Sunday, December 4, 2016

Still Life with Robin: 'Tis the Season

'Tis a Gift
by Peggy Robin

‘Tis the season of giving, and many charities, it seems, want to give….to me. But I don’t really want the little gifts they’re sending. Nevertheless, here’s my haul:

Packet of notecards with artwork on the front
Christmas tree ornament
A dream-catcher (Navajo charm)
A nickel taped to a card
Personalized return address labels (in various styles from many different organizations)
Desk calendar
Wall calendar
Sticky notes
Shopping list notepad
To-do list notepad
Blank notepad
Bumper stickers
Window stickers

None of the above items is terribly expensive – still, it has to be more expensive to send a letter with a little gift inside than one without. I’m sure that the marketing consultants at these charities have studied the matter in depth, and have found that including some little trinket in a mailing to potential donors is an effective way to prod more recipients to give -- more than making up for the added cost of the object plus postage. Otherwise, this would not be such a commonplace technique. I can see how it works: you get something sort of nice – like a packet of artsy notecards – and if you think you might actually use them, you feel a tad guilty for getting something for nothing – so you give a little something back to the worthy cause that sent them, rather than a similarly worthy one that just sent you a pitch letter and nothing more.

There are two things about this that bother me. One, maybe the organization that didn’t send you a gift is doing more good with its donations than the one that’s handing out notecards. And two, I don’t really need those notecards. And if I do, I can go out and buy my own from a gift shop. I definitely don’t need more bookmarks. And I have enough return address labels to stick on all the mail I’m likely to send for the rest of my life. I can’t even give those things away, because they’re of no use to anyone else.

On the other hand, who am I to tell a charity to stop using a successful technique that spurs more giving? Just because it doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it isn’t right for lots of other people. What I really would like to see is a “Do Not Gift” registry for charities. This would be something like the “Do Not Call” registry”: US Mail customers could add their names to a national list that would go to all charities letting them know not to send tchotchkes to anyone who put their name down. That would save the the charities some money, and save me from the annual dilemma of having to decide whether to recycle all those bookmarks, notepads, and calendars, or try to give them away.

The only trouble with this bright idea? Well, if you’re on the “Do Not Call” registry, and you still get lots of unsolicited business calls, you know just how well that idea works!

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

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Column

Photo by Thomas S Mann
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 16,500+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Thursday, December 1 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM, Humanitini: No Taxation Without Representation. What does the future hold for DC’s political autonomy, and Congressional representation? We’ll ask a panel of experts approaching the issue from various creative avenues. This panel is part of a year-long series of events celebrating the 225th birthday of the nation’s capital. Free, but reservations are required at: In the Langston Room at Busboys & Poets, 14th and V Streets NW.  

Friday, December 2 from 3 - 6 PM, The Importance of Freedom of the Press. How Free Is Freedom of Press? In 1766 Sweden’s Parliament passed the world’s first Freedom of the Press Act and abolished censorship of all printed publications, including those imported from abroad. In light of this 250 year anniversary, on December 2, the Embassy of Sweden and the Newseum have organized an event in House of Sweden about the importance of freedom of the press. The program will begin a dialogue that explores how communication has changed in two and a half centuries and will attempt to define what the terms “communication” and “journalism” mean today. The program also will explore the impact social media platforms and other evolving communications technologies have had on free speech. Free, but please register at At the House of Sweden, 900 K St. NW.

Friday, December 2 at 7 PM (6:30 for Cafe food), The 8th Annual World AIDS Day Cabaret at Georgetown Day School. Approximately 35 students will participate and there will be 15 - 20 musical acts over the course of 90 minutes. The Internet Cafe will have tables of food and treats - so arrive by 6:30 so to get food and sit back down to enjoy the show. Admission: $5 for students and staff; $10 for other adults. At Georgetown Day School, 4200 Davenport St. NW. More info: 

Saturday, December 3 at  9:30 AM, Petersburg National Battlefield park ranger Aaron Rowland heads a roundtable discussion on what General Ulysses S. Grant called “the saddest affair I have ever witnessed in war” - the Battle of the Crater. This program is part of the NPS’ Civil War roundtable series. Free. In the Rock Creek Nature Center, 5200 Glover Road NW. For more information call 202-895-6070.

Saturday, December 3 from 10 AM - 1 PM, Tenley Winterfest Children's Book Sale. The Tenley-Friendship library's entrance lobby will be filled with great books for kids - and cookbooks for adults. Yetis optional; bargains guaranteed. The library is at 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW. For the full schedule of Tenley Winterfest 2016 events, go to:

Saturday, December 3 from 11 AM - 5 PM, Turkish Arts & Crafts Holiday Sale. Great bargains on perfect handmade gifts—silk scarves, toys, knitted and crocheted items, pottery, leather goods, jewelry and more. Puppets! Kilims! And all made by Turkish artisans, primarily women -- your purchases support the good work of the nonprofit Anatolian Artisans organization, (website: At the Stacey residence, 3917 Ingomar St. NW.

