Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Gestalt Newsstands Hit the Street
On April 16th, between 3:30 and 5:00, two newsstands for Gestalt hit the street in conjunction with Multimediale. The contents of the periodical consist of interviews with the artists involved in the event and discussions about the significance of individual works and the exhibition as a whole. One newsstand will be placed in the gallery throughout the duration of the exhibition and the other shall remain on the street. After April 23rd, they will no longer exist in the public sphere.
The process for putting them there has not been easy. Earlier I reported how I went through a circle of bureaucracy to determine with whom I should speak regarding the placement of the newsstands. This circle began and ended with Jose Colon.
I finally got a hold of Matthew Marcou of the Department of Transportation (DOT), in early February, and he was very prompt, helpful and receptive to at least determine with which agency within the DC government I was supposed to speak. And, indeed, it was in the jurisdiction of Sam Williams. I no longer remember why I had to speak with the DOT. It probably had something to do with the intention to place the newsstand near the Dupont Circle Metro stop. In the crazy circle of DC politics, for some reason it made sense at the time.
When I first spoke with Mr. Williams it was in early March. Apparently his phone had been broken throughout the month of February. (And, possibly his e-mail, too). He said I should just get permission from the ANC (Which stands for Advisory Neighborhood Commission, I would later learn. ANC 2B to be precise - he never said which one, or what ANC meant.) But, since he wasn't certain with whom in the ANC I should speak, he thought it best to speak with Ed Grandis of Dupont Circle Merchants and Professionals Association (DC MAP). DC MAP acts like an advisory board with no real say on anything in Dupont Circle. But, Mr. Williams assured me, that if the ANC did not approve of the newsstands that I could then apply for a permit to the tune of fifty cents.
Mr. Grandis is a lawyer and was very cut and dry when we spoke in the early part of mid March. He informed me the ANC meets once a month. And, to get on the itinerary I had to contact them one week prior to their meeting. Mr. Grandis and I spoke six days before the ANC meeting, and the itinerary had already been set. We did not speak again until after the ANC met. The newsstands were not on the itinerary and he advised me to contact them.
Them is a void. An e-mail that was never returned, to an inbox I gather is seldom checked. Them consist of nine names and six phone numbers. Since I am teaching five classes this semester between three schools, and was prepping for two shows, I decide to sidestep a phone call. Phone calls that, from my experience with Mr. Williams, never get returned.
I called Mr. Williams and, after several messages, got a hold of him in the beginning of April. I asked to proceed with the permit process. He said they were done selling permits this year - that they had finished selling permits in the beginning of March (incidentally, before I spoke with him in the beginning of March). But, I should go ahead and put them outside anyway. He suspected there would be little concern raised over the newsstands.
We shall see.