Saturday, July 22, 2006

Carroll Square . F Street . East End WDC

Located at 975 F Street, Carroll Square, is in the heart of the resurgence of the East End. The 12-story trophy-class project will create unique office and retail opportunities by incorporating seven historic houses into the design. The boutique project also offers an art gallery and subsidized studios for artists. The approximately 165, 500 square foot project will be home to the Washington office of International law firm, Dewey Ballantine and is now under construction.

Since the fall of 1972 I have photographed F Street, in downtown DC. It was then that as a Great Mills High School senior and class president I would travel from Southern MD to visit Tom Wiley in College Park. And along with other friends including Tom Ocfemia and Allen Aud we'd frequent gay bars in the city. Located on 9th Street, several of the bars, were within walking distance of F Street which even then was a bustling shopping street.

ANC Commissioner Karyn-Siobhan Robinson ... from out of the blue!

Though, over the years, I have often photographed 1369 Connecticut Avenue it has been since last December when I learned of the Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets I undertake an ongoing project that will focus on the varius buildings that surround Dupont Circle, as well as a few that are on avenues and are in close proximity to the Circle. A few weeks back just before leaving for my South Boston Virginia trip visited the Washingtonia at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library in search of records pertaining to the history of the building. While I was able to determine that 1369 Connecticut Avenue is located at Square 137, Lot 13 I was not able to find any architectural information pertaining to when it was builit or who designed it.

However, when walking north along Connecticut Avenue from the Farragut North Station to Dupont Circle during my 21 July Friday Photo Walk I'd observe that 1367 is also associated with the building. 1369 is the entracne to the bank, while 1367 appears to be entrance for commercial tenants on the upper floors. I'd cross Connecticut Avenue and position myself just north of the Dupont Circle South Station, in front of 1350 Connecticut Avenue and take several pictures of 1367 - 1369 Connecticut Avenue making sure to get the Dupont Circle Station WMATA sign in the foreground with the Sun Trust Bank clock and thermometer in the background so as to record the time and tempertature.

While taking the pictures of 1369 Connecticut Avenue, an old acquaintance that I have photographed since 1992 would walk in my direction, with her daughter. It had been the day before and ... from out of the blue ... that I remembered that I had photographed Karyn-Siobhan Robinson at the 2006 Capital Pride Festival but having taken so many pictures and have also been involved with so many photographic projects, reflecting on the fact that I had neither seen nor sent the photos to her ... it had been just the day before ... that I said to myself 'I need to find those photos and get them to Karyn.

So, when I saw Karyn on Friday evening at Dupont Circle South, walking in my direction, the first thing that came from out of my mouth was "I was just thinking of you ..." and would then explain that while I had not forgotten her nor the photos that I took of her during Pride that I had been so busy with other projects. She said that she understood.

She'd reintroduce me to her daughter, Siobhan.

Mentioning that I was then in the process of photographing 1369 Connecticut Avenue in connection with an ongoing documentary project, I inquired if I may capture them, using 1369 Connecticut Avenue as a backdrop. She said yes. While taking several pictures, I'd ask if she made her own hats since, over the years, I have often seen and captured in hats. She said that she did not make her own hats but that she had just purchased the one that she was wearing from Proper Topper. I'd say that Proper Topper had often been amongst my ongoing store window displays project and that, in years past, I had purchased two hats, for my mother as Mothers Day gifts from Proper Topper. Handing me her card, Karyn and her daughter would continue on. It would not be until I had return home and would read her card that I'd realize that she is the ANC Commissioner for Dupont Circle.

Which may play in my favor pertaining to my Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets Project.

You never know who you may run into, from out of the blue! In fact, it had been, exactly one week before during my 14 July Friday Photo Walk that on his 60th birthday that I had met Ronny, Chief Engineer at the 1350 Connecticut Avenue ...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Critical Mass DC . Dupont Circle . Third Friday, 21 July @ 6pm

Today is the 3rd Friday of July and on the first and third Fridays of each month bicyclists assemble in Dupont Circle for A 6 PM Critical Mass Ride, through the streets of Washington DC. In the recent past I have captured the first Friday assemblance on three occasions. namely 7 April, 5 May and 7 July 2006.

Depending on my mood, I may drop in at Dupont Circle this afternoon to add more Critical Mass DC images to my collection.

21 July 2006 Friday's Photo of the Week

Men Working on the Road ... At Night!

