Saturday, July 15, 2006

Renee Gordon's 'spirtual' journey to Berry Hill Plantation's Juneteenth Celebration

I would visit South Boston VA over the weekend of 16 - 18 June to document the Juneteenth Celebration at the Berry Hill Plantation Resort. And while there I spent Friday photographing the North Main Street, the South Boston Historic District and the Oak Ridge Cemetery. On Saturday morning John Fulton, my host, and I would arrive at the Berry Hill Plantion shortly before 11 AM. As a guest at his Charles Bass House Bed and Breakfast, on the night before, when he had gotten in from a Shakespeare play at the Berry Hill Plantation Resort he said that he had met a lovely Afro-American woman and travel columnist from the Philadephia Sun who had flown down from Pliladelphia to attend and report on the Juneteenth Celebration at the Berry Hill Plantation Resort. And due to a minor mix-up, she had not been registered as a guest. But, and as fate would have it, he was able to make arrangements with the management for her to rent a room.

When we arrived at Berry Hill Plantation Renee Gordon, the travel columnist, was conducting an interview with Suzanne Gandy, Berry Hill Public Relations Manager, on the front porch of the mansion. Not wanting to disturb them John would then give me a quick tour of the mansion. After the tour we stepped outside onto the porch at which time John would introduce us to each other.

And as fate would have it, Ms Gandy suggested that along with her business partner, Eugene Whitesell, we all drive down to the slave quarters and the cemetery before the crowds arrived.

And as fate would have it, I am quite pleased to have met Renee Gordon and hope, in the course of our travels, that we may meet again.

Renee Gordon, the Smooth Traveler, begins her Berry Hill Plantation 2006 Juneteenth report with "The name conjures up mixed images of antebellum southern life, with all of the attendant issues, and visions of contemporary vacation spots that offer an amazing palette of posh accommodations and unending activities. Berry Hill does indeed offer all of the above, and yet, there is even more to be experienced. From its very inception the estate has had a noteworthy history, a strong African American presence and is in many ways is a microcosm of the larger story of our nation."

Windows - Dupont Circle North . 14 July 2006

I had passed by this store front many times before but, for some reason, it would be on 2 June 2006 when as a tour guide for friends in town from South Boston VA that the Claude Taylor Photography would catch my attention. Though I may would have gone inside, as I said, I was acting as a tour guide and was in the process of showing the four friends shops along the block that may be of interest to them. In particular, Lambda Rising and the HRC Equality Store. At the time, John, Chris and Daniele were inside of Lambda Rising which, moments before, I had introduced them to. But, after an already long day acting as a tour guide, I could not put up with the racism that the staff at Lambda Rising displayed towards me, which was in sharp contrast to the manner by which the staff at Lambda Rising was treating the four white guys that I had brought to the store.

I had taken Chris and Daniele to the back of Lambda and then walked to the front area of the store where John and Joe were and said, it was Friday afternoon, it since it has been my practice when in the Dupont Circle North area to photograph the windows along Connecticut Avenue, I'll be out side, on the street taking pictures, of store windows near by.

Joe said that he would join me which I really preferred that he had not. While I had nothing against him, and would not kick him out of my bed, the expereince that I had just had, at Lambda Rising which was in sharp contrast that of my white friends, affected me so much, that I had to step away. So, I wanted to get outside, before I 'went off' on the staff. And, while I had nothing against Joe, I neeeded some air. Some room to breath. Alone ... would have been my preference. If just for a moment. So as to catch my breath.

Joe, the way well meaning white men will do, followed me to the street. During which time and for the first time I'd observe the Claude Taylor Photography Exhibition. I may would have gone inside but did not, since Joe was with me and we were waiting for John, Chris and Daniele to come outside of Lambda Rising.

I actually had not yet posted the 2 June 2006 series of Windows at Dupont Circle North images because, not wanting to offend John and his friends or make them feel uncomfortable by shedding light on my experiences. Which is why after the 4 July incident I put off the writing of, at least, two photo essays, namely "The Fidler", and "When White Folks Come Around".

A fellow flickrite, Trishlet, was due in town with her son and while we had made no definite plans I wanted to make myself available should she and her soon ask if I could show them around. And since the stuff that I go through, as a black man, can be so god damn twisted, I did not want my experiences to spill over into her visit. Nor make her feel uncomfortable.

