DC at Night

DC at Night

Today's DC News

Loading...

Twitter

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Museum of the American Indian By the Numbers

DC's Smithsonian museums (there are 17 of them here in the city) are among America's most visited and treasured places. But the Smithsonian also publishes a series of some of the most interesting, fact-filled blogs appearing anywhere on the internet. Each Sunday, The Prices Do DC re-posts an entry either about the Smithsonian or that 1st appeared in 1 of the institution's blogs. Hope you enjoy and maybe we'll see you soon at the Smithsonian.




Anniversaries collide this fall at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, marking the first decade of its distinctive building on the Mall at Fourth Street and Independence Avenue SW.
Celebrations have been occurring nearly every weekend all year, with a big streak coming Sept. 18-21 that includes a new exhibit, a symposium and a gala ball.
Even while the celebrating is happening, keeping all the anniversary numbers straight may take some concentration.
To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in The Washington Post, click here.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Was DC Really Built on a Swamp?

Each week in our Saturday Supplement we re-post an entry of interest to both residents of the Washington area and visitors to DC that first appeared in another publication's web site.

There’s a story that D.C. residents like to tell young interns whenever the summer weather gets particularly hot or sticky or unbearable.
The city, they say, was built atop a swamp, its location selected by George Washington. Washington wanted to be close to his  beloved Mount Vernon home (about 15 miles away). He cared little about D.C.’s heat index, the intense humidity, the never-ending heat waves.
It’s a great story, like the one about our first president chopping down a cherry tree.
But it isn’t true. At least, it’s not true enough to warrant its prevalence.
To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in The Washington Post, click here.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Return of the Annual National Book Festival

Welcome to this week's Friday Flashback. Each Friday in the Flashback we offer a post about some part of the past and its relationship to DC. Sometimes, we will write a new entry. Others times, we will showcase articles that previously appeared in The Prices Do DC or some other online publications. But no matter who does the writing, you can trust that you will learn something important from the Flashback.



Tomorrow is the National Book Festival. Although it used to take place over 2 days on the National Mall, this year it be held on a single day in the Walter E. Washongton Convnetion Center. Here is a post from last year's event.

There are probably as many reasons to attend the National Book Festival as there are attendees. However, the avid reading enthusiasts who yearly congregate on the National Mall for one of America's largest book celebrations can loosely be arranged in 1 of 3 categories - some come for a particular type of book, others come for a particular author or authors, and still others come to grab the free reading goodies offered, which includes large, brightly-colored book bags (this year orange) to carry those items home.
Margaret Atwood prepares to take the stage
Take Anne Rhome. The 67-year-old Virginia resident could be found Saturday on the 2nd row of chairs in the Fiction and Mystery tent, where she planned to spend the entire 7 hours of the festival, which is sponsored by the Library of Congress.

"I come here to hear the authors talk about both their new books and their older books," Rhome says. "I've only missed 1 (of the 12) festivals. I stay mostly in the fiction tent because that is what I read."

So how come she wasn't in the 1st row? You could blame her late arrival for not getting the closest seats. On this particular Saturday, the book festival started at 10 a.m.with an appearance by Dom DeLillo, one of America's most acclaimed writers. In 2006, New York Times survey of writers and literary experts chose his novel Underworld as the 2nd best novel of the past 25 years. When Rhome arrived shortly after 9 a.m., she was told the front row had been filled by 8:45.


Rhome says she never tires of the DC festival, which allows her to continue her life-long passion with books and reading. "When I was young, I loved being in the library and being surrounded by books," she said.

Then there are readers like Carolyn Hoy, a high school teacher who had traveled with 2 friends from Lancaster, Pa. for Saturday's programs. There were 2 reasons she was there - one was named Margaret Atwood; the other was Daniel Pink. In fact, we encountered Hoy as she was taking pictures of Pink, who was minutes away from delivering an engaging talk on his newest book entitled To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Persuading, Convincing, and Influencing Others.

"Don't you just love him," Hoy said as she snapped away. As a teacher, she readily agrees with Pink's contention that everyone is a salesmen and therefore should know the best ways to persuade and convince.
"I use all of his books in class," says Hoy, who teaches seminar classes to mixed groups of gifted students in grades 9 through 12. She said Pink's works are ideal for learning concepts of creativity and motivation.

