Thursday, September 29, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Column

Logo, Banned Books Week 2016
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 16,400+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ 

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Thursday, September 29 at 7 PM, Bonnie Friedman, author, speaking on "Hospital Warrior: How to Get the Best Care for Your Loved One," a guide for working with health professionals in the complex, often overwhelming hospital environment and getting optimum care for loved ones. The book grows out of the author’s 24 years advocating for her husband during his hospitalizations. Book signing and reception to follow. Free. At Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street, NW.

Thursday, September 29 at 7 PM, Uncensored: Harry Potter, Profanity, and the Banned Book. Harry Potter scholars Tolonda Henderson and Kylie Madden share their unique expertise in this lecture double feature in honor of Banned Books Week. Many attempts have been made to ban the Harry Potter series from libraries across the country, but within the narrative itself, only the books on Horcruxes are entirely removed from the library at Hogwarts based on their content. This is not to say that all information flows freely, however. An entire section of the school library is dedicated to books only allowed to circulate to advanced students, and various people throughout the series are forbidden to discuss certain things.This presentation will explore what gets banned in Harry Potter (including items and activities), how access to information is conceived of in the series, and the role of the library in Rowling’s Wizarding World. Free. At the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library, 901 G St NW,

Friday, September 30, 7 to 9 pm, Square Dance! Open to all - with Caller Kenny Harris. Light refreshments available. $5 per person. In the lower level (vestry) of Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church, 3401 Nebraska Ave. NW; parking lot entrance on New Mexico. Call 202-363-4900 for more information.

Friday, September 30 at 7 PM, Cocktail party to celebrate the opening of DC Public Library’s Banned Books Week, featuring literary cocktails from various local bars, live music by DC musicians including Chain and The Gang, and provocative art. Pop-up Market with: DCPL Fab Lab. All ticket sales for this event will support DC Public Library programs and services. Tickets available at: - $50 Guest; $250 Host. At Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library, 901 G Street NW. For all the details about Banned Books Week events - including the exciting Scavenger Hunt for Banned Books - visit

Saturday, October 1, 2016 from 11 AM - 4 PM, The Taste of Georgetown - now in its 23rd year. This foodie event, featuring more than 60 signature dishes from over 30 popular Georgetown dining spots, takes place in the heart of Georgetown, on K Street NW between Wisconsin Avenue and Thomas Jefferson Street and along the scenic Georgetown Waterfront. This event benefits the Georgetown Ministry Center’s mission to support the homeless. Tasting tickets sold in packages of $20 (5 tastes), $30 (8 tastes) and $40 (11 tastes) - buy online at Complete details at

Saturday, October 1 from 11 AM - 4 PM, The Taste of Bethesda. Bethesda's famous food and music festival brings 60 restaurants and five stages of entertainment to Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle. Sample the delicious restaurants, enjoy the live entertainment and visit the kids' corner for face painting and arts & crafts. Taste tickets are sold on-site in bundles of four tickets for $5; food servings cost 1-4  tickets. The event is held along Norfolk, St. Elmo, Cordell, Del Ray and Auburn Avenues in Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle. Taste of Bethesda is held rain or shine. More info:

Saturday, October 1 from 11 AM - 4 PM, B-CC Rescue Squad’s Open House and Rescue Day - see Just two blocks away from the Taste of Bethesda Festival is the free annual Open House and “Rescue Day 2016” at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, featuring fire and rescue activities and displays for all ages, including tours of the station; live demonstrations of emergency medical, rescue, and firefighting equipment; free kids’ firefighter hats; a moon bounce; and more. Also scheduled is a special visit by a helicopter used to transport critically injured patients to area hospitals when time is truly of the essence. Visitors will get an up-close view of the helicopter and have the opportunity to meet the flight medics. (Because the helicopter may need to respond to emergencies throughout the day, its appearance at our event is subject to change.) Visitors can learn about volunteering with the Squad and receiving free training to become EMTs, Firefighters, and Paramedics. Another special treat will be “Rescue 15,” the Squad’s sleek 1972 Cadillac ambulance. The last Cadillac to serve in the Squad’s fleet, “Rescue 15” now serves in a ceremonial function at Squad open houses, parades, and other events and has become a favorite of kids and families. Free. The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad is located at 5020 Battery Lane, at the intersection of Old Georgetown Road.

Saturday, October 1 from 2 - 6 PM, The 4th Annual Adams Morgan PorchFest - over 3 dozen musicians will play at this free event. With maps in hand (electronic version available before and paper maps handed out on the day of the festival at 18th and Columbia Road NW) music fans, families and neighbors can follow their ears through the tree-lined streets of Adams Morgan to experience a wide range of music styles, from brass and blues, to rock, jazz and soul. The all-female Brazilian drumming group, Batala,, will be a featured act at Adams Morgan PorchFest headquarters after performing at the Kennedy Center earlier in the day. Details can be found at

Sunday, October 2 at 10:30 AM - 12 noon, Book Signing and Goodies at Baked By Yael, featuring renowned author and comedian Sarah Cooper, who will be signing copies of her new book “100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings: How to Get By Without Even Trying.” Free. At Baked by Yael, 3000 Connecticut Avenue NW. For more info or to RSVP, go to:  You will also get 10% off your entire purchase when you buy Sarah’s book at Baked by Yael

