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First Person Singular Interview by amanda long

The rough rider name Meagan

Henry (a.k.a. Ovary Action)

avocation League president of DC Rollergirls

and a member of DC DemonCats


The first day I skated was in the parking lot of the Anacostia skate pavilion. It was cold and windy, and I was terrible. I couldn’t even go around a corner. I hadn’t skated since I was a kid. That Christmas, I had received two very interesting things: a pair of used roller skates and a dulcimer. The dulcimer has been out of its little case about three times since then. I’d heard about roller derby making a comeback when we were living in Knoxville, but I’d already taken a job here — as director of religious education at a Unitarian Universalist church. When we moved here, my husband ran into an old friend from Knoxville (Continued on Page 6)


Name this local landmark: Cornerstone was laid July 4, 1848 + Among the largest masonry structures in the world +

550 feet tall + Construction was completed 30 years after the death of its architect, Robert Mills = (Answer: See next page)

home Alexandria AGE 38

F E B Rua r y 7, 2 01 0 | T h e Wa s h i n g t o n P o s t M a g a z i n e

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Whatever Happened To by PhuoNg ly

Songs that span the ocean

Deborah Moreira, left, and Mary Ruth Mcginn worked together on an opera when Deborah was in second grade. pOpULAR pUCCINI


Number of U.S. productions of Puccini’s “La Bohème” between the 1996-1997 and 20052006 seasons, making it the country’s most frequently performed opera

ANSWER The Washington Monument 6

The lessons learned in a Silver Spring second-grade classroom have traveled to Spain. Five years ago, The Washington Post Magazine followed New Hampshire Estates Elementary students, most of them children of immigrants, as they wrote and staged an opera about orphan eaglets who lived at the National Zoo. Through the music and drama, they learned reading, writing and responsibility. A year after the story appeared, teacher Mary Ruth McGinn won a Fulbright fellowship to Madrid to train educators to integrate opera into their lesson plans. At first, McGinn says, she struggled there. She didn’t speak the language, and she wasn’t used to teaching adults. Many of the Spanish teachers openly doubted the project: How could young children appreciate opera?

Wouldn’t this take time away from test prep? But at the end of McGinn’s two-year stay, three classes performed their operas. One antisocial fifth-grader was so moved by the studentwritten songs about empathy that he put his arm around a classmate. “It was such a powerful experience for all of us,” says McGinn, 45. Now 13 schools in Spain are doing opera. McGinn is back in Silver Spring, helping another secondgrade class create an opera, this time at Jackson Road Elementary. She keeps in touch with the teachers in Spain and continues to develop training materials for schools there. This past summer, Deborah Moreira, a former student who had been the notebook-toting production manager for the eaglet opera, helped out by reading Spanish translations of children’s writing for a training tape. Deborah, now 12, has shed the ponytails she wore in second grade. The experience of the class, though, has stayed with her. “Before I went to that class, I wasn’t as talkative; I was kind of in my own little space,” says the Eastern Middle School seventhgrader. “I learned how to speak up.” Some of the students from that class have moved away. Others are with Deborah at Eastern, and they sometimes reminisce about their opera class. “We say, ‘Wasn’t it so fun in second grade when we had to go onstage,’ ” Deborah says. “Showing yourself onstage, it makes you feel so important.”

For the original story, go to


(Continued from Page 5) who was into roller derby, so it just kind of showed back up in my life when I needed it. All I had here was my job. I didn’t know anyone, my daughter was going off to college, and I was completely sedentary. I was scared as anything to go to that first league practice. I received some pretty big blocks; I was knocked down several times. It’s part of the learning process. I’m not naturally a very aggressive person at all. Like most girls my age, I wasn’t really brought up to be. And now I am much more self-assertive, and it’s not just because of just playing the sport; it’s all because I’m around all these strong women who are self-controlled and strong in a positive way. At first I thought, I’m never going to be good enough. Sometimes you just need to try something that seems like it’s just out of reach to realize that we can do those things. When people in the roller derby world are surprised about where I work, it’s because they think it’s conservative. It’s just like people have a preconceived notion of roller derby; people on the other side have a preconceived idea of what a church is. They were definitely surprised at work. But the church is a community, and because they know me, they’ve come to know what I do. They’ve completely embraced roller derby. Members will come to bouts on Saturday and come up to me the next day at church and ask me about strategy and give me tips about the nuances of what they saw. In my 20s, when everyone was going out and having fun, I was raising my daughter on my own and working full time. Roller derby is definitely making up for time I lost — to just play.

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DoubleX Join the conversation at 2010 ESTIMATES

2.16 million to 2.18 million number of weddings

$20,000 to $22,000


spending per typical wedding

135 to 145

number of guests per typical wedding

Saying ‘I don’t’ to tradition Which wedding tradition do you wish would be abolished? Contributors to DoubleX, a Web site that focuses on women’s issues, weigh in. Hanna Rosin: The throwing of the bouquet. The ladies gather shame-faced in the corner and the bride gives a limp, embarrassed toss; the flowers land on the floor, as the women are too embarrassed to catch them. The age when women want to get married is not over. But the age when women proudly display a grasping eagerness to do so is long past.