As Pink prowled the stage animatedly distributing the wisdom he had gathered from social scientists around America, you could spot Hoy furiously scribbling down ideas to take back to her classroom.


In the final category you would be hard pressed to find a better example than my wife (and doting grandmother of our 2 grandkids, 5-and-half-year-old Audrey and 4-year-old Owen). Now while Judy did plan to see some authors (her 2 choices for this Saturday were Linda Ronstadt with her new memoir Simple Dreams and Christina Garcia, a Cuban-American writer whose latest book is a darkly comic novel featuring a fictionalized Fidel Castro entitledKing of Cuba) that wasn't her main reason for her attendance.

For much of the day, you could find Judy prowling the tents, filling her bright orange book bag with age-appropriate, reading-related materials for Audrey (who is already reading on her own) and Owen (who still prefers to be read to).

"I love the festival because they have a lot of fun, free, educational things that you can take home for your children or your grandchildren," Judy said. "And a lot of the items you couldn't even buy in stores if you wanted to".

My wife says she can't wait to bring Audrey and Owen (who currently live in suburban Atlanta) to the festival. I support that idea. Maybe then they can carry their own bags. But until that day comes, that is a task for Grandpop. Thank goodness I love books and my grandkids and I look good in orange.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
To book lovers, the National Book Festival is like a rock festival. But like the New Orleans Fest or Bonaroo, the multiple-stages setup prompts some tough decisions. Here are some I faced this past weekend ... Linda Ronstadt or Dom DeLillio? .... James McBride or Daniel Pink? ...Terry McMillan or Benjamin Percy? Alfredo Corchado or Joyce Carol Oates? Taylor Branch (whom I have seen before) or lunch? What a wonderful problem to have.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Back to the 60s: Science and Technology

1964. The Beatles had kicked off the musical British Invasion. LBJ was president. The Cold War was heating up in places like Vietnam. A World's Fair in New York City was promising a new tomorrow of technology and wonder.  And on January 23 of that year the Smithsonian opened the Museum of American History.

Today, all of the above are gone with the exception of the History Museum. To celebrate its founding year, the facility is showcasing 3 exhibits dealing with the time of its early 1960s establishment.

Here is a post of 1 of those exhibits including pictures of some of what you will see if you visit.


When the museum first opened it doors, it was called the Museum of History and Technology.

In 1980, the museum was renamed The National Museum of American History to represent its mission of the collection, care, study, and interpretation of objects that reflect the experience of the American people.

However, despite the name change, the museum continues to showcase science, technological, and health advances as they relate to the American experience.

In the early 1960s, we searched the skies as students hid under desks as part of nuclear drills.
In the early 1960s, scientists began making models of DNA and other genetics.
A look at early calculating and computing

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back to the 60s: History and Culture

1964. The Beatles had kicked off the musical British Invasion. LBJ was president. The Cold War was heating up in places like Vietnam. A World's Fair in New York City was promising a new tomorrow of technology and wonder.  And on January 23 of that year the Smithsonian opened the Museum of American History.

Today, all of the above are gone with the exception of the History Museum. To celebrate its founding year, the facility is showcasing 3 exhibits dealing with the time of its early 1960s establishment.

Here is a post of 1 of those exhibits including pictures of some of what you will see if you visit.


Of course, as a history museum, the Smithsonian Museum of American History deals with ... are you ready for this ... history.

But history is more than just dry facts and forgettable dates that you may have suffered in a boring history class. It is people, and activism, and service, and culture, and the arts and entertainment. It's lunch boxes and LPs. It's signs and sounds. It's from the past and gone, but it still has a life and lives. Sort of like these things:




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back to the 60s - Mustang Sally Special

1964. The Beatles had kicked off the musical British Invasion. LBJ was president. The Cold War was heating up in places like Vietnam. A World's Fair in New York City was promising a new tomorrow of technology and wonder.  And on January 23 of that year the Smithsonian opened the Museum of American History.

Today, all of the above are gone with the exception of the History Museum. To celebrate its founding year, the facility is showcasing 3 exhibits dealing with the time of its early 1960s establishment.

Here is a post of 1 of those exhibits including pictures of some of what you will see if you visit.



In April of 1964, the Ford Motor Company debuted its Ford Mustang at its pavilion at the New York World's Fair, 6 months before it normally would. The company promised that this was a new type of car for a new generation.

