For the second time this year, the D.C. Jewish Community Center’s role as an arts programmer is chafing against its Jewish identity.
For months, the Shondes, the Brooklyn-based “klezmer-punk” band, were set to headline the center’s Washington Jewish Music Festival this June with a show at the Black Cat. But the band got a surprise phone call from DCJCC CEO Carole Zawatsky last week: Because of lead singer Louisa Solomon’s support of Palestine, Zawatsky said, the Shondes were being kicked from the show.
According to Solomon, Zawatsky cited the DCJCC’s policy of withholding platforms from those advocating a boycott of Israel (Solomon has previously voiced her support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement). Solomon clarified that the Shondes intended their performance to be a concert, not a rally, and offered her word that they wouldn’t mention the boycott onstage. That wasn’t enough for Zawatsky, according to Solomon, who said that some of the Shondes’ songs, like “I Watched the Temple Fall,” which brings up “blood all over our hands” and “colonial hate,” could be inflammatory. Solomon told her that the song refers to Abraham Joshua Heschel's writings on Jewish ritual as architecture of time. Zawatsky wouldn’t budge. (WAMU reported the news last night.)
“We were aware of the JCC’s position on Israel…and we took the invitation as a sign that they understood their community includes people with lots of different views on Israel,” Solomon said in an email. “We were heartened at their gesture toward inclusivity and were really sad that they then reneged on it.”
Zawatsky, in a statement, said the band simply went too far for her organization: “This band, which embraces boycotting Israel, exceeds the redline limits of the DCJCC’s open policy.”
The June 2 show at the Black Cat will still go on, but without the DCJCC’s imprimatur.
Toro Toro already looks like sort of like a chic prison with its floor-to-ceiling metal bars and jumpsuit orange accents. But the newly opened Pan-Latin steakhouse also has something else in common with lock-up: not a lot of privacy when you pee.
The men’s and women’s restrooms share a trough-like sink divided by a mirror, but in between is a large gap with a direct view of the urinals. That’s right, ladies, you can actually see the guys taking a leak. (Women’s stalls have more privacy with cowskin-covered doors.)
Other restaurants have similar setups that connect both bathrooms, but none are quite as ripe for flashers. The men’s and women’s restrooms of the downtown Jaleo are also divided only by a mirror with a gap below the sinks to the ground. Meanwhile, the Georgetown outpost of El Centro D.F., from the same owners as Toro Toro, has no mirror division, so guys and gals come face-to-face when washing hands.
Ostensibly the idea is to spark conversation. But “wow, you must have had a lot to drink“ is a terrible pick-up line.
You know it, you’ve read it, heck, you probably read it every Thursday! It’s not the Bible, but it’s pretty darn close. Our Partner feature this week is the one, the only, Washington City Paper. Boom-chaka-laka, oh how we love thee. They are an encyclopedia of knowledge for my three favorite things: food, arts and entertainment, and free stuff. AW YEAH.
If you’ve lived in DC longer than four and a half minutes and don’t read the City Paper, you better start now. Their Promotions Newsletter tells you how you can get free stuff (like 9:30 Club tickets, among other fabulous things), their Art Desk Blog gives the best entertainment advice, and their Best of DC Voting Poll let’s you decide what in DC is rockin’, and what, well.. isn’t.
Seriously though, this is the Washington City Paper we’re talking about! If you enjoy being publicly shunned by an entire city, I suggest never reading it. Otherwise, get out there and get to know our dear, dear friend: Washington City Paper!
We second the endorsement of public shaming for failure to read WCP.
Rep. Jim Moran’s Son Guilty of Beating Up His Girlfriend in Columbia Heights
Patrick Moran, the son of Democratic Virginia Rep. Jim Moran, is having a bad year. First, undercover video operative James O’Keefecaught him on tapehalf-heartedly discussing how to commit voter fraud…while acting as the field director for his dad’s campaign. Now Moran’s taken a more criminal turn, pleading guilty earlier today to allegedly beating up his girlfriend outside a Columbia Heights bar.
Moran and his girlfriend were fighting outside 14th St. bar The Getaway around 1:23 a.m. on Dec. 1, according to a police report, over Moran talking to another woman at the bar. Suddenly, Moran allegedly slammed his girlfriend’s head into the bar’s metal trash can cage.
After the attack, police described Moran’s girlfriend as “bleeding heavily from her nose and also observed that her nose and right eye were extremely swollen.” One of the ambulance technicians who transported her to Howard University Hospital told police that Moran appeared to have broken her nose and given her a skull fracture under her right eye.
Moran was arrested for felony domestic violence assault, but pleaded the charge down to simple assault today. He was sentenced to probation.
