Saturday, July 15, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Happy St. Swithin's Day!

Winchester Cathedral
Photo by Gary Ullah, UK, via Creative Commons
by Peggy Robin

Last week in this space I bid you all a happy Quatorze Juillet. I figured, better to get that greeting out six days early and leave my July 15 column free for its purpose - St. Swithin’s Day! Never heard of it? Neither have a lot of English people, even though it’s a quintessentially English thing. It’s less about the saint, and more about the weather….meaning, will it rain?

Here’s the little poem you recite on St. Swithin’s Day:

St. Swithin’s Day, if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin’s Day, if it be fair
For forty days ‘twill rain nae mair

You might suppose, given the spelling of “no more” as “nae mair,” that the origin of the holiday is Scottish, but all googling roads point to Winchester, England, and a story about its archbishop, who died in 862 A.D. At his request he was buried in a sunny spot in the churchyard at Winchester.  Nine years later, on July 15, 971, his remains were disinterred and moved into a magnificent new shrine built for him within Winchester Cathedral.  Legend has it that it began to pour during the ceremony and the torrential rains kept up for forty days. It’s not known who first wrote down the rhyme but it has appeared in Mother Goose collections dating as far back as 1599.

It seems St. Swithin lives on as a kind of a groundhog-like prognosticator of the weather for the English summer (but without a movie to his name or a good PR machine). And, unlike the groundhog, who has really does have a pretty good shot at being right about the coming of spring (see, St. Swithin’s batting average is a big fat goose egg. According to Britain’s Royal Meteorological Society, St. Swithin’s Day has NEVER been followed by forty straight days of rain OR forty days of drought (see:

Maybe the problem with St. Swithin is that he’s not actually there in the Cathedral to do the job. Sometime during the reign of Henry VIII, as England broke away from the Catholic Church, the great cathedrals were looted, their treasures expropriated, and the relics destroyed. St. Swithin’s crypt was among the casualties. No one knows what happened to his bones. You know how people say they can “feel the weather in their bones”? Poor St. Swithin can hardly be expected to “feel the weather” for us if he no longer has his bones!


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

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

DC Public Library Image 
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 17,000+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Thursday, July 13 at 7 PM, Georgetown Trivia Night. Bring friends or we'll team you up with fellow trivia-lovers present for the chance to win prizes and...eternal GLORY. This program is recommended for adults and savvy teens. Brainy snacks and sparkling beverages will be provided. Parents, we will also be showing a movie for kids during trivia.  It will be in a different room on the same floor of the library as trivia and popcorn will be provided. All free. At the Georgetown Library, 3260 R Street NW,

Friday, July 14 from 5 - 8 PM, Celebrate Quatorze Juillet and the Tour de France with a wine-tasting at Cork & Fork DC, 1522 14th Street NW. Free. Registration required:

Saturday, July 15 from 10 AM - 3 PM, Day of Archaeology Festival. Each year, AITC (Archaeology in the Community) hosts the Day of Archaeology Festival, a gathering of archaeology and community organizations from DC, Virginia and Maryland, offering free hands-on activities related to archaeology, local history, and community building. Plus music, food trucks, face painting and more - a great event for all ages! Free. At Dumbarton House, 2715 Q St NW. More info at: and  

Saturday, July 15 from 10 AM - 6 PM, French Festival at Hillwood. Indulge your inner Francophile with eighteenth-century French amusements in celebration of Bastille Day and Hillwood's French decorative arts collection. Enjoy a short play performed by Happenstance Theater, make a Napoleon hat, stroll the grounds to meet costumed French nobles, watch a baroque dance, learn courtly manners, listen to a baroque guitarist, hear garden talks, and admire the exquisite collection of eighteenth-century French decorative arts collected by Marjorie Merriweather Post. Come rain or shine - performances take place in the airy and open shelter of the C. W. Post Courtyard Tent, and the visitor center theater. Outdoor activities are weather dependent. Tickets: $18, $15 seniors, $12 members, $10 college students, $5 active military members, $5 children 6-18. Free for children under 6 and children of active military service members. The Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens are located at 4155 Linnean Avenue NW,  

Saturday, July 15 from 1 - 4 PM, It’s Union Market’s 7th Annual DC Scoop Ice Cream Social and People’s Choice Competition. Sample the best that DC area ice cream makers have to offer and vote for your favorite. Plus raffles and giveaways. Free admission. At Dock 5 at Union Market, 1309 5th St NW. More info:

Sunday, July 16 at 2 PM, An Afternoon with the Illudium String Quartet. Enjoy a free classical music concert with a special guest performance by the Illudium String Quartet. Free. Seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. At Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,

