Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book swap for charity tonight at the Dunes

This sounds pretty neat, a way to get new books and donate some to charity.
ReadysetDC Partners with Read’s Clothing Project and Politics & Prose to Present The ReadysetDC Book Swap

What:  ReadysetDC, an online magazine highlighting arts and culture in Washington, D.C. partners with locally owned clothing company Read’s Clothing Project and independent bookstore, Politics & Prose, to present The ReadysetDC Book Swap. Just in time for the holidays, The Book Swap will be just that, a book swap, but with a twist. Entry is free, with the donation of one book at the door*. All books will be collected and donated, in collaboration with Read’s Clothing Project, to Books for Africa, a non-profit dedicated to ending the book famine in Africa.

The event will feature a book swap, so bibliophiles, bring your best! All categories are welcome; children’s, non-fiction, fiction, poetry. The evening will also feature music and a cash and credit bar. The evening also will feature local illustrator Elizabeth Graeber, who’s book An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails will be featured at the event. Attendees can enter to win a $50 gift certificate to Politics & Prose at the event. And, the attendees who donate the most books will win a Politics & Prose tote bag.

*With the presentation of one, gently used book at the door, you will gain entry to the event. You can bring additional gently used books to either donate, or to participate in the swap. We ask that you please bring books that you feel will be of good use, something you treasure to give to someone who will treasure it. We retain the right to deny books that we deem inappropriate.

When & Where: Wednesday, November 30th 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. at The Dunes Gallery, 1402 Meridian Place, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20010.

Room 11 brunch to start! First day is Dec. 11

Good news! As I reported a few weeks ago, Room 11 will start serving brunch, and co-owner Dan Searing tells me that date will be December 11. I'm certainly looking forward to it, as I am sure it'll be like the rest of Room 11's fare: good, not expensive food and tasty drinks in a nice, cozy atmosphere.

The Post had a review of a brunch preview and it looks pretty mouth-watering (ignore the Post's reporter's comment about the start date, it's Dec. 11.)

I also managed to get ahold of a menu from the preview. It's subject to change, but I am getting hungry reading it. Scones, fritatta, french toast, quiche and more. Traditional brunch fare with a bit of a twist, and if it's like the rest of Room 11's food, done very well.

What almost was: freeways instead of U Street and Sherman Ave

The Sherman Avenue 14th Street freeway
Browsing around the internet the other day, I found something strange: plans for a freeway that was to be built where Sherman Avenue is. Proposed in the late 1950s and 60s, the freeway was part of a larger plan for freeways in DC, including an inner beltway. One of the plans included the inner beltway passing near U Street. Can you imagine a freeway there? It's crazy.

There were other routes as well, which brought I-95, I-66 and I-70 into the city. The plans caused a lot of opposition in the city, one of the so-called "freeway revolts" around the country. Unlike many places, the opposition was mostly successful, with only a few parts, like the SW Freeway, actually built.

Furthermore, a lot of the funds for the planned highways was shifted over to funding Metro, so we can thank them for that.

The proposal for the U Street and Sherman Avenue freeway was thankfully never built, as it would have demolished a lot of houses and other buildings (see the photo overlaid with the freeway at Sherman to the right), and also physically divided the neighborhood. I'm very glad most of these plans were never followed-through. It's interesting to imagine how the area would have looked had these been built -- think about our neighborhood with the Whitehurst or SW Freeways slicing through. Doesn't seem like somewhere I'd want to go.

Interestingly, in planning circles there's a movement to demolish old highways -- in San Francisco, for example, the Embarcadero freeway was taken out without any increase in traffic, and similar things have happened elsewhere. Luckily we won't need to have that debate.

Sherman replaced by Freeway
The photos in this post all came from A Trip Within the Beltway, which is about the proposed DC highway system. However, it's also kind of a strange blog, in that the writer advocates for building all these highways, just putting them in tunnels, and blames Masons and Catholics, among others, for them not being built, and that Volvo and the phone company have pro-highway subliminal ads. So there's that.

Click the images for bigger versions, there's some interesting details in there.

UPDATE: Douglas Willinger, author of the highway blog, notes that the upper right image is actually an alignment for a highway on 14th Street! Even worse.
U Street freeway
The entire proposed system

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bizarre sticker on an Infinti

The other day I was walking down 13th (I think) and spotted this strange sticker on an Infiniti.
Bizarre Infiniti sign

This raises a number of questions: namely, are free rides really that much of a problem for this person? Couldn't you just say no, I am not going to give you a ride? And unless it's a long ride, hours long, who would ask for gas money. Plus, the weirdest one, who would have sex with somebody for a ride? Unless there were a meteor about to hit DC or something, in which case I hope it still wouldn't happen. And then the Infiniti symbol is in there. Does some store make this sticker with different logos for all the different car brands out there? Was this a homemade sticker?


