stories but can’t commit to our four-week Storytelling 101 course? This class is the perfect one-day kick-in-the-butt to get you started telling stories, leaving students with new skills, ideas and creative networks. $95. 1525 Newton St. NW. 240-888-9751, www. Gentle Evening Yoga. Every Wednesday, 5:30-6:45 PM. The Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts. Designed for people living with illness and caregivers, these sessions teach various techniques to help reduce stress and balance mind, body and spirit. $10/session; $25/month. 1632 U St. NW. 202483-8600. Housing Search Clinic. Every Thursday, 4 PM. Housing Counseling Services. Learn what resources are available to you when looking for a rental property and how to prevent housing discrimination from making your search more difficult. Free. 2410 17th St. NW. 202-667-7006.

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July 15 – Aug. 15. Landsburgh Theatre. Broadway’s smash-hit 2004 Tony Award winner for best musical, best score and best book, this hilarious show -- full of heart and hummable tunes -is about trying to make it in NYC with big dreams and a tiny bank account. $86. 450 Seventh St. NW, 202-547-1122.

formed live weekly with Ethiopian twist dancers. Free. 1114-1118 U St. NW. 202-667-8735, An Acoustic Evening with Mat Kearney. July 27, 8 PM. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. Following up his breakthrough album, “Nothing Left to Lose,” this singer/songwriter returned last year with “City of Black & White” -- an open-hearted album of self-discovery, and a chronicle of the people he met and missed during his journeys on the road. $20/advance, $23/day of. 600 I St. NW. 202-408-3100, www.

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THEATER “One-Man Lord of the Rings.” July 5-Aug. 1. Woolly Mammoth Theatre. The force behind “One-Man Star Wars Trilogy” returns with his signature brand of camp, irony, and stamina to present another take on good vs. evil. $30. 641 D St. NW. 202-393-3939, SeeNoSun OnStage: “Terre Haute.” July 8-25, Thursday through Sunday ay 7:30 PM. DC Arts Center. Inspired by the essays Gore Vidal wrote about his correspondence with Timothy McVeigh, this drama imagines a weirdly flirtatious connection between the

acclaimed novelist and the executed Oklahoma City bomber that evolves as they discover a common belief that the Federal Government is trampling the Constitution. Presented in conjunction with the Capital Fringe Festival. $14.99. 2438 18th St. NW. 202-462-7833, “Mrs. Warren’s Profession.” Through July 11. Sidney Harman Hall. Originally banned from the stage, George Bernard Shaw’s stage play scandalized audiences upon its debut in 1893. The world of the idealistic Vivie is turned upside down when she learns that her family’s considerable wealth comes from her mother’s management of a chain of brothels. $36-$70. 610 F St. NW. 202-547-1122, “Passing Strange.” July 14-Aug. 8. The Studio Theatre. Rocking last year’s Broadway season with soulful songs and funky harmonies, “Passing Strang”e follows a rock musician on his quest for authenticity. From singer-songwriter and performance artist Stew comes a new kind of musical full of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. $38. 1501 14th St. NW. 202-332-3300, Solas Nua: “Johnny Meister and the Stitch.” Through July 17. Flashpoint. Rosemary Jenkinson’s acclaimed play pulls no punches in its portrayal of the youths who populate the streets and alleys of her city. Told at breakneck speed in the foulest of tongues, it is a dark, funny, poetic and brutally honest epic from the backstreets of Northern Ireland. Presented in conjunction with the Capital Fringe Festival. $21. 916 G St. NW. 202-3151305, “London Assurance.” June 24, 2 PM. Sidney Harman Hall. Broadcast live in HD from London’s National Theatre, Irish genius Dion Boucicault brilliantly funny 1841 comedy and created -- in Sir Harcourt and Lady Spanker -- two of the great comic roles of the English stage, played here by Simon Russell Beale and Fiona Shaw. $20/general, $18/members. 610 F St. NW. 202-5471122, “New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza.” Through July 25. Washington DC JCC. This witty theological drama -- and Theatre J season finale -- follows a young philosopher who faces excommunication from the Jewish community of 17th century Amsterdam for his provocative, subversive new ideas. $30-$55. 1529 16th St. NW. 202-518-9400. Want to see your event listed in the calendar? E-mail calendar@hillrag. com by the 20th of the month prior to publication. Submissions may be edited. Publication not guaranteed. ◆

Stop Elder Financial Abuse Do you know a District of Columbia senior resident whom you suspect is being abused? Elder abuse comes in many forms: physical, financial, emotional, neglect or abandonment. Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse to elders, quickly becoming the crime of the 21st century as more seniors are targeted.

The D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) recently marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and put out a call to action:

1) Prevent abuse (and take time to check on elderly family and neighbors) 2) Recognize the signs 3) Report to authorities If you witness elder financial abuse; or if you suspect it, please report it. Never ignore elder abuse. DISB will continue to use the summer to mark Financial Fraud Awareness Week with seniortargeted events on financial fraud. DISB is the District of Columbia government agency that oversees financial-service providers such as insurance companies, investment advisers, banks, mortgage lenders, and more.

Remember to Contact DISB to: • File a Complaint • Verify a Financial Institution is Licensed in the District of Columbia • Access Consumer Information • Request a Speaker

Protecting Your Financial Interests

To do any of these, or to report any financial fraud or financial elder abuse, please call DISB at (202) 727-8000, go online at or by emailing

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1501 U Street, NW / 202-265-9800

2141 K St. NW Suite 3, Washington DC 20037 (202) 293-5182 Store Hours: M-F 8:30-5pm Sat 10-4pm ◆ 17

Good Comes to Logan Circle By Celeste McCall


t was Saturday night at Logan Circle just off U Street NW, and we felt like we had wandered into another city. New York maybe? Where were all the early-to-bed-early-to-rise, button-down Washington bureaucrats? We sure didn’t see any along the lively sidewalk on U, or in Policy, the sleek hotspot around the corner on 14th street. Created by, Policy joined the Logan Circle dining lineup in March, 2009. On this muggy June evening, we emerged from the Metro stop and strolled into Policy. There, our party of three was greeted by charming hostess Olivia, who led us to a cozy booth toward the back of the restaurant/night spot. Designed by Peter Hapstak III of Core, the high profile Washington architectural firm, the decor is a dramatic vision of red and black. I should add, a rather dark vision. Until our eyes adjusted to the dimness, it was hard to see. No doubt, we were dining in a nightclub, almost a retro circa-1960s supper club. Our only apparent light source came from small inlaid fixtures in each booth, enabling us to read the menu. In addition, pencil-thin red pendant lights dangled over the bar. The ceiling looked like faux pressed tin, glittering in the semidarkness. Along with the bright red booths, the dinette-style, Formica-topped tables harked back to the 1950s. Again, delightfully retro. We later wandered upstairs, where the decor reflects Afghan-born proprietor Omar Miskinyar’s style and interesting life. A large, graffiti-style mural depicts his attractive wife, Imren; another shows his beloved dog, who died last year. “Obama’s corner” is festooned with a likeness of the president. So far, the Obamas have not dined at Policy, even though the restaurant purportedly is a favorite of

18 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

ABOVE: Pair of tiny lamb sliders. Photo: Andrew Lightman LEFT:Chef Brian Murph. Photo: Andrew Lightman

White House staffers. Upstairs, crystal chandeliers add yet more pizzazz and a hint of elegance as smartly-attired patrons sip martinis and mojitos at the bar. On the small roof deck, yet more colorful, impressionistic murals depict Washington’s cherry blossoms. Inside, the lounge seating is casual, with comfy sofas and chairs.

The Food Ah, the food. My frequent dining partner, Peter, enjoyed his meal so much that he ranked Policy among his top 10 restaurants in his carefully maintained and updated list. Executive Chef Brian Murphy’s menu consists of tapas (or mezze) and slightly Policy larger “small plates.” Yes, many restaurants do this. 1904 14th St. NW However Murphy’s novel creations really stand out. 202-387-7654 As we sipped our drinks (a nice crisp Sauvignon Blanc and a tangy mojito), our competent server Ryann (that’s a she) brought us concise but eclectic Hours: menus, which were divided among vegetables, seafood, Tuesday-Thursday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and meats. Here’s what we ordered, or rather over-or- Friday Saturday 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. dered, as there was no way we could finish everything: Closed Sunday and Monday. • Red curried lentils, accompanied by feather-light

Sauteed crab and asparagus. Photo: Andrew Lightman

cauliflower puffs. Tasting of the exotic East, the lentils delivered just enough firepower to tingle the tongue. • Sauteed herbed gnocchi was not the usual Italian version (made with potatoes), but a lighter flour version, tossed with oven roasted tomato, basil, caramelized onions and crowned with melted Parmesan. Delicious! • Prince Edward Island (PEI) mussels, enlivened with spicy linguica sausage, and laced with shreds of spinach. The mollusks were plump and tender, and accompanying, crusty garlic bread was perfect for sopping up the rich sauce of Hefeweizen (a South German-style wheat beer). • Sauteed crab and asparagus (some white, some green), were arranged with truffled asiago polenta cakes (light and fluffy), with a whisper of tarragon and preserved lemon. • A pair of Madras curry lamb sliders, made with perfectly cooked minced lamb topped with gorgonzola cheese and a hint of mint pesto, snuggled in a dainty, doll-size toasted brioche bun. Charming, but too small. • Zippy, roasted chicken skewers (two), escorted with a few leaves of arugula and what looked like baby spinach. We were tempted to order more — tempura-style Maryland softshell crab, roasted lamb chops and duck spring rolls with bok choy and

mango-soy sauce, but there was no way we could fit in another bite. Chef Murphy also makes Policy’s decadent desserts, such as Bev’s famous coffee cake (Bev is Murphy’s Mom, we learned); chocolate S’more’s cheesecake (made with graham cracker crust, naturally), sour cream pound cake with blueberries and apricot sorbet, strawberry rhubarb crisp with frozen yogurt. There’s also a short list of ports and other post-prandial libations. A protege of the late Francois Haeringer (who died recently at age 91), founder of L’Auberge chez Francois, Murphy was inspired to pursue a degree at Johnson and Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts. He further honed his skills with chef John Cochran at Ruppert’s (now closed), Frank Ruta of Palena, and Yannick Cam at the departed Le Relais. Proprietor Omar Miskinyar has an equally impressive background. On an earlier visit to Policy, Miskinyar described his harrowing escape from Afghanistan after the 1979 Soviet invasion, when Omar was only five. “We fled Kabul dressed as farmers,” he recalled. “We walked across the desert to Iran at night. When the Russians threw lights on the desert, we had to drop down and hide. They were after my father because he was a journalist.” However, in Iran, their troubles were not over. Since the Shah of Iran was about to be overthrown (and we know how that turned out), the family obtained fake passports and hurried to Germany. Sponsored by an uncle, the Miskinyars eventually arrived in Miami and finally, the Washington area. Now we know why the word “freedom,” along with “truth” and “love,” appears in Policy’s front window and on the menus. By the way, Miskinyar chose the name “Policy” to reflect the distinct character of Washington. Parking around U street is difficult, although Policy does provide valet service. Don’t even think of driving on a weekend. Policy is located a few blocks from the U St./African American Civil War Memorial/ Cardozo (Green/Yellow Line) Metro. ◆

Chocolate S’mores cheesecake. Photo: Andrew Lightman ◆ 19

out and about

+ Dining









Sala Thai comes to Petworth Estadio to Open in Logan By Celeste McCall


’m exuberant,” exclaimed Mayor Adrian Fenty at the June 15 unveiling of Sala Thai-Petworth. The mayor also praised Chris Donatelli Builders Inc., as well as DC council members, friends and neighbors for bringing this “first class restaurant” to the Petworth neighborhood. Introducing Fenty was Ward 4 council member Muriel Bowser. Ward 1 council member Jim Graham also addressed the crowd. Besides the local politicos, the jam-packed reception featured chef Suthep Comdet’s sushi, larb gai (incendiary chicken salad), chicken wings and “drunken” noodles. All this with beer and wine and mellow sounds by the Triple Double Jazz Band. As the crowd grew, the party spilled out into the front patio. Located at 3716 Georgia Ave. NW, the 80-seat Asian newcomer is ensconced in the glitzy Park Place at Petworth Metro apartment complex, a few yards from the Georgia Avenue/Petworth Metro Station Yellow/Green Line. Owned by Oy Changsila, this is Sala Thai’s third restaurant; others are at 1301 U St. NW and in Bethesda. The original, which opened near Dupont Circle in 1978, closed last year. For more information call 202629-1643 or visit

Japanese Fare Now here’s a real find: The other night we were headed for a U Street restaurant when we stumbled upon what appeared to be a travel agency. The building was situated at 2004 17th St. NW, just off U. Closer inspection revealed Hana Japanese market, a tiny but well stocked grocery. There we found some fresh produce (Napa cabbage, daikon radishes), instant soba soup, miso paste, frozen (and dried) fish, Ramen noodles, Japanese candies and oceans of teas. Hana is open daily from 10 to 7 p.m. For more information call 202-939-8853. 20 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

Mayor Fenty and DC council members Muriel Bowser and Jim Graham were among the many guests attending the opening reception of Sala Thai Petworth. Photo: Thea Bowers.