In a statement to Washington City Paper, Rep. Moran described his son and his girlfriend as “good kids.”
"I hope their privacy will be respected," the congressman said. "They look forward to putting this embarrassing situation behind them.”
A criminal information was filed today against Che Brown, the brother of former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown.
Che Brown faced one count of bank fraud, for allegedly submitting false documents to GMAC Mortgage indicating that he had “$35,000 of income that he, in fact, never received,” the filing says.
A criminal information almost always indicates that a plea deal has been reached. Brown’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Che Brown’s alleged crime is almost identical to the one that cost Kwame Brown his job on the council. Kwame Brown resigned and pleaded guilty to bank fraud this summer; he submitted false documents inflating his income on loan applications.
But Kwame Brown also pleaded guilty this summer to a misdemeanor campaign finance charge that involved his brother. Kwame Brown admitted that he knew Che Brown would be making payments in excess of $50 cash, a violation of campaign law, to other individuals. No charges have been filed related to Che Brown’s conduct on his brother’s campaigns.
Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, says he has no comment on any campaign finance-related issues.
As it happens, Che Brown also pleaded guilty in the mid-1990s to bank fraud. That case involved Che Brown illegally obtaining $30,000 in order to purchase a Toyota Celica.
Big Lucks Lit Mag: Bringing Weird Writers Together
By Caroline Jones
Of the hundreds of literary magazines published every year, the world seems to pay attention to a prestigious few. What if your work doesn’t fit the tone of The Paris Review or The New Yorker? Are you just supposed to give up? If you ask Mark Cugini, the answer to that question is a resounding no.
When he found himself feeling frustrated by the static nature of D.C.’s literary scene, he decided to create his own publication. Big Lucks, co-founded by Cugini and his girlfriend Laura Spencer in 2009, has now produced four print issues, a website, and a monthly reading series that is bringing together literary fans of all kinds.
Big Lucks wasn’t going to be anything major—-at first. Cugini moved to D.C. four years ago to attend the MFA program at American University, and started the journal as a hobby of sorts, a venue for more experimental writing that wasn’t so welcome in the realism-dominated environment at the college. Initially, the idea was to post work online and publish issues through an on-demand printer. It wasn’t until he attended the 2010 Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference that the idea of opening Big Lucks to a wider audience became more tangible.
Their coming out party of sorts was at a reading hosted by local lit mag Barrelhouse called “Barrelhouse Presents” at Wonderland Ballroom. Since then, they’ve grown into the role of Barrelhouse's adopted little brother. Soon, the Big Lucks team was receiving and accepting submissions from writers nationwide, and they realized that what was supposed to be a hobby was now something much grander.
Safety First: Affluent D.C. Parents and the Baby-Safety-Industrial Complex
By Kathryn Masterson
Photos by Darrow Montgomery
Tammy Loverdos enters a three-story Capitol Hill rowhouse with a clipboard, a box of demonstration latches, and a folder stocked with safety pamphlets. She’s been called, as she is between five and 10 times a week around the region, to give an expert’s eye to the potential dangers that could meet this home’s youngest resident.
Loverdos, who works for Safe Start Baby, the biggest professional baby-proofing company in the area, goes methodically from room to room, pointing out places where an infant could get into trouble. She then offers solutions, suggesting specific products or methods to reduce risks.
Those solutions range from the obvious—gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, locks on kitchen cabinets and on drawers where electronics are stored—to the less so. A coat rack by the front door could tip if tugged on, giving a nasty bump. Should it be wired to a wall? The video baby monitor attached to the crib could strangle a baby caught in its cord. Placing it on a shelf on the wall would keep it out of reach.
For Loverdos, who worked for an international development nonprofit before becoming a child safety assessor, the Capital Hill job was a relatively simple one. Though the house had three floors, it was completely free of clutter. The electronics of modern life were already stored away, with no laptops or jumbled piles of phone chargers on counters. There were no towers of books, piles of junk on tables, or scatterings of spare change.
And door latches were already in place. Loverdos recognized them as the same kind she was carrying in her box. The house’s previous occupants had already baby-proofed the house—most likely through Safe Start Baby. A baby-proofer’s job involves a lot of anticipation, but Loverdos says this is the first time she’s assessed a house her company probably had already worked on.
It may not be the last. Professional child-proofing services, which come to your house to identify hazards, then install the products to mitigate them, are growing rapidly in the Washington area. They offer a potent mix of convenience, protection, and reassurance that resonates with this region’s educated, busy parents. “Do you really want to spent your weekend trying to invent a way to fit your gate around a wobbly staircase?” Loverdos says.