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October 26, 1996

Uptown Theater? Up or Down?

Dear Neighbors:

I make the rules and I break them. Here’s the news. The events and classified ads come later.

Does anyone have anything affirmative or otherwise to report on candidates for the school board? I’ve met a few, read about a few, and haven’t found a candidate to vote for. Your thoughts?


Also free! Short movie reviews and movie discussion. Send an email message to to subscribe.

Jeffrey Itell


Charlie Wellander

I’m still confused. I do vote for Carol Schwartz every chance I get. This time, if I vote for her and Sam Jordan, doesn’t she get just as many votes as if I vote for her and Brazil? If so, how does using my second vote for Jordan hurt Schwartz’s chances of coming in second to Brazil? Unless you’re saying that I could vote twice for Ms. Schwartz (that would be OK with me).


Lucy Mallan

If you only love one candidate, don’t vote for two just because there are two spots. Here’s why. Suppose your candidate (let’s say Carol) and your far away second choice are tied at 50 votes before you vote. If you just vote for Carol, she will have 51 and the other bird will still have 50. But if you vote for both Carol and O.B., they will still both be tied. Worse, if O.B. starts out one vote ahead of Carol, your double vote will keep him/her ahead, but your bullet vote (just for Carol) will tie them.


The Shadow
Jim Kingdon

One of the candidates for shadow senator/representative wrote me asking for clarification of what I meant when I called that vote a "sideshow" .What I meant is that as nearly as I can tell it has no importance whatsoever. I did not mean to say anything about the particular candidates or their conduct leading up to the election (I haven’t been following that at all). I also applaud people’s willingness to serve their city unpaid. What I am not convinced of is that the shadow positions do anything at all, either for the city or for statehood or for anything else.


Clinton’s Vote
Tom Berry

Something has been bothering me for almost four years now, and maybe one of our more politically oriented subscribers can resolve this problem. Bill Clinton lives at the White House. His former residence was the gov’s mansion in Little Rock. He has no official residence in Arkansas (unless it’s some hidden villa at Whitewater). Ergo, is Billy Boy required to vote in DC or is there some special political prestige type exemption that will allow him to vote in Little Rock? I have a nagging suspicion that he’s going to vote in Little Rock and, if he does, how come he can and we can’t .Not that I’d want to vote in Little Rock, but you know what I mean...don’t you? To save some sleuth from reading between the lines, I’m a registered Democrat in DC.


sam smith

Spend some cash on your trash. To Carl Bergman: Re super cans, swallow your civic pride and truck on over to Strosneider’s (sp?). They’ve got ‘em.


Replacing Supercans
David Price

To answer Carl Bergman’s question: D.C. residents have a lot to complain about, but the process of getting a new supercan isn’t one of them.

That was my experience, anyway. When we needed a new one a year ago, I phoned the Dept. of Public Works, explained what I was after, and was told to send a check for around $57 to the agency. A couple weeks later, the supercan showed up, with our address painted on the top. (I just happen to have the white pages within arm’s reach, and the number to call is 727-4825.)

By the way, and to change the subject, I came to like having last winter’s potholes on residential streets — they kept commuters from driving like Mario Andretti. Too bad so many have been filled in.


Uptown Theatre Renovation
Michael Stempel

As a 5 foot 7 inch patron of the newly renovated Uptown, I found the seats to be the most comfortable I have ever experienced in any movie theatre. The sound and screen are impressive too.


Randy Lilleston

In response to David Goldstein’s comments about the new seats at the Uptown Theater: I recall hearing something on WTOP about these seats. Basically, the ones in the rear five rows of the theater, on ground level, are much more uncomfortable than the others. I can’t remember the reason, but they don’t recline and definitely feel different, according to the reporter who tried them out.

Also worth noting, according to that article: The Uptown apparently uses a projector bulb that’s approx. half the recommended illumination, as I recall (don’t hold me to the percentage but it’s something I’ve definitely noticed at the’s like watching a movie through a bit of a fog). I imagine it would cost God’s own money to get a bulb for that theater that is capable of projecting at the recommended brightness. For the showing of "Vertigo" that launched the remodeled theater, the producers of the reprinted version of the movie lent the theater the brighter bulb.


David Hunter

I also took in the fabulous new uptown theater this past weekend and found everything to be very nice, except the seats. They really make watching a show uncomfortable. So much for the "New Uptown".


John Keefe

I, too, miss the comfy, cushy, sit-down-and-sink seats!. The new ones feel like some new-fangled orthopedic experiment. The fact they don’t recline forced my face toward the lower third of the screen, preventing a vertical view of Vertigo.


Evan Roth

I found the Uptown seats comfortable, although I wish they DID rock. I like the addition of the cup holders. The best thing, though, is that the sight lines are great, at least from the seat I was in (the middle of a row about halfway back from the screen). Instead of a head in front of me, there was a nice open space between two seats. The rest of the renovation seemed okay, although there was nothing to it that really jumped out at me. The most important renovation was done months ago: fixing that great big wonderful Cinerama screen.


