by October 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm 0

Mary Burgan, Borderstan Movie FanFrom Mary Burgan. Leave a comment or email her at [email protected]

Is it the lousy economy that makes us worry about how little time we have left?  Or is it the weather that never seems healthy? Or is it that the slacker generation that seemed to roll along, happily smoking pot and subsisting on marginal jobs, has suddenly turned 40?

Whatever the case, this summer has brought forth two important films that meditate on illness and death. With the recently released 50/50 , we have a film about dying to add to last month’s Contagion.

Although both films deal with disease and death, the two are radically different.  50/50 is a genuine comedy. By that I mean that the film is more than just a collection of yuks hanging on a flimsy plot. It probably fits into the category of “bromance” — the kind of movie where guys get wasted as they talk about trapping women into sex some day, despite their own lack of charm, money or good looks. (Many of the actors in these film are hairy and pudgy and proud of it).

But 50/50 has more to it than that, possibly because it is based on the experience of its writer. Several years ago Will Reiser actually got the dread news that he had the Big C: CANCER. Cancer scares everyone.

50/50 poses the question of mortality in a personal way that Contagion‘s emphasis on public health can’t quite get to. Its focuses on a single patient, Adam Schwartz, played endearingly by the fresh-faced  Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Because he is a nice young man and looks healthy, the diagnosis Adam receives is all the more devastating. He has had no warning, and neither have his friends.

These include his girlfriend, his mother, and — most importantly — his horny best friend, Kyle, played by Seth Rogan. Their reactions, and especially Kyle’s lewd commentary, provide comic relief both for the audience and for Adam. The jokes are expectably gross, but Kyle’s heart is in the right place, and as the story progresses, it becomes clear that the movie has a heart, and a mind as well.

The meditation on death at the center of this film has to be conveyed by Gordon-Levitt, and he manages it with the kind of actorly patience that builds sympathy without grabbing for it. Adam suffers the ministrations of his best friend, his mother, and his counselor without comment, but with a steady acceptance that shows his growing understanding of the plight he is in.

The consolations offered by contemporary psychology are shown as simple-minded, though the naïve psychologist-in-training who offers them is engagingly acted by Anna Kendrick. But although Adam allows himself one bout of anger, there are no extended histrionics — no storming heaven for answers.

Finally, 50/50 unveils the simple sweetness of an individual who comes to accept the death part of his life as steadily as he does his daily living. By the conclusion of this touching film, there is a sense that Adam has come through with his spirit as well as his body restored.*

Well, perhaps I got carried away. But I was relieved to find that 50/50 was a “serious” film, even though I laughed a lot in it. It is not serious the way that Contagion is, making an important survey of our world and suggesting lessons to be learned from disease. It is serious in its portrayal of a single individual who encounters a scary illness and maintains his dignity, his friendships, and his sense of humor through it all.

There are some rental movies that depict the anxiety and pain of death with an evocation of serenity like the one that ends 50/50. If you’re interested, you could start with Ingmar Bergman’s classic The Seventh Seal (1957, and try to ignore the dated sound track). And then there’s Terms of Endearment  (1983), Philadelphia (1993) and Wit (an HBO film, 2001). But don’t view these all at once. That would be far too scary.

*I wrote this before Steve Jobs’ death and the broadcast of his remarkable 2005 commencement address at Stanford: “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent.”

by October 24, 2011 at 11:30 am 1,443 0

"Borderstan" "High Heel Race" "17th Street NW"

Tuesday, October 25: Get ready for the 2011 High Heel Race on 17th Street NW. An added benefit to the festivities this year is food trucks at 17th and O Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Check out photos from 2010 festivities and High Heel Race on 17th Street.

It’s race time! The run for the roses! Each year on the Tuesday prior to Halloween is the 17th Street High Heel Race with this year being the 26th running. The blocks of 17th Street NW between P and S Streets will be closed off at 6 pm with the race starting at 9 pm sharp. Of course, the real fun is the parade of costumes leading up to the race (check out last year’s photos).

New this year at the High Heel Race: The Washington Blade Food Truck Rally with 10 food trucks at 17th and O Streets NW. And for only 20 dineros US you can buy an official High Heel Race T-shirt!

The first event in 1986 drew a respectable crowd and has grown steadily over years. Recent races and pre-race festivities have brought tens of thousands of Washingtonians to 17th Street for the High Heel Race — last year’s crowd was estimated at 60,000. The event is sponsored by the Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets (HDCMS) program and JR’s Bar and Grill. JR’s was the creator of the annual event the year it opened in 1986.

