Friday, October 19, 2007

Earth Conservation Corps / Civic Justice Corps youth ... answer the call

When the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly's Call Box Committee in connection with the Cultural Tourism DC's Call Box Project reached out to the community requesting assistance in the restoration of 60 or more police and fire boxes located at more than 50 sites in the Southwest and Near Southeast communities, Glen O'Gilvie, Tianna Hays and Rodney Stotts of Earth Conservation Corps answered the call.

Using, as examples, boxes recently painted at 4th and M, SW, by Nancy Masterson and Lida Churchville and at 6th and M, SW, by Nancy Masterson and Barbara Ehrlich, Civic Justice Corps youth associated with the Earth Conservation Corps began on Monday, 15 October 2007 by, first, painting the call boxes located in the Southwest Federal Center area at 3rd and C Streets, SW, and 4th & E Streets, SW.

When resuming the painting process on Thursday morning, 18 October 2007, this photojournalist met up with Youth Program Coordinators Tianna Hays and Rodney Stotts at the corner of Maine Avenue and 7th Street, SW. Where in front of the Disabled American Veterans National Service and Legislative Headquarters three Civic Justice Corps youth, a ladder, three buckets and a box containing brushes, tools and other paint supplies were dispatched.

While Hays and Stotts continued on with their other assignments of the day, 18 year old DeAndrea Jones, 19 year old Travis Haney and 20 year old DeAnthony Henson remained. And for the next hour or so ... sanded and painted the primed rustic red fire and police boxes at the corner of Maine Avenue and 7th Street, SW, ... until they both were blue.

While unedited versions of video clips one and two and three record the process, here are before and after images.

According to Lida Churchville of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly's Call Box Committee ... "For ease in finding the call boxes to be painted, we have developed four neighborhood lists - Yellow is north of 395 and west of 9th Street. Red is north of 395 and east of 9th Street - Blue is south of 395 and west of 4th Street. Green is south of 395 and east of 4th Street. We intended Green to include three or four call boxes in "Near Southeast" near the Stadium but these call boxes seem to have disappeared in the last few weeks. Within the four neighborhoods, the boxes are in order for painting conveniently. Missing from the list are the Waterfront Boxes on Water Street - to be painted by Waterfront sponsors; Fort McNair boxes to be painted by Fort McNair sponsors; and, boxes at 700 7th Street, SW - painted by Perry Klein as a condominium sponsor.

Having begun on Monday, 15 October, Youth Program Coordinator Tianna Hays expects to complete the painting project by Friday, 26 October. Or, perhaps before.

The Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) was founded in 1989 and takes as its mission "providing hands-on environmental education, job training and community service programs for people of all ages from diverse backgrounds, with an emphasis on serving at-risk youth from the inner-city neighborhoods of Washington D.C."

Modeled after the Roosevelt-era Civic Conservation Corps, the CJC provides development-centered career and life skills training which affords court ordered-involved youth the opportunity to earn a decent living and helps youth to contribute to their families and communities. As a precursor to the January 2007 launch of the CJC, in December 2006, the Gulf Coast Recovery Corps was created.

Through the two month program, seven DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) youth and eight DYRS staff collectively committed 4500 hours of community service in the District and in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region.

Launched in January 2007, Deandra Jones, DeAthony Henson and Travis Haney are included in ECC's second CJC group.

To learn more about Earth Conservation Corp or to donate visit their website. Or, as Nancy Masterson suggests in a recent email ... join "the ECC [at] their clean-up day (1st and 3rd Sat of the month) this Saturday. Meet at 8:30 at the Matthew Hensen Center on Half Street SW (very end) and vans are there to take you and the participants to a site."

ECC's Anacostia River Patrols is listed as one of their community programs.

Click the above photo to view my 18 October 2007 ECC / CJC - Call Boxes at Maine Avenue & 7th Street, SW, photo set and Call Boxes - WDC photo collection.

Having surveyed the area on Sunday evening, 21 October, to determine what needs to be completed Lida Churchville and Nancy Masterson files the following report:
  • The Earth Conservation Corps has completed 12 call boxes. 2 sample boxes were completed by the Call Box Committee and two call boxes were painted by sponsors at the 700 Seventh St. Condominum for a total of 16 completed call boxes.
  • Nine call boxes are not primed. The Department of Transportation has promised to do the priming this Fall. After DDOT completes the priming, the call boxes will be painted. There may also be one or more call boxes within Fort McNair to be painted. And we are awaiting word on the whereabouts of two call boxes that have been moved from their sites in near SE.
  • At this time, there are 18 boxes primed and ready to be painted by the Earth Conservation Corps. Their locations are listed below by neighborhood with information from the earlier call box list included. If anyone has any information about additional call boxes - please let us know.

To answer the call, learn more about or participate in the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly's Call Box Committee contact Lida Churhville at And here is a link to the Cultural Tourism DC's Art On Call Project.

For media inquires please telephone Lida Churchville of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly's Call Box Committee at 202-479-2750. Or ECC's President & CEO Glen O'Gilvie and Civic Justice Corps Youth Program Coordinators Rodney Stotts and Tianna Hays at 202-479-6710.

Friday's Photo of the Week . 19 October 2007

Phillips Seafood Restaurant . 900 Water Street, SW, WDC
Thursday afternoon, 18 October 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Jam Session at Dupont Circle / WDC - 14 October 2007

During my 14 October 2007 Sunday Photo Walk I captured the 2nd installment of my ongoing Alfredo Hernandez & Gary Millstein Sunday Jam Session at Dupont Circle.

Launched on 05 August 2007 as part of my ongoing Street Musicians series this past Sunday's session featured Edie Gonzalez and Gary Millstein on guitar and Reynaldo Ziems, Alfredo Hernandez, Jose Santos, Luis and Francois on percussion.

Here are this past Sunday's videos:

1. Clip #1
2. Clip #2
3. Compilation of clips 1 & 2

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.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lida Churchville & Nancy Masterson 'paint the town'

Having embarked on an ongoing Call Box Project it was on Thursday, 4 October 2007 that I first observed that the call box in front of Waterfront Mall located at 4th and M Streets, SW, was in the process of being repainted.

And when I passed by one day later I noticed that the red door from the day before had been painted.

Returning from my 14 October 2007 Sunday Photo Walk I 'caught and captured' the culprits as Lida Churchville and Nancy Masterson 'paint the town' ... so to speak.

For the past few weeks, and connection with the Cultural Tourism DC's Call Box Project, Churhville, Masterson and other of the Call Box Group from the SW Washington DC Community have been going around SW WDC painting call boxes listed on the SW WDC Call Box Inventory.

In fact, it was during a walk down 7th Street, SW, after my Saturday, 13 October 2007 Solar Decathlon photo project that I had also observed that the fire and call boxes located on 7th between H and I Streets, SW, were in the process of being repainted as well. According to the SW Call Box Inventory this particular set, identified as Town Square Towers Police Box 13-419 and Town Square Towers Fire Box 14-420, is in fair condition.

The call box at 4th and M Streets, SW, in front of the Waterfront Mall is identified as Call Box #49 in the SW WDC Call Box Inventory.

If you wish to contribute to, participate in or volunteer for the SW WDC Call Box Group which is part of the Cultural Tourism DC - Art on Call / Call Box Project email Lida Churhville at or Nancy Masterson at

Click the above photo to view my ongoing Call Box - Waterfront Mall - SW - WDC photo set and Call Boxes - WDC photo collection.