jawauna greene: hello and welcome to thisedition of "metro focus." this month's episode is a celebration of culturalheritage for african-american history month, with visits to sahara dance studio. we'll also visit twins jazz restaurant. we'll also learn about important culturalevents and learning opportunities at the martin luther king library in downtown d.c. and we'll provide updates on metro's back2goodefforts. all this and more on this edition of "metrofocus." hello, everyone.
we're here at the d.c. public library, known as the martin lutherking library, with mr. richard reyes-gavilan. richard reyes-gavilan: very good. jawauna greene: the executive director forthe d.c. public library. thank you, richard. richard reyes-gavilan: how are you? jawauna greene: it's a pleasure to be here. richard reyes-gavilan: awesome.
welcome. jawauna greene: i am excited to be in thiswonderful space. richard reyes-gavilan: absolutely, yeah. jawauna greene: tell us about this building. tell us about this location. richard reyes-gavilan: well, of course, thisis the flagship central library for the d.c. public library system, the martin luther kingjr. memorial library. what we're really excited about, frankly,is that after many years of planning, we are set to close this building in a couple ofmonths for a three-year modernization, and
that is going to add about 100,000 squarefeet of public space in this building, and is going to revolutionize our services sothat we can be a library for the next century. so just tonight we're getting ready for abig program. dr. barbara reynolds, who has just releasedcoretta scott king's own memoir... jawauna greene: that's breathtaking. richard reyes-gavilan: and this book was justreleased today. dr. barbara reynolds: the name of the book is"my life, my love, my legacy," and it is coretta scott king's story told for the first time.
and it's about her rise from marion, alabama,where she even picked cotton as a teenager-- how she had to survive her home being burnedwhen she was 15 years old, being in the montgomery bus boycott when her home was bombed. i was a reporter when i first started withher in 1975, and i saw how in the threats-- because we have to understand, in the '50sand '60s, there were--not only did they bomb her house, but they threatened to kill theking family every day that she lived, and that's how hard it was to do that, becausei was threatened by the klan when i was trying to do voter registration. she was trying to say why we should be nonviolent.
she was trying to say why we should love ourenemies. i had to get that in my head. i want people to walk away taking a freshlook at her, knowing that worse times than this, and this woman who has strategy. she was a coalition-builder. we got through it. we survived, and we thrived, and we can doit again, but we have to understand how we got here. richard reyes-gavilan: so we bring in partnersall the time, whether it's authors or booksellers
or media partners. all of our activities are not just here. 16 of the 26 libraries in d.c. are eitherbrand-new or fully renovated. we're going to be providing services in newand interesting and innovative spaces. jawauna greene: well, i have to tell you,one of the things that's so important to us is that you are literally across the streetfrom a metro station, the gallery place metro station. richard reyes-gavilan: yeah, you know, oneof the things we say--this is maybe the most well-situated public building in the city.
jawauna greene: it really is. it is. richard reyes-gavilan: not only gallery place,but metro center... jawauna greene: definitely. richard reyes-gavilan: so any subway in thecity can get you here without transferring, and, you know, all of our locations are eitheraccessible by metro rail or metro bus. that's really important, because we've gotmany users who need public transportation, myself included, and so that's really importantin terms of our service delivery strategy. jawauna greene: well, tell us about some ofthe other programs that you all have and that
you run for the public. i understand that you have reading programsfor children as well as literacy programs to help adults who are trying to learn englishor even improve their proficiency. richard reyes-gavilan: yeah, absolutely. so, just to put it in context, we get about4 million visitors per year... jawauna greene: wow. richard reyes-gavilan: coming through allof our locations, which is a really staggering number, and they are participating in ourearly childhood literacy program. so, for example, we've got a program called"books from birth," and that's--parents can
sign up for their kids, so long as they'reunder the age of five, and you can get a free book delivered to your home... jawauna greene: how great is that? richard reyes-gavilan: every single month. jawauna greene: that is amazing. richard reyes-gavilan: i've got a four-year-oldat home, and every month, she gets a book, and she tears up the packaging, and it's like--youknow, it's christmas morning once a month. jawauna greene: yeah. richard reyes-gavilan: so of course we wantthem to come here, but we want them to be
surrounded by books and literacy 24 hoursa day, really. as part of our black history month programming,we're having sort of a teen tech-a-thon where teens get to explore emerging technology. we're hoping to drum up interest in careers. jawauna greene: where should they be goingto get this information? richard reyes-gavilan: well, the easiest thingthat anyone can do is to go to dclibrary.org, which is our website that has our calendarof events; it's got hours and addresses how to get there by metro and bus. jawauna greene: it's free to read.