Liz Hoopes

I, too, saw Vertigo at the *new and improved* Uptown theatre. And there’s no mistaken that David Goldstein is on the money. Those new seats definitely belong in a chamber of horrors. What lunatic approved them?! We were lucky enough and had the room to sit one apart from each other. But even the arm rests are too close. What a disappointment. It’s a shame they had to install airline seats, though. (The bright side: I bet the seat cushions float!) The place does look fabulous however. Oh well, life …


DC Drivers’ Licenses
Ivy Broder

There is a rumor spreading among the high school set that DC has changed the minimum age for obtaining a drivers license from 16 to 18. Does anyone know anything about this? I haven’t read anything about it in the Post, dc.story, etc. My 14 ½ year old daughter is quite distressed!


Vanity Tags
Paul Williams

Carl Bergman wrote about concerns re-using vanity tags from previous vehicles. I ordered and got one a long time ago that said "Art Deco" in NY State. Six months later I got a $4,600 DPW bill for parking tickets in NYC from use of the plate 8 years previous. Despite the fact that I was 12 when the tickets were issued, it took a year to clean up the mess. I haven’t ordered any since.

P.S. What happened to the man that offered the free wooden ladder? I need one badly, and he didn’t reply.


Chevy Chase
William West Hopper President of Historic Chevy Chase, DC

Historic Chevy Chase DC will host a lecture on Wednesday October 30, 8:30 pm at the Chevy Chase Community Center on "The Cultural Diversity of Rock Creek Park." Our speaker will be Stephen Strach the Cultural Resources Manager for the park. Come and learn more about the cultural resource (not just the natural ones) of one of the most well used national parks in the United States.

A Walking Tour of Chevy Chase DC will take place on Saturday November 16 at 9am. For cost and further information contact the Historical Society of DC on 202-785-2068

Our Main Street Chevy Chase Project has just put in its fall order for benches to replace the badly deteriorated ones along Connecticut Avenue here in Chevy Chase. We were able to purchase four with funds raised throughout the year. Two of the benches will be memorials to local residents. One is Sally Dessez Miller, granddaughter of the architect who designed the Chevy Chase Apartment building on Chevy Chase Circle and one for Dr. Stanley Kirstein, who was a local doctor. Look for them to be in place around the first of the year.

If anyone is interested in working with a non-profit community group that focuses on the history of Chevy Chase DC and its environs, we are looking for folks to help us with many different projects. Also if anyone is interested in serving on our Board of Directors, let me know, we will be electing new Directors just after the first of the year.


Steph "Do you want a facial with that?" Faul

A friend in Manhattan lives near Emerald Planet, a self-proclaimed "wrap and smoothie parlor" on Great Jones Street. When I walked by it last week, I assumed it was some kind of beauty salon, since nail parlors advertise "wraps." Then I saw my friend had a menu from the place on her refrigerator. The ambiguous terminology could lead to a certain amount of confusion if the wrap craze takes off here.


Lynne Mersfelder

The wrap concept is simply great. I had them at various locations in Seattle and Calif and was waiting (not so patiently) for the wave to hit the east coast! Where I taste tested there were many good veggy options and we simply don’t have enough veggy restaurant options in the District. I keep asking/hoping that the "Vegetable Garden" (Chinese Vegetarian) in Rockville will open a satellite in Dupont Circle/Adams Morgan.

On the topic of veggy restaurants, does anyone know restaurants where one can find mainly vegetarian, organic food, or even brown rice on the menu? Besides "Food for Thought," Nora and Asia Nora, I can hardly think of one in the District. Would love suggestions anywhere in the tri-state area (or quasi state as the case may be).


Leila Afzal

Alero’s is the third in a series of "Mexican" Restaurants that have occupied the space on the NW corner of Ordway and Connecticut. The previous two occupants were mediocre at best. Happily, I can report that Alero’s is rather good. We have eaten in and taken out on many, many occasions and the food has always been good. The owners are painfully aware that their predecessors had terrible reputations. I recommend the restaurant. And no I have no pecuniary or personal interest in Alero’s except that it’s nice to have good restaurants succeed in the neighborhood.


John Whiteside

I share your desire to see neighborhoods with their own unique character and set of businesses; that’s why I live in the District, rather than out in Virginia where I work, where all the amenities are there but they’re all provided by the same set of national chains that surrounded my office in suburban Boston. But let’s not get hysterical; the people running Starbucks, Boston Market, et al, are not "rapists," they’re astute business people who have successfully taken their company’s resources and invested them to produce growth and profit. And it’s not that easy to just come into a neighborhood without dealing with zoning and neighborhood issues; you say you don’t "imagine" they seek the consent of neighbors, but have you ever talked to someone who’s tried to open a restaurant in a city neighborhood?