Bistro La Bonne – Mais Oui!


When we did make it to U Street, we noticed that Polly’s Café, 1342 U, is still undergoing a major rehab. Nearby, we also saw World Cup soccer fans streaming into the charming Bistro La Bonne to cheer on the French team. No doubt they were also enjoying the extensive beer selection, along with chef Daniel La Bonne’s traditional Gallic fare: several mussel dishes, onion soup, lobster bisque, cassoulet and crème brulée. Open daily (‘til late), including Saturday and Sunday brunch, Bistro La Bonne is located at 1340 U St. NW; call 202-7583413 or visit

The Bloomingdale neighborhood is — well — blooming! The unpretentious Windows Café, 101 Rhode Island Ave. NW, offers free internet connection along with coffee, cakes and other pastries, fruit juices and smoothies. Windows Café is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 202462-6585 or check out the nifty website:

Estadio to Open in Logan This month, Mark Kuller and executive chef Haidar Karoum (who operate Penn Quarter’s Proof ) are launching Es-

Tell Them, “Shaw Main Streets Sent Me!”

Executive chef Haidar Karoum (who also presides over the kitchen at Proof) helps launch Estadio at Logan Circle. Photo: Andrew Lightman.

tadio at 1520 14th Street NW. Estadio, which means “stadium” in Spanish, showcases contemporary, mainly Northern, Spanish cuisine. Kuller and Karoum traveled extensively throughout Spain to develop Estadio’s menu: tortillita de camarones (small shrimp pancakes), fideos (Iberian pasta), salmorejo (thickened gazpacho), tapas and other snacks, called “pintxos” in the Basque region. Estadio is open for dinner only (commencing at 4 p.m.), with weekend brunch starting this fall and weekday lunch next year. Much like Proof, Estadio offers quesos (cheeses) and embutidos (charcuterie). Breads are baked in house. To complement the eclectic cuisine, wine director Sebastian Zutant is assembling a wine list with almost 300 labels. Selections are mostly Spanish, with some South American, Portuguese, and domes-

tic choices. An Enomatic machine dispenses 16 temperaturecontrolled wines by the glass, many priced under $10. Bottles are tagged between $20 and $75, with a few high-end rarities like Vega Sicilia’’s Unico. Naturally, you can order sangria, ideal for summer sipping. Kuller is working with Grizform Design to create “a contemporary Spanish style” with reclaimed 19th century Spanish tiles, Spanish marble, reclaimed timber and wrought iron for three large, custom-built communal tables. Bullfighting and flamenco murals will cover the walls. In the 115-seat restaurant, a concrete bar will accommodate 21, and a handsome marble counter will overlook the open kitchen. There’s also a private dining room. Estadio is located at 1520 14th Street NW (between the U Street and Dupont Circle metro stops. For more information, call 202-319-1404 or visit

Honors Mid City DC restaurants are definitely getting attention, as we learned from last month’s RAMMY Awards. At the black tie event, more than 1,500 restaurant industry members and guests celebrated the announcement of the 20th annual Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW ) awards at the Marriott Wardman in Woodley Park. Among establishments honored was Logan Circle’s Birch & Barley (1337 14th St. NW ), which was named “Best New Restaurant.” For the “Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene,” Birch & Barley, shared honors with its upstairs sister restaurant, ChurchKey. “Favorite Neighborhood Gathering Place” went to nearby Cork Wine Bar, 1720 14th St. NW. Congrats all around! ◆ ◆ 21

out and about

+ Music

JAZZ AVENUES by Steve Monroe

A Carr kickoff Getting July kicked off in fine form is the saxman Paul Carr, having a CD release party for himself July 6 at Blues Alley. Released in May, it’s his latest effort as a leader, “Straight Ahead Soul,” which promises to follow on the success two years ago of “Musically Yours,” which turned out to be one of the finest recordings by an area musician in the last few years. “Straight Ahead Soul is the kind of music I heard growing up in Houston,” says Carr. “I wanted to do a [CD] with that kind of soulful music. I grew up listening to Arnett Cobb and Don Wilkerson, two soulful tenor players with the Texas tenor sound.” With that, Carr enlisted Bobby Broom on guitar, Allyn Johnson on piano, Michael Bowie on bass, Lewis Nash on drums and Sam Turner on percussion, to play some soulful jazz. One highlight is “Side Yard Tracks,” indeed; a honking, funky, blues dripping off the rib bone Carr original that certainly sounds like back roads Texas. Another is a gospel medley that closes out the recording in a uniquely spiritual fashion. On the Blues Alley CD release date, Carr is to play with Broom, Johnson and Bowie. “I think the CD turned out great,” says Carr, who has had a busy year. The recording dropped in May, and last month he traveled to Russia for the White Nights international festival to perform with the Alex Cheremizov trio. And earlier this year, Carr spearheaded the first-ever MidAtlantic Jazz Festival over three days in February at a Rockville, Md., hotel. It drew large crowds of listeners and a favorable response 22 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

from performers, and Carr plans another one in February 2011.

July Highlights:

Paul Carr CD Release Party, July 6, Blues Alley ... Roland Matias and Afro-Rican Ensemble, July 9, 10, Twins Jazz ... Terence Blanchard, July 15-18, Blues Alley ... The Last Poets, July 19, Blues Alley ... Kenny Rittenhouse, July 23, 24, Bohemian Caverns ... Cyrus Chestnut, July 29-31 ... Andrew Adair Trio, July 30, Westminster Church

DCJF does it again... Upon review, the DC Jazz Festival delivered another winner this year. The 13 days in June were great for those Jazz ‘N the Hoods dates, especially, with pianist Marc Cary one of the top opening weekend acts at the Bohemian Caverns. On that Friday night Cary entertained a near full house with his blend of traditional plus funky avant garde jazz. Bohemian Caverns manager Omrao Brown said during a break, “One of the most important things the DC Jazz Festival is unique in is that it’s keen on presenting traditional jazz forms, even though that may bring less people … because it’s important to present this music,” said Brown, whose audience that night included festival producer Charlie Fishman. “That’s a big part of what we set out to do, and it’s hard to do, because it doesn’t bring in a ton of money. We are happy to be a part of the festival. And the festival has been supportive of us all year round.” Earlier that same night, at a completely different setting, the Mandarin Oriental jazz lounge, vocalist Felicia Carter was in form on “How High the Moon,” “I Remember You,” “So Dance A Samba,” and more. The following week, one highlight was the James Moody tribute show at the Lincoln Theater, with Roy Hargrove, Cyrus Chestnut and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars, along with special guests Paquito D’Rivera, Kenny Barron and violinist Regina Carter. Barron and Carter were a treat, especially on “Georgia,”

Regina Carter wowed the crowd at the Lincoln Theater during the DC Jazz Festival in June.

with Carter segueing that tune into a spiritual ending with her sweetly glowing tones on “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” That last Saturday night of the festival featured a special performance by Roberta Flack, in place of Dianne Reeves, at the Lisner Auditorium, and the Benito Gonzalez group at Twins Jazz.

Another Benito CD... Gonzalez and friends – including saxophonist Azar Lawrence, drummer Ronnie Burrage and Michael Bowie on bass – swung hard at Twins, Gonzalez in his inimitable big-handed multi-voiced style, especially notable on “A Love Supreme.” On break, Gonzalez, the Venezuelan who now calls this area home, promised a follow up CD to his 2004 debut CD “Starting Point.” He said it has a working title of “Circles” and is planned for an August release, with special guests like Christian McBride on bass and Jeff Tain Watts on drums. ◆

July Birthdays:

Rashied Ali 1; Ahmad Jamal 2; Johnny Hartman 3; Hank Mobley 7; Louis Jordan 8, Billy Eckstine, Lee Morgan 10; Albert Ayler 13; Philly Joe Jones 15; Cal Tjader 16; Chico Freeman 17; Sonny Clark 21; Billy Taylor, Charles McPherson 24; Johnny Hodges 25; Carl Grubbs 27; Charlie Christian 29; Hank Jones, Kenny Burrell 31. â—† 23

out and about

+ Shopping

Retail Therapy By Hunter L. Gorinson

Old City Green 902 N St. NW 202-412-2489


ld City green bills itself as a place “where plants and people come together,” and for owner Frank Asher, that motto not only underlines his goal of beautifying homes, lawns and gardens from Shaw to Dupont Circle, but informing his neighbors and customers in the process. With a selection of annuals as well as native perennials and shrubs -- BlackEyed Susans, serviceberries, asters, and several varieties of fern, to name but a few -- Asher and his team see their wares as beneficial in more than just an aesthetic sense. “A lot of times landscapers use

plants that might have a lot of immediate pop or look, but are invasive and not good for the environment,” Asher told MCDC. “Native plants may offer berries for birds, flowers for honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies. It really just helps the whole ecosystem.” To that end, Old City green also doubles as a landscape design and maintenance service, Fairies’ Crossing, which makes the best of the limited green space of inner-city houses. Locally oriented in every sense, Asher, who lives steps away from his N Street garden center, offers 15 percent discounts to neighborhood residents and, through

Frank Asher (left) and the Old City Green team get their hands dirty daily in Shaw.

the end of July, 25 percent off plants to returning customers with spring receipts. The space is also available for outdoor events with OCg itself hosting a lamb roast this fall to benefit So Others Might Eat.

It’s easy to lose all sense of time passing amongst the shelves at Idle Time Books.


Idle Time Books 2467 18th St. NW 202-232-4774

wenty-eight years is an impressive run for any local business -- especially an independent bookseller trafficking in the used, rare and out of print. Idle Time’s continued staying power on Adams Morgan’s main throughway lies in the fact that it might just be Washington’s most literate storehouse of affordable reading material. As perusal of the New Arrivals shelf will evidence, Idle Time certainly knows the caliber of its clientele, so those interested in tracking down James Patterson’s latest should look elsewhere. In place of airport thrillers ad nauseam, one finds beach reading for Hill wonks -- like most of Harvard University Press’s recent output, including “Neoconservatism: The Biography of a Movement” ($4) and “Opium: Uncovering the Politics of the Poppy” ($4). 24 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

Rags 2 Riches Vintage Boutique 1734 14th St. NW 202-290-2537


ransplanted from H St. NE to the 14th & U corridor just last month, Rags 2 Riches offers a new twist on the vintage boutique formula. Instead of thrift store flannels or high-end consignments, R2R casts a very specific eye towards “mod, punk and hip-hop retro” styles. That translates into a brash selection of women’s evening and club wear with one foot in modern era and another firmly planted in the neon saturated, sequin strewn ‘80s. However, few of the pieces are actually authentic to the era. Instead, owner Erica Rice says she looks for recent, but “gently worn,” boutique brand clothes that embody her store’s not-so-subtle sensibilities. Toronto’s Urban Behavior contributes a petite, black sequin jacket ($60) to the racks, while Snap and Max Azira offer two of the store’s more eye-catching sundresses in teal and sienna, $60 each. The real steals for women, however, lie in R2R’s collection of designer sunglasses, where once pricey shades from the likes of Marc Jacobs and Betsy Johnson start at $30. There’s also a modest, but reasonably priced assortment of modern men’s casual wear available and a cursory browse around turns up an ample amount of skinny denim ($50 and up), graphic heavy tees from Williamsburg’s SubScript ($25) and slacks in seersucker or patchwork pastel ($40).