it's free to learn in here. richard reyes-gavilan: yeah, you know, that'sour business model, and it's free with an asterisk. i mean, you know, our taxpayers have supportedthe library wonderfully, and so it is our responsibility as the staff of the libraryto make sure that the return on the investment is there. jawauna greene: well, i have to tell you,metro is pleased that you invited us in today. this is a wonderful library, and i inviteeveryone to come out and visit the mlk library when it reopens.
richard reyes-gavilan: yes, and all of ourbranches while we're open for business--not on fridays. jawauna greene: not on friday. richard reyes-gavilan: okay. jawauna greene: thank you. rachel kay brookmire: at sahara dance, weteach belly dance, and we have a lot of different styles. we specialize mostly in egyptian and lebanesebelly dance with some american influences. we just wanted a place that specialized inmaking belly dance an art form and creating
a community for belly dancers. students at sahara dance come from far away,because we are a specialty studio. we are a boutique dance studio specializingin belly dance, and we're d.c.'s center for middle eastern dance. gretchen: the style that we do at sahara danceprimarily comes from egypt. particularly, it came out of social dances,so it was done by people at weddings and parties and whatever. in the 1920s and '30s, it got on film andgot to hollywood, and so that's how we in the west got to learn about these really amazingdancers, is through films.
sahara's an amazing place. it's a bunch of really fantastic women fromall walks of life, different ages, different backgrounds, who all come together to sharethis really cool dance form and to just enjoy each other's company, which is really amazing. kelsey: and the beautiful thing about bellydance is anybody can do it. it looks different on every body, and that'sgreat. it's supposed to. you know, explore different movements, findthings that feel really natural to them. leilah: it's a place where all shapes, like,for women are celebrated, which is, you know,
coming from me, and i'm kind of a curviergirl. like, dancing in a western setting, like ina ballet classroom or jazz, curvier women aren't always really accepted, no matter howgood of dancers they are. in belly dance, we say that the more you haveto jiggle, like, the better it is, so it's a place where i can dance for myself and feelthe best in my own body. female: it feels really good on the body. it's really sort of--unlike some dance formswhere you do lots of jumping, and it's really hard on the knees, this one's pretty gentle,and so it's a nice way. it's great sort of energy to the dance, andit's got so much emotion behind it and so
much culture, which is really cool. rachel kay brookmire: belly dance is differentfrom other dance forms in a couple ways. first and foremost, it's really accessibleto all bodies, and it celebrates and makes beautiful all forms, and then the other waythat it's different from other dance forms-- it's a very sensual and celebratory dancein the spirit of femininity, and women in our culture get a lot of different messagesabout how their bodies should look, but through this art form and through this medium, theycan really learn to enjoy the body they have now, and when they get to do that with oneanother and they get to perform on stage, and everybody celebrates how beautiful theyare, i think that creates a bond and a friendship
that is pretty long-lasting. metro's pretty important to our studios. it allows more people to access the danceform than would otherwise be possible if we weren't metro-accessible. the metro is just a half block north of ourstudio in tenleytown. very convenient. kelsey: so i live in alexandria, and i don'tdrive or have a car, so the metro is really important to me, and it's great that thisis so metro-accessible. so i just hop on the yellow or blue linesand then transfer once and get off at tenleytown,
and it's just a block away. leilah: red line. yeah. female: i get here on the metrobus, actually. it's vital, because i don't have a car, soi take the metrobus everywhere, so i use the bus straight from my office to here, and it'ssuper easy, and i couldn't get here any other way. kelsey: i love sahara dance. i've been coming here for about four yearsnow.
