Tag: AccessIsLove

ARTECHOUSE: Infinite Space

image description: photo of a shadowed person in a mirrored space, overlaid the image are the words ARTECHOUSE What You Need To Know: Especially If You’re Disabled.

If you’re a disabled person considering visiting ARTECHOUSE in Washington, D.C. here are a few things you will want to know before heading out and shelling out for a ticket.

First, the location is nondescript – the entrance is next door to chain restaurants well outside the typical D.C. center – don’t plan to walk to this museum from your stop at the Capital or the Lincoln Memorial.

Be prepared to do a lot of unusual standing and sitting. The foyer where you enter the museum is a small square space, all hard surfaces with only a few small benches. Everyone has to read and sign documents upon entering about understanding the nature of this exhibit – even before you get to see what it is, or have an idea what you’re agreeing to.

There is one elevator that services the museum, however, it is very small and as we are not wheelchair users, we were not able to absolutely tell if it was possible to get down to the museum level by elevator (or other accessible means).

When you get to the rooms where all the technological art is displayed – there are warnings at every doorway to let you know that if you have vertigo or any issues with flashing lights to not enter. I’m sure it was somewhere in the initial paperwork we signed as well, but it *is* disorienting if you ever have issues with balance or flashing lights. Be aware of this. I have vertigo and was mostly ok, but if I was having a bad day it would not have been the place for me.

The whole point of the exhibit was the special Infinite Space room, which required signing up again, and waiting for up to 30 minutes – for what was a mere 2 minutes in the exhibit – shut in with two or three other people you didn’t know. Something to be aware of. We ended up in the space alone because of being Deaf and having a lot of difficulty communicating with the staff members who were taking names and making phone calls for turns.

We did enjoy hanging out in the beanbags and getting kombucha at the bar.

image description: orange kombucha in a black futuristic goblet with a special ARTECHOUSE coaster underneath.

As the current iteration of ARTECHOUSE is data based, my computer programming partner looked over all the code he could see and was not impressed. We still enjoyed the overall experience, but if you’re knowledgeable about data and coding this might not be much fun for you.

All in all, it was an interesting experience – worth it for one trip – and probably not something we would ever venture out to see again.

Disability Pride Month Reads : Moon-Bright Tides.

I read this book as part of my review of #OwnVoices disability authors/writers for disability pride month.

This is a sweet, cute, quick read about a romance between a mermaid and a witch. The witch is sad, lonely, and traumatized because of how she ended up being the person to sing in the tides. The mermaid she meets is also sad, and literally starving – they connect and it is a lovely story of friendship and care taking that becomes love.

I judge books by several things – character development, world building, story, and how quickly I want to read it all! This book easily met my requirements. I suggest it if you are looking for a sweet, quick read.

Weekend Wander: Boulder

I have traveled to Boulder – both when I lived in Colorado – and several times since moving to Maryland. My best friend growing up lived in Boulder and a chosen family member lives fairly close now as well.

image is of light trails around a hairpin curve above Boulder Colorado’s city lights. Overlaid in white letters are the words Weekend Wander: Boulder, Colorado. Photo by Shiro hatori via Unsplash.

On your first morning in Boulder, I would take you out for brunch. The Buff is a Boulder institution. I would recommend a Homestead Skillet – and if you like it spicy, I’d go for the Ole since you’re in Colorado. It has chorizo, green chile, and jalapeños. If you love coffee, give the local Nitro Cold Brew a try. Or we could go for a breakfast burrito at Illegal Pete’s.

It’s famous for a reason! You shouldn’t miss Pearl Street. The downtown mall was designated The Downtown Boulder Mall in 1977. It also prohibited cars – and this made the mall more attractive to tourists and locals alike.

If you’re up for a treat we could check out the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse for the location – as the teahouse is considered one of Boulder’s most attractive and popular tourist attractions. It is also a local favorite for good tea, food, and atmosphere. When I was in high school we would drive the hour across the front range just for tea and chicken salad!