Green Pets 1722 14th St. NW 202-986-7907 “Henrietta” hangs alongside Green Pets’ other Acme Co. approved pet pastimes.

Sourced entirely by the owners, Idle Time’s stock covers nearly every conceivable facet of fiction and, especially, non-fiction -- so much so that the store’s categorizations are far more specific than the average college library. For example, material that would fall under “Social Sciences” in a lesser store here gets divvied up between management, employment, working, aging, and poverty. For both bibliophiles and casual readers, the store’s name should ring especially true as minutes spent browsing slip away.

Retro looks hit the street -- literally and figuratively -- at 14th St.’s newly opened Rags 2 Riches.


hen Green Pets first opened on the 14th St. strip 11 years ago, the concept of eco-friendly shopping had yet to penetrate the mainstream, let alone the “meat byproduct” stocked shelves of the average pet store. A decade on, “greenness” may have blossomed into a full-on craze, but the store remains the District’s number one repository for organic and natural pet food and supplies. They even boast a wide array of homeopathic remedies capable of treating nearly any malady -- physical or metal -- afflicting Spot these days. “The idea here is -- because there’s so many things in the environment [to which pets] are exposed -- to have as many vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes to meet their needs,” said manager Dexter Howell, a 15 year veteran of the pet business. Still, unlike most environment conscious boutiques, Green Pets’ isn’t above a little levity. Howell and owner Brock Benson have brought together a cheeky collection of pet-ertainment capable of distracting animal and owner alike. The Kool Dogz Ice Treat Maker ($29.99), for instance, encases your canine’s favorite treats in a giant popsicle, while over in the ever popular squeaky toy department, “Henrietta” ($15.99) -- the name of Green Pet’s bestselling, bikini-clad rubber chicken -- emits a shriek when squeezed that’s unparalleled this side of Janet Leigh. ◆ ◆ 25

the nose the

Dog Parks for Everybody by Anonymous Correction: In a previously printed edition, The Nose misstated the affiliations of two people, Marshall Brown and Vernon Hawkins, who appeared in photographs at Gray for Mayor events. The Gray campaign says that neither work for the campaign.


he Nose must admit a bit of puzzlement about the mayor’s race. One option is to elect a native Washingtonian, who at every chance repeats he is a “dyed in the wool homey.” He was born at Freedmen’s Hospital, grew up around Sixth and L streets NE and graduated from Dunbar. It doesn’t get more DC than that. Black DC, that is. The other option is to elect the guy who builds dog parks, pushes for streetcars and wants a whole bunch of other stuff attractive to the “newcomers.” It seems easy to assume that the candidate of splash parks, bike sharing and the Wilson Aquatic Center ain’t a true native son. But hold on, DC Birthers: He grew up in Mount Pleasant, went to DC public schools, and has a law degree from Howard University. So why, given both meet the criteria of a native Washingtonian, does it seem there’s a difference between the native Washingtonian-ness of Mayor BlackBerry and his electoral foe, DC Council Chairman Vince “The Undertaker” Gray? Is this focus on DC nativism another way of getting at the old trope of DC politics: Is BlackBerry black enough? Back in the day when Mayor26 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

for-Life Marion S. Barry Jr. told Ward 3 to “get over it,” we all knew who and what he meant. But now, as the District becomes not only whiter, but whiter in neighborhoods far afield from Upper Caucasia, a whole new group of euphemisms have taken hold to describe key parts of BlackBerry’s assumed base of supporters: There’s “those who want dog parks” and “those who want streetcars” and “those who want bike lanes.” Translation: White people. Of course, The Nose recognizes this is a stereotype, and stereotypes are bad, unfair, gross exaggerations. In other words, does the popular Shaw dog park look like the lawn crowd at Merriweather Post Pavilion for a Phish or Lilith Fair concert? The Nose is not a dog owner or walker, but from all indications this fido-lovers hub attracts all types. But, then again, The Nose would be negligent if we did not note that the push for dog parks has occurred in either predominantly white or increasingly white areas of town: Walter Pierce in Adams Morgan (Ward 1), S Street in Dupont Circle and Shaw (Ward 2), Newark Street in McLean Gardens (Ward 3), and Upshur Street in Petworth (Ward 4). You see what The Nose is getting at: No half-million dollar dog parks in Wards 5, 7 and 8. Then there are the streetcar evangelists. Yes, Dear Readers, streetcars are like a religion. They are based in the faith that if you build it, property values will rise. Make no mistake: Streetcars are about economic development, not

transportation. The Nose can cite numerous studies, but it all boils down to this: The bus sucks in the eyes of developers. There’s no permanent tracks guaranteeing continued city investment, it’s not cool, and poor people use it. Now, then again, there’s the core constituency opposing BlackBerry’s use of overhead wires for the holy streetcars: The Committee of 100 on the Federal City. If there’s a group in this city that looks more like Chris Rock’s imitation of white people, The Nose does not know it. (OK, any Georgetown ANC, but The Nose digresses.) Here’s the point: BlackBerry helped bring a supermarket back to Ward 8, a white-clothed steakhouse and a state of the art Deanwood rec center to Ward 7, and built and refurbished several rec centers in Ward 5. He has staked his mayoralty on improving DC public schools. He’s certainly focused on quality of life improvements for white and black Washingtonians, though his “soon as humanly possible approach” has not extended to the city’s entrenched poor and unemployed, who are almost entirely black. But instead of using his laser-like focus to conquer poverty, BlackBerry has sought to establish black DC street cred by aligning himself with two dubious characters: Sinclair “Grahamzilla Black Business Killa” Skinner and Ron “Not So Peaceful” Moten. Both Skinner and Moten have profited considerably from their relationship with BlackBerry. The Nose has detailed his arm-linking

with Skinner in a previous column — aka Why Doesn’t BlackBerry Throw Skinner Under the Bus — and Moten’s Peaceaholics hustle has been well chronicled in the press. The Nose does not think BlackBerry has gotten much beside scandal in return. Does BlackBerry’s biracial background make a difference? Perhaps, but certainly much less than his well known arrogance. But DC nativism cuts both ways, and BlackBerry has hyped the idea that a vote for The Undertaker will turn back the clock to the ‘90s when the mayor-for-life reigned, crack was an epidemic, and the District almost went bankrupt. Nothing scares white people more than this. Of course, it scared black people, too, which is how Prince George’s County became the wealthiest majority black suburb in the county. The Undertaker does his part to contribute to this nostalgia trip: His campaign is packed with relics from prior administrations such as Lorraine Green, his campaign chair, who served in the unfortunate Sharon Pratt Kelly/Dixon days, and Stephanie Reich, his special assistant, from the Linda Cropp era. The question isn’t whether BlackBerry is black enough. The question is whether either candidate has a vision for how to move all parts of this city forward: the last, the least, the lost, the streetcar evangelicals and the dog park lovers all. Have a tip for The Nose? E-mail ◆

14th and U by Tanya Snyder

How Our Neighborhood Changed Southeastern Missouri Politics Fabulous 16 My favorite news tidbit of the month is this little item from the Department of Culture Clash. A fundraiser for a Democratic candidate for Congress held in a U Street bar led to wild allegations about his sexual orientation. Upstart politician Tommy Sowers of southeastern Missouri is challenging Republican Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson in the November general election. Sowers got some impressive A-listers together for his shindig at Local 16, including former DNC Chair Howard Dean and former General Wesley Clark. He’s got an uphill battle against the eight-term incumbent in a heavily Republican district, but he’s giving it the old college try. Within days of Sowers’ Local 16 event, a letter to the editor appeared in his local paper, using the choice of venue for the fundraiser as a launching pad for making the case that Sowers is gay. After all, the letter writer says, Sowers held a fundraiser in the “notorious U Street corridor” – and then he goes on to correct himself – “Rather, it’s famous for the homosexual community and notorious for everyone else.” The letter questions “the judgment of a man seeking to represent the people of Southeast Missouri holding a fundraiser at a gay DC nightclub.” The letter is signed by Josh Bill, who, CQ Politics reports, used to work for Emerson’s husband when he represented the district in Congress. Bill says in his letter that he discovered Local 16’s supposedly gay nature from a gay and lesbian website called “Fun Maps,” which includes Local 16 on its list of gay bars. Right under the part of the letter where Bill talks about finding Local 16 on Fun Maps, he says, “Personally, I’m glad my father is not around to see what Tommy Sowers wants to do to his Marine Corps.” Pretty blistering commentary. (Earlier in the letter, Bill says Sowers’ only political positions are that he “supported Nancy Pelosi’s health care

bill, and he supports an openly gay military.” That, along with the fact that his Facebook page doesn’t mention his marital status, is clearly grounds for outing Local 16 featured prominently in Missouri’s local politics this month. Sowers in public.) The brief notoripainted onto the asphalt to designate where ety of our fair neighborhood in the political sphere bikes can wait for the light to change. Cars of rural Missouri may not end up having much wait behind the box. This helps avoid one of the effect on the election outcome, however. Before most dangerous situations bikers commonly find the Local 16 scandal ever surfaced, Emerson was themselves in – trying to go straight as the car to beating Sowers in polls 71 percent to 18 percent. the left of you is turning right. A driver turning right from the right lane won’t usually look to Why Bikeable City make sure there’s no one coming up from behind since there’s no traffic lane to their right Measures Help Us All The best thing about bicycle improvements – but cyclists often ride between parked cars and in DC is that they don’t just benefit bicyclists. the right lane. Bicyclists have been killed this They’re also good for pedestrians who are tired way in DC, including a young woman hit by a of bikes whizzing past them on sidewalks too garbage truck turning right in Dupont Circle narrow to accommodate them. And they’re es- two years ago. So, bike boxes give bikes a chance to go bepecially helpful for drivers who get exasperated with bicyclists who weave between cars at a mil- fore cars start trying to turn right. The downside lion miles an hour but still slow down the cars is that cars can’t go right on red on intersections with bike boxes. behind them when traffic is moving. The other big change will be a contraflow So whether you walk, bike or drive near 16th lane on New Hampshire Avenue between T and and U streets, DDOT has a gift for you. First, they’re putting in bike boxes on 16th W. It’s the same idea as the new bike lane on Street on both sides of U Street. Bike boxes are 15th Street, where cyclists can ride against traffic. A sensor in the roadbed will know the biker is there and will give a signal allowing riders to A cyclist at 16th and U, where there will soon be a bike box for her to wait for the light to change. Photos by Tanya Snyder cross to the bike box on 16th Street. These new bike lanes will integrate into an ever-growing network of safe bike routes in the city. For now, though, it’s just a pilot project. DDOT says, “The Federal Highway Administration has approved of this experiment. If it proves successful it will be incorporated into the reconstruction of U Street NW.” No word on how long the experimental phase will last. ◆ ◆ 27

your neighborhood

Logan Circles article and photos by Mark F. Johnson


hroughout much of June, it was one party after another around U/14. And now that the summer heat is on, Logan street life is sizzling!

