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TheRootDC
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Posted at 12:32 PM ET, 12/12/2011

Busboys & Poets, a D.C. landmark

The Redskins finally played like professionals yesterday and lost anyways, but who cares. Their season is done. The real story of the day, once again, was Tim Tebow bringing the Broncos back from the dead to win their sixth straight. All he does is win. Amazing.

Spring Valley is one of the most monied neighborhoods in the District . Some of the city’s most important dignitaries — including Jim Vance — live in the area just west of American University, but there's one small problem that's been there for the better part of a century. It was built on a World War 1-era Army chemical warfare testing grounds, and the effects are palpable, according to residents. Johns Hopkins is conducting yet another study to sort out the community health issues, The Post's Sylvia Carignan reports.


Andy Shallal, who is an artist, political activist and restaurateur poses for a portrait at his Busboys and Poets location on 14th St. NW on Tuesday October 18, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Matt McClain - FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
Like it or not, Busboys & Poets is officially a landmark in the area . The cafe/bookstore/performance space chain is a tourist destination, a local cultural hub and always packed at brunch. The name alone draws hipsters from all walks of life to claim that they are regulars there. But the business didn't come about in the typical manner. The Post's David Montgomery profiles Andy Shallal, a naturalized Iraqi American who built his empire without fitting the typical business mold.

D.C.'s inferiority complex as a city has risen its ugly head once again , this time, in the form of cinematic discrimination, as some might call it. There is a vocal community of film buffs that have resented the notion that the city doesn't get earlier releases on par with New York or Los Angeles. Heck, Boston and Chicago typically get big flicks before we do. This doesn't bother me in the slightest and never will, but for The Post's Ned Martel, it's a problem worth fixing.

I had many friends growing up that performed in The Nutcracker . The Washington Ballet's signature show is a pillar of the city's arts community but also a behemoth when it comes to making money, so much so that it funds the rest of the production company's shows for the rest of the year. It's like the college football of ballet. But as the D.C. government and Congress cut their funding to the company, it has found ways to stay afloat. The Post's Thomas Heath details just how they do it, and it's no fairy tale.

My mind has officially switched to pro basketball mode . Let's hope that the same holds true for the Wizards' Andray Blatche. The veteran front court guy, going into his sixth year in the league, has never been particularly serious about his NBA career by most accounts, but for whatever reason, the franchise is hoping that may happen this year, The Post's Preston Williams reports. In a related story, the team signed big man Ronny Turiaf — a move I contend might not be necessary if Blatche were any good.

Extra Bites

• You want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes in the Express newsroom? You're in luck. We've launching a new Tumblr page called After Deadline. Think of it like the “After Lately” for “Chelsea Lately” on E! Except it'll really be us.

• Also, you should take some time to vote for your favorite D.C. Tweeps in The Post's contest. Clearly, if there were a favorite Posties category you'd be voting for me, but alas, there is not. Joke.

• Always wanted to know what a rich white guy would do if he was a poor black kid? You're in luck!

Check out my Facebook fan page, my Twitter feed, or you can e-mail me anytime at clinton.yates@wpost.com

Read more on The Root DC

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By  |  12:32 PM ET, 12/12/2011

Categories:  Lunchline

 
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