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Recently some local artists decided to get together to fight urban blight by painting art murals on the abandoned buildings that dot Route 1 in Hyattsville, Maryland. Here are a few photos I took during my most recent trip to Hyattsville.

While I was driving around Hyattsville I found another one of those Little Free Library boxes.

One particular feature of this Little Free Library is that there is a small box that has tiny erasers that anyone can take.

As for the new Hyattsville murals, they can all be found on Route 1. As the sign in the next photo states, this was a project that was undertaken by a local design firm known as Green Owl Design.

As you can see, the murals are definitely eye-catching and awesome to see in person. I would recommend parking your car long a side street and look at all the murals while you’re walking around.

This next photo shows a bush that was planted in what looks like a recycled bathtub.

Located at the intersection of Route 1 and Hamilton Street is Polka Dot Park, which is a brand-new urban park.

When I was there that day, some of the animators who worked on the new animated film Loving Vincent, which is based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh, were there doing a special painting. By the time I arrived the painters had just finished and they were on the verge of leaving. They did their own version of Van Gogh’s classic Starry Night painting.

I made a brief stop at the Renaissance Square Artists Housing, which offers affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments to low-income artists.

One interesting feature is that this places offers its own version of the Little Free Library, with this one focusing exclusively on art.

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Last year I was at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland where I checked out this band from Belarus, Stary Olsa, who specializes in doing classic rock covers using Medieval Renaissance-era musical instruments. The results sounded amazing and I stayed around the show despite the fact that my ex-husband and my ex-friend (whom he screwed around with while I was recovering from hip surgery and he married her just two months after our divorce was final) were also there. (I was across the room from them. I sat at the bar with one of my friends.)

This year Stary Olsa had released a new CD and they decided to do another tour in support of it and they made a return trip to the New Deal Cafe. Once again I went and I found myself elated when I saw that my ex and his wife were no-shows this time around. Once again I whipped out my camera (that’s the one I purchased used from eBay for $80 and I totally love it) and took a few shots of the band.

I also shot a few videos of the band in action that night, starting with their cover of The Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.”

The band did a really mesmerizing cover of The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Californication.”

I shot two videos of the band doing live performances of some Belarusian songs that sounded really good. (Unfortunately I forgot the names of these songs.)

Stary Olsa did a traditional Belarus drinking song that got the crowd really excited.

The band closed their show by going back to classic rock with their cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.”

Stary Olsa did one encore performance with their cover of The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night.”

If you like any of the music in these videos I shot, you can buy it online right here.

I’m starting to see more and more pumpkin spice flavored foods and pumpkin spice scented objects coming into the local stores in my area, such as the ones in this photo.

Pumpkin Spice

At last I finally got around to writing a blog post about what happened on the Mall in Washington, DC on September 16, 2017. In a nutshell there were three different events happening simultaneously on different parts of the Mall at the same time. These events were enough for the local media to warn would-be commuters that many roads would be closed to traffic that day. In addition, Metro decided to close the Smithsonian station, which I felt was a bone-headed move because it not only led to more walking for me than usual (due to the fact that Metro closed the only Metro station that is located directly on the Mall) but it could’ve led to a dangerous situation had something violent happened and people couldn’t try to escape to the nearest Metro station so they could board the next train.

Despite the Metro hassle there was still a potential for drama and it was possible that it could’ve lead to a situation similar to what went on in Charlottesville. I decided to show up in person with my camera to check everything out for myself. I would be there to document anything that went wrong if the situation warranted it.

Arriving to the Greenbelt Metro wasn’t so bad. Compared to the Women’s March back in January, that station wasn’t very crowded and I was able to add more money to my SmartTrip card and get on a train with no problem at all.

As I exited the Archives/Navy Memorial Metro station the first thing I saw was the closed-off streets.