P Street Heat If it isn’t hot enough for you already, go stand in line at the Whole Foods outdoor grill to get your heat … and eat on. They’ve been serving up burgers, both beef and turkey, and also hot dogs, since the spring. And, since that time, the lines have been getting longer and longer for the $4 grilled-to-order patties. Speaking of Whole Foods, there’s a lot going on inside the store, too, as the interior undergoes some reconstructive surgery, and a new upper level seating area is added to the deli area.

Musical Stores On the subject of take out, Creperie Point Chaud has opened near the corner of 14th and S streets NW. And, as we have already referred to the U/14 heat, talk of this “hot spot” is quickly spreading. There isn’t much outdoor table space at this crepe joint, but as hot as it’s been lately, it’s probably better to grab a crepe to go than to eat it on the blistering street. Perhaps Point Chaud will do better than Café Salsa that had found a brief home down the street serving up Mexican dishes. The big windows facing 14th Street usually revealed few diners inside, most times I walked by. Café Salsa has sadly now gone adios. In a game of musical stores, the spot at 1712 14th St. has now been claimed by neighboring 28 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

Flowers on Fourteenth. They have left their smaller space at 1718. At a time when much of the U/14 retail space is going to restaurants, bars and national chain stores, especially those that sell furniture, it’s nice to see a local, smaller business, well, grow and blossom! Since we’ve had so little rain lately, that thunderous sound you may have heard on 14th Street early last month was the rush of folks storming into the recently opened Room & Board on the corner at T. The beautifully retro-fitted building, a former car dealership, has made the transition to posh furniture store very nicely!

Room & Board Open for Biz Attending a private pre-opening party a few weeks ago was like

Crepe joint Point Chaud has opened at 14th and S.

Aa group of partiers join the fun at Room & Board’s “soft opening” in June.

being in the home of a well-heeled, uber-stylish but not at all stuffy, friend who just happened to have one of THE nicest rooftop decks in town. The store’s soft opening weekend turned into cold hard cash for the Minneapolis-based chain as the store did about $100,000 each of its first three days without even being officially opened for two of the three days. Every weekend the store is packed with gawkers, and it has become one of the main social venues of U/14. Room & Board moved to DC because they were getting millions of dollars in business from the 20009 zip code at their nearest store in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood and also online. The DC store, the newest in the chain’s family, within its first month in operation, has made the company somewhere near half a million dollars in sales, according to a store source. Nearby shops like Hunted House Mid Century Modern

furnishings, art and accessories, located next door, have reported people wandering in on the weekends from other parts of town or else from the `burbs, who are apparently unaware that there were signs of life in U/14 BRB, that is, before Room & Board. However, regardless of what brings them to Mid City, it’s nice to have new, potential shoppers scurrying about, say business owners on the street who seem glad that their new neighbor has finally moved in. By the way, Room & Board wasn’t the only big furniture store that moved to DC from New York City to have a party on that second Thursday of June. Mitchell-Gold, who had apparently planned their “white party” prior to R&B’s gala, had a gay-la of its own. It being the week of DC gay Pride, Mitchell-Gold hosted a party clearly in honor of the proud, with a roster of guests, a significant number who represented the city’s GLBT community and even a drag queen down from Gotham. Mitchell Gold and

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Macy’s department store shows colors at DC’s Gay Pride Parade.

Bob Williams have actually held a number of functions at the 14th Street store aimed at their gay and lesbian patrons.

New on U/14 We all know that when you look up “change” in the dictionary, a map of 14th Street pops up as the definition. So, this month, new restaurants are dishing up the goodies like Estadio at 14th and Corcoran, across from Homemade Pizza. Cork and Fork, just up the street, has come on board, too. Word is that the old dry cleaners building next door to John Wesley AME Zion Church, at the corner of 14th and Corcoran, that has sat vacant for quite awhile now, is about to become the Italian Shirt Laundry, another restaurant offering sit-down service in a converted industrial space.

Political Appearances June is national Pride month in the country, and Logan Circle is the de facto home to DC’s very large gay community these days. So it was no surprise that, as the 35th annual Gay Pride parade made it’s way down P Street and onto 14th, many lined the streets to cheer on the longer than usual parade of floats, drag queens,

barely clothed muscled lads, dykes on motorcycles, parents of gay kids, representatives of the religious community, gay and lesbian social organizations and of course, politicians. Both Mayor Adrian Fenty and DC Council Chairman Vincent Gray, who hopes to unseat him in November, showed up, but there was a very long gap between the two. Two other politicians running against each other showed up at a June event, too. Far from the crowds and raucousness of the Gay Pride parade, both candidates running for an At-Large DC Council seat dropped in at the Logan Circle Citizens Association annual picnic a few weeks ago. One of the candidates, Phil Mendelson, is the incumbent, and he hopes to fend off Clark Ray, a former Fenty Administration official who is running for the seat. Both joined about 60 folks on the grounds of the Iowa condominium at 13th and O, where food was shared, but apparently political barbs were spared. Jack Evans, who represents Logan Circle on the council couldn’t attend the event, scheduled on Father’s Day, instead spending the day with his kids. Mendelson, a dad too, apparently got his Father’s Day gifts before or after the association picnic. ◆

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your neighborhood

Bloomingdale Business by Amanda Abrams The Ignored Corridor: North Capitol Street Let’s talk about North Capitol Street. Lying at Bloomingdale’s eastern edge, once one of the more dangerous avenues in town, it still radiates an overwhelmingly gritty tone that provides little reason to linger. But surely people once felt that way about H Street NE, and look at it now. So is it possible that North Capitol – the blocks between New York and Rhode Island avenues, particularly – is actually a diamond in the rough that could become the next restaurant-bar-club hipster zone? That might sound like a stretch until you talk to Brian Brown. He runs NextGen Construction, owns three properties on North Capitol, and thinks the street has potential for new development. Maybe it could become a family-friendly alternative to U Street (his vision), or maybe it could be just another cool place to go that’s home to a range of businesses. But the problem is getting any forward movement. “We all want businesses that will be productive,” explained Brown, who’s been talking to building owners in the area, “but nobody wants to be the first to settle that strip. The challenge is to get a cohesive movement.” Makes sense. After all, a lot of the city’s more recently developed areas only changed over once a critical mass of new businesses opened up: think of P Street near Whole Foods, or the aforementioned H Street. Just one new restaurant might not be enough to draw Northwest residents that far east, especially since the area lacks immediate Metro access or obvious parking. Yet it’s not the longest shot in the world. The blocks around the New York Avenue Metro station are changing, with a new Harris Teeter slated to come in the fall, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has occupied the soaring white fortress at Florida and New York avenues since 2007. And Brown claims the area is safer than Dupont Circle – and in terms of property crimes, he’s right, though North Capitol still beats Dupont in violent crimes. Brown says the business associations already in place, like North Capitol Main Street and the NoMa (North of Massachusetts Avenue) Busi30 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

house is wearing a big For ness Improvement District, Sale sign – though Brown haven’t been particularly said it’s only there to moluseful, so he’s orchestrating lify the bank, which is skitthings himself, meeting with tish about his plans. In fact, building owners and trying he claims, he’s put over $1 to draw in investors. million into the building “We’ve all met together,” and has no plans to sell it. he said. “The owners are picky Rather, he’s trying again. about what they want. You’d This time around, Brown be shocked by the number has enlisted as an operator of people who want to own Howsoon Cham, the Gama barbershop, but we all want bian-born chef at U Street’s businesses that will be proHominy restaurant who has ductive. The question is, how worked at Georgia Brown’s do you get people to believe and owned Red Ginger and in the vision?” Café Trope. Currently, Brown said, firehouse at the corner of North Capitol Street Cham and Brown are there are 11 projects in some The and Quincy Place. Photo: Amanda Abrams both overwhelmingly hesistage of development in that tant to talk about future area, but nothing’s moving fast. One problem: unlike on H Street, building plans: moving forward depends solely on acquirowners are reluctant to sell, limiting would-be ing financing from the bank. “We’re on the bank’s schedule, not ours,” said Brown. “With financing, developers’ options. you just don’t know, and in the current market, it could go either direction.” The Firehouse Controversy Cham echoed Brown’s caveats, but he did Brown isn’t all talk. He has two projects in process on North Capitol, and one of them could outline a plan for the building, should financing be moving forward soon – though “could be” is go through. It’ll be a sit-down place featuring a the operative phrase here; don’t hold your breath. fusion of Latin, Caribbean and Indian cuisines; Brown owns the dilapidated firehouse at the the downstairs restaurant will offer full meals, corner of North Capitol and Quincy Place. It’s a while upstairs will be a lounge with tapas and historic Spanish-style building built in 1897, once drinks. “We have a younger generation and also home to Engine Company 12, that he bought mom and pops” in the neighborhood, said Cham, from the city at a subsidized rate with a pledge “so we’re trying to appeal to both. I think it’ll to redevelop the place. That was in 2006. Since work well with what’s coming up in the area. then, he’s gone through three separate phases of Right now there’s only two places to eat: Wenfinding an operator (development parlance for a dy’s and McDonalds.” If you live in the area and want to see derestaurateur who will create the venue’s theme and menu and take care of the details), three dif- velopment, keep your fingers crossed. Or, says ferent plans that all fell through largely because Brown, put your money where your mouth is. “We’re looking for two to six investors on any of the economy. That’s his version. Brown isn’t particularly given project,” he explained – not just the Fireloved by some vocal members of the community house but also some others that are still in prog(the first thing that comes up in a Google search ress. “It’s an opportunity to invest in the comof his name and business is the website www. munity on a for-profit basis.” For more information about investing or, who charge that he bought the building at a reduced rate and is now trying leasing a building in that area, contact Brown at to unload it for a profit. And it’s true, the fire- continued from page 35

Shaw Streets by Ralph Brabham

First Gay Couple to Book Long View Gallery for Wedding As soon as it reopened in its new location last October, Long View Gallery (1234 Ninth St. NW) quickly became a highly sought-after wedding venue. Since gay marriage officially became legal in Washington early this year, therefore, it should come as no surprise that the hip, beautiful and unique 5,000-squarefoot space is now in great demand for same sex couples getting hitched. The gallery’s first gay couple to reserve a date for their wedding is Michael Cole and Steve Schwartz, whose nuptials will take place this November. A few other gay weddings will occur at the gallery before then, but Cole and Schwartz were the first on the gallery’s books. They recently provided some insight into who they are and what their wedding will be like. Cole was a Shaw resident living on 10th Street when he met Schwartz in 2006. As a result, the two have a lot of fond memories of time spent together in the neighborhood. “Weekend mornings we definitely headed over to Azi’s or Café Cozy Corner for a breakfast sandwich and some coffee. Occasionally you could find us out for a cocktail at Be-Bar,” says Schwartz. They now reside together in Columbia Heights with their dog, Gary Busey. Schwartz proposed to Cole last summer on their balcony overlooking the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza. Cole says, “Marriage for us is about family and about affirming our commitment to and love for one another. The wedding is about sharing and celebrating that with our friends and families. … As our

family changes and grows, our marriage means that we will weather all the ups and downs of that together from here forward.” When asked why the gallery was the perfect venue for their reception, Cole explained, “We wanted a space that was modern and urban and would also allow for a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere for a celebration. The gallery’s melding of finished and unfinished elements as well as the welcoming sense of space and light really spoke to both of us.” They plan a small afternoon ceremony and a cocktail reception, all at the gallery. “We’ll start Saturday just after noon with a short ceremony followed by a few hours of mixing and mingling. We’re both food lovers, so we’ll be treating our guests to hors d’oeuvres that reflect our eclectic tastes and some of our travels,” says Cole. As for the décor, it will be minimal. Schwartz noted “The space really speaks for itself. It has great energy. If we strike it lucky, we’ll have one of those totally perfect fall days we can get in November. We can’t imagine cluttering up the place with much more than guests, food, marriage, cake and Mama Cass. Oh, and bubbly. Lots and lots of bubbly.”

