Friday Photo: Espresso and Chocolate

espresso and chocolate

I snapped this pic at Co Co Sala, a high-end chocolate store on F Street near the National Portrait Gallery featuring tiny (but delicious) pieces of black gold. On the right side of the plate is a little piece of mint chocolate. On the left, the waitress gave me a free sample of chipotle chocolate, which had a spicy kick to it. I paired them with a double espresso. For $6, this is affordable luxury. 

The New DC Art Scene is Open to All

skateboarder at fight club 
Preparing to take off. A skateboarder at the Fixation Show.

Has the DC art scene really left the underground and emerged into the light of day? That was the premise of an article in Sunday’s Washington Post. According to the piece:

Washington has a vibrant, under-the-radar art party scene that has long been visible only to those in the know. 

While I’m no porkpie hat wearing hipster, I’ve lived in this city for a while, and am friends with artists and arts organizers. In other words, I’m “in the know” and I don’t believe that there was a vibrant art party scene that was only available to the initiated. Continue reading “The New DC Art Scene is Open to All”

Friday Photo: Contact/s: The Art of Photojournalism

contacts picture

Tomorrow is the last day to see the Contact/s: The Art of Photojournalism at 3333 M Street, NW, in Georgetown. This great exhibit is part of FotoWeek DC and features twenty-five contact sheets made since 1976 by the photographers of Contact Press Images. The contact sheets have been enlarged and hung from the ceiling so that you can really good a close look at the individual photos. Plus, the exhibit, which is in a former furniture store, also has tons of really cool books on photojournalism that can be perused at your leisure. 

FotoWeek Seminar: The Nature of Transition

Last night, I braved the cold to attend a seminar entitled The Nature of Transition by photographer Steve Uzzell. It was part of FotoWeek, the seven day celebration of photography in Washington.

The theme of the seminar was on transition in our lives, how it is something to be embraced rather than feared. After all, as humans we’re constantly in a state of change as we live and evolve. Uzzell, who primarily shoots commercial work, got the idea for the presentation after hearing from clients that their organizations were in transition. As someone who received their last regular paycheck in 1975, he thought he had something to say on the subject – and he had the photos to communicate his message. 

For lack of a better term, I’d call his presentation a “magical slide show.” After an introduction to set the stage, he turned down the lights and talked in a conversational tone about the universal nature of transition while he showed iconic pictures from his work over the years. We’re drawn to transition, for its promise of growth, movement and clarity. It’s the most dynamic place to be. But how do we get in transition and best take advantage of it? Continue reading “FotoWeek Seminar: The Nature of Transition”

Friday Photo: Save Darfur Protest

dardur protest

I was out last Friday and just happened to run into this protest. Students poured up from the Dupont Circle Metro then marched down Massachusetts Avenue to the Embassy of Sudan. There were around a hundred protesters, some of whom carried signs with the names of Sudanese villages that had been ethnically cleansed. I followed along on my bike and fortunately I had my camera with me.

I like this picture because it shows the motion of the cab and the number of people at the protest. I took it with my Canon Digital Rebel XT with a Canon 55-250 IS lens. I ran it through the “aged photo” filter in Adobe Lightroom to fade the colors a bit.

DC Shorts – It's On!

I’ve been involved with the DC Shorts Film Festival as a film and screenplay judge for the past couple years. It’s such a good time.  The movies are interesting, the parties are awesome and there’s a very friendly, constructive buzz about the whole affair. This isn’t Hollywood – these are real people, just like you, who make great short films

DC Shorts will take place Sept 11 – 18 and will feature more 100 short films from around the world plus parties, seminars and a screenplay competition. I was a judge for this year’s screenplay competition. From dozens of submissions, we selected six finalists – these are short scripts which will be read aloud at a staged reading during the festival. The audience will get to vote on the winner, who will receive $2000 to turn their script into a short film.

All the action takes place at E Street Cinema downtown and nearby venues.  If you like booze, creative people and interesting films, then it’s an excellent festival to attend.



Friday's Links

Here’s what interested me this week:

How to Shoot Events
I was an event photographer last night for Art-O-Sound at Artomatic.  (Pictures coming soon.)  This post had some good advice about taking photos without being a jerk.

Just a Govy
Getting government to adopt the social media tools that the rest of the world uses is really painful and difficult.  Allies from other agencies are needed.  Hence, I was thrilled to add Just a Govy to my blogroll.

.Gov Sites Should Focus on RSS, XML
The controversial ArsTechnica article that states that government web sites should ditch design and context and just serve up raw data in open formats. 

The Butterfly Pavillion
Go see this if you’re in DC!  Beautifully delicate butterflies fly all around, landing on shoulders, heads, everywhere.  You’re even checked on the way out to see if any errant butterflies are clinging to your clothes. 

The Digital District

enjoying the wifi
Put down the laptop and have a look around.

Where do the digitally savvy roam?  According to a new study, Austin, Las Vegas, Sacramento, San Diego and, coming in at #5, Washington, DC.  Maybe we should be called The Digital District.  It doesn’t surprise me at all.  People here wuv their Blackberries a little too much.  (Not like us iPhone fanatics, we’re the normal, well-adjusted ones.)  DC is all about the trading of information for influence and our digital gadgets make these transactions so much more efficient.