Need help with your mortgage? Get some forgivable loans from the city

Sounds like a good program for homeowners who need a little help with their mortgage.
The DC government, through the Homesaver Program, now offers forgivable loans to homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgages because of unemployment.  If you own a home in DC, are receiving or have received unemployment benefits at any time during the last 6 months, and are behind on your mortgage because you were laid off, you may be eligible for a loan to help bring your mortgage current.  Call (202) 667-7006 or attend a FREE foreclosure clinic to find out more about this program and other realistic options for avoiding foreclosure.
 When:  Wednesday, December 7—12:00 P.M.Wednesday, December 14—12:00 P.M.Wednesday, December 21—12:00 P.M.Wednesday, December 28—6:00 P.M.            Where:  Housing Counseling Services
              2410 17th Street NW              Suite #100

Monday, November 28, 2011

Today is Cyber Monday: lots of online shopping deals, some in CH

Today is Cyber Monday, the online equivalent of Black Friday. That means lots of online deals from most major places like Amazon, Target, and Best Buy, but locals are getting into the business too.

For example, Past Tense Yoga on Mt. Pleasant Street has their own online sale today:
We're kicking off the holiday season with a gift for you: The Cyber Monday Past Tense Flash Sale. Get 10% off everything purchased today only (11/28) by using the promo code CyberMonday at checkout. 
Any other local businesses have online deals today? If so, post them in the comments.

Parking frustrations on Kenyon: tickets for parking where you should park

Sounds like some residents of the 600 block of Kenyon are getting ticketed unfairly. Just received this email and photo from a reader.
I've got a question over a parking sign stack on my block. I live on a rush hour no-parking street.

For months and months and months, all my neighbors and I have been parking on my side of the street on TUESDAYS, and the rest of the week on the opposite side.

The opposite side of the street has a Tuesday street sweeping 7am-7pm sign.

Just the other week or so ago, all my neighbors and I started getting tickets for parking on my side of the street on Tuesdays, even though the parking sign states you can park there 7am-7pm Tuesdays [with residential parking permit of course]

WTF?  Why would they have ticketing start recently?

Was wondering if you, or anyone in the community has run in to this kind of conflicting parking sign situation before.

I really don't want to pay $100 out of the blue.
Seems to me like the reader is in the right -- why would it say parking on Tuesday if you couldn't park there?

Anyone else have this happen on their blocks?

Want to read a police blotter and get crime stats? Check out the MPD listserves and web map

Recently I've gotten a few emails asking about a police blotter or a list of crimes that have happened in the area. There are a few good options for this sort of thing.

The first is MPD's listserves. They have listserves for each district (we are in district 3) and they list all the crimes that happened each day, major arrests, info about suspects wanted, safety tips, and more. They're pretty useful. Here's the MPD page with all the listserves: Third District and Third District Substation cover Ward 1. (And here's the police district maps.)

The other option to get crime info is to use the city's online crime map. It's interesting, but a word of warning, it may freak you out. It's at -- although crime around 14th and Irving, for example, is down 12% from the same time last year, so that's a plus.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giant Black Friday lines at DCUSA; folks eat Thanksgiving dinner in line

I stopped by DCUSA on Thursday night just before Target and Best Buy opened at midnight, and it was pretty crazy. There were separate lines for each store: the Target line went all the way to Park Road and up that street a bit, while the Best Buy line was longer, it went down to Irving, then all the way up to Hiatt Place. It was hard to estimate, but there were easily a few hundred people in line, plus others milling about to go to Modell's, which also opened at midnight.

There were a couple musicians wandering around, the Panera was open feeding folks, and it was generally pretty wild. The Washington Times posted this video, which says it was taken at "Columbia Heights Mall." Whatever that is.

The Times also has an article about the loss of Thanksgiving due to the early opening, and one about a person eating Thanksgiving dinner in line. To me, that's too much.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Community Marketplace season ends Dec. 17: This week's update, with holiday market

You only have a few more Saturdays to get some farmer's market goodness. Here's this Saturday's update, which also includes a Holiday Market:

This Week at the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace
Saturday, November 26th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (rain, snow or shine)
Civic plaza at 14th Street and Park Road, NW

* Chesley Farms and Wisteria Gardens will feature some greenhouse tomatoes, sweet potatoes, apples (golden delicious, fuji, nittany, stayman, tameo, york, granny smith, pink lady and braeburn varieties), pears, cider, hard winter squash, potatoes, pumpkins, greens (collards and mustard greens), salad mixes and Asian greens.
* Bonaparte Breads is the place to go for delicious French pastries.
* Fresh Crunch has you covered on the pickle front.
* Springfield Lamb will not be at market this Saturday but will return on Dec. 3rd with all kinds of lamb meat and wool products that make great holiday gifts.
* Stachowski Charcuterie offers sausages made from beef, chicken, duck, pork and turkey.
* Twin Post Farms features both chicken and duck eggs.
* Upper Crust Bakery brings a full selection of artisan breads this Saturday, so stock up for the Thanksgiving holiday! In addition to sourdough, pain de campagne, harvest grain, artisan baguettes, and whole wheat. They will also have the seasonally popular pumpkin bread – a savory bread studded with pumpkin seeds.

