Friday, August 04, 2006

Shock vs Awe (Naked Truth)

SHOCK vs AWE is not pornographic. Nor is it about sex, per se. A collection of provocative and erotic self-portraits integrated with hard hitting texts and excerpts from my writings pertaining to my experiences, as a black man. Which are often in sharp contrast to the experiences of my white counterpart. And when I say white counterpart I mean white friends, white colleagues, white associates and white lovers.

An auto-biographical photojournal, SHOCK vs AWE is about racism and my ongoing attempt to rise about oppression. Many of the images in SHOCK vs AWE will offend some. As will my writings. But not nearly as much as has the racism and social bigotry that many have inflicted and projected onto me.

SHOCK vs AWE, a mutation of the ongoing THE NAKED TRUTH PROJECT, is a tribute to Robert Mapplethorpe. SHOCK vs AWE represents my weapon against racism.

Some angry black men might would've put a gun in their hands ...!

04 August 2006 Friday's Photo of the Week

Taken on Sunday, 30 July 2006, in Meridian Hill (Malcolm X) Park during the weekly Drum Circle this picture along with all others from the Sunday, 30 July 2006 Drum Circle is part of my ongoing MOVEMENT-CHOREOPHOTOGRAPHY Project.

Dance and music are as much MY passions as is photography. So when photographing events such as a Drum Circle it is my practice to 'move amongst the musicians' as well as 'dance with the crowd'. My hope is that when others may see the collection of photos from a particular event that they will feel ... 'as if they were there!'.

I refer to such documentation as MOVEMENT-CHOREOPHOGRAPHY. This photo is the 4th installment of my 2006 Friday's Photo of the Week series.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

PARISmarais: 2006 Paris Gay Pride photos

This just in from Harold Flagg, a friend, in Fort Lauderdale:

Parismarais Newsletter, Issue 16, August 2006

Every year, we eagerly await all the spectacular summer events happening in Paris. And what a summer it’s been! Last month, we enjoyed the biggest Gay Pride Parade Paris has ever seen.

CVS Pharmacy . Dupont Circle West

A former Peoples Drug Store and located at the corner of Dupont Circle (west) and P Street this particular CVS Pharmacy would undergo an historic renovation' in 1992.

Contracted by Davis Construction Corporation and designed by Shalom Baranes Associates this highly visible project involved the comprehensive renovation of an existing retail drugstore while it remained in full operation. The 80-year-old building required a complete facade renovation, including the installation of new limestone, granite, brick and aluminum storefront. To update the building for current use and future tenant build-outs, the second and third floors underwent complete renovation, a new elevator was added, and new double-hung windows and skylights were installed in existing openings. New sprinkler and fire alarm systems were also installed, as well as handicap toilets and ramps to comply with ADA regulations.

Pertaining to the historic images displayed in the windows of the Dupont Circle West CVS Pharmacy, in a 2003 Topic Magazine article "Nostalgia For Sale", Sandy Zipp, a Washington native, who lives in Brooklyn and while working on a dissertation on culture and urbanism in Manhattan after World War II, says "Amidst the hurry and flurry, where P St. joins the circle on its western side, sits a CVS drugstore. In the display cases fronting P, CVS has given over its advertising space to a collection of historical photos depicting the Dupont Circle area at various moments of the twentieth century. Nine framed street scenes, ranging from 1923 to 1968, hover before three giant aerial backdrops of the city taken, from left to right, in 1986, 1938 and 1993."

And once I'm dead but gone ... images from my Dupont Circle Collection will then too be regarded as 'historic'. And may be will displayed in store front windows around the Circle.

The Dog Days of Summer

The Dog Days or the dog days of summer are typically the hottest and most humid times of the year. They are a phenomenon of the northern hemisphere where they usually fall between July and early September but the actual days vary greatly from region to region, depending on latitude and climate. Dog days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant.

During the course of MY street phoptogrphy, in recent months, I have sometimes focused on people walking their dogs. Always regarding my photo walks as learning experiences when I've captured dogs, of recent, the intent was to try my hand at photographing dogs, with their masters, in natural settings. Images that I may take of dogs over the summer of 2006, in natural settings, will be featured in The Dog Days of Summer 2006 Project.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Summer X-Games . LA . 3- 6 August

The annual Summer X-Games will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles from 3 thru 6 August 2006. Over 300 of the world's best alternative sports athletes compete for medals and nearly US $1 million in cash.