Fiesta DC, September 16, 2017

Fiesta DC, September 16, 2017

Fiesta DC, September 16, 2017

Fiesta DC, September 16, 2017

First there was the annual Fiesta DC event, which was a celebration of Latino/Latina/Latinx culture that started with a parade down Constitution Avenue and ended with a festival on the Mall itself. This event was the least political and least controversial of the three events. I arrived early enough to shoot some parade participants getting ready for their turn to march.

Fiesta DC, September 16, 2017

Fiesta DC, September 16, 2017

Fiesta DC, September 16, 2017

Fiesta DC, September 16, 2017

Fiesta DC, September 16, 2017

Fiesta DC, September 16, 2017

I briefly thought about sitting in on some of the parade until I saw the huge crowds gathering on Connecticut Avenue. I decided to head to the two competing political events that were taking place on opposite sides of the Mall. As I made my way towards the grounds of the Washington Monument, I saw the set-up for the Fiesta DC festival that would begin once the parade ended.

Fiesta DC, September 16, 2017

As I continued my walk I saw a flock of birds taking a bath in a puddle on the Mall.

Bathing Birds, September 16, 2017

Before I go any further to write about the two rallies I attended that day I want to say a few things, especially to any fans of Donald Trump and the Insane Clown Posse who happens to be reading this. While I used Photoshop to edit my photos, I only used its basic features for cropping and for lightening up a few dark shaded areas in some of the photographs. I did not digitally add or delete any people. Everything you see in these pictures are what I actually saw in real life and they can be corroborated by numerous other media reports such as BillboardThe Guardian, Metro, and The Chicago Tribune.  What I’m posting here is NOT “fake news” that I pulled directly out of my ass. If, after seeing everything I posted here, you still believe that I’m posting “fake news,” then that’s your problem—not mine.

Here’s a short video I shot of both political events. Like the still pictures, I did not digitally add or subtract any people. (In fact I’m not capable of doing that on video because I can’t afford the software needed to achieve something like this.) What you see in this video is what I saw that day.

I started to shoot that video at the pro-Trump event right at the moment when people started to chant “LOCK HER UP!” in reference to Hillary Clinton (which you can hear and see within the first minute of that video). Donald Trump used to get his supporters to chant this at various rally events during last year’s campaign while calling her “Crooked Hillary.” I’m willing to admit that both Hillary and her husband Bill have a whole bunch of ethical problems, some of which goes as far back as Bill’s time as Arkansas governor. But I find it interesting that ever since Donald Trump moved into the White House, he hasn’t lifted a finger towards having any kind of criminal investigation against Hillary Clinton. He seems to deflect the blame towards Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the lack of action. But, to be blunt, if Hillary Clinton is a criminal who needs to be investigated, tried, and convicted, he needs to encourage the government to do this or else he and his followers (including the ones at the recent DC rally) need to stop using Hillary Clinton as some kind of a scapegoat that they conveniently chant “LOCK HER UP!” at rallies with nothing being done afterwards.

In other words, either press criminal charges against Hillary Clinton or STFU!!!

Now that I got everything out of the way, I’m going to continue with posting the still pictures I took that day. As I arrived closer to the Washington Monument I began to see the site of one of the rallies located nearby.

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

I arrived at the Mother of All Rallies (or MOAR, for short) which was put on by supporters of President Donald Trump near the base of the Washington Monument. Despite the organizers claiming that thousands of people would turn out for it, the reality was that it was more like tens of people actually turned out.

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

I have a few theories on why the turnout was so disappointing. First, Donald Trump’s approval ratings had literally hit a new low shortly before this rally, which would definitely turn off some of his alienated supporters. I also heard that the organizers had not only discouraged participants from bringing Confederate flags to this rally but they had also sought to include people of other races in this rally. Given the fact that Trump had been so blatant in courting neo-Confederates, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacists as his supporters, it’s obvious that many of them would be less-than-thrilled with the idea of leaving their Confederate flags at home and hanging out with people who are non-white (even if they are fellow supporters).