Art Enlivens Convention Center Streetscapes Last September, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center celebrated the opening of “Windows Into DC,” a community arts project in collaboration with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH). The venture notably brought life and interest to

in the incubator and host special arts community events.

Dirt Finally Flying on Long Awaited Shaw Projects

Michael Cole and Steve Schwartz were the first gay couple to book Long View Gallery for their wedding. Photo Credit: Jenny Sarabia, Photography by Sarabia

yet-to-be-leased retail spaces on the perimeter of the building. The convention center recently received a new series of works for “Windows Into DC,” that will be in place through March 2011. Work of Shaw resident and neon artist Craig Kraft buzzes with energy and light at the corner of Ninth and N streets NW. On M Street between Seventh and Ninth streets NW, display windows have been transformed by six Washington, DC, artists curated by the Washington Project for the Arts. Along N Street are 51 larger than life, winning photographs from DCCAH’s “Portraits of DC,” a citywide photo competition that drew hundreds of diverse submissions, attracting all skill levels. A new addition to the program is the arts incubator space and festival office on N Street which will be headquarters for a series of upcoming sidewalk arts and crafts festivals known as “Arts on N.” Six artists and arts organizations will also co-locate

After years of anticipation, several high profile development projects are finally breaking ground in Shaw, and neighborhood residents could not be more pleased. Soon, new residents, offices, entertainment and retail options will bring added vitality to the area. Last month, a ceremonial groundbreaking occurred at Ninth and P streets NW, for a mixeduse development that will house famed Silver Spring restaurant Mandalay Bay on the first two floors and a condominium residence above. The project should be complete by next summer. A few blocks away at the Seventh Street entrance to the ShawHoward Metro station, Ellis Development is ready to break ground on two major projects. Both the Howard Theatre and the Renaissance Project (formerly Broadcast Center One) will break ground in late August and will collectively deliver office space (including the headquarters for the United Negro College Fund), ground floor retail space, underground parking, 204 mixed-income for-sale condominium housing units, a live entertainment venue and education space. CityMarket at O, the massive Roadside Development project bringing a new Giant grocery store, a hotel, condominiums, apartments, senior housing and retail to the blocks bounded by O, P, Seventh and Ninth streets, is now set to break ground on Sept. 7. ◆ ◆ 31

your neighborhood District Beat by Mark Segraves

Bamboozled It’s been a few years since Vincent Orange was on the campaign trail. Last time out, the former Ward 5 Councilmember got a District-wide pounding earning just less than 3 percent of the vote in the 2006 Democratic mayoral primary. Since then he’s been working as a lobbyist for Pepco. Now V.O. is back, and he hasn’t forgotten how to politic. Since announcing his candidacy for chairman of the DC Council, Orange hasn’t wasted anytime. His signs can be seen all over town, mostly on public space. V.O. has raised about the same amount of cash as his Chairman Vince Gray chats with supporters at the groundbreaking of the Hill Center. Photo: Andrew Lightman chief rival, Councilmember Kwame Dems endorsed Brown who took she won the endorsement of the GerBrown (D-At-Large). They both have raised about $180,000. Brown more than 75 percent of the vote in trude Stein Democrats Club winning 87 percent of the vote – Plotkin says has been campaigning longer than that straw poll. the Ward 3 numbers “could be an While straw polls and endorseOrange in this race, which is one reaearly indicator that Norton’s popuments aren’t always true indicators son the Kwame yard signs are more larity is slipping.” of how the primary will shake out, likely to actually be in somebody’s it does help to boost a campaign’s yard rather than along the side of a morale. A better indicator would be Can’t Buy Me Love road or on a telephone pole. At a recent Ward 8 Democrats the fact that Kwame has proven he Despite the fact that Mayor debate, moderated by WTOP po- can win in a District-wide election. Adrian Fenty has raised eight times litical analyst Mark Plotkin, Orange In 2006 Orange proved he can come what his closest competitor has played to the crowd telling them, in fourth behind Fenty, Linda Cropp raised, an unprecedented $4.2 mil“Don’t be bamboozled” and then and Marie Johns. lion, Fenty can’t seem to buy himself pointing to Brown. (A reference to a break. the speech Denzel Washington gave Don’t Count Doug Out Council Chairman Vince Gray in the Spike Lee film “Malcolm For the first time in several years, has won nearly all of the recent straw X.”) Orange used the “bamboozled” the District’s non-voting Delegate to polls, including the Ward 3 Dems line more than once that night. But Congress has a legitimate challenger. where Gray won by 6 votes, the it was Brown who scored the final Doug Sloan is his name – he’s well Gertrude Stein Dems where Gray blow at the end of the night in his organized, bright and most impor- snagged 63 percent of the votes and closing statement when he turned tantly, he doesn’t come off as a crazy the DC Democratic State Conventhe tables on Orange and told the person who can easily be dismissed. tion where Gray bested Fenty with crowd, “Bamboozled? Don’t fall for Just ask the Ward 3 Democrats. Sloan 703 votes to Fenty’s 190. Leo Alexthat.” Then turning to Orange he pulled off what can only be described ander managed to get 75 votes. Fenty said, “You’re not Malcolm X.” as a huge upset winning the Ward 3 did manage to win the Ward 8 straw “It brought the house down,” straw poll with 65 percent of the vote poll, but only when unregistered votPlotkin recalls. compared to Norton’s 30 percent. ers were allowed to vote. When the As for another early indicator “Ward 3 Democrats don’t like vote was limited to previously regisas to how this race is shaping up, Norton,” political analyst Mark tered voters, Gray came out on top. Brown trounced Orange in the DC Plotkin says. And while it’s hard to It’s not a good trend for Fenty, Democratic party’s District-wide imagine Norton losing the primary who less than four years ago won straw poll. Brown took 585 votes – Norton crushed Sloan in the DC every single precinct in the District to Orange’s 329. And the Ward 3 Dems District-wide straw poll, and and has a good record of accomplish32 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

ments to run on. Not to mention that Fenty is a far better politician than Gray, better organized, better looking and better known. On paper, Fenty would be the odds on favorite by a mile. But right now, with fewer than 90 days before the election, it’s Grays to lose. I have to admit, I never thought I would write those words. Six months ago when Gray was toying with the idea of running, it didn’t seem like he had a chance to beat Fenty. It was a fool’s errand. But Gray has proven he’s nobody’s fool. And Fenty continues to prove that he is his own worst enemy. Take the recent incident surrounding the theft of two bicycles from Fenty’s home. According to police and press reports, some kids walked into Fenty’s garage and made off with his son’s bicycles. Any other politician would have seen this as an opportunity to show the public he’s just like they are, and anyone can be a victim of crime. “I feel your pain” comes to mind. But not our mayor. No, Fenty has based his mayoral career on secrecy. Everything he does is a secret, whether it’s taking trips to foreign countries paid for by governments that discriminate against minorities like China and the United Arab Emirates, or his mid-day bike rides using a police motorcycle escort, or his meetings with elected officials, Fenty thinks the public is on a needto-know-basis only. And the public doesn’t need to know. So it was with the bike theft. The police report was marked confidential; at first Fenty would not answer questions about it, then when it was clear this was going to be a news story, he released a brief statement. It all goes to his attitude toward the public. The public who he is sworn to serve, the public who pays his salary, and the public who is depending on him. And on the heels

+ The Numbers

The Wrong Prescription of the missing bikes comes news that a Fenty campaign staffer was arrested for selling crack to an undercover police officer. Fenty just can’t seem to buy a break. But Gray has his problems as well. And like Fenty, they are selfmade. Gray still refuses to admit he did anything wrong when it comes to the fence he built at his home. District officials have determined the fence is illegal and must be moved. Gray insists this is political payback from Fenty loyalists in the government. The fact is Gray built the fence without getting permits, and no matter how screwed up the DC permitting process is, Gray is the second highest elected official in the District and should be held to higher standard than the average homeowner. His insistence that he’s done nothing wrong does not play well in the church basements and living rooms across the eight wards. But Gray seems tone deaf on this issue.

Watch Most of the Candidates You can see most of the candidates this summer on my weekly TV show, NewsPlus, Fridays at 7:30 a.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m. on DC 50. Or you can watch anytime at www.dc50tv. com. I say “most of the candidates” because for the past three and a half years, despite promising to do so, Mayor Fenty has refused to appear on my radio or TV show. Luckily the other candidates are not afraid to sit down with me. Mark Segraves is an award winning investigative reporter and talk show host. He can be heard daily on WTOP Radio 103.5 FM and weekly on DC 50 TV. He can be reached at ◆

DC’S Financial Woes are Being Misdiagnosed by Jenny Reed


ou may have heard that DC is headed for another control board. But you know better than to believe everything you hear, right? Yes, DC’s finances have suffered in the recession, as have every city’s and every state’s. But the District isn’t anywhere close to the kinds of problems that actually would trigger a control board, such as consistently failing to pay its bills on time or running a year-end deficit. So why the alarm? The reason is that the city’s “fund balance” — essentially DC’s bank account — has declined from a high of $1.6 billion in 2005 to $920 million in 2009 and perhaps as low as $650 million by the end of 2011. The pace of the decline has justifiably raised some concerns. But the reality is that the District is weathering the economic storm better than most states, which also are pulling money out of reserves to avoid major budget cuts in the midst of one of the worst recessions in history. In fact, DC’s reserves are healthier than in 43 states. The concern over the state of fiscal affairs has led to calls to shore up the city’s dwindling reserves. While this goal makes sense, a plan just adopted by the DC Council goes too far too fast, and it will tie up a significant amount of any new resources. The middle of a recession is the wrong time to focus solely on building reserves, when limited resources are needed to avoid cuts in city services, and to make critical reinvestments as we start the long road to recovery.

So What Is ‘Fund Balance,’ and Why Is It So Important? DC’s Fund balance is essentially the city’s checking and savings ac-

count in one. Not surprisingly, Wall Street credit agencies keep an eye on how well we manage the fund balance as one of many factors considered when they set our bond rating. What’s in the city’s bank account? The fund balance includes lots of parts, including the city’s rainy day reserves, escrow funds needed to back DC’s bond payments, and taxes collected for specific purposes that haven’t been spent yet. When DC’s economy is strong and the city runs a surplus, that goes into the fund balance, too. One critical use of the fund balance is to help the city meet its cash flow needs. Some tax collections come in as big chunks at different times of the year — like property taxes that are paid in September and March. Yet DC’s bills come in every month. Having money in the bank — the fund balance — helps the city meet its regular payments and avoid short-term borrowing to cover expenditures.

Why Did DC’s Fund Balance Go Up? And Why Is it Coming Down? DC’s bank account swelled in the mid-2000s as a result of large and unexpected budget surpluses. Our fund balance reached an unprecedented $1.6 billion — equal to 37 percent of DC’s budget at a time when the average for states was 8 percent. In the face of that, DC’s leaders made conscious and sensible decisions to put some of that excess to good use. Most notably, we devoted huge sums to fund a backlog of capital and infrastructure projects without the need for borrowing. And when the recession hit, the mayor and council tapped into

a number of “special purpose funds” that were underutilized and had built up large surpluses, using those funds to avoid deep cuts to program and services. DC’s fund balance could fall by 2011 to a level equal to 10 percent of the city’s budget. Yet that still is higher than in 43 states, including Maryland and Virginia.

