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I attended my first-ever meetup of a group known as District Creatives. I’m trying to expand my network of people that I know so I can take advantage of whatever opportunity comes my way. I ended up leaving for DC a few hours early mainly because I wanted to avoid paying the higher rush-hour Metro fares commuting to and from the event. (I managed to do that, which made me happy.)

I decided to take the Metrobus to the Metro station instead of driving because a roundtrip Metrobus fare is only $4 while parking in the Metro station parking lot costs $5.20. Since I was attending a meet-up for a group that is interested in using technology in a creative manner, I decided to bring my Makies doll, Victoria, since she was printed on a 3D printer to my specifications and I customized her. It’s only too bad that Makies as a company no longer exists. In any case, here she is at the bus stop.

Here she is riding the Metro subway. I only brought her along as a potential conversation starter. I ended up not using her at all during the meet-up.

I arrived at the Eastern Market Metro station. I had a few hours to kill so I decided to walk around the area while taking pictures.

The next photo shows the historic Eastern Market. It’s a pretty popular food market area, especially on the weekend when there are local artisans who sell their wares outside of the building.

Here are a few shots inside of Eastern Market. They sell all kinds of fresh foods but the prices are a big high compared to the grocery stores in the suburbs.

I walked around Capitol Hill while I saw that some of the houses were decorated for Halloween.

The homes in Capitol Hill are known for their gardens. Even though these photos were taken in mid-October, there were still plenty of flowers in bloom.

When I came upon this street sign noting Tip’s Way, I thought it was in honor of the late former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. A quick Internet search revealed that Tip’s Way was really named after a Capitol Hill lobbyist named E. Linwood “Tip” Tipton.

The next photo shows that Tip’s Way is basically an alley.

The house located next to Tip’s Way was all decked out for Halloween.

The one thing I noticed about Capitol Hill is that there are some subtle forms of resistance against Donald Trump and his administration in the form of the residents posting signs in their yards. The majority of them contained quotes on social justice from Martin Luther King, Jr.

I also saw some anti-Trump graffiti in the area as well.

One front yard had a Little Free Library box that was flanked by two signs featuring Martin Luther King quotes.

I took a rest inside of the Southeast Neighborhood Library, which was a nice and cozy place.

I took one final photo of Victoria reading a book. Like I wrote earlier, I brought her along as a potential conversation starter (since she was printed on a 3D printer) but I ended up not using the doll at all.

This library posted a notice on how to spot fake news and the characteristics of fake news vs. the real thing.

The meet-up was held inside of a digital design firm known as Taoti Creative. That firm had a giant spider outside that was put up just in time for Halloween.

They had a Minion serve as the receptionist. (LOL!)

Taoti Creative is located inside of a historic building. It’s a really cool mix of technology with history.

They had a bulletin board with the question “What makes me creative?” where people could write their answers on Post-It Notes then post it on the board.

Here’s my answer, where I wrote “The ability to create something from out of nothing.”

The next two photos show other people’s answers to that question.

The bathrooms also had showers, which may indicate that this building was once a private home.

The conference rooms are all named after Metro station stops.

The basement of the building included a Nintendo Wii with a Guitar Hero game and controllers and an air hockey table.

The bulk of the festivities took place on the rooftop of the building where, in good weather, one can see spectacular sunsets.

The tall thin structure on the left in the next photograph is the Washington Monument.

I was also able to check out the restaurant located next to Taoti Creative, including a giant mural and some of the TV screens on the upper level.

The white dome on the right is the U.S. Capitol Building.

Here’s another shot of the Washington Monument (located on the left) at sunset.

There were also a bunch of cranes among the skyline. I know that the entire city of Washington, DC has been going through many building projects in recent years.

There was a computerized beer keg complete with a computer screen.

There was a serious game of Jenga that was also going on where people played with a giant version of the game.

I shot a short video of one of the Jenga rounds that took place that night.

I managed to socialize with a few people even though meeting new people at a party doesn’t come naturally to me. But I made an effort to be sociable. Eventually I grew tired plus I was using public transportation to go from my home to the event and back again so I couldn’t stay too late. (I know that the party ended at 10 p.m. but some people were planning on checking out some of the trendy bars in Capitol Hill. Even if I wasn’t relying on public transportation, money is still too tight for me to do much bar crawling.) Here’s a shot of the Taoti Creative building that I took when I was on my way back to the Eastern Market Metro station.

