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I was going to an evening networking event that was scheduled to be held at Dupont Circle. I decided to save money on Metro fares by arriving in the area before the evening rush hour began (when the fares would’ve cost more). Dupont Circle is among my more favorite areas of Washington, DC so I knew I would have plenty of ways of killing time before the networking event began.

I started my visit with touring The Phillips Collection (which I wrote about in my last post). Afterwards I simply walked around the area where I shot these pictures.

I noticed these scooters from Uber and Lyft that were available for rent. I found that Uber and Lyft do more than just provide peer-to-peer ridesharing in cars.

I walked by Kramerbooks & Afterwords where I saw this sign encouraging shoppers to bring their dogs with them inside of the store.

I briefly looked inside of the store where I saw that it had book copies of the recently-released Mueller Report, where Robert Mueller investigated whether Russia interfered into the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

Afterwords I walked around by the fountain. Between the warm weather and the increasingly longer days, I saw plenty of people doing things like relaxing and chatting with each other. I even saw one person play his guitar.

After the fountain I walked towards Panera Bread, where I ate dinner. On the way to Panera Bread I decided to check out the Made in DC store.

All of the goods were handmade by DC-area artists. The inventory ranged from clothing to posters to soaps to cards to jewelry. There was even a cafe in the back where you could consume locally-made food and beverages.

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One day I decided to go to an evening networking event that was being held in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, DC. Since it was a nice day and since I’m still struggling financially I decided to go downtown just a few hours earlier so I could pay the cheaper Metro fare (which significantly rises during rush hour). Dupont Circle has always been among my favorite places to visit in DC so I knew that I would have plenty of things to keep me busy.

I found out that The Phillips Collection generally has free admission during the weekday. (It only charges admission fees during the weekend.) I haven’t stepped foot inside of that museum in a number of years so I decided to spend my free time there.

The Phillips Collection is located in the former home of Duncan Phillips (who was the grandson of the founder of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company) and his wife, Marjorie Acker Phillips. They were avid art collectors and this museum was the result of their passion.

My alma mater, the University of Maryland, has set up the Center for Art and Knowledge at the Phillips, which has a variety of its own programs ranging from non-credit art classes to special lectures.

The Phillips Collection has a variety of modern art ranging from abstract to impressionism. I saw works on display by Van Gogh, Mondrian, Monet, Manet, and El Greco. Compared to other DC museums like the Smithsonian or the National Gallery of Art, I found the Phillips Collection to be more intimate in its setting. I think it’s because this building was originally someone’s home. There’s a cozy feel about this museum that many other museums simply lack.

I basically spent a few hours alternating between walking around, enjoying the art, and sitting down in quiet reflection of what I saw (and to take a rest). I really enjoyed my time at the museum. Hopefully I won’t let several years lapse before I return again.

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On that day I was traveling with a friend to Virginia because we were both currently helping an elderly woman with self-publishing her memoirs for her children and grandchildren and it was a chance for the two of us to earn some extra money.

Once we arrived in Virginia we had some time to kill before our appointment with the woman so we decided to kill some time at the Arlington Public Library. Since that day was also the Star Wars-themed May the Fourth, I saw this display featuring various Star Wars videos and books that was shaped like R2-D2.

One unique thing about this library that I haven’t seen in other libraries elsewhere is that you can borrow American Girl dolls for one week. Seriously, you can walk in and check out a doll for one week. The good news is that you can save $115 on the retail price of a new American Girl doll. The bad news is that you can only keep her for one week. But a cash-strapped person can at least get a taste of what it’s like to live with an American Girl doll even if it’s only for one week.

Most of the American Girl dolls I saw available for borrowing were all from the historical BeForever line. (There’s no Girl of the Year or Truly Me dolls available.) But that’s fine because a child could borrow a doll and start envisioning the times in which this doll lived while checking out the vintage period clothes that she comes dressed in.

The upper level of the library had this makerspace that it recently opened. Anyone with an Arlington Public Library card can access the equipment and make stuff. That library had some pretty nice equipment, including 3D printers, a vinyl cutter, and sewing machines. I also saw some 3D prints resembling Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

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I spent May Day doing a special freelance project for a friend at his workplace in Takoma Park, Maryland. (I’m not going to write too much about this project at this point because it’s still pretty much a work in progress.) During breaks I walked around outside enjoying the warm spring air.

The Takoma Park Public Library is part of a larger complex known as the Takoma Park Community Center. In addition to the library there is also a police station on the lower level, conference rooms, classrooms, a youth center, and an art gallery (featuring works by local artists). Outside of the building is a community garden area.

Located at the concrete stairwell leading to the entrances to the police station are these colorful wall murals.

Located adjacent to the Takoma Park Community Center complex is the Takoma-Piney Branch Park, which has flowers planted nearby in full bloom.

The entrance to this park has a metal sculpture that looks very flowery.

