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Now that is a parking job…
|| 2/19/2011 || 11:21 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Photograph of a car parked so close to another car they are kissing

I was walking home earlier and spotted this awesome parking job. I can’t believe someone would actually leave their car parked like that.



My Testimony on the Renaming Parts of Pennsylvania Ave and the Gateway Signs of the District of Columbia
|| 1/13/2011 || 11:16 pm || + Render A Comment || ||


Skip to the 49 minute mark

TESTIMONY OF NIKOLAS R. SCHILLER
ON
THE POTENTIAL RENAMING OF THE 1300 & 1400 BLOCKS OF PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE & THE INCLUSION OF STATEHOOD LANGUAGE ON THE DISTRICT’S GATEWAY SIGNS

Committee on Housing & Workforce Development, John A. Wilson Building, January 13, 2011


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Photographs from Park(ing) Day DC 2009
|| 9/21/2009 || 11:05 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Photograph from Parking Day DC 2009

Last Friday I attended the first celebration of Park(ing) Day in Washington, DC. Originally conceived & celebrated in 2005 by the artist/activism group ReBar in San Francisco, the concept behind Park(ing) Day is quite simple: reclaim urban space normally taken by cars by taking over different parking spaces for the day and turning them into temporary parks.

Organized by the contributors of the blogs ReadysetDC & F1RSTNR, the original concept for last week’s inaugural Park(ing) Day DC involved four locations around Washington, DC, but at the last minute the DC Department of Transportation threw up some large impediments that made the day’s planned celebration nearly impossible to execute. According to one of the organizers, among the various obstacles that DCDOT came up with was that they wanted the organizers to have large concrete jersey barriers to prevent cars from plowing through the temporary park (really?!).

After hearing about this issue, I mentioned the old direct action maxim: it’s easy to beg for forgiveness, then to beg for permission. As in, if the organizers would have just gone ahead and setup their temporary park(ing) spots and let the police and DCDOT deal with the matter in real-time, they could have ‘begged for forgiveness’ and made a scene in the process. The other way around, being lawful citizens that is, involves going to the DCDOT asking for permission (aka permits) and if the authority isn’t too keen on the concept (which it appears they weren’t) they can make it impossible to undertake.

Thus result was more of a Park(ing) Lot Day than a Park(ing) Day, but that didn’t stop the fun that was had by all the participants. The day’s savior was the owner of the local business Garden District, who currently owns a vacant lot at the corner of 14th & S streets, and allowed the Park(ing) Day organizers to set up there. The organizers drove out to Virginia and picked up 1,500 pounds of sod and laid it down over the asphalt and created their own temporary urban park, which ended up being much larger than a parking space would have been! They also sourced some plants, furniture, books, 3D chalk, christmas lights, and even a badminton set; all of which made the lot more of a corner park for people to hang out at.

Photograph from Parking Day DC 2009

I arrived around 3pm and hung out with everyone, took a few photos (above & below) and even made a couple new friends. Around 5:30pm I left and went to a friend’s house to get equipment for the show at the Black Cat later in the evening. And after setting up for the show, I went back to the Park(ing) [Lot] and helped them cleanup park. In all, I had a great time. Next year, however, I am aiming for having a park in the central business district. Check the other photographs I took:

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The sign I posted outside of MTV’s Real World DC house is transcribed in today’s Washington Post
|| 8/16/2009 || 3:01 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

Last month's photograph of the sign I wheatpasted outside of the Real World DC house in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC

Last month I posted the photograph above in my entry about adding some political commentary to the area around the Real World DC house in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC. This morning a friend of mine left a somewhat cryptic comment on my Facebook page telling me to check section E6 in today’s Washington Post. I ran downstairs, opened the paper up, and let out out a hearty laugh.

Transcribed near the end of Dan Zak’s article, Neighborhood Watch: MTV Is in the House, and Everyone Else Just Wants to Be, is the text of my sign:

Reality Bites

Sometime in July, a sign is posted on the base of the lamppost on the northeast corner of the intersection. In simple black lettering on a plain white background, it reads, one word per line:

IN
THE
REAL
WORLD
ALL
AMERICANS
DESERVE
FULL
REPRESENTATION
IN
CONGRESS.

In the next section of the article there is choice quote from some teenagers from Maryland:

“It’s been 23 years. . . . D.C. is a treasure. . . . They’ve been to New York, like, five times. . . . It’s the capital. . . . It’ll be a really good representation of the city. . . . I talked to the cast before and they’re really down to earth.”

(underline added for emphasis of the Congressional lack thereof)

While I was not identified as the creator of the sign, even though a simple Google Search would have brought the author to my website, and the author only mentioned that there was one sign (there are 8 still up last time I counted), I’m very pleased that my sign was mentioned in today’s article. In that respect, the ten dollars spent making those signs & purchasing the wheatpaste was completely validated— my message made it into the Washington Post. But the real question is if the message will make the cut and be mentioned in any of the episodes set to air on MTV in 2010?


Since the sign(s) has been up now for just about a month, I figure its time to remove them and put up something new. I already have the next flyer made, but I’m debating if I should put them up or not. The flyer is a bit over the top, but well, umm, so are most of the people mentioned in the article. But unlike the ones who actually give two shits about the show, my aim is not to get in the house or hang out with the cast (I really could care less about that), but to use their presence in Washington, DC as a vehicle to get out the larger message of DC residents being second class citizens denied representation in Congress.