CHRISTMAS TREES & HOLIDAY MARKET (Nov. 26th and Dec. 3rd, 10th and 17th):

Our market season will end on December 17th, but we have a real treat for you in the final weeks. Join us at our Holiday Market on November 26, December 3, 10 and 17 when we will have more artists showcasing their creations, all of which could make wonderful gifts.

This Saturday, Nov. 26th, eight artists will bring a variety of drawings, jewelry, paintings, pottery and knitware to the Marketplace.

The Holiday Market will also feature Christmas trees! Yep, Chesley Farms (beginning on Nov. 26th) and Licking Creek Bend Farm (beginning Dec. 3rd) will offer Christmas trees and wreaths for sale. Although both farms will bring a variety of sizes to the Marketplace to sell, they urge people to pre-order trees for pickup at the market.

* CHESLEY FARM will charge $10 per foot for Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir and Canaan Fir and $12 per foot for Fraser Firs. To order a tree from Chesley Farms, please contact CHESVEG@GMAIL.COM. In addition, Chesley Farms has about 40 tree stands from various places that it will sell at cost ($5 to $7 per stand).

* LICKING CREEK BEND FARM will charge similar prices for Charlie Brown, Blue Spruce, Douglas Firs, Con-color Firs, White Pine, Canaan Firs. It also will offer live tree and table top trees and wreaths/roping. For more information and to order, please contactESIEGEL2@IGC.ORG and provide your phone number, type and height of tree you want, day and place (Marketplace or in Takoma Park) you want to pick up the tree and whether you want a hand made wreath and/or roping (include desired length).


Arch "AT" Thomson from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Flute (, brought to the community by Bloombars (

Bio: "Flutevisions is a musical ministry with a universal concept in which the center-point is music. The purpose of the ministry is to nurture the hearts and souls of the listening audience and to educate on the importance of clean air and water in respect to Mother Earth.

"Every one of us is a flute waiting for Life’s precious gift of clean air to fill our lungs, to feed our brain cells, give us life in abundance and keep our hearts pumping with the flow of blood through our bodies.

"Using music and nature-cinematography, Flutevisions is designed to awaken the listener by creating an atmosphere that will allow the audience to visualize the importance of ones connection to every living creature on the planet. I want to share my vision and bring the listener closer to the idea and importance of saving the planet.
I have learned throughout my life that music can vibrate the unseen core of the human soul. I believe in the arts, all of them. Flutevisions is an art form that will piece together the lost art of love for oneself and bring about the human sympathy for mankind and the planet.
Remember – the planet has a life of its own. If you take care of it, it will take care of you."

Thank you to Old School Hardware for its monthly sponsorship of the Community Marketplace.

P.S. The Marketplace will be offering great looking "No Farms, No Foods" hats for $10 to raise money to cover our operating costs.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Staying in town for Thanksgiving? What to do?

Are you staying in town for Thanksgiving? What are you going to do?

DC is generally less crowded on Thanksgiving, so with a lot of folks away, the rest of us will need some things to do. Got any ideas?

There's always the local bars and restaurants, which will be much less crowded -- there are times I really like going to somewhere like Wonderland or the Red Derby when they're almost empty.

You could also visit other places that are usually packed, like Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Estadio, and ChurchKey/Birch and Barley, if you venture a little out of our neighborhood. Touristy things may be less crowded, like the Smithsonian, and there's a model train display at Union Station.

Or you could go hiking in Rock Creek Park, which is pretty fun and nearby.

And of course, there's shopping, like Black Friday at DCUSA, if you are a crazy person (or just like that craziness) or Small Business Saturday. Adams Morgan is doing a lot for Small Business Saturday, for example.

Any other ideas? Places to check out close by or farther afield?

And in any case, I'll be taking a hiatus until the Monday after Thanksgiving. Have a good holiday!

Is DCUSA a "mall"? Does it matter?

The Christmas shopping season is almost upon us, and I've seen a few news articles and blog posts lately that refer to DCUSA as a "mall" (here's a couple older ones from WUSA and an architectural firm, for example.)  I've always called it a shopping center, and I've also seen it called a complex, like in this Greater Greater Washington post. Calling it a mall doesn't seem accurate, and I also just don't like that term for it. It gives me the creeps.

"Mall" reminds me of being a high school kid in the suburbs and going to the mall with some friends to waste time: wandering around, drinking an Orange Julius and playing in the arcade or something. (That said, I wish there were an Orange Julius at DCUSA.) But in turn, those memories and the term "mall" makes me wonder if Columbia Heights is getting to be less of a city and more of a suburb, with the negative connotations that brings. (Of course there are positive things about the 'burbs too, but you don't worry about those.)