On the afternoon of 14 July 2006, during my ritual Friday Photo Walk, I'd head to Dupont Circle North. Earlier, when walking from the Farragut North Station, I had photographed windows and, in the process, focused on shoes. I particularly liked the shoes displays at Betty Fisher where cake stands were used as props. Taking photos from various angles, I'd laugh and think of Susan Gage Caterers and say to myself, Susan would appreciate this.

When I reached Connecticut Avenue at the north side of the Circle I observed Richard Thomspon sitting at the rear of Starbucks with his shoes proped up onto the rear fence railing. And as I had captured his crotch the Friday before, I'd capture his shoes and feet on Friday, 14 July.

And then the backside of an hispanic man leaning against a railing before shifting my focus to Dupont Circle North Windows. Remembering that I had wanted to learn more about the Claude Taylor Photography exhibition while photographing windows and tattoos along the way, I, walked north. Two doors before Claude Taylor Photography I'd observe huge posters in Lambda Rising window emblaced with IRAN: STOP KILLING GAYS pertaining to a 5 pm Rally in Dupont Circle on 19 July. Wanting to bring attention to the event as well as document the window display I'd snap a few shots of the window display at Lambda Rising.

And since the poster did not exhibit any website I stepped inside to inquire of the staff if they had any posters or knew of a website that I may post it to my blog. Observing the manner by which the staff treated me, as soon as walked through the door, which to me is absolutely insane since they know of me as 'the protest photographer' and while, literally, flashing back to my experiences on 2 June I politely said to the staff person behind the corner that as a 52 year old gay black man, I did not appreciate the manner by which I am treated when I visit the store.

After some clairification of what I'm meant she'd ask "Do I treat you that way?". I said 'Yes, you have and each that I've in this store in recent months." She'd hand me a flyer pertaining the rally and just as I would turn to go, the manager walked up and politely asked if could be of any help.

I'd explain, that as a black man, I hate the way that I am treated when I visit Lambda Risin'. He said 'we watch everybody'. I'd respond, 'but not the way you black men!'. Saying to me 'Don't play that race card with me, I pride myself in ...." we'd step outside. He's say 'don't come back no more. And, "... if you do I'll call the police ...!'

It also had been on 4 July 2006 that a white man had said to me 'I'll call the police and put you jail' when at McDonalds on 17th Street and betwen K and I that I inquired of him and his two sons why they were watching me, from just outside the door, take a piss in the bathroom.

It also had been in November or December 2005 when during one of my Friday evening photo walks along Dupont Circle North that white shoe store manager would run outside and say "I'll call the police.' Which then brought to mind 12 February 2005, when I was photographing a group of black basket ball players in Stead Park and with whom I was having a disucssion with, pertaining to my Stead Park project, that 2 white lesbians who were passing by, both with cell phones in their hands, taking pictures of me taking pictures would say "I'll call the police!"

I say all this because my intent was to visit the Travel Photography store to learn more about the Claude Taylor Photography Exhibition. However, after the incident at Lambda Risin' I was in no mood to walk inside of any store ...

I needed some air, and to breath.

Once home, I'd check the website of Charles Taylor Photography and Travel Photography and now wish that I had gone inside. Later when the evening, when I'd post some of my 2 June 2006 window images of Charles Taylor Photography, Trishlet, would, immediately, add a comment to one of the pictures saying that when she and her son had been town that that they had stopped in at Claude Taylor Photography.

Mad as well, but not wantiong my experience to spill over onto her, I put off responding to her until later in the morning. When I had some time breath and catch my breath.

When in the future that I should walk on that block or pass Lambda Risin' I'll flashback to 14 July and 02 June. And when I do return to Lambda Risin', it will in the form of a protest ... as I shout out ... to other black men who've had the same experiences as have I.

Hindsight . Friday Photo Walk . 14 July 2006

On 5 July 2006 I launched this new blog, F R E E D OM, not only for the purpose of bringing attention to events, cultural matters, artists, interesting businesses and historical scenarios that are of interest to me but also as a means by which to move forward, inspite of the racism that I expereince each and every day of my black life and, perhaps, but as a long time friend said to me yesterday evening , "... just move on, get over it and ignore them!". To which I would reply, 'Please stop insulting me. Don't you think that that is precisely what I have always done. Don't you think that that is what my photography, my writings and my travelings are about. But it's kind of hard to move on, or to get over it and to ignore them when they spend every moment of their lives trying to dismantle what I do, lying about me, and going out of their way to affect me negatively. And, 'calling the police!'".