Sunday, July 16 from 5 - 7 PM, DC Preservation League’s “Mid-Century Modern #Instameet.” Join DC Preservation League for a photo walk through the mid-century modern paradise of Southwest DC. Learn about local mid-century modern architecture, including River Park’s aluminum arches and one of I.M. Pei’s lesser known works. Afterwards, cool off with other architecture enthusiasts at a nearby location with drinks and snacks.Meet up starts in front of Arena Stage, 1101 6th Street SW, two blocks from the Waterfront metro station. Free. Please register at

Monday, July 17 from 7 - 9:30, Fort Reno Concert: Teen Mortgage, Dissonance, and Tubefreeks are the featured bands. (No, we did not make up these names and this is NOT the Weekly Fake Event.) Free. Fort Reno Park is at 40th and Chesapeake Streets NW across the street from Wilson HS. In the event of rain call 202-355-6356 to find out if the show is on - there are no rain dates. Concert series schedule at  

Tuesday, July 18 at 4 PM, In the Zone: 3D Art. Change a flat portrait into 3-D art! Learn about portraiture and explore the life of Albert Einstein, an iconic figure of the 20th century, as we change a flat image into art that comes of the page! (literally). For ages 4 and older and their caregivers. No registration required. Free. At the Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue, NW,

Tuesday, July 18 at 6:30 PM, Workshop: Personal Archiving and the DC1968 Project. The 50th anniversary of 1968 is right around the corner. Marya Annette McQuirter, a native Washingtonian and historian, is producing a history of DC in 1968 and you can contribute to her project. Bring your 1968 photographs, yearbooks, report cards, church bulletins, letters, diaries, holiday cards and more. Get your items scanned and return them safely home armed with the knowledge of how to correctly preserve them for future generations. During this workshop, you will also learn basic concepts and practices for preserving photos, papers, and memorabilia. Create a plan for your personal archive - the stuff on paper, on your devices, and in the cloud. There are simple things you can do now to keep your memories alive. Free. At the Mount Pleasant Library, 3160 16th Street NW,

Wednesday July 19 at 1 PM, Workshop: Summer Swelter, Summer Swagger. In this town you need to be practiced in the fine art of one-upsmanship, and perhaps the easiest application of the art is in conversation about DC’s sweltering summer heat. At this practical but fun session, you will learn a few good rejoinders to any Washingtonian’s whine about the beastly summer weather. For example, “You think this is hot? Back in 1990 when we were trying to take down Noriega in Panama, he had holed himself up in a back room of a house without AC, and we were camped outside his hideout, blasting rock music at him, day after day, night after night, in that thick, steamy tropical heat - no relief from the flies and mosquitoes - until he finally couldn’t stand it anymore and gave himself up.” Or this: You should have been with us in Mildura, Victoria (that’s in Australia) last February, end of summer. It was 46 degrees -- 114 if you need me to put it in Fahrenheit for you” ( Register for the workshop in advance and answer a few simple questions about your age and travel history, so that we can craft some with snappy comebacks to DC summer weather complaints just for you, tailored to your own personal profile. Free. Register here:  

Thursday, July 20 at 6:30 PM, Mount Pleasant Photo Scavenger Hunt Kickoff. The Mount Pleasant Photo Scavenger hunt will run July 20 to August 30. Learn neighborhood history, practice your photography skills, and have the chance to win great prizes all as you tromp the streets of Mount Pleasant to find neighborhood landmarks! The hunt kicks off on July 20 at the library. Participants can drop in to receive their clue packet, hear about useful resources, get how-to tips for street photography, and learn how to submit answers. Participants can also stop by the Information Desk on the lower level anytime after July 20 to pick up a clue packet and learn more about the hunt. Free. The Mount Pleasant Library is at 3160 16th Street NW,   

Thursday, July 20 at 6:30 PM, “Delights from the Baroque Era” - part of Washington National Cathedral’s summer outdoor concert series. An evening of musical gems from the Baroque Era. Program to include works by Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Rameau, Purcell, Byrd, Handel and more. Featuring Jaely Chamberlain, Soprano, and George Fergus, Piano and Harpsichord. Concert included in $5 discounted admission for Summer Evening Hours. The Cathedral is at the corner of Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues NW,

Friday, July 21 at 12:30 PM, Anderson House Lunch Bites: George Washington Manuscript Forgeries. Michele Lee Silverman, research services librarian, presents several examples of forged George Washington manuscripts in the library collection. The talk will focus on the life and work of Robert Spring (1813-1876) whom Time magazine called one of the most notorious autograph forgers in United States history. The presentation will last approximately 30 minutes with time afterwards for up-close viewing of the manuscripts. Free. At Anderson House, Society of the Cincinnati, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW,

Schedule note: Due to moderator vacation schedules, the next “Get Out!” events column will not appear on Thursday as usual, but we will do our best to get it out on Friday, July 21. Or maybe Saturday the 22nd.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Pr├ęparez-vous pour le 14 juillet

Image from
by Peggy Robin

Because this column comes out on Saturday the 8th and the 14th of July falls on this coming Friday, today is my best chance to address the question of the coming French National Day -- and specifically advise people on what to say to your French friends to greet the holiday. I am willing to bet you were taught in middle school -- or whenever you first studied the French Revolution -- to say, “Happy Bastille Day!”

