A member of Dupont Circle’s advisory neighborhood commission and an advocate of free local events passed away yesterday.
Mike Feldstein, commissioner with Dupont’s ANC 2B, passed away Wednesday, according to several of his fellow commissioners. Feldstein died in his home after suffering from health problems for several months, those close to him said.
Warm weather — and more political gridlock — is on the way.
That’s the prediction Dupont Circle’s own Groundhog Day groundhog, Potomac Phil, made earlier this morning.
(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) Dupont Circle’s very own marmot mascot, Potomac Phil, will return for another year of predicting the weather and the year’s upcoming political climate.
The stuffed rodent will make his fifth annual appearance at this year’s Groundhog Day celebration in Dupont Circle park on Feb. 2, said Phil’s close friend and Dupont Festival‘s principal organizer, Aaron DeNu.
More than 100 people gathered in Dupont Circle park to watch Pope Francis address Congress this morning.
Dupont Festival teamed up with NBC Washington to livestream the speech on a jumbo-sized screen in the park.
“When NBC approached us, I wasn’t sure if we could turn it around quickly enough, but we did and people seem to be very glad for that,” said Aaron DeNu, Dupont Festival’s principal organizer. “It’s a beautiful day and people are taking time out of their work day to come down to the park and see this.”
Crowds waited excitedly in front of the screen and then clapped as the pope entered the chambers.
Some attendees brought along their morning coffee and breakfasts, while other passers-by stopped briefly to hear snippets of the pope’s speech.
ANC 2B Commissioner Mike Feldstein was one of those who gathered to hear the pope speak.
“There’s a mood since he’s been here,” Feldstein said about the pope’s visit to D.C. “He’s generating a level of emotional joy that I’ve never felt before in this city. I look around, and I’ve never seen so many people smiling.”
Had enough pope madness? Brace yourself. We’re not done yet.
Dupont Festival will team up with NBC Washington to livestream the pope’s address to Congress in Dupont Circle at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.
“We’ll be positioning the screen in the exact same location as the movie night screen,” said Aaron DeNu, Dupont Festival’s principal organizer. “The screen will be a high definition LED rain-or-shine proof screen.”
DeNu suggests bringing breakfast or coffee along to watch the pope’s address.
“This is such a perfect opportunity for folks to literally walk outside their offices and join us by the park,” DeNu added.
Photo courtesy of Dupont Festival
More than 5,500 people have RSVPed on Facebook for the screening in Dupont Circle at 8:30 p.m.
“When we first posted it, it was by far the quickest and largest response we’ve gotten for a movie,” said Aaron DeNu, Dupont Festival’s principal organizer. “There appears to be quite a huge fan club for the movie.”
The showing was originally slated for June but had to be rescheduled because of rain. Luckily for the upcoming screening, rain isn’t yet in the long-term forecast.
DeNu encourages attendees to bring baseball mitts and play catch before the film starts.
Image via Facebook / DupontFestival
The Claire Parsons Company will give two performances of “Marmalade,” a dance and circus show aimed at children aged 2-6. The performances will take place at 10 a.m. and noon in Dupont Circle.
The Swedish Embassy and Dupont Festival, a group that brings public events to the Dupont Circle area, teamed up to bring the troupe to D.C. The company is coming off of a string of performances earlier in the month at the International Contemporary Circus Festival in New York.
The performance will be the first Dupont Festival event geared specifically toward children.
“One of the things that we’ve been hearing from our Dupont Festival fans is that we have a lot of families that live in the area and we haven’t done something that 100 percent kids-oriented, and we wanted to fill that void,” Aaron DeNu, principal organizer for Dupont Festival said.
“Marmalade” incorporates music, dancing and juggling, with audience members encouraged to dance and move along with the performers. Families are encouraged to bring blankets and picnic baskets for the performance.
“This is the type of event that produces smiles, laughs and a generally good feeling, and that’s what we try to do with our festivals,” DeNu said.