Which is what I hear almost each and every time that I take pictures. And even when I don't hear it ... it is something that folks will do. For example, after a photo walk when I board the subway system, an announcement will come over the PA system 'If you see someone acting suspicious ... contact the Metro Police ....'. And when you add the fact that when I take pictures folks will follow me through the streets, onto subway, and to the Safeway, I have no doubt, that the announcement, sometimes (not always), is directly towards me, the black man with a two cameras.

It was Friday, 14 July, Bastille Day and I had not gotten to nor completed many of the projects that I'm working on but wanted to make sure that, in the process of my ritual Friday Photo Walk, that I revisited several of the places or venues that I had reported on before or that I needed more information about as was the case with the Loop Exhibition at the Corocoran.

Leaving my apartment just before 2 PM, which was much later than I had hoped, while waiting for the Green Line train in the direction of Greenbelt, at Waterfront Station, I'd jot down into my pad "Bastille, Corcoran, Ronny Charles, hair cut, Code Pink". However, I was a bit concern that a hevy rain storm would pass through. So, during the course of my 14 July 2006 Friday Walk, not only was concerned about the rain, I was concerned that someone would call police on me, for taking pictures. After transferring at Gallery Place, on the subway ride to Farragut North, I'd reflect on a photo essay that I've been contemplating entitled Imagine that will began from a conversation that I had with a white guy on Friday evening, 9 June, when he would join me at Dakotas Cowgirl.

Imagine what I could be .... if I were not a black man!

So, for the sake of this new blog, F R E E D O M, this particularly posting as will postings on this site will bring attention to venues, events, protests, businesses, cultiral matters and historical scenarios. However, in hindsight, I know enough about life that in order for me to move forward, I must not be silent and pretend that I did see what I saw or did not experience, which is sharp what my experiences had I been white. With that having said, reporting and commenting on and bringing attention to the various events, sports, protests, and cultural matters that I visited yesterday, during my 14 July 2006 Friday Photo Walk at this F R E E D O M, rest assure that, and without apologies ... I will speak louder than words regarding my experiences.

In hindsight, each and Friday or Saturday or Sunday or whenever I that I've taken pictures over all these years, as a black man I return home having experienced the same oppression! In hindsight!

In hindsight, every trip that I've made to NYC, San Francisco, Baltimore, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, in recents, and, in particular since 1992 I have returned home ... unfulfilled.

In hindsight, its only been through the integration of my photography with my writings that I m verbalize the truth. In my writings, I've spoken of the racism that expereince when stores. In particular, for the purpose of my 14 July 2006 Friday Photo Documentary Project, I've often about the way that I am treated when visit Lambda Rising, HRC Equality Store or Universal Gear or the various gay stores in the Dupont and Logan Circle area. In my writings, and as recent as Easter Saturday I'd tell of my expereinces at Lambda Risin' when I'd happen Darren, a former colleague from Susan Gage Caterings. And, in my writings, I would tell of my experiences on 2 June when as tour guide I would introduce 4 friends from South Boston VA to Lambda Rising and the HRC Store. In the 2 June photoessay I speak to the fact, that, as white men, these friends were treated with a respect that I was not afforded. It was so obvious and matter of fact.

And the HRC store manager said, "Oh, I know you. You'll the protest photographer ...' and then proceeded to mistreat in sharp contrast as she treated the 4 white guys that I brought into the store. In my 5 October 2003 photoessay, Grown Ass Black Man, which commemorated my 50th birrthday I talk about my experiences at that very HRC Equality Store which is not unlike my expereinces at Lambda Rising. My experiences, as a black man, at Lambda Risin' had been a topic of conversation, many years ago, with Jim Marks when he inquired why I had not visited the store too often.

Bob Costello, aware of my writings and my photography had suggested that I touch base with folks at Lambda Risin'. And the reasons that I did are directly to the manner by which I have treated when visiting the store. In hindsight!

The next few postings on this site will bring attention to the events, sports, protest, art exhibitions and cultural scenarios that I visited or revisited on Friday, 14 July 2006.

But, to gain a better perspective of me and, may I invite you to walk in shoes by visiting Louder Than Words.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Happy 66th Birthday Ronny

Ronny, who is Chief Engineer of 1350 Connecticut Avenue, in NW, celebrates his 66th birthday today. Moments before this picture was taken Mark Francis Nickens, the solo guitarist, had begun his Friday evening session with his own rendition of "Happy Birthday, Ronny ...!" .