June Thomas: The disposable cameras scattered around for spontaneous art shots. True, this is the least offensive and potentially most creative of the wedding “bits,� but are the resulting photos ever more than drunken shots of guests’ junk? Nina Rastogi: Extensive hors d’oeuvre spreads followed by massive, plated meals. Your guests just feel guilty about the wasted food, and then they’re too bloated to dance. Jenny Rogers: I’d abolish wedding favors. Pointless and expensive. No one needs a little box of chocolates with the couple’s name on it. KJ Dell’Antonia: I would be happy to never again watch a panicked couple be hoisted aloft on wobbly chairs and

danced around while everyone beneath them pretends not to be secretly waiting for disaster. Dana Stevens: If I had to abolish one tradition, it would probably be the cutesy vows that couples write themselves and mumble inaudibly. One tradition I love: rehearsaldinner toasts, especially when they get kind of roast-y. Rachael Larimore: The traditions are what you make of them. Instead of having my father “give me away,� I had both my parents walk down the aisle with me. It wasn’t a “passing off,� but symbolized, at least to us, the journey they had guided me on from my birth up to that point, and how they were there for me at the biggest moment of my life and always would be.

Retirement living alongside Rock Creek Park We’ve been a retirement living tradition since 1906. Nestled peacefully alongside the District’s historic Rock Creek Park, Ingleside at Rock Creek is only minutes from the cultural riches of the nation’s capital. Ingleside offers quality amenities and exceptional services—gracious apartment living with the peace of mind that comes with full continuing care. Announcing construction of 15 handsomely crafted apartments. For information and a confidential appointment, contact us at: Iď?Žď?§ď?Źď?Ľď?łď?Šď?¤ď?Ľ ď?Ąď?´ Rď?Żď?Łď?Ť Cď?˛ď?Ľď?Ľď?Ť .JMJUBSZ3PBE /8t8BTIJOHUPO %$20015

ADWPSM 2010.1

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INtervIews by stePheN lowmaN

He’s so hot, she just might spill her drink


Ellen: girl who has read too many trashy novels has several passionate and dysfunctional relationships in search of fireworks, then retires from the dating scene to play good female friend and matchmaker with much better success. Nick: a dark comedy about a guy who gets women too good for him but sadly realizes that what he had was what he was looking for. there’s lots of physical humor, sexually explicit scenes and memorable one-liners.


Ellen: a delicious dinner of aphrodisiac oysters followed by drunken Jenga at the rock and roll hotel on h street Ne. Nick: a two-beer meet-and-greet that turned into a nine-hour, full-on exploration of each other’s psyches.

Nick cohen, 28, project manager in pharmaceutical industry ellen campbell, 24, economist in energy sector 7:30 p.M., MARRAKESH pALACE, dUpONT CIRCLE nick: I wasn’t nervous or scared

before the date — probably more curious than anything. I arrived about five minutes before she did. The place was mostly empty, so it had a very intimate feel to it. I was seated facing the wall, and I didn’t really notice her until she was right there on top of me. ellen: I had been working out of Philadelphia. I woke up, had to check out of my hotel, run to work, run to the train, run to my house, change clothes and then get a cab to the restaurant. He beat me to it, of course, since I am never early for anything, ever. I saw Nick, and I was, like, Hello, handsome! If I saw him in the bar, I would probably trip and spill my drink. He clearly makes use of his gym Girl-next-door seeks lumberjack type to watch football with her. Is that you? Apply now at Want to know whom else we’re looking for? Fan us at


membership. Admittedly, he is almost so fabulous you start to worry whether he is going to like me or the male waiter. nick: Physically, she was very attractive. She was above average height, which is great. I really don’t like short people. She was wearing a dress, a coat and tights. She was very good at showing off her physical attributes without drawing attention to them. It was all fitted well, but it wasn’t like, I’m a girl with tight clothes. Get excited. ellen: We ran through the basic spiel of questions: “How did you get suckered into this? Where are you from? What do you do? What do you do for fun?” We were both a bit nervous and holding back. I mean, you don’t want to tell an off-color joke that might get [printed in] The Washington Post. We were very much on best behavior. The best remedy for good behavior is to order a couple glasses of wine. nick: [The restaurant] had a meal


Ellen: I like my men to be a bit cocky, play a little hard to get and have a certain well-earned arrogance. I like them smart, but a sense of humor and a backbone are key. Nick: the attractive, intelligent, tall overachiever who is surprisingly downto-earth.

dREAM dATE ...

Ellen: Peter Parker. he’s got the nerd cred plus the superpower muscles, and if you ever get bored he can take you swinging through the skyscrapers. Nick: a globe-trotting expert in an interesting field. someone who absorbs the cultures of the places they go and will integrate it into their daily life. Physically, she looks like scarlett Johansson.


Ellen: I do a mean rendition of “under the scotsman’s Kilt.” Plus, I’m smart, loyal, quirky, energetic and rarely boring. Nick: I’m a reasonably attractive guy with a great sense of humor who can think on his feet.

