Washington DC has had restrictions on the heights of its buildings since the first year of its existence, thanks to its namesake -- George Washington himself laid down a limit of 40 feet in 1791 (and then suspended the limits, as did several of his successors). The limits waxed and waned over the next century or so until the U.S. Congress, in its capacity as the over-government of America's capital, laid down the Heights of Buildings Act of 1910, setting the upper limit of any building at 130 feet. Now that the city is gaining population again (for the first time since the 1950s), developers and officials may be looking to release the federal height restrictions and give control to the city government (which already has zoning limits in various areas that further restrict heights). The WaPo provides a visualization demonstrating what the skyline might look like if the limits are raised, or even if areas filled out to the current Height Act maximums.
It's been twenty years since Dante Ferrando opened the Black Cat Club on 14th St in DC. The neighborhood has changed immeasurably, but the music is still going.
Chris Sims' amazing pitch for the Superman/Batman movie: "A dang BOOM TUBE opens up, and who comes out? Every Superman and Batman we’ve seen in mass media for the past thirty years." (previously)
"With two years' hindsight, it is more and more apparent that the true shift signified by the advent of the Nu52 was that individual characters no longer matter (to say nothing of creators). The most important brand is not Superman or Batman or Green Lantern and certainly not Shazam or John Constantine, but DC Comics - oops, sorry, DC Entertainment. The most important thing for them is that they have a cohesive universe that can be presented as a legible whole. The great triumphs of superhero comics have traditionally come as a result of the genre's strange, disreputable, tatterdemalion profligacy. But it's becoming harder and harder for companies to justify extending that kind of creative freedom in regards to characters who might each and every one of them (in the minds of Warner Brothers executives) end up as their next billion-dollar franchise. The cruel irony is that without being able to offer that kind of freedom and trust to individual creators, the stories become sterile and vapid, and the IP is degraded. Marvel for the time being have managed to figure out how to walk the tightrope between control and liberty, enough so that a not-insignificant percentage of their line is actually very good, and many more books are pleasantly readable. There just aren't that many DC books I'd stop to pick up for free off the street. " -- Tim O'Neil reviews DC Comics' latest crossover, original sin and why the NuDC is so anemic.
How DC Contracts Work. Mark Waid, author of Superman: Birthright (drawn on heavily for the recent film Man of Steel), "explains how professionals are generally compensated for working on company-owned characters".
You know how you had heard there was a cool video out there showing the growth and construction on Capitol Hill rendered in 3D animation and you were all, eh, I'll watch it once somebody puts it on the same page as the Game of Thrones theme so that I can get the full experience? Well now you have no more excuse.
Washington DC's Botanic Gardens is livestreaming the blossoming process of its corpse flower. The corpse flower, aka titan arum, is well known for smelling absolutely awful. [more inside]
DC has uploaded tons of DC Nation animated shorts to YouTube Including My Little Pony creator Lauren Faust's Super Best Friends Forever (previously). Not yet included: Robert Valley's super awesome 70s Wonder Woman.
The United States' National Security organization has many parts, from the famous (NSA, CIA) to the mundane (OCI, NGA) to the more esoteric (NRO, CSS). But even the most dedicated Washington insider may not have heard of INR. [more inside]
Ever wondered what the view at the very top of the Washington Monument is like? Construction workers erecting scaffolding (for repairs needed after the 2011 earthquake) donned helmet cams on the day they reached the tip of the monument, so you need wonder no longer.
Chris Richards, formerly of DC post-punk outfit Q and Not U asks: Are foodies quietly killing rock and roll?
Political reporter John R Stanton (aka Big John) has been thinking about the gentrification of DC. Late last night, he tweeted up a story about DC in the old days, personified by a junkie named Raymond.
Let Blelvis, the Black Elvis, tell you what he is not doing. He is not begging, and he is not homeless. But Blelvis would never dream of denying you the opportunity to donate to his favorite charity, which, incidentally, is named Blelvis. So he'll just turn around, nice and discreet, while you see what you can spare. The best nation in the world is a do nation, and that's the truth.
The romance comic blog Sequential Crush takes a look at an astrology-themed love story from 1970: "Horoscope, Don't Fool With My Heart!"
150 U.S. city flags, ranked from best to worst. Top-rated flags are typically tasteful and abstract, like that of Washington D.C. (#1) or subtly representational, like Madison, Wisconsin's flag(#11), which is more or less a glyph of Madison seen from above. The bottom of the list has some that seem stuck in a briefly popular graphic style, like Provo (#143), but most are timelessly ongepotch like the flag of Milwaukee (#147), which features a boat, a skyline, some smokestacks, some grain, County Stadium, a Native American,and a church. And then there is Pocatello (#150), whose flag was memorably profiled on badflags. (Vexillology previously on MetaFilter.)
DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee oversaw radical reforms to Washington, DC's failing public schools. Amongst the results were widespread irregularities on standardized tests that suggest they were tampered with by adults. [more inside]
The Things They Leave Behind. "When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened 30 years ago, something unexpected happened: People started leaving things at the wall. One veteran has spent decades cataloging the letters, mementos, and other artifacts of loss — all 400,000 of them." (Via.) [more inside]
Givens occasionally wonders why his unique fitness regimen creates such inexplicable antipathy. But he doesn’t let it bother him too much. “I just keep on going,” Givens says. “Look here. A man my age ain’t supposed to be doing this. Once they see the shape I’m in, they think, ‘Well, he can’t be too crazy.’ ”Cedric Givens, DC's backwards jogger. Direct link to Video
The original point of the sequester was that it would be terrible and “inflexible,” which would force Congress to choose a less terrible path, but obviously trusting Congress to not pick the most terrible of all available options was something of a gamble. So yes, sure, “flexibility,” but also maybe just “let’s not do this.” Unfortunately, “let’s just not do this” never comes up as an option on any of the shows, which all presented the argument as, on one side, “flexibility,” and on the other side, “a balanced approach,” which means a shitload of unnecessary cuts plus a bit more tax revenue, which sound nice but is still pointless contractionary policy.Alex Pareene watched the sunday morning shows so you don't have to.
An article in the Washington Post (featuring MeFi's own Sonascope!) about a visit to Baltimore has the Charm City locals seething. Some in the capitol don't think much of it either.
"As near as I can tell, throughout DC Comics' more than 75-year history, the publisher has only ever hired two black women writers on monthly titles: Felicia Henderson on Teen Titans and Angela Robinson on The Web, both in 2009. That should be put in some perspective: If those numbers are accurate, it would mean that DC has more white women writing monthly books for them right now than they've had black women in the same role in more than three quarters of a century. That said, they are potentially doing better than their principal competition: Try as I might, I cannot find a single black woman who has ever written a monthly ongoing comic for Marvel in the publisher's history." -- Joseph Hughes talks about the lack of Black comics writers at Marvel and DC both right now and historically. [more inside]
Executive editor Karen Berger will be leaving DC Comics' Vertigo imprint in 2013 Reactions from the comics industry.
There's been a lot of talk in the US media about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the "Grand Bargain" What are they?
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration."Fiscal Cliff 101: 5 Basic Questions Answered. What's Happening: Fiscal Cliff Explained [more inside]
The fact that many of the actors in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy have previously portrayed high school characters has resulted in an extended trailer mashup resetting the Batman series as a teen comedy.
In 1977 Dial Press of New York published Robert Mayer’s first novel, Superfolks. It was, amongst other things, a story of a middle-aged man coming to terms with his life, an enormous collection of 1970s pop-culture references, some now lost to the mists of time, and a satire on certain aspects of the comic superhero, but would probably be largely unheard of these days if it wasn’t for the fact that it is regularly mentioned for its supposed influence on a young Alan Moore and his work, particularly on Watchmen, Marvelman, and his Superman story, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Alan Moore and Superfolks: Part 1: The Case for the Prosecution, Part 2: The Case for the Defence, Part 3: The Strange Case of Grant Morrison and Alan Moore.
Hamish Steele! Be moved by his brief-yet-poignant award-winning animated film The Right Time. Be charmed by his commissioned portraits of couples and their pets. Be inspired by his loose and fresh superheroes (Batman, Phoenix, Hawkeye)! And it wouldn't be Tumblr without an appearance by Sherlock Holmes (not that one).
Hellblazer, the DC/Vertigo comic starring Alan Moore created occult investigator John Constantine, is being cancelled at issue #300 to make way for a new comic set in DC's New 52 universe. Hellblazer was DC's longest running continuously numbered comic and it's cancelation marks the last of the DC Comics characters with Vertigo titles being taken back into the mainstream DC universe (previously). Vertigo was originally an imprint for mature readers occult themed titles and creator owned work, though it has changed over the years with an adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo becoming the first Vertigo to receive TV advertising.
