Saturday, October 16, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Back to the Uptown

Photo by Bill Adler

by Peggy Robin

It’s welcome news that the Landmark Theater chain has expressed interest in the Uptown – and I earnestly hope the deal goes through. If it does, the Uptown will reemerge as one of those luxury theaters with a liquor license and a bar. Probably some nice but pricy food options too. I have no objection to any of that. Hey, if you’re going to pay $14 for a movie ticket, why should your choice of drink be limited to some kind of cola in a ginormous plastic cup for seven bucks? As for the snacks – there was nothing to be said for a warmed-over box of popcorn for eight bucks, and even less for the choice between the Sno-caps or the Twizzlers for five. Did anyone ever actually like that menu? No matter what the new Uptown charges for the drinks and the bar food, it will be an improvement.

If the deal goes through, I’d bet one other thing will be different from the old days is the way you get your seats. I’m betting Landmark will put an end to the old system of open seating. Just look at their theater in Bethesda Row. They’ve got the fancy bar, and they’ve got the upgraded food menu -- and they’ve got the everyone-choose-your own-seat reservations system. If you buy your tickets online in advance (highly recommended to be sure the show is not sold out), you will spend time on the website studying the seating chart, considering what’s available, and making your best choice. It’s no different from choosing seats for a Broadway show. And just like buying those $200-a- seat Broadway tickets, you’ll have to hope you can fill out all the required information before the little icon of the ticking clock times out on you!

Now, if you don’t buy your tickets online in advance, you will still be able to stand in line at the box office, but it won’t be as simple as it used to be. No longer can you walk up to the ticket window, say “two please,” hand over your cash or a credit card, grab your tickets, go in, and plunk yourself down in the first empty seat you like. Under the new regime, you -- and each person in line in front of you – must first identify which show and showtime you want within the multi-plex, to be handed the right seating chart showing the occupied and available seats for that show. You may need a minute or so to figure out which color or symbol stands for which seat status. If you’ve arrived on the late side and/or it’s a popular new movie, there might not be much of a choice left. Since virtually everyone else has already booked online by the time you see the chart, you could well be stuck in the front row or far off to the side. If you’ve come with a group, you may need to split up. What you will learn from this experience is that the $2.50 “convenience fee” does, in fact, spare you some fairly annoying inconvenience. 

That’s not the worst of it, either. Here are just a few of the downsides to reserved seating at movie theaters:

* You have no chance to avoid sitting behind very tall people.

* You have no chance to judge who are likely to be noisy movie-goers. Under the old, open seating system, you could go in, survey the theater for a while, and then pick the seats farthest from any large group of teens. If you saw people sitting with large boxes of candy, the kind that come wrapped in crinkly cellophane, you could steer clear of them, as well. And if you heard someone popping their gum, you could seat yourself as far from the sound as possible. 

* Now, assuming you’ve made your choice behind what you assumed would be a nice, quiet old couple, but as soon as the movie starts, one begins repeating the lines of dialog to the other in a loud whisper (no, that's not an oxymoron, it's a real thing) -- will you be able to move? Not necessarily. Even when you see seats available elsewhere in the theatre, you can’t be sure they haven’t been reserved by a latecomer.

* There can be booking errors. Ever been on an airplane and found someone in your assigned seat? Then you already know how difficult it can be to sort out the conflict. You produce your ticket print-out and hope there hasn’t been a double-booking. A flight attendant can arbitrate, if necessary, on a plane. On a flight there are federal rules governing the situation, and the airline must take responsibility. Not so when the matter is something trivial like a movie theater seat. You won’t find any help from the ushers. Ushers….what’s an usher? the GenZ’ers ask. You will have to get the manager. It can take some time to sort things out. I’m not speaking theoretically here. This has happened to me. I’m assuming it’s not uncommon.

* If you need to cancel at the last minute, yes, you can usually exchange the tickets for a later time – but you are always out the “convenience fee.” It’s a small amount of money, sure, but that doesn’t mean you should have to pay it twice.

