Thursday, November 23, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

WinterFest Winter Feast
November 24 - December 2
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 17,300+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv 

Friday, November 24  through Saturday, December 2, Tenley WinterFest is on! And the Yeti Scavenger Hunt begins! Using the Yeti Tracker, find the yetis hidden up and down Wisconsin Avenue and get the stamps to prove your yeti-hunting skills. The all-ages scavenger hunt goes on at walkable locations around Tenleytown, and it ends with prizes given out on Dec 2, 12-3:30 PM at Janney ES, 4130 Albemarle St NW.. Download the map and Yeti tracker at: and you can also see the calendar of all the fun Tenley WinterFest activities.

Friday, November 24, “Light Gray Friday.” Turn the “Black Friday” stress down a notch or two with a not-so-dark retail experience. Stores that will be observing “Light Gray Friday” promise that there will be no fighting over hot-ticket items; in the event of any temper flare-ups or fist fights, a sales rep will appear within seconds to perform a coin-toss to award the desired item to one of the disputants. Line-jumpers and cart-rammers will be taken to a “cool-down” room where New Age music plays and aromatherapy is piped in; they will also get a complimentary a hot, spiced cider and a stress ball and asked to stay at least 15 minutes until calm prevails. For a list of all local stores participating in the “Light Gray Friday” experience, visit:

Saturday, November 25, Two highlights of Tenley WinterFest: At 4 PM: Caroling at Fessenden Park. Join friends and neighbors at the park (Wisconsin & Fessenden) for a community sing, followed by hot cocoa at St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church - all ages and faith traditions welcomed. At 5 PM: Tenley Gets Lit! The Tenley WinterFest window display is revealed, and Tenleytown Main Street announces the winner of the 2nd annual Tenleytown window decorating contest. Location: in front of the Best Buy window at the corner of Wisconsin and Albemarle. Free. More about these and other Tenley Winterfest events here:

Sunday, November 26 from 1 - 3 PM, Tenleytown Walking Tour. On this tour you can learn some fascinating facts: Who was Alice Deal? Which girls’ school became a home for code breakers? Why did the Reno School close? The tour this year will focus on educational institutions in Tenleytown and their place in local and national history. Free. Presented by the Tenleytown Historical Society as part of this year's Tenley WinterFest. Farleigh Earhart, a THS board member, Deal parent, and frequent patron of the library's Washingtoniana Room, will conduct the tour, which will begin at the entrance to Alice Deal Middle School (Nebraska Avenue and Fort Drive) and conclude near the intersection of Nebraska and Van Ness. Please email info @ tenleytownmainstreet dot org with any questions. Sign up at:

Monday, November 27 at 12 PM, Lecture: The Grocery Shopping Evolution in the DC Region, 1880–Present, presented by Diana Kohn, president, Historic Takoma. Explore how shopping for food has changed over time, with a regional focus on Washington, D.C. and Takoma Park, Maryland. In the 1930s, stores like Piggly Wiggly, Sanitary Grocery, and District Grocery allowed customers to select their own food from store shelves, a novel idea at a time when shoppers had to wait for a clerk to gather their orders. This concept continues to evolve even today, with self-check out machines at Giant and the ability to stock your shopping cart remotely using online shopping services. Free. George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St. NW. More info:

Tuesday, November 28 at 12:30 PM, JAZZforum at UDC concert: Pianist, composer-arranger and jazz studies major Samuel Munguia presents his Junior Recital. Free. Recital Hall, Building 46-West, University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW,

Tuesday, November 28 at 5:30 PM, Georgetown’s 14th annual tree lighting ceremony will take place in the courtyard and lobby of the Fairmont Hotel. Families will take the chill off with complimentary hot chocolate and cookies as they listen to the award-winning Georgetown Visitation Madrigals perform holiday classics. Children will enjoy decorating holiday cards while members of the United States Marine Corps Reserves will perform a presentation of colors. Santa Claus and Rudolph will make a special guest appearance; all families are welcome to take a photo with Santa. Kelly Collis and Tommy McFly, hosts of 94.7 Fresh FM’s Tommy Show, will serve as the masters of ceremonies. The ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will benefit The U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Program, a non-profit organization that collects toys throughout the holiday season and delivers gifts to less fortunate children.Those attending the event are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy to be donated. The Fairmont is at 2401 M St. NW,  

Wednesday, November 29 from 5 - 7 PM, Workshop: “Archiving Digital Photography.” Using examples from the extensive analog collections of the Historical Society of Washington, DC and the DC Public Library’s Washingtoniana Division and other digital projects, the workshop will offer strategies for compiling the documentation necessary to make your contemporary photography work a possible resource for your descendants, future historians, and repositories. Advance registration and ticket purchase recommended. Onsite registration is subject to availability. This workshop complements the For the Record exhibit, at the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St. NW. Tickets, $20 to $30; reservations required - go to

Thursday, November 30 from 5 - 7 PM, "21st Century Cooperation": A Book Launch & Discussion. Please join Louis Goodman, Antoni Estevadeoral, and contributors to 21st Century Cooperation as they discuss regional public goods, global governance, and sustainable development. Louis Goodman is Professor and Dean Emeritus, School of International Service, American University; Antoni Estevadeordal, Manager of the Integration and Trade Sector at the Inter-American Development Bank. They will be joined by six other scholars, professors, and experts in international trade in a panel discussion in the Abramson Family Founders Room, School of International Service, American University, Nebraska and New Mexico Avenues NW. More info:  

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Deja Vu in the Mail

by Peggy Robin

Photo by Iain Laurence
via Creative Commons
It’s déjà vu all over again in the US mail. If you’ve been following the recent spate of complaints about mail delivery in Cleveland Park, you may feel like you are rereading old messages on the Cleveland Park Listserv. That’s because we have been here before – last time around was October 4.