Well, don’t. French people just don’t say that. It would be as if we were to say, on the Fourth of July, “Happy Signing of the Declaration of Independence Day.”

The 14th of July may have been chosen because it was the day of the storming of the Bastille – the event that kick-started the French Revolution – but for deeply hidden reasons that I could not quite fathom (meaning, I couldn’t find out by doing a thirty-second Google search), using the name Bastille Day for this event is something that seems to have stuck only outside of France proper. Within France and among native French speakers, the day is simply known as Quatorze Juillet – that is, July 14th. Don’t believe me, or my French relatives? Read it here:

While French people living abroad have become used to hearing English speakers call it Bastille Day, if you use the term within France, you might get some odd looks.

On the other hand, here in America, even the French embassy calls it Bastille Day ….as they invite you to attend their Bastille Day Party. Please note that it's NOT actually on Quatorze Juillet but on Quinze Juillet -- that is, the 15th, which falls on Saturday. (You can still buy tickets -- $95 to $175 per person – at The theme this year is New Orleans Fun and Food, so maybe the name Bastille Day is in the style of the New World Celebration.

Whatever you call it, Happy National Day to La Belle France!

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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

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 17,000+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv  

Thursday, July 6 - Sunday, July 9, Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Folklife Festival on the National Mall. There are three themes: “Circus Acts” - all about life under the Big Top; “On the Move,” exploring how American culture has been shaped by the movement of people to and within the United States; and “50 Years,” showcasing 50 objects from the past 50 years to highlight the treasures of the past 50 years of the festival. Go to the website for schedules and details of performances, demonstrations, exhibits, food, etc. Along the National Mall from 7th - 12th Streets NW. Free.

Friday, July 7 at 12 noon, Concert: Pianist Mark Damisch. An American concert pianist who began studying organ at the Evanston Conservatory of Music at the age of four, Mark Damisch performed his first piano concert at seven. As a teenager in 1974, he toured Europe both as a pianist and also in a vocal group alongside the Vienna Boys Choir. Mark Damisch’s piano concerts have taken him to more than 40 countries, including Japan, the Soviet Union, Ukraine, Israel, Egypt, the Netherlands, China, the Greek Islands, Iceland, Taiwan, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, India and more. At the Austrian Cultural Forum, 3524 International Court NW. General admission is free and open to the public. More info:

Friday, July 7 from 6 - 8 PM, Drink, Dine and Dance While You Shop at Community Forklift. Bring your friends, family, neighbors, and friendly leashed pets for a fun evening at the Community Forklift warehouse, where you will find a mystery salvage sale, revealed at the beginning of the event. The Ron Hicks Project will play jazz and blues on the loading dock, and you can buy a Puerto Rican dinner from Honey's Empanada Food Truck, sip craft beer and wine from Town Center Market, and browse the works of local artists. All ages can try an upcycling project and be amazed by strolling magician Matt Neufeld. Free admission. At 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston MD 20781 (just outside NE DC near the Hyattsville Arts District). More info: Info about the Community Forklift nonprofit at

Saturday, July 8 from 10 AM - 4 PM, Commemoration of the 153rd Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stevens, hosted by the National Park Service with the support of the Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington. Opening Ceremony at 10 AM. The keynote speaker will be noted Howard University historian Edna Green Medford. Afternoon programs include an array of interpretive and educational activities with military and civilian living history re-enactors, hourly musket firings, period music, Civil War-era programs for children, and more. This event concludes with a walk to Battleground Cemetery with a memorial service for the Union soldiers who were buried there after the battle. Free. At Fort Stevens Park, 13th and Quackenboos Streets NW. Details at

Saturday, July 8 at 1 PM, “Apple Picking, Tobacco Harvesting and General Lee: Arlington’s New Deal Murals and Muralist” with author Toby McIntosh. Learn about  Arlington’s New Deal Murals (located in Arlington, Virginia’s Clarendon Post Office) and their unusual muralist, Auriel Bessemer. In the  Peabody Room of Georgetown Library, 3160 R Street NW. Free. More info:

Saturday, July 8 from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM, Summer Concert in Rose Park, featuring live music from The Market Band - presented by the Citizens Association of Georgetown. Join neighbors and friends on the softball field! Concerts in the Parks is Georgetown’s favorite summer Concerts series, free and open to the public in beautiful Volta and Rose Parks. Great music, fun family activities and edible treats – even food trucks! Or you can pre-order a picnic basket from Restaurant Via Umbria and pick it up at the store or at the park 30 before the show. Menu and ordering info, plus other info about the summer concert series is available at

Saturday, July 8 from 7 - 8:30 PM, Tour: “Who Was the "White House Iceberg?" - A Ranger-led Walk (about 1½ miles). What President was instrumental in setting up the NCAA? Which Chief Executive was fined for speeding with a horse and carriage? In this walk you will learn about these and other cool facts as well as how Presidents shaped US history. Starts at the base of the Washington Monument. Free, no RSVP needed. More info:

Sunday, July 9 from 3 - 4:30 PM, Joaquin Miller Series: Poetry Reading and Open Mic in Rock Creek Park. In the spirit of eccentric poet Joaquin Miller, whose 1880s cabin can be found in Rock Creek Park, relax and enjoy an afternoon of poetry. Keynote poets this Sunday are  Khadijah Queen and Maggie Rosen, but every poetry recital will include an open mic. The Joaquin Miller Poetry Series is a longstanding tradition in Rock Creek Park, and it is hosted by the Word Works. Recommended for mature audiences only. At Rock Creek Nature Center, 5200 Glover Road NW. Free.

Sunday, July 9 at 6 PM, Reception and 7 PM Concert: Staff Singers and Choral Scholars of the Choir of All Souls Church. Free. All Souls is located at 2300 Cathedral Avenue, NW, a half-block east of Connecticut Avenue and two blocks north of the Woodley Park Metro station.

Monday, July 10 from 7 - 9:30 PM, Fort Reno Concert Series presents Signal 30, Apollo 66, and the Dupont Circles. Free. Bring: Friends, dogs, and babies. Do not bring: alcohol, drugs, glass bottles. Fort Reno Park is at 40th and Chesapeake Streets NW across the street from Wilson HS. Rain Info: From time to time shows get rained out; if you’re ever wondering if a show is happening or not, call 202-355-6356 for information. Concert series schedule at

Monday, July 10 from 9:30 - 10 PM, Better Band Names - A Brainstorming Session. While you may have attended a neighborhood outdoor concert featuring bands with some fairly lame names, do you think you can do any better? You think it's so easy to come up with a name that's edgy and memorable but not totally off-the-wall? Here's a list of some band name fails: Like to help your friendly neighborhood garage bands do better? Then come to this brainstorming session with your better ideas! Or use this Band Name Generator site to help you come up with some wacky, weird band names - This session will start immediately at the conclusion of the Fort Reno Concert Series -- unless you realize that this is just the Weekly Fake Event.

Tuesday, July 11 at 12:30 PM, Programs for Seniors. The DC Department of Parks and Recreation invites seniors to learn about free programs available at this public meeting at the Chevy Chase Community Center, 5601 Connecticut Avenue NW.

Wednesday, July 12 at 5:30 PM, Panel Discussion: DC Arts and Mass Gentrification. Panelists
Regina Miele (DC-based painter), John Figura (painter and art professor at Catholic University), Terence Nicholson (associate creative director, Honfleur Gallery), Jordan Martin (program assistant, Washington Project for the Arts), and Tsedaye Makonnen (DC-based Ethiopian-American interdisciplinary artist) bring their different perspectives on the history of Washington’s arts scene as they discuss the city's changing artistic and architectural landscape and the ways in which corporate greed, gentrification, and a lack of arts advocacy have pushed artists and arts communities out of the city. This program is presented by Gallery 102. Free: no reservations required. At the The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, 701 21st Street NW. More info:

Thursday, July 13 at 4 PM, “Reptiles Alive!” Enjoy an exciting live animal show! Friendly and professional wildlife presenters will entertain audiences of all ages with funny animal stories and facts while showcasing a colorful variety of exotic animals. Free. At the Mount Pleasant Library, 3160 16th Street NW,  

Thursday, July 13 at 6 PM, “Testing the American Way of War: Doughboys Bring Revolution to the Western Front, 1917-1918.” The American Expeditionary Forces were unprepared for combat in World War I. Rushed to the front untrained, under-equipped, and led by generals with little understanding of the realities of modern warfare, the Doughboys suffered tremendous casualties in their first encounters with German forces. They nevertheless remained certain that they were representatives of a uniquely American way of war honed in the days of the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. Edward Lengel, chief historian for the White House Historical Association, explains how many of those age-old lessons took effect as the Doughboys adapted to the Western Front and fought their way to victory in 1918. The presentation will last approximately 45 minutes with time for questions at the end. Free. At the Society of the Cincinnati, Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW,

