‘Pound The Hill’ Getting New Ownership

June 20, 2015 § Leave a comment


When Pound the Hill first opened up, it was pretty exciting. They made a great cup of coffee – for a while, they were even better than the folks at Peregrine Espresso, which is high praise.

But then they lost their way and got confused about what they wanted to be – or rather, they weren’t confused, they just didn’t want to be a coffee place anymore, which is what I wanted them to be. They tried to become a wine bar and restaurant with unusual, awkward, coffeehouse style seating options. On Sunday, I couldn’t get a coffee, pastry, paper, and a seat, because most seating was reserved for people who wanted brunch.

So, I stopped going.

Now, Bourbon Coffee is taking over and I’m really hoping that they focus on the core business of… coffee.

‘Tartuffe’ At The Shakespeare Theatre Company

June 16, 2015 § Leave a comment


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Washington, DC is blessed with not one, but two Shakespeare theaters. One is my neighborhood stage at the Folger Shakespeare Library and the other is the glass-fronted, Chinatown edifice of the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

From the moment I saw it on the schedule, I knew I wanted to see it. I’d read Moliere, but had never seen one of his plays performed before. And the reading can’t do justice to a broad, creepy, over the top, sexual and more than a little sado-masoschistic-y production. All of which should be considered good things. Once the audience got into it, there was always someone trying to hold back their laughter in a ‘I can’t believe s/he did/said that’ kind of way.

Oh. And the titular Tartuffe looked a Anderson Cooper at an S&M club, wearing a shirt with a nipple exposing flap on the front, if Anderson Cooper were sibiliantly voiced, classically trained dancer.

Weekend Reading – I Can’t Believe An Oil Company Would Want To Hide Information From Us!

June 12, 2015 § Leave a comment


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I’m shocked that Shell Oil didn’t want a science museum talking about… climate science. What next? People putting naked pictures on the internet? Toddler spilling food? Someone making a poor decision while drunk? It’s a world gone mad!

Bookstores. Not dead yet. Actually, they’re growing.

While Seattle and Portland buy the most total books on Amazon, DC buys the most print books.

Is nature writing America’s greatest contribution to world literature?

Weekend Reading

June 5, 2015 § Leave a comment


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A new translation tries to give Mallarme’s poem it’s proper due. On a sidenote, I have a lot of respect for Wave Books, the publisher. They are what Copper Canyon press would be if it decided to take some chances.

Our own Capitol Hill Books takes center stage in this NPR piece about how people still read books.

A kinder, gentler Marquis de Sade. Sort of.

I love the little Modern Library editions from the twenties and thirties. I’ll buy a book published by them, even if I’ve never heard of it, and it’s always been edifying.

 

‘L’Épreuve Villageoise’ From The Opera Lafayette

June 4, 2015 § Leave a comment


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This is the third time I’ve seen a production by the Opera Lafayette, who specialize in eighteenth century French opera, but it was the first opera-comique I’ve seen by them.

A small cast (four singers, a ‘chorus,’ and a dancer) and minimal sets for a small, gem-like romantic comedy. Pascale Beaudin as the female lead, the country girl Denise, was absolutely darling. You wanted to take her home to meet mother. Her eventual beau, Andre, impressed me less, but his buffoonish romantic rival, a baritoned Thomas Dolié, was a great comic foil. The production was performed in the relatively intimate terrace theater (I have no idea how many stages there actually are in the Kennedy Center… but there are a lot).

I’d say go see it… but it’s too late. Suckers.

I actually was not going to go, but I won free tickets from WETA, our local classical music station. The five dollars a month I donate has been more than paid back. I actually found out that I’d won through a suspicious sounding email (apparently, the original winner never responded, so I was next in line – I was told to reply back quickly, because they needed to get the name to will call) and right up until I they handed me the tickets, I had an itch at the back of my head that this was all a phishing scam. But it wasn’t and it was great d–n day.

Rita Dove At The Folger & ‘On The Bus With Rosa Parks’

June 2, 2015 § Leave a comment


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Maybe not my finest example of supporting poetry and poets, but I bought On the Bus with Rosa Parks at Politics and Prose because it was on their remaindered books shelf. If you stop by there, the poetry selections available for between $5.99 and $7.99 are really spectacular.

Rita Dove is a great speaker, able to be simultaneously engaging and intellectually rigorous (the sort of intellectual rigor lacking when Simic and Wright recently shared another stage). She has never been a favorite poet, but she is, at her best, formally interesting (at her worst, she plays with forms for the sake of playing withe forms). I didn’t catch it, but someone in the audience asked about her strategy of making the first stanza of a poem she read into a villanelle. Just a reminder that I need to read more into the traditional forms, sonnets and the like. Can’t all be free verse, my friends, can it?

No one is going to call On the Bus with Rosa Parks her finest collection, but it’s a nice showcase of her strengths. She frequently writes from the perspective of ‘characters’ and while it’s easy to say that those characters are almost invariably black, they are also frequently different from her in every other way. Dove has great way of writing unflinchingly, but also compassionately about the struggles of men with visions and expectations of masculinity.

From Graduation, Grammar School

Joe
sees hi son
flicker. Although
the air is not a glass,
watches as he puts his lips to
the brim–then turns away, bored.
He is not mine, this son
who ripens, quiet
poison on a
shelf.

Mary Ruefle At The Hill Center

June 1, 2015 § Leave a comment


Mary Ruefle appeared at the Hill Center and was a very engaging presence in the conversation with the Post‘s Ron Charles.

She also signed my copy of Madness, Rack, and Honey – with a special little something on account of my name (which is ‘Honey,’ by the way).

  

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