The Chicago-based mag Stop Smiling has just put out a D.C. issue. I went to a party on Friday for some of the contributors and people Q&A’d in the issue (I’m neither) and got off to a good start by asking the editor who he was. At least I can’t be accused of sucking up.
Anyway, it’s a good-looking issue that’s deliberately (I think/hope) all over the place: an analysis of presidential handwriting, a tribute to the Florida Avenue Grill, a cri de coeur about the plight of the Chesapeake Bay, a nifty look at campaign ephemera (buttons, posters, an elephant flyswatter allegedly from the 1964 Democratic convention) written by two Smithsonian curators who have spent 20 years collecting the stuff for the National Museum of American History. I talked with one of them–William L. Bird Jr.–at the party and was reminded that it’s usually more fun to talk to historians than to other journos.
Profiles and interviews are the main engine of the D.C. issue, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on your appetite for profiles. Mine’s limited, but I found some good stuff here as well as some head-scratchers and all-too-predictable choices. (Another profile of Christopher Buckley? I’m still regretting the time I wasted on that NYT piece about him a few weeks back.) Better bets, IMHO, include the pieces on George Pelecanos, actor and musician Big G a k a Anwan Glover, soon-to-be-ex-NEA chairman Dana Gioia, Chemical Brother Joe Reese, Frank Rich Sr., father of the NYT columnist and the last owner of Rich’s Shoes, a D.C. landmark back in the day, and Ilir Zherka of DC Vote, a group dedicated to getting us capital denizens fully enfranchised at long last. (If only. Mr. Obama, are you listening?)
Here’s Anwan Glover on why the homegrown go-go sound didn’t catch on more outside the city:
It was so selfish here. We could have caught on. I hate to say it, but DC is a selfish city. We just try to keep so much stuff to ourselves. Really, there are a lot of haters. Crabs in a barrel. But the music is good. I performed with everybody, from Scarface to Onyx, Biggie, Pac, Busta Rhymes. Man,we done did it with everybody, and they loved the sound.
Spread the D.C. love.