Race Details. As for those heels, they must be at least 2 inches high or you will be ineligible to win. Registration will be in front of COBALT, 1639 R Street NW, starting at 6 pm.

VIP Passes. You can purchase a $40 VIP pass for the tented area at Church Street where the race ends. Proceeds help cover the cost of the event with the remainder of the funds going to HDCMS.

by October 24, 2011 at 10:00 am 0

17th Street NW, Cobalt, Luis Gomez Photos

17th and R Streets NW: COBALT celebrated its 10-year anniversary Saturday with a plethora of entertainment and a very-big spotlight truck. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Mike Kohn. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @mike_kohn.

You Can’t Beat the Price!

In case you missed the official announcement, the Dunkin’ Donuts at 14th and U Streets NW is open! And according to DCist, they’re giving out free medium coffee to everyone who visits through October 30, so get it while you can.

Good News for Drivers!

Amidst some things that nobody likes about our local government, the District has finally moved to a system that allows you to pay for parking from your phone! Greater Greater Washington reveals that there are now apps that you can use on your smartphone to pay, using the posted sign to give you the important number that identifies your particular spot.

Good News for Immigrants!

And speaking of the government taking a stand, according to Washington City Paper, Mayor Gray signed an executive order saying that DC Police won’t share information about arrestees’ immigration status with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. WCP points out that the FBI could still forward information over, but it’s still something for immigrant rights.

by October 24, 2011 at 8:00 am 1,847 5 Comments

She probably works REALLY hard for the money. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Mike Kohn. Have some news Mike missed? Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @mike_kohn.

As an HR guy, I write a good number of job ads, so I’ve done my research to know what I want to put up for applicants and what I would probably leave it. Here’s a moderately horrifying one about opportunities in the neighborhood, courtesy of that endless source of entertainment, Craigslist. In case the link is pulled down by the time you get to this, here’s the full text:

We are a bar on U Street seeking women of color to bartend in lingerie for our weekly swingers party. You do not need to be a swinger, but must be comfortable with the lifestyle. We currently have a great staff and are looking to add a couple more. On average, our women make 5-700 per 6 hour shift. If interested, email us a face picture, a body picture (nude/lingerie preferrable), a bartending resume, and a little about you. These parties take place on Friday and Saturday nights, so must be available from 9-3. Looking to hire ASAP for this week’s party.

Yes, we realize the photo above doesn’t quite match the description, but we felt it might help start your Monday off with a smile.

And please, leave a comment and let us know if you apply. The promised nightly compensation should get some takers in today’s economy.

by October 24, 2011 at 6:00 am 1,038 0

“Phillips Collection” is by Vileinist from the Borderstan flickr pool.

Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.

Today’s photo, “Phillips Collection” was taken by Vileinist on October 15 at The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street Northwest.

If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from D.C.’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

by October 24, 2011 at 3:45 am 1,033 0

Common Good City Farm benefit, DC9, Suckers band

Support the LeDroit Park-based Common Good City Farm at the October 27 benefit concert at DC9. (Image courtesy 

Who: New York bands Suckers and Rewards. Tickets are $15.

What: Benefit concert for Common Good City FarmCommon Good City Farm is an urban farm and education center, located in LeDroit park, growing food for low-income residents in DC and providing educational opportunities for all people that help increase food security, improve health, and contribute to environmental sustainability.

When: Thursday, October 27. Doors open at 8:30 pm.

Where: DC9, 1940 9th Street NW.

More info and tickets: Here is more information and a linkfor purchasing tickets.

More Info on Common Good City Farm

Common Good City Farm has a simple but powerful mission: grow food, educate, and help low-income DC community members meet their food needs. It effectuates this mission by providing hands-on training in food production, healthy eating, and environmental sustainability. The Farm — located in the heart of the LeDroit Park community — provides a safe outdoor setting to learn, grow, and nourish.

Through on-site demonstrations and outreach, Common Good City Farm integrates people of all ages, classes, and races to create vibrant and safe communities. Since 2007, the non-profit has taught over 1000 DC residents in workshops, engaged over 1500 DC school children, and hosted over 2000 volunteers. One volunteer came all the way from England: just this summer, Prince Charles got his hands dirty at the Farm. For press inquiries: [email protected]

by October 23, 2011 at 11:34 pm 0 thanks last weeks advertisers for their support.

