Holiday Cheer? Not Here.

No Grievance Is Too Sad or Small for a Bulletin Board Celebrating Festivus

Adams Morgan residents attend a public "airing of grievances" to help celebrate Festivus, a holiday made popular by the hit sitcom "Seinfeld."
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 18, 2008; Page B01

It's better reading than a bathroom wall.

More satisfying -- with angry, red, ALL-CAPITAL rants and lovely, looping cursive -- than an online bulletin board.

The kiosk in Adams Morgan has become a confessional for Washingtonians, where dozens of notes are pinned to a bulletin board, the physical manifestation of a region's woes.

They are sad and funny, sweet and alarming, and it's completely voyeuristic, a window into souls.

"Please don't hit me on my scooter"

"So help me God, I will tear my conductor's heart out and eat it while he watches"

It began as a "silly idea" by the neighborhood business group, a riff on the faux holiday Festivus, which became famous 11 years ago today on an episode of the 1990s hit television show "Seinfeld," said Kristen Barden, executive director of the Adams Morgan Partnership business improvement district.

The anti-Christmas, Festivus includes gathering around an aluminum pole for the "Airing of Grievances." It's the antithesis to all the holiday cheer encrusting the season.

"Really, it's what people are really thinking. It's a little disingenuous to have to be all cheerful, when this is what's on your mind," said Blue Telusma, 28, as she swept her hand over the dozens of paper thoughts pinned to the bulletin board and flapping in the cold, December wind.

"My dad is being a tight ass and not paying for my wedding"

"Parents, please raise your kids so we don't have to. Sincerely, A Teacher"

The business group strung a banner "A Festivus for the Rest of Us" along the roof of a kiosk at Columbia Road and 18th Street NW, and included notepads, pushpins and pens Friday and waited to see what would happen, Barden said.

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