Saturday, December 3 from 1 - 4 PM, Bethesda’s “Winter Wonderland.” Celebrate the holiday season in downtown Bethesda with a variety of performances, a visit from Santa Claus, live ice sculpting, and more! Watch as blocks of ice are transformed into magnificent pieces of art. The ice sculptor will use chainsaws, ice picks and other tools to transform the ice and awe the audience. A student concert and visit from Santa will follow the presentation. Free. In Veterans Park, located at the corner of Woodmont and Norfolk Avenues in Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle. Full details at: 

Saturday, December 3 from 5 - 7 PM, Cathedral Commons’ 2nd annual neighborhood holiday Tree Lighting event. Join us in front of Giant as we celebrate with sounds of the season from Lafayette Elementary and Thomas Circle Singers, free giveaways for kids, food & drink offerings, plus free photos with Santa in our residential lobby on Newark Street at Wisconsin Avenue. The tree lighting countdown will take place at 7 PM.

Saturday, December 3 at 7:30 PM, Caroling and Student-Produced Dance Performance: Posada: Camino a Belen (The Way to Bethlehem). This family-friendly winter showcase is intended to reflect a posada, a nine-day festive anticipation of Christmas in Mexican culture. Beginning with caroling in front of Dahlgren Chapel at Georgetown University at 7:30 (lyrics in Spanish and English will be provided), the event then moves to additional locations on the Georgetown campus to recreate the journey of Mary and Joseph, ultimately landing at Gaston Hall at 8 PM for a diverse program featuring traditional dances from four Mexican states. A reception follows with authentic foods. Free. More info: Georgetown camps map at  

Sunday, December 4 from 12 PM - 3 PM, Celebrate 100 Years of the Cleveland Park Fire Station. Join Engine Co. 28 - Truck 14 Firefighters & EMS personnel, CPCA, Mayor Bowser, DC FEMs Chief Dean, & Councilmember Cheh for a short ceremony at 12 noon followed by an Open House from 1 - 3 PM. There will be music and yummy food for all; clowns, fire hats, climbs on fire trucks, and photos with firefighters for the kids; and a free history booklet on Cleveland Park and our firehouse – all in all a wonderful neighborhood event.celebration. Free. At the Firehouse - Cleveland Park, 3522 Connecticut Ave NW.

Sunday, December 4 at 2 PM, Sustainability at Work. Marilyn Waite is an engineer and author with extensive international experience in the sustainability field. She will discuss careers that favorably impact the environment and also her book Sustainability at Work. Free & open to the public. At the Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 

Sunday, December 4 at 4 PM, Journalist Steve Roberts: "A Tale of Two Suburbs: Bethesda and Chevy Chase," Longtime Bethesda resident and journalist Steve Roberts will compare the evolution of Bethesda and Chevy Chase in an illustrated lecture, hosted by the Chevy Chase Historical Society at the Lawton Community Center, 4301 Willow Lane. Admission is free, and the community is welcome. Roberts will unveil his new book, Bethesda and Chevy Chase, which uses dozen of vintage photographs (many from the CCHS Archive) to show how the two areas developed along two different streetcar lines into distinctly different communities. Bethesda became a bustling commercial center; Chevy Chase, a planned enclave of leafy residential neighborhoods. Signature CCHS refreshments will be served.  Questions about the program may be directed to CCHS at 301/656-6141 or chevychasehistory @ msn dot com  

Sunday, December 4 from 10 AM - 12 noon, Breakfast with Santa. Kids are invited to the Volta Park Playground to get a free toy and have a photo taken with Santa. Mrs. Claus will be serving free coffee, hot chocolate, doughnuts and pastries. Volta Park is at 1555 34th St NW. Event flyer is at:   

Monday December 5 from 6 - 10 PM Global Day for Equal Opportunity. Come discover, celebrate and share initiatives for equal opportunity in the US and in France! Meet actors for equal opportunity, and youth-empowerment organizations, from DC and France, and take part in the discussion, to push for a more just society. Free tickets at: At Busboys and Poets, 1025 5th St NW.

Monday, December 5 at 12 noon, Book Talk and Signing: "Capital Streetcars: Early Mass Transit in Washington, D.C." Meet author John DeFerrari of the “Streets of Washington” blog. DeFerrari’s latest book surveys the 100-year saga of the streetcar in Washington, DC. Copies of the book are available in the museum shop for purchase. Free. At the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St. NW,

Tuesday, December 6 at 6 - 7 PM, Christmas Concert: Carol of the Bells. At this unique holiday concert, the entire community is invited to sing along to “Carol of the Bells,” and we will repeat this song every 3 minutes for the entire hour. No other music will be performed. If you don’t know the Carol of the Bells, you can learn it here: This performance will be a test of your ability to make it through the holiday season with your sanity intact. If you can stand a full hour of the song that pops up on lists of the top ten most annoying Christmas songs of all time (see, you are indeed a strong person! But fortunately for us all, there will be no opportunity for you to prove it, as this is the weekly fake event!