And the time before that, July 7 – 13th.

Then skip back through June and May and take a look at the eight-day run of messages that began on April 19th and lasted through the 26th. The kick-off post on April 19th  was message number 124040, titled “A Postal Story,” a long and painstaking recounting of one mis-delivered package and the mysterious trail of clues that the poster doggedly followed until she discovered what was in the missing package (mailed-ordered medications) and who was lying about it and why. That story of woe triggered a cascade of 23 other such stories, with this or that variation in the delivery error, or in the notification process, or the retrieval process, ending with suggestions from other list members for follow-up. At some point the thread took on the more generic subject line of “Mail delivery problems” and nine more messages were posted. And then on April 23 the subject turned into “A Postal Story + Management Change” – ending with the triumphant announcement that new postal managers had taken over and had met with complaining neighbors, and reform/improvement of service was on the way.

I also went further back into the listserv archives and found these same themes in discussion threads posted in and around on the following dates:

November 29, 2016
January 22, 2016
December 5, 2015
October 1, 2015
July into August, 2015
January 12, 2015
….and then I decided to quit searching.

Among the problems discussed/bemoaned in past threads were:

1. False notification of package delivery attempts (notice slips left when the addressee was at home – but no one ever rang the bell)
2. Days without mail delivery
3. Mail delivery after 8 PM
4. Letters and packages delivered to one address that were clearly marked for a different address
5. Letters, bills, checks, and packages that the addressee was expecting, which never arrived
6. Letters and invitations dropped off at mailboxes that never reached the intended recipients

(I should mention that I have personally experienced ALL of the above, and add that number 4 on this list happens about once a week, on average.)

After each new round of listserv discussion, remedies are proposed, including: filing complaints with the Office of the Postal Inspector, meetings and petitions to elected officials both local and Congressional, meetings with local postal officials, phone calls to some or all of the above.

And just maybe, after one more set of meetings, or calls, or letters, there will finally be some lasting improvement.

But if you would like to make a little money, I would advise you to bet that between now and May 19, 2018 there will be at least one more series of messages complaining about bad mail delivery in zip codes 20008 and/or 20016. Now your only problem will be finding someone to take the other side of that bet!


Still Life with Robin is published on The Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on weekends (usually on Saturdays, but like the US Mail, it’s occasionally delayed!)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

Photo by Ms Jones 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 17,300+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Friday, November 17 from 1:30 - 2:30 PM, Elvis at 21- a presentation by Chris Murray. Photographer Alfred Wertheimer enjoyed almost unrestricted access to Elvis Presley when Elvis was 21, the year before Elvis exploded onto the international music scene. Wertheimer’s fine art photographs, many unpublished, illuminate not only Elvis, but the culture and history of the time. Chris Murray integrates art and music in his retrospective of 1956 that draws on his research and personal experiences used in preparing exhibitions across the country. Chris Murray is a writer and the founder of Govinda Gallery in Georgetown, which represents rock music-related fine art photographers. Murray has organized over 250 exhibitions of many of the leading artists of our time, from Andy Warhol in the 1970s to Annie Leibovitz’s first exhibition in 1984. He was co-curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition “Elvis at 21” and is the author of more than 15 books on visual culture, including Alfred Wertheimer: Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll and Rolling Stones 50x20. Free, but registration required at: Part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute lecture series. in Room A-101 of the AU Spring Valley Building, 4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Friday, November 17 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, November 18 at 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM, “Legally Blonde - the Musical,” presented by Wilson High School. Follow the adventures of sorority girl Elle Woods from college to the courtroom as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. Elle heads to Harvard to win back her love--only to discover herself. Based on the popular movie, Wilson’s production of this award-winning Broadway show boasts a cast and crew of more than a hundred students and is filled with nonstop singing, dancing and fabulous fun. Tickets: student/child/Wilson teachers and staff - $5 all performances; adult - $15 ($10 for the Saturday, Nov. 18  2:30 pm matinee). Meet and Greet with the actors following the matinee! Tickets may be purchased at the door. You can also email wilsondramatickets @ to reserve tickets in advance. Include your full name, the date and time of the performances you wish to attend and the number of tickets you’d like to reserve. Wilson High School is at 3950 Chesapeake St NW. More info:  