However, I'd argue it's not a mall. Take the Georgetown Mall, for example. Technically called the Shops at Georgetown Park, it's mostly inward facing, with the majority of the stores only accessible from inside. That's partially true with DCUSA, with Target, Best Buy and Bed Bath and Beyond, but for the most part it's street-facing. I'm glad it is too, it would stink to have bare walls on 14th and Irving. DCUSA also doesn't have traditional mall features like a food court, benches and kiosks. Plus it's just smaller, with around a dozen stores, most of which are on the street only.

So I guess that makes me feel a bit better. We aren't Germantown just yet.

Photo by Mr. T in DC

LAYC Craft Fair on December 10th -- artists and crafters needed

Are you a crafty person or an artist? Want to sale your wares? Or just want to buy some unique gifts? Check out this event below, which benefits the Latin American Youth Center's Art + Media House.
Spots are still avaliable.

Artists and Crafters Wanted

Be Part of the Art!
Holiday Craft Fair
Saturday December 10, 2011
9am-2pm @
LAYC’s Art + Media House
3035 15th St NW WDC

Vendor Fee: There is no cost to reserve a space. The revenue for each vendor will be totaled – 20% of total will support the youth work of the LAYC Art + Media House; and 80% will be earned by the vendor.

If you are interested please contact Claudia Diaz at

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Still very little progress at Z-Burger

Z-Burger? More like Zero-Burger.

It's been a long time since we first heard about Z-Burger. They were supposed to open this past summer, but nothing happened. And a few months ago I went by and there had been no progress.

Unfortunately, that's still the case. I went by this weekend and looked in the window -- they laid down some flooring and there was a small counter in the corner, but that appeared to be it, it was still pretty disheveled. There was a permit from August on the window.

I've tried getting in touch with them but to no avail. It's pretty strange, why sit there paying rent on an empty space? Is it that difficult to do construction? Are there permit problems or delays?

I don't get why this seems to happen so frequently in the area.

Why is it called Petworth?

The other Petworth
Ever wondered why Petworth is Petworth? What's a pet worth? DCist has the answer, part of their great weekend series on neighborhood names, Behind the Name.

In 1803, Colonel John Tayloe, one of the wealthiest men in America, bought 100 acres of land north of Rock Creek Church Road. He named in Petworth, after a famous mansion in England. Tayloe bred racehorses on the land, among other things.

In 1887, B.H. Warner and Myron M. Parker bought the land from Tayloe's heirs, and after combining it with some other land to form a 387 acre plot, the area was subdivided for the neighborhood we know today.

The DCist post linked above has more about the neighborhood's history into the 1890s. Always love this kind of thing.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Visual and performance artists and craftspeople needed at BloomBars

Do you do visual or performance art? Are you a crafter? BloomBars is looking for you. They're looking for people to do art, and they're also going to host a holiday bazaar -- sounds like a good opportunity for artists,  local crafters and for folks looking for interesting gifts.

Here's more:
The Gallery at BloomBars supports the broad mission that art and artists have the power to transform people, the community and the world.  For artists, the Gallery provides an environment that cultivates and challenges their aesthetic and professional growth and encourages relationships between the artist and community.  For the non artist, the Gallery serves as a source for new knowledge and the expansion of their concepts of neighborhood and society.

Currently, BloomBars is seeking visual and performance artists whose themes and works explore, confront and interpret personal, social, political and economic issues in ways that inform, challenge, expose, uplift and transform  the viewer.

If you are interested in an exhibition or performance opportunity, please email and request an exhibition proposal form. 

Additionally, The Gallery at BloomBars is seeking craft artists to vend at a holiday bazaar,  Saturdays and Sundays, December  12 -13 and December 19-20 with the exact times to be determined. If you are interested in a vending opportunity , please email and request an vendor application form.   

BloomBars is located in the diverse community of Columbia Heights at 3222 11th Street, NW.

Black Friday coming to DCUSA, and Small Business Saturday

16a.DCUSA.ShoppingMall.ColumbiaHeights.WDC.3may08 Get ready for some craziness at DCUSA on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving: DCist reports that a lot of stores in the shopping center will be open really early for shoppers.

The Target in DCUSA is joining others around the country and opening at Midnight on the 25th, and it will stay open for 24 hours. The midnight opening is a few hours after Thanksgiving dinner is over for many folks, and Target employees actually started a petition against the early opening.

In addition, Best Buy and Bed Bath and Beyond are also opening at midnight, though they're closing at 11 and 10.

Previous years have been pretty crazy at DCUSA, with port-a-potties and crowds, though commenters said they were mostly gone by the afternoon. I've always tried to avoid shopping on Black Friday due the crowds and general level of insanity, though I know some people do it as a tradition -- to each their own.

For those looking to avoid Black Friday, or just help small businesses, there's a relatively new effort called Small Business Saturday, encouraging people to spend money at small, local businesses on the 26th. I support that 100%, and have actually seen a few signs for it in the neighborhood. It's sponsored by American Express (and ironically lots of big companies, but hey, I will always support spending money at small businesses.)

