Saturday, July 29, 2006

New Art Show: Frank Muzzy + Dale Alward @ Pulp on 14th

A NEW ART SHOW featuring the work of Frank Muzzy and Dale Alward will be on display at Pulp on 14th at 1803 14th Street, in NW WDC, from 29 July - 14 October 2006. Frank Muzzy, a well known WDC photographer, gay artist and author of several books including "Images of America: Gay and Lesbian Washington, DC" recently visited Paris and as a result has curated some of his images in the "Frankie Goes to Paris" exhibition.

Dale Alward 's exhibition, entilted 'A Sponge To Wipe Away The Weapon-Salve' is a social and political statement against George Bush and his admistration. Eight 32 x 34 oil on canvas paintings sheds light on the 17th century theory that instead of treating or healing the wound it was the practice to treat the weapons. In some cases using oil based salves. The Opening Reception will be held tonight which is Saturday, 29 July 2006, from 7 to 10 pm.

DC PediCab ... wheel get ya there!

Taking a cue from similar human-powered transportation that has been thriving overseas for well over a century, DC Pedicab is the premier pedal-powered taxi service in Washington DC.

Committed to changing the way people think about transportation in our nation’s capital DC Pedicabs are not only environmentally-friendly, but are also much faster and relaxing than walking, definitely more exciting than taking a traditional taxi cab, bus, or Metrorail service, and are capable of maneuvering through heavily congested city traffic with ease. The state-of-the-art fleet of bike taxis set the standard for entertainment-based transportation in the Washington DC.

Images that I may take, in the future, of DC PediCab will be tagged as DC-Pedicab and included in the DC PediCab photoset.

Friday, July 28, 2006

DMX @ Dupont Circle South . Friday evening, 28 July

Having just captured pedestrians along Connecticut Avenue in the Farrugut North area in the course of my Friday photo walk I'd head north to Dupont Circle where along the way, just north of O Street, I'd happen upon a Golden Triangle consultant walking south who, aware of my street photography in the area, would alert me that DMX was just a few feet ahead. Thanking him, I'd continue north where moments later I'd observe DMX and his crew in front of the cellular Mobile Store on the east sidewalk of 1350 Connecticut Avenue toying with a remote control helicopter. When I'd position myself to take a few photos one of his crew would say that I could take a few photos but not too many. I'd thank him and hand him my flyer, saying "the photos would be posted later tonight at flickr and my blog".

DMX was scheduled for a 9 PM performance at Love located at 1350 Oakie Street, in NE WDC.

DMX was born Earl Simmons in Baltimore, MD, on December 18, 1970. He moved with part of his family to the New York City suburb of Yonkers while still a young child. A troubled and abusive childhood turned him violent, and he spent a great deal of time living in group homes and surviving on the streets via robbery, which led to several run-ins with the law.

Following the deaths of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., DMX took over as the reigning, undisputed king of hardcore rap. He was that rare commodity: a commercial powerhouse with artistic and street credibility to spare. His rapid ascent to stardom was actually almost a decade in the making, which gave him a chance to develop the theatrical image that made him one of rap's most distinctive personalities during his heyday.

Continuing north in the direction of Dupont Circle I'd think myself, 'while DMX is in town, I'd love to get a few shots of him in connection with my ongoing NAKED TRUTH PROJECT.

Thomas Brown, keeping watch ...

It is not always so easy for me to seperate myself from the subjects that I meet, interview and/or photograph in the course of my photojournalism. As was the case when on 28 January 2006 that I would meet Ken Wyban at 21 N Street, in SE. Earlier that Sunday afternoon I photographed many of the buildings in the area including 84 N Street which is at the corner of First and N Streets directly across from the Southwest Federal Center and Navy Yard. Whereas 21 N Street is in the opposite direction and on the other side of N Street nearest to South Capitol Street.