When I was there I saw this boy kicking a soccer ball around on the field.

And this little girl was taking advantage of the recent rainstorms to make some mud pies.

This sign definitely points out why people should not be smoking in the park.

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I had a busy day that day. In the morning I went to the Maker Edcamp in Washington, DC. In the evening I did some work on behalf of a therapist where I was helping her with cataloging her books (such as listing which book was in which book) before they would be put into storage. (I earned some extra money, which was pretty sweet.)

In between the two I spent the afternoon attending the meeting of the newly-formed Prince George’s County (Maryland) chapter of the Poor People’s Campaign. This meeting was held at the Upper Marlboro Library that’s located across the street from the Prince George’s County Courthouse (a place that I know all too well due to my stints on jury duty, my day in divorce court, and the time I needed to get another copy of my divorce certificate so I can get a portion of my ex-husband’s pension if and when he ever decides to retire). At least the meeting was held on the weekend so finding convenient parking was a breeze compared with during the week when the courthouse is in full session.

I took a few quick photos of the library before the meeting began. Here’s a shot of the exterior.

This library is pretty small compared to others I’ve been to but it does seem pretty cozy on the inside.

There is this painting that hangs over the main desk that portrays a time when Upper Marlboro was a rural area that was dominated by farmers growing cash crops like tobacco.

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Cinema’s first sex symbol was also America’s first goth.

How the Red Scare weakened radical feminism.

3,500 occult manuscripts will be digitized and made freely available online, thanks to Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown.

Meet the family who “world schools” their children by traveling full-time.

Virginia students learn in trailers while state offers Amazon huge tax breaks.

Saudi Arabia runs a huge, sinister online database of women that men use to track them and stop them from running away.

A look at the Vincent Van Gogh action figure, complete with detachable ear.

Pennsylvania coal region’s industry burned out. What remains are pockets of poverty where people get sicker.

A look at the African village where every house is a work of art.

Squatters turn oligarch’s empty London property into homeless shelter.

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After I attended the first-ever organizational meeting for the new Prince George’s County (Maryland) chapter of the Poor People’s Campaign (which I wrote about in my last post), I drove to the nearby Largo Metro Station, where I took the Metro to downtown Washington, DC. That station has a really cool looking sculpture that’s located near the parking garage.

I decided to go to the annual Cherry Blossom Kite Festival for the first time since 2012. Since I left late (due to the meeting), the competition part of the festival basically ended by the time I arrived at the Mall. But there were still plenty of people who were flying kites for the heck of it.

There were a long line of food trucks parked along the Mall that offered all kinds of food and drinks. I ended up not buying anything partly because of tight finances and partly because many of the food trucks had long lines. (The longest line was at the ice cream truck, which wasn’t a surprise because, despite the overcast clouds, it was a relatively warm day.)

I decided to walk a little further until I reached the Tidal Basin. It’s been the first time I’ve visited the blooming cherry blossom trees at that location since 2015. As you can see in the next photo, that area was very crowded.

Much of the grounds were roped off for some reason, which didn’t help the crowd flow. You can clearly see the fence at the bottom of the next photo.

It was incredibly mobbed with the throngs of people.

It’s easy to understand why tourists tend to go to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. They provide such a photographic opportunity to even the most beginning amateur photographer.

I took a Barbie doll with me to the Tidal Basin. She was originally released in 2009 for the 50th anniversary of Barbie’s first release. I took her out of the original package, which is considered to be a major sin among those in the Barbie fandom. (Which is why I have never been involved in that fandom.) I have never regretted doing so mainly because her dress, which had the original line art drawings that were created for various Barbie ad campaigns, had so much details that I would have never seen had I kept her in the box. I made a slideshow video featuring her and another 50th anniversary Barbie doll that I also purchased that year but then I didn’t do much with that doll.

This year is Barbie’s 60th anniversary. Barbie’s formal anniversary month was in March. There was a challenge on Instagram that was created by thadollylama where every day during the month of March people were invited to post photos of Barbie using the #barbie60photochallenge hashtag. Thadollylama provided a prompt list for every day in the month of March, which is similar to the official Inktober prompt list except that it exclusively involved photography and Barbie dolls.

I had thought about participating until I saw the prompt list and I decided against it. First of all, I still had memories of when I followed the Inktober prompt list last year and there were days when it was such a challenge to come up with something. Plus there is the challenge of coming up with something new then posting it online every day for one month, which can be stressful at times. On top of it, I don’t really have an extensive Barbie doll collection so there were no way I could find dolls that would be appropriate for prompt lists items like “Celebrity Barbies” or “Decade: 80s.” But I still wanted to do something for that #barbie60photochallenge before the month of March ended so I ended up taking my 50th anniversary Barbie to the Tidal Basin, shooting a few photos of her among the cherry blossom trees, then uploading them on to my Instagram account using that hashtag.

