The Bounty that is June – Haps

Too much, too much. June must be the final push on the event scene before people begin dispersing to the vacation scene. Again, just scratching the surface:


June 5 at 3 PM (Washington DC Jewish Community Center)
June 12 at 5 PM (Busboys and Poets)
FREE – For reservations click on this link or call 202-939-0794.
Other FREE preview screenings nationwide
Filmmaker Lydia Nibley explores the cultural context behind a tragic and senseless murder. Fred Martinez was a Navajo youth slain at the age of 16. But Fred was part of an honored Navajo tradition – the nadleeh, or ‘two-spirit,’ who possesses a balance of masculine and feminine traits. In relating Fred’s story, Nibley reminds us of the values that America’s indigenous peoples have long embraced. Visit for more information.

Sunday, June 5 at 5 PM, Busboys and Poets, 5th & K Streets, NW
Known as “the first lady of the White House Press Corps,” Thomas covered every President of the United States from the last years of the Eisenhower administration until the second year of the Obama administration. She was the first female officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and President of the White House Correspondents’ Association, and the first female member of the Gridiron Club.

Busboys and Poets’ owner, Andy Shallal will interview Thomas about her life and work — including the controversial interview with blogger and Rabbi David Nesenoff that led to her resignation/retirement as a Hearst columnist. Thomas, who is of Lebanese descent, has written six books; her latest, with co-author Craig Crawford, is Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do (2009).


June 12 – 17
Eatonville Restaurant, 2121 14th Street, NW Washington, DC 20009
June is Caribbean Heritage month. Eatonville Restaurant is devoting a week to Caribbean Heritage cuisine. Guest Culinary Artist Chef Oji Jaja of Kingston, Jamaica will add a Caribbean flare to the restaurant’s brunch, lunch, and dinner menus including June’s Food & Folklore event, “Caribbean Connections.” Special focus on Cuba, Haiti, and Jamaica with steel drum music and guest DJs. Eatonville’s mixologists will be serving delectable libations featuring rums of the Caribbean and Jamaica’s signature Red Stripe beer. Reservations required for Food & Folklore prix fixe dinner. For information call 202-332-9672

“The Migrations: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence”

June 15 – 26, Atlas Performing Arts Center
Step Afrika! teamed up with the Phillips Art Collection for a special collaboration involving their “Migration” series of paintings by the American artist Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence’s paintings, depicting the lives of African American who left the South for northern cities in the early 20th century, have been the inspiration for numerous performance works. Step Afrika! will bring their interpretation of this historic era in dance as only Step Afrika! can.

SILVERDOCS AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival

June 20 – 26 – AFI Silver Theater, Silver Spring, MD

This is year 9 of the documentary festival featuring the work of U.S. independent filmmakers. THE SWELL SEASON, directed by Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins and Carlo Mirabella-Davis opens the festival on June 20th. THE SWELL SEASON follows musical artists Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, who captivated audiences and earned an Academy Award for their musical collaboration in the film, ONCE. REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR will close the Festival. The documentary, directed by Chris Paine, explores the triumphant reemergence of the “clean car,” focusing on four dynamic entrepreneurs dedicated to creating an environmentally friendly automobile. THE INTERRUPTERS, by HOOP DREAMS director Steve James, will be part of the festival. I’ve heard good things about this film. And the honorees for this year’s Guggenheim symposium are Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker (DON’T LOOK BACK, THE WAR ROOM, Al FRANKEN: GOD SPOKE, MONTEREY POP, KINGS OF PASTRY). Thanks to them, I have no desire to be a french pastry chef. Festival passes are on sale now.

“Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”
Through August 7 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall
This exhibit of the late British designer Lee Alexander McQueen’s fashions has been up for some time. And I hope to pay homage in NYC this month. It doesn’t get any better than Bill Cunningham’s commentary, “McQueened” for the New York Times. Well, actually the museum videos narrated by curator Andrew Bolton of the Met’s Costume Institute are pretty good. The exhibit, just on the pieces alone, cannot escape what was the beauty, complexity, and tragedy that was Lee Alexander McQueen who committed suicide in 2010 at age 40.

The Haps: Dirty Movies

Not quite what you may think. This weekend, we’ve got films that will inspire you to get your hands in the dirt.