Here’s a shot of the rooftop where most of the action took place.

The last two photos show the giant spider that lurked outside of Taoti Creative.

So that’s it for my attending the District Creatives meetup at Taoti Creative.

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Thanks to Inktober I’ve been drawing a lot this month. If doing 30+ drawings over a 31-day period isn’t enough, I went to Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in downtown Washington, DC. Yeah, I definitely did a lot of drawing this month. (LOL!)

I initially took some photos around Dupont Circle. I saw this homeless man sleeping underneath a Krispy Kreme sign.

When I first saw this man walking around with a sandwich board that said “final days,” I thought he was one of those crazy street preachers announcing the end of the world was coming soon. Actually he was announcing a store that was going out of business soon.

A Google ad sign at a bus stop regarding IT training.

The last time I was in Dupont Circle was back in June where I saw plenty of anti-Trump graffiti. Most of that graffiti that I photographed the last time is gone but it’s like playing Whack-A-Mole where you get rid of anti-Trump graffiti and new anti-Trump graffiti spring up in their place.

Many merchants in Dupont Circle were involved in a special promotion with Apple Pay when I was there. They displayed signs in fancy type fonts.

I eventually made my way to the Bier Baron. Here’s a shot of my art supplies during intermission between modeling sessions.

A burlesque performer named Valeria Voxx was the model for this event and, yes, some of the drawings in this post are definitely NSFW.

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I saw an ad on Facebook announcing a new multi-day conference in downtown DC called We DC Fest. Since the admission was free, I decided to check out the first day, even though I’m still financially struggling and the fares to ride the Metro subway keep on rising higher. The event was supposed to offer networking opportunities and I felt that it wouldn’t hurt for me to expand my circle of friends and acquaintances.

The bulk of the first day’s activities took place in the National Building Museum. Since it’s located near Chinatown, I decided to stop off at the It’s Sugar store located in Chinatown on the way and pick up this pack of Canadian chocolate candy known as Sixlets. I ate it while I was at We DC Fest and I found the candy to be quite tasty.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

The first day of We DC Fest took place inside of the National Building Museum. Even though it was late September, the weather was very hot and humid and I remember the highs reaching the 90s. I was so glad when I arrived at that museum because at least it had air conditioning.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

The next photo showed the stage where all of the day’s panels took place.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

I was pretty tired from walking in the very hot weather outside so I just sat in the stage area and ate my lunch that I brought with me from home. While I was eating I saw a panel titled “Diversity: less talking, more doing,” which was about how the tech industry in DC needs to include more women and minorities. One of the speakers was a man named Marcus Bullock who founded his own company, Flikshop, which prints people’s social media posts and photos on postcards which can then be sent to friends and family members who are currently in prison. He got the inspiration for starting his company after his own experience with serving eight years in prison for stealing a car. While he was fortunate enough to have his family visit him in prison on a regular basis so he was able to keep up with what’s happening on the outside, not all prisoners were so lucky. What’s more, inmates can’t access social media in jail so they can’t keep up on what their friends and loved ones are doing. His story and company was so fascinating that I got his business card after the panel so I could show it to a couple of people.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

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The big highlight of We DC Fest was this show featuring arts, crafts, and technology by individuals and companies in the DC area.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

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We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

It wasn’t a bad festival but there weren’t a lot of people who attended so I wasn’t able to do much networking. I wasn’t able to buy any arts and crafts from any of the booths because I’m too broke to do any such impulse purchases at the moment. I ended up skipping the second and third days of the festival because I wasn’t into spending a lot of money on Metro fares only to have nothing panning out for me in terms of networking or meeting new people. It was just as well that I skipped the last two days. This article mentioned that attendance was even lower on the last two days of We DC Fest.

I had learned about We DC Fest through Facebook about a week or two before it began. That same link mentioned that the We DC Fest organizers hope that it’ll turn into another South by Southwest Festival. As someone who attended SXSW back in 1998, I can easily say that We DC Fest has a long ways to go before it could even begin to be compared to SXSW. While We DC Fest focused on technology and local arts and crafts, it was definitely lacking in other areas. SXSW has a film component where aspiring filmmakers show their films in the hopes of landing a movie distribution from one of the studios (who usually send a few executives to Austin each year). We DC Fest does not. SXSW has a music component where aspiring bands perform in the hopes of landing a recording contract. We DC Fest does not.