There aren't a ton of options for small business retail in the neighborhood, but there are some good ones: D'Vines would be a great spot for the wine or beer lover, the farmer's market craftspeople have some cool jewelry and other neat items, 826DC's Museum of Unnatural History has tons of fun, quirky items, and there are vintage spots like It's Vintage Darling up on 14th.

Any others I'm forgetting? And of course, there's lots of small businesses on U Street, Adams Morgan, Mt. Pleasant, and elsewhere around the city.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Square dancing event on Saturday

Grav your partner and check it out!
The DC Square Dance Collective is pleased to invite you to our final dance of 2011, this Saturday, November 19. Yes folks, this is the genuine article: a good old-fashioned square dance, the kind that's delighted Americans for centuries in barns, churches, and living rooms all over this land. We'll have live old-time music from string band Hell on the Wabash, featuring Cleek Schrey and Rhys Jones on fiddles, Paul Brown on banjo, Jordan Tice on guitar, and Jason Sypher on bass. Old Man Kelly will be in town from Blacksburg, VA to call the dances. It's another all-star lineup - not to be missed!

Everyone is welcome - no partner or experience required. The caller will teach you all the moves and tell you what to do. Just walk on in and dance!

The dance is held in the beautiful sanctuary of St. Stephens Church, a short walk from the Columbia Heights metro. Many thanks to the wonderful community of St. Stephens for sharing their space with all of us. And thanks to the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, of which we are a part(y).

Date: Saturday, November 19
Time: 8:30 to 11:30 pm
Place: St. Stephens Church, 1525 Newton St. NW, Washington DC
Admission: $5
Directions: St. Stephens is a short walk from the Columbia Heights metro stop. If you're driving in, you may be able to find street parking, or there is a parking garage on Park Rd just west of 14th St, under the big shopping mall.
  More info on Facebook.
Look forward to seeing you there! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What to do with old magazines?

Recently I got a good question from a reader: what can you do with old magazines in the neighborhood? Is there any place where people can donate them -- a school, organization, tutoring group or anything? Maybe for crafts or for reading. If you know of any, ideally in the neighborhood, post it in the comments!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trivia night on Wednesday at Zeba Bar to support public interest law

Sounds like a neat event, to support public interest lawyers who work for non-profits. The fundraiser will help pay the law students so the non-profits don't have to.

Are you smarter than a bunch of law students?
Come support a good cause and challenge American University Law students to raise money for a good cause!
American University, Washington College of Law
Equal Justice Foundation
Trivia Night at Zeba Bar
Wednesday, November 16
8 p.m.
Equal Justice Foundation supports law students who work in the public interest. It provides summer funding to students to do public interest work.
Buy-in is $7 and it comes with free appetizers, discounted drinks, and endless fun.
Help make the world a better place. Support public interest lawyers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Rapid progress on house on empty lot on Harvard

Infill house on Harvard Rapid home construction

I walked down the 1300 block of Harvard this week and noticed this gap between two houses. A construction crew had started working, building a house in the gap, which is always good to see -- more neighbors and taking advantage of empty lots. I walked by a few hours later and was impressed by the amount of work they'd done in that time, the frame was already up on the first floor. I'm no construction expert, so maybe that's too fast, but I at least like seeing some work being done.

Plus it's nice to see new houses. It might mean the housing market is looking good in the area -- or that the owners of the lot got tired of getting no money for it. That to me is the weirdest thing about abandoned houses and empty lots, especially in our neighborhood -- if you have a livable house, you can make a good deal of money from it by renting or selling it. And if you don't have a livable house and don't plan to either fix it up or build a new one, why sit on it? It's crazy to me.

I know sometimes there are family disputes, like with 1483 Newton, which is such a shame. Otherwise though, I don't get it. It's work building or maintaining a house, but you get money and help the neighborhood get better.

Be careful: make sure to lock your windows or get bars

Just heard a pretty scary story from some folks on 11th Street: over the weekend at about 3 am, some thieves went into their house through an unlocked window and stole their TV, laptop, iPod and video game machine. Two of the housemates slept through it, while another heard the noise, but assumed it was one of the others coming home. The thieves then let themselves out through the door.

Crazy stuff. It serves as a reminder to keep your windows and doors locked, or get window bars. Of course, even if you have both, you should make sure valuables aren't close to the windows, like when thieves reach through open windows and steal things.

Cool new DC bike racks on Harvard

DC bike racks 

The other day I was on Harvard, just east of 14th Street and saw these cool bike racks: they say "DC". Always nice to see more bike racks in the neighborhood, especially cool ones like this. There used to be a real lack of them.

