Category Archives: Local News and Views

Since 1835

Washington’s National Theater quite recently gave up its rope-and-sandbags rigging system: it was one of the last of the “hemp houses.” Rebecca Cooper has the story for Washington Business Journal, and there is good video about the transition to the cables-and-counterweights system (less flexible, but standardized) that most hands know.

Going back a little farther in time, a documentary short from the 1950s shows IATSE Local 22 loading in the National’s touring show of My Fair Lady.

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Half dome

peekabooThe view from the National Gallery East Building’s roof terrace. The art downside is not so bad either, although Leta and I miss the two Sol LeWitt wall drawings that used to be there.

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Enroute: 14

new bloomA lovely “bloom” of one of our common yellow myxomycetes in the Ridge Heights meadow.

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Upcoming: 47

Pat Padua reports that Artomatic is coming back to Crystal City for 2017.

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Checking in at the monuments

frame within the frameI saw a Bald Eagle soaring over the Tidal Basin. Maybe it’s going to be okay, after all.

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Enroute: 13

more coming downThe controlled destruction of 51 N Street, N.E, continues.

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Baltimore adventure

An afternoon in Baltimore, visiting an old friend, a new friend, and friends through Leta’s G&S qwert.

here comes the GreenwtfTravel by water taxi, light rail, Metro, and MARC. Hey, Metro, lose the cheesy music piped into the underground stations. And why are American ticket vending machines such a U/X train wreck?

fore viewaft viewMy newly-met friend is the Inner Harbor Water Wheel, views fore and aft. The wheel is positioned at the channelized mouth of Jones Falls, where it empties into the harbor. Floating trash and debris, man-caused and otherwise, is steered into the maw of the machine by the booms; trash is lifted and deposited into a dumpster. River currents, augmented by solar panels, power the gizmo. The googly eyes? Because Baltimore.

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Enroute: 11

one more mysterycoming downAt left, a mystery slime mold busting out of the mulch, in my neighborhood on the way to the bus stop. At right, 51 N Street, N.E, being demolished ever so gradually.

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Enroute: 10

KATEOne of several encouragements spotted last week along the blacktop paths from my house to the Metro station: Kate has a running coach with a generous supply of sidewalk chalk.

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Linus vindicated

The Great Pumpkin rises again over Silver Spring. Thanks, Charlie!

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Upcoming: 43

A reason to get back on the Orange Line: Artomatic is coming to New Carrollton at the end of the month, as Bob Niedt reports.

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Predators

A great investigative series by Michael Pope for WAMU on car-title and consumer-finance-loan lenders in Virginia and their bait-and-switch tactics. To call these disreputable outfits bottom-feeders is an insult to catfish.

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Park View

high styleOne of the highlights of Kent Boese’s walking tour of the Park View neighborhood was the fancy architectural detailing on the 10th Precinct Police Station. The building was built in 1901; the architects were A. B. Mullet & Co.

I volunteered to assist on two tours this year for WalkingTown DC. Farley Earhart led the other, a nice loop around Tenleytown, a village centered on a crossroads that predates the federal city.

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Passings: 2

Robert E. Simon, the developer who started the beautiful community where I have lived for the past 30 years, has passed away, according to Michael Neibauer’s report. If Reston hadn’t come into being, I’m not sure that I would still be living here in the D.C. metro.

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Waders gonna wade

Tim Krepp has an interesting take on the way that the World War II Memorial is being received by the public. It turns out that the gradual steps down into the pool are too inviting: on a hot day, people want to kick off their shoes and go wading. The Park Service has attempted to maintain the solemnity of the space by posting a little NPS-brown “No Wading” sign, but as Krepp points out,

Years ago when I was in the Navy, my captain had a saying: “Every sign is a failure of leadership.” For example, if you need a sign saying “no smoking,” it’s because you didn’t properly train your sailors not to smoke in that space.

That axiom doesn’t always hold outside the closed ecosystem of a ship, but I think it pertains here. If we need a sign saying “no wading,” it’s because the design has failed to discourage wading.

Personally, I think the ring of columns owes more to Albert Speer than to paddling on the beach at Cornwall, but horses for courses.

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