Sunday, May 21, 2017

Langley Park!

From Dave McKennas's magesterial oral history of the creation of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot", whose source materials have now been archived at the University of Maryland -
“The movie is a really fascinating primary source,” says Laura Schnitker, an ethnomusicologist and curator for the libraries at the University of Maryland, explaining the school’s push to procure the Heavy Metal Parking Lot papers. “You’re getting a firsthand look at a community, a subculture from a very musically specific time in history. The heavy metal years were quite something in the history of popular music, and the movie offers you a glimpse of this really distinctive, fascinating and kind of repelling working class culture that shares a love of a certain kind of music.” 
“‘Repelling’?” asks the journalist.
“That means repulsive,” says the social scientist....
They hoped getting Judas Priest involved might spark something. When they heard the band was coming back to the Capital Centre for the “Ram It Down” tour in 1988, Heyn and Krulik convinced the promoter to give them backstage passes to hawk their movie. Back then, of course, screening at a remote location wasn’t as easy as breaking out an iPad or even a DVD player; they had to bring along their own professional equipment, including a bulky 3/4-inch tape playback deck and heavy monitor, plus a boom box to pipe out the audio signal.
Alas, all their hauling brought them was a night of rejection. They never got close enough to any band members to get any introductions. They did get near the catering tables, but were told to leave Judas Priest’s supper alone. The best they could do was get some of the band’s road staff to watch the movie in their dressing room. But even that went badly.
“They showed complete disinterest,” says Krulik, “other than the merch guy kept pointing out people in the parking lot and saying, ‘That’s a bootleg shirt! That’s a bootleg shirt!’”
They did get an apathetic Judas Priest staffer to give them the okay to show Heavy Metal Parking Lot over the Capital Centre’s video system, called the Telscreen, which hung from the rafters and was hailed as the first in-house replay system in the country. But they were told the movie had to be played very early in the evening—before the opening act, Cinderella, hit the stage—so as not to confuse fans into thinking that this was a band production.
A Capital Centre producer, though, nixed any screening. “He told us that [Capital Centre and Washington Bullets owner] Abe Pollin might be in the building, and Mr. Pollin wouldn’t approve of what went on in his parking lot,” says Krulik. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Goldie's Haven

Goldie Hawn has a new movie coming out and was profiled on "CBS Sunday Morning" this week, so I was reminded of this hilarious "Washington Post" article -
Every year or two Goldie Hawn drives back to the brick duplex on the dead-end street in Takoma Park where she grew up. Sometimes she comes alone and sometimes with her sister Patti, or her old friend from childhood Jean Lynn, or her partner of 20 years, Kurt Russell. If there's no one home she finds a neighbor to let her in; once there was no neighbor around, so she sneaked in through a front window the owner had left unlocked, and then wandered around, through the kitchen where the family used to hang out, down to the basement, up to her old bedroom.
That someone else lives there and has for 23 years does not hinder this journey of self-discovery. In her new book, Hawn calls the current occupant "the nice lady I know who bought the house from Mom." And in an interview this week, she called her "Judy." Her name is actually Donna Wulkan. (Judy lives next door). Wulkan recently did a major renovation on the kitchen but she's afraid to break the news to Hawn, should she stop by again. "I think she would like it to look exactly like it always looked," Wulkan says....
Hawn was in town again this week to promote her book, "Goldie: A Lotus Grows in the Mud," and, although it may sound that way, Takoma Park is definitely not "the Mud" in the title. The book, which she insists is not a biography but a series of snapshots, could be seen as a love song to Takoma Park, her childhood sweetheart, the thing she needs to keep frozen in time so as not to lose the purity of her inner child....
Through her ugliest moments trying to make it, through two husbands and three children and dozens of houses somewhere out West, Takoma Park, and more specifically 9 Cleveland Ave., has remained "the Holy Grail of my Mind," she writes. Like all young loves, eventually it betrayed her, but even then she keeps going back. 
During the recent kitchen renovation, Wulkan ripped down the wallpaper and discovered something: Scribbled on the wall were the messages the Hawns used to leave for each other, phone numbers, errand requests. Wulkan asked this reporter to pass on this news to Hawn along with her phone number. "I just want her to call me next time she wants to come visit," says Wulkan. "I mean, I'm not ready to call the U.S. attorney's office and say this entitled star is breaking into my house, but it would be nice if she called."
When Hawn heard the news about the message wall she was ecstatic; she framed her little face in her hands and screamed, flashing her widest rectangle smile. But she wasn't interested in the phone number, or any other current news about the house. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Got the Doctor and the Ice Man!

Nils Lofgren has apparently recorded a new version of his rock classic "Bullets Fever," appropriately called "Wizards Fever."  It's a nice gesture, but this can be at best, what, the third or fourth best version of the song?  First, there was the contemplative original, composed at the beginning of the Bullets epic '78 playoff run (this version is sometimes called the "White Flight" version of "Bullets Fever" due to its reference to being fans "whatever county you're from").  Then, there was the triumphant championship version, with its references to the Doctor and the Ice Man, Abe's zoo, the Bomb Squad, and Bobby D and the Big E.  I assume that Nils' plaque at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame specifically mentions this version of the song.

  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Everyone Used to Love Langley Park

Washington Post writer John Kelly and readers have been reminiscing about how Langley Park used to be cool.  Record stores, ice cream shops, department stores, delis, supermarkets, movie theaters. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Wingstop

It's always good when we get a new business whose commercial purpose I can identify.  Wingstop has opened in the shopping strip along New Hampshire.

Condolences to anyone hoping to use the "spine center" previously in that space to bolster their personal injury case.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Robin Ficker, Pride of Takoma Park

“When you have a political belief, be absolutely fearless in promoting it,” said political activist Robin Ficker, who was born in Takoma Park. “Speak your mind and speak your mind until the heavens fall and don't let anyone intimidate you." 
I still think that Ficker is as deserving of induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor for his innovations in heckling as Dick Vitale or Phil Knight. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Thanks, Berkeley

Berkeley researchers have pointed out that urban density is good and that suburban sprawl is bad for the environment -
"A key finding of the UC Berkeley study is that suburbs account for half of all household greenhouse gas emissions, even though they account for less than half the U.S. population. The average carbon footprint of households living in the center of large, population-dense urban cities is about 50 percent below average, while households in distant suburbs are up to twice the average.
“Metropolitan areas look like carbon footprint hurricanes, with dark green, low-carbon urban cores surrounded by red, high-carbon suburbs,” said Christopher Jones, a doctoral student working with Kammen in the Energy and Resources Group. “Unfortunately, while the most populous metropolitan areas tend to have the lowest carbon footprint centers, they also tend to have the most extensive high-carbon footprint suburbs.”"
Spatial Distribution of U.S. Household Carbon Footprints Reveals Suburbanization Undermines Greenhouse Gas Benefits of Urban Population Density