Arts Desk

Jeff Krulik’s “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in 1950-60’s DC” Panel Friday


When people discuss D.C.'s nightlife back in the day, they usually only think as far back as the original 930 Club on F Street.  D.C. filmmaker Jeff Krulik is digging deeper.  Inspired by the late Emil Press' photos of Washington streetscapes, and by stories collected from area residents, Krulik has organized a panel discussion and presentation entitled “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in 1950-‘60s DC” for this year’s "36th Annual Conference on Washington, D.C. Historical Studies." (Opens tonight.)  The event runs through Saturday; Krulik’s program will take place Friday afternoon.

Local writer CV Garnett, longtime music fan Mike Baker, John Pagones (the Washington Post’s “On the Town” columnist from 1959 to 1965), and historian Don Press (the son of photographer Emil Press, will join Jeff, who will be showing some of Press’ slides.

"These are people who experienced the city’s cultural tapestry then,” Krulik says.

Baker will talk about the Howard Theater, Ebart's Jazz Mecca, Bohemian Caverns and other r’n’b, rock, and jazz clubs in the city’s U Street  and Southeast neighborhoods.  Garnett will address Coffee ‘n’ Confusion, the D.C. beatnik hangout that opened in 1959. (Jim Morrison would frequent the place when he was growing up in Alexandria.)  Garnett will also cover  Bassin's at 14th and Pennsylvania Avenue, known for its outdoor cafe and honky tonk piano sounds; the Rocket Room, an early rock club at 12th Street and New York Avenue near the old Greyhound Bus Station;  Charlie Byrd's Showboat Lounge on 18th Street; and the Blue Mirror, a music club on 14th Street that later became a strip bar.

Don Press will talk about his father, and he and Krulik will discuss some of the 4,000 slides that the late Emil Press donated to the Historical Society.

Friday, November 13 from 1:45-3:15 pm : 2009 DC Historical Studies Conference Panel Discussion: "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in 1950-60s DC " at the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, 1201 17th Street, NW   Registration at the Door: $15; students and seniors, $10. Space is limited.

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  • Y.A Rakha

    I can't believe that there are no pictures of the beautiful theatres that lined F street in the 50's and 60's. RKO, The Capitol, The Palace,Columbia...then "seedy 9th street with the strip joints, a few more movie houses, people's drug store, the street car route from MD all the way to Georgetown and connections to Glen Echo amusement park. This is truly the land of Amnesia. Even forgotten is The Washington Star a paper that rivaled The Washington Post..I delivered each as an adolescent...Holy Rosary Church,The courts, San Martin park, St.Mary's School/Church, Chinatown, House of Herman, The Howard theatre. Street gangs: D.C Jokers(White), The Keystones(Black)...great department stores: Garfinckle's,Hect's, Landsburg's,Key, Juellef's all between the White House and The Capitol!( some of the spelling is was a long time ago!)There must be a photo record somewhere beside my clouded memory!