Yesterday was the opening of the fourth (Thursday, November 4), the Alexandria [Virginia] Film Festival. Sunday it’s the Healthy Food Alexandria Event with food samples from local chefs and farmers markets:

The Movies:

“Corner Plot” is about a Silver Spring farmer named Charlie Koin who as been growing food on his one acre in downtown Silver Spring for over 50 years. Many people know him from the Silver Spring farmer’s market. You can see a trailer at

“Mad City Chickens” is a sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical look at the people who keep urban chickens in their backyards. From chicken experts and authors to a rescued landfill hen or an inexperienced family that decides to take the poultry plunge—and even a mad professor and giant hen taking to the streets—it’s a humorous and heartfelt trip through the world of backyard chickendom.

4-5 PM Food Samples from a wide range of local chefs that emphasize local, sustainable food.
5-6:30 PM: Movies
6:30-7:30 PM: Panel Discussion with local farmers and chefs.

For tickets, go to

“DEEP DOWN” – The Impact of Mountain Top Mining on a Kentucky Community

Community Cinema [DC] presents two free screenings of the documentary “Deep Down,” a film by Sally Rubin and Jen Gilomen. This story takes place in Kentucky, but it just as well may be West Virginia. Deep in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky, Beverly May and Terry Ratliff, now in their fifties, find themselves in the midst of a community battle over a proposed mountaintop removal coal mine. Their struggle is part of a larger debate about who controls, consumes, and benefits from our planet’s shrinking supply of natural resources?

Dates for the screenings are:
Sunday, November 7 at 3 PM, Washington DC Jewish Community Center (1529 16th Street, NW)
Sunday, November 14 at 5 PM, Busboys and Poets (2021 14th Street, NW)
The events are FREE and open to the general public. The film will be followed by a Q&A with representatives from our community partners.

Reservations recommended. Visit, or click on this link.

To find out how you are connected to mountain top mining, type your zip code into this app:

Eclectique Haps

Just scratching the surface…

American Public Television (APT) is streaming episodes of the series “Voces” including the documentary Celia: The Queen about the one and only la reina of salsa. Catch it through October 31st at

Lois Malou Jones: A Life In Vibrant Color

Opening October 9 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts
The National Museum of Women in the Arts says this is the first retrospective of works by Lois Malou Jones (1905 – 1998) from her 75 year career. I came to know Jones’ work while she was a professor of art at Howard University. She was known for her art created in and inspired by her time in France and Haiti. I recall seeing posters she designed for the arts festival in Dakar, Senegal. Howard University will host a weekend at the museum in honor of the exhibit October 29 (free to HU faculty, students, alumni, and staff). More information available here. The exhibit runs through January 9, 2011.

Community Cinema [DC] New Season

This weekend, Community Cinema DC kicks off a new season with free screenings of the documentary “Reel Injun: On the Trial of the Hollywood Indian.” Neil Diamond takes an entertaining, insightful, and often humorous look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema and examining the ways that the myth of “the Injun” has influenced the world’s understanding—and misunderstanding—of Natives.

Sunday, October 10 at 3 PM; Washington DCJCC (1529 16th Street, NW) followed by Q&A with Francene Blythe, Director of All Roads Film Project
Monday, October 11 at 5 PM; Busboys and Poets (2021 14th Street, NW) followed by Q&A with Kiros Auld, appeared in Terrence Malick’s feature “The New World” (2005); Francene Blythe, Director of All Roads Film Project; Karen Zill, National Association for Media Literacy Education
FREE with RSVP – or call 202-939-0794
For more information, visit:

Hip Hop Caucus and Roadside Organics present


October 10, 2010
Bread for the City, 1525 7th Street, NW

While organic fervor has struck in DC, it has not yet reverberated across the city. We want to bring the new food movement to those residents living in the District’s notorious food ‘deserts’, showing how bringing back age-old Sunday supper can anchor families in new healthy lifestyles.

We believe in the power of local food to uplift our communities, improve our health, and revitalize our local economy.

The event is part of’s Global Work Party that is putting people to work around the world to make a positive impact on our climate and environment. 