I did see a few people of color at this rally, such as these African-American men in this next photo. I don’t know for sure if they actually supported President Trump or if they were simply there out of curiosity like I was. I didn’t see anyone express any kind of dismay that they were there or anything like that. Nor did I hear any racial slurs being dropped. I think the people who were there were okay with non-whites also being there.

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

Despite the efforts to reach out to people of other races, this rally was still overwhelmingly white.

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The rally was surrounded by fences and it was guarded by volunteer security people. With all that green space and low turnout, it seemed like the rally didn’t need to bother with either. Here’s are a few shots of the rally from behind the back fence.

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

While I was there I felt a bit uneasy and it wasn’t because of the speakers. (I knew what I was getting into when I went to that rally.) I didn’t feel comfortable being there and it didn’t help that there was no one there who was reaching out to me and saying “hi” or being friendly in general. I tried to blend in. That day I wore a t-shirt featuring Mickey Mouse giving the salute in front of an American flag and I wore a red, white, and blue bandana on my head, which I’m wearing in the photo below that I took two weeks later.

What I Wore That Day

Despite my efforts to blend in, I had a feeling that I still felt like “the other” despite that. It didn’t help that there were those volunteer guards at the fence area, some of whom looked bored while others looked intimidating. I also didn’t have anyone come up to be in a friendly manner trying to make me feel welcomed. I can’t put my finger on it but I just didn’t feel welcomed in a way I hadn’t felt since I lived in Glen Burnie (where I grew up with the other kids deciding that I was “retarded” so I was “inferior” and they never changed their attitude towards me as we went all the way through high school). I opted not to pull out the portable folding chair I had brought with me because I didn’t feel comfortable being around these people. I decided to leave that rally and head towards the Lincoln Memorial while taking pictures of the closed off streets.

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

As I walked past the Washington Monument, I took one nice shot of the obelisk in the dramatic-looking clouds.

The Mother of All Rallies (aka MOAR) on the Mall in Washington, DC

I started to head over to the Lincoln Memorial to check out the other big political event. Even though some people thought this was an anti-Trump event, the Juggalo March was something that had been planned for over the year by the rap group the Insane Clown Posse as a protest against the FBI labeling their fans as being a “gang.” This labeling happened while Barack Obama was still in office, which is yet another reason why I feel that he was such a big letdown from 2008 when he campaigned as this big time progressive clamoring for change but I’m not going to go there right now. (You can read my previous posts on why I became disappointed in Obama here, here, and here.)

As I walked past the World War II Memorial, I knew I was getting closer to the rally area for the Juggalo March when I saw these juggalos (which is what the Insane Clown Posse call their fans) posing for photographs.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

I eventually reached the Reflecting Pool with the Lincoln Memorial in the far background.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

I arrived at the Juggalo March site and instantly saw that there were more people present at that event than at MOAR.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

I’ve been to other rallies and marches on the Mall and I’ll admit that the Juggalo March turnout paled in comparison to them. One example was the 2010 One Nation Working Together March, which also took place at the Lincoln Memorial end of the Mall (you can read the text description and see the photos and video). And even that march was overshadowed by two even larger Mall marches: 2010’s Rally to Restore Sanity an/or Fear that was organized by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (you can read the text description and see the video) and the Women’s March, which took place earlier this year.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

In any case, the Juggalo March may have been smaller than all of those aforementioned Mall marches but it still outdrew the MOAR event and that is what the media focused on after both events ended. It’s kind of fitting that supporters of a buffoon were outnumbered by a bunch of clowns. (LOL!)