I'm not sure how many people will need to park their bikes in this location, but hey, couldn't hurt.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veteran's Day deal at IHOP for vets: 20% off

This is a nice deal for tomorrow, for any veterans:
Washington DC's IHOPs Salute all Veterans

Friday, November 11th Veterans received 20% OFF their entire bill.
Present proof of military service, past or present, or Military Dependent ID to receive discount.
1523 Alabama Ave SE or 3100 14th St NW

Fall is upon us: leaves are changing

It's definitely fall, if the trees on Girard are to be believed. I walked up the 1100-1200 block today and noticed a lot of great fall foliage. Always nice to see this. Until you have to rake it, of course.

Any other good spots to see foliage in the area? I bet Rock Creek Park and Meridian Hill are looking nice.

Ted Leo playing this Saturday at Sacred Heart Church

Big local concert news: DC bands Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and the Max Levine Ensemble are playing at St. Stephen's Church Sacred Heart Church at 16th and Park this Saturday in a benefit put on by Positive Force DC. Tickets are $13 and the show is for "immigrant rights, union organizing, and community-building. All profits to National Day Laborer Organizing Network and We Are Family DC." Better get them fast, it's not a very big place.

Leo puts on a great show: I saw him a few years ago a American U. The Max Levine Ensemble is from DC.

Always cool to see local boys done good, and also cool shows in the area. You may remember that Positive Force was involved with a lot of the hardcore music that happened here in the 1980s, and have been active since then.

Here's a sample of some Ted Leo songs I like.

UPDATE: Medications have been added to the bill.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New pharmacy coming to 14th and Fairmont?

Looks like another spot for getting your prescriptions filled: PoP reports that "folks on the street" say the empty space in the Columbia Uptown building at 14th and Fairmont will be filled by a pharmacy. My buddy snapped a shot of the permit, which doesn't really say much (you can click it for a big version).

This is the same building as the new Domino's and a dry cleaners. The space used to be a convenience store which I was sad to see go, they had good, cheap beer.

I'm not really sure we need another pharmacy in the area, as there's CVS, Giant and Target, but I suppose it could be worse: another bank or cell phone store that contributes nothing to foot traffic. I was hoping for a bar or restaurant.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A rundown of bar trivia in and around Columbia Heights

If you like bar trivia/pub quiz/answering questions while drinking alcohol, you're in a good place. A number of local bars have such things, and they're generally pretty fun. Here's a rundown. Make sure to tip your bartender, even if you get money off your tab. And in all cases it helps to get there early.
  • Wonderland, Monday nights starting at 7:30. This trivia used to be packed all the time with varying degrees of question quality. Lately, however, it's been less packed and there have been less impossible questions (I remember one night where every question was basically trying to teach you a lesson about how much cars pollute.) You get $100 off your bar tab if you win, and the regular bartender Andy is a nice guy.
  • Looking Glass, Tuesday nights starting at 8. This one is always hosted by the same guy, Dalton, aka The Quizmaster of Georgia Avenue. The trivia is always fun, and he always does an audio round. Can't beat that. Every week's has a theme: this week's theme is Cleveland, Ohio, so study up if you're going. I think first prize is $50 off your bar tab. Update from Dalton: "$60, actually. The prize for best team name is $15. Typically the team names that win are both topical & vulgar. And they often make fun of me."
  • Acre 121, Tuesday nights starting at 7:30. I've never been to this one, but they have a webpage.
And a few out of the neighborhood:
  • DC9, Monday nights starting at 7. Close enough.
  • Bedrock Billiards, Sundays at 8. You can bring in your own food.
Any others you'd recommend? Or your thoughts on these trivia nights? Let us know in the comments.

Found: bunch of dildos in an alley off Irving

If you are missing 4 dildos and a pair of socks, please go to the alley between Georgia and Warder and Kenyon and Irving.

No, really. The other day I was at a friend's house, and he suggested I check out the alley. Not sure what I would find, I walked down a bit and then discovered what he was talking about. There were 4 dildos (or technically vibrators) strewn about in the middle of the alley, plus some batteries, a newspaper, and a pair of socks. Three of them were identical, plus one other. (The fourth was a little up the alley from this cluster.)

Now it's funny enough that there are random sex toys in an alley. But to me, the more interesting thought exercise is, why are they there? Maybe this was a Halloween costume gone awry? Or somebody was getting back at their roommate by tossing their sex toys out. Or maybe there was something illicit going on in a car and the perps ditched the evidence? Somebody was going to a sex toy party (like a Tupperware party) and got scared and started running? The possibilities are endless. Feel free to speculate in the comments (but let's keep it PG-13.)

To make it more confusing, what's up with the socks? And there was something that looked like photo paper  -- obviously I wasn't going to touch it. Nearby there was a backpack, but who knows if that's related. I guess you have to carry them around somehow?

The randomness of stuff around our neighborhood never ceases to amaze me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Columbia Heights Marketplace event this Wednesday

The Columbia Heights Community Marketplace is a great resource: fresh veggies, fruit, meat and bread from local farmers, plus lots of artisans and other neat things (Pleasant Pops popsicles, for example.) However, it doesn't operate in a vacuum, so they're hosting a fundraiser this Wednesday with beer and wine, local chefs cooking, giveaways, and artisans. Sounds like fun, and supporting a great cause. You can also donate if you can't make it.

