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Showing posts from October, 2015

D.C. Urban Legends: The Big Bird Witch Of Penn Branch

By Mel Dyer Yes! Penn Branch has an urban legend. That of the Big Bird Witch  or Hawk-woman, who haunts our wild, emerald hills... If you're over 35 and grew up in the Southeast D.C. neighborhood, Penn Branch, in the mid-1960s,'ve probably seen or heard of this creature, at one time in your life. You probably thought you were imagining things ..or that it was just crazy-talk. You may have even heard that it had a woman's head and white, bulging eyes, ..or that it was a witch. While I don't believe that part, I've seen the creature that might have inspired this urban legend, with my own disbelieving eyes, ..perched menacingly on a rooftop, at Carpenter Street and Highwood Drive! ...One neighbor recently told me that this thing, ..which she described as a witch in black feathers, with a chalk-white face and large, staring eyes, ..glided over a backyard family gathering, back in the mid-70s, and scared the hell out of their guests! An electrician, who no

Capicostia Heat: The Drive-by, Part Two

Part Two of 'The Drive-by', the second episode in our CAPICOSTIA HEAT video series, takes you back to the streets of Washington, D.C.'s historic Naylor Dupont district ..for an up-close look at the dark, urban labyrinth, between Anacostia and Capitol Hill! This brief tour of Seven Bee, shot in 2012, covers Good Hope Marketplace, Anacostia Park, the Randle Highlands, Fairlawn and rare footage of the now-demolished Skyland shopping center. What happens, ..when the gritty struggle for survival in this no-man's land reaches its breaking point? Capicostia Heat is back!    

Capicostia Heat: The Drive-by, Part One

CAPICOSTIA HEAT is a video series that will take you straight to the streets of Washington, D.C.'s historic Naylor Dupont district, to talk to the people, who live here. I've just finished editing 'Part One' of a brief video tour of Seven Bee, shot way back in 2012. Covering Dupont Park, Fort Davis, Fairfax Village, Hillcrest, Naylor Gardens and Fairlawn, it is one of the most comprehensive looks at our River East neighborhoods that you will find, ..and here it is.  

Here We Go Again?


Spare The Sharks And The Crocodiles...Spoil The Child!

  I just saw, for the second time, the most facinating and INSPIRATIONAL film on LINK TV, ..and it is ALAMAR, by Mexican filmmaker, Pedro Gonz├ílez-Rubio! In the film, we a fisherman raising his son, on and beside the ocean. We see a father, who involves his child in the immediately relevant work and economy of their family, his son a TRUE sense of self-esteem, ways an endless string of meaningless, irrelevant, organized activities (Ancient Tibetan basket-weaving, hip-hop yoga, Israelli bagel-painting, etc) NEVER could.  We see a father, who plays in the natural world with his son ..and a child, who never stops being excited about learning. We see a child, who knows his place..and, trusting that it is a cherished, loving and protected place, has no need to constantly and wastefully question and challenge authority, ..growing up without the subsequent uncertainty, insecurity and life-crippling anxiety that so many of our American kids are experiencing (with the high

Optimism Keeps Us Flying!

  Seven Bee's Laughing Airman, Uncle Stanley!   In his life, he was a warrior - a veteran of the Viet Nam War - a scholar and an artist, and he was always there for the people he cared about, when they needed them.  In the 1970s and 80s, he worked, side by side, with a Penn Brancher of long-standing - the late Mrs. Barbara Jean Harvey - in D.C.'s Department of Mental Health, bringing economically challenged citizens closer to the psychiatric care and social services that they so desperately needed to live. After living half of his life in Northwest Washington, he eventually settled into a small house in Marshall Heights and frequently visited us - me, his nephew, his niece, his sister (my mother) and our Coyote-hatin' Goldiweiller, Kirby [RIP] - and we will always remember how much laughter and wisdom he brought us, ..right here in the Naylor Duponts.   I think this photo captures the enduring pluck and ambition of the generation that settled in ANC-7B,

Who Do We Think We Are?

Just another day in that fabled, urban war-zone...Anacostia? So scary. Stay away.   Who do we think we are? There are perfectly sensible people living along Pennsylvania Avenue, between the Sousa Bridge and the Southern Avenue D.C. State Line - in Naylor Dupont, ANC-7B - who think that they live in as colorful a scattering of socially and politically diverse neighborhoods, as to be found, anywhere else in Washington. They think they live in neighborhoods, called  Greenway, Penn Branch, Fairfax Village, Hillcrest and Skyland , spite of the fact that so many Washingtonians, west of the Anacostia River, persist in dismissively referring to these neighborhoods, as .. 'Anacostia'. There are people living on exlusive Westover Drive, secluded in the emerald majesty of historic Fort Davis Park, where Ohio Representative, Dennis Kusinich, presently resides, who are so removed from the fabled, urban grit of Southeast Washington...they might think they're in Northw