Shoring up DC’s Finances: What’s the Most Important Thing to Do? Even if DC’s fund balance is not at a crisis state, we probably can’t take out too much more — and at some point it would be good to build our savings back up. But how much and when are key questions to ask. The budget just approved by the DC Council includes provisions to start rebuilding reserves now. While the council deserves credit for seeing this as an important issue, their plan ultimately will tie up a lot more money than is necessary at a time when DC’s finances are still fragile. Under the new budget, 100 percent of future budget surpluses will be used to fill two reserves until they reach a total of nearly $700 million. (Yes, even in a recession, DC is likely to end the year with some surplus.) Initially, half of surplus funds will go to a reserve to help respond to unforeseen spending pressures that arise during the year. This makes sense, and it’s similar to a $50 million budget reserve DC maintained until fiscal year 2009 when it was eliminated. Under the new plan, the operating reserve will be built up to $145 million. The plan for the other half of future surpluses is far more problematic. These funds will just sit in the fund balance — to help meet ◆ 33

your neighborhood A Taste of Northwest’s Farmers Markets

the city’s cash flow needs — and will not be available for anything else, like an increase in Medicaid caseloads or another drop in revenue collections. This reserve will be built up to a whopping $530 million even though DC has never had more than $175 million sitting around for these purposes. Building up the fund balance by $675 million will take many, many years, which means a large amount of taxpayer funds will be tied up for a long time.

Article and Photos by Jazelle Hunt


Tying Up a Significant Amount of Resources as We Exit the Recession Is the Wrong Prescription In the end, this decision reflects the wrong diagnosis of DC’s current financial ills – and the wrong prescription. Every dollar we put into a reserve is a dollar that can’t be used to invest in our city. That balance needs to be weighed carefully going forward. DC’s most pressing fiscal problem is the large drop in tax collections that has led to cuts in all parts of the budget – from libraries to parks to street sweeping to affordable housing. DC’s finances are likely to be fragile as it comes out of the recession, which means preserving resources for the budget should be the top priority right now. A more balanced approach would still include a rebuilding of our fund balance, but not by setting aside nearly all future resources or by building it up more than necessary. Setting aside a smaller portion of resources would help us rebuild our reserves while also giving the mayor and council enough flexibility right now to preserve services and to begin making critical reinvestments as we exit the recession. Reed is a policy analyst with the DC Fiscal Policy Institute (, which conducts research on tax and budget issues that affect low- and moderateincome DC residents. ◆ 34 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

TOP TO BOTTOM: Reid’s Orchard at Bloomingdale Farmers Market offers a wide variety of apples, peaches, apricots and berries, including tangy-sweet gooseberries. Chez Hareg’s “The Big Orange” cupcakes are light, sweet and completely vegan, down to the tofu-based icing (and you’d never know it if they didn’t tell you)! The Quaker Valley stand at Dupont Farmers Market offers real popcorn, still on the cob.

n an overcast, sticky Sunday I took a walk to check out one of DC’s weekend gems: the farmers market. This particular trip was to Dupont Farmers Market at Q and 20th streets NW, where small stands featuring everything from handmade soap to farm-raised meat lined the streets and spilled into PNC Bank’s parking lot. The Starlingtons, a country music trio, provided live background music as passersby shopped, sampled and snapped photos. Despite the imminent thunderstorm, the market drew a sizable crowd. Dupont Farmers Market (and all of DCs farmers markets, really) features growers from nearby states along the East Coast, and producers who are dedicated to using local ingredients in all they do. Dupont is one of 11 markets operated by FRESHFARM Market, a nonprofit organization committed to building an urban-rural partnership in the Chesapeake Bay region so that all may enjoy and appreciate locally grown food. Trying to find the most unusual thing to eat at any farmers market was a bit of a challenge; there were plenty of offerings a city girl like me has never come in contact with. There was bison jerky, cheeses I had never heard of, even popping corn — dried corn cobs you could just put in the microwave, like the Redenbacher bags I keep in my cupboard. I was tempted to buy that until I came across quail eggs. A few small cartons were for sale at the mushroom stand, a 13-year mainstay of this market, owned by Ferial Welsch. That Sunday, Erika Kanepp and Travis Dragan manned the table. “We mainly grow mushrooms and other vegetables,” they explained. “But a friend of ours sells the quail eggs at farmers markets up and down the Eastern shore and can’t always sell them all.” So sometimes they bring the surplus to DC all the way from Kennet, Pennsylvania. Quail eggs are a delicacy in many countries and a gourmet item here in the US. Although they are not necessarily rare, I

had never seen them in person, nor was I aware that quail eggs could be perfectly white and un-speckled, such as these. I tried them hardboiled and lightly salted first — they were like bite-sized chicken eggs with a richer, creamier yolk. I also tried them fried — in that case the richness of the yolk translated to a buttery flavor — and then boiled again, this time as part of a spinach salad with vinaigrette dressing. The yolk seemed to melt in and mix with the vinaigrette, so I could taste the egg in each bite. The following Sunday, at the Bloomingdale Market (on First & R streets NW, run by Markets and More LLC), the crowd was thinner and quieter, and the market itself was smaller. The variety of vendors, however, is comparable. After being sucked in by the goat cheese-

— after the initial burst of sweet berry flavor, they delivered a series of tart kicks until gone. After each one, I paused and wondered if that was too tart — until I realized I wanted another. “To me they taste like rhubarb … I just like to eat them one by one,” one of the Reid daughters quipped. “My sister cooks them down with sugar to make a great sauce, though.” If Bloomingdale is out of your way, its sister market at 14th and U streets NW also features gooseberries. But at this market, you may find that the allure of gooseberries pales in comparison to what else is available. Between Chez Hareg’s vegan, French-inspired pastries (try the palmiers or “The Big Orange” cupcake, delicious even for an omnivore like me!), and Dolcezza’s 100 percent local-ingredient artisan gelatos, it was hard to choose just one thing. But then Robin Shuster, markets director for Markets and More LLC, introduced me to the Cherry Glen stand. Cherry Glen Farm is the only goat cheese producer in this area that also tends the goats and the milk with which they make their cheese. The farm is in Boyds, Maryland, within the Montgomery County Agriculture Reserve. Cherry Glen’s Monocacy Chipotle and Monocacy Crottin were my favorites. Crottin is a pressed cheese, sharp and dry like parmesan (and can be substituted for it), though not as hard and with a broader range A sign at the 14th and U Market advertises Dolcezza’s gelato and sorbet flavors for the day. of flavor — there’s a tart flavor at first, then a nuttiness that lingers stuffed beet tortellini at the venerable Chef Stefano after the cheese is gone. I could eat the chipotle on Friederio’s Copper Pot stand (yes, it was delicious a water cracker every day — it’s a savory, soft cheese for dinner that night), I wandered over to Reid’s made with chipotle, peppery spicy on the finish. Orchard stand. Reid’s Orchard & Winery, which is Whether you’re a trailblazing foodie or just a just outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, grows over discerning shopper, DC’s farmers markets have a lot 75 varieties of apples, various berries (including red to offer. With the hard work and dedication of the and black currants), walnuts, vegetables and even growers and producers and the support of the comgrapes for their winery (they do not offer their wine munity, each weekend brings a slice of small town at the market). marketplace dynamic to the nation’s capital. Among the tiny strawberries, fresh blueberries, and ripe peaches available at the stand, green and For more information about the FRESHFARM Marred gooseberries caught my attention. They looked kets, call 202-362-8889 or visit like veiny grapes. Small and plump, their skin is ◆ covered in tiny (sometimes hairy), almost invisible goosepimples, which you don’t notice until your tongue grazes them. The taste brought back memories of candies that change flavor as you eat them

continued from page 30

Walking the Street I got all excited talking to Brown, so I thought I’d take a little stroll up that section of North Capitol and check out what’s going on. Not to be a downer, but I was a bit disappointed. Doing development obviously entails conjuring a vision for an area that’s far removed from its current configuration, but this felt like a real leap of the imagination. It’s not just that North Capitol is remarkably unattractive or that it’s populated by the usual combination of Chinese takeout joints, nail and hair salons, and liquor stores. The real problem is structural: the street is wide and busy, sidewalks are narrow, and around S Street, North Capitol splits and part of it dives down in an underpass – all making it pretty unwelcoming to foot traffic. North Capitol as the next big thing? I don’t know. Maybe. But there is one bright spot: ZZ Pizza and Kabob, at P Street. It opened a month ago and offers a wide variety of food, including Middle Eastern standards like falafel and kabobs, as well as strombolis, quesadillas and milkshakes. The owners, who run a similar place in Mount Rainier, say they’re planning to improve the shop, which isn’t the most charming, currently featuring bulletproof plastic. “We feel this place will have a good future,” explained Ali Haider, co-owner. “This area is growing day by day.” ◆ ◆ 35

kids and family

+ Notebook

ances Daly by Mary-Fr

Notebook DCPS participants in this year’s DC SCORES Jamboree!

The 15th annual DC SCORES Jamboree! celebration was held June 5 on Trinity University’s athletic fields. The event highlights the conclusion of the nonprofit after-school program’s spring season. DC SCORES uses soccer, poetry and service-learning to inspire over 700 public elementary and middle school students in the District. The Jamboree! kicked off with the best of the elementary school Westside and Eastside teams facing off to decide the City Cup Championship. In hard-fought games, the Burrville Elementary School girls, representing the Eastside, and the Westside’s Bancroft Elementary School boys

36 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

DCPS Students Score at this Year’s Jamboree!

prevailed. Meanwhile on the upper fields, middle school teams battled for a spot in the championship games. And the Lincoln Middle School boys and Oyster-Adams Bilingual School girls came out on top. Each SCORES team competed in at least three soccer matches, all against teams they never saw in the regular season. Throughout the day, nine fields were occupied by SCORES students completing give-and-gos or making diving saves, with parents and friends cheering from the sidelines. There were also a number of activities for students. Washington Freedom players led soccer drills, a local graffiti artist displayed his talents in creating a “Leadership” piece, volunteers painted students’ faces with soccer balls, and the DC Fire Department sent over a few trucks to let the students explore. Kids also enjoyed looking at bones and other artifacts at the Celebra la Ciencia (Celebrate Science) booth, and learning about the importance of maintaining healthy lungs with UDC’s 4-H program. As added entertainment, students got to hang out with the Abraham Lincoln mascot that runs in the presidents race at every Washington Nationals game. By the early afternoon, as teams filed back onto their busses where gift bags stuffed with books, snacks, and the new DC SCORES wristband awaited them, they didn’t hesitate when asked about the experience. “It was so much fun,” said one student as she gathered her belongings. For more information on DC SCORES, visit

DC SCORES Fundraiser On June 24 and 25, at the southwest corner of 18th and M streets NW, a woman was juggling a soccer ball — kicking, heading and kneeing it in an effort to keep it in the air. The soccer juggler was Amy Nakamoto, DC SCORES executive director, who came up with the idea to juggle a ball on

a busy street corner for 12 hours each day as part of the Kick, Click, & SCORE Challenge. The nonprofit after-school program initiated the fundraiser to raise $130,000 and fill a gap in revenue that it needs to make up by Aug. 31. As of June 28, $48,462 had been donated. The challenge — minus the juggling — runs until the World Cup’s conclusion on July 11. The challenge began with two full days of soccer-related activity at 18th and M. As Amy juggled a ball, a laptop live-streamed her to the Kick, Click, & SCORE website, and DC SCORES posted videos, pictures and a description of the event to its social media platforms —, and Passersby stopped at the corner, intrigued by what they saw, and joined Amy or other DC SCORES staff members for some juggling. Also, Christie Welsh of the Washington Freedom professional team juggled for an hour during the first day, and two semipro soccer players stopped by and showed off their talents on the second day. The event raised awareness about DC SCORES’ unique program that focuses on soccer, poetry, and service-learning to serve over 700 District youth. To learn more or donate to the program, visit