The competitors defy gravity and test fate by launching off jumps, sliding down rails, spinning and flipping in a variety of sports.

Skateboarding action takes place in several disciplines - Street/Park, Vert and Luge. The Street event takes place on a specially-designed course with stairs, handrails and banks. Vert skating is performed on a vert ramp, where the skaters compete for singles and doubles titles on the huge halfpipe. The Street Luge is the final event, where the racers pilot highly-modified skateboards downhill at high speed.

Though I've captured skateboarders in WDC, mostly in Freedom Plaza, since 1992, one of my first BMX photo sessions would take place at the Navy Memorial in October 2004 when I captured the Wartown Hoodlums Crew. Which until Easter Sunday 2006 when I'd happen upon Eric, from Fairfax VA, represented my favorite BMX and perhaps X Games series.

When capturing sports in action scenarios two of my many foci are "Hands" and "Tattoos and Other Taboos".

Hotel Chelsea's Capitol Fishing Tackle moves

Ed Hamilton of the Living With Legends Hotel Chelsea blog informs us in an 1 August entry that the "Capitol Fishing Tackle, which has been in its present location on the ground floor of the Chelsea Hotel for sixty-five years, is moving at the end of July. Since we’d never been in there before, my girlfriend Susan and I figured we should visit the store at least once, and maybe even buy something to show our support.

Inside the tackle store we looked at various lures and bobbers and sinkers, and finally decided on a cheap rod and reel to use to play with the cat who lives on our floor. At the register a tall, gaunt man with red, curly hair rang up our purchase, scarcely even glancing at us.

“I heard you guys were moving,” I said. “What happened? Did Stanley raise the rent on you?” Stanley Bard is the owner and manager of the hotel.

The man looked up. “Twenty-one-thousand he wants! Can you believe it? Up from nine-thousand he’s getting now.'"

When in NYC for the 2006 Saint at Large Black Party I spent the day on Saturday photographing areas of NYC that I had onced lived in or was very familiar with, including he Chelsea and Gramercy Park areas. After first taking take a few photographs of the exterior of the Capitol Fishing Tackle I'd step inside and mention to the staff that as a documentary photographer I may would like to return, in the future, to photograph the interior of the store. The woman behind the counter was very comfortable with me which, as a black male, I do not always find to be the case. She said, "By all means, we've been here for more than 60 years ...".

She insisted that I should feel comfortabe with taking pictures at that time. And older man staff person said 'You never know we may be here when you come back again!". I had a full day ahead me and did not want the staff nor community to get too suspicious about a black man rooming around the store and the streets with a camera (since I had many other places to visit) I said that I would wait until a future visit to NYC.

This story inspires me to be more vigilant when I'm in or near old stores such as the Capitol Fishing Tackle. As a documentary photographer, it concerns me that if I am not more vigilant I may miss the only opportunity to document and photograph the interior of an important part of the American culture. In many cases, these old stores have been there one day. And gone the next.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Souls Journal . Volume 8, Number 2 . Spring 2006

Black America is currently facing a challenge of great import that has far-reaching significance – the systemic removal of individuals from our community – because of policies inextricably linked to the criminal justice system. A felony conviction prevents individuals from voting in elections, from living in public housing, from finding employment and places an extraordinary burden on individual’s rehabilitation efforts. SOULS is interested in exploring the collateral consequences of the criminal justice system and publishing pieces that represent broad and varied perspectives of the criminal justice system and the collateral consequences of having a felony conviction.

With a cover photo by Helen M. Stummer entitled "Najee, Daquan, and Tyre, South 20th Street, Newark, Stairs" January 2004 and with accompanying text "Racializing Justice, Disenfranchising Lives" the Spring 2006 issue of the Souls Journal attempts to explore The Criminal Justice System and its Collateral Consequences. Featured articles include:

The Hyper-Criminalization of Black and Latino Male Youth in the Era of Mass Incarceration by Victor M. Rios

Jim Crow is Alive and Well in the 21st Century: Felony Disenfranchisement and the Continuing Struggle to Silence the African American Voice by Ryan Scott King

Reassessing Race Specificity in American Law and Public Policy by Lorenzo Morris and Donn G. Davis

Rehabilitated but Not Fit to Vote: A Comparative Racial Analysis of Disenfranchisement Laws by Keesha M. Middlemass

The Cactus that must not be Mistaken for a Pillow: White Racial Formation among Latinos by Daniel A. Rochmes and G. A. Elmer Griffin

Page 57 features my image entitled Cop Duty . 33rd March For Life . Supreme Court . Washington DC dated January 2006. See original photo.

