Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Metro escalator fear and hope

Well...I just saw my worse metro escalator features manifest for someone else.

Young woman tripped and did a face plant right at the top, as she was running trying to catch the train at the platform, her face and hands landing just about where the stairs feed into the platform.

But contrary to some stereotypes about Washingtonians, especially at rush hour, about two of the closest people immediately rushed to help her up :-)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Busboys and Poets: A DC Institution

Hey there,

So...Busboys and Poets (B&P). While the title of my post says it all...I'm a bit stumped as I sit here, at the 5th & K location, trying to further elaborate.

And I stated the whole "DC Institution" thing as someone who was born and raised IN Washington, DC.  So while I wouldn't necessarily call myself an authority, I'd like to think that a lifetime perspective (of almost 33 years, as of the time of this post) adds a bit of context that is unique in what is perceived by many as a transitory city.

But I digress. I guess a good place to start might be B&P's 'tribal statement' (from their About page):
Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted...a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul...a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide...we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world.
A bit of a disclaimer...having been recently exposed to and involved in the Burning Man community and its Ten Principles (which I'm producing a Capital Fringe show about this summer, more details to come later), this tribal statement resonates with me on a number of levels.

Another good place to start might be their Art page.

Personally, one of my favorite memories here, which I would say is a great example of the intersection which B&P provides on multiple levels, was an event co-presented by then Social Media Club DC (now Digital District) and TheatreWashington: #DCArtsUp. You can read about it in a great wrap-up written by one of the organizers, Jason McCool.

So Culture? Check. Community? Check. Cuisine? DEFINITELY Check! My personal favorite dish is the Rustic Pizza.

And as I'm writing this blog, I am waiting for An Evening of Inspirational Music at 7:30pm, with SongRise, an all women social justice a cappella group.

Because if that doesn't say DC, I don't know what does. And if you're on Twitter, yes that is their profile/header picture, and you should absolutely follow them and/or subscribe to their events email list.
And speaking of community, life imitating a blog imitating life, I just ran into a fellow DC thespian, Connor Hogan, who is in the middle of rehearsals as director a production of "As You Like It" with Half Mad Theatre, playing at the Shop at Fort Fringe in March.

So it's almost 7pm, and several friends are about to arrive. On that note (no pun intended with tonight's event), I believe I'll wrap up this blog post. One thing I'm not saying is that this intersection or model is necessarily unique to Busboys and Poets as an institution, either in the area, around the country, or the world. But I would say that it is one of the best ways that this model has manifested itself in DC and become a nexus of sorts for the area's multitude of communities.

That being said, any thoughts about Busboys and Poets, for better or for worse, let me know in the comments. Especially your thoughts regarding B&P as a 'DC' institution.

JR aka Nexus

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Still learning more about Arts Education

Hey there,

So at work, a colleague shared the orientation page for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards final Public Review. (And for those who'd like to participate and submit your review responses, you have until March 1st).

And although I've been directly and indirectly working in Arts Education ever since I finished grad school at American University (for Arts Management), I still have so much to learn about the field, especially regarding the state of arts education in our schools and communities.

Fortunately, there are a number of great organizations and resources, like the Kennedy Center's Arts Edge, the Arts Education Partnership, the National Art Education Association, and Americans for the Arts' Arts Education Network, among others that do great work locally, regionally, and nationally.

So with all that being said, I just wanted to share some relatively recent news and thoughts regarding arts education, for anyone else who might also be pursuing a better understanding of its importance, its power, and ultimately its necessity.

The first is an article from almost a couple of years ago, up at the Huffington Post, "How Theater for Young People Could Save the World", written by Lauren Gunderson. The second is actually a selection of articles shared in an email from, "Why is arts education important". And the third is a blog up at Americans for the Arts' ARTSblog, "What is Art Education for? An Assessment Checklist".

And so, all that being said, I only have the following to put out there, for both the newcomers and veterans in Arts Education. What are your most pressing questions? What are the most difficult challenges? What have been the best resources for assisting you in your work? Who are some of the people you consider thought leaders?

Please answer any or all of these questions in the comments, and feel free to leave any questions of your own,


P.S. Also feel free to live links to any recent news that have been particularly informative for you.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

When trust isn't there...yet

Hey there,

So...I have a friend who's pursuing a serious relationship, the first serious relationship in years. And while he and the other are just at the 'dating' phase, they're pretty in deep emotionally. But they're having a trust issue, which just surfaced. And quite bluntly said, "I can't trust trust you right now. And we can't say we're never going to hurt each other. I'm not that naive".

Time out: "trust" according to Wikipedia (if you click the hyperlinked word above) means: "reliance on another person or entity". Also, trust is an issue that affects everyone everywhere, regarding relationships on every level, like this blog piece in the Washington Post Why don't Americans trust the government. But I digress; back to our regularly schedule blog post.

So the other guy doesn't trust my friend honestly can NOT take personally. Because it's not a judgement of character, it's not one saying the other is untrustworthy. At least one would hope the other guy would come out and say that. And to his credit, the other guy said that he wasn't sure whether the perceived lack of trust was necessarily from any thing my friend did, or whether it was actually the other guy not trusting himself.

It's hard because it's not a matter of one doesn't trust the other yet, but for any number of reasons, because of any number of previous experiences, one simply can't trust the other yet. While it's also been a while since the other guy's pursued a serious relationship, there's only so much baggage you can unpack and deal with on your own. Often times, it takes a second party to make you realize that there were some issues still left in the overhead compartment.

But what my friend reminded the other guy was that one of the reasons that made dating...appealing was the promise of working "it" out together. Which isn't to say it was a matter of desiring a codependent situation. Part of the challenge is figuring out what "it" is, working things out together that are their own personal challenges to overcome and defining something new together.

My friend said he was tired of figuring out his own shit on his own. Not that he needed perspective, but it was more to say he'd had sufficient alone time to not second guess his reasons for wanting to be in a relationship. He's never been afraid of being alone. And I don't blame him. I've seen enough "couples" who seem to settle for a relationship with someone because it's comfortable, but not necessarily because it's happy or loving. So while one doesn't trust the other...he doesn't trust my friend yet.

Just one more thing which, like others, will come with time.

Any thoughts, please share 'em with a comment.

JR aka Nexus

P.S. And no, this will definitely NOT be the last post about trust.

P.P.S. Any favorite songs about trust or the lack of?

P.P.P.S. And while I ask that last question, let me answer it with one of my own: Janet Jackson's "Let's Wait A While", which I'm listening to with completely new ears because of my friend's experience growing with someone I already know means a lot to him. Some people think this is about a couple's first time having sexual congress. And while meanings aren't exclusionary to each other (that's the great thing about great art, right?!) I would say the song could easily be addressing another thing that sometimes couples move to fast on...expectations, trust, the boundaries of their relationship with each other. And sometimes it's too easy caught up in feelings of love, that it can be quite easy to stop and check in, make sure you're both still on the same route to the same destination.