Wednesday, April 30, 2014

DC public school boundaries may change: do yours? Give feedback to the city about it

If you have a child, or may have one soon, this may be of interest. DC Public Schools is redrawing boundaries and asking for feedback on their proposed changes.

One option to learn about the changes and give feedback to the city's Advisory Committee is Our DC School, a website made by parents and Code for DC, a local group that uses computer programming for good.

You put in your address and it shows your current and proposed schools, as well as options for school lotteries and "choice sets" where you can pick from a list of schools. You're able to rate the changes with smiley faces to frowny faces and also provide your feedback in text. A pretty neat site, and it explains what all the proposed changes and rules mean.

It seems that some folks will stay the same, some folks will go to worse schools, and others to better schools.

What do you think of the site?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Free young playwrights' festival at Gala Theatre this week! Go support young local writers!

This week from Monday to Wednesday, the Young Playwrights' Theater is holding a New Play Festival, showing 15 plays written by DC-area students from 8 to 18. It sounds like a great event, and it's all free! Sounds like fun for folks who support the arts, or just a fun event for families. Here's more info below:

Young Playwrights’ Theater to Premiere Fifteen New Plays by Local Youth
Professional Actors to Perform Student-Written Plays Exploring Superheroes, Families in Crisis,
Animal Cruelty and More

WASHINGTON, DC – From April 28-30, 2014, at GALA Hispanic Theatre (3333 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20010), Young Playwrights’ Theater (YPT) will hold its annual New Play Festival, debuting fifteen new plays written by Greater Washington students ages 8 to 18 over three nights of free performances.

The only professional theater in Washington, DC dedicated entirely to arts education, YPT performs student work on local stages throughout the year. The New Play Festival is the organization’s largest performance by far, bringing together over thirty professional theater artists to realize these student plays on stage. This year, the fifteen Featured Plays come from a pool of 900, the largest in the history of the New Play Festival.

“The New Play Festival is like Christmas at YPT,” says YPT Artistic Director Nicole Jost. “Our playwrights are so imaginative, and their plays are so much fun, that the hardest part is deciding which ones to perform!”

To accommodate so much terrific student work, YPT expanded the Festival from two nights to three this year, and will stage five different plays every night. Night One (April 28) will feature YPT’s elementary school plays, including the tale of a superhero dog, a magical stuffed cat and a potion that can save endangered hawks. Night Two (April 29) will present plays by YPT middle schoolers, covering such topics as fathers and sons, best friends and, of course, demon librarians. Finally, Night Three of the Festival (April 30) will bring high school plays to the GALA Theatre stage, replete with prom nights, family drama and murder mysteries.

Each of the 2014 New Play Festival Featured Playwrights worked with a professional dramaturge to refine his or her script, and will meet with the play’s cast and director to give notes during the rehearsal process. Each playwright will also introduce his or her play during the performance, giving these talented young people a chance to be acknowledged by the community. Finally, YPT will publish a book of New Play Festival plays – including the 21 Finalists not being produced in this show – and distribute them for free to the playwrights and their families.

“The New Play Festival is a celebration of the talent and creativity of students throughout the DC area,” says Brigitte Moore, Executive Director of YPT. “YPT believes in the importance of arts education as a catalyst for positive change in a student’s life. We are excited to present these fifteen plays and to show young people that by expressing themselves through writing, their voices have the power to captivate, delight and inspire.”

Young Playwrights’ Theater’s New Play Festival runs April 28-30 at 7pm, with a pre-show reception at 6:30. The event is free and open to the public. or call (202) 387-9173 for more information.

Young Playwrights’ Theater teaches students to express themselves clearly and creatively through the art of playwriting. Through interactive in-school and after-school programs, YPT activates student learning and inspires students to understand the power of language and realize their potential as both individuals and artists. By publicly presenting and discussing student-written work, YPT promotes community dialogue and respect for young artists. More information can be found at

Free embassy tours this Saturday; in our area: Mexico, Ecuador, Dominica

May 1 is the kick off of Passport DC, a monthlong celebration of DC's international culture, and this Saturday is one of the premier events: a day of free tours of foreign embassies.

They call in the Around the World Embassy Tour, and it goes from 10am-4pm in more than 50 embassies around the city. The tours often include a variety of cultural exhibits, music, art and food.

In Columbia Heights, we're near a few of those: the embassies of Mexico, Ecuador and the Caribbean island of Dominica on 16th Street, all of which are open to the public and completely free to visit. They have an interactive map of all the participating embassies (you can download it also), which includes a few more in Adams Morgan and then others farther afield around Embassy Row and elsewhere in the city.

There are a few other embassies and the like in our area, like the Cuban Embassy (aka the US Interest Section of the Swiss Embassy to Cuba) but they aren't participating. A lot of the embassies (and former embassies, like the Spanish embassy on the west side of 16th at Euclid) were brought to the area by the Henderson family, who also tried to get the White House to move to Meridian Hill Park.