The DC Jewish Community Center. Please look for their ad in the landing page banner space for the Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival. It opened October 23 and runs through Wednesday November 2 at the DCJCC, 16th and Q Streets NW.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe. Please look for their ad in the right nav bar. Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe is DC’s only full-service restaurant and complete bar combined with an independent bookstore. They are located just north of Dupont Circle at 1517 Connecticut Avenue NW.

If you are interested in advertising on, click here.

by October 22, 2011 at 1:36 pm 1,788 0

Occupy DC, Logan Circle, Wells Fargo Bank, P Street NW

Members of Occupy DC demonstrated Saturday morning in front of the Wells Fargo Bank branch at 1447 P Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

More photos from today’s demonstration are on Borderstan’s Facebook Page.

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos on Picplz and at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

On Saturday morning a group of some 50 people from Occupy DC demonstrated in front of the Wells Fargo Bank branch at 1447 P Street NW. The group chanting and invited passersby to be a part of the movement. One person from the Occupy DC group went inside the Wells Fargo office on 1447 P Street NW and spoke to the manager in charge. DC Police were guarding the bank while the group was outside. The demonstration lasted some 45 minutes.

Borderstan has a reader poll asking, “Will You Join the Occupy DC Protests?” The poll is still open–be sure to vote. At this point, the results show about an even split among readers.

“Occupy DC” is a local version of the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York. DC protesters have been in two places — McPherson Square (just south of our neighborhood) and Freedom Plaza. The general goals of the rolling protests are changes to the U.S. financial and economic system.

by October 21, 2011 at 9:50 pm 0

Robert Cole

The Robert T. Cole and Susan Cole Sculpture Studio is on this weekend’s Fall Open Studio tour of Mid City Artists. A number of Robert Cole’s sculptures can be found throughout the Dupont-Logan-U Street area. Check out Cecile Oreste’s profile of Cole along with 13 other Mid City artists. (Luis Gomez Photos)

This weekend is the Fall Mid City Artists Fall Open Studios, which runs from 12 to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday, October 22-23. There are a total of 21 artists at 15 locations. The Mid City Artists area encompasses several neighborhoods, including Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and U Street.

Go to the Mid City Artists website for a complete list of artists participating in this weekend’s event — and download their great map that shows the studio locations.  Over the past two years Borderstan arts writer Cecile Oreste, along with Luis Gomez as photographer, profiled a total of 14 Mid City artists.

Mid City Artists Profiled on Borderstan

by October 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm 1,341 0

gallery plan b, Kermit Berg, Logan Circle art galleries

“Tokyo Night Office Lemon Tea” by Kermit Berg at gallery plan b, 1530 14th Street NW. (Image courtesy gallery plan b)

There are two exhibitions opening this weekend while three are closing. Along with Mid City Artists Fall Open Studios, it’s a great weekend for art in the Borderstan area.

There are openings this weekend at gallery plan b and Project 4 Gallery:

  • Saturday opening reception 6 to 8 pm for Kermit Berg and Delna Dastur at gallery plan b 1530 14th Street NW.
  • Saturday the work of artist Agnes Bolt goes on exhibit at Project 4 Gallery, 1353 U Street NW. Opening reception 6 to 8:30 pm.

Closing this weekend are three exhibitions…

Get more details below on the 11 galleries in the Logan-Shaw-U Street area.

Adamson Gallery at 1515 14th Street NW

  • “To the Ends of the Earth” runs to October 29.
  • Overview: “Adamson Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of its Fall 2011 program with a group exhibition entitled “To the Ends of the Earth,” which explores the relationship between humans and the natural environment. The exhibition takes its title from the enormous lengths that photographers Camille Seaman, Robert Polidori, Edward Burtynsky, and Alfredo De Stéfano have gone to record the changing natural environment.” (Adamson Gallery)
  • Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 am to 5 pm; Saturday, noon to 5 pm.

Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery, DC Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th Street NW

  • “One Foot In America: The Artwork of Eugeen Van Mieghem” runs to December 30.
  • Overview: “Belgian artist, Eugeen Van Mieghem (1875-1930) found inspiration in the men and women, many of them Jews, waiting at the Antwerp docks to board ships to take them to America. One Foot in America, opening September 22, features his works and creates a stunning visual record of those leaving behind one life as they search for a better life in a far away, unknown place.” (Bronfman Gallery)
  • Gallery Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10 am to 10 pm; and Friday, 10 am to 4 p.m.