What I like about Frank Muzzy

It was during my Easter Sunday Photo Walk through Dupont Circle that Jose would inquire of me if I knew who Frank Muzzy was. And when Jose mentioned that Muzzy had authored a book, Images of America: Gays and Lesbians in Washington DC and I then remembered that I heard him but, had never met him. I then said, to Jose, "What I like about Muzzy is that his work which is documentary and historical in nature not only attempts to shed light on the contributions that gays and lesbians make to society but, in the process, creates avenues and means by which gay and lesbian folk can tell their own story.

And while my focus is not, specifically, on the GLBT life and culture, the documentation of GLBT life and culture are as important to my work as are my foci pertaining to Afro-American and race issues. Neither which are the sum nor whole of my work.

And what I like about my work, specifically, which may be a bit different than that of Frank Muzzy is that without regards to race, color, creed, sexual orientation nor political persuasion I have strived to document, record and capture aspects of our society that may have nothing or little to do with afro-american history or gay culture. While also documenting gay life and black history.

On Thursday night, on my way home from an evening photo walk, I dropped in at the Green Lantern, for my third time in as many weeks. Maybe looking for a trick. But more, perhaps, simply because "I'm into the music". After ordering a bottle of water I'd sit on the stool to the right of the downstairs bar. During which time a man would walk up and say something to the effect "You must be a photographer...". To which I'd joking reply 'Yep, that's what it looks like!'. He'd then hand me an invitation flyer saying that he was opening a photographic exhibition on Saturday at Pulp on 14th Street. When I inquired as to the theme he said that his name was Frank Muzzy and that the show, entitled "Frankie Goes To Paris" , features architectural images that he had taken during a recent visit to Paris.

It was then that I would realize that he was the Frank Muzzy that Jose had spoke of on Easter Sunday. Wanting to bring attention to the show by posting an entry to my blog when I arrived home later that night I checked the web for Frank Muzzy.

And what I liked about what I found on the web about Frank Muzzy is his interest in history and documentation.

When I arrived at the New Art Exhibition on Saturday evening shortly before 8 PM I must say that I was quite impressed with Frank Muzzy's 'Frankie Goes To Paris'. A series of architectural images depicting homoeroticism found in Parisian statures, momuments, sculptures and architecture it brought to mind my architectural exploration in January 2006 when over the weekend of the 33rd March for Life that I would take a similar series photos in close proximity of the US Capitol.

During which time I would arouse so much suspicion from the police and out of concern that they would label me a terrorist I, immediately, would put the project on hold. What I like about Frank Muzzy is that his art and activism, since I first heard of him some years back on the TV news when his Images of America: Gays and Lesbians in Washington DC book was published, is that through his work Frank Muzzy not only inspires others to document and record their history but also challenges the individual to see life from a different perspective. As is the case with his images in the "Frankie Goes to Paris" exhibition.

What I like about Frank Muzzy are some of the similarities between or foci, including that of atrchitectural themes. My body of work and in particular prior to 11 September will indicate that I have always had n interest in architectural and historical photography.

What I liked about the Muzzy's "Frankie Goes to Paris" exhibition is that it has inspired me to resume my architectural, sculptural and monumental series.

What I liked about Frank Muzzy was the way that he approached me at the Green Lantern on the evening of 20 July who while joking 'You must be a photographer' handed me an invitation to the NEW ART EXHIBTION at the Pulp on 14th Street featuring the photographs of Frank Muzzy and the oil on canvas paintings by Dale Alward.

Alward's abstract and somewhat impressionistic exhibition, "A Sponge to Wipe Away the Weapon-Salve" exudes with emotions, is somewhat politcal and, yet, is dark, bold and personal in nature. Which I hope to review and comment on in a seperate entry, since this essay is about 'what I like about Frank Muzzy.'