Saturday, November 18 at 10 AM, “Thanksgiving During the Civil War.” Take a brisk walk to Fort DeRussy with a park ranger. Come and see the earthworks hidden in the terrain, and hear stories about how soldiers celebrated Thanksgiving in and around Washington, DC. Free. For ages 8 and up. At Rock Creek Nature Center, 5200 Glover Road NW,  

Saturday, November 18 from 11 am - 3 pm, Harvest Bazaar, sponsored by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship program of Carlos Rosario International Charter School, featuring 30+ vendors, music, and more! Jewelry, Accessories, Clothing, Photo Booth, Aromatic Candles and Aromatic Soaps, and Small Gifts. Gourmet foods, International Baked Goods, and other food items. For more information contact Raul Medrano at (202) 797-4700, ext. 235. Carlos Rosario School is at 1100 Harvard Street NW

Saturday, November 18 from 12 noon – 4 PM, Thanksgiving with the Turkeys at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland. Come celebrate Thanksgiving WITH the turkeys – join our friendly turkeys and all their friends in celebrating a cruelty-free Thanksgiving potluck. Please bring a vegan (no meat, dairy, or eggs) dinner or dessert item to serve 8. Suggested donation: $10. Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary is at 15200 Mount Nebo Rd, Poolesville, MD 20837 - map: For more info:

Sunday, November 19 from 2 - 3 PM, Local artists Sonia King discusses her mosaic techniques, using both a micro and macro approach to create organic forms. Free and open to the public. This talk, part of the James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Artist Lectures series, will be held in the American University Museum, Katzen Arts Center, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave.,   

Monday, November 20 at 4 PM, Reader's Theatre Features “Thanksgiving Day Thanks.” Join us in the children's room of the Mount Pleasant library for Reader's Theatre. "Thanksgiving Day Thanks" by Laura Malone Elliott is the featured piece. Sam has trouble deciding what he is grateful for during a Thanksgiving-themed classroom assignment. Let’s read! Free. The Mount Pleasant Library is at 3160 16th Street NW,

Tuesday, November 21at 4 PM, “In the Zone: Thanksgiving Plates.” Ready to fill your plate? Come create a Thanksgiving “meal” you can take home and enjoy for years. “In the Zone” is a craft making event held on the third Tuesday of each month at the Tenley Friendship Library. Best for kids ages 4-12. Free. The Tenley-Friendship Library is at 4450 Wisconsin Ave. NW,

Wednesday, November 22 at 9 AM, The Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Presidential “Pardon” of a Turkey - with a Twist. This year President Trump has tweeted that he will NOT issue the traditional “pardon” of a turkey on Thanksgiving Day: “Unlike my weak predecessors I will not be letting this turkey off so easy. I am calling for a really great turkey hunt, better than any turkey hunt since those Pilgrim guys shot turkeys with Pocahantas and Chief Wahoo.” The president’s sons, Don Jr. and Eric have set up an enclosed turkey run on the Ellipse, where they will stalk and shoot the designated turkey with high-powered hunting rifles. After they pose with their kill for the requisite trophy photos, they will have the carcass auctioned off to the highest bidder for Thanksgiving dinner, with all proceeds to go to charity. Two weeks from Thanksgiving, Washington Post investigative reporter David Farenthold will attempt to discover whether any funds were actually paid to any charitable organization. If he also discovers that the carcass was never served at an actual dinner, he will look to see if it has been stuffed for display in a backroom bar at Mar-a-Lago. To reserve your place at the White House Thanksgiving Turkey Hunt, go to: To get on the email list to receive an email update from David Farenthold when he tracks down the whereabouts of the turkey and/or the fundraising check, go to

Thursday, November 23 at 9:30 AM - 1:30 PM (for volunteers); 12 noon for the dinner, Thanksgiving Community Dinner. Annunciation Catholic Church, Washington Hebrew Congregation and St Alban’s Episcopal Church host an annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner. You are welcome to come and eat (the Thanksgiving meal is served at 12 noon) or volunteer to set up/serve/clean up. Shifts begin as early as 9:30 AM and everything is finished by around 1:30 PM. Register at to volunteer. See for the event announcement. At Annunciation Catholic Church, 3810 Massachusetts Ave NW.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Still Life with Robin: 8 Reasons to Love the Saturday Post

Solar system - NASA (public domain)
by Peggy Robin

One of the glories of a Saturday* is the “Free for All” page in the Washington Post – that collection of letters of complaint from curmudgeons, nitpickers, overly close readers, and the grammar police -- in other words, people just like me.

Today’s paper may have hit new heights (or depths, depending on your attitude). Of the fourteen letters featured in the print edition, eight took the Post to task over the misuse of words or phrases. Let’s look at them one by one:

1. Misuse of “exponentially.” A Post article used it to mean “much larger” when in mathematics it’s only to be used if something grows at a quickly increasing rate. Classic mistake… and I’m sure the Post has been called out on this one before, maybe multiple times! And they just don’t learn! But a good start to today’s Free for All column!

2. “Double Whammy” for something other than a double setback or a double blow. There can be no “double whammy win,” the letter-writer points out, because by definition, a “double whammy” is two bad things happening at once. Score one for the Oxymoron Patrol.