It was when I would return to the area on 6 February which supposedly was the last day for the residents and tenants in the area to remain in their respective places that I would first meet, interview and photograph Joe Woodbridge, the owner and operator of District Transmission for more than 37 years. Though most had already vacated by 6 February, a few including District Transmission had not. However, an extension would give them another month, until 6 March when all residents, tenants and owners of business was to have vacated. I would return on 7 March which was the day after.

Over the next few weeks and months I would often return to the area and on some occasions reconnect with either the father or the son, keeping up on the developments and status in finding a new place to relocate to in the PG County area. My photo of his son with two other men was published in the May 2006 issue of The Washington Spark.

When I would return to the area on Wednesday, 26 July 2006 though most of the buildings have been demolished or are vacant I had a feeling that someone would still be at 84 N Street in SE WDC. From a distance I'd observe that the door was open. I walked within a few feet of the opened door, peeped in but, at first, did not see anyone. As I began to walk away, a man stepped out side and said 'Hey!'

Glad to see him I'd ask if he was one of the three men that I had interviewed and photographed in February. He said that he was not sure but that he remembered me. Apparently, after the posting of my photos to flickr several other news gatherers had visited the shop and had interviewed Mr. Woodbridge and his son.

I asked if I coluld step inside and take a few photos of him and get some update on the status of Joe Woodbridge 's transition. He said yes . After introducing myself to him and shaking his hand I asked 'What is your name?"

He said "Thomas Brown". I would then inquire if he stayed there. He said yes ... so to speak ... and that he was watching over the place for Mr. Woodbridge making sure that things are ok. Now 64 years of age, Mr. Brown was born in Queens NY and moved to the WDC area since he was 48. An advantage of being so close to the construction projects is that he sometimes gets demolition work.

Handing him a $5 bill, I'd thank him for his time and said that I would return in a few days with the photos and a copy of the issue of the old Washington Spark that published the photo of the 3 men from District Transmission.

It is not always easy for me to seperate myself from the subjects that I meet, interview and photograph ...

28 July 2006 Friday's Photo of the Week

JAYWALKING (Pedestrians)

I actually would start a pedestrians series in December 2005 during the first snow storm when I positioned myself at the intersection of Connectiocut Avenue and K Street just outside of the Farragut North Station capturing pedestrians milling about the street through the snow and rain mixture. I would return to the same location during the 2nd and 3rd snows, each time walking north to Dupont Circle and then back again and then reboarding the subway at Farrragut North Station for my return trip home.

A few weeks ago when I got caught in the rain, twice in the same week and over as many days while standing under a bus stop on Connecticut Avenue and N Street on the first day and then under the courtyard at 1350 Connecticut Avenue, just south of Dupont Circle, on the second day I would capture folks that were caught in the rain, milling about in the streets, some with umbrellas. Many who jaywalked. It was then that Jay Leno's Jay Walking series would come to mind and the birth of the my now ongoing Jay Walking (Pedestrians) Project. Which has less to do with "jaywalking" and everything to do with "capturing moments in time that can not ever be again!".

Though the project would first begin at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and K Street I have since positioned myself at other locations along Connecticut Avenue, namely at Connecticut and L and Connecticut and N as well as in the courtyard at 1350 Connecticut Avenue.

And then, last Thursday, I'd began a Jay Walking series along 14th Street, in the Logan Circle area. At first at 14th and P Streets and then at 14th and Rhode Island Avenue.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Washington Area Bicyclist Association

In recent weeks I have ventured downtown in the late afternoon to early evening for the purpose of photographing and capturing the pedestrian and vehicular traffic, mass transit and perhaps other means of transportation. And as a result wish now to bring attention to the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

In 1972, more bicycles were sold than automobiles for the first time in the century. That same year, WABA founder Cary S. Shaw realized that the urban transportation system in the Washington DC Area was not friendly to cyclists. While other cyclists shared the same problems he did, “they did not perceive it as a general problem,” Shaw recalled. “Someone caught their bike in a grate—they thought, well, they just caught their bike in a grate—but I could relate to the fact that that was a problem in grate design.