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Once I reached the area I pulled out my portable folding chair and ate the lunch that I brought with me. Compared to MOAR, I felt pretty comfortable being among the juggalos. Even though I don’t own any Insane Clown Posse t-shirts nor do I have any tattoos, the people there were more laid back and mellow. They kind of reminded me of Deadheads except with more clown makeup. I even smelled someone smoking marijuana while I was walking among the crowd taking pictures.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

The participants and the speakers on stage frequently said “Whoop! Whoop!”, which is apparently how juggalos frequently greet each other. I listened to the speeches from the stage and I heard some heartbreaking stories that stemmed from the FBI’s classification of the Insane Clown Posse’s fans as a gang. One woman who was among the speakers talked about how the state took custody of her children simply because she had a tattoo shaped like a hatchet man (which is one of the Insane Clown Posse’s symbols). Another woman, who had been given positive reviews by her bosses at her job ended up losing her job after one of them visited her Facebook page and saw that she had simply hit the “Like” button on the Insane Clown Posse’s official Facebook page. One man recounted being pulled over by the police simply because he had an Insane Clown Posse bumpersticker on his car.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

As I listened to those stories, I felt unnerved because that could’ve been me or anyone I knew had any of us ever been fans of the Insane Clown Posse or if the FBI had branded fans of a band I liked as being in a gang. Had the FBI given the same classification to fans of Bruce Springsteen, U2, or Nirvana, I definitely would’ve had a much harder life because of fears that I would lose my job or my car or my home simply because I like a certain band and its music. (For the record, I had only previously heard of the Insane Clown Posse because they had been signed to a recording contract by a label that was owned by Disney only to have that contract quickly rescinded when Disney got wind of what their debut album was like and the company developed cold feet. I’ve been watching some of their old videos on YouTube and I find their music to be catchy, sort of like what Cypress Hill was like in their heyday.)

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

All I know is that I felt far more comfortable around the juggalos than I did around the Donald Trump fans. When I was at the Juggalo March I never once felt like I was a freak who didn’t belong because I was way out of my element—unlike the MOAR event.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

I found the people to be very friendly and I found it incredulous that the FBI would label these people as being a gang.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

This next photo was the closest I was able to get to seeing someone speak at the podium on stage. Even then I was only able to get this quick shot before someone else crowded his head in front of me.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

The impression I got is that the people there were happy and having a very good time even if they were protesting how the FBI classified them.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

I have to admit that I only became uneasy when I saw some people holding signs saying “Clown Lives Matter” just like those in the next two photos. It’s because my Unitarian Universalist congregation (as well as other congregations in the greater Unitarian Universalist Association) has been actively involved in anti-racism work in order to make the denomination more friendly to people of color. (One example is the UUA’s ongoing Standing on the Side of Love campaign.) Our congregation has been actively confronting White Privilege and learning about how we white members may be unconscious racists due to being raised in a toxic racist culture like the United States of America where people of color, especially African Americans, are frequently subjected to police brutality and mass incarceration. There are quite a few members in my congregation who have read Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. It’s a topic that’s way too complex to discuss here but, as part of our anti-racism efforts, our congregation has been selling “Black Lives Matter” buttons and yard signs and I’ve seen many white members wear those buttons to church on Sunday.

My problem with “Clown Lives Matter” signs is this: Being a clown is a choice. You can choose to put greasepaint on your face and wear funny clothes. When you’re tired of people staring at you for being dressed like a clown, you can always take off your clothes and makeup. Black people don’t have that choice. They didn’t choose to have dark skin—they were born with it. Unlike being a clown, black people can’t remove their dark skin when they’re tired of being gawked at and/or looked down upon and quietly live lives as private citizens. Being a clown is a choice. Being black is NOT a choice.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

I wasn’t the only one who felt uneasy. I heard a speaker at the podium who was identified as a juggalo of Puerto Rican descent and she explicitly said that it wasn’t cool for juggalos to make signs appropriating slogans and language from other groups’ struggles for this rally. I knew what she was talking about because I heard her say this after I had taken the above two photographs.