3. Calling another star system a “solar system.” The letter writer points out that no other star is named Sol, so properly speaking, no other set of planets revolving around a star should be called a “solar system.” The correct term, the letter writer insists, is “stellar system.” Hmmm….I take issue with this one, on the following grounds: While the star at the center of the earth’s system is indeed named Sol, the word “solar” refers to suns – and any star can be called a sun. So any planetary system with a sun at its center can be called a solar system. However, my feelings on this point are not vehement enough to inspire me to write in to the Post. Maybe someone else will. Might be worth checking back next week to see if someone kicks off one of those “Welsh rabbit/rarebit” arguments that can go back and forth for more rounds than you would have ever thought possible.

4. “Podium” used when “lectern” is the proper term. This was the big one of the day, folks. Five hundred and fifty words to explain that a podium is a platform used to raise a speaker up to a higher level than the audience, while a lectern is a piece of furniture with a slanted top and optional accessories (microphone, reading light) behind which a speaker stands and reads a speech. Three-quarters of the way through the piece, the writer, George Chartier of Alexandria, admits that the battle over this word has already been lost, along with other battles (for “literally” and “fulsome” and “decimate,” among others), concluding, mournfully, that it is “particularly painful to watch and hear bedrock news institutions contribute to the decay” [of “clear, concise, correct communication”]. Wow, that’s a lot to put on the shifting meaning of a piece of veneered plywood! But I get it!

5. “Table” called masculine when it’s actually feminine in French. The letter writer first makes the general observation that whenever anyone writes in a tone of “supercilious detachment” about the Academie Francaise, the language guardians France, the article is bound to have some grammatical error. And sure enough, that mistake is citing “table” as an example of a masculine noun in French. Bien sur, we smart readers all know it’s feminine. The best thing about this letter is the silly, punning title “Sir le table” bestowed upon it by the “Free for All” editor. (In the online version posted on Friday, it was the far plainer,“Tables are girls, not boys” - see

6. “Pocahantas” as “pejorative.” The Post reported that President Trump called Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahantas,” labeling it a “pejorative nickname.” The letter writer wonders how calling someone a name based entirely on their ancestry is just “pejorative” – rather than the more apt term, “racist.” And he goes on to wonder what the Post would do if the term used was more blatantly offensive than “Pocahantas.” I was inclined to think that “pejorative” was fitting - so I looked it up and here’s what I found (Wikipedia definition): “A pejorative (also called a derogatory term, a slur, a term of abuse, or a term of disparagement) is a word or grammatical form expressing a negative connotation or a low opinion of someone or something, showing a lack of respect for someone or something.” Sounds to me like “racism” is pretty well covered here!

7. “Bare-Pated” to describe a male politician’s head. If one kept track of the number of times in the Post that an article about a female politician has described her hair, or her clothing, or some other aspect of her physical appearance, compared to the number of times such descriptions appear in articles about men, what would the ratio be? Ten to one? A hundred to one? A gazillion to one? I really have no idea, but it’s notable that a Post article describing a male politician’s lack of hair drew fire for sexism. Is someone counting how often a “Free for All” letter objects to an irrelevant mention of a female politician’s looks? I can only hope so.

…and finally 8. “36 holes” on a golf course. I have to assume the original Post article was referring to the total number of holes of golf at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia but failed to point out that they comprised two complete and separate golf courses. Am I glad that a letter writer took the time to make this point? Yes, I am, because that is what “Free for All” is for! And every week I am grateful for it!

* Don’t write to me to tell me that the “Free for All” letters are available online on Friday afternoon. Yes, I do know that. Here the link to the "podium" one: I just don’t believe that seeing each letter on a screen is anywhere near as good as seeing all the letters spread out across a single page of newsprint. And I need the feel of wood-pulp between my fingers. It’s an addiction!

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

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

Japanese Garden - Photo by snty-tact via Wikimedia 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 17,300+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv   

Friday, November 10 from 7:30 - 9:30 PM, “Fall for Jazz.” The AU Jazz Orchestra brings the swing. The university's very own big band jazzes up the fall with an evening of classic swing, bebop, funk, and blues. Tickets: $5 to $10 at In the Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW.     

Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11 at 7:30 PM, "Legally Blonde - the Musical," presented by Wilson High School. Follow the adventures of sorority girl Elle Woods from college to the courtroom as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. Elle heads to Harvard to win back her love - only to discover herself. Based on the popular movie, Wilson’s production of this award-winning Broadway show boasts a cast and crew of more than a hundred students and is filled with nonstop singing, dancing and fabulous fun. Tickets: student/child/Wilson teachers and staff - $5 all performances; adult - $15 ($10 for the Saturday, Nov. 18  2:30 pm matinee). Meet and Greet with the actors following the matinee! Tickets may be purchased at the door. You can also email wilsondramatickets @ gmail dot com to reserve tickets in advance. Include your full name, the date and time of the performances you wish to attend and the number of tickets you’d like to reserve. Wilson High School is at 3950 Chesapeake St NW. (More performances on Friday 11/17 and Saturday 11/18 - see for details.)