While I think We DC Fest has potential, it has a long ways to go before it can even begin to touch SXSW in terms of influence.

Day one of We DC Fest had ended at 3 p.m. (which is another reason why it has a long way to go before it can even touch SXSW because SXSW has events that start in the morning and they are scheduled throughout the day and into the wee hours of the following morning). As I stepped outside in the heat and humidity, I decided to make a brief stop at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial where I shot these photos.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

This next shot shows the lion statues of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in the foreground. The brown pole with the white letter “M” in the background marks the entrance to the Judiciary Square Metro station. (The letter “M” stands for “Metro.”) The large red building located further back is the National Building Museum where We DC Fest was held.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

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This U Street bar in Washington, DC shuts down every August so its owner can build schools around the world.

Government costs rise when the local newspaper dies.

Meet the real-life woman behind many of Gustav Klimt’s paintings.

What happens when a bad-tempered, distractible doofus runs an empire?

Take a virtual tour of ancient Rome circa 320 C.E.

In 1912 this Georgia county drove out every black resident.

IKEA asked people to bully a plant for 30 days to see what happens. The results are eye-opening.

The “Real” America: 21.5% unemployment, 10% inflation, and negative economic growth.

How Donald Trump’s grandfather originally made his fortune.

This British gent lives life like it’s the 1940s.

A new study finds that IQ scores are falling and they have been for decades.

This political theorist predicted the rise of Trumpism. His name was Hunter S. Thompson.

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As you may know, this past weekend was the one-year anniversary of the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville which resulted in the horrible death of Heather Heyer. As for Donald Trump, he has steadfastly refused to denounce the white supremacists and their actions last year. There were quite a few vigils for the victims of Charlottesville (such as two events I went to in the same week on August 14 and August 16) but I find it telling that Donald Trump has refused to distance himself from these latter-day Nazis and KKK members and has said little about Heather Heyer or the other people who were victimized by the alt-right.

For the first anniversary of Charlottesville, one of the original organizers of the Unite the Right rally, Jason Kessler, wanted to do a repeat performance in Charlottesville. When he was denied a permit for his little shindig, he decided to move the event north to my hometown of Washington, DC. He probably figured that since Donald Trump is basically a racist fascist sympathizer, President Trump would be flattered if a group of his most loyal alt-right supporters would have a march to Lafayette Square (located just across from the White House) then have an Unite the Right 2 rally.

Except things didn’t turn out that way. Donald Trump decided to head out of town this weekend. (After all, even though they are his most ardent supporters, they aren’t rich like he and his cronies are so they really don’t matter at all, except for getting their votes at the ballot box in 2020.)

I decided to head down even though I knew that I would be risking my life in doing so. I’m just fed up with all of the hatred of the poor, minorities, and women that has sprung up gradually since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 and it has continued through the years until the hatred grew and grew and it’s now this big monster that is a threat to this country. I’ve experienced some of this hatred myself ever since I was in elementary school when the kids called me “retarded.” This taunting went through high school. Even though the teasing stopped during my freshman year at Anne Arundel Community College, I was still frequently looked down upon like I was some kind of an inferior lowlife freak (mainly from those who went to my high school—the students who went to different high schools and didn’t know about my so-called “retarded” reputation treated me like I was a human being). I ended up permanently moving from Glen Burnie as an adult because I knew that, no matter what I did, these people would never see me as anything other than someone who is inferior.

But I will admit that my experiences with facing this kind of hatred is nothing compared to an African American, as the families of people like Travon Martin, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and numerous others will attest.

Going downtown to face those Nazis wasn’t an easy decision for me. I still remember vividly the car that was intentionally plowed into a group of people by that alt-right scumbag in Charlottesville. There was a possibility that something like that could’ve happened to me. I was still waffling on the fence about going to DC last Sunday until I saw this trailer for Michael Moore’s upcoming documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9.

Watching that preview only strengthened my resolve to go ahead with my plans for last Sunday. I was all ready to go downtown with my camera, take photos of these alt-right assholes, then plaster them all over social media in the hopes that someone will recognize these assholes and they either lose their jobs or get evicted from where they are living or their neighbors shun them or something equally bad happens to them.

I knew that there was a chance that I would end up like Heather Heyer but I swallowed that fear and headed downtown anyway. I began to realize that this is what a soldier in wartime has to deal with, especially if he or she is sent to the front lines.