I walked over to Ronny and wished him a Happy Birthday! He said "It's my 66th!". I asked if I could take a few photos of him, in celebrataion of his birthday. He said yes. During which time he informed me that he is Chief Engineer at 1350 Connecticut Avenue. Though I did not say it to him then, 1350 Connecticut Avenue, which I refer to as the Triangle Building is amongst the buidings in WDC that I have more than just a passing interest in and have photographed many times before as part of my ongoing Cityscape, Architectural and Industrial Photography Project. In fact, having heard from a friend whose dentist's office in the building that the some of the floors have historical photographs depicting Dupont Circle from years ago, on one occasion I stopped in at the front desk to inquire if I may go upstairs to see the historical photographs and, perhaps, take some aerial pictures of the cityscape from various vantage points in the building. Several of my Triangle Building photos have been featured at architectural or historical sites, including the Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets.

When he said that was from and lives in 'Calvert County' I'd say that I am originally from St. Mary's County. To which he would reply that he knows St. Marys' faily well and that he would be heading down that direction soon to do some fishing. I'd say that I'm not one for fishing.

I'd walk away, planning to take a few photos of Mark and then decided to go back over to Ronny and would then mention to him that, as a documentary photographer, one of my architectural themes, is 1350 Connecticut Avenue and that as recent as a month ago I had inquired at the front desk who I should contact to gain access to some of the higher floors for the purpose of photographing the interior as wells as the Washington DC from various windows in the building. He said that he has known others to have it before but that he would check with management and should we meet again he would then let me know who I should contact.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RONNY! And may you have many more.

Dupont Circle South Station . Between Connecticut Avenue and 19th Street, NW . WDC . Friday evening, 14 July 2006 . Elvert Xavier Barnes Photography

14 July 2006 Friday's Photo of the Week

Reflection of a Man Sitting in Dupont Circle
Each Friday, this blog will feature a favorite photo that I will have taken during the current week. Today is Friday, 14 July 2006, and the above photo, a reflection of a man sitting in Dupont Circle, was taken yesterday evening, 13 July 2006. While my photography is documentary, in nature, I also like to have fun. In recent weeks I've focused on reflections in Dupont Circle, after the rain. During a recent trip to NYC for the 25 June 2006 Heritage Pride Parade I would also start the Caught in the Rain series.

Les Halles' Liberty Festival & Bastille Day

Liberty Festival: July 4 – 14 was the annual Les Halles Liberty Festival & Bastille Day celebration at Les Halles Downtown. Each year we celebrate American & French freedom for eleven days, from America’s Independence Day to France’s Bastille Day. During the Liberty Festival the restaurant features a special menu (last year's menu) as well as other festivities. Culminating on Bastille Day, July 14th, is a FREE outdoor block party featuring the famous Waiter’s Race in which waiters from across the city and the world show their stripes as they race down the street with a full tray. The winner must cross the finish line without spilling a drop! To share in the fun there is also the Customer’s, Children’s and Chef’s races.Liberty Festival sponsors included: Ciao Bella Gelato, Volvic Natural Spring Water, Happy Chef Uniforms, and Kronenbourg 1664.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Day 10 . Troops Home Fast Hunger Strike @ The White House

On Thursday afternoon, 13 July 2006, which represents the 10th day of the Troops Home Fast Hunger Strike when en route to the Corcoran's Member Preview Day I'd pass through Lafayette Park which is across the street from The White House and would take a few pictures of the participating individuals. During which time Diane Wilson, on her 10th day, was in the process of an interview. Anne Wright who is from Honolulu Hawaii also on her 10th day, and a member of Veterans For Peace was reading the New York Times. From Portland Oregon, Martha Odom, also on her 10th day was doing the cross word puzzle.

Though Geoff Millard began his fast on 4 July, due to medical reasons he, on the 5th day, had to stop fasting, at least for a few days. In the meantime, he has traveled to other US cities and Toronto bringing attention to the Troops Home Fast Hunger Strike. He plans to resume a rolling fast as soon as his medical situation permits. Jesse Dyen, a Code Pink supporter from Oakland California who began on 4 July has also been fasting for 10 days. Dana Bell, a staff person from Code Pink was also amongst the group. She, however, has not yet participated in the rolling fast but may will do so in the future.

Though the website's indicates that one may join the White House Hunger Strike through 21 September it also states that this particular vigil, lasting until 15 August, will move to Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas on 16 August 2006. When visiting the vigil again I will ask for clarification. I can only presume that while the White House vigil may will remain, indefinately, Diane Wilson will relocate her public vigil to Texas on 16 August.

On Day 9, which was Wednesday, 12 July, 3786 people were engaging in solidarity fasts around the nation and in 22 other countries. Two blogs that are journalizing to the Hunger Strike are Wilson Watch and Lovolution.