Wednesday, December 7 at 7 PM, Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize winning-columnist for the Washington Post, will speak on his most recent book, Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting and Living with Books, at Tenley-Friendship Library. Light refreshments at 6:30 pm. Mr. Dirda will sign books that will be available for purchase at a nice discount. Free. At the Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW. Details at

Wednesday, December 7 at 7 PM, Book Hill Talks - France Alive: A History Told Through Great Works of Art. Lecture # 2: 18th Century. Conversation, Love and Philosophy: 18th Century Fêtes galantes. Guest Speaker, Vanessa Badré. One painting has come to represent the intertwining of art and philosophy in the 18th century. It is a reception piece by Jean Watteau, “Pilgrimage to the Isle of Cythira” (Musée du Louvre, Paris). A closer look at the painting raises many questions: are the couples setting out for the island  or leaving it? What is the role of classicism and the ancient past in the modern world?  What is fantasy and what is reality? What should be the mores of the times? Eighteenth century artists could not ignore the spirit of the time and the  philosophers of Enlightenment: as an age of reason and learning flourished in France and  England, spreading new ideas all over, we will look at how art and philosophy are intricately intertwined. Free. At the Georgetown Library, 3260 R Street NW, 

Thursday, December 8 at 6 PM, A Vintage Evening: Yuletide at Anderson House. Celebrate the holiday season at this Vintage Evening, featuring tastings of eggnog punch based on 100-year-old recipes. Tour the festively decorated mansion while learning about early 20th-century Christmas traditions and the historic inspirations for our decorations. Attendees must be at least 21 years old. Reservations required - $15 per person at: Anderson House is at 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW.  

Thursday, December 8 at 7:30 PM, The University of the District of Columbia’s free annual holiday concert. The UDC Chorale directed by Richard Odom, starts the evening with a program of choral music followed by the gospel sounds of The Voices, directed by Gerry Gillespie. The UDC Jazz Ensemble directed by Allyn Johnson closes the program with big band jazz sure to spread the holiday spirit. At the UDC auditorium, Theatre of the Arts Bldg. 46-East) 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Still Life with Robin: At Seventeen

Photo by Bill Adler
by Peggy Robin

It’s two days early, but happy seventeenth anniversary to the Cleveland Park Listserv! It was started on November 30, 1999 by Bill Adler and me, and by the end of the first year had close to 900 members. It’s been growing steadily by about around 1,000 members per year (well, for the sake of mathematical accuracy, the average works out to 974.5 per year), and here we are, closing in on year 17, with the current subscriber number at 16,555. You can view that total and some other statistics about the listserv on our homepage at: - scroll down to the bottom of the page for the grid showing messages per month.

For some helpful tips about how the listserv works and some info about troubleshooting problems with the often-infuriatingly complicated Yahoogroups log-on, we recommend the Listserv’s Frequently Asked Questions page at:

Looking forward to many more years of listing with you all!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays (and sometimes, like today, on Sundays).

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Column

Zoolights 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 16,500+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Thursday, November 24 from 12 noon to 2 PM, Thanksgiving Community Dinner hosted by St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and the Washington Hebrew Congregation. Free - reservations required at At St. Alban's Episcopal Church, 3001 Wisconsin Ave NW. To volunteer or donate food for this event, please register at Information for volunteers and Thanksgiving guests at:

Friday, November 25, The Fifth Annual Tenley WinterFest kicks off a week-long winter celebration by merchants, restaurants, civic groups, public schools, the library, and organizations in Tenleytown. With a Yeti scavenger hunt for all ages, Janney Winter Market, WinterFeast dining program, special events, live music, lights display, and more, the Tenley WinterFest has something for everyone! Along Wisconsin Avenue north and south of Tenley Circle. For times and locations of each of the specific events of WinterFest 2016, visit:

Friday, November 25 starting at 5 PM, It’s the opening night of Zoolights 2016!  ZooLights features live music performances, tasty winter treats, and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland complete with a dazzling light show set to music! This year's special nights include BrewLights, Dec. 1; Military Night, Dec. 2; and Date Night, Dec. 8. FONZ Member Week is Dec. 3 through Dec. 10. Zoolights is on every night until January 1, 2017. The National Zoo is at 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW,

Friday, November 25 at 10:30 AM, Kokopelli: Drum in Belly. The Southwestern American Hopi tribe tell the tale of Kokopelli: Drum in Belly in which Kokopelli the Cicada leads the Ant People from the Dark World up to various other worlds and finally to the Green World. Playing his magical flute along the way, he helps teach them what they will need to know to survive and thrive as the First People. Following our storytelling, children will enjoy Native American flute music while every child creates their own sparkly kokopelli! Perfect for K - 3rd graders, program will meet in 2nd floor Children's room. Free. At the Petworth Library, 4200 Kansas Avenue NW,

Saturday, November 26 at 1 PM, Misuzu Tanaka, pianist, presents music by German and Austrian composers from the Baroque to Romantic period, including J. S. Bach, Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn. The concert is followed by an informal reception with light refreshments. This is the third date in the Anderson House Fall Concert Series. Free - seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. More info: Anderson House is at 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW.

Saturday, November 26 from 1 - 5 PM, The Third Annual Shaw Holiday Tree Lighting, hosted by the City Market at O, featuring live performances, electric train rides, moonbounce, face painting, live ice sculpting, food vendors, and more. The Tree Lighting takes place at the conclusion of the day’s festivities. Free. At 800 P St NW,

Sunday, November 27 from 1 - 4 PM, “Roots: Made in America,” an exhibition of original artwork that celebrates the success of individuals who overcame many adversities, oppression, and those who stood for oppressed people. Limited edition paper and canvas prints from the exhibit will be available on site. This is a free and family friendly event - register at: In the pop-up gallery space at 7305 Georgia Avenue NW.