Saturday, November 11 at 3:30 PM, Try Out Instruments with Girls Rock! DC. Come learn about and try out instruments in a program presented by Girls Rock! DC. All genders are welcome! Best for ages 6 - 13. Free. At Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,

Saturday, November 11 from 5 - 7 PM, Art Exhibit for Joseph’s House. Cleveland Park Congregational UCC will host an exhibit of local artists to raise funds for Joseph's House, a big-hearted organization that provides hospice care for homeless members of our community. All are invited to this festive event, which includes a wine and cheese reception with live music. Free admission. At Cleveland Park Congregational UCC, 3400 Lowell St NW, Questions? Email Donaldhclarke @ gmail dot com.

Saturday, November 11 at 7 PM, Veterans Day Concert at the National Cathedral. This free concert honors the men, women and families who have served our country in the Armed Forces. Through words, music and images, join us as we celebrate the indomitable spirit of our veterans, their triumph over adversity, their resilience and their love of country. The Washington National Cathedral Choir will be joined by "The President’s Own" United States Marine Chamber Orchestra for an evening of patriotic and contemplative music. We will also hear the stories of our returning service members and their loved ones. More info: Washington National Cathedral is at Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues NW.

Sunday November 12 from 1:30 - 3 PM, “Quite a Life! From Defeat to Defeat … and Back,” by Carol Schwartz. The former at-large DC councilmember and five-time mayoral candidate will discuss her newly released autobiography and talk about her five decades of experience with DC politics. Free. At Spices Restaurant, 3333-A Connecticut Ave. NW. More info:

Sunday, November 12 from 4 - 5 PM, Mezzo Soprano Mary Burke and Pianist Allison Tsai will perform modern American opera and art song, ranging from the early 20th century to present-day compositions. Free. At Anderson House, The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, 2118 Massachusetts Ave. NW,

Monday, November 13 at 5:30 PM, Social Impact Talks: Peggy Madden Davitt (Gold Star Parents). Davitt will discuss the death of her son, U.S. Army Specialist Russell Madden Davitt, during combat in Afghanistan and her work to assist the families of soldiers who have died at war. Davitt will also reflect on war and other troubling societal patterns illuminated by her son’s death. Free. This event will be in the Batelle Atrium at American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW,

Monday, November 13 from 6:30 - 8 PM, “Capitol Crossing: Local Perspectives.” Get an in-depth history of urban planning and design behind one of the largest remaining undeveloped sites in downtown Washington, DC, through the perspectives of Neil Albert, president and executive director, DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID), Braulio Agnese, freelance architecture and design journalist (moderator), Sean Cahill, senior vice president of development, Property Group Partners, and Wallace Mlyniec, Lupo-Ricci professor of Clinical Legal Studies, Georgetown University Law Center. New building technology, innovative design, and dynamic urban real estate markets are making it possible to develop over and under existing transportation infrastructure and other marginal spaces—healing old scars and creating vibrant infill development. This special series takes you inside local and national urban planning stories about cities reclaiming marginal space for new uses. Tickets $10 - $20 at At the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW

Tuesday, November 14 at 12:30 PM, JazzAlive at UDC presents: Allyn Johnson and Meet the Artist on the Bandstand—Howard "Kingphish" Franklin, Jr. Come to an exciting session of conversation and performance featuring DC's swingin' drummer, bandleader and UDC Jazz Studies Alumnus, Howard "Kingphish" Franklin, Jr.  Free. In the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Bldg. 46-West at the University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW.

Tuesday, November 14 from 2 - 3 PM, “How Social Media Has Affected Our Democratic Elections.” Join Lydia Snider, educator and social media strategist for an understanding of this new phenomenon. For the last ten years Lydia Snider has been a business consultant on social media and digital strategy. She has worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 tech companies, to local non-profits, to university scientific departments. Recently, she noticed social media had become a major contributor to the disinformation and gaslighting in the election. She began studying the problem of agents, both foreign and domestic weaponizing social media. She is now utilizing her expertise in social media and human learning to help Americans understand and counter active measures against America on social media. To rsvp, email guymasonevents @ gmail dot com or call 202-727-7527. Free. At Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street NW

Wednesday, November 15 from 6:30 - 9 PM, Lecture and Exhibition Opening: Art from the Garden. Landscape architect Marc Peter Keane will discuss his artwork and how it relates to his work as a designer of Japanese gardens. Keane's artwork draws from the traditional culture of Japan, such as the way his ceramics are fired unglazed in a wood-fired kiln (anagama), and yet they are also unlike any traditional Japanese forms. He incorporates garden materials such as leaves and fine gravel into the works, and in part by incorporating design ideas from the garden, like the carefully balancing of wildness and control. Free; reservations required - go to At the Japan Information and Culture Center, 1150 18th St. NW.