Nations Nightclub final event on Saturday, 15 July

The increasing real estate development and looming baseball stadium construction has forced one of Washington DC’s largest and well known nightclubs to close its doors for good on Sunday, July 16th of this year. Nation nightclub, located on Capitol Hill near the Navy Yard, will be torn down to make way for a new, mixed use office building.

Nation was carved out of the former Hurley Boiler building, originally built in 1924, and takes up the block between K and L and Half and South Capitol streets. John Boyle, nightlife entrepreneur and son of Jack Boyle, founder of Cellar Door productions, designed Nation and first opened its doors in 1999. John envisioned a mixed use facility that would feature national acts on the main stage and host DJ driven dance parties featuring the top national and international DJ talent on a weekly basis. His vision came to fruition thanks in large part to a loyal dedicated staff, many of whom have been with Nation since the beginning.

Catherine Leroy: 1946 - 2006

By far, one of my favorite blogs is the Living With Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog. Though I do not always have the time to read their entries, immediately, I always look forward to reading their daily updates. And, in the cases, that I have put off reading a particular day's update when I have read it a day or so later I usually find that I've missed some important event or essay, and, that it would have been to my advantage to have read it on the morning that I received it.

This morning, on Thursday, 13 July 2006, I would sadly learn that famed photographer, Cathereine Leroy, who lived in the Chelsea Hotel in the late 1980's died of cancer early Saturday at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, at age 60.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Caught In the Rain . Wednesday evening, 12 July

Earlier in the day when posting my 4 July White House Roller Hockey photos which brought attention to the Washington Area Roadskaters (WAR) I'd then realize that, it being Wednesday, WAR members may would hold their weekly Wednesday Skate Night, weather permitting. Since I had also hoped to touch base with Diane Wiliams who, since 3 July, and along with other peace demonstrators has held vigil at the Troops Home Fast Hunger Strike, in Lafayette Park, though in the midst of working on several photoessay projects I decided to head to Lafayette Park, and, perhaps, would kill two birds with one stone.

Just before leaving, perhaps, at around 4:15p or so a heavy rain storm would pass through. Which is often the case, in the summer, in WDC. And once it passes through, the sky clears up and the rain will stop. I'd leave my apartment at 5:30. for the m,ost part, the rain had stopped. Catch the green line from Waterfront Station, in SW. Transfer to the red line at Gallery Place, in NW, and deboard at Farragut North. Run south from Connecticut Avenue and K Street to Lafayette Park and reach the south side of the Peace Park, in front of the White House at 6:59p. Not observing any roller hockey players, I'd inquire of one of the policeman, who I've seenm before, if he had seen any roller hockey players. He said that he had not. And would add, that he, himself, had just arrived in the park. I'd walk afew yards west toward 17th Street and directly across the street from the White House Press Gate where several groups of people had congregrated awaiting the departure of the Presidential motorcade. Seconds later, a motorcade would pull out from The White House complex, turn left and head in the direction of 17th Street. I'd snap a few photos, in connection with my ongoing Presidential Motorcade Project. I'd then walk back into the park and inquire of a homeless man who I have photographed several times in the past if he had observed any roller hockey players. He said that he had not. But, that a group of them had been around yester evening. Which would have beenTuesday, 11 July.

It was then that I noticed a group of demonstrators from the Troops Home Fast Hunger Strike holding vigil under one of the trees. Perhaps to protect themselves from the rain. Or, I'm sure, also from the sun. I'd walk over say hello to Diane Wilson. Hand her my card saying if she checked out my site at that she would find a recent posting pertaining to her. Saying to the group that "My style is consentual but candid, meaning that I do not like 'posing' ... so just pretend that I am not here'" I would take several shots of the group during which time one of the men was sharing his experiences.

After taking the photos, I'd thank the group and head back to Pennsylvania Avenue, at the center of Peace Park, where I inquired of Concepcion if she had observed any roller hockey players. She said that she had not.

She then would ask if I knew Bill Maher. At first I could not understand the procunciation of the last name but after some contemplation and clarification I realized that she must have meant Bill Maher. Apparently he, or someone from his staff, had interviewed her on yesterday, which was Tuesday, 11 July 2006. She asked for my assistance in obtaining a copy of the interview. Reflecting that I had attended one of his Politcally Incorrect tapings at Howard University some years back I'd inform her that I knew of the comedien and talk show host who now hosts the political commentary show, Real Time on HBO, on Friday nights. I said that I would see what I could.