Those signs were the only time I had any kind of negative impressions about the Juggalo March. The vast majority of people held signs that were relatively benign and didn’t appropriate Black Lives Matter or any other movements.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

The Juggalo March emphasized that it was open to all regardless of political beliefs or affiliations. As a result I saw people carrying anti-Trump signs and these people in the next photo who wore t-shirts indicating that they are part of the Three Percenters movement.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Since I was at the Lincoln Memorial anyway I decided to step inside and see the statue of Honest Abe for the first time in so many years. (Even though I’m a local I don’t always make time to visit all the tourist hot spots every single week.) I’ve seen that statue in person so many times throughout my life (especially when I went on school field trips as a child) but it’s still nice to be able to see it just one more time.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

There were juggalos, like this person in the next photo, who took the time to go inside the Lincoln Memorial and see the statue of Abraham Lincoln.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

As for the weather itself it drizzled at one point for less than a half-an-hour but, otherwise it was very cloudy and pretty muggy with the high humidity. (At least the temperature was in the low 80’s.)

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

The juggalos made me feel so welcome that one of them even gave me a lollipop.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

After holding their rally next to the Lincoln Memorial, the juggalos started to march. My legs were so stiff and sore that they were close of giving out (walking down the entire length of the Mall will do that to you) so I ended up not marching with them.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

I later read online that they basically walked around the Mall then returned to their original starting point where the Insane Clown Posse gave a free concert that lasted past twilight and into the night.

Instead I walked towards George Washington University so I could pick up the Metro at the Foggy Bottom station. I took these last two pictures on the campus while I was walking.

George Washington University, September 16, 2017

George Washington University, September 16, 2017

While I was riding the Metro I heard an announcement saying that the Smithsonian Metro had just been re-opened. If my legs hadn’t been so tired, I might have gone off at that station so I could check out the booths at the Fiesta DC. But I was tired and stiff so I just took the Metro back into Maryland.

I was sore for the next few days but it was all worth it in the end because it was a memorable day.

Whoop! Whoop!

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I basically spent the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania by attending another session of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in Baltimore.

I arrived a little bit early so I could walk around the Station North Arts District taking pictures with my recently acquired Canon PowerShot ELPH 190IS camera. Thanks to that camera I was finally able to shoot something that I had long wanted to shoot.

RE Harrington & Sons is a repair company that does plumbing, heating, and other utilities. The one thing I noticed about their building is that it has miniature replicas of the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell on the rooftop. In the past I tried taking pictures with my Droid Ultra but I had never been able to get a decent shot mainly because the two items are so far away and the smartphone camera gets increasingly grainy the more I use the closeup. I used the Canon camera and the results have been terrific, as you can see below.

I took some more photos around the area while focusing on things that I hadn’t photographed on previous trips.

There was one place I had photographed before but I took a new picture. It’s a building at the corner of Charles Street and West North Avenue. When I first started taking pictures of that building, it was one of those long-abandoned buildings. But someone painted this really cool mural on the building which I always personally liked. Here is the building I photographed in 2015.

photo3

photo4

Here is the same building I photographed in 2016, when it was being demolished (along with that nice mural).

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A new building was built in its place and it is now opened as the Parkway Theatre.

According to its website, The Parkway Theatre is a part of the annual Maryland Film Festival except that it shows movies all year long. It’s similar in nature to the AFI movie theater in Silver Spring in that it shows the kind of movies that one wouldn’t necessarily find at a typical suburban multiplex.

I took a few more photos of some colorful attractions in the Station North Arts District.

The next two photos show the “No Shoot Zone” graffiti that has become prominent all over the city. This graffiti project is the brainchild of rapper Tyree Colion and it’s his protest over Baltimore’s appallingly high homicide rate.

The last photo shows the ad for the latest Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at The Wind-Up Space.

Most of the drawings posted from this point forward are definitely NSFW. Burlesque performer Ruby Rockafella was the model for this session. I’ve previously drawn her in 2013 and 2015 but what’s different is that she is currently seven months pregnant. (She said that her baby is due in November.)