I had originally thought about walking around the Tidal Basin but the foot path was so crowded with people moving slowly that it would’ve taken me at least two or more hours to walk all the way around in a circle. (I can pretty much walk around the Tidal Basin in about an hour as long as I don’t take any rest breaks.) Instead I decided to walk away from that area. I shot this cherry blossom banner that was hanging outside of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing building.

I walked past this interesting bird sculpture.

I also walked past the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden where I saw this sculpture.

I shot that photo because I knew what it was. I’m old enough to remember when I actually used it myself. I found it pretty hilarious that an artist decided to make a large sculpture based on what once was a common office item. Ironically younger generations who were raised entirely on computers won’t know what it was once used for so they won’t get the humor behind it. Oh well.

I walked to a local Cosí where I ate dinner before I boarded the Metro and headed back to Maryland.

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Last month I happened to come upon some hidden art that was located along the permitter of a parking lot in Takoma Park, Maryland. But on a more recent return trip to that same parking lot, I came upon some more hidden art that I hadn’t noticed earlier. It’s another sculpture and it’s literally located just a few feet away from the other art that I previously wrote about.

This sculpture depicts three children sharing a book while sitting on a log. Coming upon these hidden surprises is a great fringe benefit of working in Takoma Park. Along with seeing poetry displayed on the street, such as the one below.

The poem in question is called The Goddess Who Created This Passing World and it was written by Alice Notley. Here is the text:

The Goddess who created this passing world
Said let there be lightbulbs & liquefaction
Life spilled out on to the street, colors whirled
Cars & the variously shod feet were born
And the past & future & I born too
Light as animal paper away she flew
To Annapurma or Mt. Mckinley
Or both but instantly
Clarified, composed, forever was I
Meant by her to recognize a painting
As beautiful or a movie stunning
And to adore the finitude of words
And understand as surface of my dreams
Know the eye the organ of affection
And depths to be inflections
Of her voice & wrist & smile

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I recently made my first trip to the Station North Arts District in Baltimore since 2017 (when I drew some NSFW drawings of disabled burlesque performer Jacqueline Boxx at Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School). I spent 2018 being mostly grounded within a 10-mile radius of my home in the Washington, DC area because my alimony ran out before I found work so I was too poor to do much traveling.

I basically focused on going to the DC chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s mainly because the events were held closer to my home. On that day I decided to check out the Baltimore chapter that was being held that night only to discover that the event was sold out! Yeah, I could’ve bought tickets online the night before but given my current work situation, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it until the night of the event when I found that I had time to go to that event. So I took a risk and found that it was sold out. It was the first time I had ever encountered it because usually those events tend not to sell out. Next month I’m going to have to seriously consider buying a ticket online depending on what my work schedule will be like.

So, as a consolation prize, I walked around the area where I found that much has changed since my last visit in 2017. There were a few murals that I haven’t seen before, such as this one.

There were some businesses that have either closed down altogether or moved elsewhere (such as Red Emma’s, the worked-owned cooperative bookstore and coffeehouse that is now located in another part of Baltimore). There were a few places that have opened since my last visit in 2017, such as this one.

There were a couple of wheat pasted posters that looked visually interesting.

I know that in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC there is a Made in DC store where all of the items were made by local artisans. It looks like Baltimore has its own Made in Baltimore store. Unfortunately that store was closed the night I was there so I wasn’t able to go in and look.

Then there is that one billboard that used to get painted over with hand-painted slogans like Who is Land Banking, Where Does the Buck Stop?, and Whoever Died From a Roughride. Since then it looks like someone has decided to crack down on the unauthorized political commentary and replace the painted slogans with this official billboard ad touting how current Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford and the rest of the current state administration all stand with Baltimore.

The only downer of my walk is what happened to this mural that I had photographed on a previous visit back in 2014. At the time there was a convenience store and the mural reminded me of a scene from a silent movie. Here is what it looked like back then.


That convenience store has since gone out of business but the mural managed to remain as late as 2017. Sadly, on my last visit, some asshole decided to cover it with his/her own graffiti.

It’s one thing to paint on a blank wall outside but to intentionally do that to someone else’s art without any kind of input from the original artist basically makes the graffiti artist proclaim the following to the world: “I AM A SELF-CENTERED ASSHOLE WHO ONLY CARES ABOUT MYSELF AND DON’T GIVE A HOOT ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE’S CREATIVE EFFORTS.” It’s a shame that this happened because I felt it was one of the nicer murals that was on display in that part of Baltimore.

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Walking around Takoma Park, Maryland provides all kinds of visual treats, such as what I found along the perimeter of a parking lot located behind the stores on Carroll Avenue.

It’s called Giardino Joe Urciolo (which is Italian for Joe Urciolo Garden) and it’s pretty small for a garden. But it serves as a nice example of what one can do with a tiny amount of green space.

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