Though it was not then raining, the cloud formations suggested that another rain storm was about to pass through. I'd rush from Peace Park, retrace my steps north along Connecticut Avenue, through MacPherson Square, proceed up Connecticut Avenue in the direction of Dupont Circle with hopes of getting a few shots of rain reflections in Dupont Circle before the rain storm came through. North of M and just before reaching N, on Connecticut Avenue I'd stop to take several photos of the VISA-Life Takes Risks billboard at the bus stop and just as I was about to leave from under the bus stop, a heavy rain storm would start. Waiting for the rain to stop, and reflecting on my 25 June 2006 rain photos, I'd began to take photos of folks, hurrying about in the rain on Connecticut Avenue.

I must admit, one of the reasons that I had proceeded past Farrugut North which is where I could easily have boarded the red line to return home was that I was hoping to happen upon several roller hockey players sitting on the front patio of the Lucky Bar which is where I have photographed a few of them in the past. The Dupont Circle rain reflections would only come to mind as a second thought. My hope was to photograph, at least, one hockey player ... if necessary ... caught in the rain.

Yes, I was very disappointed not to have captured the Washington Area Roadskaters Roller Hockey Players in front of the White House but I was also glad to see Diane Wilson and the other Hunger Strike participants. And, had it not been for the rain, I may would not have been inspired to continue the new but now ongoing project Caught In the Rain. In closing, let me just say this.

One of my favorite things that I have always enjoyed, is to be caught in the rain, during the hot summer months of summer. Whenever I'm now caught in the rain, I usually reflect on when as freshmen or sophomores at the University of Maryland, in College Park, that a group of my friends, namely Sandra Burkom, Fred Allentoff, Frank Gramarossa and Robyn (whose last name I can not now remember) would rush outside of Easton dorm, run down the hill and across University Boulevard and 'dance in the woods ... in the rain!'. And, yes, there times, then too, that we would streak across campus, naked as jay birds, in the rain!

Frank, an Italian from Long Island who was my best friend and soul mate would pass in the spring of 1989. Fred, Jewish, who was from Brooklyn NY would relocate to the Baltimore area after graduating form U of M, I would run into a few years back at a barmizva that I catered in WDC. Married and with children he was even more handsome than when he was in college. Sandra, also Jewish, was from the Pikesville area and, at least from what I had heard, would marry and raise a family. Not too sure of what happen to Robyn who was also Jewish but I'm sure she's done well in whatever she chose to do with her life.

So, whenever I'm caught in the rain, as was the case on the evening of 12 July and on Sunday, 25 June in NYC, these old friends, Frank, Sandra, Fred and Robyn will come to mind.

Washington Area Roadskaters . Wednesday Night Skate

For many years, at least, since 1992 one of my many ongoing sports photography themes has been Roller Hockey in front of the White House. An interesting note that I should make, and one that my friends know, about me, is that I am really not into sports or non of that competative stuff. However, I am into photography, and as such, sportsman in action, like men at work or skateboarders are amongst my ongoing documentary projects.

Some months back I would learn from one of the White House roller hockey players of the Washington Area Roadskaters which many of the White House Roller Hockey Players are members of.

The Washington Area Roadskaters ("WAR") is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote safe and enjoyable in-line skating in the Washington, D.C. area. One of the oldest in-line skate clubs on the east coast, WAR was founded in 1987 and has had thousands of men and women join its ranks.

WAR is also a social organization where many strong and lasting friendships are formed. It's members have very diverse career, social, and educational backgrounds who all share a passion for in-line skating. If you are new to the area, and are seeking a new form of exercise, or are simply looking to meet new and interesting people, you are encouraged to try one of their group skates, where you'll meet others, and see D.C. in a whole new way.

Every Wednesday night, year-round, members of WAR meet in front of the White House, by 6:45 pm for a 7pm step-off, weather permitting.

The Wednesday Night Skate meets on Pennsylvania Ave in front of The White House. This skate is moderatly fast. It varies depending on a variety of factors, but a skater should be able to maintain a moderatly fast pace of 10-15 miles per hour. Because of Washington's moderately hilly terrain, one should have mastered at least two kinds of braking (e.g., heel braking, T-stopping, power slides, snowplowing, etc.) and be able to brake on a hill of at least 30-degrees before participating. Some skates will go down very long, windy hills with leading skaters reaching speeds of 30 mph or more.

Manueverability on hills and control at all times is very important as the skate travels on roadways which contain innumerable hazards, such as cars, bad pavement, pedestrians and other skaters. The ability to stop or avoid obstacles is critical to the ability to skate on Wed Nights.