Here's more:

A celebration of local food and community!

Handcrafted jewelry and art by local artists * Meet your local chefs serving their favorite dishes * Local beer and wine * A look back at the past two Marketplace seasons * Silent auction featuring prizes from Columbia Heights and DC
Second Annual Harvest Evening:
Celebrating Another Great Season

Wednesday, November 9th
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

All Souls Church
1500 Harvard Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

Tickets: $30 presale / $40 at the door
Tickets available at the Marketplace every Saturday or buy online TODAY:


Enjoy food and drinks from local restaurants and Marketplace food vendors, including:
La Taquaria Distrito Federal * Meridian Pint * Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza * RedRocks * Chipotle * The Getaway * The Heights * Los Hermanos * Uptowner CafĂ© * Chapel’s Country Creamery * Sprigs Delight * Upper Crust Bakery * Bonaparte Breads * Chesley Vegetable Farm Great Lakes Brewing Company * Capitol City Brewing Company

Win great silent auction items, like:
Handcrafted jewelry and gifts, Yoga Classes at Studio DC, Results Gym Membership,
and giftcards to all your favorite Columbia Heights restaurants, bars, and businesses!
All funds raised from this event supports the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, a 501(c)3 charity organization.  Help us to grow our market, double-value Festibucks program for our most vulnerable neighbors, and youth gardening programs!  Thank you in advance for your support this season!

Rapper Malice from Clipse speaking to youth on Tuesday

Sounds like a cool event geared to local youth: rapper Malice from the hip hop group Clipse will be speaking about faith on Tuesday at the Columbia Heights Youth Club at 1480 Girard. It's at 6:30 pm and is free. Here's his website.

The event is sponsored by the District Church.

Bunch of cars smashed on Euclid on Friday: was it a car chase?

Let's hope you don't park on Euclid -- in the early morning hours on Friday, an SUV driver smashed into a bunch of parked cars on the 1000 block, doing a lot of damage. The car literally hit cars for the whole block. As you can see above, they did some serious damage -- see the photo gallery.

Neighbors told WUSA there was a police chase, and an MPD spokesperson sort of said that: "Early Friday morning a suspect travelling in a vehicle on the 1000 block of Euclid Street NW, collided with several parked vehicles and fled the scene on foot without making his identity known. Police are in the process of determining the identity of the suspect and would be issuing a warrant for his arrest soon." I would assume suspects don't usually drive really fast unless they're being chased, or were drunk or on drugs.

However, later on MPD chief Cathy Lanier said there wasn't a police chase. I would assume there's some kind of liability if there are accidents during a police chase, but I'm not sure why.

Sounds like a scary situation for those folks who were there. MPD doesn't have the person in custody, and it's unclear if they know who it was. What's odd is this isn't too uncommon, something similar happened in 2008 on 13th Street. Yeesh.

Anybody see it or hear it happening?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Neighborhood cleanup tomorrow!

The folks at the North Columbia Heights Civic Association have organized another cleanup, the last of the fall. Check it out, and stop by and help your hood!
Drop by for our final fall event, 9:30 am tomorrow on 11th Street, between Park and Monroe, for a neighborhood clean-up. For those interested, Meridian Pint is hosting a discounted brunch for volunteers following the clean-up at 10:30. See you tomorrow!

Pop-up ramen bar at Senor Chicken on Saturday from People's Bao: an interview

There's some interesting cuisine going on in our neighborhood. The folks behind People's Bao, who sell Asian buns at local farmers markets and plan to start a food truck selling the same, have also opened a pop-up ramen shop.

The shop, called People's Noodle Bar, is open every Saturday from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm in the Senor Chicken in DCUSA, on Park Road just west of 14th. They serve up big bowls of traditional ramen with pork or duck skin or a vegetarian variety. Some friends and I went a few weeks ago and it was pretty tasty stuff. Always nice to see new, interesting businesses in the neighborhood.

Recently we talked with Peter, who runs the business.

How did you get into the food business?
I got into the food business in 2008, working in various  restaurants as a line cook or floor manager.

Can you tell me some more about the food truck?
The truck is still part of the plan.  People's bao and People's noodle bar share many ingredients and cooking methods.  Hopefully People's Bao truck will run from the kitchen of People's Noodle Bar.
How did the ramen pop-up shop come about?
I already rent Senor Chicken's kitchen for People's Bao.  The owner of senor chicken and I one day were just bouncing ideas about our future plans.  He kindly offered me the opportunity to do a ramen popup in his restaurant.
And finally, what are your future plans?
We are still working on the plans.  There are many unknown factors.  However the immediate or constant plan to make great food and become involved in the community.