Sunday, October 2 from 1 - 4 PM, The Fantastic Tenleytown Block Party, featuring: Free Grilled Burgers/Hot Dogs/Drinks/Desserts & More; Free dessert by local area favorite food trucks; 45' Inflatable Obstacle Course For Teens/Adults; Children’s Ferris Wheel; Face Painting; Balloons; Live Entertainers; The Fan Zone Featuring Live Viewing Tent For NFL Games; Shaded Seating Areas; 3-On-3 Basketball Tournament; Live DJ/Music; Cornhole; Service Opportunity for our city; And Much More! A free, community event sponsored by The City Church, 4100 River Road NW. Website:

Monday, October 3 at 12 noon, Campaign History and the Current Race, a lecture by Professor Matthew Dallek, assistant professor in GW's Graduate School of Political Management. Delve into presidential campaigns of years past to put today’s race into perspective. View the related exhibition, Your Next President: Campaign Art from the collection of Mark and Rosalind Shenkman - Free. At the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St NW,

Monday, October 3 at 4:30 PM, Paper Plate Vampire Craft. In celebration of Halloween, we will be making a paper plate craft inspired by everyone's favorite vampire - Count Dracula! (We promise he won't bite.) All supplies will be provided. Free. For ages 6 and up. At the Petworth Library 4200 Kansas Avenue NW,

Tuesday, October 4 at 3 PM, Corn Maze Navigation Workshop. Planning to visit a corn maze sometime during this busy season of multiple Fall Festivals? Don’t go unprepared! With this helpful, time-saving workshop you will learn techniques so that you and your family can whiz on through the most complicated and devious corn maze layouts. Aerial photos of all the corn mazes within a two-hour drive will be given out to all attendees, and for an extra fee, you can download a GPS add-on for each maze, giving you turn-by-turn directions. Basic course registration: $125; upgrade to the $175 level which includes Maze app. Ten percent discount if you register in advance at

Wednesday, October 5 at 7 PM, Book Talk: First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s First Ladies. Author Kate Andersen Brower draws on a wide array of untapped, candid sources to tell the stories of the ten remarkable women who have defined the role of First Lady of the United States since 1960. From Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama, she offers new insights into this privileged group, and shares stories exploring everything from the first ladies’ political crusades to their rivalries with Washington figures; from their friendships with other first ladies to their public and private relationships with their husbands. Free. At Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Still Life with Robin: Crash!

Photo by Michael Jastremski (via Wikimedia Commons)
by Peggy Robin

I usually write a column on Saturdays. I was thinking about it on Friday, planning to write something about an obscure holiday, or maybe some astronomical phenomena. There’s “Eat Like a Lumberjack Day” ( coming up on Monday, but I was thinking maybe I would say something about last week's phenomenal Harvest Moon ( Well, Saturday came and went, and no column. Why? Because some time on Friday my computer experienced a sudden and complete catastrophic failure, and I ended up spending every waking minute of the day dealing with the fallout. By the end of the day, I had managed to get a new computer and retrieve all the essential data from the backups I had running, but it was difficult, stressful, and certainly not cheap.

I’m still completely wrung out from this experience. Many years ago I was in a parked car that was rear-ended by a UPS truck. The whole back half of my car crumpled in like an accordion. The car was a total loss. In the immediate aftermath, I wasn’t sure if I was hurt; I was too shook up to think straight. UPS wanted to take care of everything right away, but someone advised me not to sign anything saying I was OK until enough time had passed to make sure I didn’t have any hidden injuries. That turned out to be good advice, as I didn’t start to feel anything until I woke up the next morning, aching all over. So far this computer crash has been much like that car crash. I may think I’m OK – I have a new computer and I think I have all my data – but I won’t really know for sure until enough time has gone by and I’ve found out what it’s like to try to use this or that part. I still feel all turned upside-down, the way I did waking up on the morning after the crash.

In time, I think everything will be OK. I hope it will. I keep telling myself it’s only data. I have all my photos. They’re in the cloud somewhere, not organized the way they were in my computer files. But I know they all still exist…somewhere in cyberspace.

As with most bad experiences, I have learned a few things. Here goes:

1. Backup. There’s no such thing as too much backup. I thought I had three working backups. It turned out that I had only two. One of my two hard-drive backups was not, in fact, backing anything up. The other one was working, but it gave back the files in not quite the same filing order as I wanted them. I also had Carbonite online backup, but it took me quite a while to find the proper access to my account. Backup information should always be kept in an accessible PAPER file, with all the info you need to get to your data quickly. Storing it in a computer is a bad idea!
2. Computers can crash without warning. In the past, I always had some signs (slow rebooting; screen freezing) warning me that something was going wrong, giving me time to move from one computer to another. I never believed a computer could just go in an instant, without owner abuse or misuse. I thought I was so careful. Now I understand that anyone is vulnerable, careful or not. I'm a lot less smug than I was before.
3. Do as much as you can “in the cloud.” Everything in the cloud will stay accessible, no matter what computer you’re on. If I had followed this advice, there would have been far less restoration work to do.
4. The hard part isn’t putting the data back. It’s getting the programs to run with the customized displays, sounds, reminders – all these little touches you’ve put in over time or didn’t even know you depended on – and every one of those settings needs to be reset. You won’t know it until the first time some annoying little reminder chimes, and you have to figure out how to turn the damn thing off.
5. Get help ASAP. I was fortunate that Mamadou Diallo was available on short notice. He’s earned plaudits on the listserv before. I called him (301 346 0339) in a panic, and once he confirmed that yes, the poor thing was dead, and I should go out and get a new one, he did everything possible to make that new one work the way my old computer used to work. This was no simple task, but he was patient and calm, when I was anything but. I should also give a shout-out to the techies at UBreakIFix, who examined my computer which I brought in as a walk-in to their shop on Connecticut Ave; they told me within twenty minutes that it was not salvageable, and did not charge me anything for the bad news.