Thursday, July 13 at 7 PM, Georgetown Trivia Night. Bring friends or we'll team you up with fellow trivia-lovers present for the chance to win prizes and...eternal GLORY. This program is recommended for adults and savvy teens. Brainy snacks and sparkling beverages will be provided. Parents, we will also be showing a movie for kids during trivia.  It will be in a different room on the same floor of the library as trivia and popcorn will be provided. All free. At the Georgetown Library, 3260 R Street NW,

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Still Life with Robin: The Folklife Festival's a Circus

Circus Arts image - Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2017
by Peggy Robin

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and it’s one of the best years ever. It’s the Greatest Show on Earth! And it’s free! There’s a Big Top with a complete circus performance – the kind you’d buy $40 tickets to see, if you were going through Ticketmaster.

The festival started on Thursday, June 29 and it runs through Sunday, July 9, with a day off on Wednesday, July 5. In addition to circus arts, the festival celebrates human migration….but that’s a much smaller and lower-key part of this year’s event. The circus dominates everything, starting with the Big Top which you can see from all over the Mall. That makes it quite a bit different from previous years, which had multiple themes, and you could wander about, without much planning, and catch a demonstration of this or that craft, watch a dance troupe, listen to story tellers, and it didn’t matter so much if you came in the middle of a show or left before the show was over. The shows repeated frequently, and you could always wander away, find something else of interest, and then come back for the beginning of the next show, if you felt like it.

This year, more advance planning is recommended, especially for the complete circus shows that take place under the Big Top. For example, the UniverSoul Circus performs a one-hour show at 2 PM through July 4. People start lining up for it about a half hour in advance. I joined the line about 15 minutes beforehand, and it already stretched a long way down the Mall. I’m not sure the people who joined the line five minutes after me were able to get in. When the Big Top seats are full, there’s no standing room (as is the case at the smaller tents, where audience members are free to wander in and watch for a while). But it was so worth the wait! This was one phenomenal circus! In addition to the usual acrobatics, clowning, and ten people riding the same bicycle (surely you’ve seen THAT before?!) there were all kinds of things I've never seen at the circus...and still have a hard time believing I actually saw. Contortionists who did things with their bodies I didn’t know could be done by human beings with bones in their bodies. There were fire limbo dancers. And the tallest stilt-walkers I’ve ever seen. And then there was this enormous double hamster-wheel sort of contraption was brought out, and these two men started running around the spinning wheels, and then jumping around the wheels, and finally, it seemed they were flying around those wheels. This was a Cirque du Soleil level show without the Cirque level admission price...or the spooky music, or the brooding, enigmatic theme. But you do need to plan your visit around the big show.

The schedule is here: - use the schedule filter to see the Big Top shows.

There are also some other open-air full shows you will want to see, including trapeze and high wire acts, clown performances, and juggling -- including contact juggling (and if you don't know what that is, here's an example: 

Now here’s my special tip for making your visit more comfortable: You can avoid the port-o-potties without having to wait in a long line to get into a museum building. Go to the Smithsonian Castle (it’s the one with the tower and the flags on top, nearest the Smithsonian Metro entrance on the Mall), where there’s seldom a line to get in – and if there is one, it will be short. Just to your right as you enter, you will see bathrooms. But those bathrooms probably will have a line, so keep going into the main hall. Then visit the large exhibition hall to your right. Along the right side of that hall, there’s a slightly raised corridor, and along that corridor there are two old-fashioned dark wooden doors. They look like closet doors. But one says “Men” and the other “Women.” These two smaller bathrooms almost never have a line, because so few people know about them (and I’m kind of sorry to share the secret!)

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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

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 17,000+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv  

Thursday, June 30 - through Tuesday, July 4, Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Folklife Festival on the National Mall. There are three themes: “Circus Acts” - all about life under the Big Top; “On the Move,” exploring how American culture has been shaped by the movement of people to and within the United States; and “50 Years,” showcasing 50 objects from the past 50 years to highlight the treasures of the past 50 years of the festival. Go to the website for schedules and details of performances, demonstrations, exhibits, food, etc. The second segment of the Folklife Festival will be on from July 6 - 9. Along the National Mall from 7th - 12th Street NW. Free.

Friday, June 30 at 11:30 AM Docent-led Tours of Katzen Arts Center Exhibitions. No RSVP required. Tours last approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour. Free. To see what's on exhibition now, go to: For more information on the tour, email Lucy Crowley at museum @ american dot edu or visit The Katzen Arts Center at American University is just northeast of Ward Circle on Massachusetts Avenue.