Before I left home I took out a blank sheet of paper and wrote down my name, address, the phone numbers of my next of kin, the cell phone number of my housemate (who had just left for a week-long trip visiting relatives in New Jersey the day before), and the phone numbers of my church and the minister. Then I folded the paper and put it in the pocket of my shorts. I felt that should the worst happen to me like what happened to Heather Heyer last year, at least some people will be notified so they could plan some kind of a memorial service for all of my friends, relatives, and acquaintances.

So I took the Green Line Metro from the Greenbelt station. As I was about to board the train I noticed a bunch of people leaving the train who looked like they were cosplaying as their favorite anime and video game character. I remembered that the annual giant East Coast anime convention known as Otakon was that weekend and it was the third and final day when the entire con pretty much closes down after 3 p.m. (I used to go to Otakon but I haven’t been since 2013 because I grew tired of paying at least $75 for a weekend pass only to encounter huge crowds everywhere I went. Besides my finances have gotten increasingly dicey so I really can’t afford major splurges like Otakon at the moment.) So I boarded the Green Line train and switched at L’Enfant Plaza. While I was switching trains I saw this artist who was engrossed in doing this sketch right in the Metro station.

Artist

I switched to the Silver Line then got off at Federal Triangle. I made my way to Freedom Plaza, where many of the counter protesters had gathered.

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

I arrived late in the afternoon just in time for the beginning of the march to Lafayette Square. I managed to get a few pictures of people with their signs.

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

As you can see from the photos there was a mix of people of all ages, races, gender identities, and sexual orientations. One of the people in the next photo even gave me free bottled water after I shot this picture.

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Eventually the march began from Freedom Plaza. I heard people with microphones or bullhorns warning us that this march was risky since we would be directly confronting the Unite the Right 2 people. People’s spirits were up despite the risks involved and the fact that it was very humid outside. (Fortunately the day was cloudy so we didn’t have to deal with being in direct sunlight.)

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

So the march started to move towards Lafayette Square.

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

There were Secret Service people around, especially as we started to get closer to Lafayette Square.

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

There was a street musician on the march route who serenaded the marchers with his rendition of “Stand By Me” while singing this altered lyric, “No, I won’t be afraid. No I won’t be afraid of the KKK. For as long as you stand by me.” He also earned a lot of tip money that day (as you can see in the photo below).

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

We finally arrived at Lafayette Square where there was a huge police presence (some of them on horseback) along with extensive barricades that completely blocked the other end of Lafayette Square.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

There was another street musician in Lafayette Square who was playing his violin while earning a huge amount of tips in the process.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

So we all crowded into one end of Lafayette Square while trying to see if anyone had seen any alt-right Nazis or KKK people there. I overheard someone who was sitting in a tree saying that she could barely see them because they were located so far on the other side of the park. So we all waited patiently as we heard thunder and saw a few lightning bolts appear before the rain really started. (Which is why you can see plenty of umbrellas in some of these photographs.)

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

At one point a guy approached me asking if I want a free sign that he had just made up. Apparently he had created a bunch of signs and he decided to give them away. I took him up on his offer. Here is what that sign looked like.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Here’s a glimpse of the White House in the distance.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

PETA was there as well along with two costumed folks.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Lafayette Park has long been home to this 24-hour-a-day/7-days-per-week anti-nuclear protest camp that has been there since Ronald Reagan occupied the White House. It has continued even though both of its original founders are now deceased. I saw that this camp had been moved from its usual spot at the edge of Lafayette Park that’s closest to the White House all the way over to where the counter protesters were gathered. (Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of that site.)

After waiting for a while I pulled out my smartphone looking for news on the alt-right protesters only to find out that a whopping 20-25 protesters from the other side had shown up. The counter protesters outnumbered the alt-right protesters. When I read later news reports, I saw how pathetic the turnout really was on the other side.

Unite the Right was a pathetic failure

There were plenty of reasons for the pathetic display. But the basic issue is that Charlottesville was a complete disaster — a moment that was supposed to somehow win white nationalists favor, but actively turned much of the nation against them when they engaged in violence and, in one case, literal murder.

White nationalists dwarfed by crowds of counter protesters in Washington

The showing from “Unite the Right 2” participants fell far short of the hundreds that organizer Jason Kessler was expecting, based on his event permit application.

