page seeks to celebrate the diversity of DC's neighborhoods
away from the Mall and Federal Triangle areas. We hope that
those who already know the Smithsonian, galleries, and other
well known historical sights will "branch out" and discovery
the fun, food, shopping, and friendly faces (and sometimes
funkiness) of Washington's neighborhoods where the "real"
The U Street Corridor has
long been a center of DC's cultural and activist scene with places
like the Lincoln Theater, Howard Theater, Bens Chili Bowl, Bohemian
Caverns and other historic clubs and venues serving as the hub for
politics and artistry.
Until the 1920's (when it
was overtaken by Harlem), the U Street area was home to the largest
urban African American community in the United States. In its
cultural heyday, the U Street corridor was known as "Black
Broadway", a phrase coined by jazz singer Pearl Bailey. (Text
Courtesy Busboys and Poets web
According to Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post Staff Writer,
in his neighborhood review of Friday, August 6, 2010, here is what
this part of Washington is like:
It used to anyway, with
an odor that was redolent of a bus station restroom. Nowadays,
it's more likely to be the aroma of chick peas in saffron broth
wafting from the kitchen of Cork Wine Bar. Joren Lindholm, an
artist whose studio is two doors down from the restaurant, says
the smells that sometimes drift over to his back porch have a
They're not the only
allure the street has to offer either. Carroll Vuncannon, a
29-year-old who lives with her husband and 9-month-old daughter
nearby, likes to visit 14th Street's ACKC Cocoa Bar (hubby prefers
coffee from Mid City Caffe).
'It's like an old Main
Street,' says Rod Glover, one of the founding owners of Home Rule.
Along with Garden District, Vastu, Muleh, Well Built and other
shops, the funky housewares store has turned the once-faded
neighborhood into a home-furnishings mecca.
But shopping is not all
that 14th Street is known for. Anchored by the venerable Black Cat
music club, dotted with commercial galleries, and bookended by the
Source and Studio Theaters, the strip has become what Irvine calls
'one of the main arts corridors in
NOTE TO SITE VISITORS On February 12, 2016, Eatonville which had closed in December, reopened as Mulebone Restaurant. The following reviews of our previous dining experiences at Eatonville will remain on the site until we have visited Mulebone and have a review of the experience. As all can tell from reading our comments, we loved Eatonville and can only hope that the new restaurant will please us equally. We shall see!!!
Rarely are we so
very taken with a restaurant that we are awed with the food,
the ambiance, service, clientele, location and reason
Such is the case
with Eatonville located at 2121 14th St. NW in the heart of
the U Street Corridor.
Before we get to our
dining experience at Eatonville, we think it's important to
understand the context surrounding the establishment of the
restaurant and the intent of its owner.
And here is the context
(as described on the restaurant's web site:
"With the Spring 2009 opening of Eatonville, Andy Shallal's
Zora Neale Hurston-inspired restaurant is
strategically placed to mend a decade-old literary rift between
author and her contemporary, Langston
Hughes, whom Shallal's Busboys and Poets is named in honor
of. The two Harlem Renaissance writers collaborated on a
comedic play, Mule Bone, but the friendship turned sour
when they fought over copyright privileges. Since the restaurants
are directly across the street from each other, Shallal sees it as
a chance to reunite the two writers!
Eatonville is named for Hurston's Florida hometown and the
country's first, post-Civil War, African American incorporated
town and the focal point in her most famous work, Their Eyes
Were Watching God."
Bringing the art of the
story back to the dinner table, Eatonville Restaurant launched Food
and Folklore, a new monthly series intertwining storytelling and
fabulous food, on November 13, 2009. Food and Folklore is wrapped in
the spirit of gifted storyteller and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston's
brand of hospitality and a generosity with food. (Food and Folklore Video Below - Courtesy Eatonville
encompasses the amazing success of an Iraqi-American
entrepeneur who draws upon Harlem Renaissance writers and
artists to inspire his businesses which he locates in the
heart of the D.C. African-American
His peace activism
is reflected in the art, books and activities at his flagship
restaurant Busboys and Poets.
At Busboys and
Poets, Shallal holds anti-war protests, fundraisers for
Democrats and peace talks between Israelis and
He is the founder and
proprietor of Busboys and Poets, an activism center and cafe in
Washington, DC, which features prominent speakers and authors and
provides a venue for social and political activism. He is a member
of the board of trustees for The Institute for Policy Studies, a
liberal think tank.
He has been a featured
speaker at several conferences and panels that deal with Iraqi, as
well as Israeli-Palestinian issues.
Andy Shallal is also the
co-founder of The Peace Cafe which promotes Arab and Jewish dialogue
and improved understanding. Since its inception in 2000, the Peace
Cafe has become the largest Arab Jewish dialogue group in the
Washington metropolitan area with over 900
As an artist, Andy
Shallal has worked with a variety of media. His most recent
work is political collage. His murals have been featured in
many publications including the Washington Post. He sits on
several arts and philanthropic boards and has received
numerous human rights and peace awards and is proud to be
doing his part to make living on earth a bit more bearable.