Click on the screen grab below to read the last page of the article:

Screen grab from the Washington Post article about the Real World in DC where the text of my sign is transcribed

What’s interesting about the text on-line versus the text in the printed article is that there is extra space between lines of the poster in the on-line version captured above. These extra line breaks actually make the point of the poster appear more important on-line than it does in the print edition, which does not feature extra line breaks. But since the print edition of the Washington Post is not delivered outside of the Washington, DC area, this typographical difference carries significantly more weight on-line than in print. In that respect, I must thank the web editor at the Washington Post for giving the text of my sign a little bit more emphasis than it would otherwise have received if it were identical to the print edition.


UPDATE – After I posted this entry, I went back to the Washington Post website and found that the poster was briefly shown at the beginning of the video portion of the article:

Video still of the poster being shown on the video that accompanies the article


A passive-agressive note to my Dear Neighbor in the English Basement
|| 7/20/2009 || 8:39 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

You’ve seen the website? This is my quasi-contribution. Its too bad the neighbor never followed up and contacted me. I just hope he doesn’t get mugged!



A message to MTV’s Real World DC cast members: IN THE REAL WORLD ALL AMERICANS DESERVE FULL REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS
|| 7/14/2009 || 11:58 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

MTV’s show “The Real World” is currently filming their next season here in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC. There has been a lot of hoopla regarding the cast & crew being in DC; from a pop culture blogger hoping to actually get inside of the house to neighbors who started an Anti-Real World DC blog which describes in detail the comings and goings of the cast to even a Twitter user that only tweets gossip, errr, Newz about the cast. I haven’t watched the show in years, so I’m mildly amused by this type of hype.

For the last few weeks I had been brainstorming about a way that would hopefully spark a discussion about DC’s lack of congressional representation on the show. I came up with phrase: “IN THE REAL WORLD ALL AMERICANS DESERVE FULL REPRESENTATION CONGRESS.” Earlier today I went to Kinkos, printed up 10 copies, and this evening I put them all up around a one block radius of the house. I am curious how long they’ll stay up! I am even more curious if they’ll even discuss this civil rights issue on the show.


Update: below is a TwitPic photo by Mehan Jayasuriya that taken the following day. It’s been viewed over 1,500 times!


The message made its way to the Washington Post on Sunday, August 16th, 2009:

Screen grab from the Washington Post article about the Real World in DC where the text of my sign is transcribed


YouTube Video of Saint Louis Buy Nothing Day 2002 by Aaron Michaels
|| 12/20/2008 || 2:55 pm || Comments Off on YouTube Video of Saint Louis Buy Nothing Day 2002 by Aaron Michaels || ||

Earlier this week I decided to add this archived video to the repository known as YouTube. I’ve had it for 6 years now and decided to finally upload the video because I could not find anywhere else on-line. I still feel the message that we were delivering then is the same as now: don’t go into debt buying presents for others during the holiday season and if you must give presents, try making them first.

The article that was published in the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch regarding this demonstration was the first time my name appeared in newspapers. The story behind this video goes like this….

On October 2nd, 2002 I created a Yahoo Group dedicated to the planning of Buy Nothing Day in Saint Louis. After a few planning meetings and e-mail discussions, the members of group decided to create giant credit cards that we’d drag around the malls in the Saint Louis area. We also produced & handed out fliers with suggestions on how to avoid going into debt during the holiday season.

This video by Aaron Michaels highlights the news coverage we generated and documents the message we were advocating. The first part is a music video featuring a modified Christmas carol sung by Sara Lucas spliced with footage from the news & us dragging the cards and handing out fliers. The second part of the video features news clips & interviews with participants highlighting why chose to demonstrate. I show up around 4:35 into the video.


I haven’t gone out of the way to purchase gifts for my family this year. Its nice that we’ve stopped doing the gifts for nearly 10 years now. I am going to Colorado next week to visit some of my family and I feel my presence will be the best gift I can give to rarely-seen family. Interestingly, I think yesterday’s commissioned map follows closely with this video’s messaging because the client was asking me to make her a gift. It wasn’t like client decided to hitup Walmart for the gift that millions of others might get, rather she went for something that’s truly one of kind.


Related Adbusters Entries:

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YouTube video of the “Reclaim the Streets” demonstration [Summer 2001]
|| 11/21/2008 || 5:42 pm || Comments Off on YouTube video of the “Reclaim the Streets” demonstration [Summer 2001] || ||


Music: More bit and Pieces by Coldcut

From Wikipedia:

Reclaim the Streets Reclaim the Streets (RTS) is a collective with a shared ideal of community ownership of public spaces. Participants characterize the collective as a resistance movement opposed to the dominance of corporate forces in globalisation, and to the car as the dominant mode of transport.

Since I was being all nostalgic with the Indymedia entry the other day, I decided to post this YouTube video that my friend Robin made. It was filmed in the summer of 2001 and shows the freedoms that protesters enjoyed in Washington, DC before 9/11. While I was out of town in Saint Louis when this took demonstration place, its interesting to see what Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan looked like seven years ago.



New York City Photo Series #3 – Corner of Rivington & Essex – Timelapse
|| 10/8/2008 || 1:45 pm || Comments Off on New York City Photo Series #3 – Corner of Rivington & Essex – Timelapse || ||

This week I am posting photos from New York City that took last weekend.

The photograph above was taken from the 6th floor window of Hotel Rivington in the Lower East Side using a 15 second timelapse.


Related New York City Entries:

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New York City Photo Series #2 – Corner of Rivington & Essex
|| 10/7/2008 || 1:35 pm || Comments Off on New York City Photo Series #2 – Corner of Rivington & Essex || ||

This week I am posting photos from New York City that took last weekend.

The photograph above was taken from the 6th floor window of Hotel Rivington in the Lower East Side.

For temporal comparison here are the advertisements as seen from Google’s Streetview:


Related New York City Entries:

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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