There is still much left to do. It may take a few weeks to get everything running the way I want it to run. I’ve accepted that it will never really, truly be the way it was before. Things change. You have to adapt, make the best of it. This new computer will grow on me…..I hope. And next week I expect to be back to writing about kooky holidays, odd weather phenomena, and quirky little things about life in Cleveland Park.

Still Life with Robin is usually published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and All Life Is Local on Saturdays, except in the event of a major computer meltdown, in which case it is delayed until Sunday.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Column

Photo by NMAAHC
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 16,400+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ 

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv 

This weekend - so much to do! All through Friday, Saturday and Sunday there are events to celebrate the opening of the National African American Museum of History and Culture on the Mall; the full schedule is here: And then there’s the all-day Library of Congress National Book Festival on Saturday. You can plan ahead using the schedule or you can wander around and walk into any number of talks and discussions featuring lesser-known literary lights and discover new things!

Thursday, September 22 at 6 PM, Lincoln’s Cottage Conversation: Lincoln's Generals' Wives.
Author Candice Shy Hooper and C-SPAN CEO Susan Swain discuss Hooper's new book, Lincoln’s Generals’ Wives: Four Women who Influenced the Civil War for Better and for Worse. Hooper and Swain will explore the American Civil War by examining the influential lives of Jessie Frémont, Nelly McClellan, Ellen Sherman, and Julia Grant. Wives to John Frémont, George McClellan, William Sherman, and Ulysses Grant, respectively, these women served as confidantes to their husbands influenced their ambitions and actions. The reception starts at 6 PM at the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center; the lecture starts at 6:30 PM.  Admission: $10 for the lecture and $10 for the reception. Free for Cottage members at the $250 level or above. To purchase tickets and RSVP, email Michelle Martz at MMartz @ lincolncottage dot org or call (202) 688-3735. More info: Lincoln’s Cottage is at 140 Rock Creek Church Road NW.

Thursday, September 22 at 7 PM, “Aunt Betty and Fort Stevens,” a documentary telling the story of Elizabeth Thomas, a free woman of color who owned land in Washington, DC during the 19th century. A discussion, enhanced by re-enactor Patricia Tyson, will follow with Washington, DC film producer Marvin T. Jones. Free. At the Cleveland Park Library 3310 Connecticut Ave. NW,

Thursday, September 22 at 5 PM, Isle of Man in the News Day. Celebrate the day that the tiny, quasi-independent Isle of Man, a dependency of the UK in the Irish Sea, rated 32 column inches and 3 color photos in the print edition of the New York Times (9/22/16). The voters among the population of 85,000 went to the polls today to elect their chief minister and members of the Tynwald, as their ancient parliament is called. Polls close at 20:00, or 5 PM EDT, which is when you may wish to start following the elections results: Go to For a list of pubs in Washington, DC where you can mingle with fellow Manx-election watchers, go to:

Friday, September 23 from 11 AM - 3 PM, Games, Lunch and a Movie.” The movie is “Our Town” starring Paul Newman. Assortment of board games will be brought out at 11 AM; lunch served at noon (lunch reservations needed by 9/21); the movie starts at 1 PM. Free. At Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street NW.

Friday, September 23 at 7 PM, An Evening of Dance With “Errant Movement.” Errant means "traveling in search of adventure." The choreography explores the world we live in through dance, using unexpected movement patterns and ideas. Artistic director Rachel Turner’s choreographic style incorporates technical dance with pedestrian gestures to create movement that is visually pleasing and easy to connect with. Featured artists: Rachel Turner, Mariana Barros, Emelia Kawashima, Kaya Simonson. Free. For more information, please contact the staff at Guy Mason Recreation Center, 202-727-7527. Guy Mason Recreation Center is at 3600 Calvert St NW.

Saturday, September 24 at 10 AM, NMAAHC Livestream Opening Party. Watch a livestream of the grand opening and dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Free. At the Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue NW.

Saturday, September 24 at 11 AM, Historic Chevy Chase DC Walking Tour. Again this year, Historic Chevy Chase DC, in conjunction with Cultural Tourism DC, a city-wide organization, will be sponsoring a free walking tour of the neighborhood. This easy 1-hour walk will begin at the Avalon Theatre, led by Keene Taylor Jr., long-time resident and business owner in the neighborhood. Keene will discuss the history of both the residential and commercial areas of Chevy Chase DC. No need to reserve a space, just show up at 11 AM at the Avalon, 5612 Connecticut Ave NW. At the end of the tour, the Avalon Theatre will offer a coupon to tour participants -- buy one small ice cream and get the second free.

Saturday, September 24 from 2 - 4 PM, Workshop: Energy Efficiency and Old Homes, presented by the DC Preservation League in partnership with the Cleveland Park Historical Society. Come learn about energy audits and what home improvements are the most cost effective with particular attention to the issue of window repair and replacement and integrity. Speakers are Nakita Reed, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, GGP, a managing member of ENCORE Sustainable Design, working to combine historic preservation with energy efficiency and sustainable design; and John Sandor, an architectural historian and expert in the repair and replacement of windows in historic buildings. Free, but please register at At Cleveland Park Congregational Church, 3400 Lowell Street NW.