I have to admit that drawing a pregnant woman was more of a challenge than I expected mainly because I was trying to draw a convincing baby bump. I found that to be harder than I thought because if I drew it too perfectly round it looked like she was carrying a beach ball inside of her yet if I drew it too loosely it looked like she was simply fat and not carrying anything other than fat. Well, anyway, here are my attempts at drawing a pregnant woman.

I took part in two of the contests that were held that evening. One was where we had to somehow incorporate a gift for Ruby and her unborn child. I began to think about the increasingly screwed up country that kid was going to be born into and I began to imagine a post-Trump era for the baby. I incorporated Donald Trump in a straightjacket with his legs in leg irons attached to a ball and chain. For added measure I placed duct tape over his mouth with an “Ex-President” sign hanging around his neck, made his skin orange, and added that red ball cap that has his “Make America Great Again” catchphrase. Yeah, I know it’s wishful thinking but given all the crazy drama that has happened over the past seven months along with those persistent accusations of Russia somehow having a hand in getting him elected, the possibility of him being removed from office gets more plausible with each passing day. My drawing made it among the finalists but it didn’t win.

I took part in the other contest when we had to guess what Ruby’s baby will be when it grows up. We were told that Ruby currently doesn’t know her baby’s sex so we were free to draw whatever we want. I envisioned her having a daughter who would be the polar opposite of her. (I was thinking about the relationship of freewheeling self-indulgent New Age hippie mother Edina and her more conservative daughter Saffy from Absolutely Fabulous.) I had the daughter wear a full Victorian dress with her hair tied up in a tight bun while acting very repressed. This drawing made it among the finalists but it didn’t win.

I drew one more picture of Ruby Rockafella before the event ended.

One Saturday I was originally scheduled to take a day-long seminar because I’ve been thinking about volunteering once again as an English teacher to recent immigrants through my church’s program. (I’ve done it a few times before and I decided to take some time off from it for a while.) Except the seminar ended up being cut short after a few hours due to poor attendance. (My church is planning on publicizing the fact that we need more volunteer teachers while rescheduling the training at a later date.) So my training ended when we ate the provided lunch.

I previously saw on Facebook that there were a few events that were scheduled in the Gateway Arts District of Prince George’s County [Maryland] for that day that I suddenly had time to attend. (If the day-long training had proceeded as originally scheduled, this post would not even exist.) I picked two of those events because they were located close to each other.

The first event was the Waterfront Arts Festival, which was held inside Bladensburg Waterfront Park.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Bladensburg Waterfront Park isn’t just a lovely nature-filled park located on the banks of the Anacostia River but it’s also full of history since it was the place where the Battle of Bladensburg took place during the War of 1812.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Throughout the festival there was a community art project where the general public was invited to paint on four bird statues. When I first arrived at the festival I came upon two of the birds that were being painted.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Here’s the table which provided paints, brushes, and animal-shaped stencils.

Waterfront Arts Festival

I picked a turtle stencil along with some red and yellow paint. I painted a red terrapin with the letters “UM” in homage to my alma mater, the University of Maryland (whose College Park campus is located about three or four miles north of Bladensburg).

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

After I finished my contribution to one of the bird statues, I walked around the festival a bit while I was taking pictures. There was a children’s play area where kids could assemble giant building using these giant blue interconnected foam building blocks. The kids had a ball building giant structures using only their imaginations.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

The next two photos show a demonstration of making resin-based art.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

This table sold tote bags that were crocheted using yarn made from plastic store bags.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Here are some more photos from the festival.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival


Waterfront Arts Festival

These two photographers were comparing cameras, lenses, and related equipment.