Whether you'll straight, gay, black, white or whatever, may I suggest that you visit the NEW ART EXHIBITION at Pulp on 14th Street. The work of both artists, Frank Muzzy and Dale Alward are worth seeing. And while at Pulp on 14th Street you'll probably will find some other items that will tickle your fancy.

And while Frank Muzzy and I may have similar interests and foci as did Robert Mapplethorpe and I ... as gay white men ... I assure you that the life expereinces of Muzzy and Mapplethorpe are as different from mine as are night and day. So, perhaps, another difference between my documentary work and Muzzy is that I make it a point to integrate my writings with my photography.

Writings that reflect my experiecnes as a black gay man. As a documentary photographer I am always cognitive of the fact that a picture of a moment in time does not begin to tell the whole story. And, in fact, will often be used to misrepresent or distort the truth. You will note that whenever I post images to the web I always include, as part of its title, pertinent information pertaining to when and where it was taken. Similarly, when I hold exhibitions it is imperative that my writings be incorporated in the project.

While Frank Muzzy may have the freedom to travel to Paris and back again as did Mapplethorpe who traveled around the world ... I, as a 52 year old gay black man ... have not enjoyed the same freedoms. While, as a documentary photographer, I can easily connect with and appreciate Muzzy's work, it is imperative that my body of work speak on these issues.

What I like about Frank Muzzy ... is that he will be regarded as one the most important documentary artists of our times.

1O PM Curfew ... an example of hyper-criminalization of black and latino youth

DC Alliance of Youth Advocates Protest 10 pm Curfew

While working on various photo and writing projects and listening to Channel 8 News, yesterday, I'd hear two news reports that 'bothered me'. The first had to do with an apology made by Acting D.C. Police Second District Cmdr. Andy Solberg regarding his 10 July comment "... This is not a racial thing to say that black people are unusual in Georgetown ..." . Which I will discuss later in a seperate posting. But as does the second matter at hand it touches onto the subject of the "hyper-criminalization of black and brown youth" .

In response to the recent city's crime emergency officials, on 21 July, enacted the Enhanced Crime Prevention and Abatement Emergency Amendment Act of 2006. Which, among many proactive measures, calls for a 3 month 10PM Curfew for youth under the age of 18 to have taken affect last night which was Monday, 31 July 2006.

And while many will rationalize that "... it is not a racial thing ...", as a 52 year old gay black man who practiced integration I know that it is. Bothered by the news, I'd telephone a close friend in Fort Lauderdale saying "This is just another way for society to criminalize black and brown people and ... condition black and brown youth, at an early age, that their every move is being watched."

It had been last week that I would began writing the photoessay 'Need to be Watched" regarding a comment that a close friend that lives in NYC and who I have known for almost 25 years, expressed to me, in a telephone conversation saying '... you need to be watched ...'. A comment but more statement that 'bothered me' in same way as did the two news reports that I heard during the day on Monday, 31 July 2006.

When my white friend of European descent in his 60's would say what he said I'd demand that he "... please explain to me exactly why, as a 52 year black man, that I need to be watched ...". I would then add, "This is about racism ... and what impact do you think that watching me has had on my black life, over all these years."

He'd respond "... its for your protection. We love you!". I'd snap back, "It's has been my experience, as a black man, that it has not ever been about love. Nor my protection, at least, not for me. But what it is about is ... racism! And protecting the right for whites do drugs while policing, overseeing and dismantling the lives of black men.".

On Monday evening, 31 July, I'd telephone a close friend in Fort Lauderdale and ask if he had heard news of the curfew and of the incident regarding the police who said that that there are not many blacks in Georgetown. He said that he had not. I express this fact because it sheds light on how much these two news items 'affected me'. I'd say to him, that I hoped that black and brown kids will stage protests, in streets, after 10 PM. And then remind him, that aside from all the drugs that I had witnessed whites do and deal, over the years, it had been my experience that when ever white folks had come around me or had gotten close to me that they had created problems for me. These problems are what many refer to as criminalization. But others would claim that 'it is not about race!"

On Wednesday evening, 31 July 2006, the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates (DCAYA), a coalition of more than 50 youth-serving organizations, held an 8:30 pm press conference on the steps of John A. Wilson Building to speak out against the new 10 PM curfew just hours before the curfew the curfew was to have taken effect in the District of Columbia.