Saturday, September 24 at 2 PM, Time Travel with Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson’s last visit to Washington DC was in 1855. Writer, performer, and educator MiMi Zannino, dressed in authentic attire of the period, takes us back  in time to meet  the “Belle of  Amherst” in this one-woman play that brings American poetry and history to life. MiMi Zannino is a poet-in-residence with  the Maryland State Arts Council and a  Chautauqua actor/scholar. Free. At the Georgetown Library, 3260 R Street NW. More info:

Saturday, September 24 from 7 PM - 12 Midnight, Art All Night Tenleytown. Art All Night is a celebration of contemporary art in all its forms; ten venues up and down Wisconsin Avenue, including Whole Foods, the Tenley Library, Tenley Bar and Grill, and others will be transformed into pop-up galleries and performance spaces. The lineup is awesome and includes more than 30 artists and performers, most of whom work and live in the greater Tenleytown area.  Art events and installations will include photography, painting, sculpture, jewelry, and more. There will also be lots of live music, dance, and literary readings. Art Night attendees can celebrate their inner artists through interactive crafts and art projects, open dance and yoga mini-classes, and interaction with local artists. Free. Details at Printable map and brochure at

Sunday, September 25 Fall Garden Day at the National Cathedral - a fun family afternoon in the garden! Enjoy: Food for sale, featuring Rocklands Barbecue; Music; Croquet and other games on the lawn; Garden docents to answer all your questions; Herb Cottage mini-cart with specialty jam, tea,and other gifts for sale; Free tote bags and “Color the Cathedral Close” coloring books. Free and open to the public. In the Bishop’s Garden and Lawn of Washington National Cathedral, Wisconsin & Massachusetts Avenues NW. Event flyer at

Sunday, September 25 from 11 AM - 7 PM, The 14th Annual Turkish Festival. Enjoy: Authentic Turkish Cuisine; Turkish Coffee House and Fortune Telling; Traditional Turkish Music and Folkdance Performances; Turkish Bazaar – Arts & Crafts; Kids' Games and Activities; Cultural Activities. Free admission. Along Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets NW. Full details at

Monday, September 26 from 3:30 - 5 PM, Seminar: “Live and Learn: "Avoiding Scams, Identity Theft and Email Fraud," presented by Dupont Circle Village. How do you protect yourself from online, telemarketing, investment, home improvement, health care and other types of scams?  What about identity theft and financial exploitation? Philip Ziperman, Director of the DC Office of Consumer Protection, will discuss how you can protect yourself from different types of fraud and what you can do if you become a victim. Mr. Ziperman’s newly-created office is part of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. At St. Thomas Church /1772 Church Street, NW. Free. More info: or call 202.436.5252.

Monday, September 26 from 6:30 - 9 PM, AU’s Visiting Writers Series Presents Jacqueline Woodson. 2014 National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson writes for children, young adults, and adult audiences. She is perhaps best known for Miracle's Boys, which won the 2001 Coretta Scott King Award, and Brown Girl Dreaming, which was a 2015 winner of the Newbery Medal. Of Woodson's forthcoming novel, Another Brooklyn, Angela Flournoy writes: "In this elegant and moving novel, Jacqueline Woodson explores the beauty and burden of growing up Girl in 1970s Brooklyn through the lens of one unforgettable narrator…. Full of moments of grief, grace and wonder, Another Brooklyn proves that Jacqueline Woodson is a master storyteller." Q&A from 6:30 - 7:30, public reading at 8 PM. Free and open to the public. In the Butler Board Room, 6th Floor, Butler Pavilion building at American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW. More info:

Wednesday September 28 at 7PM, Discussion of August Wilson's “Radio Golf.” Otis Ramsey-Zoe, Associate Artistic Director at banished? productions, Lecturer of Theatre Arts at Howard University, and Series Editor for NoPassport Press's Dreaming the Americas Series, will be on hand to discuss August Wilson's Radio Golf. Free. At Georgetown Neighborhood Library, 3260 R Street NW, 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Still Life with Robin: New Parents in the Neighborhood

Photo by National Zoo
by Peggy Robin

Congratulations to new parents who had a son on Monday, September 12 – a little cutie-pie born in Woodley Park. You know I’m talking about a baby organgutan, right? Here’s the announcement from the National Zoo on behalf of the Batang (the mom) and Kyle (the dad), both nineteen years old:

The Zoo reports the baby is yet unnamed, which brings me to a subject that has been nagging at me for nearly a full year, and that is the naming of its previous most-celebrated newborn, the panda cub, Bei Bei -- something I still think the Zoo handled very badly. There used to be a set system in place for the naming of the cubs: the Zoo waited out the first hundred days (in keeping with Chinese tradition) before announcing the baby’s name. In the intervening time, the Chinese government, which owns the pandas (they are merely here on loan) would come up with a handful of acceptable names, and the Zoo would hold an online popularity contest for the public. After the voters had picked their favorite, the panda would be given its name.

Well, that wasn't what happened with Bei Bei,. Just one year ago from Monday (September 25 is the first anniversary of the naming), the Chinese government unexpectedly put the kibosh on even this limited form of popular vote, and on the 35th day after the birth, unilaterally decreed that the baby would be called Bei Bei. It’s not that it’s a worse name than Bao Bao (the top vote-getter for the previous panda cub, born two years earlier), but that they broke the rules. This time we didn't even get to hear the choices! On top of that, they quashed a grass-roots naming-rights insurgency being led by Washington Post columnist John Kelly, who had started his own campaign for a write-in choice in the poll he assumed would be set up – and the name he wanted for the baby was Elvis. (See

It would have been such a great thing if that name had won! I thought so at the time, and I have never let go of the notion. And here we are again, with a very adorable little Zoo baby in our midst…unnamed as of yet. It wiggles and rocks and rolls more like the King than any roly-poly panda cub could hope to do. (Might have something to do with being a fellow primate.)