It had a sporty look, a compact size, and, for the time, a low price. It evoked the spirit and the excitement of the open road. Unlike Ford's actual sports car. the T-Bird, it could seat 4 people.

Immediately the 1964 car seen in the picture above did live up to its trendsetting pledge. By 1966, more than 1 million Mustangs had been sold. It had even become the subject of a top-selling record by Wilson Pickett.



The Mustang was shepherded through production by a young man who himself would become quiet a name in the auto industry. That man was Lee Iacocca.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Abstract Portraiture @The National Portrait Gallery

Welcome to this week's Monday Must-Do-and-See post. On Mondays, The Prices Do DC will offer an entry about some current exhibit, event, or dining experience in DC you should take in. Sometimes, we will write the post. Sometimes, it will be taken from another publication. But no matter who is the writer, we believe it will showcase an something you shouldn't miss. 


The National Portrait Gallery’s impressive new survey of American portraits from 1945 to 1975 is based on denying what it begins by affirming: that “in mid-twentieth century America, everyone seemed to agree that portraiture was finished as a progressive art form.”
Those are the words of Wendy Wick Reaves and Brandon Brame Fortune, who with David Ward are the curators of “Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction.”Of course, they wouldn’t have a show if notable American artists hadn’t made portraits in the era during which the form was supposedly moribund.
The Age of Abstraction, if it truly happened, didn’t last long. As Reaves and Fortune note, Larry Rivers started painting figuratively in the early 1950s, less than a decade into the period the show covers. 
To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in The Washington Post, click here.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blazing Bright Washington Creates DC's Darkest Days

DC's Smithsonian museums (there are 17 of them here in the city) are among America's most visited and treasured places. But the Smithsonian also publishes a series of some of the most interesting, fact-filled blogs appearing anywhere on the internet. Each Sunday, The Prices Do DC re-posts an entry either about the Smithsonian or that 1st appeared in 1 of the institution's blogs. Hope you enjoy and maybe we'll see you soon at the Smithsonian.



Despite its name, the War of 1812, at least in America, was barely fought in that year. Events in 1813 weren’t that noteworthy either. 

But in the late summer of 1814, the most famous events of the war, apart from the legendary Battle of New Orleans, occurred in a condensed period of just a few short weeks. 

The 200th anniversary of those events begins in just a few short days. Here’s the blow-by-blow of what happened, written by Peter Snow, author of the newly released history, When Britain Burned the White House.

To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in Smithsonian.Com, click here.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Winding It Up Again for the Godfather of Go-Go

Each week in our Saturday Supplement we re-post an entry of interest to both residents of the Washington area and visitors to DC that first appeared in another publication's web site.

Chick Brown bustin' it loose in DC.
It’s 11 p.m. on a Tuesday in a Capitol Heights, Md., industrial park. An open tire shop seems like the only sign of life among the warehouses. But go around back and there’s the muffled yet undeniable clatter of live drums, congas and horns. This is go-go the way Chuck Brown used to play it. Inside a carpeted rehearsal studio, the Chuck Brown Band is running through the set list for one of its most important gigs.
Two of Brown’s children — son Nekos and daughter Takesa “KK” Donelson — sit comfortably on a black leather couch as the troupe resurrects the spirit of the go-go icon.
“Po-lice-man is on the premises, what is he doing in here?” vocalist Frank Sirius sings on “Run Joe,” in his best Brown inflection.
At other times during the practice, the band tinkers with a few loose grooves that lead to Brown’s “Woody Woodpecker,” a go-go cover of Lorde’s “Royals,” and a playful simulation of the “Happy Days” theme song.
Some songs broke down. Others were more fluid. It’s about the party, after all.
More than two years after the “Godfather of Go-Go” died at age 75, the musician’s family, and the band that supported him, are looking to bring the Chuck Brown sound to more listeners, and to find broader appeal for the affable dignitary of this D.C. sound.
To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in The Washington Post, click here.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bloody Civil War Brings Walt Whitman to Washington

Welcome to this week's Friday Flashback. Each Friday in the Flashback we offer a post about some part of the past and its relationship to DC. Sometimes, we will write a new entry. Others times, we will showcase articles that previously appeared in The Prices Do DC or some other online publications. But no matter who does the writing, you can trust that you will learn something important from the Flashback.