Sunday, November 27 at 2 PM, “Who Built Tenleytown?” - a special 90-minute walking tour of Washington's second oldest village. Tenleytown’s development from a village to a thriving in-town suburb was influenced by a variety of individuals, families, and institutions, including Italian stonecutters, a German beer baron, and an order of nuns with roots in France. Learn about some well known (and not so well known) local architects, developers, and property owners who shaped the face of Tenleytown as we know it. The tour will focus on the west side of Wisconsin Ave. and depart from the Tenleytown library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW. Presented by Tenleytown Main Street in partnership with the Tenleytown Historical Society, as part of this year's Tenley WinterFest. Free. Reservations required - go to:

Monday, November 28 from 12 noon - 2 PM, “Persuasive News Coverage: Examining the Role of Media in Shaping Policy Opinions on Immigration." Speaker: Professor Aileen Cardona-Arroyo, Southern Methodist University. Discussion moderated by Candice Nelson, Professor, Department of Government at American University. Mary Graydon Center Room 5 at American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW.  Lunch will be served. Free, reservations required by email to ccps @ american dot edu or call 202-885-3491. More info:

Tuesday, November 29 at 7 PM, From Refugee to Resettlement: A Forum on the Refugee Crisis. A panel of experts will discuss the current refugee crisis and what you can do to help. Fleeing homes, living in camps, securing immigration approval, immigrating to the U.S., and making a new life in a strange land is a process that is long, difficult, and yet filled with hope for those who come here. Panelists Ruben Chandrasekar, International Rescue Committee; Mira Mendick, Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area; Jennifer Smith, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. State Department; and David Vine, Department of Anthropology, American University, will share knowledge and insights and answer questions. A reception will follow the forum. No charge, but please register at: At the Washington Hebrew Congregation, 3935 Macomb Street NW.

Wednesday, November 30 at 7 PM, Book Hill Talks: A Brief History of the Folger Shakespeare Library with guest speaker Abbie Weinberg. The Folger Shakespeare Library is the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s written works. Come learn more about the fascinating history of the collection and its founders. Free. At the Georgetown Library, 3260 R St NW.

Wednesday, November 30 at 7:30 PM, “Surrender Wednesday.” After you have made it through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday, you will be totally ready for “Surrender Wednesday.” On this 6th day of the holiday shopping season, you simply surrender to your desire to ignore all blandishments, come-ons, pleas, and enticements of the holiday season, and you cocoon yourself at home the minute the work day is done, turn off all electronic noise, and curl up with a good book. Yes, this is the weekly fake event, but it’s still a pretty darn good idea! Let’s turn it into an annual tradition!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Still Life With Robin: I'm Not Too Appy

 iPhone appsCC-BY
by Peggy Robin

Earlier this week I tried to use to report a missed recycling pickup. I filled out the online form and clicked “submit” but nothing happened. I closed the tab, opened a new one, and tried again. Same result. Then I tried calling 311. I got a “fast busy” signal, not the typical sound that indicates that all the lines are actually engaged but the sort that signals something wrong with the system. So I looked around on the 311 website and found that there was yet another way to report a problem, and that was via the 311DC smartphone app. I downloaded it, signed in, and filled out the report on the missed pickup, and this time it went through. The next day the recycling truck came by and picked up the recycling. A success story, right?

Not by me. I find myself annoyed at this trend of needing to use an app for things that used to be doable via a website or actual telephone contact with a real person. Another example: A few months ago my car battery died. It was old, well past its expected expiration date, and just needed to be replaced, but in the meantime I needed a jumpstart. The car was sitting in my driveway. I have Geico, which includes free road service, so I went upstairs to my computer, went to the Geico website, and looked for a way to request the jumpstart service. After rooting around various tabs on the site, I discovered the roadside assistance program has essentially been moved over to the Geico app. That seemed to be the only way to get them. And that meant I needed to download the app to my smartphone, create a log-on, and then follow the prompts to request the service. It took me a bit of time fumbling around to complete all the steps. Once I had done that, I could request the jump and get a predicted arrival time – no more than 30 minutes, I learned via the app's response. The guy actually arrived within ten minutes -- about the same time it took me to figure out how to get, install, and use the app.

Then there’s Uber. Sure, it's great to be able to have a car appear when needed, but it's just an app and nothing more. Same for Car2Go. I have had online banking for years and years, but the most useful thing --camera-deposited-checks-- can only be done through the bank's phone app. These are good things and you'd think I'd be glad to have them.... and yet I'm uneasy. I guess I'm left wondering how many other things I used to be able to do by computer will turn into app-only processes. Eventually, will we all be tapping on our glass screens to fill out birth certificates to death certificates and everything in between? And why does it seem like something of a loss to have to type on a little glass screen instead of a full-size keyboard? Next thing you know, I'll be waxing nostalgic about standing in line and filling out forms with carbon copies. That does sound ridiculous, and yet, I can't get over the feeling that something more real is being replaced by something less real....and I'm not too appy about that.