Saturday, July 1 from 9:30 – 11:30 AM, The Battle of Fort Stevens - A Power Point Presentation. The Battle of Fort Stevens (July 11-12, 1864) was the only Civil War battle in the Nation’s Capital and the only time in the history of the United States that a sitting President (Lincoln) has ever come under direct enemy fire. A surgeon standing next to Lincoln was, in fact, shot and had Lincoln been hit or killed the course of the Civil War, the nation’s history would have drastically changed. This program is free and will be held at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center, 5200 Glover Rd NW, off Military Road. It is a prelude to the commemoration of the 153rd anniversary of the battle, to be held on July 8. Free. Questions - call Park Ranger Kenya Finley, Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington, 202-829-2163. More info:

Saturday, July 1 at 7 PM, Canada Day for Canadian Wannabes. Have you found yourself daydreaming about turning Canadian? Do you wonder what it would be like to have national health insurance that no one’s trying to take away? Do you long for someone to say “Sawrry!” the instant they brush by you accidentally? Do you think you’d look good in a toque? If this describes you to any degree, then come to this amazing Canada Day Gathering for Canadian Wannabes and go for your chance to live the dream! We’ll have free Molsons and Red Rose tea, as well as poutine, fries with mayonnaise, and of course, lots of Canadian bacon. And maple syrup. You will learn to sing “Oh Canada” and play ice hockey. And that crazy ice rink thing with the brooms sweeping the ice in front of those rocks. At the end of the evening there will be a lottery drawing, and the 5 lucky winners won’t have to go home but will immediately board an Air Canada flight to Montreal, where Canadian citizenship will be bestowed on them upon arrival, in a ceremony concluded with a kiss on both cheeks from PM Justin Trudeau. And then a kiss on the mouth. And then you will wake up and as soon as your head clears, you will realize that this dream is just the Weekly Fake Event.

Sunday, July 2, at 2 PM,  “Freedom Concert” by DC Strings. This performance is directed by L.A. conductor Ahmed Alabaca and includes works of by Beethoven, Britten and Saint-George. Free Admission. Donations welcome. DC Strings Workshop is a non-profit organization composed of young amateur, semi-professional, and professional musicians under the leadership of founding artistic director Andrew Lee. At St. Columba's Episcopal Church, 4201 Albemarle Street NW. Details at

Sunday, July 2 at 2 PM, Music to Celebrate the Second of July. The Second of July is the day the Continental Congress voted for American independence, and you can celebrate at Anderson House with music the founding fathers knew well. David and Ginger Hildebrand of the Colonial Music Institute perform 18th-century songs—including ballads, marches, dance tunes and theater songs—in costume with period instruments. Free. At Society of the Cincinnati, Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Ave NW. More info:

Monday, July 3 at 12:30 PM, Organ Demonstration at the National Cathedral. A Cathedral organist gives a short talk about the 10,650-pipe great organ followed by a mini-recital. Free. The Cathedral is at Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues NW,

Tuesday, July 4 at 11 AM, Independence Day Concert at the National Cathedral. The whole community is invited to the Washington National Cathedral’s annual 4th of July Concert, featuring Cathedral organists Benjamin Straley and George Fergus, the Washington Symphonic Brass and the US Navy Sea Chanters. This beloved holiday tradition features patriotic favorites and music from the silver screen. The hour-long concert is free and open to the public, but can be so popular that the Cathedral is frequently at maximum capacity, so be sure to arrive early. Details at The Cathedral is at Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues NW.

Tuesday, July 4 at 11 AM, the 51st Annual Palisades Fourth of July Parade and Picnic. Council member Mary Cheh invites you all to march with her in this friendly neighborhood parade. Marchers should arrive around 10 AM at Whitehaven Parkway (enter from Foxhall Road). The parade has bands, floats, dance troupes, clowns, funny cars, bicycles, horses, dogs, fire engines, city officials, and lots more! The parade ends at the Palisades Recreation Center with a free community picnic (hot dogs and beverages), plus live music and a moon bounce. If you will be joining Mary Cheh, please RSVP to Ricardo Guerra, rguerra @ dcouncil dot us for details of the meet-up. For more info about the parade, see:

Wednesday, July 5 at 7 PM, PAL Pajama Party. It's a Pajama Party... with doggies! Join us in your jammies for a doggie story time and an opportunity to read to a dog from PAL (People Animals Love). The whole family is invited to join in the fun at the Mt. Pleasant Library, 3160 16th Street NW, Free.