Walt Whitman in DC
When Walt Whitman first rushed to Washington in the winter of 1862, the trip had nothing to do with poetry.
It was Dec. 16 — nearly two years into the Civil War and seven years into Whitman’s poetry career — when the New York Herald listed a “First Lieutenant G.W. Whitmore” among the troops killed or wounded in Fredericksburg, Va. The misspelled listing was referring to George Whitman, Walt’s brother, who had enlisted in the Union Army in 1861.
Walt left immediately to search Washington’s hospitals. The poet would stay in the city for the next 11 years.
To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in Boundary Stones, click here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Porous Border Could Let Islamic Terrorists Sneak In to US, Gov. Perry Warns

Rick Perry at Heritage
When Texas Governor and former (and perhaps future) GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry agreed to come to DC to speak about immigration and lawlessness at the border of his state, he probably didn't figure that he would be talking about his own alleged lawlessness.

But that was exactly the case today when Perry appeared before an overflow crowd at the Heritage Foundation to deliver what had been billed as by the foundation and co-sponsor the National Review as a talk entitled The Border Crisis and the New Politics of Immigration."

Perry, making his 1st public appearance in Washington since his indictment on two felony counts of abuse in power, dismissed those charges as politically motivated.

"I am very confident in my case," Perry said. "[The allegations] are an attack on our system of governance. I will defend the constitution and stand up for the rule of law in Texas."

The governor was indicted by a grand jury on charges that he abused his office by trying to coerce a Democratic district attorney to resign after she was convicted of drunk driving.

Perry, who apparently is testing another run for the Republican presidential nomination, spent much of the time in his 30-minute talk calling for intensified U.S. military actions against Islamist terrorists, who this week posted a video of their beheading murder of kidnapped American photojournalist James Foley. (See The Prices Do DC Extra below to see what he said and related stories).

He did tie the events in the Middle East into the Mexican border situation. He said ISIS terrorists could slip across the border to threaten American safety.

"We have a crisis on our Southern border," Perry said. "There are assailants and murderers who should never have been in [our] country in the first place," Perry contended.

The Texas governor criticized President Barack Obama for his handling of the border situation and his immigration policies. The crisis has heightened in recent weeks as thousands of unaccompanied minors fleeing deadly violence in Central America have been surging into Texas from Mexico.

Perry was especially critical of Obama's refusal to visit the area. "To this day, the president has refused to see the facts at our Southern border. No briefing from far away can capture the scenes at our border," he said.

Securing the border should be the first priority, Perry said, advocating more "boots on the grounds, fencing for metropolitan areas" and the use of drones for 24-hour surveillance.

"Until the border is secure there can be no real talk of immigration reform," Perry maintained.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It
More on Perry's Views on Islamic Terrorists, Related Stories

Perry calls for more air strikes against Islamic State. (from USA Today)

Could Islamic State fighters threaten US citizens in their own homeland? (from USA Today)

Are Islamic terrorists crossing the U.S. border (from Think Progress)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Santana Scores, Rod Stewart Not So Much @Verizon Center

Carlos Santana and Rod Stewart
In a way, you could say we're in a 4th generation of rock concerts.

In the early 60s, multiple groups would appear together on one bill, each playing a few of their hits. By the late 60s, popular bands like The Rolling Stones would headline a show, with 2 or more opening acts playing shorter sets for exposure. As the century ended, huge acts like U2 or Bruce Springsteen would play for 3 or more hours without an opening act. In recent years, with money tight and concert costs climbing, there has been a new development - 2 acts who once filled arenas as headliners sharing a co-billed tour.

This year, for example, we have Def Leopard and Kiss, Motley Crue and Alice Cooper, Jeff Beck and Z. Z. Top, and Pat Benatar and Cher.

Last night, a co-billed tour of Carlos Santana and Rod Stewart performed at the Verizon Center as part of their tour labeled The Voice, The Guitar, The Songs.

Santana explained his reasoning behind the pairing:

"People ask me, 'Carlos, what do you and brother Rod have in common?'' I say well, we both listened to Sam Cooke. We both listened to Otis Redding. We both listened to Etta James. We both listened to Nina Simone. Now, we both play black music for white people. And we both like to drive the girls crazy."

Santana, backed by a tight band including another guitar player, a keyboard player, a bass player, a drummer, 2 percussionists, 2 horn players, and 2 vocalists, then proceeded to deliver a blistering 90-minute set of tunes spanning his 45-year career.