So let’s do it – let’s name this baby Elvis! Elvis Orangutan – it has a ring to it!  If you’re on board, you can tweet to the National Zoo at @NationalZoo.

P.S. There was no email address listed on the Zoo’s “Contact Us” page at Does that tell you something about how much they want to hear from us?

Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays. Peggy tweets @StillLifewRobin

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Column

Tenley-Friendship Library: Robotic Toy Takeover
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 16,400+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv  

Friday, September 16 from 11 AM - 11 PM, Truckeroo! Come out and enjoy the tastiest food trucks DC has to offer, live tunes, and cool beverages all day! 25+ Food Trucks, Live Music, Tasty Beverages. All ages welcome (21+ to drink). Dogs welcome. Free entry. Located at the Fairgrounds, 1299 Half St SE, Navy Yard Metro (Nats Ballpark Exit). More info:

Saturday, September 17 from 12 - 3 PM, Chevy Chase Day. Fun activities for the whole family,  including free ice cream, popcorn, cotton candy, moon bounce, face painting, and a dunk tank with MPD's finest in the tank. There will also be a prescription drug drop-off at the Chevy Chase Community Center for safe disposal of unused medications, and a book sale by Friends of the Chevy Chase Library. Free. On Connecticut Avenue between Northampton and McKinley Streets.

Saturday,September 17 from 12 noon - 7 PM, H Street Festival, spanning 10 blocks of H Street NE with 14 staging areas, dozens of interactive attractions and displays and over 250 businesses, restaurants, community organizations and vendors.Come for the great entertainment, food, drinks, contests, family-friendly activities and more! All the details at: and video at Free admission.

Saturday, September 17, 10 AM - 7 PM and Sunday, September 18, 10 AM -  5 PM, Alexandria King Street Art Festival. At this community festival, art enthusiasts discover spectacular paintings, life-size sculptures, jewelry, photography, ceramics and more, offering extraordinary art for every taste. More than $15 million in art will be on display, providing visitors with the opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind wares and meet the artists behind the work, hearing firsthand what inspires them. Plus, enjoy a variety of local activities and performances throughout the weekend, including live music, hands-on activities and art happenings. The Art League's popular Ice Cream Bowl Fundraiser returns, featuring 1,400 handmade ceramic bowls and local artisanal ice cream, all for only $15 per bowl. The festivities continue across Union Street at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Visitors can peruse 82 open studios and find even more works of art for purchase. On Saturday, September 17, visitors can watch artists while they work, dance to live music, and get creative at the DIY station. Free Admission. At 480 King St. in Alexandria, VA. RSVP:

Saturday, September 17 from 10 - 11:30 AM, Tregaron’s 2nd Annual Leashed Dog Social. Join Tregaron's "canine community" by the Lily Pond near the Klingle Road Entrance for breakfast treats and conversation. RSVPs appreciated to info @ tregaronconservancy dot org. Directions at

Sunday, September 18 from 10 AM - 5 PM, ZooFiesta at the National Zoo. “Un día de diversión animal para toda la familia.” There will be a variety of fun-filled family activities, including live music, authentic gourmet cuisine and educational activities about conservation in Central and South America. Meet Zoo scientists who are working to save native species and learn about their research. Animal keepers will host talks, feedings and demonstrations highlighting a variety of animals native to the region, including Andean bears, sloths, giant anteaters, armadillos, golden lion tamarins, Panamanian golden frogs and more. Full schedule of events at:

Sunday, September 18 at 1.30 PM, Robotic Toy Takeover! Kids of all ages! You are invited to the Friends Makers-in-Residence Workshop with Billy Friebele and Mike Iacovone, who will focus on creating small digital toys that interact with the viewer. We will work in teams to build small robotic interfaces using Arduino microcontrollers. Come learn how sensors work and use them to make things happen! We will learn simple electrical wiring to activate LES lights or tiny speakers. Create a new look for the bot - then we will write some basic code and upload it to bring it alive! Please bring a laptop computer with a USB port, if you can. If you have a USB cable, that will come in handy as well. This workshop is for kids of all ages who have an interest in robotics (including grownup kids!) While you won't be able to take the electronics home, you'll learn the skills to make them yourself. Free. At the Tenley Library/Large Conference Room, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,

Sunday, September 18 at 3 PM, Arts Council Concert: Two Titanic Sonatas. The excellent pianist Carlos Rodriguez will be performing two majestic pieces, Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” and Liszt’s “Grand Sonata.” The MMUMC Arts Council is co-sponsoring this concert with Levine Music. Tickets: $15 in advance at and $20 at the door, free to Levine students. Call 202-363-4900 for more information. At Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church, 3401 Nebraska Ave. NW.

Monday, September 19 at 3 PM, Concert: Trio on Pocket Combs and Blade of Grass. Virtuoso Comb-meisters Ronja and Mario (shown here: along with Grass Reed Player Mr. Guest (shown here: perform “Music for Well-Groomed Hair and Lawns.” Free, but donations gratefully accepted in support of Society for Preservation Of Musical Instruments Made From Items Purchased At the Dollar Store Or Plucked From the Ground (SOCPMIMFIPDSOPFG). At Fort Reno Park. Free tickets can be reserved at this link and then printed out and used in bicycle spokes to create an pleasing sort of music while pedaling to this week’s Fake Event.