(Biographical Information Courtesy Eatonville
And who were Zora Neale
Hurston and Langston Hughes?
Zora Neale Hurston
is considered one of the pre-eminent writers of
twentieth-century African-American literature. Hurston was
closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance and has
influenced such writers as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Gayle
Jones, Alice Walker, and Toni Cade Bambara (courtesy of Zora Neale Hurston web site).
Born on Jan. 7,
1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, Hurston moved with her family to
Eatonville, Florida, when she was still a toddler. Her
writings reveal no recollection of her Alabama beginnings. For
Hurston, Eatonville was always home.
Established in 1887,
the rural community near Orlando was the nation's first
incorporated black township. It was, as Hurston described it,
"a city of five lakes, three croquet courts, three hundred
brown skins, three hundred good swimmers, plenty guavas, two
schools, and no jailhouse."
The above is taken from
her biography written by Valerie Boyd. Her biography should be read in full to appreciate
the significance of her contributions to literature and
Videos Below Provide Insight into Zora Neale Hurston's
Message (Videos Courtesy Zora Neale Hurston and MySpace Web
In the manner of many another writer, the greatest fiction of her career may have been the story of her life. Whether as told in her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, or as related in the anecdotes she steadily doled out, the bits and pieces she rendered into her literary work, or even the details she provided for official documents, it can be tricky at best to separate fact from fiction in the construct we know as Zora Neale Hurston. - Gavin Witt, Associate Artistic Director/Director of Dramaturgy
Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937 but largely ignored for decades after, remains a crowning achievement: not just of the impressively varied career of Zora Neale Hurston, nor simply of African American artistry, but also of 20th-century American literature in general.
We are certainly no strangers to Theater and we must say without hesitation that Centerstage is a real winner - the production was superb - acting, staging, lighting, direction - everything. The Theater itself is close to perfect - the seating was comfortable and there doesn't apear to be a bad seat anywhere in the room.
Nearly 30 years after its first performance, Gleam enjoyed only its third full production when it opened at CENTERSTAGE. After opening originally at Hillberry Rep, at Wayne State University - where Rattner completed the adaptation as part of her Master's degree, and garnering a prestigious Kennedy Center Award for Excellence for New American Drama, the piece had its professional premiere in 1988 at the renowned Crossroads Theater. The New York Times hailed the project for "dialogue so pure and lyrical, it positively stings and pierces the heart."
Bringing this production to life is longtime CENTERSTAGE Associate Artist Marion McClinton, an accomplished playwright and director who last directed here with Kwame Kewi-Armah's Elmina's Kitchen in 2005. Kewi-Armah is Centerstage's Artistic Director.
Other McClinton CENTERSTAGE credits include A Raisin in the Sun, Les Blancs, Jitney, Seven Guitars, Two Trains Running, and his own play, Police Boys, as well as several staged readings.
This soaring saga brings to life the vivid characters of Zora Neale Hurston's beloved novel, a shining jewel of the Harlem Renaissance by one of America's literary giants (see above).
This is the story of Janie, who at 16, faces a marriage of convenience and a life of quiet drudgery.
Instead, she embarks on a journey that brings successes and losses enough for several lifetimes - a passage to fulfillment so singular that it manages to speak for all of our dreams.
THE LANGUAGE OF GLEAM
In these two videos, Centerstage Education Coordinator Rosiland Cauthen discusses the linguistics, language, and code-switching of "Gleam", based off the Zora Neale Hurston novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God", along with future community conversations about the same topics. The second video follows in The Language of Gleam Series, with teenage "Encounter" students discussing the role of code switching in their lives.
(Background Text and Videos Courtesy of Centerstage Web Site)
Kwame Kwei-Armah is an award-winning British playwright, director, actor, and broadcaster. Kwei-Armah's plays include Seize the Day, A Bitter Herb, Blues Brother Soul Sister, Big Nose, and his triptych of plays chronicling the struggles of the British African-Caribbean community in London - Elmina's Kitchen, Fix up, and Statement of Regret which each premiered at the National Theater between 2003- 2007.
With Elmina's Kitchen he became the first Black Briton to have a play produced in London's West End; Elmina's Kitchen and Let There be Love each had their American debuts at CENTERSTAGE.
He wrote the 2010 teleplay, Walter's War, about the first Black commissioned officer to lead British troops during WW I; has made numerous contributions to The Guardian and other leading papers in London; and has served as presenter in documentaries and culture programs.
As an actor, Kwei-Armah appeared in the British TV medical drama Casualty, followed by a recurring role on its sister series, Holby City, as well as appearances on numerous other hit shows in Britain.
(Background Text Courtesy of Centerstage Web Site)
CenterStage Artistic Director receives high British honor at Buckingham Palace December 18, 2012 Article in DC Theatre Scene
CenterStage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah was last week named an Officer in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, one of the highest honors the British monarchy can bestow upon a subject, the company announced today.