It sounds like a lot of fun, and I think I'll try to hit those before the Funk Parade, which is also that Saturday.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Washington Pizza adding Indian and Pakistani food in a couple of weeks


The other day I spotted a new sign on Washington Pizza at 14th and Randolph that mentioned Indian and Pakistani food for delivery and take-out. I stopped in to get a menu and the worker said they'd start offering those in a couple of weeks.

I'm definitely interested in trying it, I'm a big fan of South Asian food. Plus having it as delivery would be great.

You may recall a couple of weeks ago I noticed there was a new branch of Salt and Pepper Grill, an Indian and Pakistani restaurant at 14th and Quincy Shepherd (their first location is at Georgia and Fairmont, and my buddy swears by them.)

Kind of nice to see more choices in the area!

Sad news: Chickass is now Chickas

It was bound to happen. Chickass, the women's clothing store at 14th and Parkwood, which prominently features mannequins with prominent backsides (and butt-enhancing pants), has changed its name to just Chickas.

That actually makes sense, as "chicas" means "girls" in Spanish, as does chicks in English slang, but it was too funny that it included the butt reference too. However, on Sunday I walked by and noticed their new, permanent sign read only "Chickas."

It was fun while it lasted. You'll always be Chickass to me.

Here's the sign that was at their old location down the block:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Annie's Ace Hardware on Upshur is hiring

Looking for a full or part time gig? Annie's Ace Hardware at 1240 Upshur Street NW is hiring. It's a great store and is actually owned by a woman named Annie.

Here's their announcement on the Columbia Heights listserv.
We are located at 1240 Upshur St NW, about a ten minute walk from the Georgia Ave/Petworth stop on the green line.  There are also several buses that stop about three blocks from the store.  You can contact us at 202.726.2658 or by emailing or

Store Operations Clerk [full to part-time, weekday hours available]

Duties: Assist the store owner and store manager with general accounting, social media, office tasks, special event production, staff scheduling, and inventory control.

Successful candidate must be:
*detail-oriented, possess good time management and communication skills;
*proficient at Outlook, Word, and Excel, and should be comfortable with computers
*social media-savvy, ie. Twitter, Facebook, etc.
*familiar with QuickBooks or similar programs (not required)
*able to speak and write clearly; and
*able to work in a fast-paced environment with changing priorities

Garden Sales Associate [full and part-time positions available]

These are temporary positions which will run through mid-October 2014

Duties: Assist and advise customers in basic aspects of gardening and lawn care; maintain garden center inventory; assist store manager with ordering; assist in receiving and tagging merchandise.

Successful candidate must be:
*knowledgeable about plants and gardening and able to assist customers with all their needs for Spring and Summer planting, lawn care, and garden pest control;
*able to work at least one weekend day and some weeknights;
*able to use and/or learn a cash register  and computer programs for inventory management and control;
*have some experience in either a retail or garden nursery environment; and
*have some familiarity with native plants

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Friends of the Soldiers Home fundraiser this Saturday at Annie's Ace Hardware

The Friends of the Soldiers Home, a local group that organizes events and tours of the historic Old Soldiers Home (aka the Armed Forces Retirement Home) just east of Park View, is holding a fundraiser this Saturday at Annie's Ace Hardware at 1240 Upshur Street NW. Here's more from them!
The forecast outside Annie's Hardware this Saturday is 70 degrees and sunny for the Friends of the Soldiers Home Spring Fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the store, 1240 Upshur St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 
Stop by for a hot dog, a t-shirt or a chance on a Weber grill that retails for $399! Detailed flyer attached. 
Fundraisers enable festivals such as Spring Fling on May 3 that are free to the public. They support volunteer projects such as Saloon Night With Friends, which is popular with Home residents. 
If you can't make it, you can donate at We thank Annie's Hardware for hosting our Spring Fundraiser at the store. 
See you Saturday! 
John Hughes
President, Friends of the Soldiers Home

Music about our area: "Washington DC Hospital Center Blues" from 1964

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post for Curbed on songs about places in DC. I've mentioned some here before like "Rock Creek Park" by Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds and the album Rock Creek Park by Oddisee.

However, one commenter mentioned a 1964 blues song called "Washington DC Hospital Center Blues" by bluesman Skip James, and I really like it. It may be a bit of a stretch to consider the Hospital Center, which opened in 1958, in Columbia Heights, but it's pretty close. Enjoy!

James, who was born in 1902 in Mississippi, had a successful career until the Great Depression, when he gave up performing the blues. Then James, with a number of other "rediscovered" blues musicians, performed to great acclaim at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival. This song comes from his album Greatest of the Delta Blues Singers, which All Music Guide says was recorded right after. A pretty interesting story.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Too bad: art space The Dunes closing April 30

The curse of 1402 Meridian continues: the City Paper reports The Dunes, the art space and performance venue above the former Getaway restaurant, is closing April 30th. They report that the landlord has other plans for the space and didn't renew their lease. Owner Ra Jah Kelly told the CP "we hope to continue our work in another location should the opportunity present itself."

I never went to The Dunes, but a number of my friends had for concerts, art events, and more, and all really liked the space.