Waterfront Arts Festival

I came upon the other community art place where the other two bird statues were being painted by the general public.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

I made a contribution to one of those statues as well. I painted a black heart on top head of one of the birds.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Here are some more photos from the festival and the park in general.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

There was an all-ages button making table courtesy of Arts on a Roll.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

This last photo shows the one thing I purchased at the festival—a bar of soap from Kitty’s Bath Boutique.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Located just a mile or two from Bladensburg Waterfront Park was an artist reception that was held at Art Works Now in nearby Hyattsville. I managed to attend this one on my way back from the festival.

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

The reception was for an exhibit called In-Cider Art, which featured the original illustrations that Caleb Luke Lin did when he designed the labels for Graft Cider. All of the original illustrations were available for sale.

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

The refreshments included samples from the various different Graft Cider products. Having tasted two of the different ciders I have to say that I liked them both. If I ever see Graft Cider in my local liquor store, I would definitely buy it.

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

Like I’ve written numerous times, I recently purchased a used Canon PowerShot ELPH 190IS for $80 on eBay (after the dealing with an increasingly erratic smartphone camera app and a Canon Digital Rebel DSLR camera battery refuse to recharge) and I’m fast falling in love with that camera. It shoots pictures and videos that are just as high quality (if not more high quality) than my Droid Ultra smartphone but it’s incredibly lightweight so I can carry it in my pocket or bag or purse (which is in contrast with the older and bulkier DSLR camera).

I recently used my Canon PowerShot when I saw the band Frenchy and the Punk when they performed at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland earlier this month. In some ways it’s appropriate that I used this band to test my latest camera. I went through my older posts and I found that the last time I saw this band perform was in 2011 when they performed at—you guessed it—the New Deal Cafe. I was still married and my husband and I had just gotten our first smartphones (a Droid 3). I had recently done a Google search for tutorials on how to shoot photos and videos with my Droid smartphone (up until that point I had a flip top phone that didn’t take pictures mainly because, at the time I got this camera, having a cell phone with a camera cost nearly twice as much).

So I used that particular Frenchy and the Punk performance to practice my video shooting skills using that smartphone. I shot and uploaded a total of four videos from that particular show: “House of Cards,” “Magician and the Dancer,” “Yes! I’m French,” and a jam session the band did while people dressed in gypsy steampunk costumes danced in the audience.

I still remember that night like it was yesterday. My then-husband was also at that show along with a few friends of ours. Among those friends was a woman whom my husband would leave me for her just a few months later.

A few years later I saw Frenchy and the Punk’s booth at the Maryland Faerie Festival where they sold their CD’s and some handcrafted goods as well. I didn’t see them perform that day because, if my memory serves me correct, they were scheduled to perform later at a nighttime party that charged a separate $25 admission that was not included in the festival day pass. I not only couldn’t afford it but I was leery about making a long night commute through unfamiliar roads all by myself.

Let me see. In 2011 I saw Frenchy and the Punk perform at the New Deal Cafe while I was testing the camera function of my first smartphone that I had just recently acquired and I was still learning how to use. So it’s now 2017 and I managed to see Frenchy and the Punk perform at the same venue while I was testing a new camera that I had recently acquired and I was still learning how to use. Sometimes the past DOES repeat itself. LOL!

Well, anyway, I took a few still photos with my camera, which you can see below.

I also shot some video footage as well. I didn’t shoot as many songs this time around. (Well, actually I only shot three songs this time around while I shot four songs back in 2011. So I only shot slightly less footage this time.) First up is a song about the Abraham Lincoln Brigade which fought in the Spanish Civil War titled “¡Vive la Quince Brigada!”

I wasn’t able to get the title of the song that the duo performed when I shot this next video but it was catchy enough to get quite a few people dancing near the front of the stage.

Last, but not least, I shot the song that the band closed their show with: a very enthusiastic cover of the Mary Hopkin song “Those Were the Days.”

The band put on a show that was just as enjoyable as when I saw them in 2011. It’s like everything was the same in that I was testing out a new camera on the same band in the same venue. The only major difference is my personal life in that I’m now divorced. Otherwise everything was exactly the same as before.

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