Kwei-Armah’s Officer’s designation is the fourth-highest of five Orders of the British Empire; the three higher divisions are principally reserved for military figures, members of the Royal family, and British government leaders.
It is reserved for those whose "contribution [was] felt by a significant number of people or across a broad geographical area," according to the nomination guidelines. When the Beatles were inducted into the OBE in 1965, it was as "members", one class below Kwei-Armah.
Kwei-Armah was selected by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of the British government.
The Prince of Wales presented it to him at Buckingham Palace.
Jay Smith, President of the CenterStage Board of Trustees, said, "This is an exciting honor for Kwame, who in one year has brought significant energy to CenterStage and to the theater and arts community in Maryland. This is a very prestigious award that recognizes his national standing and reputation in Great Britain and reinforces that we are very lucky to have Kwame as our Artistic Director at CenterStage."
James Langston Hughes was
born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. At the age of thirteen,
he moved to Lincoln, Illinois, where he began writing
graduation, he spent a year in Mexico and a year at Columbia
University. During these years, he held odd jobs as an
assistant cook, launderer, and a busboy, and travelled to Africa and Europe
working as a seaman.
In November 1924, he
moved to Washington, D.C. Hughes's first book of poetry, The
Weary Blues, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1926. He
finished his college education at Lincoln University in
Pennsylvania three years later. In 1930 his first novel, Not
Without Laughter, won the Harmon gold medal for
Hughes, who claimed Paul
Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman as his primary
influences, is particularly known for his insightful, colorful
portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the
sixties. He wrote novels, short stories and plays, as well as
poetry, and is also known for his engagement with the world of jazz
and the influence it had on his writing, as in "Montage of a Dream
and work were enormously important in shaping the
artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.
We recently had the rare
opportunity and exceptional honor to meet one of our favorite
authors whom we admire greatly. Over the past few years, we had
become familiar with the works of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., initially
through his connection with books written by Harlem Renaissance
author Zora Neale Hurston (see above). Dr. Gates wrote an afterward
to Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and the forward to
her play, written in concert with Langston Hughes, Mule Bone: A
Comedy of Negro Life.
This led us to Gates'
Colored People (a memoir) and most recently his monumental
Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History
We were also amazed and
enlightened by his PBS series African American Lives which
traces, through DNA research, the racial backgrounds of a number of
Henry Louis Gates Jr. is
one of the most powerful academic voices in America. He is most
recognized for his extensive research of African-American history
and literature, and for developing and expanding the
African-American studies program at Harvard
The first black to
have received a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, Gates is the
author of many books, articles, essays, and reviews, and has
received numerous awards and honorary degrees. Gates, who has
displayed an endless dedication to bringing African-American
culture to the public, has coauthored, coedited, and produced
some of the most comprehensive African-American reference
materials ever created.
In naming Gates one
of the twenty-five most influential Americans in 1997, Time
magazine described him as a combination of "the braininess of
the legendary black scholar W. E. B. Du Bois and the chutzpah
of P. T. Barnum.... The chairman of Harvard's
Afro-American-studies department has emerged as a prolific
author, a whirlwind academic impresario and the de facto
leader of a movement to transform black studies from a
politically correct, academic backwater into a respected
discipline on campuses across the U.S."
We were fortunate
enough to meet Dr. Gates on two occasions recently - on
December 3, 2011, at Politics & Prose bookstore for a book
signing and at the National Gallery of Art on December 11,
2011, for a panel discussion and book
The Panel Discussion
at the National Gallery was on the topic of his latest book -
Image of the Black in Western Art, Part
The panel members
included the three creators of the book (one in a series on the
topic). Panel members were David Bindman, emeritus professor
of the history of art, University College London; Henry Louis
Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director
of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African
American Research, Harvard University; and Sharmila Sen,
executive editor-at-large, Harvard University
The discussion was
moderated by Faya Causey, head of academic programs, National
Gallery of Art.
The book signing of
The Image of the Black in Western Art (volumes 1-3)
Professor Gates has
received 51 honorary degrees, as well as a 1981 MacArthur Foundation
"Genius Award," the 1993 George Polk Award for Social Commentary,
and the 2008 Ralph Lowell Award, the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting's highest award.
Professor Gates was named
one of Time magazine's "25 Most Influential Americans" in 1997, and
one of Ebony magazine's "100 Most Influential Black Americans" in
2005, and he was selected for Ebony's "Power 150" list for 2009 and
its "Power 100" list for 2010.
He received a
National Humanities Medal in 1998 (see photo to the left), and
in 1999 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and
Letters. In 2006, he was inducted into the Sons of the
American Revolution after tracing his lineage back to John
Redman, a Free Negro who fought in the Revolutionary
Professor Gates is the author of several works of literary
criticism, including Figures in Black: Words, Signs and
the 'Racial' Self (Oxford University Press, 1987);
The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary
Criticism (Oxford, 1988), winner of the 1989 American
Book Award; and Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture
Wars (Oxford, 1992).