Boulder has a fairly accessible trail system (if you can handle hills, anyway) on the Boulder Creek Paved Pathway – with 7 miles of paved path from the foothills all the way to the plains where you can get a taste of the landscape of Boulder.

You didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you that there are a bunch of must-dos and sees in Boulder! One of them is to take the Celestial Seasonings factory tour! The tour is wheelchair accessible and the factory has chairs on site. The Celestial Seasonings brand began in 1969 when one of the founders hand-picked herbs in the Rocky Mountains.

If you’re an outdoors person or you enjoy hiking, Boulder is the place to be for easy access to trails of all levels of difficulty. Chautauqua Park is full of trails and there is a trail map here. Unfortunately, there isn’t great indication on accessibility – only on use type and elevation.

Image description: a blonde with her hair up is posing in front of the final ascent to Royal Arch in the Flatirons.

My latest hike in Boulder was Royal Arch in the Boulder Flatirons. This is a 3 mile strenuous trail, that ends at a natural rock arch overlooking Boulder with a gorgeous view. It tends to be busy though (as evidenced by all the people in my photo above). I enjoyed the hike and the view made every step worthwhile.

Want to collaborate and share your city! Email me.

 ❤ Always, J.

Weekend Wander: Denver

I lived in Colorado up until I got married and moved away, so I will detail some places I know well as well as some places I have visited since moving in my Weekend Wander posts.

First things first, we start with food!

I’d take you out for brunch at Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. I would recommend the Juan’s Breakfast Tacos, or if you’re a Benedict fan, I love the Smashed Avocado Benny. The local cold brew coffee is also worth a try! Another option is Jelly Cafe, known as Capitol Hill’s hottest breakfast spot. Pro Tip: Grab some doughnut bites for the road!

If you’re in Denver, you definitely shouldn’t miss Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater. Even though it’s a bit of a drive! If you can go to a concert, it is an experience you will have almost no other place. I also personally love hiking around Red Rocks Park. Check out the shorter loop at Trading Post Trail. My partner and I got married at the Trading Post, there’s a really beautiful building with a scenic overlook.

If you’re up for a treat, we can check out Little Man Ice Cream – where ice cream is served from an actual milk jug. The banana pudding ice cream is somehow better than real banana pudding if you like things chilly! Bonus, for every scoop of ice cream purchased, Little Man matches that scoop with a donated scoop of rice, beans, or other essentials to a community in need anywhere around the world.

image description: a blonde wearing a striped dress and purple jacket and a redhead with a dark jacket and jeans sit on a bench in front of Little Man Ice Cream.

If you’re interested in history, you should not miss The Molly Brown House Museum (the home of the Unsinkable Molly Brown of the Titanic). The Molly Brown House Museum stands as an enduring symbol of the turn of the 20th century in Denver. Margaret Brown, never known as Molly during her lifetime, was a true activist, philanthropist and creator of cultural change. She helped create Colorado’s juvenile court system and was one of the first historic preservationists in the area. You can learn lots more about her here. Accessibility information for the museum is visible here.

Getting around Denver can be relatively simple, as there is a comprehensive bus system and an expanding light rail and commuter rail network. But if you really want to get to know the active, outdoors, and adventure-friendly city, you should hop on a bike from Denver’s community bicycles and ride around town.

You didn’t ask, but I will tell you that a trip to Denver wouldn’t be complete without checking out one of the many historic railroad locations. If you’re in Denver proper, you absolutely must check out Denver’s Union Station – a historic destination over 100 years old. The Great Hall pays homage to the pioneer spirit that started it all, while still being modern and beautiful. If you’re hanging out in Golden after visiting Red Rocks Park, go check out the Colorado Railroad Museum. Here you can learn everything there is to know about Colorado’s rich railroad history.

A few other must-sees: Larimer Square, Clear Creek Riverwalk in Golden (it’s pretty accessible), several murals by artist Kelsey Montague of #WhatLiftsUs – one #WhatUnitesUs is/was on the east facing wall of Il Posto at 26th and Larimer, and a whole list of the murals is here.