If you recall, this is the third place in that building, on 14th and Meridian Place, to close. The downstairs two floors used to be Social, a restaurant and bar with a somewhat strange vibe. That place closed after about a year amidst unclear circumstances, there was apparently some disagreements between owners, which included security guards threatening reporters.

The space was later taken over by The Getaway, a 60s car chase-themed bar. It opened in June 2011 with much better reviews and better crowds than Social. I ate and drank there a few times and always liked it. The downstairs is a cozy bar which the upstairs is a really big, open, airy spot, which contributes to a bit of a funny vibe. It's sort of too big to be a normal dining room, and even with better decorations than Social, it was still just a little off. They did have a nice patio, though. The Getaway also closed, in December 2013 after about 2 and a half years in business. I haven't heard the reason why it actually closed.

I'm not sure what the landlord plans to do with either space, but I hope it succeeds -- and considering three places have now closed there, I hope the landlord isn't the problem.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Drunk guy on Metro sings "Get Low" (to the window, to the wall) hilariously

So this is a few months old, and the poster says he didn't actually record it, he found it somewhere, and I'm not sure where exactly it is. But it's too good not to post.

Glad that guy was having a good time. Hope he didn't have too much of a hangover later, or get into other trouble. (Alcohol is bad, kids.)

(H/T Alan Zilberman at DCist)

Give feedback to DDOT about the Circulator today

Just got this from the (very useful) Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force email list. Sounds like a good opportunity if you have feedback or suggestions.
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is holding six Pop-Up Meetings to solicit feedback from current and future riders on the DC Circulator bus system. 

The meeting for this area is
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
3:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Frank D Reeves Municipal Center
2000 14th Street NW

For those unable to attend a Pop-Up Meeting or who wish to submit comments at a later date please forward comments to Circe Torruellas at or call 202-671-2847. You may also submit comments by clicking on the contact us link located on the DC Circulator website at

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lost Siamese cat: have you seen Morpho?

Just spotted this on the neighborhood listserve: have you seen Morpho the Siamese?
Siamese, brown, black and grey. She is very sweet. Named "Morpho." If you see her, please call me at 202.714.1162.

"A bit unusual": "Nude dude" runs down Taylor Street, cops in pursuit

Well, that's a story you don't hear every day. Neighbors reported that a naked man (or "nude dude") was spotted running down Taylor Street in southern Petworth with the cops in hot pursuit.

Let's hope the scourge of naked police chases doesn't migrate farther south into our area.

Below is the message posted to the Petworth listserve. I was at a friend's house near 14th and Taylor and heard lots of police cars and at one point their megaphone, but wasn't sure what was going on.

I haven't been able to find any more info, it's not on the police listerves as far as I can tell. I'm not envious of the police who would have had to apprehend the guy.
Nude dude with cops in pursuit on Taylor?
Curious if anyone know what was going on this evening - just before 9 PM? I was walking home and noticed the sirens and lights before I noticed the guy - on 14th and Taylor headed east. Just curious since that seems a bit unusual.

New Caribbean market, Buxton Glory, open at 4013 Georgia

The other day I was walking in southern Petworth and spotted a new place: Buxton Glory International Market at Georgia and Shepherd.

The market has a Guyanan Guyanese flag on the sign and the lady working said they've been there about 6 months.

It wasn't a big place, but they had a lot of various ethnic and international food: Caribbean food like coconut flour and lots of spices and sauces, chow mein noodles, drinks and cookies from all over the place, plus some usual convenience store items.

Definitely worth stopping by if you're in the area or looking for something new.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Help Celebrate Petworth: shop on Upshur on Saturday to benefit a Petworth community festival

A group of neighborhood folks and businesses are working to start a community festival in Petworth: they're calling it Celebrate Petworth, and they need your help to make it happen. They're holding a few fundraisers, including this Saturday, where businesses on Upshur Street (Petworth Citizen, Fia's Fabulous Finds, Bentley's Vintage, and Willow) will donate 10% of all sales to the fest. Sounds awesome! I'll be there.

They also have a CrowdRise site, like a Kickstarter page to raise money. Read below for more info.

  • A group of community organizers have come together to plan and execute a small neighborhood festival celebration in the heart of Petworth. The Celebrate Petworth Festival will highlight the creativity, diversity, culture, people, and quality of life of Petworth: the core components of what make Petworth a vibrant and wonderful place to live and do business. Celebrate Petworth will be anchored around 4 main themes: Art, Music, Food and Healthy Living, and Kids/Family and will be held Saturday, May 10th from Noon to 6 PM.
  • CrowdRise Campaign: Organizers estimate it will cost approximately $12,000 to cover DCRA and DDOT permitting fees, required security and insurance, staging and equipment, and to support the musicians and performers. We are asking the community to help us raise $5,000 while we attempt to secure the majority through corporate sponsorships.
    We envision this inaugural festival being the first of many to come. Your support will help make this kickoff a success and secure it as an annual celebration of our community.
  • Weekend Fundraiser: Take advantage of the weekend's spring weather and swing by the Upshur Street for some shopping and dining to benefit the inaugural Celebrate Petworth. Shop or dine at Petworth Citizen, Fia's Fabulous Finds, Bentley's Vintage, and/or Willow this Saturday, April 19th between 10 AM and 2 PMand 10 percent of sales will go to funding this neighborhood-organized event! See you on Saturday and on May 10th!
  • Event Sponsors - Green Line Real Estate, Creativecouch Designs, Car2Go, Petworth Citizen, Fido and Kitty's World, Various Petworth Neighbors