He is the author of
Colored People: A Memoir (Knopf, 1994), which traces his
childhood experiences in a small West Virginia town in the
1950s and 1960s; The Future of the Race (Knopf,
1996), co-authored with Cornel West; Thirteen Ways of
Looking at a Black Man (Random House, 1997); and In
Search of Our Roots: How Nineteen Extraordinary African
Americans Reclaimed Their Past (Crown, 2009), which won
an NAACP Image Award in
familiarity provide the means to achieve a more tolerant
perspective. With this in mind, Gates has used cutting-edge
technology and some of the most popular media and corporate
resources available to educate the public.
For example, when
the McDonald's corporation dedicated the year 2000 to promote
African-American heritage, Gates wrote a two volume booklet
set, Little Known Black History Facts, that was
offered for sale with a meal purchase.
In the early 1970s,
Gates, along with some colleagues, made a pact to fulfil a
dream of the late W.E.B. DuBois: to publish the black
equivalent to the Encyclopedia Britannica. After almost 25
years, and after much trial and tribulation, the project was
Microsoft produced a
CD-ROM version of the encyclopedia, Encarta Africana and
Perseus published the print version, Africana: The
Encyclopedia of the African and African-American
Previously for PBS,
Professor Gates produced and hosted Wonders of the African World
(1999), America Beyond the Color Line (2004), African American Lives
(2006), Oprah's Roots (2007), African American Lives 2 (2008),
Looking for Lincoln (2009) and Faces of America
Building on the widespread acclaim of African American Lives (2006) and Oprah's Roots (2007), AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2 again journeys deep into ancestry of an all-new group of remarkable individuals, offering an in-depth look at the African-American experience and race relations throughout U.S. history.
Below is the first in a
series of eight videos from the aforementioned PBS series.
Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. returns as series host, guiding genealogical investigations down through the 20th century, Reconstruction, slavery and early U.S. history, and presenting cutting-edge genetic analysis that locates participants' ancestors in Africa, Europe and America.
Joining Professor Gates in the new broadcast are poet Maya Angelou, author Bliss Broyard, actor Don Cheadle, actor Morgan Freeman, theologian Peter Gomes, publisher Linda Johnson Rice, athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee, radio personality Tom Joyner, comedian Chris Rock, music legend Tina Turner, and college administrator Kathleen Henderson.
Ms. Henderson was selected from more than 2,000 applicants to have her family history researched and DNA tested alongside the series' well-known guests.
We had come downtown on
this day (Sunday, August 8, 2010), with one primary goal - to pick
up a favorite magazine from News World on K Street at Connecticut.
This is the only news stand where we can find this gem (a British
publication called Country Life), at
least on a consistent basis. We found it.
After a short
people-watching stint at Dupont Circle Park, we decided to move down
to 14th Street and walk the avenue, visiting our usual haunts - Home
Rule (kitchen, bath and tabletop fare), Room and Board - a splendedly modern store
with affordable classy furniture, and Pulp - cool, really cool, cards and super unique gifts (unfortunately, now closed).
We had read about a
new restaurant (new to us, at least) at 14th and V, so we
ambled our way in that direction until we found it. We went
inside to look at the menu, became intrigued and delighted
with the decor and the menu, and decided to stay. We were at Eatonville.
Upon entering the
newest of Andy Shallal's restaurants, Eatonville, one is
struck by light, color splashed in organized chaos, live
music, animated diners, and the sense that your experience
here is likely to be electric, bordering on the
It was nearly 1:00 PM on
this Sunday, so the restaurant was filled with lots of folks just
having left church. We know this because the diners were so well
dressed that it reminded both of us of our hometown (Virginia) youth
where you absolutely dressed up for church. We both did since there
was no choice whatsoever. At any rate, with the exception of some 20
to 30-somethings in shorts, everyone looked
There was definitely
a neighborhood feeling. It was noisy, but not unpleasantly so,
and was anything but stodgy. There was a short wait, which we
didn't mind at all, because we were able to take in everything
around us. It was pleasant, very pleasant.
The service was
prompt and polite. We were seated at the perfect location to
be able to observe the operation in "surround sound." Our
server was Rafael V - one efficient
The menu looked so good,
so very good, that we took a bit longer than usual in making up our
minds. As it turned out, our selections were right on. The "sweet
tea" was certainly so and served in a Mason Jar "mug" -
To start, Tom
ordered the soup of the day, which was Vegan Gumbo, and I
selected the Baby Spinach and Fried Goat Cheese salad with
candied pecans, red onions, and orange-honey
Tom's a soup guy and
I love salads. We were very, very, very pleased. The soup was
unique in our experience and a spicy combination of fresh
corn, tomatoes, squash, and onions in a smokey
The salad was
perfect because I truly appreciate fresh spinach, am a nut
freak, and savor most all vinaigrettes. The kitchen got the
salad so very right.
