Photo by Flickr user Mr. T in DC

There has been plenty of to-do about DC serving as a backdrop for some of the most popular TV shows of the season. (A story backdrop, if not a real backdrop.) After launching last March, a new program called DC By the Book from the DC Public Library has been cataloging the district’s appearances in other fictional stories.

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“Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.” -Theodore Roosevelt

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Writer and artist Joshua Korenblat shares the process behind his portraiture (made on an iPhone!), his local and cross-cultural influences, and the definition of his word “mallardine.” (Hint: What are ducks’ most admirable qualities?)

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Shortly after writing this mural graveyard post, I sat down with the creators of dcmurals.info for lunch. American cultural historian Perry Frank–with the help of photographer Lou Panarale–has been documenting murals for 15 years by photographing works all over the city and interviewing their creators. “Every mural has a story,” Perry told me. In turns out some of the stories have unexpected twists.

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  I’ve lived within Sunday-morning earshot of All Souls Unitarian Church for years without ever knowing that I was not hearing an ordinary church bell. For starters, Paul Revere’s son, Joseph Revere, cast the bell in 1822.  (Paul Revere also made bells–fitting, considering his historical claim to fame). Church mythology has it that D.C. used the […]

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Nothing inspires creativity quite like a package of Peeps in the springtime. These three seasonal window displays showcase the marshmallow bunnies and chicks in fatigues, fancy hats, as cherry blossoms, and more.

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For Valentine’s Day several years ago, my mom sent me this print featuring images of unexpected hearts found in nature, design, and other sidewalk encounters. Last week, I spotted one of these street hearts while walking in my neighborhood. Who knew some rope and a sewer cover could be so lovely?

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Curious District is starting a new regular feature this week focusing on DC’s most accessible art galleries–its coffee shops. Coffee Shop Curator will highlight an artist whose work is on display at a local cafe. Up first is Dolcezza, a fantastic space with even better gelato.

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Murals that have deteriorated or been the casualties of real estate development are in danger of being the city’s forgotten art. An online resource started in 2010, however, may give these public artworks a final resting place.

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The image of the DC flag is on our street signs, city service vehicles, and license plates. It is also on our flasks, bar soaps, wedding cake toppers, acrylic paintings, and of course, skin. Many designers and artists have embraced the three stars and two bars as a source of pride, demonstration, and design love. I first rounded up a collection of flag-inspired items in this post, but why stop there?

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I decided to keep my camera in my pocket when the president and first lady passed by. After that, I photographed Joe Biden on the parade route like he was a supermodel walking a runway.

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The Washington Times got some attention earlier this month for its plans for 2013, including making local news less local. I think we’d be remiss, however, in letting 2013 forge ahead without taking a moment to think about one of its most visible organizational efforts of last year: the slogan of “The Official Newspaper of 2012″

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The first week in January: the beginning of the year and the end of holiday decorations. As the lights come down this week, I’d like to salute one festive 16th street resident. He or she is the Clark Griswold of urban apartment-dwellers.

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In the days leading up to kindergarten, I had one book read to me so many times that I memorized it and then tried to convince my family that I could read. This charade was apparently in response to my anxiety about starting school.

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Dead animal decor isn’t your thing? Me neither. I didn’t have the same cringe response though when I saw Horrible Adorables and other taxidermy immitators at Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair on Saturday.

If your favorite superheroes and other childhood screen stars could vote, which presidential candidate would they support? A local photographer has a few ideas about this.

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Frances Benjamin Johnston traveled the country capturing public and private gardens, more than 1,000 of which were recently digitized on the Library of Congress’ web site. Curiosity about whether she had photographed any DC gardens led me to peruse the online images, where I discovered that she not only took lots of local photos, but was a local herself.

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The local resident who is putting up the signs was inspired by the fast pace of DC, which he said causes us “to lose a sense of togetherness.”

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The 13 sculptures within about four blocks in Foggy Bottom are displayed for all to see–just don’t get too close or you may be trespassing. The works have been temporarily installed in the front yards/stoops/patios of homes in the neighborhood, creating an experience of public art in private spaces.

Adams Morgan. Photo by me.