DC Youth Orchestra Program Moves East The DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP) announced that this year, the program’s 50th anniversary, it will be moving operations from Coolidge High School in Northwest DC, where DCYOP has operated for the past 50 years, to Eastern Senior High School (1700 East Capitol St. NE). Upon learning of DCYOP’s move to Eastern, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells said, “The Youth Orchestra is a terrific asset for our city’s youth, and it is fantastic we are getting the program at Eastern ◆ 37

High School.” DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee has been working in tandem with the DCYOP to support the move of the area’s largest out-of-school-hours music program. Rhee said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for Eastern Senior High School and contributes to the future success of our students.” Ava Spece, executive director of DCYOP, said, “We are so excited to be able to provide this new environment for our students, including improved Metro and freeway access and a more central location. The new facility will enable DCYOP’s incredible faculty to better serve the youth of the Washington region.” Physical relocation will occur sometime in August, and the program will hold its regularly scheduled Open House, Petting Zoo, and Orchestra Day on Sept. 11, in the new location. In celebration of the program’s 50th birthday, the organization will also have a day-long celebration on Aug. 21, which will include bringing together some of the program’s 50,000 alumni from around the country to perform at the Kennedy Center at 6 p.m. followed by a VIP reception. The esteemed Marvin Hamlisch will host the event and conduct one of the pieces in the program. To learn more about DCYOP, call 202723-1612 or visit

Casey Trees High School Summer Crew Program Kicked Off June 28 Each summer, over 100 students apply for 11 spots on the Casey Trees Summer Crew, which helps care for Casey Trees-planted trees in Bloomingdale, Columbia Heights, Dupont Circle, Eckington Park, Downtown, Embassy Row, Georgetown, Mount Pleasant and other areas as needed. This year’s program began June 28, and as in years past, the crew’s responsibilities will include watering, weeding, mulching, pruning and tracking the condition and mortality of trees. Two teams work out of trucks, and one team makes up a “Water By-Cycle” crew, the nation’s first bicycle-powered tree care program. Summer crew members also engage in professional development opportunities to learn careers in the green industry. For many crew members, this is their very first job. Activities change each year, but students in the past have climbed 100-foot trees at the US National Arboretum, planted trees on Dangerfield Island and built a rain garden with the Anacostia Watershed Society. To learn more about this program, contact Casey Trees at 202349-1894 or visit

Art Exhibit by Haitian Children after the Earthquake Soon after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, first lady of Haiti Elisabeth D. 38 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

Préval called on Haitian artist Philippe Dodard and his fellow artists, as well as psychologists, educators and politicians, to create a safe place for children to express their feelings through art. Nearly 100 paintings and drawings created by Haiti’s young people at Plas Timoun (The Children’s Place) are featured in “The Healing Power of Art: Works of Art by Haitian Children after the Earthquake.” The exhibition will be on view in the concourse of the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW, through Oct. 17. It is sponsored by the National Museum of African Art. The artworks include images relating to death and destruction, and they also include illustrations of houses—both standing and damaged—with local architectural features, planes and helicopters reflecting rescue and recovery efforts, Haitian flags, as well as nature scenes and abstract designs. In addition to the art, the exhibition includes three videos: “Thirty Five Long Seconds: Haiti’s Deadly Earthquake,” an 18-minute film chronicling the earthquake and its aftermath written and narrated by Mario L. Delatour, and two short video segments, one in which Dodard discusses the concept behind Plas Timoun and the other on a recent visit to Haiti by US first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden and a professor at Northern Virginia Community College. A free brochure will be available at the exhibition. In addition, young visitors are invited to draw a picture and send a message of hope to the children of Plas Timoun. The exhibition is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 202-633-1000 or visit africa.

Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Pony Express The Pony Express is roaring down the trail this summer, and the Postal Museum needs help to get the mail through! This two-day festival, July 9 & 10, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Pony Express and has something for everyone, including a trivia relay race, tall tales and your chance to star in a puppet show. Free. 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE. 202-633-5533,

Library Programs Watha T. Daniel-Shaw Library. Preschool story time, July 6, 10 a.m., for children ages 3-5. Wii Wednesdays, July 7, 3:30 p.m., teens can play Wii with their friends. Mother Goose on the loose, July 8, 10 a.m., for infants through age 2. Rock Along with Casey, July 9, 10 a.m., an interactive musical jam session for children

ages 3-5. Family story time, July 10, 10:30 a.m., an interactive story time with songs and activities that are fun for the whole family. “I Made It Myself,” July 10, 11 a.m., a family craft activity. Janice the Griot, July 14, 1:30 p.m., children ages 6 and up can join this popular storyteller to make a splash with stories about the Chesapeake Bay and neighboring waterways. Book waves, July 14, 3:30 p.m., children ages 12 and up can learn various construction techniques to make pop-up, accordion and French fold books using recycled materials with Karen O. Brown. 945 Rhode Island Ave. NW. 202-671-0267, Northwest One Library. Washington National Opera, July 6, 10:30 a.m., ages 6 and up can attend an engaging presentation of “The Flying Dutchman,” complete an arts and crafts project and receive a Washington National Opera family activity guide. Splash the Water Dude, July 21, 4 p.m., ages 3 and up participate in songs and activities with Ray Owen. Game night for all ages, every Tuesday, 5 p.m. Story times for children on Wednesday mornings: baby/toddler lap time, 10 a.m.; tales for 2’s and 3’s, 10:30 a.m. 155 L St. NW. 202-939-5946,

Children’s Programs at NCM The National Children’s Museum will host the following activities for children in July at the National Harbor’s Launch Zone: • Fireworks and Patriotic Fun: July 3, 5, 7, 9 & 10. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Celebrate Independence Day with astonishing firework art. Designs feature images of the Washington Monument, so kids can create art that looks like the firework spectacle you might see in and around the nation’s capital. Free. • Community Heroes: July 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23 & 24. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Explore the role of community heroes and make community hero puppets. Don’t miss out on special community hero visits throughout the week. Free. • Earth Day Every Day: July 26, 28, 30 & 31. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Discover ways to preserve the planet with eco-friendly, fun family activities. Free. NCM is located at 112 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Md. 301-686-0225, www.ncm. museum. Have a listing for the Kids & Family Notebook? E-mail by the 20th of the month prior to publication. Submissions may be edited. Publication is not guaranteed. ◆

Educating the District Best Practices for Engaging with Your Child’s Teachers and Principal by Lisa Raymond


t’s been clearly established that children perform better academically when their families are directly involved in their education, but for a variety of reasons, many parents or other caregivers feel uncomfortable or unable to support their children or advocate on their behalf. Some struggle because of language or cultural differences, but others are just plain intimidated or end up completely frustrated when they do try to get their children what they need at school. But it doesn’t have to be so difficult. The key word to remember is “partnership.” Families and educators generally have the same goal for students: They want them to be successful in school and in life. Effective teachers and principals know that they need to engage families to help meet this goal, so it’s generally safe to assume that they are on your team. The challenge is that they have 20 – or 200 – other kids to worry about. I know a single mom, who would never be described as shy, who said that it took her nearly three years to get her daughter the proper testing and evaluation to diagnose her learning disabilities. And my husband, whose job requires him to share his opinion all day long, just freezes when it comes to discussing issues about our children with their teachers. He once sat through an entire parent-teacher conference with little more than some head nodding. So, how can you speak up for your child without alienating the very people that you need to engage in this process? Here are a few basic tips to get started: Begin with the perspective that your school wants to support your child. This will help you frame your concerns or requests for help in a way that is positive, instead of accusatory, and is more likely to result in a partnership between you and the school moving forward.

Generally try to resolve issues with your child’s teacher first. While it may be tempting to bypass the teacher and go straight to the principal, it is usually best to start with the person who has the most daily interaction with your child, sets the expectations in the classroom and understands how his/her students function as a group. But if you’ve tried unsuccessfully to resolve an issue with the teacher, then the principal can be a good resource – or mediator – if necessary. Explain how requests will benefit your child’s education. Good educators are receptive to suggestions that will benefit your child’s learning and development – within reason. Frame requests in a way that demonstrates this, instead of just stating what you want, i.e. “My child would do well with a teacher who has experience dealing with active, hands-on learners” vs. “I want my son to be in Ms. So-and-so’s class.” Do your homework. Before you show up for a meeting, review any

information that you can find that’s relevant – for example: your child’s recent school work, report card or test results; school or district polices; or school newsletters or handbooks describing particular programs. If you’re well informed, then you and your child’s teacher can focus on problem-solving instead of debating policy, program or testing issues. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Many teachers provide specific, useful information about your child’s progress and the work that he or she is doing in the classroom, but you should be prepared to ask questions if they don’t – or redirect the conversation where you need it to go. Ask specific questions: Is my child reading on grade level? Is she meeting the learning standards? Is he participating in classroom activities? Agree upon the best way to communicate. Some teachers are great with e-mail, while others prefer the phone. But generally, the morning drop-off-tell-the-teachereverything-that’s-gone-wrong-in-

two-minutes probably isn’t the most effective way to deal with issues. Schedule an appointment for serious conversations, but to clear up small issues or logistics, agree with the teacher on a way to communicate that works for everyone. Engage other support staff or specialists to help. Most schools have social workers, guidance counselors and specialists like music, art, and physical education teachers. Use them as a resource to support your child; they know him or her, and they likely have ideas to help. I know that the social worker in my son’s school was a lifesaver when we were struggling with his behavior: she spent time with him individually, gave my husband and me useful tips for supporting him and checked up on him in the classroom, even sharing ideas with his teachers about how to build a learning environment in which he could be successful – and that would help his classmates as well. Know that you are your child’s best advocate. Let’s face it, no matter how wonderful your child’s teachers and principal are, there’s probably no one who cares more about his or her progress than you. And even with the best intentions, educators get overwhelmed with the responsibility for so many children. So be the manager of your child’s progress: Take notes during meetings, keep track of communication and follow up if you don’t see forward movement. Some resources: The National PTA ( or 202289-6790) has “Tips on Getting Involved in School” and Scholastic has numerous online resources for parents at www2.scholastic. com. Latin America Youth Center ( or 202-319-2225) and DC Voice ( or 202-986-8535) provide education advocacy information to DC families. ◆ ◆ 39

at home

+ Changing Hands




$530,000 $494,900 $369,000 $305,000 $275,000 $227,000 $210,000 $200,000 $185,000 $176,000

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 4

$700,000 $570,000 $525,000 $467,000 $427,000 $420,000 $369,500 $355,000 $315,000 $306,000 $300,000 $282,000 $260,000 $250,000 $246,000 $235,000 $129,186

7 5 4 4 4 3 3 4 4 5 3 3 3 4 4 3 5

$898,900 $699,900 $650,000 $600,000 $575,000 $520,000 $499,000 $490,000 $450,000 $420,000 $370,000 $324,000 $287,000 $285,000 $219,000 $217,000

5 4 3 4 3 4 3 4 4 3 4 4 3 2 2 3

$594,500 $490,000 $380,000 $378,000 $358,000

4 4 3 3 4

$8,450,000 $3,600,000 $2,750,000 $2,475,000 $1,261,000

7 5 5 5 4

$612,750 $455,500 $397,500

4 2 4

$769,500 $1,395,000 $603,500

2 5 3

$420,000 $375,000

4 3






Changing hands is a list of most residential sales in the District of Columbia from the previous month. A feature of every issue, this list, based on the MRIS, is provided courtesy of Don Denton, manager of the Coldwell Banker office on Capitol Hill. The list includes address, sales price and number of bedrooms.