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special, so we really didn’t have any choice as regards to the food. I’d say within five minutes, we had appetizers and had ordered drinks. We were talking about how awkward this whole situation was. Given that kind of entry, we kind of segued into interesting dating stories we’ve had in D.C. Dating in D.C. is a very strange affair. We’ve both had experiences that are like: “Look at me! I’m a lobbyist, and I’m really special. You should be happy you are on a date with me.” Ellen was just very non-presumptuous. She was very down-to-earth. Ellen: A turning point in the conversation came when he made a sarcastic, perhaps politically incorrect comment. I think we were discussing politics, and he said something that was not complimentary about the right wing. He also spent a fair amount time living down South, and

he said something like, “I’m tired of the racial slurs in the South. I am glad to be up North.” He also said he liked not having to deal with the whole Southern belle thing anymore. Nick: It’s sort of irritating when you go out with somebody, and they are all into the traditional male/female roles. Ellen has opinions on things, and she is not afraid to talk about them. And that is great. We had a few racy jokes. She didn’t shy away from them; she jumped into it. Ellen: I told him I went to a Southern finishing school when I was 12. I

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won an award for posture, I’ll let you know. I think it’s fair to say there was chemistry with Nick. There was a lot of flirting — double-entendres, eye contact, things like that. One of the major attracting factors was that he was pretty good at the sparring: I would say something, and he would expand on it. Nick: We had champagne for dessert. We were at the restaurant maybe three hours. When you’re talking with somebody and it’s a very easy conversation, it’s a much higher form of flirting than telling somebody they’re cute. We didn’t stare at each other and say, “I like your eyes” or any of that crap. It was kind of an airy, aimless conversation. I mean that in a good way. It was kind of like watching an episode of “Curb [Your Enthusiasm]” or “Seinfeld.” If you had to tell what the episode was about, you’d probably have a hard time. Ellen: We left the restaurant, and I walked him to the Metro. He got my number, and we had a classic goodnight kiss on the lips. In the terms of a first date, I’d definitely give this a 5 out of 5. I wouldn’t mind seeing him again at all. Nick: I give the date a 4.2. I don’t believe in perfection. It was a great experience: good chemistry, great food, an intimate environment. [And] I liked her attitude, which was basically, “If you like me, cool. If not, I got a free meal.” I am definitely interested in seeing her again. I’ll give her a call.

Update: Nick and Ellen got together once for Afghan food and again for a poker night with her friends. They’ve also been texting, Facebooking and chatting on Gmail. “Welcome to the modern age of dating,” Ellen says.

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Our town




Know of a local spot we should check out? E-mail us at T h e Wa s h i n g t o n P o s t M a g a z i n e | F E B Rua ry 7, 2 01 0

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TREND REPORT By Holly E. Thomas

Turning a trendy page It seems creative types are feeling a bit bookish these days. Chalk it up to the big-screen adaptations of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” and Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” mingled with the buzz around the Tim Burton-helmed “Alice in Wonderland.” Or maybe the geek-chic fashion movement — that of the faux hornrimmed glasses and Mr. Rogers-esque cardigans — has progressed to the worlds of publishing and perfume. Whatever the motivation, this sampling of new products takes Lit 101 to the next level.


To celebrate the 15th anniversary of his company, makeup guru François Nars photographed 15 celebrities in looks he created, each inspired by a NARS product. The result? “15 x 15,” a coffee table book in which supermodel Amber Valleta channels Catherine Deneuve, while actress Jennifer Jason Leigh embraces her inner Charlie Chaplin. Profits from the book are distributed among 15 charities chosen by the celebrities. $90 at


Encased in book-like packaging, the six fragrances in Anthropologie’s A Rather Novel Collection are inspired by teas from around the globe. Perfumers from the fragrance house Givaudan blended notes of exotic teas with cardamom, bergamot and amber, creating a range of fresh, floral and spicy eaux de parfum with titles based on each tea’s place of origin. $48 each at Anthropologie stores and www.anthropologie. com.


Fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo employed watercolor, pencil and ink to create stunning covers for Penguin Classics’ deluxe editions of “Wuthering Heights,” “The Scarlet Letter” and “Pride and Prejudice.” Toledo, whose wife, Isabel, designed Michelle Obama’s Inauguration Day ensemble, puts a couture-inspired spin on the likes of Hester Prynne and Elizabeth Bennet. $16 at bookstores and online retailers.



Roost’s carved wood Minerva bookends add scholarly quirk to a home library. Handcrafted from shesham wood, these sturdy accessories have enough heft to keep even your most cumbersome texts in check. $170 for set of two at www.; $235 at And Beige (1781 Florida Ave. NW, 202-2341557). Chat with The Post’s fashion team Tuesdays at noon at and follow us on Twitter: @WashPostFashion. F E B Rua r y 7, 2 01 0 | T h e Wa s h i n g t o n P o s t M a g a z i n e

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Sunday Mag Test  

2/7/09 test from Sunday mag.

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