Thursday, July 6 at 10:30 AM, Mini-Makers: Design a Boat. Come tinker with boat designs and learn about wind power. At the end, see how long your boat will float with cargo. This program is for ages 3-7. Free. At the Georgetown Library, 3260 R Street NW,

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Still Life with Robin: For Truth and Brevity on the Metro

by Peggy Robin

Photo by Ralf Roletschek (via Creative Commons)
Metro has announced that it’s changing the name of the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro Station to Foggy Bottom-GWU-Kennedy Center. Long enough for ya?

At 27 letters, it’s not as long as U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo (45 letters). Or Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter (31 letters). But it’s two letters longer than Woodley Park-Zoo-Adams Morgan. Still, that’s not why I object to the name-change. It’s a bad idea because it’s misleading. When you get out at Foggy Bottom-GWU, you’re not at the Kennedy Center. You are more than two-thirds of a mile away. And it’s not an easy walk! (Especially not if you’re dressed up to go to the opera.) You’ll be crossing major arterials, cutting across a traffic circle, and then hiking up something of a hill before you reach those red-carpeted halls. That’s why there’s that Kennedy Center Shuttle Bus. Of course, it runs just every quarter hour. And it’s so slow and cumbersome, you might be able to beat it on foot – if you’re not in high heels!

While it makes no sense to me to slap the Kennedy Center name on a Metro station that’s a bus-ride away, it must make sense to the people who run the Metro. But consider that these are the same people who call the Woodley Park station both “Zoo” and “Adams Morgan,” when it’s half a mile from the Metro to the entrance to the Zoo – all up hill – and it’s two-thirds of a mile from the Metro to 18th and Columbia Road. If you are bound and determined to Metro to the Zoo, you’re better off getting out at Cleveland Park – it’s just four-tenths of a mile to the Zoo entrance, and it’s flat all the way. As for getting to Adams Morgan….the Metro doesn’t go there. I suggest Uber or Lyft.

When it comes to renaming Metro stations, I say let’s take OFF any excess names. Shorten the letter count, and stick with geographic accuracy. If you can’t see the named building or tourist attraction as you exit the station, and you still can’t see it after you’ve walked three blocks, then DON'T call the station by that name. It just fools the tourists. Then they get mad at our city and its citizens because they think we're a city of liars. Metro, that hurts your budget in the long run.

If you insist on going ahead with this plan to add the Kennedy Center to Foggy Bottom-GWU, at least tell the truth about it. Put it this way: Foggy Bottom-GWU-Kennedy Center Shuttle Bus Stop. Oh, but now the station name is 41 letters long. And that violates another principle I would like to see adopted for station names – a 25 character maximum!

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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

Photo by Payton Chung (via Creative Commons)
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 17,000+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Friday, June 23 at 11 AM, Games, Lunch, and a Movie at Guy Mason Recreation Center. Board games will be brought out at 11 AM, lunch starts at 12 noon, and the movie, "Pavarotti Forever" (a documentary featuring performances by Luciano Pavarotti) will start at 1 PM. Please RSVP to If you plan to attend, please reply to guymasonevents @ gmail dot com or call the staff at Guy Mason Recreation Center, (202) 727-7527. The Guy Mason Center is at 3600 Calvert St NW.

Friday, June 23 at 5:30 PM, Free Family Concert and Picnic in the Park at the Forest Hills Playground. Friends of Forest Hills Playground is excited to announce the third annual Picnic in the Park concert series, starting this Friday with our returning performer: Marsha and the Positrons. Bring a blanket and kick off the weekend. Please stop by the Friends of Forest Hills information table to say hello and purchase an annual membership ($15/family). T-shirts will be available for $15-20. All proceeds support the playground and the performers. Check for weather-related cancellation and for more info about the concert series here:  

Friday, June 23 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM, Art reception at Hera Hub. Come for food, drinks, and art as Hera Hub welcomes a new show featuring a number of different local artists: Kathy J. Karlson; Rachel Ann Cross; Rachel Ann Cross; Nora Simon;  Imani Pierre; Katie Jett Walls; Rachel Westfall. Free. Hera Hub is at 5028 Wisconsin Avenue NW, suite 100. Free but please register at:

Saturday, June 24 from 10 AM - 3 PM, The 9th Annual DC Housing Expo and Home Show. An amazing resource for anyone who is thinking about buying, renovating, or financing a home. Learn about home purchase assistance programs, get design and decorating tips, free credit reports and credit counseling, and much more. This is your one-stop resource for homeowners, home buyers, tenants, landlords and small business people. Free. At the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place NW. Register at or visit  

Saturday, June 24 from 11 AM - 1 PM, Guided Tour of the DC Fire and EMS Museum. Join the DC Historical Society for a lively discussion and tour of the DC Fire & EMS Museum. Housed on the third floor of historic Engine Co. 3, the DC Fire and EMS Museum and the Friendship Fire Association was officially chartered by the District of Columbia government in the late 1940s. On display in the museum are artifacts and memorabilia of firefighting dating back to more than 125 years ago. Tickets $5 at All profits generated from this program will be split between the museum and the Historical Society. The DC Fire and EMS Museum is at 439 New Jersey Avenue NW.

