DC, DC, a ________ of a town...
You know, as a brand, DC rots. I just does. As a native who's lived here most of my life, I've seen attempts to get this city standing with the big boys, but most of them fell flat and disappeared. Once there was a song composed extolling the city's virtues – but it went nowhere. Union Station was refurbished for the bicentennial as the National Visitors Center, but attracted mainly the homeless. The city’s constantly making excuses for its lame image – "well, the monuments are pretty;" "no, there's not that much crime, if you stay in the right neighborhood…" "it's basically safe... in northwest... during the daytime;" and "what do you expect, when nobody's from here and everybody else just stays until the administration changes?"
It's time DC had an Xtreme Makeover. For the next few days, I'll be printing some of my ideas for what DC needs to do, after it does whatever it takes to eradicate poverty, crime and the homeless within its borders, and hires a kick-ass design and marketing firm and gives them free reign to imagine the city into the next twenty years. So, the first five (and they are all in no particular order):
1. Develop a significant and Macy’s-competitive parade for one of the following: Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, or Inauguration Day.
2. Pump some money into the gay pride parade and make it bigger than New York's. Stop relying on the gays to gentrify neighborhoods.
3. Create a major outdoor festival around a significant artistic individual who lived and/or worked here in the past (John Philip Sousa, Duke Ellington, Helen Hayes, or…?) Create and finance: a National Sousa Band with a yearly national patriotic march competition (with high school, college, postgraduate, and adult composer categories), a Helen Hayes center for the dramatic arts (with a Washington-DC artists theatre festival), and a Duke Ellington conservatory (post-high school) for music and performing arts.
4. Move the presidential inauguration into another season. Hold the actual ceremony indoors if you must for security reasons, but televise it live throughout the mall. Wait until Bush is out of office to do this so he is not president for a second longer than he has to be. Augment the inaugural balls with the 3-day national mall barbecue.
5. Have the president give weekly audiences, like the Pope.
Tomorrow – 5 more…