Why Gentrify?! is Changing…

This site will be changing very shortly to what I don’t exactly know.  I have enjoyed blogging about our beloved U Street, but I will no longer be directly developing or responsible for this site’s focus.  All of the posts for Why Gentrify?! concerning U Street will still be available here http://whygentrify.wordpress.com/ on a clean, ad-free WordPress blog.  Please update your links!  It’s been fun…but a little tiring!  Thanks to everyone all readers, commentors, and subject matter–you have all been great.

Vacant Property Drama for those with Occupied Homes

I was victim to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) bogus assessment of my home as a vacant property, resulting in me receiving a horrendous property tax bill of 3 times what I really owed.  The situation was corrected, but it involved a lot of hassles on my part.  The worst part is that my stupid mortgage company went ahead and paid the crazy bill, even after I had called them and notified them of the problem AND they claimed that they would research the matter.  But, that too is fixed, and my escrow account is happy again.  I was happy to put all of this behind me, but I came across a City Paper article that talks about DC residents who had the same drama that I did when their properties were wrongly listed as vacant.  Thank God I didn’t have quite the mortgage company drama the people in the story had, such as their monthly payments increasing.

New Restaurants for Columbia Heights


The Express has a good article about the new restaurants coming to Columbia Heights as a part of the DC USA development.   Honestly, I’m a bit envious that they (i.e., Columbia Heights) have a Potbelly Sandwich Works.  Don’t ever let me hear they get a Chipotle!   That would be like rubbing salt in the wounds.  I know U Street is full of “unique” spots and all, but a Chipotle somewhere in the corridor couldn’t hurt…

Ben’s Chili Bowl to Celebrate Anniversary and Second U Street Location in August

Ben’s Chili Bowl

U Street’s Ben’s Chili Bowl will celebrate its 50th anniversary on August 22. It will also expand into the Shanghai building next door with a 2,700 square foot restaurant that will seat 70 patrons and serve beer and other newer fare, such as salads. A lot is planned for the big anniversary!

The grand opening will coincide with the 50th anniversary celebration of Ben’s this Aug. 22. Ben’s 50th anniversary gala will be held at the historic Lincoln Theatre Aug. 21. Comedian-activist Bill Cosby will serve as Master of Ceremony. “It will just be a celebratory night to celebrate mom and dad and the legacy of Ben’s Chili Bowl,” Nizam Ali said. On Aug. 22, U Street will be closed and there will be musical performances and dancing in the street. On Aug. 24, there also will be a concert at the 9:30 Club. More can be learned about the history and legacy of Ben’s from their book, “Ben’s Chili Bowl: 50 Years of a Washington, D.C. Landmark,” which will be on sale Aug. 18 at area bookstores. The book is on pre-sale now at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.

Any M*A*S*H* Fans? Mike Farrell at Busboys and Poets Sat. at 4 pm to Discuss Memoir

B.J. Hunnicutt (Mike Farrell)

4PM – 5:30 pm (Langston Rm., Busboys and Poets) Author Event: Mike Farrell will sign and discuss “Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist” Mike Farrell’s new memoir reveals the distinctive voice of a man for whom life is an ongoing odyssey of self-discovery, personal commitment, and uncompromising social engagement. The world-renowned actor offers inspirational and often humorous reflections on his path to fame and progressive activism in this book Best known for his eight years on M*A*S*H and five seasons on Providence, Mike Farrell is also a writer, director, and producer. Farrell has served on human rights and peace delegations to many countries around the world. As president of Death Penalty Focus, he speaks, writes, and coordinates efforts to stop executions. Free and open to all

U Street Weekend Concerts: The Sketches, KRS-One, Urban Verbs, Kuku



The Sketches, a local pop-rock band, will perform at the 9:30 Club with Honey Chuck and the Dreamscape Project. Cost is $12. Recognize our city in the above video?



The Urban Verbs, a new wave band from DC will perform at the 9:30 Club on Saturday with Martin Royle at 6 pm. Cost is $20.



KRS-One, the revered hip-hop legend, will perform at the Black Cat at 9 pm on Saturday with Kokayi.




Kuku, a Nigerian acoustic guitarist and singer with a U Street open-mic following, will perform at Bohemian Caverns on Sunday at 7 pm. Cost is $10.




And the Winner of David Ford’s “Songs for the Road” is…

David Ford

Thanks to all who left a post to qualify to win David Ford’s “Songs for the Road”!  The lucky winner of the CD is “Spence.”  Spence currently lives in Columbia Heights.  He’s hails from New Jersey, but has lived in DC for four years, attended George Washington University, and now works as an IT contractor in Rosslyn, VA.  Spence discovered Ford after a college friend, a fellow guitarist, told him about Ford last year, and says he was a fan instantly after the first listen.  Why Gentrify?! is happy to reward good taste, so congrats to Spence!

For the rest of you who didn’t win, you can still attend the concert tomorrow at the 9:30 Club at 7:30 and get the full David Ford effect.   Here’s one last video.


Authors Lee Glazer and Zein El-Amine Discuss “Keeping the Promise? The Debate Over Charter Schools” at Busboys and Poets at 6:30

Have an opinion or interest in education and charter schools?  You may want to check out this Busboys and Poets event.

6:30pm – 8:30pm, Busboys and Poets, Langston Rm.

An evening of readings, performance and discussion for action on the state of education in DC and the Nation., featuring: * Authors Lee Glazer and Zein El-Amine will discuss and sign their recently released book “Keeping the Promise? The Debate Over Charter Schools.” With a chapter on the DC experience. * Activists Amina Althea and Amber Wood, will stage a multimedia performance piece based on their recently released Audio Documentary “I Want To Do This All Day.” Dancers and visual artists weave excerpts from the documentary with dance, song, and projections to bring to life the stories of young people making their own paths in learning and life. Visit http://dothisallday.org/ for documentary project background, links and tour itinerary. Visit http://www.rethinkingschools.org/publication/promise/promise.shtml for book information

Independent Film “My Brother My Keeper” Debuts at Lincoln Theatre on Sat., May 24

An independent film by filmmaker and DC native, Laurence Hewitt, will debut at the Lincoln Theatre on Sat., May 24 at 6 pm. Cost is $20. See the trailer and description below.


It takes hard work to make your dreams come true. In “My Brother…My Keeper,” a star basketball player’s dreams are blindsided by a freak car accident that leaves him deaf. As he works through daily struggles, he battles to keep his dreams afloat.

Opening performance by comedian, Carlos Jordan, and R&B recording artist, T-West

The film will be closed captioned.

U Street Concert: Augustana Performs at 9:30 Club with David Ford and Wild Sweet Orange at 7:30 pm


I’ve been talking about musician/singer David Ford for several days now.  He’ll be performing with headliner Augustana, seen in the video above (not bad huh?), at the 9:30 Club at 7:30 pm.  They will be joined by Wild Sweet Orange.  Cost is $15.