Curator’s Office at 1515 14th Street NW

  • “elsewhere” closes October 22.
  • Overview: “Curator’s Office announces the opening of its fall season with an exhibition of sculpture and new works on paper by New York, Los Angeles, and DC-based artists Joseph Dumbacher and John Dumbacher. The Dumbachers will also be debuting a public sculpture at their DC studio’s terrace one block from the gallery.” (Curator’s Office)
  • Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 6 pm.

gallery plan b at 1530 14th Street NW

  • Opening Reception: An opening reception Saturday, October 22, from 6 to 8 pm with works by Kermit Berg and Delna Dastur.
  • Overview: “Berg will be presenting his portafolio of images enttled “Tokyo Night Office” (shot before the recent, devastating earthquakes). Dastur paintings show the influence of the brilliant colors of her childhood in India ” (gallery plan b)
  • Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 7 pm; Sunday, 1 to 5 pm

Hamiltonian Gallery at 1353 U Street NW

  • “New Works by Nora Howell and David Page” runs to October 29.
  • Overview: “Through sculptural installation, video and photography Howell and Page have created new work driven by both their observations of society and their own personal histories concerning issues of identity, power systems, fear and safety. Differing in artistic tone and subject both artists delve into and explore the semiotics of identity infused in everyday exchanges.” (Hamiltonian Gallery)
  • Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6 pm.

harmon art lab, 1716 14th Street NW, 2nd Floor

  • An exhibition of work by artists Michel Modell and Mariah Anne Johnson runs through November 4.
  • Overview: “Michel’s paintings investigate how humor facilitates the exposure of anomies; social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values within a community. Humor is not the end, but a means to afford access to topical issues and provides a fulcrum point between two simultaneous but oppositional viewpoints… Since Mariah Anne began working as an artist, she has been interested in narrative, memory, domestic life, and the effect of place on our perception of these topics. She explores these ideas in a variety of media, from painting and drawing to installations made from bed sheets.” (harmon art lab)
  • Gallery Hours: Call for an appointment; gallery staff is in the building Monday-Friday during business hours.

Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, 1632 U Street NW

  • “VESSEL” is part of The 9/11 Arts Project and runs through October 22.
  • Overview: “The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery will bring together local artists to create a place of ‘holding.’ By combining abstract works to evoke a sacred space or vessel the gallery will serve as a safe space where open dialogue around the trauma of 9/11 and personal traumas may be addressed. Hence selected works will not be a re-telling of 9/11, but rather express an effort to move beyond and communicate that ‘healing is possible’ for everyone and that the arts are a powerful tool in that journey.” (Joan Hisaoka Gallery)
  • Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Friday 11 am to 5 pm; Saturday, 11 am to 3 pm; and by appointment.

Lamont Bishop Gallery at 1314 9th Street NW

  • Check back for upcoming exhibitions.
  • Gallery Hours: Thursday through Saturday, 1 to 7 pm. Sundays by appointment only.

Long View Gallery at 1234 9th Street NW

  • Paintings by Clyde Fowler runs through November 6.
  • Opening Reception: Thursday, October 6 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
  • Overview: Clyde Fowler describes his paintings as ‘pictorial choreography’. He approaches his work in a manner similar to that of a choreographer, filling them with orchestrated sensations and intuitive notations while giving consideration to movement, rhythm, space and form. His art explores the associative nature of visual relationships and the dynamic potential of juxtaposition involving a language that is purely abstract.” (Long View)
  • Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm; Sunday, noon to 5 pm.

Project 4 Gallery at 1353 U Street NW

  • “Agnes Bolt “Dealing” opens October 22 and runs to November 26.
  • Opening Reception: Saturday, October 22, 6 to 8:30 pm.
  • Overview: “Project 4 is proud to present “Dealing,” a solo exhibition featuring new work by Agnes Bolt. Bolt is an interdisciplinary artist who uses photography, video, installation, and intervention in her art practice. .” (Project 4)
  • Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 6 pm.