For long-time fans, there was "Black Magic Woman" segueing into "Oye Coma Va.: There was "Jin-go-la-ba" from his first album. Complete with the No Rain chant and clips from Woodstock, there was the encore, the iconic "Soul Sacrifice."

There were also songs for newer fans like "Maria Maria" and "Smooth."

There were also several welcome surprises including a rousing version of "Tequilla" by the Champs, a guest appearance by guitar great Jimmy Herring on on the blues tune "If Anyone Can" and interspersed snippets of such rock classics as "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (the Beatles), "Third Stone from the Sun" (Jimi Hendrix), "Low Rider" (War), and even "The Pink Panther Theme" (Henry Mancini).

But while Santana played as powerfully as ever, the years appear not to have been as kind to Stewart, who delivered an hour-and-45-minute set more Vegas smooth than Woodstock raw. Even his great hit "Maggie May" sounded perfunctory and he spent more times kicking soccer balls to the crowd during "Hot Legs" than he did singing.

In fact, the high point of the set was Santana's re-emergence to join Stewart on a cover of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind." After the pair traded vocal lines and guitar licks, Stewart told the crowd "We've been on this tour for 2 months and every night Carlos comes out and plays something completely different. That inspires me to sing the song differently."

Hopefully, there may be more such inspiring help on the way.  Prior to playing "Stay with Me," Stewart told the crowd, "A long time ago, I played in a band called The Faces. We keep talking about getting back together and we will do it. But we better hurry."

I hope the Faces do reunite. Or Stewart and Jeff Beck can patch up differences and tour as The Jeff Beck Group. Because until that version of "Rod the Mod" returns I think I've seen enough of the "Vegas Review Rod."

So as someone who has seen you in concert more than 10 times since 1968, I'm urging you - please make those calls right away. I want my old Rod Stewart back. If Carlos, and Mick, and Paul can do it, you can, too.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It
More Santana/Stewart from The Prices Do DC
Apparently, the Santana over Stewart DC night was typical of the tour. Here is a review from Jon Bream in The Minneapolis Star Tribune that, with a few exceptions,  could just have easily described last night's Washington show.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Race Relations: How Far Have We Come In 50 Years?

Mississippi, Summer 1964
Missouri, Summer 2014
In the summer of 1964, the state of Mississippi was ablaze with danger and protests over the treatment of black citizens there. Today, 50 summers later, the situation is much the same, but this time the location afire is Missouri.

In both cases, killing was a catalyst for the outrage. In Mississippi, it was the murder of 3 Civil Rights movement workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner by members of the Ku Klux Klan. In Ferrguson, Mo., it was the shooting death of a young black man, Michael Brown, by a white police officer.

To understand the situation unfolding in Ferguson, you have merely to turn on your television set. But if you live in the DC area, you might want to consider visiting the Newseum to view the exhibit 1964: Civil Rights at 50 so you can consider the 2 confrontations and what as a package they say about America.

The Newseum exhibit is divided into 4 sections. They are:
  • The Civil Rights Act
  • Freedom Summer: Prepping for Trouble
  • Freedom Summer: Mississippi Burning
  • Freedom Summer:  The Fight for Voting Rights
In conjunction with the exhibit, the Newseum held a special program with participants in the Mississippi Freedom Summer in June. Two of the key speakers claimed that America is backsliding on Civil Rights and issued warnings that seem highly prophetic in light of the Jefferson situation.

"We are not a country that wants to own its history," said Bob Moses, Freedom Summer organizer and former head of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee). "We have to ask - are we a country that pays attention to its history? We're not out of this, not by a long shot."

Rita Schwerner Bender, the widow of the slain Michael Schwerner, said "We are at a very dangerous 
place in this country. We need to know where we were to know where we are now."

Georgia Congressman and noted Civil Rights era leader John Lewis has also spoken on race issues at the Newseum. Last week, on Meet the Press, Lewis said images emerging from Ferguson "looked like it was Baghdad"  and called the situation a "shame and a disgrace." 

"People have a right to protest, people have a right to engage in peaceful nonviolent action and the press has a right to cover what is going on. We have to get police officers and local elected officials to respect the dignity and worth of every human being," said Lewis, who was severely beaten and arrested numerous times during 1960s protests.