Incidentally, Boston Market, in its original incarnation as Boston Chicken, was actually lauded as a hometown success story in its early days in Boston. So if any local DC businesses take off nationally, you can expect to hear people complaining bitterly about how Pop Stop #325 or the new Childe Harold at the mall is ruining America.


Philip Murphy

I was amused to read that someone is dense enough to compare the marketing of coffee to rape, of all things. Unfortunately, Washington is full of those who are so pure of soul that all commercial activity is offensive to them. I often wonder what people like "BiggJuggz" think goes on in marketing departments of companies like Starbucks. They must picture some sinister scene out of a Fritz Lang movie where top-hatted monopolists stick pins in huge maps and laugh while helpless yuppies buy $2 cups of coffee against their will.

In fact, Starbucks lives and dies by the consent of the neighborhoods they locate in. I know it’s a cliché, but "BiggJuggz" can always choose NOT to patronize Starbucks if he is so angry about national companies invading his neighborhood. Odd though that he would say Starbucks has no regard for local character. Wake up a smell the Latte fella — Nothing could be more appropriate in Cleveland Park or Dupont Circle than Starbucks. Now, if they opened up in Benning Heights I’d begin to wonder. On the other hand, maybe "BiggJuggz" would be more comfortable in a neighborhood that can boast of having no profitable enterprises whatsoever.

We can always count on such vigilant DC citizens as "BiggJuggz" who will not rest until all private industry is chased out of our beloved wasteland.


Gaelyn Davidson

I guess these sentiments cycle around just like fashion. On 10/22, S. Marcus ( complained about Starbucks’ infiltration of perfectly good neighborhoods (an "invasive and hostile process - much like rape," he says). Well, I agree.

But there’s nothing unique to Starbucks about this. In fact, I got a shot of deja vu---thought to myself, "gee, isn’t that exactly how folks used to feel about Domino’s a few years back?" And I’m sure there was similar resentment about Howard Johnson’s and McDonald’s and gad-only-knows how many other franchises before Domino’s and Starbucks.

All of these chains gobble up choice real estate and put local, non-chains out of business by appearing on every corner and initially undercutting prices. As with Domino’s, once your favorite local coffee shop goes out of business (because they don’t have the franchise resources to compete), Starbucks will raise their prices. Spend the extra nickel or dime on the business that has an interest in your neighborhood.


Whither UDC?
Lucy Mallan

The decision to turn UDC into a community, rather than a 4-year, college is much more than a budget decision. If that’s what we should have in the District, so be it. But it should be decided for educational reasons, and the agreement for surrounding Universities to treat UDC graduates as residents needs to be spelled out and to be an integral part of the plan.

Perhaps many of our students need a 2-year voc/prep setting they can attend, and for these students a 2-year setting is appropriate. Others of our students (and also the students who have been "prepped") have a right to a low-cost 4-year college, just as students of other states do. Moreover, a lack of 4-year college opportunity for DC students might well accelerate the move out of the city for ambitious students and their families. So let’s consider the proposal to change the nature of UDC on its merits, not as an item in the budget.


Jury Duty
Bob Levine

Regarding jury forms that asked for my race and marital status. This reminds me of the first time I got that form. I refused to answer any of the questions and got a call from the petty bureaucrat in charge of jury selection who informed me that they were returning the form to me and if I did not fill it out completely US Marshals would hold me until I did so, all of this under the authority of a federal law he cited. I called my lawyer and sure enough they have the right to ask and make you answer, also for pulling the man’s chain I wound up serving on a Grand Jury 3 days a week for 18 months, lots of fun but that’s another story.


Jean Lawrence

I have an opinion on jury duty that massively contradicts the eight grade citizenship class view that seems to be prevailing ("a privilege and duty of our citizenship") .I was called to jury duty three times in DC, gave up a day’s work in my small business, was herded around the halls, and each time finally had to (tearfully) explain the circumstances of my 1981 multiple rape and robbery crime in front of the courtroom before being excused. I also was contacted once by a federal grand jury which thought it would be nice if I donated 2 days a week for six months or so. I believe it is a total imposition to expect productive people to, in effect, hand over their time and peace of mind, not to mention money, to help the least productive people in our society, those with emotional problems or poor impulse control, achieve some rarified semblance of "justice." Why should I — completely involuntarily— be dragged through the hoops to participate in the life of the sort of people who damaged me so totally and lastingly? What are THEY doing to fulfill THEIR citizenship? I did not feel like doing it, did not do it, and will not do it. Let the criminal class play out its sad, stupid, destructive role in this comedy without me. I don’t want to be in their movie. That may not be the popular view and I’m sure it’s not politically correct — but it’s how I feel.


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Jeffrey Itell

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