Specifically it means:
1, source high quality ingredients such as free range pork, organic chicken,  fresh mushrooms and etc.
2, Source ingredients from local farms as much as possible.   Nothing beats fresh produce picked right out of the ground.
3, cook with classic techniques with attention to all the detail.  For example, we filter all our cooking water, wash our vegetables 3 times, cook our pork bone stock with the classic 3 step and 18 hour method.

We are also working with a local homeless shelter on a plan to donating/delivering some food on a more regular basis.

We are just starting; so things will be gradually rolled out.  We believe in do good, do it right and having fun while doing it.  I guess that's our high level plan.  

Check out the People's Noodle Bar this Saturday from 6:30 to 9:30 pm on the Park Road side of DCUSA. You can follow them on Twitter too.

Famous writers lived in Columbia Heights: Ambrose Bierce, Zora Neale Hurston, more

Did you know that some famous authors lived around our neighborhood? I just heard about a really cool effort from DC writers Kim Roberts and Dan Vera, who spent more than 5 years tracking down where writers lived in and around DC. There's 120 writers on their website,, and you can sort it by type or location.

There's bios of each writer with a picture of their house (or its location if it's not there) and also a map, which shows that there a few folks in the Columbia Heights area, like Zora Neale Hurston (3017 Sherman), a Harlem Renaissance writer who wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God and did a lot more, Ambrose Bierce (a two-time Columbia Heights resident, the Olympia at 1368 Euclid and the El Dorado at 1321 Fairmont), famous for The Devil's Dictionary and "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" and who later disappeared, and actress and author Pearl Bailey (1300 Florida).

There's some other authors in Mt. Pleasant and Adams Morgan, plus a ton more all over the city. It's worth browsing the site and the map. 

Really neat stuff, great to see this. Here's more about who put the project together. Roberts and Vera are presenting a lecture about the making of the site on Friday at the Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th Street NW, suite 600, for those interested.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mt. Pleasant Library building tour this Saturday

The DC Historic Preservation League is holding a tour of the historic Mt. Pleasant Library at 16th and Monroe this Saturday. Sounds neat, here are the details:

A Public Knowledge Tour: Mount Pleasant LibrarySaturday, November 5th10:00am-12:00pmMetro: Columbia HeightsJoin DCPL for a tour of the historic Mount Pleasant Library! Led by project architects Dale Stewart and Dean Hutchenson of CORE, the construction tour will highlight the renovation of this important historic resource and the incorporation of new construction on the site.
Purpose-built in 1923 as a neighborhood library, this Beaux-Arts structure was designed by accomplished New York architect Edward Lippincott Tilton and was the last of three DC neighborhood library’s built with funds provided by Andrew Carnegie. Designed to harmonize with the monumental architecture along 16th Street, the library is a contributing resource within the Mount Pleasant Historic District.
Space is limited!
$15 DCPL Members
$25 Non-Members
Click here to register.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Room 11 thinking about serving brunch

I've been told that the folks at Room 11 are considering serving brunch on the weekends. It would be a somewhat different take on brunch, plus there will be brunch cocktails, like a horchata cocktail. Sounds pretty awesome to me.

I don't know much more than that, and there isn't a timeline for when they might start that I've heard, but it sounds good. I like Room 11 a lot, and there is definitely a need for more brunch spots in the neighborhood.

I hope they decide to do it. Your thoughts?

Capitol Pride's DC's Different Drummers to perform on the 5th

See below for an event at the Columbia Heights Education Campus (16th and Park) with DC's Different Drummers, Capitol Pride's symphonic band.
D.C.'s Different Drummers, Capitol Pride Symphonic Band Presents: Architects of Music
The Capitol Pride Symphonic Band is proud to present our Fall Concert, Architects of Music. The event will be held on Saturday, November 5, at 8pm at the Columbia Heights Education Campus Auditorium (CHEC), located at 3101 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C 
Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and will be available at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, call 202-403-3669 or visit our, online box office. Please note, tickets purchased online include a small processing fee. Please contact with any questions. 
This program reflects composers that exemplify architectural structures in their compositions. We will also feature guest emcee Martin Moeller, author of AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington, D.C., and guest conductor Nancy Plantinga.
The concert will begin with J.S. Bach's "Fugue a la Gigue," arranged by Gustav Holst. Bach was the master of the fugue and constructed a clear foundation upon which other composers built. Our next selection, Eric Whitacre's “Sleep,” highlights our guest conductor, who is a personal music mentor to our own conductor, Joe Bello. Nancy was instrumental in Joe's musical journey, serving as his first "Architect of Music."
Closing the program will be Ottorino Respighi's stirring composition "The Pines of Rome." Respighi was an Italian composer and musicologist whose music reflects the 16th and 17th centuries. This work is most commonly known for its appearance in Disney's Fantasia 2000.
We look forward to seeing you at 8pm on November 5, at the CHEC, to journey through D.C.'s Different Drummers' Architects of Music.