and it's just a really warm, welcoming communityof a lot of really diverse women who just come here to experience another culture, experiencethis beautiful art form of belly dance, and it's just a really warm, welcoming community. leilah: rachel is really, really good at seekingchallenges for students to kind of bring them out, so it's not just learning, but learningand always wanting to learn more, always feeling like you can push yourself, but also, at thesame time, not being overwhelmed or, like, feeling like, "oh," you know, "if you don'tdo really well, then you're not going to succeed here." like, it's a really nice balance of challengeand mindfulness to, like, where you are as
a student and what you're ready to take on. rachel kay brookmire: the students at thestudio and at sahara dance are really supportive of one another, and we do a lot to fosterthat culture of support and celebrating one another's beauty, and i'm very grateful tohave these students. they've come into the studio from many differentwalks of life, and we've become friends, and the community's been longstanding and verytight, so it's like a family. kelsey: it's therapeutic, it's introspective,and you learn a lot about yourself through this dance, through experimenting with movement,through learning about the cultures that are associated with it, and through meeting otherwomen, performing with them, and just being
a part of a really--i keep saying "warm" and"welcoming," but it's just such a tight-knit, really close community. leilah: i've studied at a lot of differentplaces with a lot of different teachers in the area, and i truly believe that saharais one of the best with the variety that it provides and the level of care and attentionthat they bring to their students. rachel kay brookmire: i'd like to invite anyonewho wants to learn more about belly dance or better enjoy their body through movementor learn more about middle eastern music and culture to please come visit us at saharadance, and the website is saharadance.com, or you can call us at (202) 362-4400.
layla nielsen: so twins jazz, we're comingup on 30 years. we were established in 1987. my mother and my aunt are identical twins,and so the name was, you know, floating in the air, but we were thinking about maybefinding an ethiopian word or talk about the food, and then, i don't know if it was a cousinor a friend, said, "why is this so deep? you're twins. let's just call it twins." and that's where we got the name from. my mother, kelly tesfaye, and my aunt, maizetesfaye, migrated from ethiopia, and they
opened up, originally, twins lounge on 14thand colorado. and we were a straight-ahead ethiopian restaurant,but we didn't know that the business that we took over used to be a jazz club, and somusicians just kept coming in and asking, and saying, "can we have a jam session?" at first, we were like, "no, we're an ethiopianrestaurant," but it was a lot of people coming in inquiring, so we said, "okay, we'll tryit one night." lo and behold, now we're twins jazz, full-blownjazz club in d.c. where we offer a fusion of ethiopian, caribbean, and american foodwith straight-ahead jazz. we have a full bar menu as well, and so whatwe like to do is try to get our staff on the
floor as early as possible before the showstarts, but we want to do our best to keep the music the top priority. on the u street corridor, we're the only listeningclub, and what we mean by that is we ask our guests not to speak or talk loudly duringperformances, and that's similar to shows at the kennedy center, shows at any theater. and trust and believe, our patrons have noproblem looking at you and giving you a dirty look if you're talking a little bit too loud. our core audience are true, straight-aheadjazz lovers. i mean, this is who we are, and as far asdemographics, it's not a color; it's not a
race; it's not an age. we've had all types of musicians here--shirleyhorn, the late david "fathead" newman, john hicks. we've been in business for over 30 years,and this stage has been blessed with so many amazing performers. we definitely want to highlight, for the monthof february, our valentine's day special with abby schaffer. she's a vocalist, amazing singer. so, guys, if you want to do something differentfor your lady, bring her on down to twins
jazz on valentine's day. the closest metro stop for us is on the greenline-- cardozo stop. and it makes it extremely accessible, youknow, 'cause parking on u street can be a hassle and very expensive. an alternative is just to hop on the greenline and get right here. we're only, like, a block, two blocks away--a nice, simple walk, and it's a really pretty walk as well, 'cause you can see all the restaurantsand bars that you pass just to get to us. you know, if you live in the city, 15 minutes,and even if you're outside of the city, it's so much faster than driving or dealing witha taxi ride, and it's cost-effective.
i mean, if you want to be comfortable, andyou want to travel and be comfortable, metro is the best way to travel here-- specificallyu street and to twins-- because we have not had this much congestion. if you think about just 10 years ago, 15 yearsago, you could walk on u street and not bump into someone. now, it's like a mob just walking down u street,and the only way to really navigate that is through walking and metro. if you drive, you're going to spend half yourtime looking for parking. we've been in this location on u street since2001, and the demographic has changed a lot.