The event will be free and feature seasonal food cooked by several of DC’s best chefs and music from local hip hop artists.

Every meal makes a difference. Let’s join together and chart a new beginning.

Register here.

The Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival

Washington DC Jewish Community Center
October 17-27, 2010

The Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival presents the year’s best in Jewish writing by both emerging and established authors from across the globe. An annual celebration of Jewish Literature, the Festival features engaging author panels, readings, and talks for lovers of fiction, history, politics, humor, children’s stories and much more. Tickets are on sale now.

The World Is Arena Stage

The New and Enclosed Arena Stage

Once Arena Stage started their capital campaign to expand their complex, it became part of a larger urban plan for the Southwest waterfront area. At this point the new Mead Center for American Theater holds more than just the landmark Fichandler main stage and Kreeger stage inside the glass enclosure; it is THE LANDMARK for the Southwest Waterfront area.

Imagine — a theater anchoring an urban plan. I’m just happy I won’t meet on-going traffic when I go out the side exits anymore. But where have they put the stage door? I’ll find out when I see “every tongue confess” by Marcus Gardley and featuring Phylicia Rashad. The play will be directed by Kenny Leon in the new Kogod Cradle, an oval shaped 200 seat theater with a fascinating curved entrance — like walking inside a Nautilus shell.

I wonder with such a grand entrance, will I still see Artistic Director Molly Smith at the neighborhood Starbucks. This new stage has definitely put her in a unique orbit in the theater world. And we’re not even talking about New York. Molly may be one of the few who can genuinely say “Who needs it?”

Molly Smith has steered the Arena Stage towards American theater; including new works and the classics. Jaylee and Gilbert Mead bankrolled her vision. They were not theater professionals but loved the stage. Both Meads worked in science. But their fortune was acquired from an inheritance from Gilbert Mead’s father’s estate. Unfortunately, Gilbert Mead died in 2007.

The Washington Post devoted their entire Sunday Arts & Style section (9/26/10) to the new Arena Stage:
Theater critic Peter Marks gives the front page overview; Philip Kennecott looks at the design, planning and the architect Bing Thom of Canada; Jacqueline Trescott introduces the donors who bankrolled the project; Derek Kravitz looks at the big picture for the neighborhood. This section is a keeper for theater geeks.

Live to Read

I got a special “educators” tour of Arena Stage a week ago as part of the introduction of a partnership with the Humanities Council of Washington, DC for the launch of a new initiative, “Live to Read.” The initiative kicks off with a citywide read of “Ruined” by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage. Nottage was at the educators event to talk about the play which she wrote after visiting with and interviewing Congolese women refugees in Uganda. The women were ages 20 – 70 years old; all had stories of being raped, said Nottage.

“Ruined” is set in the rain forest of the Congo where a shrewd woman entrepreneur is serving both sides — the brutal government and the “ruined” tortured women — in the middle of the country’s civil war. Though officially, the Congo’s civil war is over, Nottage says, in reality it goes on and its most tortured victims are women and children. The violence continues because of turf battles over natural resources, particularly coltan which is used in electronic products including cell phones.

A week before the tour, I was working with ITVS and a coalition of NGOs in the Rayburn House Office Building where Rose Mapendo, a Congolese refugee and survivor, told her story. Mapendo is the subject in Pushing the Elephant, a documentary by Beth Davenport and Elizabeth Mandel. Mapendo is now an activist and advocate to stop violence against women. Pushing the Elephant will be shown as part of ITVS Community Cinema and on the PBS documentary series “Independent Lens” during the Arena Stage run of “Ruined” and the “Live to Read” initiative.

September Haps in DC

Inside the Beltway is quite exciting this time of year for all the best reasons…and this just scratches the surface.