Fun is what you can expect from the Wed night skate. If you are an advanced skater, you will enjoy skating with DC's regulars (and fair-weather regulars) in the advanced skater scene. The Wed night skate is the most popular weekly event, with a diverse medely of routes selected by devoted skate leaders every week. Boisterious conversation and rascious laughter can break out at any rest stop or apres-skating destination.

I may very well stop by The White House this evening. Not to skate, of course, but to capture the sportsman in action, just before step-off. And while there, it would afford me the perfect opportunity to visit with Diane Wilson and the others folks holding vigil at the Troops Home Fast Hunger Strike.

Corcoran Member Preview Day . Thursday, 13 July

Corcorcan Members
are invted to the
Thursday, July 2006
10a - 8p
redefined is the largest exhibition of modern and contemporary art from the Corcoran’s permanent collection since the founding of the museum. It provides an unprecedented opportunity to experience many of the museum’s most important works from the 1950s to the present. The exhibition unfolds throughout the spring and summer months. Phase one (downstairs): on view April 8. Phase two (upstairs): opens July 15.
Opening on July 15, 2006 and closing on October 1, 2006, Robert Weingarten’s photographs of artists’ palettes bridge the gap between realism and abstraction, presenting details of both saturated pigments and the visual landscapes of artists’ studios. These images allow a microcosmic view of the materials and methods of more than twenty contemporary painters, including Chuck Close, Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, Robert Ryman, Wayne Thiebaud, and Lisa Yuskavage.
A Members’ tour will be offered by Jonathan P. Binstock, Curator of Contemporary Art, at 10:30 AM and 6:30 PM.Visit the Museum Shop on Member Preview Day and receive a special 20% discount on all purchases!Members receive a 10% discount at the Cafe des Artistes.Visit to view images from the exhibition and to learn more.
redefined is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art and funded by The President’s Exhibition Fund. Related educational programming has been made possible in part by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation FUNd. Robert Weingarten: Palette Series is part of an ongoing series presented through the generous support of the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Exhibition Fund.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Matt & Barbra: The Sixties Part Two

Matthew Howe, creator of "The Barbra Archives" website, continues his chronicling of Streisand's career in THE SIXTIES: PART TWO, which covers the years 1964 to 1969. Barbra's television specials (My Name, Color, Belle, & Central Park), live performances (including the International Hotel, her 1966 abbreviated tour, & others), magazine cover stories (with quotes), and films (Funny Girl, Dolly) are all highlighted. Available from Lulu, the book is written and designed by Howe, "perfect bound" and full color. Self portrait photo by Matthew Howe.

Diane Wilson, An Unreasonable Woman

I first met Diane Wilson on 17 November 2002 when documenting a news conference which announced Code Pink's historic debut onto the Washington DC peace movement scene when across from the White House, in Lafayette Park, a coalition of progressive womens' groups, including Code Pink launched a forty day Woman's Vigil and Fast For Peace, as an urgent call to stop (prevent) war on Iraq.

Until that day I had never heard of Code Pink, Diane Wilson nor of a rolling fast. Over the next few months through 8 March 2003 I would document and record many of Code Pink's direct actions in WDC. My second visit to the 40 Days and 40 Nights Woman's Peace Vigil would be on that following Thursday, 21 November during which time I would learn more about Diane Wilson. A few days later when documenting the Pre-World AIDS Day Code Red Demonstration I would observe Diane Wilson in the process of an interview with another news gatherer.

Many of these women were from the West Coast or, in the case of Diane, from Texas but, in any case, was not aware of the cold temperatures in WDC during the very time of year that they were holding their vigil. Which, according to them, would last, at least, until the 8 March 2003 Womens' International Day March on Washington. It is not always easy for me to seperate myelf from the issues or subjects that I report on. So, my dropping by the Womans' Peace Vigil was sometimes in concern about the individuals that I met. Many, who according them, had not been in WDC before. Or, at least, during the cold months of November and December.

On Thanksgiving Day, 26 November 2002, I would walk from my apartment in the SW Waterfront area of WDC across the National Mall, along Pennsylvania Avenue, capturing Homelessnes in Washington DC and, in the process, would visit the Woman's Peace Vigil in Lafayette Park which is when I would learn that Diane had been arrested the day before.