the jazz clubs that used to be here, a lotof them have left, and if anybody researched u street, u street is the jazz corridor herefor black musicians, and so the community has definitely changed. however, jazz is-- sees no color, and so weattract everyone from all walks of life. my mother and my aunt are my two mothers,and altogether it's four siblings out of that group, and we grew up in this business. you know, when we were little, we came inearly, washed dishes. we, you know, helped clean up where need be. you know, my sister and i tag team with allof the marketing and website development and
social media, so we're very involved. my mother is the chef. she cooks all the food. so when you come in and ask for somethingoff the menu, you know who's cooking it, and we're a family-run and owned business. we tag team and do a little bit of everythingto make sure we bring the best jazz to washington, d.c. i just want to just tell washingtonians andthe communities neighboring d.c. that if you want a taste of that old harlem renaissance,the musician's bar, the musician's club, then
please visit us. make this your home. please follow us on social media at twinsjazz club dc on facebook, twitter, and instagram, and log on to twinsjazz.com. join our newsletter so you can stay up todate with the latest performances and events. automated voice: doors opening. female narrator: securing the homeland, protectingthe environment, educating a nation. every day, metro riders take on the toughestproblems on the planet. they come to the nation's capital, drivenby a sense of duty, a desire to make things
better, and a commitment to their cause. the entire world depends on them doing theirjobs, and at metro, we are well aware that they depend on us to do ours. we want our riders to know that we recognizethe hard issues facing our system. we know that before we can regain their trust,we need to restore their service. we'll do that first by getting back2good,then eventually returning metro to the world-class transit system it once was. and our promise to the region is that we willbring the same passion and commitment to our job as our riders bring to theirs.
jawauna greene: well, hello, everyone. today we're at the african-american museumof history and culture with mr. john franklin. tell us about when the museum opened, andhow have things been going so far? john franklin: well, we opened to the publicon september 24, 2016, and as you know, it's an extremely popular place. being on 14th street, we're on that commuterroute to virginia, so thousands of people see the building every day. jawauna greene: so you are a part of the smithsonianfamily of museums. john franklin: yes, we are the 19th museumof the smithsonian, so we also benefit from
working with our colleagues across the institution. we are a museum of history and culture. most smithsonian museums are either art orscience or history, but because we're looking at the evolution of a people, we have to havea historical base to be able to understand how the poetry comes out, how the art comesout. so we have about 11 exhibitions in the museum,and each exhibition had its own team of curators, educators, and designers. smithsonian museums, and most museums, areresearch-based. we have to make sure that we're giving accurateinformation to our visitors, and so each curatorial
team depends on the scholarly knowledge ofits advisors to make sure that we have the most recent information on this historicalperiod. so there's a design concept that changes witheach space, and the content changes with each space. each team had stories that they wanted totell, and then you have to find the artifacts to help you tell the story, and of course,the further you go back in time, the harder it is to find genuine artifacts that peoplewould try to fake, and so we've had to acquire those through gifts from individuals, loansfrom other institutions, and we've had to purchase items as well.
it's a living museum, particularly becauseit doesn't have a finite period. a slavery museum has a finite period. a civil rights museum need not, but most ofthem have a finite period. so we go from 1400 into the future. the museum, of course, will be open everyday. we're open from 10:00 to 5:30. we have our exhibitions on history from slaveryto the present, and then we have exhibitions looking both at communities-- military history,sports history, the history of our organizations and institutions-- and then ten case studiesthat look at african-american experience in
different regions of the country. we hope that people will come here and enjoywhat is already here, and in addition, they can consider our website to look at what programsare being offered, and our website is the letters of our museum: nmaahc.si.edu. so we divided the museum cafe up into foursections: the agricultural south, the creole south, the west, and the north. and so you can get main dishes from any ofthose areas that match your sides and desserts. one of the goals of the museum was to be aplace of dialogue and reconciliation, so some of our seating is intentional to encouragepeople to talk, and you notice in the cafe,
they're long tables of eight, and so if you'rejust a single person or two people, you'll be joining other people, so we get that dialogueamong visitors, which is just wonderful. jawauna greene: well, thank you again, john,for inviting us into this wonderful museum, for sharing your experience and expertise. john franklin: it's our pleasure. thank you for coming. you must come back again. jawauna greene: oh, you don't have to askme twice. i'll be back.
john franklin: all right. jawauna greene: and thank you. i invite all of you to come out and visitthe museum. female: did you know that you can buy metroswag at dcmetrostore.com? we have a wide variety of items that you canget that are officially licensed and that carry the iconic metro map. we've got tote bags. we've got melamine plates. we've got coffee mugs.