Sunday, September 5, 6 PM
Graywolf Press and CAS/51 celebrates the publication of SKIN, INC. – Identity Repair Poems by Thomas Sayers Ellis (see the eclectique interview with Ellis)
CAS/51 510 Randolph Street, Washington, DC 20011
Books will be available for purchase and there will be light refreshments. Reading by Thomas Says Ellis and performance by Carolyn Malachi of Ellis’ “The Pronoun-Vowel…”

Sunday, September 12, noon – 7 PM
32nd Adams Morgan Day Festival – the mega neighborhood block party. 12 pm – 7 pm. This is the day when people in the neighborhood know not to move their cars if they on-street parking. The festival is usually packed from 18th & Columbia Road to Florida Avenue. Lot of vendors local and regional. Stages. Art displays. More information at this link:

September Caucuses – for the Politico Artist in you
September 12 – 15, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Public Policy Conference, Reyes of Comedy (9/14) and 33rd Annual Awards Gala (9/15). Gala honorees are Lin-Manuel Miranda (Chair’s Award), Eva Longoria Parker (Medallion of Excellence), and Arturo Sandoval (Medallion of Excellence). Hosted by Soledad O’Brien.
For information, registration, and tickets go here.

September 15 – 17, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legistlative Conference. Alice Walker and Robert Townsend will be honored at the CBC Spouses “Celebration of Leadership” event (9/15). For schedule registration, and ticket information go here.

Tuesday, September 14, 7 PM
National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Noche de Gala

Renaissance Mayflower Hotel
Actors Jimmy Smits, Sonia Braga, Esai Morales, and Merel Julia along with attorney Felix Sanchez honor and celebrate excellence in the performing arts, media, entertainment, and telecommunications industry by Hispanic Americans. The NHFA event raises funds for scholarships to Hispanic students at eight prestigious colleges and universities. For ticket information and sponsorship opportunities, call 202-293-8330.

Saturday, September 18, noon to 7 PM
H Street Festival

Since the H Street “revival,” the commercial strip with theaters, restaurants, cafes and bars, mixed in with the corner stores, auto parts shop and a strip mall, is fast becoming the hipsters paradise – grit with growth. Not only is H Street asking you to come shop and enjoy entertainment in the corridor, but also to live there. Transportation still remains a bear for getting there. Only 1 bus, the X2 goes from east to west. Trolley car tracks are almost done but no trolley yet.
More information here.

Tuesday, September 21, 5:30 PM
Lip Smack: A History of Spoken Word Poetry in DC (Beltway Editions) by Kim Roberts – book release.
Venue change: Charles Sumner School, 1201 17th Street, NW at M
Featuring a guest performance by Regie Cabico, and tabletop exhibits on The Word Works, Inc., Split This Rock, and Beltway Poetry.
Part of The Humanities Council of Washington, DC 30th Anniversary Celebration and Grantee Showcase. Exhibits, readings, performances, and film, with an awards ceremony, and a champagne and cake reception. Call 202-387-8391. Free, but reservations required.

Thursday, September 23, 6 – 8 PM
Humanities Council of Washington, DC 30th Anniversary Celebration

Hogan and Lovells, LLP, 555 13th Street, NW
Honorees Peggy Cooper Cafritz, patron of the arts and co-founder of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts; and Dr. Johnnetta Cole, director of the National Museum of African Art and first black woman president of Spellman College will be part of the discussion moderated by Michel Martin of “Tell Me More” on NPR.
$100 Donation. Purchase tickets here.

Saturday, September 25
National Festival of the Book

This is one of my favorite events. In its 10th year, the festival continues to celebrate books, reading and authors via the Library of Congress. Authors, author readings, books and fun for adults and kids. Some of the writers participating: Isabelle Allende, Martha Grimes, Ken Follett, Pat Mora, Judith Viorst, Timothy Egan, Will Haygood, Elizabeth Alexander, Spike Mendelsohn, and more, more, more. I will not miss it! Visit

September 28 – October 3
All Roads Film Festival

National Geographic HQ, 1600 M Street, NW
The All Roads Film Festival is part of the All Roads Film Project, a National Geographic program created to provide an international platform for indigenous and under-represented minority-culture artists to share cultures, stories and perspectives through the power of film and photography.

The festival kicks off September 28 at 7 PM with “Reel Injun” followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Neil Diamond (pictured). This event is co-hosted with ITVS which kicks off its new season of Community Cinema with “Reel Injun” in October. In the film, Neil Diamond takes an entertaining, insightful, and often humorous look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema and examining the ways that the myth of “the Injun” has influenced the world’s understanding—and misunderstanding—of Natives.

Tickets are available online at or by phone at 202-857-7700.

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