Month: July 2016

Pabst Theatre

Historic theatres and the 21st Century community

(NOTE:  Two weeks ago, I presented the keynote address to the 40th annual meeting of the League of Historic American Theatres.  The following is an excerpt from my remarks — given from a personal perspective — about why these places mean so much to me and other Americans.) It is an honor to be here with so many individuals who work day-in and day-out to ensure that America’s historic theatres have a bright future. I think of your work — in part — as a form of storytelling, and I am so grateful for the work you do to tell the story of your special places.  Our efforts to identify and mark who we are is not only important to our history and our understanding of that history, but also to our understanding of the issues we face on a daily basis. The places we choose to preserve around the country tell us a great deal about who we are as a people.  Historic theatres are often beloved landmarks in our communities — places that …

Long Hot Summer Days

This seemed like an appropriate tune to feature on a weekend when the temperatures have approached 100 degrees, and the heat index is off the charts. I’ve loved Sara Watkins’ version of this John Hartford tune since she released it on a solo album.  Here she plays it with her old band mates from Nickel Creek. If you want to hear Sara play this by herself, with a little Hartford-like foot-tapping rhythm thrown in, take a look here. Enjoy…and stay cool. More to come… DJB

Rainbows, Moon Shots, and Wild Walk-Offs

In the past eight days I’ve been to Nats Park three times.  And each game has been wacky and wonderful, in its own way. I wrote about the “Rainbow” game in the title last Sunday, when my friend Dolores McDonagh and I watched Tanner Roark (our #4 starter) pitch masterfully for eight shutout innings, and Stephen Drew (remember that name) come in and smash three doubles to contribute to the win.  So what does Drew do for an encore?  Immediately catches some sort of flu and is out of action for six straight days.  (But keep remembering that name.) I also took one of my older score books to the game last Saturday.  In looking through that book at the clinching game in 2012 (for the division title), and some other 2014 games, it brought back good memories of even-numbered years for this ball club.  A nice start to the week. On Wednesday, Andrew and I met at Nats Park after work to catch the Nats vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Since our Claire has …

Nats Rainbow

It’s a beautiful day for baseball

(Editor’s Note:  Before I begin this post, I want to wish my sister Debbie Brown Crocker a wonderful 60th birthday today.  She’s the best.  Period.  Debbie has a wonderful spirit – just like our Mom – and holds the family together in ways large and small now that both our parents have passed away.  Have a great day, Debbie.  Love you – DJB.  Now, back to the regularly scheduled entry into the More to Come… online journal.) Just before the beginning of each Nationals baseball game, the announcer booms, “It’s a beautiful day for baseball.”  It doesn’t matter if it is 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity.  Or if you’ve just endured a 71 minute rain delay, as was the case last evening at the old ballpark.  Our Nats take the “any day at the ballpark is a great day” approach to life.  And hey, I’ll buy it. Last evening, our home field announcer may have even known what he was talking about.  After a severe thunderstorm (we had hail in Silver Spring), the air …

Sierra Hull

Red Wing Roots Music Festival 2016 (Or “Thank God for Sierra Hull”)

Everybody experiences growing pains.  Even music festivals. 2016 was the fourth year for the Red Wings Roots Music Festival held in the beautiful Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, Virginia.  Hosted by the Steel Wheels, this regional Americana and roots music gathering in the Shenandoah Valley has been eclectic from the beginning, and not all the musical acts have been of the same quality.  But the festival had maintained a nice balance between audiences that were there to party and have a good time and for those who came to listen to some of the country’s best acoustic musicians. (Chris Thile, Sam Bush, I’m With Her, Tim O’Brien, Jon Jorgenson, Claire Lynch, Sarah Jarosz, Del McCoury, and Darrell Scott all showed up over the first three years.) But with the ominous warning on the front page of this year’s festival guide that there would be more “plugged in and turned up” bands, a shift was clearly underway.  Friday’s lineup confirmed that approach…and the balance between the different audience shifted.  Not for the better. I can …

Kefa Cafe

Gratitude turns what we have into enough

Among the institutions in our community of Silver Spring, few are beloved as much as a small coffee shop run by two sisters who left Ethiopia in the 1980s to escape violence and political upheaval.  Lene and Abeba Tsegaye – with the help of their brother – established Kefa Café in 1996.  In a recent Washington Post article celebrating the reopening of the shop after a fire, Lena said the two sisters, “…wanted their independent coffee shop to be a place where people talked to each other, not just another cafe where people buried their noses in laptops.” There is no WiFi at Kefa, named for the southwestern Ethiopia province where, the 9th-century legend goes, a goat herder named Kaldi saw his animals become so energized after eating coffee beans they couldn’t sleep.  “There is a history about coffee,” Abeba said. “It’s not just about getting caffeinated. People make big decisions around coffee.” The title comes from a sign they recently posted in their window, in celebration of their 20th anniversary in Silver Spring.  I …