Thursday, November 16 from 12:30 - 2 PM, "Reflections on America and the World in the Trump Era” - a talk by Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, moderated by Dean Vali Nasr. A reception will follow the event. Free. Kenney Herter Auditorium, Nitze Building, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW,

Thursday, November 16 from 12:30 - 2 PM, “What If Hillary Had Won? An Alternative Recap” - a talk by Washington Post reporters Ben Terris, Dan Zak, Monica Hesse and Amy Argetsinger. This program is designed as an alternative for anyone who would find it too depressing to spend 90 minutes listening to Jeffrey Goldberg present his recap/analysis of the past year under President Trump (see above). Free. In the auditorium of the Washington Post. Reservations are definitely NOT required for this week’s Fake Event (though the article is real -- see

Thursday November 16 at 6:30 PM, "The Roadside Geology of Earth’s Moon" - a talk by Stephen Elardo, postdoctoral associate at The Geophysical Laboratory. If you enjoyed this summer’s spectacular total solar eclipse, you have the Moon to thank for it! But Earth’s only natural satellite and closest cosmic neighbor does a lot more than occasionally block out the sun in dramatic fashion. It controls ocean tides, gives us stable seasons and climates, and in 4 million years it will finally eliminate the need for February 29th! Eclipses may be the Moon’s most theatrical display, but to a scientist the real treasure is what the Moon can tell us about Solar System history. In this talk, Steve will take you on a tour of the geology of Earth’s Moon. We’ll take a stroll through what you can see, look at the fascinating features that you can’t see, dive into the Moon’s interior, jump into the past to find out how it came to be, and take a peek at what’s on the Moon’s horizon. Doors open at 6. Lecture Hall seating is first come, first serve. Eventbrite tickets are not required, so please arrive early to reserve your seat. Eventbrite registration is encouraged to skip the sign-in process at the door - go to Light refreshments will be served before the lecture at 6. Free. In the Greenewalt Lecture Hall, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 5241 Broad Branch Road NW.      

Thursday November 16 Panel Discussion: The Monument, Past, Present, and Future. In light of recent events and conversations around Confederate monuments in the United States, this panel aims to explore the past, present, and future of the monument as a cultural phenomenon. The evening will offer the American University and Washington, DC communities an opportunity to think through the possibilities and limitations of the monument across time and space in the modern world. Moderated by Nika Elder, assistant professor of art. Reception to follow. Free and open to the public. Panelists: Renée Ater, Associate Professor Emerita, Department of Art History and Archaeology, The University of Maryland; Sarah Beetham, Lecturer in American Art and Material Culture, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Tristan Dominique Cabello, Director, American Studies, Critical Race, Gender and Culture Studies Collaborative, American University; Andrew Demshuk, Assistant Professor, Department of History, American University; Alma H. Gates, Chair of the Public Art Committee, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Free. In the Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW. Questions? Email sgordon @ american dot edu. Website:    

Thursday, November 16 from 6 - 7:30 PM, Caribbean Authors Reading. Stand with the Caribbean islands experiencing devastation from recent hurricanes. Hear readings from five DC-area Caribbean authors: Donna Hemans, author of River Woman; Merle Collins, author of Angel, The Colour of Forgetting, Rain Darling, Because the Dawn Breaks, and Rotten Pomerack; Katia Ulysse, author of Drifting; Lauren Francis-Sharma, author of Till the Well Runs Dry; Tiphanie Yanique, author of Land of Love and Drowning and How to Escape From a Leper Colony. At the event, donations will be taken for Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), a regional inter-governmental agency for disaster management in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Free admission. East City Bookshop 645 Pennsylvania Ave SE #100,  

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Life without DCist

Photo by Thomas S Mann
by Peggy Robin

Sad loss! – DCist, for so long the breezy blog of the young and hip around town – is no more. The owner abruptly pulled the plug two days ago. Didn’t even allow for any last-minute, fire-sale bidders who might have saved it, and saved the jobs of the writers, too. Didn’t wait to see if those same writers might be able to pull together a campaign to keep it going….a Kickstarter page….anything to give it a chance to stay alive. Just a farewell letter, and not an especially warm one at that:

Here’s what I’ll miss most:
Overheard in DC:

Listicles, always listicles….like this one, “12 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in DC”

Useful tips, such as this one from the last day of publication, “Here's Where To Bring Your Soon-To-Be Rotting Pumpkins” with specific info on where in each ward to bring your pumpkins for composting:

Updates and complaints and occasionally appreciation of the Metro system – including, most recently, this hypnotic time-lapse video”

Dish of the Week, so I could keep up with hot trends in restaurants that I’ll never visit except online)

…and ending the day with a round-up of late news under the heading, “Go Home Already”

Wish it would come back already!