This photo of Men Working on the Road at Night was taken on Thursday night, 20 July 2006, just south Thomas Circle on 14th Street. Having heard the music of DJ Roo on last Sunday evening, at the Green Lantern, I made it a point to stop in at the Green Lantern last night to hear DJ Roo play his Thursday night set. I'd leave my apartment shortly after 7:30 pm, for the expressed purpose of later in the evening, dropping in at the Green Lantern and while out I made sure to take along with me the 19 July 2006 IRAN: STOP KILLING GAYS photo cd which I dropped off at Lambda Rising for pickup by Rob Anderson. When leaving my apartment I thought that I may would eat out somewhere since I figured that the dj would not get started until perhaps after 9 or close to 10.

En route to Lambda Rising to drop off the photo cd, I'd pass through Dupont Circle where I'd try my hand at some evening shots, utilizing different settings in the two cameras. While there I'd run into Richard Thompson who I must say I have taken a liken to. Not, necessarily, in a sexual way but, simply, because I've seen and known of him for so many years. And he is the kind of straight white man that I've always found easy to get along with. And, it is for that reason that, in recent months, I've made it a point to capture and document him, not only in my Dupont Circle project but also with hopes of including him in my soon to be launched "Straight White Men" Documentary Project.

Afer taking only a few pictures in Dupont Circle I'd head to Lambda Rising and drop off the photo cd with the cashier, for pickup by Rob. Continuing on my Night journey I'd walk along Q Street to 17th Street. down 17th to P, across P to 14th and down 14th Street to Thomas Circle, taking pictures along the way.

It was at Thomas Circle that I'd begin my now newly launched series Men At Work ... Working On The Road ... At Night! which is where and when this photo was taken.

Afterwards, I'd head over to the Green Lantern where at the entrance stood several men from the Nitro SoftballTeam who asked for donatioions for their August trip to Fort Launderdale.

I'd pulll some money from my wallet, asking if they knew Richard Dertadian, who once played on the WDC teams but now lives in Fort Lauderdale. They said yes and, as a result I'd take two pictures of two of them which I'm not too pleased with. I was rushing and they were busy so I did not have the time to adjust the camera to its proper settings.

I'd walk inside, show my id, order a bottle of water, set on the side and "let the music play!" I went there, specifically, to hear the music of DJ ROO. And, I must say, the man is hot. The joint was jumpin! I was reminded in the 80's when I lived in NYC that Frank and I would walk down the street from where we lived in Chelsea to listen to Jim Johnson dj at the NY Eagle or CT at the Spike. And maybe to find a trick.

I've said this before, and I'm gonna say it again, "As a 52 year black man, I don't like the way that gay white men react to or treat me. Especially, in bars or at circuit events.

Who died and made white men my God? Let me explain further.

On the walk down 14th Street, in the Logan Circle, I'd pass a black and white couple, two men, walking south. I'd run inside of Popeyes to take a piss and order a large Sprite. I'd take a piss first and then stand in line to order my soda. While in line I'd observe 'an acquaintance' from a few years back who, a white man, on several occasions had approached about crack. As had many white men, over the years, approached me about drugs in homes, alongs streets, in bars and clubs and at circuit events ... that I am no longer allowed in ... unless they call me an addict. And just as I was a drug dealer then I am not a drug addict now.

It's been my experience, as a black man, that when whites approach me drugs they mean me harm which I would write about in my 22 September 2001 photoessay pertaining this exact same white man that had approached me on P Street asking me about crack.

It was also at the Green Lantern, a few mintues later, that I'd observe a white guy named Jeff who years ago, ritualistically, would approach me about drugs at the DC Eagle. And when Jeff, some 20 years ago, approached me about drugs at the DC Eagle he, along with the other white men who approached me about drugs, meant me harm. And now but more than 20 years later, I've observed him, during the exact same thing to other black men that he tried to do me.

Who in the @#$* died ... and made Jeff my God?

The joint was jumpin! The music was hot! I can't wait to hear news of DJ Roo 's next circuit gig. I'm hoping to include DJ ROO in my ongoing DJ series.

In closing, flickrite Trishlet comments that the above Men Working On The Road At Night photo is "like a dj working the tables. with the dust rising, his focus and intensity, that was my first thought.great capture."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mural on 17th Street

Though I have passed through this area of 17th Street many times before which, located just north of Corcoran Street and a few yards south of R Street in NW WDC and have photographed it and the True Value Hardware Store on 17th Hardware as well, I had never before observed the mural on the side of the hardware store. With aged and peeling paint, it certainly is not a new mural. And since murals and other writings on the wall which I refer to as Signs of Our Times have been amongst my ongoing themes, for many years, it is something that I would or should have noticed.