Kessler, who organized last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, blamed the low turnout on logistical issues and confusion regarding the group’s transportation — a claim echoed by at least two men who spoke to reporters. “People are scared to come out after what happened last year,” one of the men added.

Rally by White Nationalists Was Over Almost Before It Began

After weeks of hype, white supremacists managed to muster just a couple of dozen supporters on Sunday in the nation’s capital for the first anniversary of their deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., finding themselves greatly outnumbered by counterprotesters, police officers and representatives of the news media.

Unite the Right: White nationalists outnumbered at Washington rally

As a small group of white supremacists gathered for their second “Unite the Right” rally, the rain began to fall.

Much like the sodden pavements outside the White House, the follow up to last year’s rally in Charlottesville was nothing more than a damp squib.

This last article explains why I never saw any alt-right protesters nor was I able to come up to them close enough so I could get a shot with my camera.

‘Hell no’: counterprotesters outnumber white supremacists at White House rally

To protect their safety and that of others, officials had organised a special route for the parade. Kessler and his companions were escorted onto the metro. A special car was prepared for them, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported. In downtown Washington, police officers said they planned to clear part of the metro station platform to escort Kessler up to the street. As he came up the elevators, he was met with hundreds of news photographers and a roar of outrage from protesters amassed waiting.

In Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, Kessler and his tiny group of supporters were taken away to their own distant corner of the park talked to each other in front of journalists. Cordoned off and dozens of meters away, too far to even see him, a crowd of thousands of counter-protesters waved signs and shouted their disapproval.

In a nutshell, the tiny alt-right group showed up at Lafayette Square earlier than originally scheduled then decided to cut their rally short when the rain came down and leave the area. So the counter protesters won this round simply by outnumbering the alt-right.

To be honest, I don’t even know what Jason Kessler was thinking when he decided that DC would be the perfect place to have his little hate rally. With the exception of having a white supremacist currently occupying the White House, he was holding a rally in hostile territory. There is an African American majority living in that city. Plus there are plenty of Latinos and LGBTQ folks who also call DC home. There was no way in hell that they were going to sit back and let the alt-right have their rally with no blowback at all. Especially since it was the one-year anniversary of that brutal murder of Heather Heyer at the hands (or maybe I should say car) of a white supremacist.

Hell, many of the local bars and restaurants in DC had decided that they would not serve any white nationalists.

I arrived in downtown DC while bracing myself for the likely possibility of a violent confrontation. In the end it turned out that I stood a greater chance of being struck by lightning than getting killed by a Nazi. I’m glad that no one was killed on Sunday and that the alt-right were too minuscule to provide much of a threat.

I grew tired of sitting in the rain with my umbrella so I decided to head back to the nearest Metro station that was opened. Metro, in its infinite wisdom (sarcasm), decided to close the two Metro stations that were closest to Lafayette Square. I ended up walking several blocks until I found the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station. While I was walking I saw a group of black-clad antifa demonstrators blocking the corner of 13th and G Streets, Northwest. I didn’t know why they were doing this. They managed to get this white car that was headed in the antifa’s direction to turn around and drive a different route. Here are a few photos of what I saw on my way back to the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station.

Counter Protesters Agains the Unite the Right 2 Protesters

Counter Protesters Agains the Unite the Right 2 Protesters

Counter Protesters Agains the Unite the Right 2 Protesters

I just kept on walking towards the Metro station. It’s just as well that I kept my distance because I read some news stories about antifa and they weren’t flattering at all:

Unite the Right 2018: antifa attacks police and journalists in Charlottesville and DC

At Unite the Right, black-clad antifa again give peaceful protesters a bad name.

I would rather focus on the fact that the counter protesters won through largely peaceful means. However, I read this opinion piece that sounds pretty alarming: I was at the sad white supremacists gathering. It didn’t fool me. Their movement is rising.

It sounds like the counter protesters have won a battle but it hasn’t decisively won the war—yet. We’ll see how things turn out in the mid-term elections this November. In the meantime, here’s a video I also shot at the counter protest that included all kinds of footage ranging from shouting some unique slogans (such as “Oy Vey! Oy Vey! Nazi Scum Go Away!”) to street musicians serenading the counter protesters as they made their way to Lafayette Square.

Here’s hoping that there won’t be a Unite the Right 3 anywhere in the United States next year.

