Archive for DC

The 2018 D.C. Funk Parade

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 13, 2018 by johnbuckley100

High Heel Race 2018-18

All images Leica SL and 75mm Noctilux

It almost didn’t happen this year, the Funk Parade.  It’s the city’s greatest single day, and if D.C. had not found a way of bringing it back, we’d be poorer for it.  Thankfully a Kickstarter campaign, the persistence of the organizers, and a groundswell of support prevailed.

Herewith an experiment — trying to use the 75mm Noctilux, with its razor thin focal plane, in bright light at a street event.  We see possibilities.

Here’s the funk.

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The Ice Storm

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 17, 2016 by johnbuckley100

ice-storm-colorAll photos Leica SL and Summilux SL 50 ASPH

With apologies to Rick Moody, and possibly readers who just this morning saw us post what we believed were the 10 best color images we took in 2016, we had to go visit the Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral to see what was left of the ice storm this morning, and temperatures crept toward 40.  Here’s what we found.

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Suggested Alternative Album Cover Photo For The Mekons’ “Existentialism”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 11, 2016 by johnbuckley100

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Television, A Friend From Many Stages, Return To D.C.’s 930 Club

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , on September 7, 2016 by johnbuckley100

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Speaking of bands who’ve been around for 40 years, Television played at D.C.’s 930 Club, and to say they were in fine form understates the impact of the Platonic ideal.

With only one song from 1992’s Television — “1880 or So” — and none at all from Adventure, this set was Marquee Moon all the way.  Only it was like Marquee Moon from the inside out: no “See No Evil,” and we heard “Prove It” and “Torn Curtain” before “Venus.”  A special highlight was hearing the gorgeous “Guiding Light,” and the closer of the set, “Marquee Moon,” was as good as we have ever heard it — and our hearing it live traces back to New Year’s Eve 1976.

Richard Lloyd has left the band, but Jimmy Rip — who has played with Verlaine since his 1980s solo tours — filled in and then some.  Yes, it was a little odd to hear a stand-in play Lloyd’s lines, but Rip is such an excellent guitarist in his own right, it was like hearing a gifted Branagh fill in for Olivier as Hamlet.

Richard Lloyd once famously said that with while some bands look to see whether they have the crowd moving, Television always judged its performance by whether the audience was motionless.  And yes, when Verlaine and Rip traded guitar lines, the crowd reaction was transfixion.  Verlaine was as loose as we have ever seen him, fronting Television or his own band (often comprised of a similar set of musicians.)  The volume was low, the torque was loose, and it was magnificent.

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The last time we saw Television play was at Georgetown, when they were pushing their 1992 eponymous  reunion album.  The playing then was a bit like this: quieter and more self-contained than those shows we saw as they were exiting stage left in 1978.  But then and now, there was plenty that was raucous contained at an adult volume.

We once had Tom Verlaine explain to us, while sitting in our apartment in New York for an interview for the Soho Weekly News, that Television’s two-Fender guitar sound was aimed at extracting the jaggedness of wild songs.  But last night, he and Rip convened a harmonic convergence — on the unreleased, and very long, “Persia,” the fusion music had the audience guessing where the Farfisa , violins, and synths were hiding, though it was only the two guitars.  And on that post-Bolero finish to “Marquee Moon,” the return to the melody was like a post-coital urge for more, unheralded by the drums.

Fred Smith, the Harvey Keitel of rock’n’roll, was his wonderfully understated self, and Billy Ficca proved anew why he’s the greatest jazz drummer to ever center a punk-era band.  But it was Verlaine, of course, who people came to see, and both his singing and his magically elusive guitar were a reminder that one of the greatest bands in history can still evoke the era in which we first saw them, all those years ago.

At The High Heel Race

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 28, 2015 by johnbuckley100

High Heel Race

One of the great events in Washington, D.C. is the annual High Heel Race, in which ladies dress up and run down 17th Street as the pre-Halloween crowds cheer them on.

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Queens greet their subjects…High Heel Race-11

And all the beauties come out…High Heel Race-14

And some people take it very, very seriously.

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We love the way it has become a family event, and the crowd it draws is a mixture of the real D.C. — black and white, gays and straights, young and old.High Heel Race-7

Who knows where everyone goes during the daylight hours.High Heel Race-8

All we know is that as Halloween nears, inhibitions seem to drop, and you meet the most interesting people.High Heel Race-13

There’s drama and fun, and wild-side walking makes for a gorgeous evening.

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Until next year.

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All images taken with a Leica Monochrom (typ-246) and 50mm Noctilux.

D.C.’s H Street Festival Has Gotten Huge

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on September 20, 2015 by johnbuckley100

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Time was when the H Street Corridor — the last section of D.C. to burn in the days following the assassination of Dr. King — was a symbol of D.C.’s decline.  These days, it’s a symbol of the city’s revival.

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Even two years ago, the H Street Festival in September drew maybe 50,000 visitors.  Yesterday, though, it seemed the whole city came out.  Or put differently, the multi-ethnic city was drawn, even if just for an afternoon, to a stretch of town with new amenities and much easier coexistence than existed here even a decade ago.

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Sure, you had the guys from the Nation of Islam seeing a neighborhood almost unrecognizable from what it looked like 20 years ago.

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But you also had young artists showing their wares near The Rock and Roll Hotel, which seemed to have started the trend, eight or nine years ago, in which the H Street Corridor became a natural rival to U Street for urban nightlife.

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It was a perfect September day, a little warm, maybe, but with perfect light.

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And everywhere we went, we were reminded of the uniqueness of our city, where wonks carry the world on their shoulders.

Courtney Barnett At 930 Was Like Hearing Stiff Records’ Greatest Hits Played By Nirvana

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 14, 2015 by johnbuckley100

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We overheard someone in the audience next to us say that the last time Courtney Barnett played DC, it was at DC9, a venue considerably smaller than the 1000-and-change-sized 930 Club.  Given the roars of approval — as loud as we have heard them in 20+ years going to shows in this venue — and the quality of the performance, it seems almost inevitable that she’s going to make the leap to venues a quantum larger.

We love the Australian singer and guitarist’s debut album Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, as readers of Tulip Frenzy well know.  Sometimes we prefer her real introduction to the States, 2014’s The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas.  Mostly, though, the hesitancy we had before fully embracing the album was that we were unprepared for the transition, the way the sound had been torqued tighter, louder, with more pop urgency. It would be like riding in your favorite ’73 BMW 2002 and suddenly getting into its most recent 3 Series descendent: familiar, but scary in way, once you put your foot to the pedal and saw how it had been modernized for the Autobahn.

Last night, she played virtually the entire new album, plus a number of our favorite songs from the double EP, and we realized how they both connect, and why we think she’s the strongest talent to emerge since Ty Segall five years ago. For what we liked most about The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas was the way she updated the sound of a particular era of British pop music that coincided with the emergence of punk but preceded Power Pop — those early albums by Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Nick Lowe.  Last night, that particular proto-Power Pop song sensibility was apparent — though powered along with a thunder more like Nirvana than any other trio we can remember.

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Barnett is a great storyteller, but that may make her sound twee, and she’s anything but: she and her band kick harder than any Aussies we can think of since Radio Birdman.  From “Elevator Operator,” which opened the set, to “History Eraser,” which finished the encore, the Courtney Barnett 3 played like a band with twice the instruments.  There may come a time when they’ll need sidemen to fill the arenas she’ll headline.  Yeah, after a thoroughly entertaining show last night, the first of two sold-out shows at 930, we have no doubt that’s where she’s heading.

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