Observing this mural for the first time on Sunday evening, 16 July, and realizing that it has been there for quite sometime ... it served as an indication that as a result of the incident on Friday at Lambda Rising, and in no small way, I was now seeing things from a very different persepective. When I pass through this area of 17th Street again, I'll stop in at the hardware store and inquire of the mural's history.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mario ... builds his first bike wheel

After the incident at Lambda Rising on Friday evening, I almost did not go to on Sunday, 16 July 2006. I'd leave my apartment in SW shortly after 4pm and arrive in Dupont Circle at 4:43 pm. Which is where I'd later find and photograph a man, at the west side of the Circle fiddling with a bicycle wheel. After photographing him I'd hand him my card and say that the photos would be posted to flickr sometime in the next day or so. When I asked his name and inquired where he was from he said that his name is Mario and that he had moved to WDC from SFCA in January.

In an email to me, on the next day, inquiring of the photos, he said that he had been building a bicycle wheel. Which is something that I had never heard of nor had ever seen done. Having been quite pleased with the photos that I took of him and wanting to share with others "how to build a bike wheel" I'd email him back, inquiring if I may post his image to my blog, accompanied with information pertaining to the construction of a bike wheel.

In a reply email, Mario would inform me that it being his first time for building a bike wheel, it was "... a huge accomplishment for me, as a mechanic", saying further that it "... turned out to be nice and round, almost no wobble, thanks to the instructions of Sheldon Brown at

In a brief bio, and ... in his own words ... Mario says about himself:

"I'm a former squatter and current urban scavenger. Here I'm surrounded by dumpstered treasures: a bike I restored, wooden box and some packaged juice that looked good and tasted great. I'm a bike mechanic who learned from non-profits in the Bay Area and in these pictues I'm helping a friend build a wheel as part of a free bike workshop that I bottomlined at Dupont Circle."

I am damn glad that I did go to Dupont Circle on Sunday afternoon. And even more glad that I met Mario. It is not that I will ever build a bicycle wheel but, it is something that others may be interested in learning of or knowing about.

I have Mario to thank for this particular Men At Work in Dupont Circle series as well as for the Sheldon Brown's instructions pertaining to how to build a bike wheel.

"... and the horse you rode in on ..."

The United States Park Police Horse Mounted Unit is one of the oldest established police equestrian units in the United States. Established in 1934 with one horse that was rented from a local stable. However, as the value of the mounted unit was proven, it was expanded to an operational strength that patrols and provides protection in the Washington Metropolitan Area as well as New York and San Francisco.

When a few years back, that the NY Times Sunday Magazine published a photoessay featuring cops on duty, mostly in Times Square, I'd reflect on my then ongoing Cops in the Line of Duty series whereby, over the years, I, too had photographed and captured police while on duty. Shortly after that NY Times publication I would change the title of the project to Cop Duty. And not unlike Hands or Men At Work, and in what I refer to as candid but consentual photography, capturing police has always been an important element in my body of work.

This picture of the US Park Police Horse Mounted Unit was taken on 3 July 2006, on the National Mall during the 2006 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Iran: Stop Killing Gays Rally & Candle Vigil . Dupont Circle . 19 July 5p

(London – 26 June 2006) To mark the first anniversary of Iran's hanging of two gay teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, gay campaign groups OutRage! and IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia, have declared 19 July 2006 an International Day of Action Against Homophobic Persecution in Iran (IDAAHOPI). They are calling for worldwide protests against the “murderous homophobic Iranian regime” and “in commemoration of Asgari and Marhoni, the two gay teenagers executed in the city of Mashhad on 19 July last year.”

To support the Washington DC Iranian LGBT community and in solidarity with others participating in the Global Day of Protest, a Rally will be held at the fountain in Dupont Circle at 5 pm. According to the WDC coordinator, Rob Anderson at rcand@mac , though details are still being ironed out, the Speak Out Rally will feature several speakers and performers. Since LGBT Iranians who live in Iran are no permitted to hold public vigils, many will light candles in their homes in commemoration of the 19 July 2006 Global Day of Protest. In solidarity with LGBT Iranians and their supporters throughout the global community, following the Speak Out Rally at the fountain, a candlelight vigil will be held in Dupont Circle.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Street Life

Long before I received a Minolta as a Christmas gift in December 1991 I had an interest in documenting and capturing the homeless. Since January 1992, Homelessness in America has been an intricate element in my photography. At first, in the course of street photography, I'd approach homeless subjects that I had observed for years and would inquire if I may take upclose shots of their face, feet and hands. Some of my best street portraits were taken during this time. In years past, when I've captured the annual November Homelessness Walkathon, in WDC, I have sometimes donated my photographs to its primary sponsor, Fannie Mae. In 2003, I began the Street Life Project which, not unlike the Face, Feet and Hands series the intent of Street Life, and through the use of photography, is to draw attention to some of the most basic concerns and needs of the homeless. Street Life will attempt to record, document and capture the homeless in very natural states and scenarios.