Perhaps the most telling connection between the 2 outbreaks separated by 50 years is the wording contained in the Newseum exhibition. In 1964, the activist protesters in Mississippi fully expected to be arrested and carried $500 in bail money. The Mississippi police meanwhile stockpiled more tear gas and riot guns. Change Mississippi to Missouri and add 50 years, you could write the same sentence. Except I imagine bail is more than $500 today.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Phrarrell's Famous Hat Coming to Newseum

Welcome to this week's Monday Must-See post. On Mondays, The Prices Do DC will offer an entry about some current exhibit in DC you should see. Sometimes, we will write the post. Sometimes, it will be taken from another publication. But no matter who is the writer, we believe it will showcase an exhibit you shouldn't miss. 


Even if you didn’t watch the Grammys in January, if you were anywhere near a computer or television in the following weeks you heard about the hat Pharrell wore on the red carpet. 
The massive, butcher-paper-colored Vivienne Westwood creation spawned a flood of memes and mocking tweets—including by fast-food chain Arby’s, whose jokeabout the hat’s resemblance to its logo was retweeted more than 80,000 times.
Arby’s later bought the hat in a charity auction for $44,100—and is lending it to the Newseum, where it will be on display in the New York Times Great Hall of News until October 26. 
The accessory, according to the museum, serves as a symbol of how social media is instrumental in the spread and development of a story. 
To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in The Washingtonian, click here.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Clearing Up Smithsonian Myths

DC's Smithsonian museums (there are 17 of them here in the city) are among America's most visited and treasured places. But the Smithsonian also publishes a series of some of the most interesting, fact-filled blogs appearing anywhere on the internet. Each Sunday, The Prices Do DC re-posts an entry either about the Smithsonian or that 1st appeared in 1 of the institution's blogs. Hope you enjoy and maybe we'll see you soon at the Smithsonian.



The Smithsonian Institution has been a part of the American landscape since 1846.

Yet perhaps because of the breadth and eclecticism of its collections, people still aren’t sure exactly what the Institution does or know much about the objects it contains. Ever since its inception, the Smithsonian has been the subject of wild rumors about the Hope Diamond, Noah’s Ark and more


With that in mind, we would like to take this opportunity to clear up a few lingering misconceptions.


To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in Smithsonian.Org, click here.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Puppeteering Legacy Endures

Each week in our Saturday Supplement we re-post an entry of interest to both residents of the Washington area and visitors to DC that first appeared in another publication's web site.




Alban Odoulamy has been running Puppet Heaven, or puppet shops by other names, in Crystal City for 18 years, but his heart isn’t in it like it used to be.
Odoulamy emigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1990s from the small, French-speaking West African country ofBenin, where he had worked in production and set design for children’s programming for the state-owned television station. He had been formally trained in Marionette puppetry — the puppets controlled by strings — and worked under a master puppeteer until he came here, where he worked as a concierge for Charles E. Smith before its merger with Vornado.
A year after starting his new job in his new country, he saw a vacant shop in a nearby alley and decided to turn it into his own puppet store and workshop, calling it La Marionette. The shop has moved and changed names twice before finding a permanent home in the Shops at 1750 Crystal Drive, as Puppet Heaven.
To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in Arlington Now, click here.

Friday, August 15, 2014

When Robin Williams Crashed the DC Improv

Welcome to this week's Friday Flashback. Each Friday in the Flashback we offer a post about some part of the past and its relationship to DC. Sometimes, we will write a new entry. Others times, we will showcase articles that previously appeared in The Prices Do DC or some other online publications. But no matter who does the writing, you can trust that you will learn something important from the Flashback.


Robin Williams in DC with Stevie Wonder
As the world mourns the passing of actor-comedian Robin Williams, we thought we'd turn back the clock to happier times.
In May of 1996, the Democratic National Committee invited Williams to D.C. to perform at a party fundraiser at the old Washington Convention Center. The event was scheduled for Wednesday, May 8, but Mork came to town a day early. 
After dinner with Vice President Gore, the comedian made his way over to the D.C. Improv on Connecticut Ave. where he surprised the audience -- and perhaps the previously scheduled acts -- with a late-night stand up routine. As would-be headliner Tom Kenny said jokingly, movie star Williams "got off his big bag of money" to swing by the club and get some attention from a real, live audience.
To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared Boundary Stones, click here

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cool, American-Style



What do we mean when we say someone is cool? Who are the coolest of the cool? What does it mean when a generation decides a certain figure is cool? Is coolness a constant, or does it change over time?