Transformer Gallery at 1404 P Street NW

  • transformers: the next generation closes Saturday, October 22.
  • Overview: transformers: the next generation “features new works by five recent graduates of the Corcoran College of Art + Design’s class of 2011: Forest Allread, Pavlos Karalis, Sarah Robbins, Aris Slater, and Victoria Shaheen.” (transformer)
  • Gallery Hours: Check website.

by October 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm 1,274 0

"Waiting for 'Superman' ", Shaw Middle School, U Street Neighborhood Association

A screening of Waiting for “Superman” followed by a panel discussion on education policy. (Image courtesy of U Street Neighborhood Association)

Concluding the second season of the U Street Movie Series, the U Street Neighborhood Association‘s Education Committee is hosting a free screening of Waiting for “Superman” followed by a panel discussion on education policy. The event is Saturday, October 22 from noon to 3 pm at Shaw at Garnet-Patterson Jr. High School at 2001 10th Street NW.

Waiting for “Superman” is a 2010 documentary film by director Davis Guggenheim and producer Lesley Chilcott, which analyzes the failures of American public education by following several students though the educational system, hoping to be selected in a lottery for acceptance in charter schools.

Admission is free and open to the public. However, advanced registration is required to attend, as seating is limited. Please register at Eventbrite.

The panel following the movie consists of a variety of local education leaders, including:

  • Jackie Gran (Moderator) – Chief Policy & Partnerships Officer at New Leaders for New Schools
  • Kelly Young – DCPS Interim Chief, Office of Family and Public Engagement
  • Evelyn Boyd Simmons – ANC 2F Education Committee Chair, parent of Garrison Elem. students
  • Reuben Jacobson – Senior Associate for Research/Strategy for Coalition for Community Schools
  • Patrick Mara – Ward 1 DC State Board of Education Representative
  • Robinette Breedlove: Principal, Meridian Public Charter School
  • Kerry Sylvia: Teacher, Cardozo High School
  • Ann McLeod: Garrison Elementary PTA President, and parent

Donation proceeds from this screening of Waiting for Superman and panel discussion will support the HandsOn Greater DC Cares 2012 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in January 2012, and will directly benefit our neighborhood schools. For over six years, HandsOn Greater DC Cares has used this day as a vehicle to recognize Dr. King’s leadership, legacy, and life through acts of service focusing on school and education based non-profit organizations and engaging youth in service.

by October 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm 1,223 0

"Borderstan""14th and U Streets Market" , Dupont Farmer's Market

Squash your weekend at the 14th and U Street and Dupont Farmers’ Markets. (Alejandra Owens).

Saturdays: 14 and U Farmers’ Market 9 am to 1 pm. Sundays: Dupont Farmers’s Market 8:30 am to 1 pm.

From Ashley Lusk. Check out Ashley’s blog Metropoetrylis and find her on Twitter at @arlusk. You can email her at [email protected]

You think you’re not a fan of squash, that’s just because you haven’t cooked it the right way yet. If you were at last week’s Dupont Farmer’s Market, the Zaytinya Chefs certainly changed your mind with their smooth and savory butternut squash hummus. And that’s a good thing since the farmer’s markets will be full of opportunity for you to test a new squash recipe or two this week.

At the 14th and U Street Market, Kuhn will have a variety of European, American and Asian squash, and during the last half hour of the market they’ll offer all pumpkins and winter squash for half off.

If you’re in a rush, stop by Copper Pot for their pumpkin ravioli, or grab a savory Roasted Butternut Squash with Caramelized Onion, Thyme and Blue Cheese tart from Whisked — dinner will be a breeze.

Finally, Justin Bitner from Bar Pilar will show a demonstration from 11 am to noon the Dupont Farmer’s Market — if you’re lucky he’s showing off squash, too.

Our Borderstan friends over at the Bitten Word have prepared this autumnal squash dish and they give it a solid thumbs up — just one more reason to give squash a second chance.

Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage
Bon Appétit (October 2008)
6 Servings

Squash Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes peeled and seeded butternut squash (from 2 lb squash)
  • 1.5 teaspoon golden brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Risotto Ingredients

  • 3 cups low-salt chicken broth   [you’ll probably need more of these broths]
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots (about 5 large)
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup dry Riesling  [just use whatever white you’ve got on hand and be done with it, probably double this, too]
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Squash Preparation

Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash. Sprinkle with sugar, then salt and pepper. Sauté 6 minutes. Cover; cook until almost tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Uncover; sauté until browned but still holding shape, about 8 minutes. DO AHEAD:  Can be made 1 day ahead.  Cover; chill.  Bring to room temperature before using.