Though it’s Dupont Festival’s first event geared specifically toward kids, it’s not the first time they’ve teamed up with the Swedish Embassy. In June, they co-hosted a viewing party for the Women’s World Cup and a free concert in the park as part of the Nordic Jazz Festival. DeNu, who says it’s his personal goal to work with every embassy in D.C., says that he thinks its important to use Dupont Festival events to share other cultures.
“It’s a win-win working with international communities,” he said. “It’s great to be able to use our public parks to showcase different cultures.”
Photo courtesy of Dupont Festival
(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Live music will fill the air around Dupont Circle during D.C.’s own Fete de la Musique celebration.
The event, organized by Alliance Francaise and Dupont Festival, coincides with the worldwide holiday that first began in Paris in 1982.
Though the celebration started in France, musicians will perform several genres of music during the all-day performance.
There will also be an area for kids with lessons on creating musical instruments, calligraphy and face painting.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own seating and arrive early.
Here’s the full setlist for the day:
- 11:00 a.m. Children’s songs with Gaspard
- 11:45 a.m. Story time with Madeline
- 12:45 p.m. Children’s songs with Gaspard
- 1:30 p.m. French songs with Jean-Jacques
- 2:15 p.m. French vintage songs with The Jennifer Scott Quartet
- 3:15 p.m. Brass Band music with the Brass Connection Band
- 4:15 p.m. Latin/Salsa music with El Clan DC
- 5:30 p.m. French songs with Jean-Jacques
- 6:15 p.m. Roots-rock/Americana music with Gramophonic
Photo courtesy of Dupont Festival
Bring your blanket and enjoy summertime in Dupont Circle while watching a movie. On Friday, June 21, Dupont Festival is offering the opportunity to watch a classic movie in Dupont Circle Park with its third annual Cinema in the Circle.
Join Harrison Ford in the 1981 film, come out with your friends and popcorn, and settle in for an evening of Raiders of the Lost Ark in the heart of the nation’s capital. The movie starts at 8:30 pm – don’t be late, or you might miss your chance to snag a seat.
For more information,visit the Dupont Festival website.
Early this morning in Dupont Circle, “Potomac Phil” the [stuffed] groundhog declared that DC would have an early spring and that there will be “six more weeks/months of political gridlock.” It was the second annual event, which is organized by Dupont Festival; Groundhog Day always falls on February 2.
Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) was in charge of providing the interpretation of “Phil’s remarks” to the crowd that had gathered early in 18-degree weather. Also on hand were Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners from 2B: Chair Will Stephens (2B08), Kevin O’Connor (2B02), Kishan Putta (2B04), Mike Silverstein (2B06), Stephanie Maltz (2B03) and Noah Smith (2B09). (No sign of Bill Murray or Andie MacDowell.)
Organizer Aaron DeNu tried to procure a live groundhog last year, but most of them are hibernating for the winter, so the stand-in stuffed version made a repeat visit to Dupont Circle.
The proclamation of early spring and more political gridlock followed accordion performances of polkas, including one written specially for the event, by Accordionist Silvia Ebberly. Michael Seneco, the presiding bishop of the North American Old Catholic Church, gave the Groundhog Day blessing.
Groundhog Day is celebrated in the United States and Canada and, as Wikipedia notes, the largest “celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania,” with Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog.
On Sunday, October 14 Dupont Festival and the U.S. Chess Center will host Chess in the Circle, an afternoon of lessons and games in the middle of Dupont Circle.
Chess Master Gregory Acholonu and others from the Center will be on hand to answer questions, play a game or two and help facilitate any heated games. The family friendly event will start at 1 pm and end at 4 pm.
It’s a sure sign of summer when time spent outdoors is blended with time spent watching films. On Thursday, June 21, Dupont Festival is offering the opportunity to watch a classic movie in Dupont Circle Park with its second annual Cinema in the Circle.
So bring a blanket, some friends and some popcorn, and settle in for an evening of “Back to the Future” in the heart of the nation’s capital. The movie starts at 9 pm – don’t be late, or you might miss your chance to snag a seat (and to see Michael J. Fox in his undies).