The above photo is part of an ongoing project that focuses on the tattoos of homeless subjects.

HINT ... of what is yet to come!

Shortly after arriving in Dupont Circle on Sunday afternoon, 16 July 2006, I'd observe a group of four black teens preparing to rehearse their dance moves. They were at the center of The Circle, on the south side of the fountain. It is not often that you'll find black teens dancing at the Dupont Circle fountain.

Brent walked over to a boom box and clicked the music on. And as they danced I would photograph them from a distance. The problem that I was having, however, was that the sun, so hot and bright, was reflecting the white marble back on the camera. The thermometer on the Sun Trust Bank clock fluctuated between 100 and 102 degrees.

After a few minutes, I'd walk over and introduce myself, take a few more photographs, and hand them my card. When asking them if they had yet a name for their group, they said that they had not. After some discussion amongst themselves, they said call us HINT. When I asked what was the significance of HINT Lexc would say "We give ... just a hint .... of what is yet to come!

I'd ask them for their first names only. The two females are Lexc and Donna and the two males are Brent and Kyle. They from different areas of Washington DC

Sunday, July 16, 2006

DJ Roo ... if you could read my mind

I still had not gotten over the incident at Lambda Rising on Friday evening, 14 July. Perhaps, if a similar scenario had not occured the week before, on 4 July, when I used the bathroom at McDonalds, a block from the White House, the incident on Friday may would not have forever changed me. And, in fact, as a black man, it is something that I experience every where that I go. As a result I did not take pictures on Saturday afternoon nor did I attend the final dance party at Velvet Nation last night. And since I am very much into dancing and dj music, the factr that I did not attend the final event at Velvet Nation signifies that I am a different man than I was before the incident at Lambda Rising.

I almost did not go to Dupont Circle this afternoon but ended up there. After taking a seris of photos, I decided to shift my focus away from Dupont Circle, in the future. And would stop in at the Green Lantern before heading home. Ordered a bottle of water and went to the bathroom on the second floor. When taking a piss, I'd reflect on the 4 July incident at McDonalds. Zipped my pants up. Grabbed my bottle of water and was planning to head downstairs and head home.

But, the music caught my attention. I'd walk into the main room, sit against the wall and inahle the music. Something about the dj's style brought back the good ole days of The Paradise Garage, The Club House and Roy Thode at The Saint.

Viola Will's "If You Read My Mind" came in from out of nowhere. I said to myself 'this dj is good.' He's into vocals.

I'd ask the bartender if I could take a few photos of the dj. He said that I should ask the dj. I did and he said yes. When I inquired of his name he said DJ Roo.

Once home I'd check out his website at at which time I would learn that he is part of a two man mixing team that features house and circuit music.

Dj's Rob & Roo are a Washington, DC based dance music mixing duo. Professionally trained at Metatrack Studios in Washington, their mix of vocal house music combined with intelligent shifts into tribal make Dj's Rob & Roo a crowd favorite. Throughout a typical set, club goers are not only treated to energized anthems (featuring mixes by Manny Lehman, Tracy Young, Friburn & Urik, Chris Cox, Wayne G, Tony Moran and Rosabel) but are often taken on a slightly darker and heavier path (using the talents of Peter Rauhofer, Victor Calderone, Razor N Guido, and Murk).

And while DJ Roo had no way of knowing this, if only for a moment, his musical sytle lifted me up, just enough, to get me through the week. the way that Bryan Hughes mixes gets me through ... . I wanted to stay longer and dive into his music, but tonight was not the right time. It is not uncommon for me to visit a venue or attend a circuit event, specifically, to hear the DJ. And to dance and party, my ass off.

I'll be visiting the Green Lantern again, specifically, to hear DJ Roo.

If DJ Roo could read my mind, he would know that I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open for his next big dance party. Beam me up, Scotty! Lift off!