The greater Washington DC area is one of the greatest metro areas for riding a bike. WABA has been proactive in creating an ever-expanding network of scenic bike paths great for getting a workout or just getting to work. Highlights of this network include Virginia's Mount Vernon Trail, DC's Capital Crescent Trail, and Maryland's Anacostia Tributary Trail System. See a clickable map of the bike path network.

On Sunday, August 6, City Bikes will hold Washington DC’s only professional bike race. This annual event races around RFK Stadium’s old gran prix course. Come watch the exciting, fast pace racing or participate yourself! Along with Categories 1-5 racing, WABA is sponsoring an open course fun ride at 1:30pm for active members, and will be grilling up food for all the racers.

To join or learn more about WABA visit

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Dan McGeorge, at work, in SE WDC

Dan McGeorge, a fine art photographer, lives in California but would recently travel to WDC to assist his son, a Marine, in the renovation of an old rowhouse that his son purchased, less than two months ago, in the Capper Carrollsburg area of SE WDC.

Located in the 1000 block of 3rd Street between K and L Streets, in SE, it is amongst one of two sections of old rowhouses in the Capper Carrollsburg Community that will not be demolished. An alley seperates this section of old row houses from the section of Capper Carrollsburg once known as The Projects and that, recently, were demolished to make way for the construction of 280+ new 3 and 4 story row houses. This particular section of new row houses, yet to be constructed, will face 4th Street while its rear will run parallel with the rear of the seciotn of old row houses whose front facades face 3rd Street.

The second section of old row houses that will remain intact is located one block east on 5th between K and I Streets, directly across the street from the new Capper Carrollsburg Senior #1. When I inquired if he knew the circumstances as to why these two particular sections of old row houses were not being demolished Mr. McGeorge said, according to rumor, the land is the property of a private owner who refuses to sell. Whereas, the lots that had been demolished were The Projects owned by the city. Which brought to mind the old red building, known as the Star Market, at the corner of 2nd and L Street which still stands even after the March 2006 completion of the newly constructed Navy Yard Marriot Courtyard. Shortly afterwards, the private owner who previously had refused to sell, offered the Star Market for sale on Craig's List.

This series of images of Dan McGeorge will be included in my ongoing Men at Work - Capper Carrollsburg Project and may be included in a future Men At Work photographic exhibition.

While in town, I hope that Mr. McGeorge has the opportunity to visit the Corcoran Gallery of Art to view the redefined: Modern and Contemporay Art from the Collection and Robert Weingarten palette series exhibitions.

Mike Maher w/ the Caroline Boys & a Girl

In the course of my 23 July 2006 Sunday Photo Walk when passing through the 1400 block of P Street in Logan Circle I'd happen upon a group of musicians performing in front of the Whole Foods Market. It was last Halloween that I began my Whole Foods Market at Logan Circle project and since then, cognitive of the historic value of such images, when passing through the area I have sometimes snapped pictures using the Whole Foods Market as a backdrop.

Mentioning to the group that musicians have been amongst my ongoing themes since 1992 I'd ask if they objected to me capturing them, consentually but candidly. When inquiring if the group had a name one of the men dancers, dressed in black, said that the group did not have an official name but that the leader was Mike Maher. I wouild then ask them for their names, going from left to right.

Aron Rider, was the cellist, while Danny Villanueva was on percussion. Mike Maher, the leader played the banjo and the mandolin. Jeff Lopez was strumming his mandolin. And the two dancers, dressed in black, were Dan Bokor and Zak Sandler.

Once I got home and had time some to review the photos, having been quite pleased with the results I would then telephone Mike Maher informing him that I planned to do a brief write up on him and the group and asked that he provide me with some bio information pertaining to himself and the group. Having already checked the web for Mike Maher I had found several sites that I thought pertained to him. And others that did not. When I mentioned this to him he said there was something on the web regarding his performances at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage which I had already come across but had not yet listened to.