Affordable housing coming to huge, abandoned Hebrew Home on Spring Road

Old Jewish Home on Spring Rd
 If you've ever walked down Spring Road NW between 13th and 10th, you've seen the old Washington Hebrew Home. I wrote about the home before, it opened in 1925 as a home for elderly Jewish people, expanded in 1935, then was sold to the city in 1968. The city used it as housing for homeless and poor people, then stopped using it around 2008. It's been abandoned ever since.

But now, something is happening. Park View DC reports that the plan is for the DC Housing Authority to renovate the building as 70 to 80 units of affordable housing, affordable defined as 60% of the area medium income, which would mean less than about $68,000 a year.

The plan is still early, and there will be community meetings and hearings about, but they're hoping to start this year and be finished by 2016 or 2017.

Sounds like a good plan to me -- more affordable housing for folks, and reusing a nice old building that is unfortunately abandoned.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Uptown Comedy: comedy shows every Thursday at Zeba Bar on 14th Street

If you enjoy jokes, get yourself to Zeba Bar at 3423 14th Street NW every Thursday for Uptown Comedy, a weekly showcase of local comics. The events are from 9-11 pm and there's one today featuring a bunch of local comedians. There are drink specials and also spots for walk-in comics, if you get there early enough.

Always good to see a variety of events in the hood, and this one sounds like fun. 

That time Clint Eastwood chased John Malkovich down Park Rd NW

I was watching the movie In the Line of Fire the other day, a pretty good thriller with Clint Eastwood and Dylan McDermott as Secret Service agents after John Malkovich, a crazy guy who wants to kill the President. Released in 1993, it takes place mostly in DC, with Eastwood living somewhere Adams Morgan-ish and hanging out at Georgetown bars.

But there's also a Columbia Heights connection: in one scene where they've traced a Malkovich phone call, they scramble to catch him. The supposed location, the St. Francis Hotel on Florida Avenue in Northeast, is actually that building with the round tower at Park Road and Holmead Place. Malkovich escapes on foot and the car with the good guys does a U-turn, and you can clearly see the red doors of the fire station on the other side of the street, next to El Rinconcito II. Where the Giant is now is a grassy lot, seen only briefly.

Then the funny part happens: Malkovich runs into an alley and up a fire escape, and when he gets to the top of the building he's next to the Capitol. I guess it makes for a more exciting version of DC than suddenly looking over Holmead Place.

It's always cool to see Columbia Heights in the movies and on TV, and in this case, interesting to see what has changed in the 21+ years since 1993 or so -- a lot of the buildings look the same, aside from there being no Giant at all, which later became a real engine for the neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Today is DC Emancipation Day: tour Lincoln's Cottage, dine at Petworth Citizen (plus parade and hip-hop show downtown)

Today is DC Emancipation Day, when Pres. Lincoln signed a bill freeing the slaves in DC. It's a local holiday which unfortunately few people celebrate, but which I think should be a bigger event. Today, as well as a parade downtown on Pennsylvania Avenue (starting at 11) and a hip-hop concert with Talib Kweli, Arrested Development, DJ Kool, Doug E. Fresh, MC Lyte, Raheem Devaugn and more, starting at 4 pm at Freedom Plaza, followed by a panel discussion with some of the performers at the Lincoln Theatre. You can get all the details here.

However, there are some local events too: tours of Lincoln's Cottage in the Old Soliders' Home, just east of our area, and dining out at Petworth Citizen, which will donate a portion of their sales to the cottage.

D.C. Emancipation Day at President Lincoln’s Cottage and Petworth Citizen
Commemorate the 152nd anniversary of emancipation in the District on April 16th by dining out at Petworth Citizen, in support of President Lincoln’s Cottage, “the Cradle of the Emancipation Proclamation.”

Washington, D.C. – On April 16, 2014, 152 years after President Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia, President Lincoln’s Cottage and Petworth Citizen are partnering to honor Lincoln’s legacy here in Washington, D.C. From 4 pm until 1 am on Wednesday April 16, 2014, diners can visit Petworth Citizen, located at 829 Upshur Street NW Washington D.C. 20011, in honor of D.C. Emancipation Day. The restaurant will donate a portion of sales on that day to President Lincoln’s Cottage, “the Cradle of the Emancipation Proclamation.” “Lincoln lived and worked just up the road from the site of our restaurant, and we are thrilled to join with President Lincoln’s Cottage in celebrating this important holiday,” says Paul Ruppert, owner of Petworth Citizen.