I would return on Sunday, 1 December 2002, which marked the second week anniversary of the Woman's Vigil & Fast for Peace. And when I inquired of the status of Diane Wilson, no one seemed to know. Over the next few months I would learn that Diane had spent several months in a federal prison in the WDC area before she was released. Once released she was barred from the WDC area and in particularly was not permitted within a certain distance of the White House. At least, until her case came to trial. I would spend the weekend of 7 - 9 March 2003 documenting the Women's International March on Washington and can not now recall if Daine was in attendence. Whiule I do not know the specifics of the case nor of Diane's actions since then, I certainly was glad to see Diane Wilson at the 2006 Independence Day Troops Home Fast Hunger Strike.

Some years back and long before I had ever heard of Diane Wilson or Code Pink I had begun an "Unruly White Women" photographic and documentary project in a similar way that I had created "Angry Black Men" , "Mad Black Women" and "Angry White Men" projects. Diane Wilson, who refers to herself as An Unreasonable Woman, is definitely an 'unruly white woman'.

To learn more about Diane Wilson and her unruliness visit the Unreasonable Women of Texas blog site and/or purchase her latest book An Unreasonable Woman - A True Story of Shrimps, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas.

Or visit her in Layayette Park, across from the White House, where since 4 July 2006, Diane Wilson, an unruly and unreasonable white woman, has remained on a hunger strike ... until the US troops come home from Iraq.

Monday, July 10, 2006

DC Soccer fans celebrate Italian win at 2006 World Cup

Out taking pictures yesterday evening, during my ritual Sunday Photo Walk, when passing through the Logan Circle area I'd hear shouts and cheers coming from my left that, at first, I could not figure out, from what direction the cheers were coming. Heading south on 14th Street, just north of Rhode Island Avenue I'd observe folks at the Caribou Cafe waving at an approaching vehicle that was heading west along Rhode Island Avenue. It was then that I'd realize that the cheers were coming from a car containing several young men that were heading west, along Rhode Island Avenue, celebrating something that I had no idea what they were celebrating. All I saw, of the passing car, were hands and torsos extending from the four windows. And as it crossed 14th Street, at least six extended arms with attached hands would beat onto the roottop.
By the time that I had positioned myself to snap pictures, the car and shouting and cheering young men had passed through.
Continuing my photo walk down 14th Street, I'd pass through Thomas Circle and when I'd reach the traffic light at 14th and K Streets, across from Franklin Square, I'd hear cheers and shouts from my right. At a closer inspection I'd observe three of four cars, heading east, each with several people hanging out of their windows, or standing up in their convertable and in the case of one .... heads and waving hands sticking up through the opening of their sunroof.
This time, I would snap several photos. Not a sports fan, I still had no idea what 'all the fuzz was about' but thought that it may have something to do with a soccer game at the Washington RFK Stadium. I'd continued with my photowalk and in the process would spend an hour or so capturing the Zabava orchestrate an Ukrainian Dance Party at the 2006 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall.
It would not be until this morning, when listening to the TV news that I'd realize that the cheering fans that I'd happen up yesterday evening were soccer fans celebrating the Italian win at the 2006 World Cup.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Windows . 14th Street . Logan Circle . WDC

Reincarnations . 1401 14th Street, NW . WDC . 9 June 2006 night

For as long as I can remember I've always had an interest in store window displays. In recent months I've created several ongoing documentary projects that will bring attention to the commercial windows in various neighborhoods and/or that will capture windows of a particular commercial strip.

This aspect of the Windows Project would actually began in 1993 when I would photograph the windows of Dupont Circle North, along Connecticut Avenue between Dupont Circle and Florida Avenue. When on New Years Day, 1 Januaray 2006, that I would photograph the commercial windows in the Chinatown and then Logan Circle areas I would reflect on the fact 7th Street in Chinatown and 14th Street in Logan Circle both shared a common, yet, distinctively different history in that they both, at one time, where known as Home Furnishing Districts. 14th Street still is.

With furnisher stores such as Marlos and Hub those on 7th Street were marketed more to the masses. Whereas, those along 14th Street tended to be more upscale and/or served antique dealers and collectable enthusiants. Though home furnisher stores once spanned along 7th Street from D Street in the Penn Quarter area to M Street in Shaw none of those stores now exist. Nor are there any furnisher stores along what once was the 7th Street Home Furnishing District.

However, the 14th Street Home Furnishing District is thriving and, perhaps, is one of the most successful independent home furnishing districts in Washington DC.

The Logan Circle Windows Project, at this time, includes three distinct foci. They are the 14th Home Furnishing District, Windows on 14th Street, and 14th Street Art Corridor.