I’m not saying the system is without its upsides. Once you’ve reserved online, you won’t be turned away if the show sells out. If the theater is set up with “stadium seating” -- as tends to be the case these days – the rise between seats will allow you to see perfectly well over the heads of all but the tallest movie-goers in the row ahead. And finally, once you’ve had a few glasses of wine from that fancy theater bar, you may be feeling relaxed and ready to be entertained, wherever your seat may be.

Is this better for the Uptown than having it sit abandoned and derelict – a vast but historic art deco rat trap? You bet it is!


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

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Get Out! And Rock Out at the Rock the Park DC Free Music Series in Franklin Park on Oct 16

by Peggy Robin

Rock the Park DC: Free Outdoor Music Series
Outdoor music series at the renovated Franklin Park  


This Saturday, OCTOBER 16

The Originals Present

The new and improved Franklin Park will host its inaugural concert series, Rock the Park DC, on Saturdays in October from 4-10 PM. Presented by the DowntownDC BID, the free, family-friendly outdoor music series features a diverse line-up of live music and DJ sets from local favorites to international headliners. Curated by Abby O'Neill and Adrian Loving, this series will cover a wide spectrum of genres including jazz, soul, R&B, reggae, hip-hop, electronic and soulful house music. See you there!

Franklin Park
1315 I street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

The Get Out! event of the week is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Happy IP Day!

Image via Wikimedia/Creative Commons
by Peggy Robin

You may be aware that the holiday on Monday, October 11th, formerly known as Columbus Day, has been renamed and repurposed in DC (as has been the case in many other states, cities, and localities) as  Indigenous Peoples Day. And just this year President Biden has issued an official proclamation for the Federal holiday, as well. You can read about it here:

I first wrote about this on October 11, 2014 and again after DC made it official in 2019 – so I’m happy about the change. Well, mostly happy. What’s the trouble, then? I like my holiday names short and snappy. Indigenous People’s Day….let’s see….that’s seven syllables. And you know ’re going to have a hard time getting any children under age seven to understand the word “indigenous” – let alone pronounce it properly.

So what’s the solution? How about a two-letter abbreviation? IP Day. It’s quick and easy to say. Is there any objection?

Oh, you think the IP already is taken for “internet protocol” as in IP address.

Or you think it means “in person” in text messaging slang.

Or “intellectual property” in copyright cases.

Or “innings pitched” in baseball.

Or “Intra Peritoneal” in med school.

Or “Instructional Pilot” in the Air Force.

Yes, it does, and it can keep all those meanings. None of them will be mistaken for the holiday. Context is everything, and when "IP" is used with the date of the second Monday in October, it only mean one thing: Indigenous People’s Day.

And while we’re at it, let’s look at how many other holidays already have a shorthand form, whether used in text messaging, advertising, or in everyday speech.

MLK Day for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Juneteenth: Here’s a splendid example of a holiday that is already its own contraction (for June Nineteenth).

July 4th. Not many say the five-syllable “Independence Day” – though it’s often said in a four-syllable version, Fourth of July

Halloween: Bet you forgot that this holiday is a actually a contraction of All Hallows Evening.

Tgiving. Has not filtered into normal speech but it’s certainly worked its way into text messaging.

Xmas. In use since at least the 16th century,

A Very Happy IP Day to All!


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

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Get Out! And Watch Mo Willems Connect the Dots in a FREE Public Art Project at the Kennedy Center, Oct 9, 10:45am-4pm

Image courtesy of Kennedy Center
by Peggy Robin

It’s not often that you get a chance to watch an artist create a work of public art – but that’s what is happening at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, Oct 9, as artist-in-residence and beloved children’s author Mo Willems creates a public work of art before your eyes. The piece is called “We Are All Connected” – and you can learn more about it and register to attend at this link:

Here’s the invitation and schedule of events from The Kennedy Center Artist-in-Residence program:

We Are All Connected  Art Opening Festival

REACH PLAZA at the Kennedy Center

Saturday from 10:45am-4:00pm, Education Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems will work with invited community members to create We Are All Connected, a large-scale public art playscape on the REACH Plaza. All are invited to come watch their festival day of creation!