Our server explained that
the Vegan Gumbo was a recent menu addition of the restaurant's new
Chef. A traditional gumbo with shrimp and sausage is also
Our entres "made our day"
in every sense of the phrase. My (Ron) Southern Pimento Cheesburger
was a new taste sensation (being a burger hound), was medium well as
I ordered, juicy, with just the right amount of pimento cheese, and
made me a very happy camper. Cheeseburger preparation doesn't
require a degree in culinary wonders. But they can be so badly done.
Not so here. The Chef and kitchen staff honor the cheesburger hounds
of America. God bless em.
Having had a passionate
love affair with fried chicken for the past X number of years, Tom
couldn't resist the Crispy Chicken Breast (arguably the best he's
ever had) with garlic mashed potatoes (superb), braised collard
greens (another passion of Tom's and this was without equal) and
mushroom gravy (NOTE TO READERS - we even have a special web page on this
site for fried chicken - to which we added
With all this, we were
unable to try any of Eatonville's desserts on this visit. A mistake
we did not make the next time.
Our Visits to
Eatonville in February and March 2011
During February and March
of 2011, we enjoyed three of what became our favorite entres to date
- Crab and Fried Green Tomatoes, Crispy Fried Chicken (for the
second time), and Shrimp and Cheese Grits (the first three images
above). My (Ron) favorite entree is now, was then, and will forever
be Catfish and Grits. The fish itself (without equal in my
experience) was just so very good - tender and memorable. The
cider-braised collard greens and cheddar heirloom grits only added
to the pleasurable eating experience.
The Crab and Fried
Green Tomatoes made us harken back to our childhood when our
respective Mothers prepared fried green
Eatonville's version has yours' beat by an arm and a leg. The
breading on the tomatoes was spicy and perfect and the crab
introduced an extremely appealing highlight to the entre. And,
you could even taste the tomatoes - not always the case in
other restaurants. The creole hollandaise brought it all
I must admit that
part of the appeal in ordering this dish was directly related
not only to my childhood but to one of my favorite (Ron's)
movies with Kathy Bates and Jessica
The Shrimp and
Cheese Grits was a brand new and spendid taste sensation for
me. A gentleman at the next table had ordered what looked like
a wonderful dish and I noted the shrimp and found the menu
item that matched his plate, ordered it, and
sausage, cheddar heirloom grits and smoked tomato beurre
blanc, added up to an impressive combination of flavors, each
adding to the appeal of the others.
The dish was hot,
spendidly presented and just the right portion
Much to his delight, Tom
discovered another fried chicken entre (other than his all time
favorite, the Crispy Fried Chicken dish). He ordered the "Callahan"
- fried chicken breast on a buttermilk biscuit, with just the right
amount of jalapeno-sausage gravy, and their very fine extra-sharp
mac and cheese. Talk about being in hog heaven, or rather, chicken
heaven, or something to that effect.
Two other dishes
deserve worthy commendation - we thoroughly enjoyed their
Country Benedict (poached eggs on a buttermilk biscuit,
including country ham and creole hollandaise, with Eatonville
Hash) and the Almond Crusted Charleston Toast (French Toast
with Grand Marnier fruit compote and sweet mascarpone which is
a very special cream cheese).
buttermilk biscuits served here are unlike any others I have
ever tasted. Even my home-made biscuits, which I love, don't
reach the richness heights of these specialties -
Our February 20 visit was
made even more perfect as we were introduced to owner Andy Shallal.
On a previous occasion at Eatonville, we met Manager Karen Purifoy (unfortunately no Longer at Eatonville) -
a result of our remarking to our server that day (Adam - a very
proficient and friendly young man) that a very attractive (actually
beautiful) woman has passed our table and we wondered if she were a
notable. Adam explained that she was a manager and asked her to stop
by to talk to us.
We had a delightful
discussion with Karen and on our next brunch she asked us if
we would like to meet Andy. We were impressed that she (1)
remembered us and our previous discussion regarding our
Eatonville web page, and (2) that she would run down Andy who
was exiting the restaurant to ask him to meet
ourselves to Mr. Shallal and explained how much we enjoyed our
meals at both Eatonville and Busboys and Poets. He was pleased
that we had included his restaurant on our web site and was
very gracious. This made our
We would be remiss if we
failed to mention dessert. We ordered twice and enjoyed twice,
Eatonville's Bread Pudding (see above photo). Both of us place bread
pudding at or very near the top of our favorite desserts and
restaurants serving this splendiferous splurge into sugar rate
highly wih us. Eatonville didn't let us down. Even if we've had a
fairly large lunch/brunch, we seldom have difficulty in justifying
our urge to order their amazingly wonderful bread pudding. Thanks,
We are looking forward to
our next gastronomic experience at this welcoming restaurant. Take
the time to check out their Menu and get yourself downtown to Eatonville.
You won't regret it.
Whereas the District of
Columbia is well known for its collection of government buildings
and museums, it is the "special neighborhoods", such as the 14th
Street/U Street Corridor, that define the true
To say that we are
book fiends is an understatement. We love books - in our home,
there are books in lots of shelves and stacked on desks,
tables and, of course, the floor.
