When the fairies come out to play...
Photo cred: L.N. and Anella Dexter
Okay, so we haven't actually launched the new website yet because technical bugs are a b*tch, but on the off-chance that this post is magically live to anyone's Muggle eyes, you heard it from us first: Happy May Day! That's right--it's Walpurgis Night, exactly half a year from November 1st, that other pagan holiday your Christian pre-school discouraged you from celebrating. Whatevs. You're older and wiser now. Welcome the fairies and dance around a Maypole!
Enchanted Animal Crackers, Fo' Shizzle
By Starling Root
Admit it, your life could use more magic. You'd like to retreat from conversations about gay marriage and gun control for a spell or two. (Maybe then you can avoid getting pressed up against the wall by a conservative soccer mom wacko for the third time this week.) You don't care about Honey Boo Boo or the latest Facebook re-design—or at least not enough to talk about this stuff ad naseum. You'd rather pet a unicorn. But where are you going to find one of those? You'll have better luck doing something reasonable, like enchanting your animal crackers, bringing them to life, and riding one into the sunset. Think small and you shall go far.
Resurrecting your animal crackers from their cemetery of commercial packaging is a cinch. Seize one in your hopeful fingers, close your eyes tighter than a pair of hipster skinnies, and twitch your nose like a witchy Samantha Stephens. Then say the magic words: “Kim Kardashian's big because she's pregnant and that's normal/Could we just stop talking about it already?/It's making me hormonal/Bring this hippo come to life and I'll name him Teddy.”
Repeat the words for whatever animal cracker you'd like to enchant next. The only catch is that its name must rhyme with Teddy. While that's limiting, you can't complain about having a camel to ride to work. You'll never have to pay a parking meter again! And if the meter maid is foolish enough to bug you, just have Teddy/Freddy/Betty spit in her face.
By Sir Gearheart
Oh, my dear sir, there's absolutely no reason to be ashamed in proclaiming your platonic love for Quail Bell Magazine, this 'zine whose "femininity" may make you question your "masculinity." Don't. Isn't that sort of duality too Victorian for a modern fellow like you? What I'm saying is, DUDE, it's okay to be a dude and like Quail Bell. (I mean, it's not like it's XOVain.com.) Plenty of guys read QB.
Sure, we run articles on fashion and hair and make-up and fairy tales and historical costumes. There's a loooot of frilly Art Nouveau stuff here. But we also run original art and literature, as well as articles on historical, folkloric, and social justice topics.
So calm down. Keep reading. "Like" that piece. Share that story. Comment, Tweet. It's A-OK to be a Quail Beau--especially since you're not the only one.
Springtime in Parkfairfax
By Starling Root
Once upon a time President Franklin Roosevelt complained that there wasn't enough housing near the Pentagon--and this is why my walk to work seems like a picture out of a storybook about smart suburbia.
You see, FDR's Lefty whining (hey, not knocking it) led to the creation of Parkfairfax in Alexandria, Virginia. This neighborhood chock-a-block with brick garden-style condos is not only listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register; it's also full of flowers right now. Nothing exotic, just run of the mill Mid-Atlantic flowers, but beautiful in that East Coast/deciduous forest kind of way.
Anyway, back to the mini history lesson: The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York jumped at FDR's request and built over 200 buildings on 132 acres, making 1,684 condo apartments available to federal workers and whoever else felt like living just close enough to Washington, D.C. without actually being there. And so Parkfairfax (which interestingly is NOT located in nearby Fairfax County) was born in 1941. The neighborhood lies 3 miles from the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and about 6.5 miles from D.C.'s popular Chinatown.
Here's how Parkfairfax first looked:
Here's how it looks today:
And this is why I'm a happy pedestrian commuter:
The Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro Stop
By QB Camera Eye
Incorporated in 1890, Vienna, Virginia is a suburb of Washington, D.C. and the home of a WMATA Metro stop (which popped up in 1978). Wikipedia told me so. That makes it real. Besides, the Vienna Metro stop's garnered 23 reviews on Yelp.com, so it has to exist, right? It's not just a figment of our quail imaginations. And yet, like all WMATA Metro stops, Vienna possesses a sci-fi vibe. It's a classic example of Brutalist architecture. Even in broad daylight, you get this feeling that The Jetsons' aerocar will land right next to you. Maybe one day it will and aliens will watch the re-run of that episode lightyears from now.
A fool and his money are soon parted
By Brainy Bird
Pet cred: Sorcha Patricks
This is no longer just a mere rumor, folks: Argentine bazaar salesmen have been caught selling weasels on steroids and marketing them as toy poodles. This urban legend was confirmed when a recent customer brought his "poodle" to the vet--only to learn the truth. It reminds The Quail Bell Crew of when medieval merchants used to sew bat wings to lizards and sell them as "dragons"! For the full report...
Out with the Blossoms
Photo cred: Luna Lark
Spring has finally arrived in Virginia. But just a week shy of Easter, the Old Dominion was a frightful place full of flurries (truth be told the snow is never too nasty here.) With the birth of spring also comes the re-birth of Quail Bell Magazine. Welcome back. We missed you, fledglings.
Send us your photos of spring--wherever you live!
Anacostia--the next H Street? Try Old Town.
By Brainy Bird
Mention Ward 8 to the average white Washingtonian and you're unlikely to hear any favorable remarks. Why is it that "black neighborhood" often reads as code for "bad neighborhood"? Basic sociology. History. Politics. At the root of it, ignorance and fear. These are not revolutionary observations. They're the repetition of a sad truth.
This is not to say I'm oblivious to the crimes committed in Historic Anacostia and nearby neighborhoods. Anacostia, like many DC neighborhoods, has its share of homicides, robberies, and sexual assaults. It is to say that the desire to commit a crime stems from desperation caused by socio-economic problems. That desire is not a race-based genetic trait. You don't steal because you were born black. You steal, perhaps, because you were born poor, didn't get proper schooling, and are unaware of better options, plus or minus factors XYZ.
IMG: Elvert Barnes
So if you improve the socio-economic state of a place, it doesn't matter if white or black people are living there. Crime rates will go down. The real question, of course, is how do you heal all those socio-economic boo-boos while still preserving the historic and cultural integrity of a place. Ring in a Panera, a Starbucks, and Whole Foods and—boom!—problem solved, right?
No, that's just a case of the nasty “g” word. Anacostia won't grow as Anacostia simply because yuppies set up shop. Anacostia has to stay true to itself: its people and the potential of its community. It needs a solid middle-class base of educated blacks, open-minded whites, and people of all races and ethnicities who are willing to cooperate for the betterment of the neighborhood and Washington as a whole.
The Art of Ward 8 blogger, Charles Wilson, makes an interesting suggestion, one I've yet to hear from anyone else. He says, that instead of turning Anacostia into the next H Street, Ward 8 should look at Old Town as a model. His advice makes sense because the two places share three major characteristics:
The Fallen Film Vixen of Brookland Park
By Spencer Turner
This window said, "Please take my photo." It was like running into a fallen film vixen still dressed in her tattered Oscar gown. (Brookland Park Avenue, Richmond, Virginia.)