On the next day, which was Monday, I'd take the time to listen to the 11 Octber 2001 Millennium Stage performance at the Kennedy Center and was very impressed. Remembering my June 2006 visit South Boston VA when I'd become more acquainted with The Prizery I'd email Mr. Maher suggesting that he contact Chris Jones at the Prizery for possible future events. And would, again, reiterarate that he provide me with some historical and bio information pertaining to himself and the group which during our telephone conversation on the night before he had referred to as the Caroline Boys and A Girl Band.

On Wednesday, I would receive an email reply from Mr. Maher with the following information.

Caroline Mountain Boys (& a girl) are all part of the pit orchestra for the musical Caroline, Or Change, that ran for 10 weeks at the Studio Theater at 14th & P Street. The "band" started with myself and Jeff Lopez when Jeff wanted to learn some of the oldtime repertoire. They played at various locations in the Logan Circle area between shows on the weekends, including in front of the Whole Foods Market and Starbuck's on P Street and several times at Sparky's a few blocks north on 14th.

In the last few weeks cellist Aron Rider would them them. Mr. Maher says further that though "it's a non-traditional instrument for the style ... she has a fantastic ear and feel for the music which made her fit right in."

"We drew a crowd several times and lots of attention - a Whole Foods representative took our card for possible booking in the future. We were not really thinking of booking the group, only playing for our own enjoyment. Since the show closed last week, our oldtime P street band will probably not be heard again down there anytime soon."

And that's a damn shame because, apparently, not only did I enjoy them for a brief moment on Sunday evening, 23 July 2006, but so did many others over the preceeding weeks.

Mike Mahers plays and teaches jazz and commercial piano for a living. He also composes and arranges music. He says "...through the banjo and oldtime music I can recapture the unabashed joy of the musical amateur".

Mike Maher can be reached at or by telrphone 703-967-0231.

I'll be adding Mike Maher to my ongoing project and list of musicians to document and capture. And should Mike Maher perform at The Prizery in South Boston VA I certainly will make the effort to travel south to document the event.

DC Bike Courier Association

More so in the past than in recent years, Bike Couriers, have been amongst my many ongoing documentary series. And as a result of my visit to Lauderdale By The Sea last November where bicycles are a important means of transportation I have since begun an ongoing bicyclists series. When on Friday, 21 July 2006 during my ritual Friday photo walk that I'd happen upon and then proceed to photograph a courier in conversation with a skateboarder at Dupont Circle South it was then that I would decide to resume my Bicyclist Courier series.

And as a result, I have since learned of the District of Columbia Bicycle Courier Association, a not-for-profit (501c6) organization dedicated to protecting the rights of bicycle couriers in Washington DC; helping to ensure the future of the bike courier industry by establishing an equitable understanding between couriers, the businesses they serve, and the communities they interact with; and promoting the bicycle as an alternative means of transportation.

One of the reasons that I first began an ongoing documentary series focusing on bike couriers is because bike couriers represent a sense of freedom. The purpose of this blog is to highlight examples of freedom while, in the process, bringing attention to organizations such as the DCBCA.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sonny Bono Memorial Park . NH, 20th & O . NW WDC

A few weeks ago during an evening photo walk through the Dupont Circle area I'd happen upon a man that I have photographed many times before who on that particular evening was watering the flowers in a small park located just south of O Street between New Hampshire Avenue and 20th Street. While taking a few pictures of him he'd say "Did you know that this is the Sonny Bono Memorial Park?". A bit taken back I'd ask "do you mean Sonny from Sonny and Cher?" He said.

On that particular evening, it was so hot and the was shining so bright that I could not get a good shot. Thanking the man at work, I'd say that the sun is too bright, sop I'll return in a few days to get better shots. On Friday evening, 21 July, and in connection with my ongoing project, Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, I'd return to New Hampshire Avenue and 20th Street, specifically, to get better shots of the Sonny Bono Memorial Park.

