Author Archive for Mark Jenkins

Second Skin: A Q&A With David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises, which opens today, is another gangster movie, like the director's 2005 A History of Violence. While the two films are quite different, as Cronenberg explained on promo trip to D.C. a last month, one thing that links them is star Viggo Mortensen. "I love Viggo," Cronenberg said. "He's just a mensch [...]

Another Remedy for Poor Circulation

D.C.'s Department of Transportation scored a few supportive mainstream-media articles after its August 17 announcement that its Circulator bus service had boarded its four millionth rider sometime earlier that week. Four million is a lot, right?
Well, no. Metrorail handles that many trips in less than a week. And the 30 line, Metrobus's busiest, carries that [...]

Love, French and American Style

Contrary to reports published elsewhere, Julie Delpy does not have a heavy French accent. The easygoing 37-year-old actress, screenwriter, and director, whose 2 Days in Paris opens in D.C. today, began learning English as a child, and has spent much of her adult years in Los Angeles.
I hate a lot of things about Los Angeles. [...]

West Elm’s Not-So-Extreme Makeover

Judging from my first visit to West Elm, the new home-furnishings store at 11th & G Streets NW, I may never buy a thing there. But I will return, just to savor the lingering ambiance of the space's former occupant, Woodward & Lothrop.
West Elm inhabits the north side of the first two floors of Woodies, [...]

Invasion of the City Snatchers

Today's Reliable Source notes some of the geographical anomalies in The Invasion, the latest remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The paranoid thriller, which opens tomorrow, is set in Washington and Baltimore, and its exteriors were shot entirely in those cities (mostly the latter). Being the Reliable Source, the column's comments emphasize upscale cuisine [...]

Nationals Security

If everyone drives to a sold-out game at the new Nationals stadium, the result will be a mess.
That was the unstated message of the Aug. 2 "open house" held to brief D.C. residents on the Traffic Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP) for the stadium, which is scheduled to open for the 2008 baseball season. Representatives [...]

Be True to Your (Architectural) School

As September's first school bell approaches, two neighboring jurisdictions are putting the finishes on remade high schools. Arlington's Washington-Lee, just a few blocks from Ballston Metro, and Alexandria's T.C. Williams, which is near the vague center of that amorphous city, follow (slightly) different fads in contemporary mega-building architecture. Neither approach successfully hides the structure's awkward [...]

A Split Decision on Metro’s 30 Line

Last year, Metro proposed radical surgery on D.C.'s longest, most-used bus route, the 30 line, which runs from the Montgomery County line in Northwest to the Prince George's County border in Southeast. The procedure the agency recommended was one of its current favorites: cutting the route in half. The buses now designated 30, 32, 34, [...]

Eyesore of the Week: Columbia Center

The biggest new wedgie in town is on the northeast corner of this new 12-story office building, whose one-from-column-A name is "Columbia Center." (A better tag than "Center Centre," I suppose.) The Monument Realty–developed structure, which is supposed to be completed by "3Q 2007," is rising on 15th Street NW, just north of the Washington [...]

Emergency Fallout: No Shelter for Evans and Eastbanc

As the Foggy Bottom/West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting was about to conclude Wednesday evening, Eastbanc President Anthony Lanier asked hopefully if the crowd wanted to see his company's plans to remake two blocks in the West End. Derisive laughter provided the answer: No, the community did want to hear anything about development plans for [...]

Rushing Development to the ER

On Tuesday, during its last session of the summer, the D.C. Council quickly passed dozens of resolutions and laws, including two "emergency" bills designed to resuscitate major real-estate developments: a Center-Leg Freeway air-rights project that was originally approved almost two decades ago, and a West End project that involves the city selling fire, police, and [...]

Shopping for Retail 2: Dupont Block Comes Full Circle

Last fall, I immodestly proposed a remake of the square that includes the Q Street entrance to the Dupont Circle Metro Station. One reason the time was right, I noted, was that Riggs Bank had been absorbed by PNC, a Pittsburgh institution. That meant less need for local office space for the bank, so that [...]

Eyesore of the Week: 1101 New York Avenue NW

Beginning in the mid-1980s, Washington experienced an architectural counterrevolution. Many of the city's new office buildings were designed in a style—variously termed "postmodern," "historicist," or "contextual"—that drew on 19th and early-20th-century models. Glass curtain walls and poured concrete were out. But architecture schools still instill reverence for the "new," even if most of what they [...]

Shopping for Retail I: Silver Line Connection

The D.C. government is considering two big projects to increase retail businesses in two very different neighborhoods: Georgetown and H Street NE. Yet neither plan addresses basic retail-boosting strategies that the city should have adopted decade ago.
In Georgetown, developer Herb Miller is looking for at least $20 million in tax increment financing (TIF) to redo [...]

Fête or Famine

Today's the day the annual Fête de la Musique fills parks, streets, and plazas all over town with a cornucopia of sound. Or rather, that was the idea when the Fête concept, which began in France in 1982, was transplanted to D.C. in 2003. This year, however, the entire event will be confined to the [...]