Saturday, March 6, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Wes Andersonize DC!

Union Station

by Peggy Robin

If you have seen any Wes Anderson movies movies (see filmography at, you know that half the fun is in their picture-perfect, elaborate sets, which are often like intricate, miniaturist paintings – and since his movie plots tend toward the ridiculous (occasionally straying into the lame), sometimes you could say that the sets are actually ALL the fun. The classic example is the Grand Budapest Hotel, winner of the 2015 Oscar for Production Design, plus 3 other ambiance-related Oscars. I’m very partial, myself, to Moonrise Kingdom. Kids tend to love Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of Dogs. There's a large body of work going back to 1996 (when he first directed Bottle Rocket) to choose from.

What does this have to do with Washington, DC (the supposed central focus of my Still Life with Robin columns)? Well, now there’s a website called “Accidentally Wes Anderson” devoted to pointing out places all over the world that are worthy of being Wes Anderson movie sets. Go to:  

It's user-driven, so anyone can submit photos of places they think fit the bill. But when you look at the Washington, DC page, you see only a smattering of places. Six to be exact: Hillwood Estate; the Renwick GalleryUnion Station; the Lincoln TheatreFrederick Douglass Hall at Howard University, and –most fittingly—Anderson House. (No, it’s not the Wes Anderson House, but the Larz Anderson House, now currently owned and used by the Society of the Cincinnati. All eminently worthy, but it’s not enough! DC is a very Wes Anderson-y sort of town. There are many more good places going unrecognized.

I’m not a good photographer, but if I were, I’d be sending in photos of Forest Glen, the complex of architectural whimsies built at the end of the 19th Century and listed on the  National Register of Historic Places as the National Park Seminary Historic District in 1972. You can see a gallery of Wikipedia images here: 

Can you think of others? If you know of the perfect Wes Anderson location to add to the Washington, DC collection, you can help fill up the site. Give it your best shot!  


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

1 comment:

  1. On Instagram there’s also #accidentallywesanderson and it’s got 1,401 fabulous posts!