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Mad About Modern

Mad About Modern

BETHESDA MAGAZINE Michael Shapiro swings open the front door and crosses the threshold into what seems like a bygone age of clean lines, cool design and atomic-age style. The door is cerulean blue, and as he closes it and steps across the hardwood floors, the theme song to Mad Men plays, as if on cue. “That’s my cellphone,” he says sheepishly, and silences the ringer. When you think about the architecture of the capital region, stately colonials come to mind, but midcentury modern, more famous in Palm Springs, abounds here, too—if you know where to look. Read the full story in Bethesda Magazine.... read more
The Music Man

The Music Man

INSIGHTS MAGAZINE In February 2015, listeners to NPR’s Jazz Night in America got a taste of something Washington, DC, jazz lovers have enjoyed for years: the innovative sound of trombonist Reginald Cyntje. Cyntje was taking a risk when he stood center stage in the Bohemian Caverns that January night and blew the first baritone notes on his horn. His band would be playing material from his not-yet-released album, Spiritual Awakening, his fourth and, some critics say, his best album. This was music the band had never rehearsed. The first time the musicians would play it would be here, in this cave-like club, before a national audience, but Cyntje wanted the freshest sounds they could produce. What unfolded was magic. Read the full story in Insights magazine.... read more
Tracking Terror in the U.S.

Tracking Terror in the U.S.

GW MAGAZINE A new think tank finds the “democratization of terrorist recruitment” on social media is helping to create an increasingly diverse picture of Islamic-inspired extremism. ∞ On a Wednesday morning in December, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik put their 6-month-old daughter in the care of Mr. Farook’s mother and left the house for a day that would be burned into the history of terrorism on American soil. Mr. Farook, born in Chicago and raised in southern California, left the two-story townhouse the couple rented in Redlands, Calif., 10 miles outside San Bernardino, to join coworkers at a holiday potluck. A graduate of California State University, San Bernardino, and brother of a decorated Navy man, Mr. Farook worked as a restaurant inspector for the California Public Health Department. He met Ms. Malik on a Muslim dating site. She was born in Pakistan, raised in Saudi Arabia and studied pharmacology. Her traditional Sunni faith appealed to him. She came to the U.S. on a “fiancée visa,” a K-1. They married and lived a quiet suburban life until Dec. 2. Mr. Farook, 28, excused himself from the work party and returned a short time later with Ms. Malik, 29. Ms. Malik had posted on Facebook her loyalty to the Islamic State, or ISIS. Together, wearing masks and black tactical gear and wielding combat rifles and handguns, they opened fire on the party, killing 14 people and wounding 21 others. The San Bernardino shooting spree was the deadliest act of terror on American soil since 9/11, and while the bloodshed was horrifying, the circumstances weren’t a complete surprise to those who... read more
What Happened to my Child?

What Happened to my Child?

BETHESDA MAGAZINE Some parents say a debilitating psychological disorder associated with strep infections caused their children to change overnight—and turned their families’ lives upside down. ∞ Jake Wiederhorn bounds onto the porch of his family’s Potomac home wearing a Captain America T-shirt and soccer shorts. He’s nine years old, bright and thoughtful, hair parted on the left and cut short on the sides, and showing no hint of the nightmare he’s been fighting to leave behind for three years. “The nausea and the headache’s better,” Jake tells his parents. Around his neck he wears a gold that his brother Max, 12, and his sister Kayla, 7, made for him out of paper. It’s a reward for what he’s been through this week in early August. He spent the past two days playing Xbox at a doctor’s office while an IV dripped antibodies into his arm. The IV can make him feel sick at first, he says, but it’s meant to help him overcome a terrifying disorder that upended his young life. On a late summer day in 2012, Jake transformed from a fun-loving 6-year-old into a screaming, cursing child so paralyzed with fear that he refused to leave his mother’s side. It came without warning. One week, he was being treated for a double ear infection; the next, he was tearing apart his bedroom in a rage. “It’s hard on the family,” his mother, Debbie, says. “It’s hard on the siblings. It definitely impacts everybody. But I feel like it’s made us stronger as a family.” Jake looks at her, wide-eyed, as if it’s the first time he’s heard of anything... read more
Brave New World at IJ

Brave New World at IJ

BETHESDA MAGAZINE IJ head Michelle Jaconi has left traditional journalism behind ∞ In May, Bethesda resident Michelle Jaconi left behind 18 years in broadcast journalism—12 with NBC’s Meet the Press and six with CNN—to become executive editor of the Independent Journal Review, a brash social-first media upstart based in Alexandria, Virginia, with an out-of-the-mainstream, right-of-center approach. Jaconi, then 40, landed in a newsroom full of 20-somethings. Located in an industrial space in Old Town, the floors are concrete, and open tables take the place of cubicles. Journalists hover over MacBooks and relax on the rooftop deck. There’s a margarita machine, but no fax. Staffers prefer Gchat and animated GIFs to email. Jaconi bought three pairs of jeans and got to work. “I have always been kind of the ingenue,” she says. “Now I’m the wise elder. It’s incredibly laughable.” Since Jaconi came on board, the Independent Journal (it dropped the “Review” in September and is now commonly called IJ) has had some big wins. In June, IJ announced that it will team up with ABC News to host a Republican presidential debate in February in New Hampshire. Then, in July, GOP presidential candidate Lindsey Graham came by the IJ offices to destroy his cellphone on camera (a poke at rival Donald Trump, who revealed the South Carolina senator’s personal number on TV). The video scored more than 2 million views on YouTube. Bethesda Magazine talked with Jaconi about the future of journalism, balancing work and family, and her predictions for the 2016 election. For the rest of the interview, visit Bethesda Magazine.... read more
The Sedan Also Rises

The Sedan Also Rises

NARRATIVELY History sometimes travels on wheels. A silver Porsche steered James Dean into legend. A pink Cadillac escorted Elvis to Graceland. On the streets of Havana, a 1955 Chrysler New Yorker carried Ernest Hemingway to the long bar at the Floridita, which he called “the best bar in the world,” for daiquiris mixed strong and sour. A two-door convertible with chrome details across the gunwales and an Art Deco eagle over the hood, wings spread wide, this car ushered the Nobel laureate to the fishing boat that he sailed into the blue current, which he simply called “the stream.” It took him to the hilltop farmhouse where he lived among royal palms and mango trees most of the last twenty-two years of his life. Then it disappeared. For decades, Hemingway’s car survived only in legend. Was it still on the island? Had it been secreted away? Or was it lost to history, fallen into scrap metal? It became the automotive version of Hemingway’s missing suitcase, the one full of early manuscripts that his first wife Hadley lost in a Paris train station and never found. “This is where Hemingway lived for twenty-one years and this was where he felt at home,” said Christopher P. Baker, a British writer who had long been on the trail of the vehicle himself. “His homeland was the United States, but his home was Cuba. He’s revered here. His books are essential reading in school. They teach here that he sided with the revolution. That’s never been proven. But everybody who comes here wants a mojito and daiquiri. That’s de rigueur. How many places... read more

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David Frey freelance writerdavid@davidmfrey.com

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