Risotto Preparation

Combine chicken broth and beef broth in large saucepan an bring to simmer; cover and set aside to keep warm. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add bacon; sauté until beginning to brown. Add shallots. Sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Mix in sage and thyme; stir 1 minute. Add rice; sauté until kernels are white with translucent edges, about 4 minutes.

Add wine; stir until wine evaporates, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup warm broth; simmer until broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup broth; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time and cooking until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix in parsley and squash. Cook until squash is heated, about 1 minute. Transfer risotto to large shallow bowl. Serve, passing cheese separately.

by October 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm 1,613 0

"Borderstan""harmon art lab" "14th Street NW"

Peter Harper and Thomas Drymon at harmon art lab, 1716 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Kate Hays

The art world can be an intimidating place: the lingo, the crowd, the opinions.

Intimidation is exactly what Harmon Art Lab (or HAL) doesn’t want you to experience at their 14th Street NW digs. Founders Peter Harper and Thomas Drymon met at an art opening a few years ago, and started chatting about the art scene. They saw a void. Where could an artist display work in the hopes that real people (not just collectors or critics) would look, interpret and enjoy new art? Where could these real people go and feel welcome to their own perspectives and opinions about art?

Several years later, they finally have realized that dream in HAL. In the midst of their second show, they hope to be a drop-in spot for neighborhood residents and visitors.

Their current show features paintings by Michel Modell and an installation by Mariah Anne Johnson.

There’s something transparent about Modell’s paintings. They range from those that made me giggle at their humor (check out “Kin But Not Kind”), to those that provoked me to deeper contemplation of our world (like “War Cry” or “Empress Who”). All her paintings have an inviting quality of something the viewer could try on, perhaps because of the humor Modell infuses into her treatment of more intense topics, or perhaps even because of the way she uses her paint, in washes.

Johnson’s installation of sheets is a mix of whimsy and peacefulness. As someone who grew up around paint chips and palates, there’s always something very soothing to me about a color spectrum. Take that spectrum and make it 3-D, and popping out of floors or tucked behind a radiator, and out of sleeping materials to boot? I wasn’t sure if I wanted a chair to look at it for an hour, a la a Rothko painting, or a cot to cozy in for a nap. But I liked being in that room.

Don’t take my word for it — that’s not what HAL would want, anyway. See for yourself: HAL will be open this weekend during the Mid City Artists Open Studios. And check out their schedule of openings; each one comes with an artist Q&A where artists talk about their work and field questions. Drop in and register your own opinions; they’re welcome. They are located upstairs at 1716 14th Street NW.

by October 21, 2011 at 11:00 am 1,455 0


There will be a pop-up Food Truck Festival at Franklin Square on Monday, October 24. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Ashley Lusk. Check out Ashley’s blog Metropoetrylis and find her on Twitter at @arlusk. You can email her at [email protected].

Whatever your politics, I think most people would agree that our food tastes better when you know it was grown and harvested in a sustainable and healthy manner. World Food Day, on Monday, October 24, celebrates just that, with events throughout the Borderstan neighborhood and around DC.

The Food Day movement strives to bring together all eaters — kids, schools, parents and work day professionals — to promote humane, affordable food choices. Food Day has an impressive list of advocates on their advisory board. They include Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, author Michael Pollan, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, and Nora Pouillon, chef and owner of Restaurant Nora, in addition to a host of members of Congress (including the two co-chairs).

The day is sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (with a large number of partner organizations) and the movement has six principles, which are listed on their website.

So what’s happening with World Food Day here in DC and in the neighborhood? Some specials and events kick off this weekend.

This Weekend: October 22-23

  • Seasonal Pantry Celebrates Farm Fresh Eggs. Seasonal Pantry on 9th Street NW will have farm fresh eggs at a discount on Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23 from noon to 7 pm.
  • Ideal Food and Farming. On Sunday, October 23, Ideal Food and Farming is a public, outdoor educational event that will include speakers, large displays, videos, exhibitors, and food. The benefits of animal-free food and farming will be highlighted. The event is at at 1525 20th Street NW (Dupont Cirlce) and begins at 3 pm.
  • Double Matching Dollars at Dupont Farmers Market. For the week of October 24-30, FRESHFARM Markets, including the Dupont location, is increasing the amount of free Matching Dollars from a maximum of $10 to $20 for shoppers using SNAP (Food Stamps/EBT) or WIC/Senior FMNP coupons. The Dupont Farmers Market is open only on Sunday mornings.

