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Center Stage: An exhibition of Romaine Brooks' revolutionary style

brooks ida rubinsteinRomaine Brooks' Ida Rubinstein.  PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

WASHINGTON DC — The Smithsonian American Art Museum is holding an exhibition of Romaine Brooks, an early 20th century painter notable for her revolutionary depiction of women.

Unlike traditional paintings that depict female subjects with bright, flowery colors, Brooks’ paintings are characterized by her use of muted tones and portrayal of women in androgynous attire.

Brooks’ later works are notable for the bold outlines of her subjects mixed with lightly blended colors, giving her paintings a uniquely modern feel.

These techniques emphasize the assertive poses taken by many women in her paintings, allowing her subjects’ features to carry a distinct vibrancy that carries throughout her later works.

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The Powers of the midway

midway1aLife on the County Fair's midway is the main attraction for some fair-goers.     PHOTO BY JAKE BRODSKY  

GAITHERSBURG – The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair would be vastly different without Powers Great American Midways, who has been the fair’s midway provider for the past 11 years.

“[The Montgomery County Fair] has just grown and grown,” said Marc Janas, the GM of Powers. “We have a great rapport with the folks that run the fair, they’re good friends of ours and that’s really important. It just keeps getting better every year. Weather permitting, knock on wood, the attendance just keeps going up.”

The Montgomery County Fair is part of what Janas calls "big fair season," meaning Powers carries around 400 employees to the event.

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Milk a cow and gain a new appreciation for animal husbandry at the fair

GAITHERSBURG –How does a 13- year-old girl without a farm end up taking care of a cow at the Montgomery County Fair? An opportunity came for Addie Tallman when she paid $1 to milk a cow by hand at the fair three years ago. Then she saw a stack of flyers for a 4-H Club informational meeting on a nearby table and took one.

Later, Addie told her now 16-year-old sister named Emmie about milking the cow. They both attended the meeting and joined the 4-H Club in Sept. 2013.

Addie helped Christina Bennett, 12, care for her family’s cows on the week of the fair the following year.

“I got up every morning at like 6:30 and I helped out with feeding the cows,” said Addie. “So that’s how we became friends (with Christina).”

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County fair attendees endure record heat

GAITHERSBURG -- The 68th Montgomery County Agricultural Fair kicked off Aug. 12 as a heat wave kept some visitors away from the fair.

While some braved the heat anyway, attendance at this year’s fair dropped in the first days 25 to 30 percent, according to Carl Holland, president of the board of directors for the County Fair.

Holland said the fair averages about 220,000 visitors a year but attendance stalled during the weekend when temperatures reach 100 degrees in the Washington Metropolitan area.

“The heat has affected our fair okay. I would say about 25 to 30 percent compared to what we’ve had in past weekends we’ve started our fairs and so forth,” Holland said. “You also have to take into effect when you have a meteorologist that tells you to stay home because of the heat and you might have heatstroke and stuff like that, it’s hard to compete against people in television.”

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Making a night of it on National Night Out

The popularity of National Night Out has swelled across Montgomery County in recent years, leading more community organizations to host their own events.

For the people of Summit Crest in Gaithersburg, last Tuesday evening marked the second time they’ve hosted their own Night Out events.

“It evolved tremendously because usually, when I first started, we were doing National Night Out at one location and everybody would come to the location. So it was like a festival but it wasn’t really getting into the communities,” said Gaithersburg City Police Officer Robert Blackmon. “And then we branched out and each community started conducting their own National Night Out.”

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He is the Goat man ... coo coo ca choo

GoatmanSteve Wescott with Miles the goat. COURTESY PHOTO  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Steve Wescott walked north along MD-355 in Montgomery County last week on his way to Times Square as a part of his mission to raise funds for an orphanage in Kenya.

His companion for the journey: a goat named Miles.

After the trip, Wescott plans to take his volunteer staffers to Kenya though he said he would also like a break from being the “goat guy.”

 “I need a break. I need to not be the goat guy. The goat guy has no opinions. That’s not me, that’s not who I am. I come down hard on things. I’m opinionated. I like a cigar and a good beer, which would get me in trouble as the goat guy,” Wescott said. “Being a leader, I’ve had to grow into the leadership role. So it is what it is.”

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Local artist sees Metro riders as zombies

Eric Gordon Zombie 1Eric Gordon with one of his paintings. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

TAKOMA PARK – Local artist Eric Gordon said he sees a semblance of zombies, or what he likes to call “creeps,” in riders of the D.C. Metro and he sketches them when he uses public transit.

Gordon said he couldn’t take full credit for the idea of depicting riders as akin to zombies or creeps.

“I think that’s not my theory. It’s the morning, nine to five, daily grind, people going to their daily jobs,” said Gordon. “A lot of times people would much rather go to the beach or have a cup of tea, stay at home, do something like that.”

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Harry Potter fans leave Hogwarts to swarm Rockville

Harry Potter 1Amanda and Chris Brown appeared in costume for the midnight release of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" at Barnes and Noble on Rockville Pike. PHOTO BY PETER ROULEAU  

ROCKVILLE – More than 100 Harry Potter fans braved the rain on the evening of July 25 to attend a midnight release party for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” which officially went on sale the following day.

Local residents flocked to the Barnes and Noble bookstore along MD-355 for the midnight release.

Jonathan Gruber, a longtime fan, was one of the first in line.

“I got here at 8:10 (p.m.); drove all the way from Wheaton in the torrential downpour,” Gruber said. “I don’t know if I’ll read the whole book tonight, but I’m definitely going to start it.”

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ALS victim remembered as children's champion

 

Jan JablonskiJan Jablonski, Bethesda resident and longtime volunteer for the Noyes Library for Young Children, died last month.  COURTESY PHOTO 

Bethesda resident Jan Jablonski, a mother of two, teacher and founding member of the Noyes Children's Library Foundation, died July 18 at the age of 61.

Jablonski suffered from ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

"She was a person who dealt with being a quadriplegic with incredible equanimity," said her husband, Dan Jablonski.

"She loved children, and they really knew it," said Sheila Dinn, who served as Jablonski's co-president of the library's foundation. "She listened to them and thought like them."

Added Dinn, "She will sorely be missed as a leader and a friend."

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Somewhere deep in the heart of Seinfeldia nation

seinfeldia

According to author Jennifer Armstrong, “Seinfeldia” is a “strange intermingling of fiction and reality” between the television show “Seinfeld” and the real life inspiration that it’s based on.

Never mind that the namesake of this phenomenon has reached cult levels of popularity so that simply calling it “Seinfeld” would be enough.

To Armstrong, the popularity of the show among fans as well as the originality of its material is such that Seinfeld’s lore seems to have a life of its own.

To the casual reader, Armstrong’s new book, “Seinfeldia” is an interesting and in-depth look into the origins of a revolutionary television icon.

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