Sat. Oct. 9, 10:45 a.m. - 4 p.m.


We Are All Connected

A Large-Scale Public Art 2-Dimensional Playscape on the REACH Plaza

Created live by Mo Willems and 240 Members of the Local Community

As part of the Kennedy Center’s 50th Anniversary season celebration, Education Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems will work with local community members to create a giant mural on the bluestone floor of the REACH Plaza! This exciting public art piece is inspired by Mo’s abstract works of dots and lines. A huge graphic representation of how we’re all connected in unexpected ways, the playscape will be created throughout the day on Saturday, October 9 and remain installed until the winter.

Hosted by Mo and Helen Hayes Award-winner Erika Rose, the day of art making will be created by your neighbors who are passionate about and engaged with ART, FOOD, JUSTICE, LEARNING, MEDICINE, and WELLNESS. The REACH grounds will be filled with art making, live music, family-friendly activities like chalk drawing, the return of the giant inflatable Pigeon, and more! Drop by for any portion of this FREE day of events to connect with and cheer on your local community, or stay for the entire creative process and be one of the first to dance and move on the completed artwork!

Ongoing activities, music, and creation occur between 10:45 a.m. and 4 p.m. There will be food trucks available on the REACH grounds, in addition to the Victura Park Wine Garden and Café.

Schedule of events (subject to change):

10:45 am – Kickoff Performance by Duke Ellington School of the Arts Show Choir

11:00 am – Co-Hosts Mo Willems and Erika Rose Welcome Participants and Spectators

11:10 am – Three Selected Community Groups Place Dots with Mo Willems and Erika Rose

12:00 pm – New Education Artist-in-Residence Jacqueline Woodson Onstage!

12:25 pm – Three Selected Community Groups Place Dots with Mo Willems and Erika Rose

1:15 pm – Mo Willems “Connects the Dots” Accompanied by Onstage Jazz Trio (Amy Bormet, piano; Dana Hawkins, percussion, and Tarus Mateen, electric bass)

2:30 pm – Final Community Moment – All 240 Participants Stand on Their Dots for Photos and Celebration

2:45 pm – Musical Finale: No BS! Brass

3:00 pm – Dot Dance Party!  Participants and Spectators are Invited on the Artwork, Accompanied by No BS! Brass!

4:00 pm – Final Wrap Up

A more detailed schedule of artists and activities will be released closer to the event date.

This is a free festival for people of all ages – kids and former kids. While pre-reservation is not required, it is highly recommended, and allows you to receive updates and other notifications prior to the festival date. 


[Rain date: Saturday, October 16, 2021]

Mo Quote

“That we are connected is a fact.
How we are connected is a choice.”

Mo Willems

Much More Mo!

Discover all the great activities and video content created during Mo Willems’s tenure as Education Artist-in-Residence. From Lunch Doodles and The Small Works Project to The Yo-Yo Mo Show, there are hours of online entertainment and educational fun!

Give Me More Mo!


The “Get Out!” event of the week is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

by Peggy Robin

A long-time list member recently posted this trenchant observation about posted signs: "Let me tell you all loud and clear, SIGNS DO NOT WORK."

I was struck by the truth of this aphorism just yesterday as I took a short walk down Ordway Street from 30th Street to Connecticut Avenue. In just the space of those two blocks I saw at least 20 signs that people had placed on their property at or near the sidewalk, asking people to do --or not do-- various things:

  • Five were asking people to curb their dogs.
  • Three were asking drivers to slow down (two in English and one, double-sided, was Spanish on one side and English on the reverse).
  • Six were about politics or living together in a community - of which only was overtly a campaign sign (a holdover from the 2020 election). A few examples: Black Lives Matter; Statehood for the People of DC; Thank You, Essential Workers, and Immigrants Are Welcome Here.