President Lincoln’s Cottage, the Lincoln family’s seasonal home in Washington, D.C., is where Lincoln developed the Emancipation Proclamation during the summer of 1862. Earlier that year, over 3,000 enslaved people in D.C. were freed when Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act on April 16, 1862. Today, April 16th is a city holiday known as D.C. Emancipation Day. Visitors who tour President Lincoln’s Cottage on April 16, 2014 will receive a free souvenir scroll of the D.C. Compensated Emancipation Act. “Shortly after signing the Compensated Emancipation Act, President Lincoln moved to the Cottage, where he developed his transformative emancipation policy for the nation,” says Erin Carlson Mast, Executive Director of President Lincoln’s Cottage. “We are delighted to celebrate the 152nd anniversary of emancipation in D.C. with our generous community partner, Petworth Citizen, and we welcome visitors to tour the Cottage on D.C. Emancipation Day to learn more about Lincoln’s path to the Emancipation Proclamation.” Tours of President Lincoln’s Cottage are offered on the hour between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, and advanced reservations are recommended:

President Lincoln’s Cottage, “the Cradle of the Emancipation Proclamation,” is located on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. While living here for more than a quarter of his presidency, Abraham Lincoln bonded with soldiers and veterans, made crucial decisions about the Civil War, and, most notably, developed the Emancipation Proclamation his first summer in residence. His daily commute put him in regular contact with wounded soldiers and self-emancipated men, women, and children. Today, the site offers an intimate, never-before-seen view of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and private life, and new perspectives on the influential ideas Lincoln developed while living here.

The entrance is President Lincoln’s Cottage is at the intersection of Upshur St NW and Rock Creek Church Rd NW (approximate GPS address: 140 Rock Creek Church Rd NW). The Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center is open 9:30am-4:30pm Monday-Saturday and 10:30am-4:30pm Sunday. Tours of President Lincoln’s Cottage are given daily on the hour, and all tours begin in the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center. For more information on President Lincoln’s Cottage, visit: or call 202-829-0436.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately-funded non-profit organization, works to save America’s historic places. President Lincoln’s Cottage is a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. For more information, visit:

Petworth Citizen, located at 829 Upshur Street NW Washington DC 20011, is a neighborhood bar with great bar food and a literary focus. On April 16, 2014, Petworth Citizen will be open from 4:00 pm until 1:00 am. Dinner is served until 11:00 pm; a late night happy hour menu featuring small plates and drinks is available between 11:00 pm and 1:00 am.


Grace Church hosting neighborhood Easter party this Saturday

 Here's a nice event from Grace Meridian Hill Church. Sounds fun, and check out the flyers in English and Spanish.
One of Columbia Heights' neighborhood churches is having it's 5th annual Neighborhood Easter Party at Girard St. Park (15th and Girard, NW) this coming Saturday. It has become a fun neighborhood tradition over the last few years, bringing out 300+ neighbors for face painting, giant bubbles and activities, tons of food, painting, and of course an Easter Egg hunt.

When: Saturday April 19th 11am-1pm
Where: Girard St. Park (15th and Euclid)
Who: kids, adults, neighbors- all are welcome

What: face painting, mural making, food, sports and games, dance, Egg Hunt, photo booth, and more

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bike to Work Day is May 16th; meet next Wednesday to help with the Columbia Heights pit stop!

Bike to Work Day is a big annual event encouraging folks to ride their bicycles to and from work.

There are pit stops along the way with food, prizes, and the chance to meet other bikers. Columbia Heights has been selected to serve as the location for one of these pit stops, in the afternoon for folks returning home (and to celebrate and meet.) The organizers are looking for some help!

Here's a poster with more info on the day -- it sounds like fun!
You are invited to help plan the Columbia Heights "Bike-to-Work" Pit Stop Activities. Your assistance is needed to make this event a success.

Bike-to-Work Day '14

Columbia Heights afternoon (4-7pm) event, Friday, 16 May, 2014,

Columbia Heights Plaza at 14th Street and Park Road

While most of the pit stops are in the morning, in Columbia Heights it is in the afternoon - a great opportunity to meet other local bikers and celebrate bike-to-work day.

Co-ordination meeting
Mad Momo's
3605 14th St NW (just north of Perry Street)
7:30 pm - Wednesday, 23 April, 2014

Discuss event prep and suggestions,
Solicitation of local businesses for advertisement and prizes,
Volunteer opportunities and schedule

All are invited to come with ideas and suggestions for this great event. For more information contact Dan Hayes at:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pepco meets with the community about power outages; more outages coming April 14 and 21

Recently I wrote about the constant power outages in the area, which are annoying for residents and a big problem for businesses -- Kangaroo Boxing Club reports lots of lost revenue plus spoiled food. Then earlier in the week, Pepco met with community members, the ANC, Jim Graham and parts of the city government, thanks to constant pressure from ANC commissioners. The blog Park View DC has a full recap.

In short, Pepco apologized and tried to explain the outages. They provided a fact sheet on the outages that says basically Pepco is working to improve some of the infrastructure like cables, transformers and other components, and there need to be some outages for the workers to be able to improve them. However, Pepco is clearly not telling people ahead of time (or they're also having unexpected outages.) Pepco also doesn't seem to have a good idea of the age of the infrastructure or demand, but are working to get more info on both.