The November 6th elections saw a lot of historic decisions made in the United States -- the first black president re-elected, marijuana legalized for the first time in two states, gay marriage affirmed by the voters in four, and even the first openly gay senator. But perhaps the most underreported result yesterday came from outside the country altogether: in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a solid majority voted to reject the island's current status and join America as the long-fabled 51st state. How the bid might fare in Congress is an open question, but both President Obama and Republican leaders have vowed support for the statehood movement if it proves successful at the ballot box (while D.C. officials ponder a two-fer gambit to grease the wheels). Though it would be the poorest state, joining the Union might bring economic benefits to both sides [PDF]. And politically, some argue the island might prove to be a reliably red state, despite the Hispanic population, although arch-conservative governor and Romney ally Luis Fortuño appears headed toward a narrow loss. But the most important question here, as always, is: how to redesign the flag? (Puerto Rican statehood discussed previously.)
Mike's Amazing World of Comics has a section called The Newsstand that lets you select a year/date/publisher and then view a collection of cover images from that time period. [more inside]
Photographer Senen Llanos likes profiles and costumes, so why not combine them both with The Faces Of New York Comic Con 2012 Part 2. (via)
“I was a monster,” Malvo said. “If you look up the definition, that’s what a monster is. I was a ghoul. I was a thief. I stole people’s lives. I did someone else’s bidding just because they said so. . . . There is no rhyme or reason or sense.”
If you've spent any time in Washington, DC during the past few years, you're probably familiar with Capital Bikeshare; the region's immensely popular bikesharing program. The system's big red bikes are designed for casual use, and are built like tanks to avoid damage, vandalism, and theft. This past weekend, one Falls Church, VA resident undocked one of the 40lb bikes, and rode it to the finish line of the Nations' Triathlon. [more inside]
Two days ago in Washington, D.C. a gunman walked into the offices of the Family Research Council and fired a shot. He was carrying over a dozen Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and allegedly complained about the FRC's conservative politics before shooting a security guard. [more inside]
Eater DC's monthly interview series, 'The Gatekeepers' talks to the hosts and hostesses at some of the city's most prestigious restaurants, discussing hard-hitting topics such as securing lucrative reservations, choosing the best table, and the favorite dishes of the famous dignitaries that pass through Washington. Their most recent interview, however, went a bit differently, perhaps revealing a bit more than intended about the world of fine dining -- a world where bribes are de rigeur, black customers are not seated next to each other, and well-dressed patrons are given preferential service. Though few in the industry will admit to it, bribing the host appears to be the fastest way to get a table (unless you're a tourist, or the Maitre d' happens to be the CEO of Groupon). HuffPo and the City Paper react.
While the world ponders the impact of superheroes on the population in the wake of this weekend's tragic (and still unfolding) events in Colorado, and some ponder what a return to the bad of days of comics might mean, Warner Brothers has released two slightly different trailers for their attempt at latest updating Superman for the modern era: The Man of Steel, in Pa Kent or Jor El flavours. Via i09.
The Mommy-Fight Site. What does it mean to raise a child in "America’s highest-income, best-educated Census area? D.C. Urban Moms and Dads might be as close as it gets to a field guide to parentis Washingtonianis" [more inside]
Dear Sir, Regarding Your Affection for A Compacted Catwoman - Andrew Wheeler responds to the response to the response to the cover for Catwoman #0.
"You want to be a pitchman for warlords? You want to carry the Devil's water in Washington? Go for it. But just don't tell me how to fucking talk" - Jon Lovett responds to Lanny Davis, in the aftermath of the Corey Booker's comments defending private equity
So The Avengers is a very successful movie. This has lead many comics fans to express their concern over the treatment of original creators in the industry, specifically of Jack Kirby. Creators' Rights controversy is nothing new, and there remains to this day ample reason to question the business dealings of The Big Two when it comes to how they compensate the men and women who work for/with them. Alan Moore has been and continues to be the victim of numerous shady deals at the hands of DC comics. But no one, with the possible exception of Seigel and Shuster, has suffered more than Jack "King" Kirby. [more inside]
Chuck Brown: DC Legend, Godfather of Go-Go and originator of some of the breakbeats that laid the foundation for hip-hop has passed away. Here's his live set at the 9:30 club from a few years ago. 2, 3, 4
If you were watching the Orioles-A's game from Camden Yards tonight, you saw a guy playing the National Anthem on an electric violin made out of a baseball bat. This is how that looks and sounds. This is the guy talking about and showing off his Louisville Slugger violin. And this is the Washington Post profile of Glenn Donnellan, a violinist with the National Symphony Orchestra and the maker and player of the world's only electric baseball bat violin.
Comics author Grant Morrison talked to Playboy about the Super Psyches of some of his favorite superhero characters. (Clean interview, NSFW website)
28 pages from DC's upcoming "New 52: 2nd Wave" Stretching the definition of "leaked" to the screaming limit, Buzzfeed shares photographs it was invited to take of 28 pages from DC's upcoming "New 52: 2nd Wave" - the six series being brought in to replace its six cancelled comic books. [more inside]