There were of course, quite a few duplicates within those two short blocks. And that 20+ sign total is NOT counting any of the DDOT parking and traffic signs – nor is it counting any real estate or commercial signs.

I took photos of some of the signs and have posted seven of them on the All List Is Local website, which you can see if you click here.  

Of these seven signs, I would point out just one that does not fit into any of the bullet pointed categories above – and for that reason, I think it deserves a special mention. It’s not a new sign -- you will see it's old and rusted -- and I rather doubt that the original inspiration of its message is still living at the address where this sign adorns the fence. The sign bears the warning -- in French -- outside of a rowhouse that therein dwells a "CHAT LUNATIQUE."

Now as for the rest of the signs I passed along my walk – well, there's an old pop song from 1971 that says it well:

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind

Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?


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

Friday, October 1, 2021

Get Out! There's a Fete and a Fest Going On!

 by Peggy Robin

I couldn’t hold it to just one event for this week’s “Get Out!” event of the week – just had to do both: The 18th Annual Georgetown French Market is taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And the Adams Morgan PorchFest music festival is on Saturday only. As both were cancelled last year, they should be twice as good this year! 

Georgetown French Market: More than 25 boutiques and cafes take over Wisconsin Avenue’s sidewalks during this 18-year-old tradition, with numerous discount racks for the early-rising bargain hunters, and outdoor tables where you can pause for coffee and snacks during weekend browsing. Watch out for the strolling mime. Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Free.


The Georgetown BID is hosting their 18th annual Georgetown French Market October 1-3, 2021. This popular Parisian-inspired open-air market will feature sidewalk sales and specials from more than 25 locally-owned boutiques, cafés, and galleries along Wisconsin Avenue from O St to Reservoir Rd., plus French fare, a caricature artist, music, a strolling mime, and more. Neighborhood restaurants will also offer specials and French fare, including sweet and savory crepes, grilled merguez sausages, pastries and macarons.


All attendees are encouraged to wear masks throughout the French Market. To ensure a more comfortable pedestrian experience and allow for increased social distancing, the sidewalks along Book Hill will be temporarily widened - an extension of our Georgetown Decks pilot program - to ensure everyone has enough room to comfortably enjoy the French Market.  

The 18th Annual Georgetown French Market is sure to be magnifique

And the Adams Morgan PorchFest is BACK! 

Saturday, October 2, 2021 from 2-6 PM ! 

Adams Morgan PorchFest returns on Saturday, October 2 with more than 60 local bands! Approximately 20 porches, patios, and stoops will become stages for the day, drawing music-lovers from around the region into the tree-lined streets and small businesses of Adams Morgan. With over 70 performances in one afternoon and more porch hosts and bands than ever before, this is sure to be the biggest and best Adams Morgan PorchFest to date!

2021 Adams Morgan PorchFest Official Schedule is on the front page at
Click here to download a PDF of the official map.
NOTE: Locations and bands are subject to change up until the start of the event.
Click Here to view the GPS-enabled map on your phone (requires Google Maps)

Event patrons can pick up a music map and wristband at the event headquarters located at the corner of Columbia and Adams Mill Roads NW in BB&T Bank (now Truist) Plaza. Limited edition t-shirts and swag will also be available for purchase. Event wristbands are FREE and provide attendees with dozens of discounts at various Adams Morgan businesses. After stopping by the headquarters, guests can stroll around the neighborhood for nonstop musical performances from 2-6pm, enjoy lunch, dinner or drinks at a neighborhood hangout, and shop for unique gifts at local boutiques. 

So that we can best prepare for this safe and fun neighborhood event, your RSVP is requested but not required. Please RSVP here.

PorchFest Wristband Discounts
Pick up your wristband at PorchFest HQ (Corner of Columbia Rd. & Adams Mill Rd. in front of BB&T/Truist)
Unless otherwise noted, most discounts are good all day on Saturday, October 2, but please confirm with the business


The “Get Out!” event of the week is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Still Life with Robin: I Have a (Spelling) Bee in My Bonnet!