They said there will be three more planned outages, one on April 14, one on April 21, and one sometime in May (to be decided.) Yuk.

However, they are going to send out a mailer about the problem, which is good. They also included the map at right of recent "upgrades" i.e. where the outages have been because they are working on them.

Some neighbors complained about outages since 2003, to which Pepco said they understand the frustration. Commissioner Patrick Flynn, one of the main drivers of the conversation, pointed out that Pepco needs to do a better job communicating with the community, and residents agreed. Other residents suggested that Pepco should let everybody know what businesses are unaffected so people can seek shelter or charge their phones. Some of these outages occurred when the temperature was very low, making it a potentially dangerous situation for residents.

Kent Boese, ANC chair and the writer of the Park View DC blog, also said that Pepco will come to a future ANC meeting to discuss these issues. That's good to hear.

So, it sounds like they're working on it, but there are still some problems.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's officially the first day of short sleeve weather!

It's finally here -- the official first day of short sleeve weather. Ok, maybe it wasn't proclaimed by the mayor, but it is getting up to 70 degrees today and to me that signals honest to goodness, for realsies spring -- not March 22 spring or the is-it-seriously-snowing-today spring, but the best time in DC spring.

So what? So get out of your basement apartments and leave your cubes a little early and head outside to take advantage of our neighborhood. We're blessed with many outdoor (and almost outdoor) options.

For one, we have lots of nice open spaces: Meridian Hill Park, Rock Creek and its fields and hiking trails, people watching on the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza, even the big Bruce Monroe Park over on Georgia.

There's also a ton of outdoor dining and drinking spots: roof decks at Red Derby and El Chucho, patios at Wonderland, Red Rocks, Room 11, Looking Glass and DC Reynolds, and indoor-outdoor spots like Meridian Pint's main floor and the Coupe, with big windows that open to the world.

Plus a lot of us have porches or patios, good for relaxing and talking and enjoying the weather. You may even meet a neighbor or two, and they're probably more interesting than you thought.

Maybe I've had too much coffee today or something, but I'm excited for this weather. It's finally here.

Get free training for your nonprofit!

If you run or work at a non-profit, here's a great opportunity to get some leadership training!

The Advisory Board Company, which works with companies and non-profits to improve their operations, is offering a free leadership seminar on April 23. Details are below.
The Advisory Board Company has a message for your nonprofit readers: we want to train you for free.

For the first time in our 35–year history, the Advisory Board is offering nonprofit community organizations around the country the opportunity to participate in a leadership forum on April 23rd led by our foremost experts – normally valued at $2,000 per person – free of charge.

The Advisory Board was inspired to create the Community Impact Catalyst offering after repeatedly hearing from our nonprofit community partners how difficult it is to invest in professional development for staff. According to a recent survey by ProInspire, nine out of ten nonprofit managers believe that that leadership training will make them more effective in their roles, yet only half of them have received such training since assuming a role managing direct reports.

“Healthcare leaders, like non-profit leaders face all of the challenges of a traditional business – cost management, strategic planning, communication, technology adoption, revenue management, and so on”, said Mike Wagner, Executive Director of the Advisory Board’s Talent Development arm. “Plus, these leaders – both in  healthcare and in non-profits – face the added burden of never wanting to turn away a person in need…always needing to find a way to say “yes” to those who come to  them for help. 

“Historically, our work has supported healthcare leaders who are passionate about their mission, but  few of whom  have had  the advantage of advanced leadership education.  Non-profit  leaders face the same challenges, the same difficult dynamic, and we are confident that our research and our curriculum can help  them better lead their non-profit agencies and organizations.”

In 2013, the Advisory Board reached a milestone in corporate volunteerism that is rare and possibly even unique – a 100% employee participation rate incommunity service. Drawing on the staff creativity and passion that inspired this achievement, this year the firm’s Community Impact program is focused on providing community partners with professional services support that has the potential to generate transformative change on a larger scale.  

Session registration is open until April 22nd, and there are still a handful of spots available

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Some folks want to have a Funk Parade on U Street on May 3 -- help sponsor it!

This is a pretty awesome idea -- a group of people are trying to organize what they're calling the DC Funk Parade, to happen May 3 on U Street, complete with a street fair, a musical parade and a night of funk performances.

I like funk, and it's a cool reflection of DC's place in the funk pantheon, with artists like Chuck Brown (and all go-go music), Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds, and even Parliament/Funkadelic, who have a song about DC called "Chocolate City," members from the area, and actually have their Mothership in the Smithsonian.

They have an Indiegogo campaign (like Kickstarter) and are hoping to raise $12,000 more. They've already got some corporate support from local businesses like the Brixton, Tropicalia, Right Proper, the Satellite Room and more. So if you'd like to help, or better yet, run a local business and would like to sponsor them, check it out.

It sounds like a ton of fun. Here's a video about it, and more about the parade below. They also just announced some of the bands performing and the venues. The headliner is E.U., whose hit song was "Da Butt."

Funk Parade IndieGoGo Launch from Funk Parade on Vimeo.
Funk Parade is a celebration of what makes U Street great, what makes Washington DC great, what makes being alive such a groove. ‘Cause everybody’s got a little light under the sun.