Tom collects antique
religious volumes, especially 19th century and earlier Prayer
Books, along with Virginia history/architecture tomes,
biographies of Virginia notables and anything about old
England, with a tilt toward Victoriana and the Royal
I seek out topics on
African-American History and culture (concentrating on Harlem
Renaissance authors), World War II and the American Civil
We have been increasingly
depressed about the number of book stores that are giving up the
ghost and disappearing from the DC landscape. Because of that, we
seek out book sources in other than shopping centers and urban
business centers. With our interest in art, we spend a lot of time
in galleries - public and private. The book store portions of the
museum stores in the National Gallery and other institutions in DC
are very popular locations for the depletion of our bank
Every now and then,
certainly not as often any more, we stumble upon a gem. In this
case, I must admit, it was not exactly a "stumble". Tom had known of
this store for some time but it had not yet become a part of our
standard shopping tours.
It was in early 2011 that
we read about Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse
- the beginning of a passionate love affair. We love their books, their staff, and especially their customers - yes, Virginia, lots of people still read books that they can hold in their hands and turn the pages - Thank God!!!
One of the many things
that P&P does so very well is organize book signings. We were
fortunate to attend two such events.
During one of our
visits in November, I picked up their December Events
Calendar. A signing by Professor Gates (December 5, 2011)
caught our attention immediately and we scheduled it on our
calendar. He was amazing and the crowd at the bookstore was
enthralled (as were we).
This was preceded on
December 2 when we met President Bill Clinton for a signing of
his new book Back to Work. Tom wore a 1992 campaign button
with Clinton/Gore images. The President wanted to know who
those two young lads on the pin were.
When my turn came to shake
his hand, I told the President that I wished he could clone himself
because the need for his service was so great. I'm afraid he may
have misunderstood the intent of my comment because he said that he
was doing as much as he could. What I wanted him to understand from
me is that he was such a valuable resource that his clones could do
more of what our nation needed. But, what the
Thanks to the
photography of Greg Blakey, we have photographic proof of
our attendance at President Clinton's book signing. Left Image - Tom
in Line and Right Image - Back of Ron's
One fine Tuesday afternoon in early February 2013, we were cruising up Connecticut Avenue on our way to lunch and book-browsing at Politics and Prose when Tom spotted a store front sign for lighting.
We have been searching for some time for an appropriate lamp to accommodate Tom's reading habits in the living room. We have a number of lamps there but none served the purpose for which we sought luminescence relief.
We ventured into Artisan Lamp Company and found ourselves in a world of superb antique lamps, chandeliers and object d'art. Well, we were in hog heaven.
As stated on their web site "Our collections have a special emphasis on Art Deco and Art Nouveau lighting and objets d'art, as well as 19th and early 20th century bronzes."
"However we have selections of NeoClassical, Arts-and-Crafts, Victorian, Art Moderne and other items available."
Their description continues - "Besides our antique lighting we have paintings, prints, small sculptures, art glass, candelabra, and antique occasional furniture, especially tables and other display pieces." They also have a highy skilled workshop to repair and restore both their and their customers' items.
The variety of simply gorgeous lighting fixtures, bronzes, shades and pictures kept us agog as we searched for just the right fit for our home. And, we found it.
Click on Photo for Larger Image
Oh, I failed to mention that one characteristic we simply must have is a lamp base sufficiently heavy to resist nudging by our cat Sammi.
Sammi insists on rubbing against every lamp shade (and most everything else for that matter) and any heft short of 2 stone (Ah yes, stone is a unit of measure of weight, at least it was in antiquity) would not work.
It didn't take us long to find the perfect fixture and we bought it. The photo to the left is our purchase.
Importantly, at least to us, is the way we are treated when shopping. Here, there was no pressure, no "following around" - only obviously sincere courteous service.
We heartily recommend this establishment. It is seldom that we run across a shopping experience that literally shines!! Take the time to visit Artisan Lamp Company. We hardly see how you can go wrong.
So we add another gem to our circle of favorites. Downtown DC is always a pleasant and usually rewarding experience - from quaint businesses, the theatre, museums to die for, reasonably-priced dining delights, great people-watching locations, and friendly residents, visitors and merchants. We are constantly amazed at the number of folks who smile, nod or greet us on the street, in restaurants, or stores.
Eastern Market is
Washington DC's oldest continually operated fresh food public
market. Located in the heart of the historic Capitol Hill
neighborhood, Eastern Market is DC's destination for fresh
food, handmade arts and crafts, and community
MARKET HOURS TUE-FRI 7am - 7pm
SAT 7am - 6pm SUN 9am - 5pm MON Closed Eastern Market is located
at 225 7th Street, SE. (1.5 Blocks North of Eastern Market Metro
on 7th Street)
Eastern Market is far more
than a market. It is a community hub for the Capitol Hill
neighborhood and a cultural destination for visitors from around the
The venue at Eastern
The South Hall Market, where indoor merchants
offer everything from fresh produce and flowers, to
delicatessen, bakery, meat, poultry, cheese and dairy
The North Hall Events Space, an arts and
community center where locals organize to hold meetings,
wedding receptions, dance classes and other events.