All of the national and city parks, museums, and other public spaces in D.C. means that our city offers an incredible amount of benches. Whether playing with the benches’ lines, capturing a scene of someone using them, or hinting at a bigger story, local photographers have shot compelling images of these resting places.

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Dresses and suits made of broken dishes, vases, newspapers and other materials are on display as part of the Windows into DC program. Each creation is based on a District neighborhood. For instance, the newspaper dress portrays Capitol Hill and the broken china is…yes, Chinatown.

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If you’ve been watching the Olympics as much as I have, you’ve probably seen your fair share of Buckingham Palace aerial shots. The palace footage, in addition to the close-ups of William, Kate, and Harry as spectators and the Queen welcoming the world, reminded me that I recently saw some royal plant life growing in DC.

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Midcity Dog Days, the annual event highlighting the shops, restaurants, venues, and other cultural destinations of the 14th and U street area, is known primarily as a sidewalk sale. While I saw many lovely items over the weekend, I especially enjoyed the sidewalk stages.

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Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park on a Sunday afternoon is dotted with picnics, slacklines, card-players, sun-bathers, hammocks, yoga practice, and a bevy of recreational sports (with eager neighborhood children joining in on almost all of them). And, of course, the drum circle. In the 1930s and 40s, however, the park hosted outdoor plays instead of percussion jams.

Photo by Flickr user straw sandals

I wrote this after visiting the Hooters in Chinatown in college –my first (and only) time at one of the restaurants. Yes, this is a little old, but I found Hooters to be a pretty timeless topic.

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I have returned from a two-week sojourn on the other coast to see some great, far-flung friends and do a little solo traveling. The trip took me to Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles on three planes and one 23-hour train ride.

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In the past few months, DC establishments have celebrated National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, National Day of Puppetry, and National Bourbon Day. Last week alone hosted events for National Pollinator Week and National Vanilla Milkshake Day. DC spots seem to celebrate any day of recognition that comes along. After all, if a ‘national day of something’ isn’t acknowledged in the nation’s capital, then what good is it anyway?

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Whether representing District pride, decrying a lack of voting rights, or channeling a creative muse, local artists and designers showcase the DC flag all over the city. And with Flag Day upon us, what better time to highlight some of these stars-and-bars creations?

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This year’s Capital Pride parade was its usual mix of messaging and support from businesses, organizations, politicians, and LGBT groups, combined with some raucous fun and instances of near-nudity.

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I walk by this predator on New Hampshire Avenue near R street most days on my way home from work.

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I spotted these tiny animals camped out in a sidewalk flower bed in Foggy Bottom. I might have missed them though if it weren’t for a woman who stopped everyone passing by to point them out, which was also kind of adorable in its own way.

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Artomatic– “D.C.’s biggest creative event”–brings together the works of more than 1,000 artists throughout an 11-story building. Its inclusive philosophy creates an environment where anyone from professional artists to everyday hobbyists can exhibit side-by-side. I am a fan of the event and its art chaos (even with the surprising amount of severed doll heads on display).

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The worshipers were trumpeters, trombonists, and sousaphonists. Cheerleaders, color guard members, ladies twirling umbrellas. Drummers, singers, cymbal-players. Young children, senior citizens, and everyone in between. They came from all over the country to their church’s national headquarters for an annual Memorial Day weekend celebration, including a parade that marched around the Mt. Vernon Square and […]

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Local hip-hop artist Head-Roc was in Malcolm X/Meridian Hill Park on Saturday performing tracks from his Empower DC project, including one with his daughter about making childcare more accessible. His social issue-centered work focuses on struggles of the low- and moderate-income communities, such as under-funded schools and lack of affordable housing. In “DC Doesn’t Work Without […]

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As soon as the folk trio played the song’s last note and dancing in the courtyard came to a stop, one of our hosts grabbed a microphone and began the next phase of entertainment:  a game of “How Well Do You Know Lithuania?” It turns out I don’t know Lithuania very well, but I certainly […]

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I’ve walked by this public art project, Before I Die, a few times this week. It features a giant chalkboard at 14th and Q streets NW that invites passerby to share a life goal. (Washington Post had a great front-page story yesterday on the project and how it came to be). From surveying the submissions mid-week (which ran the […]

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