Category: photography

It’s called an art festival, but it’s really a big party. Artscape is Baltimore’s big summer weekend of arty displays and free performances. It’s worth the trip for me to ride the MARC train, especially since it drops you off at Penn station, smack in the middle of the event. If you can ignore the standard-issue carnival food vendors and tents from corporate sponsors, there’s a lot to discover.

Artscape 2014
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Artscape 2014

The coolest swimming spot on the Potomac River has been destroyed. For years I’ve known about a semi-secret spot off of the C&O Canal, known only as the “rope swing” place. Located at Little Falls Damn, near Snake Island and High Island, a hidden trail led to a spot on the shore where a pair of old trees had collapsed over the river, at an angle perfect for climbing. Every year a brave soul would climb near the top and attach a long rope to let you swing into the water. And every year someone would cut the rope off. The spot was popular with students from Georgetown Day School, but it was clear someone didn’t like the idea of people playing in the river. The deep water was perfect for jumping; I never felt the river bottom when splashing in.

This weekend, on June 28, 2014, I rode my bike to the spot, and was shocked to find the trees had been cut down to stumps. So sad. My last visit was May 11, so the vandalism occurred sometime in the intervening seven weeks. » Continue Reading…

Columbia Heights isn’t normally known as a hot spot for drag queens, but once a year The Wonderland Ballroom floods the streets with guys in dresses. This year’s Sundress Party closed down Kenyon St with a portable stage outside the patio. Here are some photos from the event.

2014 Wonderland Sundress Party
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2014 Wonderland Sundress Party

Dozens of hand-made human-powered vehicles meandered the streets of Charm City this weekend, veering through sand, mud, and even plunging in to (and out of) the harbor. The Kinetic Sculpture Race is an event unique to Baltimore, and a perfect fit for Charm City. Its sponsor is the American Visionary Art Museum, itself a perfect fit.

Kinetic Sculpture Race
Inside Homecoming Queen Fifi

This year I took advantage of MARC’s new weekend service to travel from DC. It’s a much cheaper alternative to Amtrak, but the earliest you can arrive at Penn Station is 10:05am. That was too late to make the opening ceremony on Federal Hill, so I took the 11 bus straight to Canton Waterfront Park. The stop before Penn Station – Baltimore’s main train hub – is the West Baltimore stop, which is technically closer to Federal Hill than Penn Station, but the neighborhood is bombed-out without the best transit options. » Continue Reading…

This is community theatre that melts your face. The Baltimore Rock Opera Society (which calls itself the BROS) brought their signature production Gründlehämmer to the Torpedo Factory Art Center, giving Old Town Alexandria glitz, mayhem, and some rowdy drama.

Gründlehämmer
Mark Miller as a royal guard
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It used to be Valentine’s meant heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates, but nowadays it means people running through the streets in red and pink underwear. Cupid’s Undie Run is a brilliant fundraising event that supports the Children’s Tumor Foundation while also making Capitol Hill a much more interesting place.

Here are the best shots from the 2014 Cupid’s Undie Run in Washington, DC:

2014 Cupid's Undie Run
Arriving via Capital Bikeshare
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Fundraising Their Pants Off

Hundreds of Santas made their annual pilgrimage to the National Mall for Santarchy 2013. A goofy rite of Christmas, people dressed up as Santa Clause or an elf or related Christmas characters. Here are a few photos:


James Bond Santa
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The More the Jollier

A Summer breeze blew through Town last weekend, as twisted variety show Crack returned with its “Trip” show. The drama started with our hostess Summer Camp being told by her proctologist that she has only 90 minutes to live. Determined to live life to the fullest, she buys a round-the-world ticket, resulting in an international array of performances. Crack is really just an excuse for folks to get together with that “let’s put on a show” attitude. At its best it’s home-made and silly, and at its worst, it’s even better. Here are just a few photos from the show.


Summer Camp
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Around the World in 90 Minutes

Protesters came to Washington, DC to show support for reigning in the abuses by the National Security Agency. On October 26, the Stop Watching Us rally against mass surveillance was held outside the Capitol. A coalition of groups called the NSA surveillance apparatus “a stunning abuse of our basic rights.” Speakers included security expert Bruce Schneier and Congressman Justin Amash. Photos below.

The Stop Watching Us rally
NSA: Hands Off Our Data
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Protesting Government Spying Abuses

Mondays in October are home to a serialized theatre event that I’ve been lucky enough to attend for the past two years. Like soap operas, the Hope Operas feature recurring characters and advancing plots. Though self-contained, the real fun is to return to see cliff-hangers resolved and characters grow. For 2013, their fifth year, the theme was “cartoons for adults.” Here are photos and summaries from the five shows that contributed episodes.

2013 Hope Operas
John Tweel, Tony Greenberg, Catherine Aselford, Andrew Lloyd Baughman, and Jefferson Farber
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