The Weekend Farmers' Line, an open-air venue
where local farmers sell fresh local produce year round.
The Weekend Outdoor Market, where local artists
sell handmade arts and crafts and
From Tuesday through
Sunday, visitors flow through the South Hall Market, where
merchants serve the finest meats, poultry, seafood, produce,
pasta, baked goods and cheeses from around the world!
On weekends, Eastern
Market buzzes with excitement, live music, and local flair!
Outside of the market, area farmers empty their trucks with
recently harvested produce direct from farms in Delaware,
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Beyond
fruits, veggies, and fresh flowers, over 100 exhibitors of
handmade arts, crafts, jewelry, and antiques offer something
On Saturdays and Sundays,
Eastern Market hosts an open-air food market of farmers and food
vendors! Take a stroll down the Farmers' Line and visitors will find
stall after stall of some of the freshest food available in
Much of the produce sold
at Eastern Market is grown in rural counties in Maryland,
Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Alongside our farmers,
other outdoor vendors provide shoppers with quick and delicious
snacks that enhance the Eastern Market experience!(text courtesy Eastern
Market Web Site.
There are many
reasons why we end up on many weekends during the spring,
summer and fall. Not the least of which is people
A lot of DC's
vibrant and diverse population ends up at Eastern Market on
The string of cafes
that line 7th Street have outdoor tables, all of which are
filled, at least during the brunch hours when we are usually
While the prices at
Eastern Market are a bit on the pricey side, possibly
reflecting the surrounding demographics on Capitol Hill, all
segments of DC's diverse population flock to area for fresh
food, a bite to eat, and to immerse themselves into the
melting pot that is DC.
farmers with their trucks backed up to the outdoor covered
area and the arts and crafts vendors all blend into a dynamic
not seen elsewhere in the Nation's
It's really great
fun. And, the farm-fresh fruit and vegetables are to die
Shop DC's Eastern Market 7th Street & North Carolina Avenue, SE,
Washington, DC, (202) 543-9729
Indoors, the variety
of fresh meats, vegetables, fish and baked goods are enough to
strip your pocketbook of its last pennies. It's very hard to
Our favorite is an
immense coconut cake from the "Fine Sweet Shop" bakery at the
north end of the Market.
Nowhere else in our
daytripping world have we found anything to match the
freshness and perfection of this cake. Their scones and pies
are equally as tempting. And, the raisin bread (especially
toasted - YUM) is about as perfect as we have ever
This bakery offers a
wide variety of baked goods, including pies, cakes, cookies,
specialty breads, buns, cannolis, strudel, and
We have been
especially impressed with their "Old Fashioned Apple Pie" in
addition to their superb cocanut
The apple pie is
perfect with fresh apples, a not too liquid filling, and a
We must say that one
of the best reasons to visit this shop is the pleasant staff -
they are so patient with the lines and always reward you with
NOTE TO READERS - we even
have a special web
page on this site for desserts - to which we added the
Fine Sweet Shop.
As you can tell by our discussion above, we love Eastern Market. And one of the things we love best is the people we meet. On September 21, 2013, we were so fortunate to see two very stylish ladies (Barbara and Joan) and asked if we could take their picture. They graciously agreed.
A subsequent discussion with Joan later that day revealed that Barbara is an actress and starred on the very popular TV show "Amen" as deaconess Casietta Hetebrink.
We were adicted to that show and are delighted to have met both Barbara and Joan - we are two lucky guys!!!
Barbara Montgomery’s exceptional career as an actor, writer and director has taken her from the Off-Off Broadway Movement, Regional Theatre, Broadway, Europe and the Far East.
On Broadway; Raisin The Musical, My Sister My Sister. The First Breeze of Summer, Kennedy’s Children, Inacent Black and The Tap Dance Kid.
In 1983, she co-founded and was Artistic Director of Black Women in Theatre, Inc., where she compiled and directed The Actress. She is the recipient of an Obie Award and several AUDELCO Awards.
VERY Stylish Ladies Barbara and Joan "Do" Eastern Market September 21, 2013
Then a call came and there Barbara was in Los Angeles embarking on the Television part of her career:
Series regular on Amen and Married People and in productions of The Women Of Brewster Place, Polly, Polly One More Time, Quantum Leap, A Different World, Women Of The House, Daves World, The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and Living Single. Flm; Lift, Moscow on the Hudson, The Fight for Jenny, Evergreen.
Then the "calling", back to New York; In Woody Kings' New Federal Theater productions of Do Lord Remember Me, The Trial Of One Shortsighted Black Woman vs. Mammy Louise and Safretta Mae, and The Dance On Widows Row.