Tuesday September 20 at 7 PM, “Isabella: The Warrior Queen.” Pulitzer-prizewinning journalist and author Kirstin Downey will discuss her book about Isabella of Castile (1451-1504), who modeled herself on Joan of Arc; but she was hardly a Saint; she unified a country, but expelled its non-Christian people. She sponsored Columbus’s voyages but empowered the Spanish Inquisition. While Ferdinand of Aragon has always gotten first billing, Isabella was the driving force of 15th-century Spanish – and therefore European – politics. Downey’s book is a compelling portrait of one of history’s most complex leaders. Book sale and signing to follow event. Free admission. At the Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave NW,

Wednesday September 21 7 PM , Keeping You in Stitches - The Business of Fashion. LaTisha Winston, Professor of Fashion Design & Merchandising, Marymount University and a Mentor with the District of Columbia Fashion Incubator, will be on hand to discuss the business side of the fashion industry. Free. At the Georgetown Neighborhood Library, 3260 R Street NW,

Wednesday, September 21 at 7 PM, “God’s Gonna Trouble the Water: Freedom’s Call and Response in African American Spirituals.” In celebration of the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, musicians and scholars will lead a moving evening of song, narratives, and reflections in the Great Choir of Washington National Cathedral. Selections to include Wade in the Water, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Woke up this Morning, Go Down Moses, This Little Light of Mine, We Shall Overcome, and John Coltrane’s searing composition Alabama, composed as musical response to the Birmingham church bombing of 1963. The event will also honor the scholarship of Dr. Eileen Guenther, whose new book, In Their Own Words, focuses on the genesis and power of the Spirituals. Speakers and Musicians: The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, the Rev. Dr. Rose Duncan, Kehembe Eichelberger, Stanley Thurston and Dr. Eileen Guenther. "God's Gonna Trouble the Water" is presented in celebration of the Grand Opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Free - but please reserve your tickets at The National Cathedral is at Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues NW.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Still Life with Robin: Here I Am (in Cleveland Park)

Here I Am by Jonathan Safan Foer
by Peggy Robin

Have you heard of the hot new literary novel of the fall? It’s Jonathan Safran Foer’s latest, “Here I Am” []. I’m on page 116 out of 571. I don’t normally plug novels in this weekly slice-of-neighborhood-life column but I’m making an exception for this one. Why? Because it’s set in Cleveland Park! Though I’m not even a quarter of the way into the book, its central characters, a family of five, have so far either visited or referenced: Vace’s; the Zoo; Adas Israel, Georgetown Day, Whole Foods, a gift shop with interesting hand-made items such as animal horn salad tongs (am I wrong in assuming it’s Wake Up Little Suzie?), Starbucks, and (after a short drive north up the avenue) Child’s Play. Their home is on Newark Street, clearly closer to Connecticut than Wisconsin.

Since I’m still more or less at the beginning, I can’t yet discern the meaning I’m supposed to derive from the mention of all these specific landmarks and locations. It could be that the author wants me to understand that these characters live in a precious little cocoon, which puts within their easy grasp an astonishing array of over-produced consumer goods, and therefore the reader may regard them as over-privileged and under-prepared to deal with the often difficult things that matter most – OR – maybe the reader is just meant to accept all this detail of neighborhood life as a simple, straightforward I-am-a-camera recording of the characters’ environment. In which case, I suppose, the reader is expected to supply his or her own snark.

Determining which is the case will almost certainly require further reading and/or critical thinking about what I’ve read. The novel from its opening sentence (foretelling the destruction of Israel and the death of an old man) promises a lot to chew on. At 571 pages, it had better!


Still Life with Robin is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Column