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A few days earlier I saw this article in The Washington City Paper about a new city-wide festival that was launching called By the People. It would be held in a few different venues located throughout Washington, DC over a long weekend (Thursday-Sunday) and it was described as being like South by Southwest, except the admission would be free to the general public.

I was intrigued by what I read and if I had discovered that article a few days earlier, I would’ve checked out this event on Thursday or Friday night. But I had planned on participating in the Poor People’s Campaign Rally and March on Washington on Saturday. It turned out that the March itself ended on the Mall, which was also one of the locations where the By the People event would be held, so I decided to check it out.

The one Mall venue where By the People was held as at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building.

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

Inside was very visually appealing with the large art installations providing a nice contrast with the historic interior.

By the People Art Event

There was an all-ages hands-on workshop where one can create his/her own comic book superhero. That table was very crowded.

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

I came across this cute little robot named Pepper.

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

I found Pepper to be so cute that I shot a short video of this robot in action.

After I spent some time indoors I walked outside where I checked out the gardens that are located between the Arts and Industries Building and the Smithsonian Castle.

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

I was getting very tired by that point so I started looking for the nearest Metro station. While I was on my way back to the Metro I saw that the upcoming Smithsonian Folklife Festival was still being erected on the Mall. (The festival itself wouldn’t officially open for another few days.)

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

I had thought about going to Union Market on the following day to check out some more of the By the People event but I was so completely exhausted the following morning that I ended up not going. If this event is held again next year, I’m definitely going to make attending it my top priority because I really liked what I saw at the Arts and Industries Building.

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For the past 40 days there were a series of weekly protests in the state capitals that were organized by the Poor People’s Campaign in an effort to show attention to the plight of the poor in the United States. I attended the first week of these protests in Annapolis but I was only to attend the first one because the protests were held on Mondays and I had to work on most of those Mondays.

These protests culminated in a large rally and march on Washington, which was held on a Saturday so I was able to go. The weather was in the low 80’s but it was very humid and there had been a series of rainy days just prior to this event. (You can even see it in some of the pictures I took with the clouds and wet ground.) I packed an umbrella but I ended up not needing it because it didn’t rain at all.

Even though this protest had been planned for months, it came right on the heels of the revelations that the Trump Administration had separated immigrant kids from their parents and thrown them in internment camps, complete with pictures of kids literally being locked in cages. It also came on the heels of Melania Trump visiting one of these camps while wearing a jacket that said “I really don’t care, do u?”

So I was all pumped to go to that rally. I shot a video of both the rally and the march.

I also shot a bunch of still photos as well. When I arrived in downtown DC I headed towards the Mall where I saw the early signs that I was there.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

I brought a folding chair and a lunch sack with me. I took out both of them once I arrived on the Mall and sat there and saw the rally on the stage. I saw one of the leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, speak on stage.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign Rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington, DC on June 23, 2018.

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

I took a selfie at one point.

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

After a while the protesters started marching towards the U.S. Capitol.

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

The march ended outside of the U.S. Capitol building. We were prevented from going up to the steps of the Capitol by the police.

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

After we were prevented from going up to the steps of the Capitol, we marched back to the Mall where the protest had pretty much dissipated. Here’s a shot of the stage where the speakers spoke at the earlier rally.

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Many of the protesters decided to rest on the Mall and just chill.

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

Poor People's Campaign March and Rally, June 23, 2018

After I rested up a bit from the protest, I decided to check out another event that was going on in the Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building mainly because I was in the area and I had read about this event the day before and it seemed interesting. I’ll write more about this event in a future post.

The Poor People’s Campaign drew a decent crowd but the following week there was another protest on the Mall that drew an even larger crowd. It was to protest the Trump Administration’s treatment of immigrants and their children called Families Belong Together. I had thought about going to that march as well but the temperature went up in the high 90’s with high humidity and I decided against going. I didn’t feel too guilty about missing that subsequent march since I had gone to the one for the Poor People’s Campaign just a week earlier.

UPDATE (July 31, 2018): I attempted to do a story about the Poor People’s Campaign event in DC using this new smartphone app called Clipisode and here is what happened.

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Once again I was in downtown Washington, DC during DC Pride Weekend, which was held as part of the month-long Pride Month. I was there to attend the latest DC chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School (which I’ll get into in a future post). I decided to travel downtown just a few hours early because I heard that one of the leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign, Rev. Dr. William Barber was speaking at a Sunday service.