Charlottesville Wunderkammer through 6 August

In a recent email from Russell Richards I would learn of an exciting event taking place in Charlottesville called the "Charlottesville Wunderkammer" (wonder cabinet) that combines elements of vaudeville, the circus, and the freakish sideshow act of yore. There will be firedancing, juggling, comedy, burlesque, and lots of other cool things, including a nine-by-twelve-foot 'sideshow banner'" ... which he painted and represents Richards' largest painting ever!

Wunderkammer runs through August 6, on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Admission is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Pay what you can on Sundays.

Celebrity Portraits - Mapplethorpe/Warhol . NYC

In it's weekly Tuesday All Tomorrow's Parties posting for 24 - 30 July 2006 Legends Hotel Chelsea Blog informs that Friday, 28 July, is the last day to view "Celebrity Portraits: Robert Mapplethorpe/Andy Warhol," billed as the first ever joint exhibition of these two artists. When they stopped by the gallery a couple of weeks back to check out the show and write a review, the gallery was closed. The Sean Kelly Gallery is located 528 West 29th Street, in the Chelsea area of NYC. Telephone number is 212-239-1181.

I knew them both. More than just friends, Mapplethorpe, photographed me several times. Warhol and I travelled in some of the same circles and attended some of the same private parties. I own original work by both. Works that could only have come to me through my close association with each.

Damn it. I was just in NYC a few weeks back for the 2006 Heritage Pride Parade. Had I known I certainly would have visited the Sean Kelly Gallery.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Thai Tanic, Logan Circle. Try it ...!

Since June of 2005 I have enbarked on an ongoing documentary project encompassing the U Street Corridor, the 14th Street Strip and the surrounding Logan Circle area. In recent months and particularly, at night, when passing along 14th Street just south of Rhode Island Avenue on the west side of the street I have sometimes observed a crowd or a line in front of Thai Tanic. And even when I have not observed a crowd standing outside a quick glance through the window has usually revelaed that the establishment is a very popular place.

Though I normally would have stayed in and fixed dinner at home on a Monday night, after a weekend of being on 'community watch' which is something that I experience, each weekend, as a black man ... I simply had to get out of the apartment. Reflecting on a conversation that I had on Friday evening with a friend in NYC and who called again this afternoon, regarding a rhetorical statement that he had made on Friday in which he implied that I "needed to be watched" to which, this evening I would demand 'Please explain to me, a 52 year old black man, exactly why it is that you or anyone else find the need to spend your lives watching me?". And I would then ask "And what affect do you think that that has had on me ... a black man?".

I left my apartment much later than I had planned, arriving at the Waterfront Station sometimes between 8:30 and 8:45 PM. It's a damn shame when a man does not feel comfortable nor safe in his home. I'd deboard the green line at the Convention Center on 7th Street hoping to find the new restaurant on 9th Street that everyone is talking about and that several of black church leaders are in opposition of. I walked over to 9th and L Street which is where I thought it was. While I did see a coffee shop and cafe it had already closed for the evening.

Not feeling too safe walking up 9th Street in search of the new restaurant which must be at O Street I decided to walk over to 14th Street and perhaps visit Dakota Cowgirl. Which I've eaten at a few times before. Several times when it was Hamburger Mary's and twice since it has been Dakota Cowgirl. Always in serach of something new I decided to check out Thai Tanic.

I walked in side and asked the hostess if I may take a look at the menu. After a quick glance I asked if I may be seated. She led me at table in the center of the room just a few feet from the entrance way. I'd sat with my back to the entrance and facing in the direction of the bar and kitchen area. Which would be the back of the establishment.