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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Column

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 16,500+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Friday, November 18 at 12:30 PM, Portrait of Alexander Hamilton, lecture by curator Emily Schulz Parsons as part of the “Lunch Bites” series from the Society of the Cincinnati at Anderson House. Alexander Hamilton’s death in 1804 following his duel with Aaron Burr inspired scores of published eulogies, prints, and other public memorials. Among them was a series of small oil portraits painted by William J. Weaver for Hamilton’s friends and admirers. Completed by 1806, the profile portraits emphasize Hamilton’s military career, depicting him in the uniform of a U.S. Army brigadier general. They also represent Hamilton during the period when he served as the second president general of the Society of the Cincinnati (1800-1804). Emily Schulz Parsons, deputy director and curator, presents the Society’s recently acquired example of Weaver’s portrait of Hamilton — one of only a dozen to survive. Her talk will explore the history and technique of Weaver’s portraits, as well as the Washington, D.C., provenance of the Society’s example, which was once owned by George Washington Riggs, co-founder of Riggs Bank. This program is held in conjunction with the exhibition Boom! Artillery in the American Revolution (October 1, 2016-March 26, 2017). The talk will last about 30 minutes with time afterwards for questions and up-close viewing of the painting. Free. Anderson House is 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW. More info:

Friday November 18 at 1:30 PM, “ A Taste of Jewish Soul Music — from Eastern Europe to the Shores of America” - Lecture by Caron Dale. Learn about the roots of klezmer music and Yiddish song with a musical demonstration and a little zingen a lang (sing-a-long), too. This discussion will offer a short history of the Yiddish language, life in the shtetl, Yiddish on the stage and in Hollywood, and klezmer as a form of communication. Come prepared for a journey of centuries, culture and art, and be prepared to use your vocal cords. Caron Dale is founder and lead vocalist for Lox & Vodka, the widely acclaimed Klezmer, Jewish and American music group. She is a WPAS performer, a well-reviewed songwriter, Cantorial Soloist of Hevrat Shalom and founder and CEO of the non-profit, Chords of Courage. For reservations go to: Presented by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at American University, Spring Valley Building, 4801 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Room A (101). More info:

Friday, November 18 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM, Art Opening/wine and cheese reception. Come enjoy the works of local artist Kathy Karlson on display throughout Hera Hub DC - meet the artist and celebrate her work. All of the pieces are for sale through February. Free. Hera Hub DC is at 5028 Wisconsin Ave NW #100. RSVP here:

Friday, November 18 at 7:30 PM and Saturday November 19 at 2:30 and at 7:30 PM, Wilson High School Theater program presents Urinetown, the Musical. Inspired by the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, Urinetown tells the story of a Gotham-like city in the grips of a terrible water shortage that has led to  a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission for one of humanity's most basic needs. Amid the people, a hero decides he's had enough, and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom! Tickets for evening shows are $15 for adults, $5 for students, $5 for all at the matinee. Buy at the door or reserve in advance by emailing Wilsondramatickets @ gmail dot com. At Wilson High School Auditorium, 3950 Chesapeake Street NW. More info:

Saturday, November 19 from 10 AM - 3 PM, Washington Waldorf School’s 42nd Annual Fall Bazaar, featuring: crafts, games, puppet shows, 30+ vendors, unusual toys, books, art supplies and more! At 4800 Sangamore Road in Bethesda. Tickets for puppet show and some activities are $1 each. Details at:

Saturday, November 19 at 1 PM, Game On! The International Games Day Edition. Celebrate International Games Day with fun board games starting at 1 PM. Our main event for the day will be a Mario Kart video game racing tournament. Prizes will be awarded to the top racers. Preliminary races will be from 1:30 - 2:30 PM., with the final grand prix starting at 2:40 p.m., and a Mario Cart Tournament where you could win prizes, starting at 1:30. For all ages. At the Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,

Saturday, November 19 from 3 - 8:30 PM, Gun Violence Prevention Event at Temple Sinai. This free afternoon film and panel discussion featuring Jamie Raskin, Chicago Sun Times DC Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet, Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research Director Daniel Webster and others runs from 3 - 6:30 PM. A dinner (at $20) with speakers follows. Register at for the free programs or the programs + dinner. At Temple Sinai, 3100 Military Road NW.

Sunday, November 20 from 9 AM - 3 PM, Chanukah Mart at Temple Sinai - food, wine tasting, bake sale, kids’ activities, vendors, and more. Free admission. At Temple Sinai, 3100 Military Road NW.

Sunday, November 20 at 2 PM, Concert: World Percussion Ensemble. In this exciting afternoon of rhythmic exploration, the World Percussion Ensemble presents a program that includes works by some of America's prominent percussion ensemble composers, along with original compositions by members of the WPE. Free. At the Davis Performing Arts Center, Gonda Theatre at Georgetown University, 37th & O St NW,

Monday, November 21 at 12:30 PM, Author Talk, “Walt Whitman in Washington, DC: The Civil War and America’s Great Poet,” by writer, lecturer and tour guide Garrett Peck.  Free. Refreshments will be served at 12:30. In the vestry of Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church, at the corner of Nebraska and New Mexico Avenues. Free parking available.

Tuesday, November 22 at 4 PM, Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids. Kids of all ages can drop in to make a Thanksgiving Day themed craft. Free. At the Palisades Library 4901 V Street NW,

Thursday, November 24 from 12 noon to 2 PM, Thanksgiving Community Dinner hosted by St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and the Washington Hebrew Congregation. Free - reservations required at At St. Alban's Episcopal Church, 3001 Wisconsin Ave NW. To volunteer or donate food for this event, please register at Information for volunteers and Thanksgiving guests at:

Thursday, November 24 starting at 12:30 PM, "Hanksgiving" is the non-football-watcher’s way to spend Thanksgiving Day….and who better to spend it with than all-American movie star and all-around nice guy, Tom Hanks? Let “Hanksgiving” become the start of a new American tradition of watching Tom Hanks movies, streaming to your computer if all the TV screens in your house are taken over by football fans. Start with “Big” and move on to “Splash,” then “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail.” Save the heavy-hitting dramas (choose from: “Philadelphia,” “Sully,” “Captain Phillips,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Cast Away” and more) for after the Thanksgiving meal, and then put the kids to bed with Toy Story, and finally, for the true Hanksgiving devotee, watch “That Thing You Do!” Free, if you have a fast computer connection and access to a source of old movies online. Whether you do or not, this is the weekly fake event. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Still Life with Robin: Mooning for Better Times

Photo by Harrison Jones 
via Wikimedia Creative Commons
by Peggy Robin

The past week has been fairly traumatic for the 95.6 percent of us in DC who voted for someone other than Donald Trump to become our President. We all need some way to soothe ourselves, calm our spirits with beauty and wonder – and what works better for that purpose than glow of moonlight? On Monday, November 14 we will be rewarded with a Super Moon,, the biggest and best one since 1948. The November Super Moon (called the "Beaver Moon" by the Farmers Almanac, which uses the Native American terms for each of the moons - see is the second of a trio of Super Moons that started with October's full moon on the 16th, and finishes up with December's full moon on the 14th. For a full explanation of what makes a full moon a “Super Moon” and why all three end-of-the-year moons pass the test, watch NASA's video at:

The NASA video above is clear but it relies on some explanations of scientific terms (“Syzygy” anyone?). For a quick write-up of the Super Moon phenomenon in simpler, more accessible language (to non-astronomers!) you might enjoy this piece on -- a site mainly known for debunking the many fictions and hoaxes that circulate on the internet, but in this case confirming the validity of the term “Super Moon” to describe the November 14 event. The Snopes explanation is here:

Our own local Capital Weather Gang has the most practical advice for moon viewing in Washington, DC, which is to look for the best views on Sunday evening, or else get up before dawn on Monday:  
“On Sunday afternoon, the nearly-full moon rises at 4:43 p.m. in Washington, while the sun sets at 4:55 p.m. The following morning, the moon sets at 6:36 a.m. — so if you scoot out of bed around 5 a.m., you’ll see the moon low in the western sky plump and full. The full moon rises Monday evening at 5:30 p.m., so look for it close to the eastern horizon.”   
Unfortunately, we may be in for some rain on Monday, or at least overcast skies – so your best bet appears to be to look for the moon on Sunday.

If you’re planning for a mid-November moonlight stroll and would like a soundtrack for it, try this: 
….and do try your best to keep all associations with lunacy out of your head!

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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Column

"Supermoon" will rise on November 14
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 16,500+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ 

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv 

Thursday, November 10 from 6:30 - 8 PM, Panel Discussion, "Election 2016: What Happened? Why and What Does It Mean" – E. J. Dionne, Michael Gerson, Bob Costa, Elizabeth Diaz of Time magazine. Register at Free. In Gaston Hall at Georgetown University, 37th & O Streets NW.

Thursday, November 10 at 9 PM, "The 11/08/16 Election: Reality or Dream?" Still not sure if it really happened? This hands-on workshop will use some well-known, time-tested methods to help you distinguish reality from hallucination, fever dreams, or nightmares. We will use skin-pricks, spinning tops, and REM and EEG recording to test each participant to determine if you are perceiving reality or have slipped into some sort of altered state. Come 2 hours early for a free screening of "Inception." At NIMH. Reserve now at as NIMH may be one of the scientific institutes that could be defunded under the incoming administration.

Friday, November 11 from 10 AM - 3 PM, Veterans' Day: Generations of Service. Join tours of Tudor Place highlighting the military service of the Peter family. Get to know an American family and their military past on a richly informative guided house tour. Tours will highlight stories and artifacts of service and the home front. In honor of Veterans’ Day, servicemembers, both active-duty and retired, and their families enter free for all regular docent tours, beginning every hour on the hour from 10 am until the final tour of the day at 3 pm. Also free to Tudor Place members. Tickets for others range from $3 - $10 - children under 5 are free. Register at:

Friday, November 11 between 1 - 5 PM, Veterans Day at the National Museum of American Jewish Military History. Come to the NMAJCH Museum on Veterans Day to put together care packages for hospitalized veterans. What to bring: Toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, disposable razors, sample size cans of shaving cream, deodorants/antiperspirants, etc.) Socks (must be NEW packaged), slippers (store bought non-skid only), underwear (must be NEW packaged). Games, puzzles (complete with all pieces if pre-owned). Books, including large print, (must be very clean, in good condition). Can’t bring anything? Just bring yourself to make cards, thank you notes, and put the materials we already have together into packages. At 1811 R St NW,

Friday, November 11 at 8 PM, Concert: Music of the Spheres. Join the American University Symphonic Band, directed by Ben Sonderman, for a celestial journey as they perform works inspired by the cosmos. Music influenced by science fiction will share the same stage. Tickets: $5-10 at At AU’s Katzen Arts Center at Massachusetts Ave just north of Ward Circle. More info:

Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12 at 7:30 PM, Wilson High School Theater program presents Urinetown, the Musical. Inspired by the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, Urinetown tells the story of a Gotham-like city in the grips of a terrible water shortage that has led to  a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission for one of humanity's most basic needs. Amid the people, a hero decides he's had enough, and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom! Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students. Buy at the door or reserve in advance by emailing Wilsondramatickets @ gmail dot com. The show is on again next weekend (Nov. 18 & 19 at 7:30 PM with a matinee ($10 for adults) on Sat, Nov 19 at 2:30 PM. At Wilson High School Auditorium, 3950 Chesapeake Street NW. Full schedule at:

Saturday, November 12 at 1 PM, “Papitam: Let’s Play.” Celebrate National American Indian Heritage Month. Come learn about the Piscataway Nation through papitam "let's play." Papitám is a learning through play experience that educates kids with culturally appropriate Piscataway explorations. Free. Registration required: call 202-282-0021 to sign up.  Ages 8 and up. At Chevy Chase DC Public Library, 5625 Connecticut Ave NW.