While I was walking on my way to church, I saw this trompe l’oeil wall mural.

I made my way to Thomas Circle where the National City Christian Church is located. This church is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ and it is definitely very welcoming to LGBTQ people.

I loved the interior of this church. You could tell that this is a historic church who has been in the same location for generations.

Each pew had an embroidered cushion at each end representing one of the 50 states. I shot this photo of the state that I currently live in (Maryland) but I ended up sitting in a pew that had a California cushion (but I ended up not taking a photo of that one).

The next photo shows the order of service and a flyer promoting the Poor People’s Campaign upcoming rally that was held later that month (on June 23).

The high point was hearing William Barber speak. He gave a very moving sermon on how he overcame his own homophobia to embrace LGBTQ rights while also promoting the goals of the Poor People’s Campaign in general.

I don’t regret making the effort to attend this Sunday service. A two-part video of this service has been archived on the Poor People’s Campaign’s Facebook page: Part 1 and Part 2.

After the service ended, we were invited to join the congregation for coffee and conversation in what looks like a newer, modern part of the church building. I didn’t see too many people at the coffee hour and I think it’s because there was the DC Pride Festival that was held on the Mall and many church members didn’t stay long because they wanted to go to that festival. I didn’t get a chance to meet Rev. Dr. Barber after the service because he went straight from delivering that sermon to a Spanish-language service that was meeting in a different room of the building in order to meet with the Latinos then he had to go on to a couple of other events that were scheduled that day. (I heard that he spoke at River Road Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda later on that same day.) The next photo shows the modern part of the church building.

I thought about making a brief appearance at the DC Pride Festival on the Mall but I didn’t get out of church until it was nearly 1 p.m. and it would’ve been cutting it close with Dr. Sketchy’s (where the doors opened at 2:30 p.m. and the event began at 3 p.m.). Instead I walked along P Street, NW from Thomas Circle to Dupont Circle while I took a variety of rainbow-themed decorations.

There were the occasional sign in Dupont Circle reminding people about a few facts about LGBTQ-related issues, such as remembering the late drag queen Marsha P. Johnson, who was one of the leaders of the Stonewall riot.

I took the occasional non-rainbow shot, such as this wheat pasted poster promoting the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom movie.

I saw a tent with a bicycle set up in the front yard of someone’s townhouse.

I saw some colorful graffiti in an alleyway.

I also saw some anti-Trump graffiti spray painted in various places throughout Dupont Circle.

There was a protest rally in Dupont Circle by an organization that called itself the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. All I can say is that I have never heard of this group before and they shouldn’t be confused with the Poor People’s Campaign (despite the similarities in the names). It drew a small crowd with some curious passer-bys briefly stopping by before moving on elsewhere.

I made a brief stop at Fantom Comics., which was decked out with both a rainbow flag and a Black Lives Matter flag.

Fantom Comics had a special display dedicated to Queer Comics, which featured comic books with LGBTQ characters.

They had a mannequin with a transgender flag and a pennant celebrating the Washington Capitals’ recent win of the Stanley Cup for the first time ever in the history of the team.

I didn’t buy anything in the store due to tight finances and the fact that I had planned on going to the DC Dr. Sketchy’s event at the nearby Bier Baron, which I’ll write about in a future post.

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Ramadan

On this particular Friday the 13th I wasn’t needed at work. (The boss had to be elsewhere that day.) So I decided to check out the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC on Friday the 13th at the National Arboretum.

The one big secret is that the National Arboretum has its share of cherry blossoms but this place gets far less tourists than the Tidal Basin. So it’s a good way to savor the cherry blossom trees in full bloom without dealing with the crowds.

This couple were formally dressed because a professional photographer was about to take some photos of them underneath the cherry blossoms.

The Visitors Center had this cherry blossom bouquet that came from the Embassy of Japan.

There were plenty of other things to photograph at the arboretum besides the cherry blossom trees.

Before I left for the arboretum I had packed my car because I was scheduled to participate at the Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, which was taking place the next day. Among the things I had packed were two American Girl dolls and a stuffed animal I got last year from Build-A-Bear Workshop. I took a photo of the three of them near the columns.

After I took the above photo, I ended up using just the lion fairy for the other photos because trying to pose three large dolls/stuffed animals was a bit arduous and I found it easier to just use only one of them. The lion was wearing a rainbow fairy outfit that matched the cherry blossoms.