At LaMaMa E.T.C.directing three Paul Green one acts and his Hymn To The Rising Sun. Conceived, wrote and directed Cacao Dolce (Sweet Chocolate) conceived and directed Linizo del Dolore (The Beginning of Sorrows) at LaMaMa Umbria,Italy.
Director in Residence for Opera Ebony,two seasons, The Meeting and Harriet Tubman/Frederick Douglas.
Directed Blues in a Broken Tongue for the Negro Ensemble Company and Showboat for Mercury Opera, Rochester N.Y.
As a result of her work as an artist and commitment to community, Barbara's professional and humanitarian interests have come together in her directing and producing of the film "Mitote".
Barbara Produces New Movie in 2013 "Mitote"
Produced by Barbara Montgomery, Mitote is a screenplay adaptation of an original, 'one act', historically based drama written by Maisha Baton, Ph.D., that tells the story of three African American women, Miss Yolonda, Miss Kate and Miss Ruth. Through the casual dialogue in their backyard setting, circa 1900 New Mexico, we are given a personal recounting of African Americans in New Mexico's history. Each woman has a story to tell and each story is based on a different, unique historical incident.
SPECIAL NOTE: You may notice that we do not provide biographical information about Joan. She shared with us that she is a very private person. We hope to convince her that visitors would indeed love to know about her - keep your fingers crossed.
(Biographical Information on Ms. Montgomery Provided by the Actress)
"As people we always look
for the differences in each other, but we should also focus on
the similarities. We'd be amazed how much more similarities we
have than differences."
Woven History opened its
doors on December 1, 1995 at 311 7th Street, SE, next to the
historic Eastern Market, seven blocks from the US Capitol.
The documentary video below is in Uzbek,
the official language of Uzbekistan. It has about
25.5 million native speakers, and it is spoken by
the Uzbeks in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central
Asia. (Video Courtesy of Woven
Mehmet Yalcin, the
proprietor, had been selling at the Eastern Market since
After purchasing the
next two row houses in November 1997, Woven History moved into
the newly purchased building on 313-315 7th Street, SE and 311
7th Street was then converted into what is now the Silk
Silk Road completes
Woven History as the gift shop offering tribal and village
arts, gifts, antiques, jewelry and furniture from every
country along the fabled Silk Road.
According to Mr.
Yalcin, "Our aim is to provide the finest quality tribal,
village and urban carpets at the best possible
Though Yalcin, a native of
the Taurus mountains of Southern Turkey, came to this country for an
education, and eventually earned a doctorate from Harvard, he was
drawn back to the carpets he remembered from his boyhood. It helped,
also, that there was a market for carpets when there was not always
a market for a Ph.D. in Inner Asian and Altaic Studies.
In our frequent trips to
Eastern Market, we never miss an opportunity to admire the truly
fine carpets at Woven History. We love oriental carpets and every
room in our home has carpets from Iran, Pakistan, and China, at
least one of which we purchased at Woven History. The next time we
are in the market for a beautiful carpet, this establishment will be
our first stop.
As shown in our photos
below, Woven History offers a variety of carpets in brilliant colors
and incredible designs. (Text above regarding background of Woven
History Courtesy of their Web
You can probably tell if
you have visited this site before that we love art - especially art
by local or regional artists.
And, one of the places we
frequent most often is the artist and crafts vendor area at Easter
Market. Exiting South Hall Market and North Hall, visitors enter a
plaza filled with handmade arts crafted by some of DC's best local
artists. Eastern Market's arts and craft vendors are made up of
painters, sculptors, independent designers, woodworkers, jewelers,
potters, and photographers!
On a brisk, but incredibly
beautiful day in early November of 2010, we were doing the dutiful
tour guide thing with one of our very favorite friends from New York
City. We found our way to Eastern Market, moved through the outdoor
rows of farmers with their fresh fruit, vegetable and bakery wares
and the indoor food vendors (such a wonderful treat), and were drawn
to the outdoor display of dramatic art works by Tom
Selected Works by Tom
Images Courtesy Tom
Tom Greaves is an
Ohio-born mixed media artist who has been living in Washington, DC,
since 1984. He has recently exhibited work in shows curated by
Transformer Gallery, the Washington Project for the Arts\Corcoran,
the DC Arts Center, the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities, the
American Visionary Art Museum, Edison Gallery Place, Annmarie
Gardens and Arts Center, and artdc Gallery (biographical information
courtesy Tom Greaves web site).
After perusing all
of the individual pieces, both Lisa and the two of us made
purchases. Lisa was drawn to a stark photograph of a couch
sitting along on a street (see photo in the border to the
We all agreed that
it had a character of considerable appeal. Tom and I selected
a "photoconstruction" of wood, metal and nails entitled
"Stoneface" (see image to the left), as indeed it
We find both his
photoconstructions and photos highly appealing, unique and,
indeed, a new (at least to us) art form. We urge you to check
out his web site and include a stop at Eastern
Market to see his latest renderings. You won't regret
Directions to Eastern
Market Food, Flowers, Arts, Crafts