Thursday, September 20, 2007

Steve Maguire's Science Club ... a refreshing aversion

I first encountered Steve Maguire the week after Easter of 1994 when out photographing along the P Street Bridge in NW WDC that I also encountered and photographed Russell Richards and Kim of The Art of Russell U. Richards. Whose art I've kept a breast of, reported on and blogged about, over the years.

These particular images of 10 April 1994 which still rank amongst my favorite reflect a very different style of photography than is the case, in recent years. Back then, it was not uncommon for me to walk up to someone and inquire if I may take up-close shots of them. However, in recent years, I tend to 'keep my distance' and photograph more as an observer ... always in motion.

Which is exactly what I was doing yesterday afternoon when after picking up a pack of CD & DVD labels from Staples at the corner 19th and L Street that I resumed my ongoing 19th Street, NW, WDC photography project. Walking north, along 19th Street, en route to Dupont Circle I photographed a 'handsome man' that, if my memory serves me correctly, I have photographed, at least, one other time in recent months sitting on the same steps.

When he asked why I had photograpahed him I explained that not unlike my Lincoln Road or 8th Avenue series, 19th Street and Golden Triangle were ongoing projects. He then said that I had photographed him several times before. Once in September 1004.

It was then, and not unlike a photographic memory, that I would visualize the images from 10 April 1994 which I mistakenly said had been taken on 19 September 1994. He said that I had also photographed him one other time, as well, but that he was not sure when or where.

Again, but not unlike a photographic memory, the images of the two faces would flash before me. Like the 10 April 1994 images the 31 October 1994 images not only rank amongst my favorite but, also, struck at the core ... since they were depictions of integrated relationships.

Something that this 50 - something gay black man knows a hell of a lot about. Which sheds light on, perhaps, why these particular images and the actual ones taken on 19 September 1993 of Phillipe and Rebecca often come to mind.

While I can not speak for the women depicted in these pictures, as a gay black male who practiced integration, my experiences has always been in sharp contrast to those of my white lovers, white friends and white colleagues.

In 1994, my picture-taking was more up-close. In 2007, it is '... from a distance ...'.

Steve Maguire KNOWS A THING OR TWO about nightlife.

Before opening the Science Club in December 2005 Maguire had been general manager at Chi-Cha Lounge on U Street and managed Gazuza on Connecticut Avenue at Dupont Circle North.

"... a bar where there's intelligent discussion about the news of the day ...", Science Club draws ahead-of-the-curve DJs and women with high heels and tiny purses, as well as people who introduce themselves to the bartender as science teachers who stopped by because they heard about the name. Couples wander in at happy hour, dressed in their office suits, for glasses of house wine and cold $3 bottles of Yuengling, and perhaps a snack of hummus or baba ghanouj. Tables are hard to come by on weekends, and the dance floor fills as DJs spin forward-looking dubstep and broken beat records.

Though I have not visited Science Club, at 1136 19th Street, NW, AOL City Guide says Science Club is an out-of-the-ordinary nightclub with a refreshing aversion to anything VIP. Since its opening Science Club has become a favorite meet - up spot for DC Drupal.

And here are some reviews of Science Club at Yelp.

While I may not be too much into the crowd nor do I drink alcohol the atmosphere and intelligent discussions certainbly interest me. And, since DJs and dance music are amongst ongoing projects, I may stop in one evening or Friday or Saturday night, at the Science Club, with friends or out-of-town guests.

Situated between L and M Streets, Steve Maguire's Science Club is located at 1136 19th Street in NW WDC. Here is the menu, the wine list, some events and contact information.

Click the above photo to view my Steve Maguire photoset.

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