Speaking on the steps of the Wilson Building, members of the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates, including the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF), the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) and Heads Up, emphasized the need to invest in the city’s young people, not to treat them as the cause of the city’s crime emergency.

The youth-serving organizations, all members of the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates, urged city leaders not to scapegoat youth, but to invest in needed youth development, job training, and educational programs that build the skills and confidence required for young people to succeed.
Dr. Sheryl Chapman, Board Member of the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates and Executive Director of the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) , said "We agree with the mayor and the council’s objective of reducing crime in the District of Columbia. We need more then a 10pm curfew for youth to reduce crime. Youth need relationships to make different choices, i.e. to stay in school, to work and to not commit crimes. Our community needs to partner with parents and responsibly take on this "adult problem" including transitioning youth into adulthood. "

A Justice Policy Institute analysis of curfew policies in California found no evidence that they reduce crime. California counties with more restrictive curfew policies saw no decline in youth crime compared to those counties with less strict policies.

In the District, the city witnessed sharp declines in juvenile crime at the end of the 1990s, when there was no curfew. During this period -- between 1996 and the fall of 1999 -- arrests for several categories of juvenile crime dropped significantly. Arrests for juvenile robberies fell 65 %, aggravated assault dropped 39%, rape declined 89%, automobile theft declined 46% and burglary fell 45%.

While certain categories of juvenile crime, such as robbery, have increased this year, 94% of those arrested so far in DC have been adults, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. Out of 36 homicide arrests this year, only one was a youth.

Eshauna Smith, Executive Director of DCAYA, said, "A whole generation of young people is growing up with too few opportunities and not enough hope. We know there is a direct link between youth unemployment and youth violence. We know education is critical. We need to make investments in our youth, with a particular focus on education and job training."
The 10 PM curfew was one of the youth-related provisions of Mayor William’s emergency crime package, which passed the City Council on July 21st. The anti-crime package also included loosening confidentiality protections for youth being released from custody.

Maurice Wilkins, a youth leader in DC, said, "It’s simply not accurate -- and not fair -- to blame young people for the crime problem in our city. Unfortunately, it sends a powerful and harmful message that young people are part of the problem, not part of the solution."
The youth advocates expressed optimism that the 90-day emergency period could lead to additional knowledge about the effectiveness of different approaches to fighting crime.

DCAYA is a City-wide coalition that works to promote positive youth development programs and policies in the District of Columbia. Formed in 2003, DCAYA is a vehicle for providers and young people to engage in collective efforts to build developmental opportunities and safe spaces for adolescents, and to share best practices and local experiences with local officials.

When I arrived home from the 10 protest I'd stop in the lobby to pick-up my postal mail. And much to my delight I'd find two packages. The first contained a note pad that I had lost in South Boston VA when documenting the Juneteenth Celebration at the Berry Hill Plantation. Which Walter Potts had found and would send to me. I wrote about Mr. Potts and remarks that a young black male, Craig Keyes, made during the Juneteenth Celebration which speaks to the very subject matter that this posting speaks on.

And, finally, the second but larger package contained three copies of the Spring 2006 SOULS: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, And Society whose cover photo "Najee, Daquan, and Tyre . South 20th Street . Newark Stairs" dated January 2004 by Helen M. Stummer depicts three black teens sitting in a stairwell below which appears the text "Racializing Justice, Disenfranchising Lives".

And though not surprised since I was informed some back that the image would appear in the Spring 2006 issue, page 57 features my January 2006 "Cop Duty . 33rd Annual March for Life . Supreme Court WDC" photo.

The journal also features an essay by Victor M. Rios entitled "The Hyper-Criminalization of Black and Latino Male Youth in the Era of Mass Incarceration" which speaks to the very subject matter at hand. And sheds light on why, this 52 year black man, was bothered by the two news reports that he heard yesterday.

And while, on the surface, the 10 PM Curfew may not appear to be about race, as a 52 year old gay black man of Native American descent who, over the years, practiced integration I am hear to you, loud and clear that 'it is a race thing!'

Monday, July 31, 2006

Archie Edwards' Barbershop featured in Sunday's Washington Post

On 10 June 2006, I had hoped to trek out to Bunker Hill Road in NE WDC for the expressed purpose of visiting and capturing blues musicians performing at the Archie Edwards' Barbershop. But did not make there. Since then I have contemplated getting out there before it's too late. Apparently, time is running out.

