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March 27, 1996

The Party Aftermath

Hey Folks:

Thanks to everyone who attended our first Electric Backfence event. Does that mean there will be another? I guess so. We had a large turnout, though somewhat less than Farrakhan's march on the mall. The Park Service estimates were close, however. Special thanks to Pat (with no last name) for suggesting and organizing the event. Julianne Welby of WAMU-FM is preparing a story on the event for Metro Connection. She promised us warning before the story airs.

BTW: I was too busy playing Don Corleone handling business to notice--as someone suggested--that the event might have had a "meat market" angle to it. If it did, damn, I missed out.

Also, I still soliciting submissions for our April Fool's Day edition, which will be published on--you betcha--April 1. Warning! There will be no notice that it's a goof issue. So it's not my fault if you panic about a Martian attack. Just in case, let me give you the name of my lawyer.

Almost no one has had two words to say about the hottest (yawn) event in town--the Mayor's Vision plan. Are you so disinterested that you don't even care to write how boring you find the subject?

I'm leading off this issue with a cultural event that occurs this evening. I've been privately gigging the embassies to push their events on these virtual pages. Since they are dishing out the pate and wine in a hundred venues close to home, the least they could do is let us uncork the champagne. I'm not twisting arms for anyone to attend but Molly (from the embassy) and I are curious about the response a letter like this can produce.

Jeffrey Itell


Cultural Event

The Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan, will host Samurai Mystique: Sculpture by H.I. Gates, from March 28 through May 3, 1996. This is the first solo American art exhibit sponsored by the JICC.

Professor Gates, a member of the art faculty at George Washington University, will speak about the background of his art at the opening night reception, this Thursday, March 28th at 7:00 pm. For 20 years, Gates has used found and fabricated objects to compose life-sized samurai figures. This exhibit will include 20 sculptures, one of which is mounted on a life-sized carved horse.

The JICC is located in the mall level of Lafayette Centre III, 1155 21st Street, N.W. Washington D.C. 20036. This program is free but reservations are required at 202-939-6901.



An electrical editorial? A Starbucks sabotage? Whatever the cause, a neon glitch atop the former Jemal's Park and Shop has changed "Brothers Gourmet Coffee Bar" to "Brothers Tar."

John Keefe


I spoke with Alan Rubin, owner of the Biograph Theatre. The building has been sold and they are losing their lease effective June 30. They are looking for a new venue, and hope to relocate somewhere near a Metro where parking is available. A new site will include space for more than one screen.

He is holding off on publicity about the closing in hopes that he can simultaneously announce plans to relocate to a specific site. No firm plans as of this time. Stay tuned.



[In re: to my dig ink column on school facilities.] Next time you should take the unions to task for protecting bad teachers and teachers who hit children (nine year olds) and who have allowed teachers to leave the classroom and go into "administration". If the unions would ensure us a crackerjack teaching team, then I would be all for making cuts elsewhere first and protect the teachers.

To be fair, there are some fantastic teachers in the system, but some losers too. Also, SuperSmith does not send his son to the DC public schools, apparently he got teased, poor thing, so anything he has to say about the schools rings hollow for me. And the Abena Walker fiasco under his supervision also makes him less than a credible leader.

Keep it up. Without good schools, our real estate values will continue to plummet and our children will go uneducated (read become non-useful members of society.)

Leila Afza


Commuter Tax?

Intertwined questions: What's the practical way to attend a midday event downtown (from suburbs)? Does the District want people to attend events downtown? Does Metro want people to ride trains for midday events?

I went downtown today from Falls Church to attend a 12:30 talk at Holocaust Museum (very interesting, by the way -- topic "revisionist and hate information on the Internet"). Since there's no Metro parking available at that hour, I drove downtown, figuring I'd find parking on or near the Mall. I parked at a meter on Independence Avenue, fed it six quarters for two hours. Returning two hours and ten minutes later, I found a three-minute old $15 parking ticket. Of course, I could have watch the clock closer. Of course, I could have parked at lot (if I could find it) suggested by friend who works at museum. Or I could have walked to Metro (mile or two, but it's nice day). Or I could have held out for unmetered three-hour parking on the Mall.

But now I'll think hard about attending downtown midday events -- presumably, not what museums, DC, Metro all want. Isn't there a win-win situation in there somewhere? And -- what do you all suggest for future events? (Spare me suggesting that I move downtown. It's tempting, but not happening right now, nor in time for whatever the next event is.)

Gabe Goldberg



In our last episode, Alan Grossberg referred to "the bland, nameless and faceless suburbs." From what I've seen on dc.general and elsewhere, he's not alone in feeling that way. I can't agree, though. If everything on the other side of Western and Eastern Avenue and the Potomac were some amorphous blob of highways and high-rises, the District would probably be in better shape than it is. But can you really describe, say, Bethesda as "bland"? Is Clarendon "faceless"? How 'bout Old Town Alexandria--"nameless"? Yes, there are lots of places outside D.C. that flunk out in the character department big-time. I know; I lived in Crystal City for a year (luuuvvv those Death Star corridors). But there's also plenty of fun, interesting and exciting neighborhoods beyond D.C. that draw people in their own right. *And* there are lots of quiet, well-established residential neighborhoods in D.C. and outside of it, ones that often look little different from the outside (compare, say, the side streets to the northwest of Cleveland Park to the side streets north of Ballston in Arlington). Not everything outside of the District line looks like Rockville Town Center or Skyline City.

Rob Pegoraro


Real Estate

The "For Sale" signs on the Bowie-Sevier Estate (The Georgetown Old Age home) have a new SOLD sticker on them. Does anybody know who bought it and what they intend to do with it?

Bob Levine


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