Beeatrice, Queen Bee
of the New York Times
Spelling Bee
by Peggy Robin

You will need to indulge me today. I usually write about things connected  in some way or another with the Cleveland Park neighborhood, or fitting under the broader rubric of life in Washington, DC. The theme of this column today can be rationalized as on-topic simply because there are plenty of people in this neighborhood, and even more around the DMV, who are as addicted as I am to the New York Times Spelling Bee. Not familiar with this daily word game? Learn all about its strange allure here. Novelist Laura Lipman speaks for all of us Spelling Bee obsessives when she describes the appeal of the puzzle in this essay in 

With that introduction, let me use the rest of this space to complain about the puzzle and specifically, about all the words that its daily constructor, Sam Ezersky (also known by his Twitter handle, @thegridkid), excludes from play. He is the sole arbiter of what words are accepted and will earn you points toward the crown.

However, before getting to these words, let me preface my complaint by saying I have no beef with him whenever he includes words that I never knew till I started doing the puzzle every day. I'm always happy to expand my vocabulary -- and  was perfectly content to add all of the following to it: agita, aril, arum, attar, blat, bola, botnet, caul, cirri, delt, ecotone, eidetic, epode, heptane, horal, jugging, laten, lateen, llano, minim, motet, nepenthe, nonagon, nonillion, ollie, opah, palapa, palp, parador, pawl, pillion, pipit, puli, raita, tali, tamari, tilth, toonie, tubule, unhat, unroof, and wight.

Now for what puts that bee in my bonnet: It's the utter failure to acknowledge words that I use and consider not the least bit obscure. Sam appears disinclined to listen to the devotees of this daily game whenever they tell him he's left out words that occur in our everyday speech. And to prove it, let's show how, without these words, Sam can't do any of the following RANDO things:

If he's out sailing, he can't turn his sail ALEE.
He can’t toss a BEACHBALL.
He can’t put down a BATHMAT (guess, he'll just slip and fall.)
He can't play hangman because there isn't a GIBBET
He can’t read the GNOMEN on a sundial.
He can’t catch and grill a GRUNION – though there’s plenty of other fish on his menu (opah, for one)
He’s must be confused about iodine because he doesn’t understand that it’s made up of IODIDE ions. You can’t have one without the other.
If he becomes an archaeologist, he can’t find the MIDDEN.
He can’t discuss the elementary particles that make up the universe without MUONs.
He can’t clean anything with MURIATIC acid. His concrete walls must be pretty grimy.
He may eat some sushi but without any NORI wrappers.
He can’t access an ATM because he doesn’t recognize know what a PINPAD is.
He can’t write to a PENPAL.
He can’t play a PANPIPE
He can’t dress up like a WWI soldier in PUTTEES
He may become a samurai but never a RONIN.
He can’t have a TUILE on top of his dessert.
He can still have an outbreak of UTICARIA– as long as he calls it hives. 

Does all of this make him sound like a BIMBO?

We really need to convene a CURIA to adjudicate these words.

OK, I'm done least for today!


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

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Get Out! And Experience ART ALL NIGHT All Over Town - Sept 24 & 25

Image: Art All Night Gallery
by Peggy Robin

With so many fall festivals and fairs this weekend, you might think I would have a hard time picking out the event of the week for the weekly "Get Out!" column. Not so!
ART ALL NIGHT is the runaway winner, with happenings in all eight wards of the city, both Friday and Saturday nights.
Start here:

Cleveland Park does not have its very own AAN but these five are pretty close:
If you would like to venture farther afield, the guide in has a handy interactive map at Just click on any of the AAN icons to pull up a side-bar with the highlights of that event, some photos, and a link to the AAN website for all the details.
None of these websites, however, will answer the question that must be on everyone's mind: "How does an event that ends at midnight get to be called 'All Night'?"
Here's my guess for the answer: The fairy godmother from Cinderella came up with the concept! (And since I'll be taking my pumpkin-coach home around 10pm, I certainly don't object!)