Washington Post Metro Columunist Marc Fisher and his son recently visited the barber shop and would publish the following article in the Sunday, 30 July 2006 issue of the Washington Post.

A Barbershop of Chords but No Cuts Is Hanging On by a String
Washington PostBy Marc Fisher
Sunday, July 30, 2006; Page C01

In a dark barbershop on Bunker Hill Road, streaks of summer sun slant across acircle of guitar pickers. It's Saturday afternoon in Archie Edwards's old storein Northeast Washington, and an environmental lawyer, a Methodist minister, amaintenance man, a robotics researcher and a 10-year-old kid who's never beforeplayed the blues are traveling down the river together, a thousand miles awayfrom the hot city.

The Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation's weekly jam session is underway.Door's open, there's a stack of plastic chairs in the back and you're welcometo widen the circle. Might want to hurry in, though, because the owner of thebuilding is fixing to sell it. All summer long, the situation has generatedenough anxiety that somebody might have to write a blues number about it.

Store's closed all the time except Saturday afternoons. That's when MichaelBaytop and a couple of the other gents who used to hang out at Edwards's AlphaTonsorial Barbershop unlock the door and take a seat. Over the next few hours,guitars will wander in, maybe a flute, surely a couple of folks withoutinstruments, newcomers who might just pick up a washboard and join in.

Back when Edwards was alive, Baytop would stop in around noon, when theproprietor was busy with the razor. "At about 2 o'clock he'd say, 'Okay, donecutting hair for today,' " Baytop recalls. "Somebody would say, 'I've beenwaiting two hours,' and Archie would say, 'You can come back Monday.' "

Now there's only one barber's chair left in the place, a shiny green swivelchair that hasn't generated a dollar in haircut revenue since 1998, when Mr.Edwards passed. Baytop had spent a dozen years of Saturdays learning theacoustic Piedmont blues and listening to the old guys' stories, and he wasn'tabout to let that go. He and some of the other players decided to keep thebarbershop going."

Everybody told us we were crazy: 'You don't know nothing about running abarbershop,' " Baytop remembers. "I said, 'That's okay. We're not going to cutany hair.' "

Somehow, the place just kept going. The old musicians -- some of the top namesin D.C. blues history -- welcomed any and all. Saturdays became a time forplaying, teaching and just wading in the music. Star players from across thecontinent showed up. So did film crews from Finland, Japan, Israel.

When the rent on Edwards's shop came due, the players took donations.Eventually, they made some CDs and organized some concerts to meet the rentbill, which was $100 a month when Edwards died. These days, it's $300, whichjust about covers the property tax and certainly nothing more. Which is why thetrustees for the owner, an aged woman named Helen Loftus, have decided it'stime to sell.

"Her trustee decided to liquidate her assets," says Ray Ruppert, the real estateman who manages the property, which is on a quiet little retail stripconsisting of a security agency, a law office, a balloon shop, an Africanculture center, a dentist and a dance school.

"When I asked Mr. Ruppert if he'd thought about donating the place to us, he laughed and said, 'That's what I thought we already did,' " says Patrick Casey,a lawyer from Chevy Chase who spends his Saturdays playing slide guitar at the shop.

One of Baytop's relatives, Jeff Sibert, an ex-barber himself, has proposed tobuy the property, which includes the store next door, and save the barbershop for the blues.

Sibert and Ruppert have just struck a tentative deal, under which Sibert willtry to rent out the adjacent storefront at market rate and use that revenue tokeep the music going in the barbershop, which he would renovate.

In a city where rents seem rocket-propelled and retailers hungrily snap upalmost any space, the barbershop has managed to sit unchanged. Two bottles ofelectric green Jeris Hair Tonic sit on the shelf, just where Edwards last usedthem. There's a black-and-white TV under the mirror and a 1950s radio consoleup front.

On the wall in the back, some old jottings of Edwards's are framed,lyrics to a song about John F. Kennedy, and some other lines, too: "If youdon't like my peaches, why don't you stop shaking my tree; if you don't stopshaking my tree, just come out of my orchard and leave my peaches to me."