Austin – I’m surprised by you.  You’re a city of music, bars, BBQ, bike paths and “Keep Austin Weird” – you have much better things to do than play online.

Artomatic – First Look

Artomatic – it’s on!  I made my first visit Friday night to sample a bit of this arts extravaganza.  This year, Artomatic has taken over an entire office building one block from the New York Avenue Metro station.  More than just an open art show, Artomatic features music, movies, fire dancers, life modeling classes, bars and creativity untamed by professional aspirations.

Here’s a first look at some of the things I found interesting/scary:

personal jesus


art critic

You can see more photos on Flickr.

Steal Something of Mine?

Steal Something of Mine?
My bike was stolen. I knew I would see it again.
The Washington Post, June 27, 2002
(c) Joe Flood

I knew that I would one day see my bike again. I just knew it. My old Bianchi Broadway had been stolen off the back stairs of my building. I couldn’t believe that someone had gone to the trouble. The mountain bike was five years old, with worn tires, a temperamental chain, and a skein of rust on its exposed parts. To take it, my thief had to go up two flights of winding metal stairs, break the U-lock, and then carry the bike back down.

Looking out that Sunday morning, at the empty spot along the rail where my bike should be, I was surprised. I shouldn’t have been. Kryptonite named Washington, DC as one of the “Top 10 Worst Cities for Bike Theft.” Nationwide, it is estimated that 1.5 million bicycles are stolen every year. An experienced thief can take your locked bike in about 10-20 seconds.

I just couldn’t believe that someone would steal something of mine. It hadn’t been an expensive bike, but it was the first bike I had ever owned. And my Bianchi had been with me everywhere. I had commuted on it up the long hill to American University. Ridden on it on pleasant weekend excursions along the C&O Canal. Coasted down the Mall by softball players and tourists. Why would someone steal something of mine? According to the National Bike Registry, the most common reason for bike theft is to pay for drugs. The value of a stolen bicycle is roughly 5-10% of the bicycle’s original retail value. Bikes are even used in lieu of currency in drug transactions.

But now my bike was gone. I don’t know why I bothered to report it. The police didn’t even come by to take my report; I filed it by phone. And stolen bikes are rarely recovered.

Yet, I knew I would one day see my bike again. For months afterward, whenever I saw a red mountain bike I would stop and squint at it, looking for identifying characteristics. No, the handlebars are too straight. No, the tires are too narrow. No, the bike looks too new.

One summer later, I found her. I was walking past a dusty park a couple blocks from my apartment, a little worn square of grass where men sit and drink. I looked over. Something that looked like my bike was leaning against a tree. I stepped into the park. The frame was covered with tacky stickers and duct tape. There was a big gash in the seat. It looked like the gearshifts had been broken off and the tires replaced. But it was my bike. I could tell by the rust.

The bike’s owner, a short Salvadoran walked over to me.

“This looks an awfully like my old bike,” I said.

“No, no, no. Es mine,” he said, pointing to his chest.

“I’m not saying you stole it, but this is my old bike,” I insisted.

We bantered in broken English and Spanish.

“I don’t want no trouble,” he said. He led me out of the park. “You follow, you follow,” he said, waving me on.

He got on the bike and rode out of the park, me walking behind him. I was waiting for him to take off and pedal away but he never did. My heart was pounding and I was shaky. Where was he taking me? He was careful not to get too far ahead of me, coasting down the sidewalk, looking back at me.

He turned down an empty alley. I followed. He reached a wooden door in a fence and pushed it open. He waved at me to come in. Me and the new owner of my bike squeezed into a narrow passage between a wall and a garage. The door shut.

He went to go get someone. I waited in a small courtyard. A man, his neighbor, approached. When he got closer, I saw that he had a Spanish-English dictionary in his hands.

I explained that this was my bike.

The neighbor got the story out of the Salvadoran man. He and his friend had found it, among junk, along V Street. They had taken it home and fixed it up. They fixed up bikes they found in the area. The neighbor didn’t know where they got them from but that they weren’t thieves.

The Salvadoran got anxious during the explanation.

“Calm down! Tranquilo!” his interpreter said. “He wants you to know that he’s not a criminal.”

“No criminal, no criminal.” He paced in the little courtyard, looking up into my eyes.

I didn’t think that he was a criminal. He could have told me to get lost back at the park, or rode off when I was following him. He didn’t have to get his neighbor to try to clear up the situation.

He offered me the bike. I didn’t want it. The bike was ruined, and nothing like the bike which had taken me everywhere. I had bought another one a few months earlier. I told him that he could keep it, that I didn’t think that he was a criminal.

“No criminal,” the man said, happy.

“No criminal,” I replied.

“Problem solved,” the neighbor added, relaxing.

The neighbor asked me my name. Joe. His was Joseph. The Salvadoran’s was Jose.

“Hey, we all got the same name,” Joseph said, beaming. “Joe, Joseph, and Jose.”

“Joe, Joseph, and Jose,” Jose said, pointing at each of us in turn.

I squeezed the brakes on my bike one last time and left.