The "Get Out!" event of the week is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Why Do They Do It?

Photo credit: Ben Lieu Song
via Flickr (Creative Commons)

by Peggy Robin

For those who don’t read every single message on the CP Listserv (you don’t??? you should!), let me briefly recap yesterday’s Administrative Note. (It's Message  if you want to read the whole’s long!). For the past few months, someone has been messing big-time with There seems to be some sort of malware program inserted into a number of the bigger groups across the broad platform, causing random messages from these subscription-only groups to be delivered to non-members, who neither want them nor understand why they’re receiving them. They just want it to stop. And these unwilling recipients have been pretty upset at any group owner whose group has unwittingly sent them messages. I’ve heard an earful (well, an inbox-ful) of insults from those who end up getting listserv messages they never signed up for. I went over the mechanics of what happened in my message to the group, posted yesterday.

Now that I’ve set up some barriers to prevent any more faked email addresses from signing on, I think we may have prevented these hackers from doing any further damage. Yes, there still may a few bad email addresses that still need to be rooted out. But I can’t see how any more could be inserted among our membership. And now that we’re done with that phase of this unfortunate business, there’s time to do a little reflecting on the meaning of it all.

By which I mean, the underlying point of the hack. What was it all about? What were they after? Not money. They never sent out scam emails to anyone. Not to “harvest” valid email addresses, either. All they ever did was take some messages – just the usual neighborhood chatter (“Where can I buy the best avocados?” and “What paperwork do I need to bring to the DMV?”) -- and pass them along to random people around the country who had never even heard of Cleveland Park. At most, they annoyed a few dozen members of our listserv. And, I suppose, a much larger number on many others listservs with open memberships in the system.

Maybe the annoyance was the point. Or maybe there wasn’t really a point at all. I’m guessing (based on no evidence at all) that the whole project could have been cooked up by some teenagers, just to do mischief. Just because they could.

Another theory is the revenge motive. Suppose the hackers had been running some kind of illegal enterprise on the platform, and they’d been found out, and had abruptly shut them down --.pulled the plug on them. Maybe the whole thing is someone's way of getting back at the system that undermined their group.

Then there’s the “It’s the Russians” answer. Whenever there’s been hacking or malware anyway, odds are high that it’s coming from an IP address somewhere in Russia. Statistically speaking, that’s where the trail is likely to lead. But to what end? Could be as simple as junior-hackers practicing the skills of their trade? Or maybe just doing any little thing to foster confusion and irritation in American communities….?

Am I starting to sound paranoid? Well, maybe a little. It’s been a rough few months, being on the receiving end of all the complaints and accusations about my group and its misdirected missives.

In the end, I’m left as much in the dark as I was at the start. I’m slowly coming around to the idea that I may never know the why of what happened. But I will never stop wondering…..

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

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Get Out! It's Park(ing) Day 2021 on Friday, September 17

Photo credit:
International Parking Day
PARK(ing) Day 2021 

PARK(ing) Day returns to the District of Columbia on Friday, September 17, 2021, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. This annual event is an opportunity for District residents and businesses to display their creativity, building pop-up parks in curbside parking spaces throughout the District's eight wards.

Initially started in San Francisco in 2005, PARK(ing) Day is an event in which residents and businesses re-think the use of public space by converting metered on-street parking spaces into temporary parks. Since its inception, the event has spread to cities around the world, taking place on the third Friday of September.

The pop-up parklet locations for PARK(ing) Day 2021 are located in the map at: . The map also includes a suggested bike route for those who choose to visit parklets by bicycle, DDOT’s recommended mode of transportation for the event! 

The DDOT announcement of Park(ing) Day DC is here:

Be sure to check out the parklets created around the world – see
 for photos!


The Get Out! event of the week is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.