It’s a one-of-a-kind day fair, parade and music festival for the U Street neighborhood, on May 3, 2014, the 211th anniversary of the city’s incorporation.

The Funk Parade Day Fair (noon-5): The neighborhood teems with music and performance, artists and vendors, food and art, workshops and spontaneous acts of soul.

The Mighty Funk Parade (5-7): The main event! Imagine a gyrating horde of dancers, a marching band behind them, and a drum corps. Hear beat-boxers and junkyard drummers, see pot-bangers and clappers and kids on their parents’ shoulders. Horn players wander in and out of the crowd, neighbors come out of their homes to join the procession. A thunderous syncopated army of groove, winding its way through the neighborhood, calling the city to the funk.

The Funk Parade Music Festival (7-10): Grooves from all corners of the human soul play in venues on and around U Street. The sounds of the city’s best acts call from every doorway.

One day, one spirit, one celebration of funk: the subatomic particle of love.

The Funk Parade — free your mind and your city will follow!

Construction job fair, lots of Georgia Ave community meetings coming up

It's a busy few weeks on Georgia Avenue. Here's a readout from the Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force with lots of stuff going on:
The next meeting of the Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force will be Monday April 14th at 7:00pm at 2632 Georgia Avenue NW (corner of GA and Fairmont).
The next ANC 1A Bruce-Monroe Task Force meeting on the long-term use of the site is scheduled for this Thursday, April 10th, beginning at 6:30 p.m.  The meeting will be held at the Cesar Chavez school located at 770 Kenyon.  The parking lot entrance is on Kenyon St. between Georgia and Sherman. Park anywhere (may be limited but there's some street parking), and enter the school through the back entrance which can be seen from the parking lot. Peter Marsden  will be standing at the door to let people in.
The next Georgia Avenue Business Alliance meeting will be Monday April 21st from 9:30 – 11:30 AM at the MPD 4D Community Room – 6001 Georgia Avenue NW
In Other News:
Construction Job Fair at All Souls
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 5:00-7:00 pm, All Souls Church Unitarian, 1500 Harvard St. NW, WDC 20009. All Souls is about to begin a major renovation project. The subcontractors involved (in demolition, steel, mechanical, electrical, etc.) will be on site this Thursday to discuss job opportunities and accept resumes. All workers will receive at least DC’s fair living wage. The job fair is open to all.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Holistic health clinic open house on April 16th

If you're looking to learn more about alternative medicine, acupuncture, and other kinds of health care, here's an opportunity. I received this email from an organizer, and you can see the press release here too.
I wanted to let you know about Sign of Jonah Partnerships in Health, a holistic clinic that's been serving the neighborhood for the last 25 years and is (finally!) expanding. We're hoping to get the word out about our services and an Open House coming up on Wednesday, April 16th. It would be great if you could mention it on the blog.

Sign of Jonah was first started in 1990, as an acupuncture clinic (in the basement of the Dorchester House just across the park from our current location) that served HIV+ and homeless individuals. Over the years, we've expanded our mission, our clientele and our services to offer not only acupuncture, but Western and Chinese herbal medicine, Reiki, and other holistic therapies on a sliding-scale basis to people of ALL ages, incomes, and backgrounds, and states of health. We're proud of the work we do and honored to serve our neighbors in the Columbia Heights/Adams Morgan/Mount Pleasant neighborhoods.

We've also just relocated to beautiful new offices at the Josephine Butler Parks Center at 2437 15th St. NW and really hope to make it work there, so we can keep serving the local community! I'm attaching the invitation to our event on the 16th and would deeply appreciate anything you can to do help get the word out.

The story of the "Music Man," the guy with bike-mounted boombox in the neighborhood

One of my favorite sights in the neighborhood is the "Music Man," the older man who rides around on bike with a CD player and speaker attached playing old-school R&B songs. He's often seen around 14th and Park or Georgia Avenue and makes the neighborhood instantly more interesting and quirky. Aside from the music, he also has flashing lights attached to his bike and is a generally happy, excited guy. Sometimes he stops and dances around for a while and often chats with passersby.

And now the Washington Post has his story. Named George Whitlow, he's a 65-year old retiree and occasional bike messenger who actually has 8 bikes, though only one has the music rig. Why does he do it?
His goal is to get hyper-scheduled, ambitious, uptight D.C. to get loose and listen to music — together. His high season is spring and summer, when his audience stays longer. Sometimes, he’s invited to play at block parties: a DJ on wheels.
The idea came about to get people from listening to headphones, keeping away from each other, Bowling Alone style.
He first started rigging up his bikes with boomboxes a few years ago when he noticed all the iPods. He wanted to bring people together, listening to the same music, D.C.’s music. 
Whitlow wants us to interact, away from a computer. We date online. Watch movies on our smartphones. Go online to do “mindful meditation.” We sext. 
“I think those are antisocial,” Whitlow says.  
(Of course, you could argue that sexting works better when somebody else is involved.)

I'm not able to find a video of him, so if you have one or know of one, leave it in the comments!