These are just some of the questions explored in the exhibition American Cool now on display at the National Portrait Gallery.

Exhibit curators are quick to point out that their exhibit, which includes the 1940s to the present, should be viewed as a conversation starter, not the final word on the world of cool.

In order to be included in the exhibit, the cool personifiers had to demonstrate 4 characteristics: They were:

  • an original artistic vision carried off with a signature style
  • a sense of cultural rebellion
  • instant visual recognition and iconic power
  • a recognized cultural legacy.
Using those guidelines, you get athletes like Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan, screen stars like Steve McQueen and Mae West, jazz greats like Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, journalists like H.L. Menken and Hunter Thompson, and comedians like Lenny Bruce and Jon Stewart, all of whom are among those pictured. In addition to still photos, you can also view movie clips and music videos, as well as listen to music clips from featured artists such as Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen.



Can you identify this smoking cool trio?
One of the more interesting items offered for examination is the Alt 100, a list of the 100 figures who didn't make the final showing, but received strong support from members of the curating team.

But perhaps the most telling message to be taken from the captivating look into coolness is the stark portrayal of the fact that while coolness may last, the time of the possessor of the cool is definitely finite. 

A picture of actress Lauren Bacall had been featured in the exhibit since it opened. However, yesterday the curators were required to post an addition next to Bacall's picture. Now, it reads In Memoriam as Bacall had died one day earlier at the age of 89. 

If you want to check out the cool display and see how the choices there fit in with your definition of cool, you have until Sept. 7, when the exhibition is scheduled to close.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Painting Partnership of Degas and Cassatt

Welcome to this week's Monday Must-See post. On Mondays, The Prices Do DC will offer an entry about some current exhibit in DC you should see. Sometimes, we will write the post. Sometimes, it will be taken from another publication. But no matter who is the writer, we believe it will showcase an exhibit you shouldn't miss. 


In her novel I Always Loved You, author Robin Oliveira imagines a passionate scene between Edgar Degas — a French artist known for his paintings of dancers — and Mary Cassatt — an American painter known for her scenes of family life. The kiss in the novel is pure fiction, but then again, "nobody knows what goes on in their neighbor's house, let alone what happened between two artists 130 years ago," Oliveira says.

new exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., explores the tumultuous, passionate, artistic relationship between the two artists.

To read more of this post, which 1st appeared in NPR, click here.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hope Diamond Was Once a Symbol for French Sun King

DC's Smithsonian museums (there are 17 of them here in the city) are among America's most visited and treasured places. But the Smithsonian also publishes a series of some of the most interesting, fact-filled blogs appearing anywhere on the internet. Each Sunday, The Prices Do DC re-posts an entry either about the Smithsonian or that 1st appeared in 1 of the institution's blogs. Hope you enjoy and maybe we'll see you soon at the Smithsonian.



Every day, thousands of visitors to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum crowd around a glass case on the second floor to gaze at the Hope Diamond, one of the world's most famous jewels.

It's been the subject of dozens of booksgamesdocumentaries and scientific inquiries, partly due to persisting legends that it's cursed. Despite all this attention, though, it seems that the inch-wide, 45.52-carat diamond still conceals secrets waiting to be uncovered.

One of these secrets was recently discovered by Fran├žois Farges, a professor of mineralogy at the National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, and Jeffrey Post, the Smithsonian museum's curator of minerals.

Using computer modeling, a recently-rediscovered 17th century lead replica and scientific analysis, they've determined that back when the Hope was known as the "French Blue" and part of the personal collection of King Louis XIV of France, during the late 17th century, it was likely placed on a gold background and specially cut to produce an effect reminiscent of a sun at its center. Only after it was stolen in 1792, during the French Revolution—and before it resurfaced in Britain in 1812—was it recut to the familiar, smaller shape we know today.

To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in Smithsonian. Com, click here.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sci-Fi Museum Still Heading Toward DC Blast-off

Each week in our Saturday Supplement we re-post an entry of interest to both residents of the Washington area and visitors to DC that first appeared in another publication's web site.