we've got the metro poster, magnets aboutyour station specific: gallery place, chinatown. go online, and you can find your station andhave a map made, have a magnet made, have a t-shirt made. we've got things for the kids. we've got a backpack. we've got toy trains and toy buses. automated voice: attention, platform 1. train to central is approaching. please stand clear of the platform edge.
female: we have jewelry. we have a christmas ornament, hand-paintedand hand-glittered in poland. how about a great pair of socks? we have t-shirts. we have book bags. we have multiple different kinds of totes--evenan umbrella. we've got our newest edition coming out inmarch: the silver line wooden train. magnets on both ends. goes on a wooden track.
you can connect cars together. this will be the first one introduced in marchif not earlier, followed by red line, blue line, orange line, yellow line, green line. these things range in prices from 3.50 tosomething like a magnet to $45 for the chiffon scarf with the map in the middle. there are a limited number of local retailoutlets where you can buy some of our merchandise. the national building museum store carriesit. poetry & prose carries some of our merchandise,and even some of the smithsonian museum stores will have limited amounts of metro merchandise.
we know you love metro, and we know that you'lllove metro merchandise. brian anderson: we underwent the first redesignin eight years. we've bubbled up what we thought was importantcontent getting buried up to the top. the homepage features the top four requestedfeatures on our website, and that's the trip planner, next bus, next train, and servicenearby. we have an alerts band on the side of thehomepage here that will give you most recent alerts. it will give you the opportunity to expandupon them, and then you can click for more information.
we understand that 60% of users access ourwebsite through their mobile device, right? so everything in this new design is accessiblefrom the phone. you can see that everything is naturally formattedfor the size of the phone, and you can easily scroll. and you can get all of the same features thatyou would on the desktop, just laid out differently and more comfortably on the mobile device. and the six features here up at the top: tripplanner, next bus, next train, service near me, maps and times, and call police-- withthe tap of a button, it'll find where we are. you hit "show results."
less than a quarter mile away--gallery place,chinatown metro. you hit the little plus, and then you'll getthat the green, red, and yellow line service comes there, or if you were looking for thered line, you can--buses will get ordered first, but you can scroll to find the servicethat you're looking for. there's green line, there's red line. we got judiciary square or gallery place,and, again, click to expand. from a security standpoint on the website,there's a one-touch to call mtpd, our metro transit police department, and then it alsobranches beyond the website with our text tips service, where someone can text 696873,which spells out "mymtpd," and that will send
a message and/or pictures, if you so choose,to our police operations command where they can have a quick conversation with a dispatcherto get some help. my personal favorite feature is, we reallywanted the bus customers to see a big win in the new site. we'll pull up the customized bus schedules. we'll type in "70," which runs up and downgeorgia avenue. southbound. we'll pick georgia avenue and rittenhousestreet for today, all day. when we hit "go," it produces all of the serviceat that stop for the day.
that's it. and i just want to point out, if i may, too,the other really awesome part of this is with metro rail closing at midnight every night,our bus services don't also close at midnight, you know? so if someone is sort of that night owl, theycan go to these schedules, and they can easily pick a route that they know is nearby andfind out if the bus is even running after midnight, and then if it is, they can, again,just choose "after midnight" and print that out. not everyone has quick access to a timetable,so the idea here is if they live right outside
of a bus stop and they really just care aboutthat stop and the service that comes there, you go through these options, and then thatwill allow them to just have those times. and we want everyone to find the informationquickly, and making sure that everything is self-explanatory up at the top, even to thenavigation. it's the service; it's the schedules; themaps, the rider guides, and the fares--finding out when the next vehicle is coming. that's when everything sort of blends together. we integrated maps as much as possible, soin the trip planner example here, this is how you can get from farragut north to woodleypark, and we give you three options.
in this case, it's all by train, but as youput in different addresses-- or you can also choose, if you prefer bus, you can choosebus-only trips. customer feedback comes in about the websiteall the time. you know, no concern is taken lightly. so when we set about the new website, we lookedat web stats, we looked at web feedback from customer service, and we worked that intothe design and the build of it. but this was the product of about a two, twoand a half year effort, and we knew that when we have this new website launched, we canjust continue to build on the platform that we now have, that's fresh, that's modern,and we can begin to introduce new features
in the future that's mobile friendly and justready for the future. if you want to check out our website, visitwww.wmata.com. jawauna greene: thank you for watching thisepisode of "metro focus." we hope you join us next month when we visitinteresting and historic locations in virginia.