Personally I think it's great he's getting some publicity, he's definitely a fun addition to the area. The fun police seems to be out in force in the WaPo comments, as they're mostly complaining about him. Pretty bizarre. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Book release, talk at Petworth Citizen on Tuesday Wednesday: debut book of young adult sci-fi

If you know a young adult, or just like YA fiction, head to Petworth Citizen this Tuesday Wednesday for the release of The Six Days, a new novel of young adult fiction. The book is by Anna Carolyn McCormally and is published by Giant Squid Books, a group that publishes debut novels by new writers. A nice idea!

See below for more from them about the event.

I was at Petworth Citizen Friday night, it was a nice spot. I especially liked the Moscow mules, a vodka and ginger beer cocktail which comes in a copper cup.
Giant Squid Books is a YA imprint publishing debut authors through ebook and trade paperback platforms. We are not a traditional publisher, but we are also not a self-publishing service: we are the next step for authors who are thinking about self-publishing but want the editorial and promotional resources of an agency. It is our goal to promote new authors who are doing exciting things for the young adult literature world.

Our first book, THE SIX DAYS, came out on April 1. We are hosting a release party on April 9 at the Petworth Citizen at 7:30 PM. The book will be for sale in print and ebook form, there will be an author reading, and Rachel Miller of Giant Squid will give a talk about Giant Squid Books and a couple of their other projects (including a feminist sci-fi anthology featuring teen writers from DC!).

If you'd like to join the event on Facebook, here's the link: And our website is

Friday, April 4, 2014

Yard Sale Roundup! The weather is nice again, check out local sales

Finally the weather is decent, and a lot of folks chose this weekend to have a yard sale/garage sale/moving sale/whatever you'd like to call it. Here's a compendium of those in our area:

  • Big multi-person yard sale, 1351 Spring Rd N, Saturday 10am-2pm -- lots of clothes for men and women, kitchen items and small appliances, art, storage, books, storage and a lot more.
  • Hardware store closing, Georgia & New Hampshire, Thurs.-Sat. -- tools, paint, household items, locks, window screens, insecticide, lots more.
  • Moving sale, all must go!, 14th and Newton, Sunday. -- lots of furniture, Honda scooter, bike, lots of kitchen items, books, DVDs, bedroom items.
  • Huge sale at the Argonne, 1629 Columbia Rd NW, Friday 4-9pm -- mens and women's clothes, furniture, books, electronics, kitchen items, household items, luggage, lots more.
  • Garden and kitchen stuff, 2750 Quarry Rd NW, Saturday and Sunday. -- pots and pans, utensils, glasses, cups, mugs, plus planting pots and beds.
  • Huge moving sale, estate and office furniture, 1200 Upshur St NW, Sat. 10am-2pm. Lots of nice furniture, maps and art.

U Street Flea Market now open on Saturdays and Sundays

If you're looking for some deals, get yourself to 9th and U. Park View DC posted about the new market, which sounds more like the Eastern Market outdoor stalls than the fancy District Flea. I'm interested! If you recall, there used to be a flea market at 7th and Florida a few years ago.

Here's the press release:
March 24, 2014
(Washington, D.C.) – Collaboration of the two oldest flea markets in the City in the opening of a new market, U Street Flea, was announced jointly today by Michael Berman, President of Diverse Markets Management (DMM), operator of The Flea Market at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill, established in the early 1980s and Michael Sussman, founder of Georgetown Flea Market, opened in the mid 1970s. 

Located at 912 U St. NW, a parking lot near the intersection of U and 9th Streets, NW, the market will feature a diverse mix of arts, crafts, imports, antiques and collectibles 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, according to Berman, whose DMM will manage the market, on space licensed to Sussman by the City. 

“We’re very excited to be working with the “Dean of D.C. Fleas’ for the first time,” exclaimed Berman. “And we hope this is just the beginning of a long term relationship” between the two management teams. 

Sussman first opened U Street Flea at the beginning of March but decided “to ask DMM to help out” shortly thereafter. A previously-scheduled grand opening and ribbon cutting by Ward One Councilman Jim Graham will be held 12 p.m. Saturday, the first day under DMM management. 

DMM Director Tom Rall, who began to manage The Flea Market at Eastern Market in 1984, was especially pleased with the new relationship with the Georgetown flea. “I actually got my start in the antiques business as a dealer at Georgetown in the late 1970s, so DMM is actually a business which incubated there. 

“A decade or so ago Mike Sussman and I first discussed the possibility of promoting a joint market when we were approached about the possible availability of a prominent near Northeast D.C. location,” Rall continued, “and I regretted those negotiations fell through, as I always felt there’d be a lot of symmetry between our exhibitor bases.”
Berman said the market may also feature local specialty food items such as fruits and vegetables, prepared food and beverages. Exhibitor application information is available here

Diverse Markets Management, LLC is a DC-based firm specializing in the development and management of outdoor public exhibitor markets. Principals in the firm are experienced leaders in specialty vending and in managing relations with this unique group of small business entrepreneurs. To learn more about Diverse Markets Management, visit