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Last month I attended my first Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School session of 2018. There have been other Dr. Sketchy’s events in Baltimore and Washington since the New Year but, for a variety of reasons, I wasn’t able to make one until last month.

Even though it was April and the cherry blossom trees in the entire metropolitan area were starting to bloom, winter was still holding on. I remember it was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit so I wore my winter coat while going to downtown DC. When I arrived at the Greenbelt Metro station I saw a group of cosplayers in winter coats who were obviously going to the Tidal Basin (where many of the cherry blossom trees are located and it gets a huge share of the tourists this time of the year).

One of them had this clear backpack that had all kinds of Donald Duck charms, buttons, and pins.

I arrived at Dupont Circle where I noticed that the fountain had been turned on with the water coming in at at a trickle.

A pair of ducks were swimming in the fountain despite the winter-like cold weather.

I saw a group of people near the fountain who took off their coats and started swing dancing in public. I have no idea if they were a flash mob or if they were heavy swing dance enthusiasts. I shot a short video of these people in action.

I shot a few more photos of Dupont Circle.

Like I wrote earlier, many of the cherry blossom trees are further downtown at the Tidal Basin. However, I saw a couple of blooming cherry blossoms planted outside of a building at the intersection of Dupont Circle and New Hampshire Ave., NW so I was able to take a few cherry blossom pictures.

I went to Kramerbooks & Afterwords where I browsed through a few books while noticing all of the Donald Trump-related books that are now available for sale, many of which are less-than-flattering towards The Donald.

As I was walking down P Street, NW, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before on previous trips. There is a restaurant called Tiki Taco, which serves a fusion of Mexican and Polynesian food. (Seriously!) If I wasn’t financially struggling I might have tried eating there. (I had just started a new day job and, at that point, I was only working around 15 hours per week.)

I made a brief stop at Fantom Comics where I took pictures of the various posters and wall murals.

I noticed this Batgirl costume on display, which reminded me of the costume that Batgirl wore in this graphic novel that I checked out of the library last year called Batgirl of Burnside (which I enjoyed, by the way). One of the employees told me that the Batgirl costume was on display because one of the writers of Batgirl of Burnside had stopped by the store the day before signing autographs. There were plenty of signed graphic novels that the person had written that were still available for sale that not only included Batgirl of Burnside but also other books he wrote, such as Black Canary and Gotham Academy. (I also checked out one of the Gotham Academy books out of the public library recently. I hadn’t read Black Canary mainly because it has yet to arrive at the library.) They were all laid out on the table. I felt tempted but if I had purchased one of those signed books, I would not have been able to afford to go to Dr. Sketchy’s, which was the main reason why I even commuted to Dupont Circle on a cold April Sunday afternoon. So I had to just content myself with taking a picture of the Batgirl costume.

I finally arrived at The Bier Baron, where I took a couple of colorful beer signs on display.

Here’s a shot of the stage where the model posed.

The model for this event was Sally Cinch, who is a sideshow performer and dancer. Since she’s not a burlesque performer, all of the drawings in this post are definitely safe to view unless you are someone who gets offended at seeing a bare midriff.

Sally Cinch’s big talent is the ability to squeeze herself into tight spaces. She did a brief performance where she squeezed herself into a couple of hangers, which inspired this contest: Incorporate Joan Crawford into that drawing. I remember when I read that notorious book Mommie Dearest as a teenager and I even saw the movie featuring Fay Dunaway as Joan Crawford.

As it turned out, I was one of only two people who actually took part in the contest. I think it was because the majority of the people who were there were either not born or were too young to remember Mommy Dearest. The two of us were declared the winners and our prize was a drink of our choice from the bar. (I chose a hard cider that I really liked. I’m sorry I didn’t write down the name of what I drank.)

I did another sketch of Sally showing why her last name is Cinch using a belt that was pulled very tight around her waist.

I drew one last sketch of Sally before the event ended.

The event was cut relatively short compared to previous Dr. Sketchy’s events because of some kind of a scheduling snafu with a comedy show that was following Dr. Sketchy’s. I managed to talk briefly with Sally Cinch and the emcee, Reverend Valentine. I found out that Sally Cinch has performed in my neck of the woods. Not only did she once performed at The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland but she’s also friends with two friends of mine, which was ironic and it goes to show that it’s a small world after all.

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