It's been a few months since we've heard any updates on the proposed Museum of Science Fiction. In March, the group working to make the museum a reality ended a months-long IndieGoGo campaign to raise $160,000 towards building a preview museum. That goal fell way short as only about $55,000 was raised.
Speaking with DCist back in December, Museum of Science Fiction Executive Director Greg Viggiano said that the IndieGoGo campaign wasn't intended to be the main source of income to fund the preview museum, but that they're "basically using the crowd funding to raise public awareness."
That goal, Viggiano tells DCist, was wildly successful. Since announcing the intentions to build the museum last fall, the museum has found major partners in The Science Channel and OMNI Reboot, among others, as well as found hundreds of volunteers to help out in any way they can. But now that the groundwork has been laid, Viggiano says they're entering the next phase, with the ultimate goal of finding a site for a preview museum by the end of the year.
To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in DCist, click here.

Friday, August 8, 2014

40 Years On, Carl Bernstein Talks Nixon, Watergate, Tapes

Welcome to this week's Friday Flashback. Each Friday in the Flashback we offer a post about some part of the past and its relationship to DC. Sometimes, we will write a new entry. Others times, we will showcase articles that previously appeared in The Prices Do DC or some other online publications. But no matter who does the writing, you can trust that you will learn something important from the Flashbac


Probably no two names are more associated with the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon than the Washington Post reporting team of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Carl Bernstein in a previous
appearance at the Newseum
That's why it was so fitting that last night,  Bernstein, the more colorful of the 2 master reporters whose Washington work helped lead to the toppling of a president and made them journalistic legends, appeared on a panel at the Newseum to discuss Nixon, his presidency, and Watergate.

The event was held exactly one day short of 40 years since Nixon became the only president to resign his office, a resignation that was in large part driven by damning revelations of behavior and character recorded on a series of secret tapes he made as a record of his presidency.

Bernstein was joined on the panel by historians Douglas Brinkley and Kurt Nichter, who have just released a co-written book The Nixon Tapes and former CBS journalist Marvin Kalb.

As shocking as the revelations that appeared almost daily in the Washington Post 4 decades ago were, the thoughts and actions of Nixon that have emerged in the tapes and other information revealed in the last 40 years is even more alarming, Bernstein told a sold-out Newseum crowd.

"What we know now is so much worse than what we knew when we were writing our stories," Bernstein said. "You have a criminal presidency. We have had presidents who have abused power, but this was something else."

"The last thing I want to do is get into Richard Nixon's head, but much of (what he said and did) comes from some dark place in Nixon's mind. Paranoia is what drove Watergate," he added. "(The behavior that led to) Watergate began in the 1st days of his presidency. Nixon saw himself as master strategist, but the darkness always intrudes."

Bernstein said that any understanding of Nixon and his actions has to take into consideration the contentious nature of both the man and the times of the late 1960s and early 1970s. "The whole country was in the kind of an upheaval we had never seen. This was a man about whom the country was passionately divided. He caused a visceral reaction among the people," Bernstein said. "He dominates our history as no other modern political figure does."

During a question-and--answer session, Bernstein was asked if he believed investigative reporting such as he and his partner Woodward conducted could still be done in today's contemporary media environment.

"I think there is a lot of great reporting going on in this country. But what we lack today is the strength of journalistic institutions," Bernstein said, giving great credit to the Washington Post for backing its reporters.

To support his contention, he cited an example of the strong support from the Post.

"I was called and told there was someone downstairs with a subpoena for our notes," Bernstein explained. "I said "don't let the guy up." And then I called (editor) Ben Bradlee and he said 'Don't let the guy up'.  And then he said, 'You get the hell out of the building'".

Publisher Katherine Graham was just as supportive and courageous, Bernstein said. "She said (that as publisher) these are her notes and if anyone is going to go to jail (for refusing to turn them over) it is going to be me,"

Bernstein said that with Watergate, he and Woodward were trying to report "the best obtainable version of the truth" and then that truth could be used to convince others.

But now the situation is much different. "Today, people are looking for reinforcement and ammunition for their beliefs. They're not looking for reporting; they're not looking for the truth. I think we have a cultural problem, not a reportorial problem," Bernstein said.

Blog Archive

Popular Posts

What's New in Our Other Blogs

About Me

My Photo

I am a retired educator and journalist who is enjoying his new life in DC. So much to do here and so much for free.

Brought to You By

The Prices Do DC is a blog produced by the Davidson Digital Network (DDN), a division of OAPI LLC