Tuesday, October 16, 2007

LUSTER - the art happening on 14th Street at Logan Circle

Over the past year or more, 14th Street in the Logan Circle area has served as background for some of the most progressive art exhibitions and events in the city. As was the case this past weekend with Luster, hosted by Project 4 and The Pink Line Project.

Unfortunately, I did not become aware of the event until during my 14 October 2007 Sunday Photo Walk that I passed by Lee Jensen Brake Service at 1133 14th Street.

Snapping pictures, at a distance, peering from the street ... I mentioned to the folks standing at the reception table just inside the door that in the process of my ritual Sunday Photo Walk from Dupont Circle to SW WDC ... when strolling down 14th Street, exhibitionism vs voyeurism, windows, signs and writings on the wall had, historically, been amongst my ongoing featured themes.

When the man on the right in this picture walked over and suggested that I come inside and take pictures, explaining that as a result of racism that I had experienced moments before from the white male manager at Circa Cafe At Dupont Circle ... I was '... too damn angry ...' to come inside.

He then suggested that, perhaps, a good release for the anger may would be for me to come inside and take pictures. Handing him my card, I explained "... that is precisely why, since 1992, I have embarked on ritual photo walks through the city and throuhout the nation." Unfortunately, having experienced racism on the day before at the Solar Decathlon, the incident on Sunday afternoon at Circa Cafe At Dupont Circle ... was the last straw.

Just days before its April 2007 opening and as part of my ongoing Dupont Circle North Project which dates back to September 1993 I began to photograph Circa Cafe At Dupont Circle ... from a distance ... in a similar way that I document restaurants and eateries in Chelsea, along Lincoln Road and throughout the nation. And it has been since my 31 March 2007 blog posting that the email address posted to its contact page has been incorrect.

Contemplating posting one of my Circa Cafe At Dupont Circle images to one of my travel guides or tourism sites which includes Yelp, Inside Pages, Trip Advisor and Yahoo Travel ... on Sunday afternoon I stopped in at Circa Cafe At Dupont. Explaining to the female hostess that having included Circa Cafe At Dupont in my ongoing Dupont Circle North Project since just days before its April opening ... she may wish to know that the email address posted to their website was incorrect.

Handing her my card, I said, you'll find images that I've taken of Circa Cafe At Dupont at my flickr site.

The white male manager rushed over and said "We don't allow any soliciting in the restaurant ..." and, literally, threw the card back at me.

"Sir, I am NOT SOLICITING ... and I don't want anything from you, WHITE MAN"! was my defiant response. Explaining, further, that having blogged about the restaurant since days before its opening I had often photographed it in connection with my ongoing Dupont Circle North Project. Pushing the card back onto the corner I said "... Take the card ... WHITE MAN ... don't be a fool!." And, by the way, "I'm not your nigger!".

Continuing on with my ritual Sunday Photo Walk along the Q Street Corridor by the time I had reached Darryl, the waiter from Trio Restaurant who I have photographed for many years, I was so livid that I almost could not speak.

As I turned onto 14th from P Street I was very aware that several police cars and other 'police citizens' were in pursuit of ... the black man with three cameras ... who, moments before had 'stood up to the arrogant white manager at Circa Cafe At Dupont'.

So when the handsome white man on the right in the picture said that I should release my anger by photographing the event, jokingly but serious a as heart attack, my response was "... a better release would be for me to engage in some hot sex ...".

Though I almost asked what he was doing later I said that I was too angry to come inside and that it is not my practice to bring such negative energy to such an event.

Observing that Project 4 hosted the Luster event, though I did not say this to the folks at the reception table, I was aware of Project 4 from my ongoing Axis Hair Salon photography series which date back to 1993 or 1994.

Instead of saying 'What are you doing later tonight?" I handed him my card and said that I'd post the pictures to my flickr account. And as I walked away I said that Project 4 may would be interested in my one of my PROJECTIONS video/ dvd projects, as background music and visual effects for future art receptions.

In particular, the April 2000 MMOW / Equality - Progressions, the FREEDOM 2007: Capital Pride Parade - WDC - 09 June 2007 or the FLANEURISM: Friday Photo Walk - WDC - 13 July 2007 ... all which feature the mixologies of DJ Bryan Hughes.

It was not until today when preparing this blog posting that I realized that Yoko K. of Aphrodizia was involved with the event. Had I known that Yoko K and that dj's associated with the Be Bar provided the music I definately would have stepped inside ... and while photographing and videotaping the event ... introduced myself to Yoko K and folks from the Be Bar.

Though the Luster art reception was precisely the kind of art event that I would have walked inside of, a few years ago ... as a 54 year old gay black man who, over the years, practiced integration ... on Sunday, 14 October 2007 I thought it best ... that I continue on with my ongoing FLANEURISM project. As each step along the way represents a deviant stomp, but march, against racism.

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

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