Peirce Mill - National Park Service
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 16,300+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @
Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv
Friday, September 9 from 11 AM - 3 PM, “Games, Lunch, and a Movie” at Guy Mason Recreation Center. Assortment of games will be available at 11 AM. Lunch starts at 12 noon (lunch reservations needed to be in by Wednesday, Sept 7). The movie, "Dead Poet’s Society," starring Robin Williams and Ethan Hawke, starts at 1 PM. All free. Call (202) 727-752 for more information. Guy Mason Recreation Center is at 3600 Calvert Street NW.     
Saturday, September 10 from 11 AM - 10 PM, 202 Arts & Music Festival, presented by the DC Commission on Arts & Humanities at Canal Park. Enjoy a full day of arts and music activities for the entire family. Featuring live performances, art exhibitions, interactive workshops and more. Plus DC's biggest outdoor dance party to end the night. Performers include George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Amadou Koyate, DJ D-MAC, Sin Miedo, and more! Canal Park is at 1000 2nd Street SE (Navy Yard Metro). Free, but please RSVP at  
Saturday September 10 from 10 AM - 3 PM, Family Day at Lincoln’s Cottage. You are invited to the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home where Lincoln and his family stayed, for the fifth annual President Lincoln’s Cottage’s Family Day event. Family members of all ages will enjoy the live entertainment and creative activities inspired by the Lincoln family and their life at the Soldiers’ Home. In addition to the petting zoo, live music and other entertainment, a chance to explore a civil war encampment, and tour of the cottage, this year there will be some new features: you will be able to create a unique family tree and also participate in Unity, a “3-D exploration of interconnectedness.” RSVP for this free event at The entrance to the Lincoln Cottage is at Entrance at 140 Rock Creek Church Road NW. 
Saturday, September 10 at 11 AM, STAR Family Festival: Sing, Talk and Read. Learn how singing, talking and reading with your baby or young child now can help them later in school. It's never too early to give your kids a smart start. Come to DC Public Library's Sing, Talk and Read Family Festival featuring: Workshops for parents to support your child's early learning; Fun activities, crafts and games for children; Live entertainment; Safety, health and education resources for your child; Free books to take home; Door prizes including gift baskets and other giveaways; Free lunch provided (while supplies last); Face painting; Much more! Special guest appearances from Radio One's Angie Ange and Shorty Da Prince. Free. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street NW, more info:
Saturday, September 10 from 12 - 6 PM, Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival. An estimated 4,500 people will attend this free-to-the-public, family-friendly event. The juried festival will feature over 100 exhibiting artists and artisans, Maryland craft breweries, food vendors, as well as a variety of performances, including music and dance. Tasting passes (ages 21+) are $30 in advance online at: and can also be purchased at the gate. Location: Three blocks of downtown Hyattsville (Farragut & Gallatin Streets near Franklin’s Brewery). Free parking at Hyattsville Justice Center Garage and designated city lots. Full details at
Saturday September 10 at 1 PM, Book Hill Talk: “Senator Margaret Chase Smith: The Lady from Maine.” Jamie Stiehm, a Creators Syndicate columnist and contributor to, discusses how “The Lady from Maine” denounced Joseph McCarthy in a floor speech that made Senate history on June 1, 1950. Free. In the Peabody Room at Georgetown Neighborhood Library, 3260 R Street NW.
Saturday, September 10 from 4 - 6 PM, Hard Cider Tasting at Peirce Mill. Join your neighbors and the National Park Service for a hard cider tasting in Rock Creek Park. The waterwheel will also be turning Saturday to make cornmeal from 11 AM - 2 PM. Visitors are invited to watch Jeanne, the miller, engage this giant wooden machine, which operated commercially on Rock Creek until 1897, when the waterwheel broke. Family games and activities will also take place on Saturday from 11 AM - 2 PM with historic games, water mill toys, and nature crafts. All are welcome but the family workshop is designed for young millers age 3-7. Free! Tickets to the Cider Tasting are $25 and benefit Friends of Peirce Mill, the partner organization to the National Park Service, instrumental in the restoration of Peirce Mill in Rock Creek Park. For tickets, please click on Interpreter Nate Marzoli will be giving a brief lecture about the history of cider at 4:45 PM. Located in Rock Creek Park at the intersection of Beach Drive and Tilden Street, NW.
Sunday, September 11 from 12 Noon - 6 PM Adams Morgan Day, now in its 38th year, it’s the longest-running neighborhood-centered festival in DC, celebrating Adams Morgan’s eclectic history, culture, businesses, and residents. Live music and dance performances, food & drink, arts & crafts exhibitions, children’s activities and games, restaurant specials, vendors, and much more. Centered around 18th St & Columbia Road. Note: This year 18th Street will not be closed. More info:
Sunday September 11 from 12 - 2 PM, American University Neighbors Back-to-School Picnic. American University’s Office of Community Relations and the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church invite neighbors and students to attend a back-to-school picnic to celebrate the beginning of the new academic year. All are invited to attend. Lunch and kids’ activities will be provided. Come out and meet your neighbors and students from American University as we kick off the 2016 school year. At Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 3401 Nebraska Avenue, NW, across the street from AU’s main campus. For additional information, please contact AU’s Director of Community Relations, Andrew Huff, at 885-2167.
Sunday, September 11 from 1:30 - 4:30 PM, Unity Walk 2016: Know Your Neighbor. On Sunday 9/11, people of all faiths and cultures from around the Washington, DC region will walk down Massachusetts Avenue and visit houses of worship and other religious centers in a public celebration of unity and support for everyone within our diverse community. We hope you will join us and add your voice to this powerful event. The Unity Walk is open and free to everyone. (There is a suggested donation of $25 for adults and $10 for students, seniors, and those of limited income. Register for the Walk here: The 2016 Unity Walk (12th annual!) will begin at 1:30 at Washington Hebrew Congregation (Macomb St & Mass Ave NW) and will include a program at The Islamic Center at approximately 4:15 PM. We will visit numerous other religious and cultural centers along the way as we walk down Massachusetts Avenue together. More info:
Sunday, September 11 at 2 PM, Barbara Saffir’s Walking Washington DC. Join author Barbara Saffir for an afternoon filled with tips for exploring Washington, DC on foot. Free. At the Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,
Monday, September 12 at 12 noon, Talk and Book Signing: "The First Congress." Author and historian Fergus Bordewich will discuss his latest book, The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government. A free lecture - no reservations required - at The George Washington University Museum/The Textile Museum, 701 21st Street, NW,   

Tuesday September 13 at 4 PM, Karen Brown: Visual Artist & Arts Educator will show kids how to make one-of-a-kind books and bookmarks through techniques such as pop-ups, maze books, accordion and The One Page Wonder! For ages 6-12. Free. At the Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,   