Saturday, June 24 from 2 - 3 PM, Painting with Frederic Kellogg. Artist Frederic Kellogg will give a demonstration of watercolor painting en plein air. Using sketchbook and easel, Kellogg will focus the class on finding composition through sketches to develop larger watercolor paintings. The artist encourages participants of all levels to bring a sketchbook or easel and take part. Kellogg’s exhibition Works in Oil and Watercolor will be on view at the Katzen Arts Center at American University (4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW) through August 13. Free and open to the public. Rain date: Sunday, June 25, 2-3 pm.

Saturday, June 24 from 5 - 7 PM, Adams Morgan Concert: Batida Diferente — "A Different Beat” — is a Washington, DC based quartet that plays Brazilian classics and American Jazz with colorful modern energy and rhythm. Songs feature Latin originals and American standards with new lyrics, cool covers, and fresh arrangements that make audiences want to dance. More info about the band at: Free - seating is limited, and is first come, first serve, so show up early! Feel free to bring your own beach chair. Canceled in the event of rain - no rain date. Attendees will be encouraged to stick around after the show to get wristbands distributed by the Adams Morgan Partnership BID, giving the wearer discounts on food, drink, and merchandise at a variety of participating Adams Morgan merchants. At 1801 Adams Mill Rd NW.

Sunday, June 25 from 3 - 5 PM, Poetry in the Park: The Joaquin Miller Poetry Series features readings by poets RG Evans and Amber West. Feel free to bring a short poem for the open reading (sign-up begins at 2:45). Free parking. The Nature Center is located at the far north side of the Horse Stables, 5200 Glover Road NW. Wheelchair accessible. For visitor info call 202-895-6070 or visit Free. For more information on the Joaquin Miller Poetry Series, including history and detailed directions, visit:

Sunday, June 25 at 11 PM to …..whenever, Poetry in the Dark. At this first-of-its-kind event, participating poets and attendees will enter a completely dark auditorium. A guide will lead you to your seat. You will have no idea how many people are in the room -- so you will not know how many poets will be reading, or how long each poet will take. You may find someone handing you a microphone, and if you like, you can stand and read a poem you have composed and committed to memory. Then hand the microphone to someone else. No smartphone flashlight apps or actual flashlights allowed. No matches! If no one speaks for five minutes after the last poet has performed, the event will be declared finished. Free. At the Nature Center Auditorium in Rock Creek Park -- but if you show up there at 11 at night, you will discover that you have come to The Weekly Fake Event.

Monday, June 26 at 7:30 PM, Talk: Origins of the Humane Movement in Washington, DC. Local historian Hayden Wetzel will speak about the early years of the Washington Humane Society and Washington Animal Rescue League. This talk draws on his book-length study, Mangy Curs and Stoned Horses: Animal Control in the District of Columbia from the Beginnings to About 1940. The talk is a presentation of the Cleveland Park Historical Society. Free, but please register to ensure sufficient seating - go to At the Cleveland Park Congregational Church, 3400 Lowell St NW. More info:

Tuesday, June 27 at 7 PM, Grief 101. Learn about grief, its stages, and moving on in this helpful workshop. Steve Asher, MSW, LICSW, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, will facilitate this free event: Open to the public, it is a class about the grieving process, not an actual therapy session. The workshop will seat audience members on a first-come, first-served basis. At Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,

Wednesday, June 28 at 7 PM, Book Hill Talks - David Silbey, Cornell University: "The Battle That (Pretty Much) Ended World War II in the Pacific: Leyte Gulf, 1944”. The Battle of Leyte Gulf had everything:  aircraft carriers attacking each other; an old fashioned battleship duel; an amphibious landing; MacArthur returning to the Philippines; and the first kamikazes.  It was the last battle at which the Imperial Japanese Navy could manage substantial resistance, and it was a much closer run thing than it should have been.  This talk will look at the Battle of Leyte Gulf and discuss what happened, why, and how the phrase “the world wonders” caused the American Admiral "Bull" Halsey to break into tears. Free. At Georgetown Library, 3260 R Street NW. More info:

Thursday, June 29 at 2 PM, Health Care Apps for your Smartphone. Not all health websites on the Internet offer good health advice. Learn to identify and use websites and apps that offer reliable first-aid advice, check for symptoms, or remind you when to take medications. Bring your smartphones/tablets and questions. Free. At Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,