Friday, May 10, 2024



      An ongoing debate. Will it ever end? I.E .  The ongoing subtext of caution as seen in the unpredictable behavior of people regarding other people masking. Because (says one friend) I assume they have Covid.. No, they are just being cautious, says another friend. Maybe I carry one because I might be in a crowd where I can't be sure everyone has their vaccines up to date, I say.


    Meanwhile, joyful and even educational opportunities abound in post-pandemic DC. 

Among the latest and perhaps most impressive is the opening of Folger Theatre's new play on May 7, a startling original adaptation of Ovid's classic 'Metamorphoses' (by way of Mary Zimmerman's translation), with the first all-black cast in the august institution's history. It is also a chance to see an impressive work of art as you climb the stairs from the lower level public reception and exhibit area to the theater and the Great Hall just beyond. "'Cloud of Imagination' is a hanging light sculpture composed of hundreds of paper forms glowing fiber optical fibers - a metaphorical piece (of course - who would expect otherwise in a poet's home) by German artist Anke Neumann. 

Consider it homage to art and ideas set in motion (and on paper) in this temple of artistic endeavor (containing more of the bard's first folios than anywhere else) - finally opening to the public  next month after four years of renovation.  And consider the choice of a play about  Greek myths and gods an apt one  given that the fact that the building's namesake, Folger Shakespeare Library, drew on such sources for much of his work. As for the lavish over-the-top production itself, what would the bard say? (Beyond 'the play's the thing and all the rest of us mere actors .....) He might be tempted to shout, to sing, instead so impressive is the talent on stage (so beyond words?), endearing and engaging. Much will be made of the director's surprising decision not to have an authentic body of water in place on the stage itself - traditionally is a central feature around which the action moves. But choreography and props, such as a  rustling trail of blue--green fabric, make a fine substitute.  After all, the play's theme, like the title itself ,"Metamorphoses,' is about change - all the vagaries of human nature often god induced. Satirical, comedic, even horrific at one point: a man driven out of control by his appetite can't get enough so he takes a knife to turn himself into a meal. Not meant for viewing by babes.


River Daze: Aboard the Anacostia Riverkeepers Alliance boat

A cloudy casually drippy day in late May - perfect for a few curious water-loving adventurers seeing a part of Washington's shoreline from the district's 'other river.' This was not your usual isn't it lovely tourist trip. For two hours, invited guests were treated to an expert's knowledge of the best and worst of a river's fate over the years (sewage flow and billion dollar attempts to correct pollution, etc.) as well as information on buildings that line the banks. Chief among the latter was/is the great green glass headquarters of DC Water, whose job it is to watch over this tributary  spilling eventually into the great mid= Eastern watershed. 'Trey' was our leader, our historian. He made sure we noted ,too, the presence of the new Frederick Douglas Bridge that rolls majestically like a steel ribbon from DC SW to Anacostia beyond. (Above) and the original home of the FBI in an Art Deco tinspired facade brick building now converted into luxury apartments (above), the public and private facilities of historic Washington Navy Yard,  the osprey and eagle nests hither and yon, past the first Black yacht club in the country dating back to 1945.

 "DC was never a swamp. It was a series of hills," he asserted at one point. It remains so as a far view of the US  Capitol in the distance proves.The colors of the water beneath us were ever changing as weather changed throughout two hours. But in a way the most suprising face was kept to the last: real news! The nonprofit group is sponsoring what will be a first free controlled public swim in the river if conditions allow. A target date is June 29 this year, with backup dates should they be necessary. Slots filled up immediately when the announcement first went out. To quote from the organization's web site:

"This is the first time in over 50 years that residents will be able to legally swim in the Anacostia River, a tributary to the Potomac River and part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The event celebrates our region’s progress towards restoring the Anacostia Watershed and protecting it from pollutants and other runoff that impacts water health and quality. Restoration of the Anacostia began in the mid-1980s and was accelerated by the formation of the Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership (AWRP) in 2006, led by COG and made up of local, state, and federal agencies, environmental organizations, and private citizens."


And this update to the Folger 'coming out party' in June (officially Friday 6/21): That timed-entry passes are recommended to see the building and special exhibits planned. Guests who choose to do so receive expedited entry on busy days, while others without passes might have to wait in line. They can reserve for June 21 through the end of September on Folger's website -