With a bar to the right I could now understand why, perhaps, there is often a crowd outside. Not a big bar nor hufe room but just right for a neighborhood place to hang out for an eclectic and diverse crowd. Which is what I have often observed standing outside. Waiting to get in. Or, taking a smoking break.

Always wanting to try something new, a few days ago, Martha Stewart featured several soup recipes consisting of coconut milk. Whch is something that I have always steered clear of since I do not like coconut. While I can not now remember who the guess was, when she told Martha that she did not like coconut, Martha would say "O' you don't have to like coconut to love coconut milk." She'd then say to the guest 'Try it! Trust me, you love it."

So, tonight, when I saw several items on the menu consisting of coconut milk I decided that ... that is just what I would do. I would trust Martha Stewart and try it.

First deciding on the Chicken Pad Ka Pow as an entree I would then choose a seafood soup which was the Tom ka Shrimp soup with mushrooms in lemongrass and galangal broth with coconut milk. And an iced tea with lemon.

I would then inquire of the waitress if there were any issues with me photographing my food when it arrived. She said that it would be OK. Waiting for the first course to arrive I'd fetch a copy of The Washington Blade from the entrance way which I would flip through until the soup arrived. At which time I'd put the Blade on the seat of the chair that was facing me from the other side of the table. Pick up my camera and take a few photos of the soup.

From the first spoonful I was pleasantly surprised and, as Martha Stewart had said, I now love the taste of coconut milk. Rarily will I order seafood 'anything' from restaurants. But, when I return to Thai Tanic again, I'll again order the Tom ka Shrimp soup. Or, if I'm in the mood for 'something new' I'll try some other seafood item and probably one that contains coconut milk.

While I did enjoy the Chicken Pad Ka Pow entree, perhaps, because of the heaviness of the coconut milk which preceeded the entree, the hot chili inspired sauce that flavored the chicken entree was a bit too spicy for my stomach. It is not that I do not like hot chili because I do but it following coconut milk did not go well, in my stomach.

It is not unlike when I drink orange juice after drinking milk. Some people can but I can not drink orange juice after milk. Nor milk after orange juice.

So, when I return again to Thai Tanic unless I'm in the mood for 'something new' I definately would consider ordering the Chicken Pad Ka Pow.

The price for the meal was $20. I left a $5 tip.

When in town or the Logan Circle, may I suggest that you visit Thai Tanic which is located at 1321-A 14th Street in NW WDC. You'll love it! Or, at least, like it! And the coconut inspired Tom ks Shrimp soup is not bad either.

Try it! You'll like it ...!

PG sk8tr, Roughneck, at Thomas Circle

On the evening of 23 July 2006, during my ritual Sunday Photo Walk just north of Thomas Circle on 14th Street when I happened upon two young males and a female skating along the wall at the National City Christian Church I'd inqure if I may photograpah them. This particular skater was much more receptive than was the young black male so while I did get shots of both males since the young black seemed a bit put off by my presence I will not include images in this photoessay of him. And while I did not capture the female since, as a black male, I must be concerned about arosing unwanted and unnecessary suspicion I did mention to her that in the course of my ongoing skaters project I had only come across 3 or 4 female skaters since 1992. She would then reiterate that she is not a skater but just likes to 'hang out' with the boys. Just before dashing off this particular skater would inform me that he is from PG County. To the best of my recollection, he is the first PG County skater that I have captured. While I'm sure there are many, those that I've captured and spoken with, in the past, many who frequent Freedom Plaza claim Montgomery County MD or Nothern VA as their homes. Or NYC and other cities and states throughout the country and from around the world. But, never had any of them said that they were from PG County.

So, as a tribute to him, mainly because of the respect that he showed me I've created the ongoing project, sk8tr Roughneck, which will feature images that I may take of him. Roughneck because roughneck were the letters emblazed on the front of his teeshirt.

But then too, KROOK, appeared on the bottom of his skateboard. So maybe he's known as KROOK. Unitl I see or hear from he's, sk8tr Roughneck.