• Events

    The Dead Tell Their Tales at Congressional Cemetery

    With Halloween just days away, what better time to visit a graveyard? Each year at around this time, Congressional Cemetery offers up Soul Strolls, twilight tours of the grounds featuring stories from some of its dearly departed. Actors in period costume tell us about the lives — and frequently, unfortunate deaths — of a few of the 65,000 people buried in the cemetery. Here are some of their stories.   In 1880, suffragist Belva Ann Lockwood became the first woman to argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. She also ran for President in 1884 and 1888 as a candidate for the National Equal Rights Party. Lockwood died in 1917,…

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  • Arts,  Festivals

    Art All Night x 7

    Last Saturday’s Art All Night wasn’t just one celebration — it was, in fact, seven-in-one. Seven neighborhoods hosted events, and a group of DC Focused photographers tag teamed to better chronicle the evening. We saw art and artists, of course, along with musicians, dancers, hula hoopers, and selfie-taking revelers, all bathed in the shimmering light of DC at night. Feature image © 2016 Victoria Pickering   First Things First: The Art More than anything, Art All Night is about the art. I mean, it’s right their in its first name. The festival gave local artists a chance to display their work before huge crowds, educate people and, perhaps, sell some…

  • Architecture

    Hobnobbing with Gargoyles

    On Saturday evening, Exposed DC and Washington National Cathedral hosted Gutters & Gargoyles, a behind-the-scenes photo op into some of the hidden corners of the Cathedral not typically open to the public. Several DC Focused photographers were on hand for the fun, capturing the Cathedral from a variety of angles. Feature image © 2016 angela n.   Gargoyles & Grotesques As Victoria Pickering noted in a post from last year, many of the 112 stone figures that adorn the Cathedral aren’t gargoyles at all. Technically, they’re grotesques. Grotesques are decorative figures while gargoyles incorporate water spouts that protect the building from water damage. Still, whatever you call them, these critters…

  • Dispatches

    Dispatches: Outnumbered by sheep in Iceland

    My wife and I  promised our nephews that, after their bar mitzvahs, we’d treat them to special celebratory trips anywhere in the world. This summer, we took our nephew Jacob to Iceland. It’s a feast of sights and sounds sure to appeal to the teenagers in your life — and you’ll have a good time too! Here’s some of what we experienced. Photos © 2016 Miki Jourdan unless otherwise noted. Dispatches is our occasional look outside of DC at the places local photographers have traveled. Have a set of photos you’d like to feature here? Contact us at editor@dcfocused.com.  The Fauna Because of its isolated setting, Iceland’s wildlife is rather…

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  • Events,  Festivals,  Free Music

    Dancing in the Streets at the 17th Street Festival

    The seventh annual 17th Street Festival was just the place for dancing (and singing, plucking, and fiddling…) in the streets. Unlike the 2015 festival, which offered a main stage for performers, this year’s event featured roving troupes of musicians and dancers who did their things among the crowds on 17th Street. Feature image © Victoria Pickering   One of the day’s highlights was a group of dancers performing to Spanish guitar.     The high point of the show came when a diminutive performer joined the grown up dancers.   Also wending its way through the crowds was a mariachi band.     Perhaps banjo is more your thing…  …

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  • Arts,  Events

    Portrait of an Artist: Berto Santillan

    Earlier this month, local arts organization Words Beats & Life hosted the latest in a series of “paint jams”–communal mural painting parties in public spaces. More than 25 local artists were on hand for the “Roll Down Get Down” event. Their canvas? The walls and roll-down gates of a strip mall at 1301 Rhode Island Avenue NE. There, I met up with Berto Santillan, an artist who has worked with Words Beats & Life for two years. In addition to murals, Berto is also the artist behind Toka Tattoos in Manassas. (Check out his work on Instagram @tokatattoos.) Berto’s tattoos and murals often incorporate flowers, especially roses, in their designs.…

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  • Celebrations,  Events,  Parades

    Pride and Joy

    The contrast is shocking: the elation of Saturday afternoon’s festivities in Dupont Circle and the anguish of the news from Orlando on Sunday morning. And yet, that should not take away from the overwhelming joy of the Pride Parade. Always a happy occasion, revelers had one more thing to celebrate this year. This was the first Pride Parade that took place after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in June of 2015. Here, DC Focused photographers tried to capture some of that sense of happiness. Featured image © 2016 Victoria Pickering.                                      

  • Celebrations,  Events,  Festivals

    20+ Cultures in the Spotlight at Fiesta Asia

    Between 2000 and 2010, the DC region’s Asian population grew by 60 percent. “Chinese are most prevalent in the District and Montgomery County, particularly in Rockville and Potomac,” reported The Washington Post in 2011. “Filipinos are the largest group in Prince George’s and Charles counties. Indians are flocking to Loudoun and Fairfax counties and have become the largest and fastest-growing group of Asians in the area. Koreans are the largest group in Centreville, where 26 percent of the population is Asian.” Cultures from these countries and many more — 20-plus in all — were celebrated at the 11th annual Fiesta Asia Street Festival, which took place on Pennsylvania Avenue on…

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  • Arts,  Events,  Meetups

    Paint Jam Comes to Rhode Island Ave.

      “We are Hip-Hop in all its forms,” says Words Beats & Life, a non-profit arts and educational organization. Last weekend, the Hip-Hop form on display was the mural. Since its founding in 2000, artists working with Word Beats & Life have created thousands of feet of public art around the District, including major installations in Storey Park and Edgewood.  On Saturday, the Fine Lines Paint Jam came to Rhode Island Avenue NE, with dozens of artists leaving their marks on a 900 foot concrete canvas just off the 500 and 600 blocks. With art unfolding before one’s eyes, it was the perfect time for a photo meetup. Several DC…

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  • Celebrations,  Events,  Festivals,  Portraits

    Picturing Japanese Culture at Sakura Matsuri

      Each year, at the end of the Cherry Blossom Festival, Washingtonians get a chance to celebrate Japanese Culture at Sakura Matsuri. Now in its 56th year, the Sakura Matsuri Festival offers up a mix of martial arts demonstrations, dance and musical performances, saki and sushi stands, and, of course, hundreds of cosplayers taking on the personas of their favorite characters. A gathering like this is a “target-rich” environment for a photographer. Everyone is dressed in fabulous fashion and is eager to pose for you. “I’ll let you in on a little secret,” one reveler told me. “Cosplayers actually want to have their photos taken. They just like to be…

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