For more information,visit www.dupontfestival.com.
The Keegan Theatre will present a special performance, “Music in the Circle,” this Saturday May 5, from 3 to 4:30 pm in Dupont Circle. There is no admission fee. The event is of part of the Dupont Festival events.
“The program features musical performances from the current production of Working as well as the upcoming cast of Spring Awakening. Included in the set… will be a special performance from the Helen Hayes Award© winning production of RENT, songs from Guys and Dolls, Cabaret, National Pastime and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A Man of No Importance, and Irish favorites from The Hostage,” according to the organizers. “Music in the Circle” will feature performances by Keegan company members and “a host of exciting local talent.”
The Keegan Theatre is in its 15th season and is the resident company at Church Street Theater, 1742 Church Street NW.
About Dupont Festival
The purpose of Dupont Festival is to organize and implement a wide range of outdoor and indoor activities in the greater Dupont Circle area throughout the year. For more information on how you can become involved in any of our upcoming events, please contact [email protected]
- June 24 in Dupont: Cinema in the Circle Showing E.T.
- Photos: World Cup Soccerpalooza in Dupont Circle
Featured image: “Early Spring, Dupont Circle” by ok-oyot in the Borderstan flickr pool, March 20, 2011.
In the Circle Productions, the team that helped organize the “Soccer in the Circle” World Cup fan fest and created the Official Dupont Circle Snowball Fight, presents Dance in the Circle on Saturday, April 21. (You can also find them on Facebook)
Dance in the Circle is a six-hour dance festival with performances and instruction in a variety of styles inclu ding flamenco, hip hop and modern. Participants include local dance companies: the Bomb Squad Dancers, Calico Cloggers, Capitol Movement, Dance Dimensions, DanceAntonini, DancEthos, darlingdance, DCypher Dance, Furia Flamenca and Urban Artistry.
Dupont Circle resident Michael Lipin is one of the festival’s co-producers. After co-producing “Soccer in the Circle” and Dupont’s snowball fight, he caught the “event-organizing bug” and wanted to bring yet another exciting event to the neighborhood. “As someone who has enjoyed dance for years, but only took up classes recently, I thought a dance festival would be just as fun to put together, and just as unique for the Circle,” he said.
“Dupont Circle is a great gathering spot and has always been an active, creative community hub,” added Co-Producer Daniel Kramer. “From the Snowball Fight and Soccer in the Circle, it is clear that people will come to a fun event in Dupont. Dance appeals to people of all ages and is inclusive in its variety of styles, so we thought it a natural fit for our next production.”
Although the event has been fun to organize, it has also been a challenge. From recruiting dance companies to participate, to seeking permits from local authorities, and securing the support of the Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, there has been no shortage of tasks to complete. And the work is still not done.
“We’ve raised a small amount of the necessary funds, but still need several thousand dollars more between now and the event. Please consider making a small donation via the PayPal link on our Facebook page and website. All donations are tax-deductible. Every little amount helps! The Dance in the Circle team also is recruiting sponsors who can have a booth in the park (or even naming rights for the dance floor) in return for donations of specific amounts,” said Lipin.
For more information about Dance in the Circle, visit their website or like their Facebook page. If you would like to inquire about sponsoring a booth at the event, please contact danceinthecircle[AT]hotmail.com.
By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]@borderstan.com.
Welcome to another edition of “Borderstan People,” in which we profile residents-of-interest in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area. Sometimes they are people we simply find interesting, but not in the public eye — and sometimes they are people who’ve gotten some press attention. Aaron DeNu falls into the later category as one of the locals who helps organize events in Dupont Circle as part of the Dupont Festival series (check out other events that have held in the Circle and Borderstan stories on events listed at bottom). Recently, you may have read about DeNu who brought the annual February 2 celebration of Groundhog Day to DC.