AddressClose Price



$800,000 $450,000 $440,000 $397,500

8 4 3 3




$240,000 $130,000

3 4




40 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010


LOGAN 1454 T ST NW 1830 13TH ST NW 928 P ST NW 4226 22ND ST NE 1627 WEBSTER ST NE


$2,000,000 $736,000 $735,000 $725,000 $656,000

7 5 3 4 3

$795,000 $540,000 $538,000 $538,000 $538,000 $535,000 $480,000 $425,000 $415,000 $385,000 $366,000 $359,000 $355,000 $330,000 $330,000 $330,000 $327,000 $312,000 $275,000 $267,000 $265,000 $260,000 $250,000 $250,000 $196,566 $96,000 $670,000 $500,000 $455,500 $449,955 $399,999 $389,000 $300,000 $173,200

4 2 3 3 3 2 4 3 2 3 3 2 2 2 2 3 3 2 3 3 3 3 2 2 3 2 3 4 2 3 3 5 3 4

$435,000 $409,000 $396,000 $395,000 $387,250 $348,000 $335,000 $322,000 $280,000 $276,000 $267,500 $250,000 $230,000 $230,000 $185,000 $155,000

4 3 4 3 4 3 4 3 3 3 4 3 2 2 5 3

$275,000 $270,000 $205,000

4 3 2



$270,000 $199,900 $148,050 $120,000 $114,000

3 3 4 4 3

$741,950 $423,000

3 3

OLD CITY 668 E ST NE 523 14TH ST SE 730 6TH ST SE 519 12TH ST NE 727 11TH ST NE 1360 EMERALD ST NE 1218 POTOMAC AVE SE 910 12TH ST NE 809 9TH ST NE 234 14TH ST SE 1417 E ST SE 1243 K ST SE 728 9TH ST SE 1007 K ST NE 1731 A ST SE 834 7TH ST NE 411 12TH ST SE 1521 INDEPENDENCE AVE SE 1632 GALES ST NE 714 16TH ST SE 118 O ST SW 418 19TH ST NE 645 8TH ST NE 647 8TH ST NE 1634 KRAMER ST NE 647 20TH ST NE 1618 6TH ST NW 2133 15TH ST NW 1806 10TH ST NW 1618 NEW JERSEY AVE NW 1842 8TH ST NW 426 Q ST NW 34 N ST NW 28 O ST NW



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Specializing in urban landscapes since 1989 Derek Thomas / Principal - Certified Professional Horticulturist,Master Gardener Member of the MD Nursery and Landscape Association & the Association of Professional Landscape Designers ◆ 41

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+ Home / Style


Time for Easy Outdoor Living article and photo by Mark F. Johnson


or the next few months, much of the gathering and entertaining will be outdoors on the patio, deck, backyard or rooftop deck. And there will probably be a barbeque grill involved. So how do you style a party under the stars? By its nature, summer entertaining should be stress free. The focus is on enjoying the outdoors, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put your best, sandaled or flip-flopped foot forward.

Seating/Tables When thinking about how to “arrange”

42 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

your guests, consider that if you’re entertaining a large group of folks then chances are most people will be standing. This might be especially true if you are hosting a July 4th party and you’re lucky enough to have a view of the downtown skyline from your roof deck where guests have an uninterrupted view of the fireworks. But you should still have ample seating for your guests. Three or more smaller tables, depending on the number of guests, is usually better than having one large table for everybody, and also easier to set up. Banquet-style seating helps people to better mingle and promotes eas-

ier conversation than one large table. Each table will find its own “personality” based on who sits there. Let your guests chose where to sit. Stressfree, remember?

Lighting Lighting is also important at a night-time outdoor party. Lots of folks string lights across their deck or fence walls as well as provide foot lights along the deck or patio floor. These help to set a nice mood without being too bright or overwhelming. Tiki torches are also hot, literally and figuratively, and really can set a great

mood. Overhead lighting extended from one side to the other is great too if the space is small enough to make it feasible. On the individual tables, place candles and, if you have a pool or fountain, you can put floating votives on the water. Citronella candles make the most sense because they serve the dual purpose of repelling bugs and also providing light.

Table Top The table tops can hold more than just candles and plates and cups. Go ahead and put some fresh flowers on the table and also put some potted plants or trees on the deck or the patio. I would steer away from decorating with too much “theme” paraphernalia because frankly that can get a little tired. City slickers don’t really want a picture of Yankee Doodle Dandy pasted on the deck wall or popping up on the table top. They might prefer a beautiful palm tree or fichus tree with white or blue lights strung on it, though. If you must do a little bit of July 4 decorating, maybe some strands of silver, red and blue tinsel hanging on the trees can provide it. As for dinner-ware, again, my suggestion would be to pass on the red, white and blue paper plates, or the ones that have greetings or characters on them---unless of course you’re planning a kid’s party. Try the clear, heavy plastic dinner ware or perhaps the white, silver or pale blue, green or yellow plates and cups that almost feel like real china. I would say that “silver ware” should be clear or silver plastic if you don’t want to use the real thing.

Chill Out You want your party to rock, right?? So of course you want to have music. Try to keep the cd player hidden if you have to bring it outside. This should go without

saying but….don’t let the music overtake the party. In other words, play music, whatever the style, that fades into the background. Jazz, lounge or chill music works best for this kind of party unless you want your guests to bust a dance move too.

Special Effects If you have the space, set up a separate bar area to the side, perhaps flanked with trees and nicely but softly lit. And if you’re concerned about how much your guests might imbibe, then have someone serve as bartender. Remember to keep on hand a supply of cut lemons, limes and orange slices for twists. A nice oldfashioned shiny aluminum trash can filled with ice makes a better looking ice chest than an actual ice chest. Keep refuse receptacles on hand. Tall, woven baskets lined with plastic make nice trash cans for outdoor use. Also, for effect, consider putting a Turkish or ersatz Turkish runner on your deck or patio that extends from the door from your house that leads out to the patio or deck, sort of like a “red carpet.” This brings a nice North African elegance while still being low key. If you don’t have a Turkish rug to put outside, consider getting an inexpensive runner that is tasteful, perhaps with a pop of color since it will be dark outside. Summer is the season to use bright colors that you might turn a cold shoulder to at other times of year. If you have a settee or two, put patterned throw pillows on them to complete the Moroccan effect. It’s your party, but no crying allowed! If your guests see you having a good time and mixing and mingling and not looking tired and stressed out, that will certainly heighten their enjoyment as well. ◆ ◆ 43

mcdc extra The Washington, DC Women’s Business Center An Overdue Resource by Amanda Abrams


t’s just a small office that looks out The center helps a wide variety over New York Avenue and emof businesses – from those with budploys a staff, currently, of two. But gets of around $20,000 to some in the the Washington, DC Women’s Busimillion-plus range, and from decadesness Center, it turns out, fills a much old companies with dozens of employneeded niche. ees to brand new startups with one “Our capacity has a sprained ankle staff member. from running so fast,” laughed Samira One of those is Right at Home Cook, the center’s director. EstabDC, a home care agency employing lished this March, the organization 50-100 staff members who help elderly is already 80 percent on its way to and disabled adults with housekeeping meeting its goal of helping 250 area and meals. Melanie Lamar, a District women in 2010. resident who’s co-owned the business It’s not a new concept: the group since 2005, was looking for some help is part of a network of 110 women’s with the home care agency licensing business centers located around the process, as well as advice about growcountry, all backed by the federal Small ing her business. She heard about the Business Administration and noncenter through a newsletter sent by profit organizations (in this case, the DC Councilmember Kwame Brown National Community Reinvestment (At-Large) and wound up meeting Coalition). But for the Washington rewith Cook in a one-on-one session. gion’s women, it’s an overdue resource: “It was absolutely helpful,” said a place where the special needs of enLamar. “Samira comes up with ideas trepreneurs who might also be mothers right off the top of her head and folSamira Cook in her office at the Women’s Business Center. Photo: Amanda Abrams and caregivers are closely considered. lows through with those suggestions. As Cook is fond of saying, the organiAnd she attended a meeting along zation works with “the whole woman.” with me at the Department of Health.” sultants who guide them past the sticky patches. Example: A woman recently came in to talk Lamar’s company is still working through the liThe center also offers a three-part financial fitwith Cook about expanding the cleaning service censing process, “but if it hadn’t been for [Cook], ness series that walks participants through the she owns. The main hurdle? She didn’t have evewe probably wouldn’t be as far along as we are details of creating and managing budgets – both ning daycare for her children. So she and Cook right now.” personal and business – and then seeking a line brainstormed about alternatives. “We talk about In the hopes of helping more women like of credit with a bank. feasibility – does it make sense for your family?” Lamar, the center is currently hiring a counselor Then there are offshoot events like Cook’s said Cook. “It’s something men don’t always have who can take over some of Cook’s responsibililittle brainchild, the “Women’s Business Walk experience with.” ties. That would free her up to figure out how the and Talk.” Rather than establishing a networking That woman-centered one-on-one counselorganization can expand its capacity if demand happy hour, where folks might be itching to get ing – about anything, including family issues continues to rise. “Funding is an issue, of course,” home to their families or stressing over the extra or personal obstacles – is one of the key said Cook. So she’s trying to establish partnercalories or cost of a glass of wine, she created a services provided by the center, and it’s free. ships with various for-profit groups – banks and monthly morning walk: entrepreneurs can get “We serve women who are socially or economiothers – so that some women can use the center’s some exercise while chatting and, conveniently, cally disadvantaged – that’s part of our mission,” services completely for free. But until then, said are invited to bring kids and pets along. said Cook. Cook, “We’re not turning anyone away.” “I thought about my own family,” said The center has other programs, too, some of The Washington, DC Women’s Business Cook, explaining where she got the concept. “If which have a nominal cost. There’s the business Center is located at 64 New York Ave. NE. For we’re stressed, my mom will say, ‘Let’s go for plan lab, a seven-week workshop pairing women more information, call 202-671-2144 or visit a walk.’ It’s someplace where we can share, not and their in-progress business plans with ◆ just network.”

44 ◆ DC midcity | July 2010

Public Programs at the Anacostia Community Museum (reservations required) July 3 Imagining a Gullah World, 11 a.m. Kelly Marie-Berry will lead families and others in creating song, dance, and story games in the Gullah tradition. July 10 Making Bling!, 10:30 a.m. Create five styles of wire rings, with semi-precious stones led by jewelry designer Kathleen Manning of Bedazzled. July 11 Gullah Stories, 1 p.m. Diane Gardner, also known as Um Attiya, will delight in sharing historical, imaginary, and family-inspired stories. July 13 Doll Making Workshop, 10:30 a.m. Join doll artist Francine Haskins in the creation of an art doll. Fee Required. July 17 The Healing Arts, 11 a.m. Join Ivy Hylton and learn how to handweave an indigo altar cloth or create a wearable healing art ritual amulet. July 18 Mixed-media Art Workshop, 1 p.m. Following artist Kamala Subranamian, participants will produce their own small mixed-media works. July 24 Create a Gullah Collage, 11 a.m. Artist Wanda Aikens will offer a collage workshop inspired by the Gullah experience. July 25 Objects of Beauty and Style, 1 p.m. Come experience a discussion and demonstration on the jewelry inspired by African history and legend and the symbolism that they still carry today. July 27 The Fight for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, 7p.m. Join Professor Howard Ernst and Chuck Fox in a lively discussion about the history and future of our Chesapeake Bay. “Separate and Unequaled: Black Baseball in the District of Columbia”

This exhibition looks at the community phenomenon of baseball as played locally and professionally by African Americans in Washington, D.C. For general info call 202.633.4820; for required reservations call 202.633.4844.

July 31 Afro-Brazilian Dance Steps, 11 a.m. Julia Jones, noted Washington, D.C., choreographer and dancer, will lead this workshop on Afro-Brazilian dance movements. Don’t forget to hop on SHUTTLE ANACOSTIA, a free shuttle offering roundtrip service from the Mall to the Anacostia Community Museum. Stops include the Ripley Center, the Air and Space Museum, the Anacostia Metro, and the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. Take advantage fast; SHUTTLE ANACOSTIA stops running on Labor Day. Get ready for our new exhibition, “Word, Shout Song: Lorenzo Dow Turner Connecting Communities through Language,” opening on August 9, 2010.

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