A coffee can labeled "Donations" sits on the shelf. There's maybe $6 in it.

"It's not like the symphony with its patrons," Baytop says. "People who love the blues got the blues."

As word spread about the real estate situation this summer, local musicians called and wrote with support. There have been crises before, and every timethe shop is threatened, "no matter what we've needed, it's almost like theBible said, 'Speak and ye shall be given,' " Baytop says. When the societyneeded to set itself up as a nonprofit group, "I swear, guy walks through thedoor, harmonica on his hip, and he's a lawyer working with nonprofits and heasks if we need any help with that. His firm gave us $7,000 of legal work."

Miles Spicer, a guitar player and treasurer of the foundation who works forCareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, keeps a mental catalogue of the foreignvisitors who drop by and then head home to spread the gospel of the barbershop. "They come back every year or two, or they send their friends," he says. "And some of them come to play with us. Most anyone can learn this; if you fall inwith the right people and turn off the television, it doesn't take long."

My son, who is 10, plays a bit of piano but hadn't attempted the blues. The barbershop adopted him, and inside of 20 minutes he was leading a dozenmusicians in an extended jam.

Jim Lande, the clarinet man, who carves the wooden bones that anyone who pops incan pick up to join the rhythm section, leans over to tell my son "a little secret: If you get the rhythm right, people don't worry so much about the notes."

Maybe Sibert is the latest in a series of miracles that have kept the home ofthe blues open. Maybe not. But on Saturday afternoons on Bunker Hill Road,there's no anxiety in the air. The rhythm is right, and ain't nobody worrying so much about the notes.

Photo description and credit: Miles Spicer plays with friends during the weekly jam session at the Alpha Tonsorial Barbershop in Northeast. The rent has been $300, but now the trustees for the owner want to sell the property. (By Lucian Perkins -- The Washington Post)

Mark Francis Nickens (Msawbe)

In the process of my ongoing Street Musicians series I have photographed solo guitarist Mark Francis Nickens since 1992. However, I would not learn his name until December 2005 when we would exchange contact information. During which time I wouild learn that he also goes by Msawbe.

Of recent, I have observed and photographed Mark performing as a street musican, most often, at the Dupont Circle South Station on Friday evenings. To learn more about Mark visit his website where you can also listen to and download some of his music.

To hear Mark perform live, as a street musician, stop by the Dupont Circle Station, south exit, on Friday evenings. He is one of the few street musicians that draws a crowd as well as admiring fans who often drop by on Friday evenings to hear and say hello to him.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ledelle Moe's Memorial (Collapse) @ Lofts 14 Two in Logan Circle

When capturing Windows on 14th Street during my 28 July 2006 Friday Photo Walk through the Logan Circle area I would be pleasantly surprised to happen upon Ledelle Moe's Memorial (Collapse) at Lofts 14 Two. Which in the past year or more when I've passed through this area I have sometimes photographed Men at Work. In fact, it was one of my July 2005 14th Street Men At Work photos taken at this very location during the early stages of the construction of Lofts 14 Two that has been featured in the websites of several construction companies.

Since it was late in the day and the construction workers had long since gone my focus, for the evening, was pedestrians at the intersection of 14th and P Streets and windows along 14th Street. And even if it I had not been focusing on windows the 3 headed display would have been hard to miss. Almost as if the heads of 3 construction workers had fallen from the sky or from the roof of Loft 14 Two and landed onto the concrete floor of the interior of an unfinished store.

The first exhibition of "Collapse" was launched in the summer of 2005 in Durban, South Africa. Moe created a second version in October for the Anderson Gallery at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. A third incarnation, exhibited at George Mason University's Fine Arts Gallery from 31 January 31 through 3 March 2006.

On display until 20 September the collaborative efforts of G Fine Art and Metropolis Development Company has landed Ledelle Moe's "Memorial (Collapse)" smack down onto the concrete floor and industrial space of a yet to be opened store located on the ground level of Lofts 14 Two at 1520 14th Street. Once finalized plans for a September official opening of the Memorial (Collapse) installation will be posted to the G- Fine Art website.

Not to be confused with Lofts 14 which, across the street, is located at the northwest corner of 14th and Church Streets.

Ledelle Moe works in the Washington DC area and teaches sculpture at the Maryland Institute College ofArt.