Borderstan: You’ve successfully staged a giant World Cup festival that received international attention, organized the first ever feature film (E.T.) screening in the Circle, and convinced a Councilmember to “listen” to a stuffed groundhog in the city’s first Groundhog Day event. What’s the next event you plan to bring to the Circle?
DeNu: Thank you, Michelle. I’d like to think we’ve brought some new life to the Circle. We’re taking notes, assessing outcomes, and working to make improvements. The success of these efforts is due to the team work of Dupont Festival and our board of directors. We’re working towards a number of upcoming outdoor experiences that range from continued movie screenings, a festival focused on jazz, and a table tennis tournament.
Borderstan: Now that we have that to look forward to, can you tell us what precisely it is about Dupont Circle that makes it the natural home for these events?
DeNu: Residents genuinely identify with the location. It’s physically and socially tied to the neighborhoods’ identity. These activities are oriented to be site-specific, they establish a sense of place, and they make up a portion of the community’s character.
Borderstan: Any concerns that the possible Dupont Underground could bring an end or disruption to these events? What are your thoughts on the proposals?
DeNu: Of course, I speak for myself, here. The Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground (ACDU) proposal is inspiring and thoughtful. I support their vision for the re-opening of the abandoned Dupont trolley station as a world-class gallery space and community hub to promote the arts in DC. I think we’re starting to see a number of inventive projects, across the country, committed to smart, adaptive reuse.
Borderstan: What’s your motivation behind these community events? Is it just a new form of neighborhood socializing or is it driven by a larger goal?
DeNu: I’m driven by this idea of creatively animating public spaces. I consider it a labor of art and collaboration. These endeavors ought to satisfy, so we need to be doing things that bring people together, that improve quality of life, that encourage and promote community identity.
The National Endowment of the Arts define such efforts –towards creatively animating public spaces– as Creative Placemaking (2010). The larger goal is that these efforts ought to satisfactorily impact our city. Honestly, it’s not always easy to accurately assess such goals. How do you measure an ethos? We’re working on it.
Borderstan: How on earth have you been able to work so well with DC government on these projects? What is your advice to others engaged in similar neighborhood endeavors?
DeNu: Networking is key. In the end it’s good ideas and strong relationships that make the difference. Keep at it. Stay focused and positive. You have to put yourself in front of new people, establish trust, and take some calculated risks. I think, it’s a constant learning process, it’s fluid, ever-changing.
Borderstan: What has been the biggest surprise about these events? Any particularly sweet success stories or vignettes to share with us?
DeNu: It was surprising to get a financial donation from Henry Kissinger at one point. He gave the Soccer in the Circle event team a gift towards the implementation of our World Cup festival. As it turns out, Kissinger had served as chairman of the North American Soccer League board of directors back in 1978.
Borderstan: I know you’ve worked closely with ANC 2B/Dupont. If you were a commissioner for a day, what would you put on the top of their agenda?
DeNu: There’s been (unconfirmed) reports of a Sasquatch near the P Street Bridge and Rock Creek Parkway. It would be great if they could check into that for us.
Borderstan: Tell us more about you. What do you do when not planning hijinks in the parks around Borderstan? What brought you to DC?
DeNu: I’m a native of Cincinnati and lived in New York City for grad school before landing in DC for a job at GW. I absolutely love exploring this city on bike. I spend my time around town with friends and with my fiancé, Lauren Rurak, who works as an account executive for Discovery Communications in Silver Spring.
Borderstan: What are your favorite haunts and things to do in the neighborhood?
DeNu: I can’t get enough of the cheese enchiladas at El Rinconcito (11th & M NW). I’ve made a habit of ordering the moules marinière from Café Dupont (19th and Dupont Circle NW). I can confirm that The Gibson makes a mean cocktail (14th and U NW). And I find myself frequenting The Phillips, Long View Gallery, and The Keegan Theatre quite often.
Related Posts on Dupont Festival
- Potomac Phil Says “Six More Weeks of a Nice Winter”
- June 24 in Dupont: Cinema in the Circle Showing E.T.
- Photos: World Cup Soccerpalooza in Dupont Circle