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

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

Let There Be Light - Film Screening at the National Cathedral
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 17,300+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv  

Friday November 3 at 1 PM, Board Games/Video Games Bonanza. Come to Tenley Library and enjoy video games and board games as we celebrate games with libraries across the country! This program is part of International Games Week. From 1 - 3 PM: Board Game Bonanza;  from 1:30 - 3 PM: Video Game Tournament (Prizes awarded for participation!). Fun for all ages. Free. Tenley-Friendship Library is at 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,

Friday, November 3 at 6:30 PM, Politics & Prose & Dry Cleaning. Following the announcement from the owners of Politics and Prose that the bookstore will expand into the recently departed dry cleaning store, the former owner of the dry cleaners has been invited to give a farewell talk on how to do your own dry cleaning at home. Those who wish to have a signed copy of the dry cleaner’s print-on-demand book can have one created in time for the lecture, or you can simply bring in a stained piece of clothing to be signed by the dry cleaner. And then you can learn how to make the inked signature completely disappear! Free. At the former Regal Dry Cleaners which has turned into the expansion site of Politics & Prose. Please register in advance at for your copy of the print-on-demand book, “Out Damned Spot!” If this event is filled to capacity, you can watch the lecture, which will be live-streaming here:

Saturday, November 4 from 8 AM - 3 PM, United Methodist Women's Annual Bazaar. Peruse a wide range of  nearly new merchandise: Attic Treasures, Collectibles, Christmas items, Gifts, Crafts, Jewelry, Accessories, Baked Goods to-go and Lunch on site. This year's collection of gently-used donated items is particularly high-quality, and you won't want to miss the Harvest Soup for lunch. You never know what you'll find ... lovely frames on older art to re-purpose for your own artwork, all things bird-themed or cow-themed, yards and yards of tulle ... you name it! Address is 3401 Nebraska Avenue NW. Plenty of free parking. Bazaar entry door faces the parking lot. Every dollar spent at the bazaar will help women and children here and around the world through such organizations as Amara Legal Center, Asylum Seeker Assistance Project, Bikes for the World, Educare, DC Greens, Iona House, and Children's Inn at NIH. For more information, e-mail metroumw @ gmail dot com, see, or call 202-363-4900.

Saturday, November 4 from 9 AM - 4 PM, The National Italian American Foundation’s Expo Siciliana. Enjoy the familiar tastes, sights and sounds of Italian American life and mingle among the Sicilian and Italian American exhibitors. Enjoy free tastings of food, drinks, coffee, and sweets, provided by Italian and Italian American brands, and all-day fun! Throughout the day, there will be Italian music, dancing, and entertainment, including an incredible and historic Sicilian marionette performance by Tony De Nonno (as seen in The New York Times), music, film screenings, bocce courts, talks on Italian culture, language, and travel, and FREE LUNCH brought straight from the Bronx. This is the largest Italian festival in DC. Free and open to the public. At the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Road NW,

Saturday, November 4 at 9:30 AM, “An American Life: The Life of Clara Barton,” presented by The Rock Creek Civil War Roundtable. How did a shy girl born on a New England farm in 1821 break through the barriers that so often confined women to the domestic sphere. How did she go on to have a sixty year career of public service that touched people all over the world? What gave this woman the courage to go where the fighting was taking place during the American Civil War, a place women did not go? What was the driving force in her life that caused her to become an advocate for the expansion of rights for African Americans and women? This illustrated talk by Ranger Kevin Patti will use photographs from Clara Barton’s life and times to answer these questions and describe the development of her remarkable career. Free. At 5200 Glover Road NW,  

Saturday, November 4 from 10 AM - 4 PM, Czech Christmas Market, hosted by the Embassy of the Czech Republic. Relish in the magic of the season with stands filled with beautiful handcrafted ornaments, renowned Czech crystal and glass products, exquisite jewelry, and toys, while enjoying the taste and smell of mulled wine and eggnog as well as an assortment of Christmas cookies, baked goods and savory cuisine. Children will adore the array of live animals from the Nativity scene, handled by shepherds. Oh, sing, choirs of angels! The children of Sokol Washington will perform Czech Christmas carols at 11:30 AM. am. Free admission; reservations not required. Embassy of the Czech Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom St. NW,   

Sunday, November 5 from 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM, The Forest Hills Playground Harvest Hoedown (rebranded after the Halloween Spooktacular was rained out last week). Keep the Halloween spirit going and wear your costumes! Performance by Abracadabra Alex; story time by Jackie from the Cleveland Park Library, plus: Fire truck visit, dance party, bake sale and much more! 100% of bake sale proceeds and donations support playground improvements and programming like the popular summer concert series. The party closes at 12:30 PM with the annual costume parade. Free admission. At Forest Hills Playground, 32nd and Chesapeake Streets NW.  

Sunday November 5 from 12 - 12:45 PM, Tour of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church: Downtown Headquarters for the Poor People’s Campaign - Led by John O’Brien. Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and Abraham Lincoln all worshiped at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church on a regular basis. The present church building opened in 1950 and is the third structure to be erected on the site. Under the leadership of Senior Pastor George Docherty and Rev. Jack McClendon, New York Avenue Presbyterian Church played a significant role in the events of 1968. It was the downtown headquarters for the Poor People’s Campaign where press conferences and meetings were held about that march and the opening of the protest community, Resurrection City on the Mall. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke here, along with his widow, Coretta Scott King, and Andrew Young. The tour is free and open to the public; registration required - go to This tour is presented as part of the 44th Annual Conference on DC History. Meet in the sanctuary of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1313 New York Avenue NW.