Tuesday, September 13, 7 - 9 PM, “To Eat Meat or Not to Eat Meat (and How?) Perspectives on Sustainable Food, Ethics and Health Panel Discussion.” Have you ever wondered about whether you should eat meat or not? Is it better to be a vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, Paleo? Find out what a diverse group of engaging authors and experts on the subject has to say and ask them your own questions about what you should or shouldn't be eating. Each panelist will share her or his current work and positions on eating meat and then you, the audience will have a chance to ask questions of the panelists. The entire evening will be free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Donations to Opening Heart Mindfulness Community to cover the costs of the event are happily accepted - visit: For more information about this event, and the panelists, please visit: At Friends Meeting of Washington, 2111 Florida Avenue NW.  
Wednesday, September 14 at 6:30 PM, “Save Your History: A Digital Preservation Workshop.” Do you ever wonder what to do with old family photos and crumbling albums? Think about if you'll ever be able to watch or listen to your home movies and old recordings ever again? What about how to manage and preserve your social media accounts, emails and digital files? We invite you, your families, and friends to attend this special presentation on preserving your history through personal archiving. Learn why personal archiving matters, and learn how to save: Home movies; Photographs; Social media account; Papers; Audio recordings; Email; Learn about the Memory Lab at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Attendees are encouraged to bring in examples of their family's precious heirlooms and share your story with us. Free. At the Mount Pleasant Library, 3160 16th St. NW,
Wednesday September 14 at 7:30 PM, “Improve Your History: A Digital Alterations Workshop.” This digital alterations workshop is for all people who come from dull, unimpressive families, and who have accomplished little or nothing for themselves. At this very practical hands-on workshop you will learn how to download photos of handsome, charismatic ancestors, photoshop yourself into exotic travel locales, and give the appearance of having spearheaded innovative and/or charitable endeavors around the world. You will also learn how to erase any embarrassing episodes from your actual past, including any trace of the fact that you attended this workshop. Legal disclaimer: In the unlikely event that you become famous, drawing media scrutiny to your online profile, we cannot guarantee that the digital alteration methods taught at this workshop will be undetectable. Workshop registration fee: $1250 payable in small unmarked bills at the door. For location and materials you will need to bring, go to:  

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Still Life with Robin: A Hurricane Named Hermine

NASA satellite photo - Hurricane Ivan
by Peggy Robin

This Labor Day weekend we’re hearing a lot about Tropical Storm Hermine, expected to resume the title of Hurricane Hermine sometime tomorrow evening ( We’re learning about its expected path, its strength, how much rainfall it will bring, and its potential for damage, including economic damage to businesses that rely on tourist dollars over the three-day holiday. That’s all important stuff, but I’m here to focus my attention on an admittedly more trivial aspect of the storm: that name! Her – mean ?! Her- mine?! I’ve heard TV weather folks saying either of the two, and a number of other variations besides. When I see it in print, it seems to scream out to me for an O. Herm-I-O-ne, like the powerful young witch in the Harry Potter series. That’s a useful image to go with a weather emergency. Hermine, on the other hand, brings up no associations whatever. Have you ever met a Hermine? I haven’t in all my years. So I Googled it, and came up with just two Wikipedia-worthies of that name: one a 19th CenturyNorwegian children’s author of books I never heard of, and the other, an early 20th century German actress. That’s it.

Since we are only at the H in the 2016 annual list of named tropical storms and hurricanes, and we have two more months to go (and I clearly have too much time on my hands!), I decided to look ahead to see what the rest of the Atlantic tropical storm season could bring us before it ends on November 1. Here’s the 2016 post-Hermine list:

Ian; Julia; Karl; Lisa; Matthew; Nicole; Otto; Paula; Richard; Shary; Tobias; Virginie; Walter.

All except one (I’ll get to that) seem like standard, perfectly serviceable names. There’s something of a tilt toward the German when it comes to the male names (Karl/Otto/Tobias/Walter, according to BabyNameWizard, are all more popular in German-speaking countries than in English-speaking ones), while two of the female names, like Nicole and Virginie, are more popular among Francophones. The only non-standard name on the list is “Shary,” which looks to me like a misspelling of “Shari” – which in turn calls to mind the wonderful 1960s kids’ TV show host and puppeteer, Shari Lewis, creator of sock puppets Lamb Chop and Charley Horse. She died in 1998, and if having a hurricane with a similar name helps people to remember her, then bring on the storm!

Now that we’re looking ahead, why stop at the end of this season? Here’s the list for 2017:

Arlene; Bret; Cindy; Don; Emily; Franklin; Gert; Harvey; Irma; Jose; Katia; Lee; Maria; Nate; Ophelia; Philippe; Rina; Sean; Tammy; Vince; Whitney.

What stands out about this list is the number of names that can be used for either gender: Bret, Lee, and Sean are each in the position for a male-named hurricane but are just as common these days as girls’ names. Whitney, bringing up the rear, started out as a boy’s name but has drifted toward the female-only column. Three of the names (Gert; Harvey; Irma) seem quaintly old-fashioned. When I looked them up on, I discovered that Harvey and Gertie (there’s no separate listing for Gert) both peaked in popularity in the 1890s and Irma peaked around the mid-1920s. None of the three now appears among the top 200 names in any US state.

If you would like to know more about how hurricane/tropical storm names are chosen and the history of naming/retiring the names, you can find an informative account here: I was disappointed to learn that there is not a special naming committee tasked with coming up with new lists of 21 names per year; instead there are just six lists of names used in annual rotation. The only time new names are added is if a hurricane is so destructive that a decision is made to retire that name and choose a new name for that letter of the alphabet. You can see all six years of lists, followed by the list of retired storm names, at:

Maybe you will find that your name will be a hurricane of the future!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.