World Food Day: Monday, October 24

  • Teaism in Dupont Circle. The R Street NW Teaism location will be offering a special food day dish starting at 11:30 am.
  • Pop-up Food Truck Festival in Franklin Square. Chef-inspired food trucks will surround Franklin Square to serve well-sourced, sustainable, delicious food for lunch, beginning at 11 am.
  • Sweetgreen stores in Logan Circle and Dupont Circle. These Sweetgreen locations will offer a Food Day menu item starting at 11:30 am.
  • Food Day Veggie Food Giveaway. Find some delicious meat-free samples at Dupont Circle’s south Metro exit, beginning at 11 am.
  • Benefit Concert in Honor of Food Day. Monument Productions presents Suckers, a Brooklyn-based band, at DC9 Nightclub. Proceeds benefit Common Good City Farm, music starts at 8:30 pm.

Six Principles of World Food Day

  1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
  2. Support sustainable farms & limit subsidies to big agribusiness
  3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
  4. Protect the environment & animals by reforming factory farms
  5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
  6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers

by October 21, 2011 at 8:00 am 1,410 0

Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, U Street NW, Borderstan

News from Dupont-Logan-U Street.

From Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster or email her at [email protected].

Kwame Brown Gets Fully Blasted

Chuck Thies minces no words when it comes to his feelings regarding the work performance of DC Council Chair Kwame Brown in this article, found in Georgetown Dish. The short story is this: Brown tweeted a picture about real change occurring when politicians were making minimum wage; Thies takes issue with this tweet and Brown’s $190,000 a year salary. But the short story barely covers the list Thies assembled of items that have yet to be answered or delivered by Brown on his more-than-minimum-wage salary.

Riding and Running

As someone who was once a college student, I’m familiar with the ‘dine and dash.’ As someone who worked tables while in college, I curse this ‘prank.’ Turns out I’m not the only one — taxi drivers lambasted the number of passengers that get a ride, then ditch the fare. In DCist’s coverage of the hearing at the DC Taxicab Commission, a number of drivers said the problem was widespread and had gotten worse since meters were installed. We all know that the zone system allowed some abuses in the amount charged, but if this is widespread, then yes, the city should be acting. That’s apparently the plan, as the Commissioner has asked for cabbies to submit testimony documenting the occasions.

Contemporary Wing Announces 14th Street Addy

The gallery Contemporary Wing has secured a sought-after 14th Street NW location, at 1412 14th Street. The location was announced ahead of the planned November 1 announcement on their website (we got an email note). The space is leased from Lori Graham Design and Contemporary Wing will have the front exhibition area. They plan to open in mid-November and we’ll let you know when you can go check it out.

Reeves Center: Unfitting Memorial to Civil Rights Great?

It is hard to imagine that a man who fought for school desegregation, worked with JFK on minority affairs and broke color barriers in DC politics would be pleased with his namesake building, the Frank D. Reeves Center on U Street NW. While it’s a fine building from an aesthetic perspective, the pictures say a million words in this Washington City Paper exploration of the building. The accompanying text is plenty powerful, though, and documents a building that is in need of repair and some oversight. Councilman Jim Graham can’t be pleased at the investigation Loose Lips took into an area called his constituent service area, which is being used by the All Faith Consortium instead of Graham.

Lincoln Theatre Counterpoint

Eli Lehrer has graced this page before due to his Huffington Post blog on why DC isn’t a great food city (and several readers agreed). Now he’s back, to take on an equally contentious topic involving whether the city should let the Lincoln Theatre wither. His take? The Lincoln is a “white elephant” that may “hurt the ability of the area to emerge as a stronger arts destination.” The stance may be unpopular, but it is guided by a sentiment shared by many owners and patrons of the arts. Government restrictions on noise combined with rent make U Street a tough place to preserve and grow a robust jazz scene. I still am not sure I agree with the idea that Crystal City has more jazz on Saturday than U Street, though. Someone, do the math!

Puppy Halloween Pictures

Sorry for a bummer of a Stuff for the second Friday in a row. After you’ve read Laura’s column and decided where to get real boozy with it this weekend, shake off that Friday malaise/hangover with some really cute dogs in some cute and some questionable Halloween costumes from the Washingtonian. If you can do better, send me your pics and we’ll figure out some puppy power prizes.


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