Bipeds of Brookland

Found 61 blog entries about Bipeds of Brookland.

Bipeds of Brookland: Kelly King
Kelly King

Kelly King came from Texas to study dance at the University of Maryland and “fell in love with  four entire seasons.”  She appreciated exploring contemporary modern dance under Alcine Wiltz, while he was Chair of the Department of Dance, at University of Maryland.  She now is very happy to have a career as a dancer, and choreographer with 24 years teaching what she loves. “I offer dance in theaters, schools, corporations, studios, day centers, homes, and crosswalks.  I am closest to my definition of the divine when I am dancing.”

Kelly currently directs the Kaleidoscope dance ensemble once a week, with employees of the IMF and World bank from all over the world, and is a collaborator with Body Wise Dance where she

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Bipeds of Brookland: Paul Artisst
Bipeds of Brookland: Paul Artisst

Paul Artisst was born in DC and recounts sitting on a bush to watch Franklin Roosevelt’s Inauguration parade, being an official at Mike Tyson’s last fight, and many details from an extraordinary life in between.  Born in DC, he grew up in the segregated city suffering through the Great Depression.  His parents worked hard to support their family, always sharing with their neighbors and stressing the importance of education. He remembers wandering around downtown near the White House and swimming in the reflecting pool by the Lincoln Memorial and in the Tidal Basin. “It was enjoyable to be down there, and across the Tidal Basin, where the Jefferson memorial is now, that wasn’t there then.”

After being drafted and

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Bipeds of Brookland: Sr. Licia Lupinacci
Sr. Licia Lupinacci

Sr. Licia Lupinacci was born the ninth child of a family in a village in southern Italy.  She remembers Germans troops occupying a village nearby and hearing American planes bombing before Allied troops landed.  Two of her older sisters had joined the Little Workers of Sacred Heart and so she spent much time visiting the convent as a child.  At 16, she decided to become a sister, too.


At 20, she came to the US, landing at Ellis Island and speaking no English. She and other nuns traveled to DC to work at the St Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary on Taylor St.


In 1973, the sisters moved to their current house on 15th Street, NE. They furnished it with donations from neighbors. One day a neighbor

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Bipeds of Brookland: Jeremy Vera
Jeremy Vera


Born in Buffalo. Moved back to Puerto Rico. Hopped around California and Arizona as a high-schooler. Took a college internship in South Africa, then a Peace Corps stint in Guatemala. Finally, in August 2008, a permanent job in Washington at the Latin American Youth Center.


Jeremy Vera’s journey to Brookland is the definition of multicultural.


And it continues now, where he and his partner, Brian, host high school foreign exchange students through the Ayusa program.


“When I was sixteen, I met my first foreign exchange student, who became one of my best friends,” Jeremy recalls. “I started seeking out foreign exchange students as friends because I thought they were so interesting. I had

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Bipeds of Brookland: Sandy Hassan
Sandy Hassan
Sandy Hassan was born in Washington DC. “The first school that I could not go to, which was across the street from my house, was Phillis Wheatley, named after a black poet, and black kids couldn’t go there.” Instead she traveled by bus to get to another school at age 5. At the age of 10 she was finally allowed to go to Wheatley, thanks to the Supreme Court decision.

She served as a marshal at the March on Washington in 1963.  Unfortunately, her duties placed her far from the stage, but she did get to usher Malcolm X to the front. She was also member of SNCC  at Howard University‚Äč, and in the 1960s went with integrated groups to Virginia to see if they would be served in restaurants. “We never got served.”

She was a dancer

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Bipeds of Brookland: Daniel Ramos Durand
Daniel Durand

As a young boy in Lima, Daniel Ramos Durand had a habit of disappearing at parties.

“My family would ask, ‘Where’s Danny?’” he recalls. “And I’d be off playing with dogs in the backyard.”

In 1999, Danny came to the United States to work as a chef in the D.C. area. In 2004, he moved into a house on Irving Street where he currently lives with his wife, Elizabeth, their two cats, Luna and Sheba, and their black lab, Kala.

“The restaurant business burned me out,” he recalls. “I was working fifteen- and sixteen-hour days. My wife would only see me at night. So that’s when, in 2007, I began to follow my other passion, which is animals.”

Danny started out as a part-time dog walker for a company in Dupont

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Bipeds of Brookland: Frances Kim Walters
Frances Kim Walters

Frances Kim Walters started her professional life as a teacher but says “I realized I liked playing with 3rd graders more than I liked teaching them.” So she went to Michigan Law School, where she met her husband, and after graduating they came to DC to work for law firms. Frances found she was more interested in working with wrongly convicted prisoners, and now works for a nonprofit organization, which relies completely on donations.  “I’ve been with Mid Atlantic Innocence Project for 3 years now and I absolutely love it and I can’t see doing any other kind of work.”

Her office gets over 500 letters a year from prisoners who say they are innocent and have no money to appeal their conviction. “For the very,

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Bipeds of Brookland: Rusty Hassan
Rusty Hassan

Rusty Hassan remembers listening to radio as a kid in Greenwich Connecticut. “Back then, Louis Armstrong would also get on top 40 radio.”  He was in the 7th grade and making a model airplane when he listened to a Benny Goodman Concert recorded at Carnegie Hall. “So, it was the first LP that I bought from Woolworths.”

Rusty listened Jazz all through high school, and “I took my collection, small collection then, to DC when I went to college at Georgetown.” There he discovered the Bohemian caverns where he saw John Coltrane and Miles Davis among other great jazz performers.  As a student he took over a radio show on WGTB and has been broadcasting jazz music on the radio and educating DC about the history of Jazz since

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Bipeds of Brookland : Maurice Saylor

Maurice Saylot

Some composers are satisfied with just trumpets and violins. Not Maurice Saylor. Instead, this Brookland-based composer champions theremins, bass accordions, toy pianos, washtubs – instruments, in his words, “reviled by society at large and ejected by people of good taste and common sense.”

Born in Neptune, New Jersey, Maurice moved with his family to Washington, D.C. at age 6. A music major at The Catholic University of America, he worked at the university’s music library after graduation, eventually holding every position there.

Two years ago, after 35 years in The Catholic University Music Library and coasting toward retirement, Maurice took a plunge. He chose to dedicate himself full-time to music.

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Bipeds of Brookland: Fr. Fred Close
Fr. Fred Close

Fr. Fred Close, the pastor of St Anthony Catholic Church, grew up in Washington, DC and worked 25 years for the Justice Department before he was called to explore the priesthood.

Fr. Fred worked for the Foreign Agents Registration Section, where anyone working for foreign clients doing political fundraising or political advertising had to register with the attorney general. “It was a wonderful education into world politics.” He had an injury which led to an adult conversion “which reoriented my life entirely.”  Fr Fred was ordained a priest in 2001 and appreciates the differences of this career. “You have mercy and forgiveness as the connecting point for all the people who fall short of the demands of the law.  It is

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