I wrote an oral history of my favorite cinema, the Uptown Theater on Connecticut Ave. NW here in DC, for the Washington City Paper. I love the oral history format. Cutting this down to publishable length tested me. My apologies to the various people whose comments were cut for length.
AMC Theatres declined to make attendance figures available for publication, but they told me they’ve ticket up slightly in the last year. I hope that means the Uptown will stick around a long time.
If Uncle Sam is now reading PARADE magazine, we’re screwed. Photo by Heidi May.
I’ve had the privilege of speaking with the great raconteur Henry Rollins a few times now. When I interviewed him in 2008 about his plan to play the Birchmere on Election Eve, we spoke in September, several weeks before the show. He was predicting at that time John McCain would be elected president. A few days after our conversation, Lehman Brothers collapsed, the fiscal dominoes started falling and the dynamic of the race changed dramatically.
Once again, Rollins will be speaking here in DC — in DC, where we don’t have voting representation in Congress; not the “DC area” this time, at the 9:30 Club — the night before America chooses a president. I’ll be there. I was surprised to learn when we spoke the other week that he hadn’t heard of Mike Daisey.
The interview is on Washington City Paper Arts Desk today.
The great raconteur and renaissance man Henry Rollins turned 50 yesterday, and expounded on that milestone from the stage at National Georgraphic’s Grosvenor Auditorium. Actually, he didn’t discuss aging so much as his memories of growing up here in Our Nation’s Capital with future Fugazi frontman Ian MacKaye (who introduced him) and his recent, harrowing visits to Costco in Burbank and Pyongyang, North Korea. More inspiring was his visit to South Africa, a country he praised for its efforts in recent years to get on the right side of history. He even recited from memory the preamble to that country’s constitution. Continue reading
Henry Rollins remembers when this used to be a good neighborhood. Photo by Ben Swinnerton.
Henry Rollins is a lousy songwriter and a mediocre poet, but as a clear-eyed, self-deprecating raconteur, he’s in a class by himself. He’s long been one of my heroes, and it was an honor to interview him for DCist.