Helga Mueller certainly acted like she liked children. When she wasn't working as a housemaid for wealthy families, she entertained the neighborhood kids with fantastical stories that drew them to her house in crowds. But then kids began disappearing, one by one, over six long months. When their bodies were finally uncovered at the home of Frau Mueller, she had disappeared, leaving behind one message, scrawled in blood: I will return.
Over the next few decades, spooky happenings have occurred on the property: a murder-suicide, dead children dressed as dolls, and the slaughter of an entire circus troupe. Despite?or perhaps because?of this, Gravensteen Haunted Productions has set up shop in a warehouse on the former Mueller property, tempting the evil that lurks there to make itself seen. Only the daring venture within its walls, where creepy denizens hide in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to give their guests a fright.
United Social Sports brings recreational athletes together to socialize and showcase their hand-eye coordination. Free agents or team-sized groups register for the organization’s casual coed leagues dedicated to traditional sports such as softball and volleyball as well as carnival games such as cornhole and skee-ball. Each league hosts 6–8 weekly matches, which culminate in a final tournament and an end-of-season party—much like youth-sports leagues, but with postgame drink specials.
In June 2010, after a late-night session of painting, drinking, and generally rousting about with a group of friends, magazine editor Michael M. Clements found himself pondering an unshakeable question: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could do this at a bar?” The seeds of ArtJamz sprouted almost immediately into a traveling party, where the caterers brought not only beer and wine but also all-you-can-paint palettes, for-sale blank canvases, and invaluable artistic expertise. In the two years since that fateful, paint-spattered night, ArtJamz has become a citywide phenomenon, organizing collaborative events with the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and finally realizing the founding fathers’ vision of a tie-dyed capitol building.
Although these creative enablers still operate pop-up events at galleries and retail spaces across D.C., the brand-new, 1,800-square-foot permanent studio in Dupont Circle has an open-house policy to enable paint parties seven days a week. Freestyle paint sessions and classes are offered, charging separatley for studio time, canvas, and drinks. Day hours keep artists aged 5–18 in mind, whereas nightly sessions feature beer, wine, and creative cocktails for the 21+ set. More than 32 distinct colors await inspired brushes, and the walls of the cozy venue are fair game for a fresh coat. A trained staff is always on hand to offer advice if needed or requested, and to make sure nobody loses an ear.
Designed exclusively for adults, Art By The Glazz invites creatives of all experience levels to let their painterly flag fly during three-hour classes. With a rotating calendar of subjects, painters can sign up for a chance to re-create still-lifes, landscapes, and the occasional banana split. All supplies are included, and visitors take their masterpieces home with them at the close of each session.
Lynford Morton doesn't like to be called an instructor. Instead, he prefers photo coach. To Lynford, coaching more accurately describes his process of giving advice and support and boosting confidence in photographers as they actively snap shots of their subjects. His teaching method sticks to this sports analogy, as he first forms a foundation of photography principles?a playbook of sort. Then during hands-on sessions, photographers practice using techniques and calling audibles to get clouds into the right position. Since Lynford keeps most classes at a ratio of 1 to 12 or fewer, he can guide students with tips or illustrate a point with a teaching app on his iPad.
Lynford has always loved to tell stories with pictures. His father, a self-taught photographer from a village on St. Kitts, fueled Lynford's passion at an early age?which he later bridged with a photojournalism college major and a career in public relations. Now, he walks the historic streets of DC each weekend with troops of eager photographers anxious to tell their own visual stories.
French-trained photographer E. David Luria loves many subjects, but he directs most of his attention toward Washington, DC's historic architecture. His images, which lovingly depict the city's landmarks, have been published in Time magazine as well as several local Washington papers. Luria teaches tricks of his trade privately for the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program, but also through Washington Photo Safari's tours.
Luria, along with a team of 11 other instructors?many experienced independent photographers and photojournalists?shepherd small groups through the capital's streets, gardens, and halls while teaching them photographic techniques. These include how to use selective focus, control F-stops and shutter speeds, and remove vampires from pictures taken at night. They then help participants practice these skills on expeditions through buildings such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington National Cathedral, and the National Building Museum. More seasonal tours let guests document the short-lived cherry blossom season, challenging them to capture striking tableaus of the pink petals from land or water. They also teach composition among the verdant garden landscapes and elegant buildings at Hillwood Gardens and the US Botanic Garden to foster tourists? appreciation for nature and their ability to heckle squirrels.