Sunday, November 5 from 3:30 - 5 PM, “Quite a Life! From Defeat to Defeat … and Back,” by Carol Schwartz. The former at-large DC councilmember and five-time mayoral candidate will discuss her newly released autobiography and talk about her five decades of experience with DC politics. Free. At Oohhs & Aahhs Soul Food Restaurant, 5933 Georgia Avenue NW.

Sunday, November 5 at 4 PM, Chevy Chase Historical Society’s “Kit House” Talk. Chevy Chase was a natural home for the catalog houses that sprang up across America in the early 1900s in communities with freight railroad tracks nearby. Residents here could order a complete “home by mail” and have the parts delivered to a B&O rail station in Bethesda or at Chevy Chase Lake. The well-built houses are prized today. In an illustrated lecture, veteran kit house authenticator Kathryn Holt Springston will describe the national catalog house craze of yesteryear and kit houses she has authenticated so far In Chevy Chase, MD. The community is welcome at the free lecture, where signature CCHS refreshments will be served. At the Lawton Community Center, 4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase, MD.  

Monday, November 6 at 12 noon, Book Talk: "Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital," by Chris Myers Asch, editor, Washington History, and Derek Musgrove, professor of history, University of Maryland, Baltimore. Monumental in scope and vividly detailed, Chocolate City tells the tumultuous, four-century story of race and democracy in our nation's capital. The authors highlight the city's rich history of local activism as Washingtonians of all races have struggled to make their voices heard in an undemocratic city where residents lack full political rights. Free. At the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St. NW,

Tuesday, November 7 at 7:30 PM, Two Faces of Comedy Night: “With Malice Toward None.” Drawing inspiration from Abraham Lincoln's legendary humor and self-deprecation, President Lincoln's Cottage and The DC Improv are again partnering to present Two Faces Comedy, the first comedy series to transform Lincoln's living room into a comedy den. This third and final night of the series will feature stand-up comedian Bengt Washburn. This comedy series is recommended for adult audiences. Purchase tickets ($5) at Lincoln’s Cottage is at 140 Rock Creek Church Road.

Wednesday, November 8 at 7 PM, “The Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy'' by Dr. Neal Barnard. We've been told that dairy does a body good, but the truth is that cheese can be dangerous. Loaded with calories, fat, and cholesterol, cheese can make you gain weight and leads to a host of health problems like high blood pressure and arthritis. Even worse, cheese contains mild opiates that make it additive, triggering the same brain receptors as heroin and morphine. Dr. Neal Barnard founded the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in 1985. PCRM advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet. Dr. Barnard is a best-selling author, who has written 17 previous books about nutrition. Book sale and signing to follow event. Free. At Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave NW.

Wednesday November 8 from 4:30 - 6:30 PM, “For the Record: Picturing DC” - Opening Reception.The Historical Society of Washington, DC, will announce winners of its latest “For the Record” juried exhibit, which features 44 works capturing and interpreting eight neighborhoods across the city, including Burleith/Georgetown, Palisades and Shepherd Park. Free and open to the public. At the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St. NW. The exhibition, “For the Record: Picturing DC” will be open from November 9, 2017 – March 4, 2018. More info:

Thursday November 9 from 6 - 8 PM, Jazz Combo Recital at Levine Music. Join adult and teen students enrolled in the Levine Jazz Combo program for an end-of-session recital. Free and open to the public. At Levine Music, 2801 Upton St. NW,

Thursday November 9 at 7 PM, “Let There Be Light,” a documentary film following Rowan LeCompte and Dieter Goldkuhle as they make their last window for Washington National Cathedral. Producer/director Peter Swanson is joined by artists Mary Clerkin Higgins and Andrew Goldkuhle for a discussion following the screening. Told with stunningly beautiful images, this is a story of passion and creation–about the struggle to create great art using glass and light. It celebrates the power and beauty of light. Its aim is to inspire and ignite that inner creative light that is within all of us. Free. Please register at The Washington National Cathedral is at Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues NW.  

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Still Life with Robin: How to Get People to Pay More Attention While Walking, Cycling or Driving

Mount Vernon Bike Trail
by Peggy Robin

The main discussion thread on the CP Listserv this past week has been all about the conflict between bicyclists and pedestrians. What started on Tuesday with an account of a near-collision between a dog-walker and an inattentive bicyclist at an intersection has turned into a 44-message-long thread with a lot of heat on both sides. And it's still going strong!

A number of posters have proposed ways to increase safety, including suggestions for creating greater separation between bicyclists and pedestrians, uriging cyclists to call attention to themselves through use of bells or warnings (“on your left!”), or seeking better police enforcement of safety laws. This is all well and good….but not terribly creative. It might be worth taking a look at some of the more innovative, even startling proposals, that might be applied to the problem. 

Here’s one: Set up a “laser wall” to protect pedestrians in the crosswalk. Looks like the concept has been developed but not actually implemented anywhere….but it sure looks like it would grab people’s attention!

No bike lanes? You can create your own with laser lights as you ride along:

The thing I like best is what they’ve done with a relatively simle paint job on the street at this intersection:  
And you can see from the video that pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers are really taking notice!

Want to see it in real life? You'll need to go to the village of Ísafjörður in the northwest of Iceland -- population 2,559.

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