Sunday, November 13 at 10 AM, The Hon. Michèle Flournoy, former Under Secretary of Defense and CEO of Center for a New American Security, is the guest at the National Cathedral’s Sunday Forum, featuring provocative and important voices on the most pressing issues of our day. Free. The National Cathedral is at Wisconsin & Massachusetts Avenues NW.

Sunday, November 13 from  1:30 - 3:30 PM, Future of Culture and the Arts. The Interactivity Foundation & Culture Saves in partnership with the DC Public Library present a performance and discussion on the future of culture and the arts. Q & A with the artists and small group discussions follow the artistic performance. Free. At the Georgetown Library, 3260 R Street NW,

Monday, November 14 at 12 noon, Book Talk and Signing: "Alexander Robey Shepherd: The Man Who Built the Nation’s Capital." Get the lowdown on one of Washington’s most controversial figures, Alexander “Boss” Shepherd. John Richardson, author of the just-published biography Alexander Robey Shepherd: The Man Who Built the Nation’s Capital, will share his findings. Free. At The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, 701 21st Street NW,

Tuesday, November 12 - 1 p.m. The Books That Shaped America series: The Joy of Cooking. Stephanie Hartman, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer, at American University’s Department of Literature, will discuss The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. Hartman, who teaches the American Studies course, Food, Media, and Culture, will talk about the book’s significance and the evolution of recipes, cookbooks, and food blogs. Admission and parking are free for this series, and no RSVP is required to attend. Books That Shaped America is an ongoing discussion series about books that have helped shape American society. Each discussion starts with a focal text designed to elicit conversation from attendees from the American University and DC communities. The discussion is led by a faculty or staff member from AU, and conversations extend far beyond the pages of the books themselves. Attendees are encouraged – but not required – to have read the featured text. In the Training and Events Room 115 of American University Library, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW,

Tuesday, November 15 at 7 PM, Archaeology of Tenleytown. Learn more about the history of human habitation in Tenleytown with Dr. Ruth Trocolli, the Archaeologist for the District of Columbia. Free. At Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,

Wednesday, November 16 from 6 - 8 PM, US Senator Cory Booker delivers the 24th Annual Joseph L. Rauh Jr. Lecture at University of the District of Columbia. At UDC Auditorium, 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW. Register/RSVP for this free event: A public reception will follow. A $75 donation is requested for the pre-lecture reception from 5 - 6 PM -- to register for that, please go to:

Thursday, November 17 from 6 to 11 PM, Crossing the Street Van Ness will provide creative intergenerational social activities that facilitate interaction between people of diverse social and economic backgrounds. The main event will be held at the UDC Student Center located at 4200 Connecticut Avenue and events including games, live painting, and community conversation will span Connecticut Avenue between Veazey Terrace and Windom Place. This event is curated by the Ward 8 Arts and Culture Council with a grant for the DC Office of Planning in consultation with UDC and Van Ness Main. Free.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Still Life with Robin....Or Not.

by Peggy Robin

Just a note to explain why there was no Still Life with Robin column this weekend. I just got back from a 3-day trip to Eagleville, Audubon, and Norristown, PA, where I was canvassing for Hillary for president. Now, I have said I would refrain from delving into national politics in this column, which is meant to cover quirky, little local stuff, like misdelivered mail and raccoons in the trash cans. And I am sticking to that….sort of. It’s just that I am too nervous and exhausted and keyed up about the election right now to write about anything else. And so I will just have to stop writing now.

See you next week on Still Life with Robin….but if civilization as we know it ends on Tuesday night, maybe not. Here’s to hope!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Column

From the GW Museum & The Textile Museum
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 16,500+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Friday, November 4 at 7 PM, Refugee Movie Night: “Salam Neighbor,” a movie documenting the experiences of two American filmmakers as they live among 85,000 Syrians in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp, witnessing both the trauma and the potential of their world-neighbors uprooted by war. Appropriate for middle schoolers and up. Discussion to follow with Simon Henshaw of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. Free. All are welcome. For more info, email: Refugeeresponse @ columba dot org or call 202 363-4119. At St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, 4201 Albemarle Street, NW.

Friday, November 4 at 7 PM, An Evening of Orchestra Music, directed by Vasily Popov of the Levine School of Music. The Chamber Orchestra will present a program of cello music performed by Levine students. Composers to be featured: Bach, Vivaldi, Kummer,  Dotzauer, Tchaikovsky, Thomas-Mifune, Volchkov, Rameau. A reception to meet the artists will follow. Free. At Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street, NW.

