Gallery Of Bethesda Finishes Pedestrian Plaza

Gallery of Bethesda pedestrian walk-thru One of three part-steel, part-LED Mesh sculptures on display at the Gallery of Bethesda The future Gallery of Bethesda pedestrian street, connecting Rugby and Del Ray Avenues One of three part-steel, part-LED Mesh sculptures on display at the Gallery of Bethesda One of three sculptures on display at the Gallery of Bethesda The nearly complete Gallery of Bethesda Site of the future second Gallery of Bethesda building

Bethesda’s newest pedestrian street, featuring three permanent steel LED mesh sculptures, is almost complete at Donohoe Development’s Gallery of Bethesda project.

The mid-block cut-thru connecting Rugby and Del Ray Avenues is part of the developer’s two-building project in Woodmont Triangle and it includes a nod to a small piece of Bethesda history.

The 17-story, 235-unit Gallery of Bethesda (a advertiser) is the first of the buildings to be built and is pre-leasing apartments. The walkway will split the first building and second building, a 16-story, 221-unit apartment to be built one block to the north.

The most eye-catching feature in the quarter-acre plaza are the three sculptures from New York artist Jason Krugman, one titled “The Full Twist.”

It’s apparently inspired by the Twist & Shout, a weekend-only music club in the Bethesda American Legion Hall that use to call Rugby Avenue home. Owner Mark Gretschel opened the venue in 1986 and closed it in 1998. It got national attention when singer Mary Chapin Carpenter came out with her “Down At The Twist And Shout,” in 1991.

From now-defunct local blog

So what happened, not just to the Psychedelly but the weekends only Twist and Shout which used the American Legion Hall on Auburn Avenue as an ersatz night club for a variety of roots-oriented acts, especially Cajun and Zydeco music. Former owner and Manager Marc Gretschel recalls that his favorite show was the hillbilly music of Elvis contemporaries The Sun Rhythm Section the year the club opened, 1986. Gretschel also remembers The Uptown Rhythm kings as, practically the house band. The zydeco of Geno Delafose was the final act at the Twist and Shout when its doors closed in 1998. This writers favorite Twist and Shout show: the funky Yiddish jazz music of  the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars sometime in the mid-1990s.

The cut-thru will also include access to ground-floor retail.

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