Want to collaborate and share your city! Email me.

❤ Always, J.

Deaf Culture: D.C. Saturdays

Deaf Culture: D.C. Saturdays

The weekend before last, my partner and I traveled to Washington D.C. for a day full of Deaf community events and meeting up with close Deaf friends from my childhood.

image description: a blue square with an outlined white flower centered and the words yoga noma below.

When we arrived in D.C. we rushed down the street from Union Station to meet our friend at the entrance to the building where Yoga Noma is housed. We entered right behind him, and he showed us how to get to the actual studio. My partner doesn’t do yoga, so he said his hellos and adjourned across the street to a coffee shop to do some work. This friend and I brought out our mats, and settled in right before the teacher took her spot in front of the class to begin teaching a hatha yoga sequence.

Now that I think about it, I wish that every hearing yoga teacher had the opportunity to take a class fully in ASL from a Deaf yoga teacher. It’s a valuable practice, being open to understanding how very different the practice is for a bunch of Deaf people with a Deaf teacher. It also would help with some of the severe lack of diversity in our yoga studios. I don’t think that hearing people should be teaching Deaf classes though – and this is a tangent for another time.

Anyway, the class was perfect – since I don’t generally practice Hatha yoga – it was just the right amount of clear and understandable with a Deaf teacher speaking ASL and just the right amount of challenging for someone who comes from the Power Vinyasa school of teaching. I felt just challenged enough and just sore enough on Sunday that I didn’t work out again!

After yoga we went to lunch with our friend! It was really wonderful to just sit and converse about everything under the sun (as we always do), in ASL, and feel perfectly connected and understood.

Image description: two men sit at a wooden table and sign with each other – one has shoulder length blond-red hair and beard and the other one has very short blonde hair and a shadow of a beard.

I want to talk more about relationships and connecting another time, but this weekend was a refresher we both needed as we haven’t made very many local Deaf friends and especially not couple friends.

Our friend had to go study – and my partner had work to do – so we split up. We were planning to go see Avengers – Endgame with the D.C. Deaf Moviegoers Group that evening, so we were staying longer.

While my partner worked, I walked around D.C. I headed for Gallaudet University and the epicenter of the Deaf community. I saw families out walking, a whole crew of students sitting out and cheering on the baseball team, I walked by Union Market and many little corner shops. And when I had walked enough, I turned around and headed back to where my partner was working.

Finally, it was time to pack up and go see Avengers – Endgame. I’m not here to talk about the movie at all – only about the community that D.C. has built with the Deaf Moviegoers group. We were all waiting in line well before the movie was scheduled to begin, so we spent time talking, mostly about the MCU and other movies we had seen. But the nice thing about this group is that we already have two important things in common.

We filed in, and this theatre had assigned seating, which was sort of unfortunate for us because we got seats very LAST and had to sit almost underneath the screen!

image description: my partner sitting in a movie theatre, his chair reclined all the way back.

image description: our view of the movie screen, and on the screen is an ad or preview before the movie.

When the actual movie started, there still weren’t captions on the screen. All around me, hands started flying. This was supposed to be a Deaf social event, wasn’t it? My partner – being the assertive person he is – got up and immediately went to someone in management to complain. Thankfully, since the theatre had so many Deaf attendees, they shut off the screen and re-started the movie with captions on. The thing I noticed, though, being highly aware of my surroundings as I am, was that a whole row of people got up and left when the captions came on.

With the open captions up on the screen, the movie was so much more enjoyable for us. Because the captions were up there for everyone to see, there was no dropping signals or missed dialogue. It was 100% correct from what I could tell and it helped me enjoy the movie out with a bunch of my friends like everyone else in the world gets to do.

What was your favorite recent movie pick? Or if you haven’t seen anything recently, what is your favorite movie ever? I look forward to your answers in the comments!