Saturday, November 5 from 8 AM - 3 PM, MMUMC Bazaar. The annual Bazaar sponsored by the United Methodist Women of  the Metropolitan Church gives you a chance to  peruse a wide range of  nearly new merchandise, including: attic treasures; collectibles Christmas items; gifts; crafts; jewelry; accessories; baked goods; and more. Lunch on site. This year's collection of gently used donated items is of particularly high quality. All proceeds will benefit projects supporting the welfare of women and children locally, nationally, and globally. The Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church is at 3401 Nebraska Avenue NW, across the street from American University at Nebraska and New Mexico Avenues. Plenty of free parking. Bazaar entry door faces the parking lot. More info:

Saturday November 5 from  9 AM - 1 PM, The annual Hearst Elementary School E-Cycle. Drop off your unused or broken electronics or metal objects for recycling ($20 for tube TVs, $10 for flat screens and $10 for hard drives). Document Shred: shred sensitive documents ($5 donation per box to shred). Electronics Swap: swap, donate or pick up for a donation working electronics from the Electronics Swap table. Bike Swap: donate, swap or pick up for a donation a child or adult bike. Hearst Library Book Sale: buy or donate gently used children’s books to support the Hearst library. Adopt a new family member from The Washington Humane Society Adoption van or donate old toys, beds, blankets and food bowls. Buy baked goods at the delicious bake sale. Take a bounce on the bounce house or dare to climb the Extreme Climbing Wall. Drop off unused diapers to be donated to DC Diaper Bank. Hearst is located at 3950 37th St. NW.

Saturday, November 5 at 11 AM and 1:30 PM, Flamenco en Familia. Interactive Demonstrations for children and the entire family led by members of the Spanish Dance Society. Free. At the GALA Theatre, 3333 14th St NW, (202) 234-7174,

Saturday, November 5 at 11 AM, Celebrate Finland: Wow Hoop! Baby Circus for Families with Infants. This program is for children under one year old. It will take place in the children's room. Wow Hoop baby circus performance provides families with infants an easy way to introduce the liveliness and joy of circus to everyday life. During the workshop session, participants learn scarf tricks and partner acrobatics. For families with babies age 1 and younger. Because we could not possibly invent a more fantastic event than a baby circus in which you clown around and do tricks with your baby, we have not created a fake event this week; this one is totally real and it’s free and at the Mount Pleasant Library, 3160 16th Street NW, To see the baby circus in action, watch the video at - it’s in Finnish and it’s all pretty slow until the very end, at about the 5:45 minute mark, when they finally start flipping those Finnish babies.

Saturday, November 5 at 3 PM and at 7:30 PM, The Singing Capital Chorus, Washington's premiere barbershop acapella chorus presents their annual Harvest of Harmony concert. Enjoy spectacular a cappella harmonies at the lovely Greenberg Theatre, 4200 Wisconsin Avenue NWg their Harvest of Harmony concert. Ticket prices are only $25 for premium seats and $20 for general admission. For more information, please visit

Saturday, November 5 from 10 AM - 5 PM and Sunday, November 6 from 1:30 PM - 5 PM, The annual DC Author Festival. On Saturday, eighteen authors will speak, while over 60 authors will sell their wares at the vendor fair. On Sunday, there will be four workshops for writers. All is free, but registration is needed for the workshops - go to: For more info visit the Festival web site: At the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library, 901 G Street NW.

Sunday, November 6 at 10 AM, Fall Foliage Stroll. A park ranger will lead a 2-mile hike along the creek to one of the more picturesque spots in the park. Wear sturdy shoes for hiking and bring water and your camera. Minimum age 10. Free. Meet at the Nature Center, 5200 Glover Rd NW. 202-895-6070,

Sunday, November 6 from 2 - 4:30 PM, Community Bulb Planting. Join the Tregaron Conservancy volunteer crew to help plant daffodil bulbs in the woodlands. All equipment will be provided and refreshments will be served. We'll also be raffling off a backpack donated to the Conservancy by REI. To register, email info @ tregaronconservancy dot org. [info @ tregaronconservancy dot org]. Come to the Klingle entrance across from 2948 Klingle Road. More info:

Monday, November 7 at 12 noon, Discussion: Race and Ethnicity on the Campaign Trail. Tony Lee, president of American Political Items Collectors, Big Apple Chapter will talk about the campaign items used by presidential candidates that feature ethnicity and race to both promote their candidacies and denigrate the other candidate. This talk relates to the exhibition “Your Next President . . . !” (from the campaign art collection of Mark and Rosalind Shenkman). Free. At The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, 701 21st Street NW. More info:

Tuesday, November 8 from 7 AM - 8 PM, Election Day! Haven’t voted at one of the early voting centers? Exercise your right to vote on November 8! Remember, exercise is good for you! And it’s good for the country! Find your election day polling place here:

Wednesday, November 9 at 6:30 PM, Visiting Writer Series: A reading by Delicious Foods author James Hannaham. The 2016 winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction, James Hannaham is the author of two novels, “Delicious Foods” and “God Says No.” Of “Delicious Foods,” author Dave Eggars writes: “This is a book of astonishing originality and power. In Delicious Foods, James Hannaham has created a wholly new world—a hallucinatory place shot through with struggle and terrible deeds—but one never lacking light or hope. Hannaham reinvents the Southern gothic with prose at once brutal and lyrical and drop-dead gorgeous. This is a hell of a novel.” Grad Student Q&A begins at 6:30 PM, Public Reading at 8 PM. In the Abramson Family Founders Room, SIS Building at American University, Nebraska & New Mexico Avenues NW. More info: